TripIt is Really Useful & Virgin America is the best

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and i’m always looking for the best fare (or Virgin America, my new favorite airline).  Because of this, my flights are all over the place.  My trip to Minnesota for Christmas has me leaving from BWI on Southwest, changing to American in Chicago and then coming home on the cheap airline Sun Country into Dulles.   The itinerary is a mess.  Luckily, i discovered the website TripIt.  All you need to do is forward your confirmation emails to the email address and the website will parse out the dates, confirmation numbers, flight numbers, frequent flier codes, etc. for you and keep your itinerary nice and neat.  Now, instead of combing my inbox for that exact flight time, i just go to TripIt and it’s all there.

I recommend it for anyone who’s traveling and needs to keep track of their itin.

As a side note, you should also go out of your way to travel on Virgin America.  It’s an amazing airline.  They have the following things going for them:

  • Big TV screens on the back of the seat (bigger than JetBlue)
  • On demand ordering.  You punch in on the screen what you want and they will bring it to you immediately.  You can eat whenever you want
  • It’s totally empty. I’ve flown on them 3 time and had the entire row to myself each time.  It reminds me of the early days of Independence Air.
  • You can IM any one else on the plane.  Just type in a seat number and you can chat.  I’ve never done this but it’s a good idea (or really sketchy – not sure yet which one)
  • As you travel, instead of a lame map of your distance, it maps it to a Google Map where you can zoom in and see exactly what you’re flying over
  • Very nice seats and cool colors
  • Coming soon: Power Outlets! and Internet!

Next is a Terrible Book

I just have to get this off my chest. I recently finished Michael Crichton’s latest book Next and am pissed that i wasted my time on it.

You would think this would be a book for me – i know i did and i actually bought it for myself for Christmas – as I’m a big fan of Crichton and love thinking about catastrophic genetic sceanrios (previous post i wrote on the subject). But i have to say that this is one of his worst books. The only reason i made it through to the end is because the look at genetic engineering and the moral, ethical and legal mess it creates is pretty interesting. The story and characters (both human and animals) totally suck though.

Crichton’s a smart guy and the premise to his books are really good. I just think he’s become too shallow in his character development. I think his older stuff is better and really love his memoir, Travels. If you have time, you should pick it up – he’s a strange guy and it’s a good read.


Milan to Minsk? How about DC to NY

Sure it’s not an erotic journey (a la Seinfeld), but it is still quite an adventure. Asny3.jpg someone who has lived and worked in both DC and NY and gone back and forth regularly, i’m very familiar with the various travelling options. But this weekend was something special. As usual i explored my options:

  • The train is usually the best as it takes you right into the city (no cabs) and isn’t delayed as much as a plane.
  • Driving can be convenient if you need to be flexible, but you can’t do anything on the trip, so it’s just wasted time. If i have some good tunes or a podcast, it’s fine, but i rarely have enough material for the 4 hour trip. Plus there’s alwaysny4.jpg some parking hassle.
  • My latest love is the Chinatown Bus, or what i like to use is the Eastern Shuttle. This amazingly cheap and takes you right from Chinatown to Chinatown (or Midtown). We’re talking $30 round trip and you can just relax, get work done, watch a movie, whatever. For the money, my favorite.

This past weekend i took the bus and had a pretty good trip. However, what i wasn’t counting on was 26 inches of snow!


I woke up Sunday morning to quite a scene. What i love about NY snowstorms is that the cars disappear and the streets become filled with walkers. I reminds me of movies after the apocalype occurs or zombies take over and everybody’s just on foot fending for themselves. Think of the movies 28 Days Later or The Stand except with a crapload of snow and without the mass destruction. That’s what NY is like today. Pretty great actually – just a serene scene of beautiful NY in the snow.