Did the terrorists win? Flying now has a steep personal rights cost.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

 

It seems the terrorists have secured a big win. A handful of terrorists have caused millions of Americans that used to enjoy travelling to suffer. I find it amazing. If you think about the minimal costs that Al-Qaida incurred in training a few pilots and sending them off with box cutters to the daily intrusions every air traveling American now faces, it’s almost comical.

I used to go to the airport relatively close to when the plane was going to take off. You could walk on the plane right before they closed the doors to taxi off and you could carry a nail file, pocket knife or whatever with you on the plane. Now, I have to arrive 2-3 hours before and prepare myself to go through more and more restrictive security. How many soda’s, coffees, colognes, etc have been thrown away because you can’t carry liquids anymore? How many people get to be manhandled, frisked, and touch inappropriately in the name of safety?

It seems that the response the government provides to every issues is that of a reactionary one. Someone carries a bomb in their underwear, so now every American citizen gets to give up their personal liberties and have some guy who decided he wanted to work security rub his hands up your groin. I am just waiting for the next terrorist to carry a bomb like they convicts do in prison, in their anal cavity. Will everyone then be forced to endure prison style “cough and bend over” searches? I imagine that there is a room of pencil pusher that are considering just that. Of course, you can always have them look at you naked with a body scanner and get a few doses of radiation. That sounds like a great option…

The damage a terrorist can do by detonating a plane is horrible. Is it the worst thing though? No, there are number of much more effective attacks. How many people are on a plane, 200? 300? We all know if someone stood up in a plane with even a gun, people would tackle the guy. Some might die, but most would live.

There are a number of better targets a terrorist could hit. Stadiums have 40,000 people. Bus terminals, subways, are all much better targets. Well placed bombs in a subway would shut down major cities. Do people riding the subway need to be body scanned, sniffed, groped and probed to make sure those are secure? Not yet, but wait until someone drops a bomb there.

The over reaction of the Homeland Security Department to our perceived threats is an intrusion on our rights and liberties as citizens of this great country. I am a proud American and strongly believe in our personal rights. Our right to travel without having to be treated like terrorists our selves in our own country should go without question. I feel that the selective nature of the security for certain modes of transport are even more ridiculous.

If you are afraid and want to give up all your rights so that you can feel a little safer, then go live in a military ruled country. The more rights we give up, the less rights we have. Plain and simple. The government will step in and rule more of your life and take away more of your personal freedoms for the sake of “security”. I don’t want that security. I would rather take my chances with a guy on a plane than subject all of America to the degradation of our personal rights and freedoms.

I imagine there are some Americans who disagree, and you are all probably politicians or work for the bloated and ineffective department of Homeland Security. We all pay a very high cost every day for the actions a few terrorists took almost 10 years ago. I am still shocked to see it’s been almost 10  years, but wow look at the dividends their actions have returned. Billions on war, Americans liberties stripped and all our lives impacted.

Is it all worth it? Did the terrorists win? You decide.

Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon – Finished

My wife and I ran the half marathon at Disney this Saturday night. It was our first endurance event, and let me tell you it was amazing and hard.

The race began at 10:00 pm with 11,500 of our closest friends. That is a lot of people corralled together. It took 13 minutes to get from where we were in Corral D to the start line when the gun/fireworks were fired off.  A bunch of slow waddling, kind of like the delay at a traffic light.

The race took us through the streets from the ESPN World of Sport over to the Animal Kingdom park. We ran through part of the park and back out around the parking lot and back through to the main street again. From there we double backed and then went down and off ramp and ran through the back of MGM.

The MGM part was really cool, went through the and saw the back of Tower of Terror and then through the Stunt Show and then got to run through the Christmas Lights on the street scene. From there, we then ran out of the park and past the lagoon over past the Yacht and Beach club to the Finish Line at the World Gate( back gate) of Epcot.

Overall, the experience was amazing. Each Mile has a big gateway that said the mile # and was sponsored by a country. There were DJ’s and characters all along the run, and even a live band playing a few good songs.

I thought I would be upset for not bringing my headphones, but there was music and entertainment and “cheer squads” almost every step of the way.

I injured myself at about mile 8 or 9, hard to remember. My knee went out pretty bad, but I forced myself to suck up the pain and continue. The last two miles was a slow walk with me hobbling, but pain is temporary. My wife provided extra support by walking with me, and we finished together.

We did run through every mile gate though. The last few hurt pretty bad, but it had to be done.

I am just proud I finished and am looking forward to the next run in January. This time I will train much harder, to not only just finish, but finish with a good time.

I have my  medal and some great new confidence. I now know I can conquer 13.1 miles.  To all you 26.2 mile marathoners, I think you guys are nuts.

-Brian

PS:

The race I ran: Wine and Dine Marathon

The race in January: Marathon Weekend

Crazy day of travel..

I hopped on my ridiculously early flight to Colorado Spring this morning and was happy to get an exit row seat. About 5 minutes before departure from the Tampa airport(TIA) two security guards board the plane. Routine check, right?
Nope. They begin talking with a passenger in the back of the plane and then escort him off.

Freaky, right? So we are all left with the though of wtf? Why was this guy escorted off the plane.

We take off and land at Houston then I board this plane called the Continental Express for Colorado Springs. What a tiny piece of crap. My head hit the ceiling and the seats were so small I had to disengage my arm rest to fit my legs. Anyway, I arrive safe and sound at the Colorado Springs airport.

I checked in at the Broadmoor hotel. This is an amazing hotel by the way. Fast forward to the me having drinks at the bar at midnight. I talk with a few people and find out that General Petraeus is staying here. I thought that was pretty interesting.

But wait…..Whats more interesting?

