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  • And We're Off Again (I Hope...)

    Saw this at Dulles Airport while going to my third conference in five weeks, this time in Nashville. After multiple delays and layovers, I hope to get there soon.

  • iPhone Storytelling: Billy Joel

    Continuing what has suddenly become a music thread….

    Billy Joel became the first performer to play three times at Nationals Stadium on Saturday, and he did so despite a torrential downpour that delayed the start of the concert by more than an hour.

    You can't carry a "professional camera" into events like this without a press pass. (I would not have brought my camera in anyway, given the rain.) However, this is one of those times when iPhone photos usually come nowhere close to the images you can get with a regular camera.

    Still, if you're lucky and recognize the shutter delays, you can occasionally get a decent image.

    Let me know what you think of these and the ones on my Facebook page here.

    Joel, as usual, was terrific in concert. He hasn’t written new music since the early 1990s, but embraces one of the best and most popular catalogues with enthusiasm. In turn, the rain-soaked crowd embraced him.

    “What’s it like sitting there with a wet ass?” Joel asked the cheering crowd.

    Fortunately, after seeing the Piano Man multiple times in multiple places (North Carolina, Madison Square Garden), we splurged and bought tickets on the stadium turf. No wet butts for us.

    Unfortunately, we were among the large contingent of the 40,000-plus fans who came to the concert via Metro and were left stranded due to the storms, which delayed the show by more than an hour. Thanks (or not) to “SafeTrack” maintenance, the subway system closed at midnight, and there was no way we could see the encore and make it to the last train.

    Joel even made a joke about the troubled transit system — “Is the Metro running tonight? … So basically, you’re (expletive).”

    With no warnings in advance from stadium officials or Metro — a transit worker at the Navy Yard said they had not even been told about the heavily promoted concert (cough) — we were stuck with a long wait and a very expensive Uber ride.

    The show was still worth it, though.

  • Travel Gods & Mother Nature

    What happens when the travel gods and Mother Nature conspire to do a pre-holiday test run affecting the nation’s airlines? Think of it as taking a stress test while running uphill on a treadmill powered by six gerbils and a ferret.

    Sorry for the visual analogy, but given the adventure my spouse and I have been on over the past 24 hours, I think you’ll understand eventually.

    This morning, after flying to Atlanta Monday and returning Tuesday, Jill had to leave again for an eight-day work trip that includes a stop at the California school counselors association conference, a White House convening on the profession, and the eventual presentation of the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year award.

    Unlike me, my spouse is extremely organized, and she planned the two trips well in advance down to the last detail. Except, when we got to the airport an hour before her departure, she realized she had forgotten her wallet in the bag she took to Atlanta and had left behind at home.

    With an hour before the flight was scheduled to board, I flew back home while Jill nervously waited at the airport. Fortunately no representatives of Virginia's law enforcement community were on the roads at the time, and alternate routes enabled me to get around the work zone cones of shame. I made it home in record time and got the wallet back to her at the airport.

    And … her flight was delayed. So much so, it turns out, that Delta had to book her on another flight to San Diego, with stops in Detroit and Los Angeles. It was little disconcerting, but the idea was that she would still get to San Diego in time for the meeting.

    In Detroit, weather prevented the flight from taking off. On the runway, the pilots had to turn around because the crew already had worked too long to be considered safe, according to federal regulations. So the plane made a U-turn and, more than seven hours after leaving D.C., Jill was able to get on to a flight in Los Angeles, where she arrived at almost 2 a.m. EST — 15 hours after we left our house.

    The good news is that she’s there safe, even though her baggage is MIA. The bad news is that first thing tomorrow, she has to get on another plane so she can finally make it to her destination.

    Good luck with that.