I met a lady who was sitting by the fire outside who said she was a famous author that was going on Opera and the Jay Leno show. She was smashed out of her mind and said she was marrying the gentleman with her because he had saved her from a racoon. Can’t make this up folks. She had met him that night and decided they must be married.

Suffice it to say, plastered plastered plastered. So, I will be watching Leno to see if she really is as much a crackpot as I think or if I get proven wrong.

Its 3am in my time zone, so good night.

Would you like a ticket for having a bike rack in Tampa, FL?

What a lovely city Tampa is for bicyclists. They have great trails and an abundance of bike lanes in the nicer communities. However, if you want to transport your bike on a bike rack, Tampa is not the place for you.

Today my wife got pulled over for what…speeding? nope….illegal lane change?…nope…..having a bike rack blocking a portion of her license plate? ding ding. You got it.

Apparently in a city that is being hit by the economic slump, the police have nothing better to do than pick on law abiding citizens.

The officer said that he could write a ticket for the obstruction of her license plate by her bike rack which is a non-moving violation. What a pile of crap.

So, next time you are out and want to take your bike out to the bike trail on your bike rack, remember the gestapo Tampa Police Department may decide you deserve a ticket.

Oh…What about the Tampa Police Department and their bike cops with their bike racks? Oh…They are above the law as usual, of course.

The police should be out to protect our way of life and keep us safe; not pick on law abiding citizens trying to go about their day.

Write your mayor, sheriff, and congressman to try and get this fixed.

Verizon….A love hate relationship and why their FIOS customer service sucks….

I have been a Verizon customer for many years now. I was generally happy with the service until now. The tv service provides a great picture and the Internet speeds are rediculously fast.

They just suck when you try and order the service. How can that be you ask? How can a company not bend over backwards to earn you as a customer? Below is part of my email to the buggers.


  I have spent roughly 4+ hours on the phone with your people to place my order for a move of service. I am moving to Tampa and just wanted to keep FIOS.

A week later, bungled order and mistake and issue after issue I am here.

I first called last week to setup my service. I placed the order and went through the entire process only for my order to freeze. So the representative said they would call me back that night once they were able to get the order to unfreeze. Well a few days went by and I called back. Enter this Monday. I talk with a representative that promises me to take care of placing the order.

Mind you, I am trying to BUY your services. Shouldn’t this be painless? Shouldn’t I be treated really well? Isn’t Brighthouse just a call away?

Anyway, I talk with the agent about my order and she says it locked in limbo. She reconfirms my order and promises to take care of the issue and guaruntee my Friday installation.

Well, we speak again Tuesday and she says the order is still locked up. She has to call me back 3 times. The day ends with no service setup.
I call today and get a new representative. She says she can’t transfer me to my old representative but promises to take care of it all.

She pulls up the order and says its locked. We 3 way call into some other office and they tell her its locked and to place another order then hang up on us. Quite rude.

I  then place my order AGAIN with her. This is getting old as you can see. I go through the whole thing again and she sets up the order. They then give me an installation date of NEXT WEEK.

This is just rediculous. I placed the order LAST WEEK.

—-

Yes….A week of effort to place an order.

All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 concert in Tampa…

I decided to go out to the All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 concert last Sunday at the Ford Amphitheater. I went the box seat route and that made the parking a breeze. I passed hundreds of cars sitting on the highway which all appeared to be waiting for a very long time to enter the crappy standard lot. The last time I went to a concert and parked in the normal lot and it took 1 hour to park and another 1 1/2 hours to get back out of the lot.

The concert started off with the white rapper that does the College song. Can’t remember his name, so must not have made much of an impression. He was jumping around the stage like someone having a seizure. It was amusing at least.

The first real band to take the stage was the All American Rejects. The lead singer came on in a wheelchair with a huge cast on his right leg. They had a girl from the audience pushing him around the stage while he sang. The performance was good but he was obviously pretty out of it from the pain medicine he was on. He messed up and forgot the lyrics a few times. The best part was that he kept repeatedly telling everyone that he doesn’t lip synch like the damn Jonas Brothers and other crappy bands that are fake.

Fall Out Boy came on next. The crowd went wild and they put on a great show. The music rocked. They had a guy come up that had a huge tattoo on his stomach that said “Dirty”. The band had him chug eight beers during one of the songs. He threw up about 4 times on stage but managed to down all the beer. Pretty damn funny to watch this dude throwing up on stage.

At about this time the entire audience was sweating from the sweltering heat. A wonderful hot and muggy Florida night. The heat is definitely a bad part about the amphitheater.

Blink 182 came on stage next to a deafening roar of the audience. The put on a really awesome show. They interacted with the audience a few times. One was to tell us that they were not looking forward to going to the Alabama show. They feared that the concept of counting to 4 would be way to hard for the Alabama audience. The highlight of the show to me was the encore. The crowd was screaming so loud I could feel them for about 10 minutes to bring the band back out.

The encore started with Travis Barker, the drummer, strapped into his drum chair. The entire drum set was then raised into the air about 10 feet on this platform and he began banging out an awesome solo. The solo was really intense but got even better when the platform started to rise and dip. They had him going forward at about 30 degrees and then back and then to the side. He kept rocking it out while they made the whole platform go crazy. To make it even more intense, the middle of the platform actually started spinning in circles. So this guy was rocking the drums up 15 feet high, drum set spinning around a full 360 and then the platform leaning at crazy angles. That is one amazing talent and the highlight of the entire night.

The concert ended with streaming being blasted onto the audience and lights on. I got into my car and out of the stadium and back to the hotel in less than 15 minutes. To put that in perspective, I ran an errand 30 minutes later and drove by the stadium and the cars were lined up all the way around the stadium rolling at about 2 mph. (Long story short, pay for the VIP parking because the amphitheater parking sucks)