How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights








42 Comments on “How I Keep Myself Amused on Long Flights”

  1. Here’s an old Usenet-ism for you:

    (coffee, piped through nose, output onto keyboard)

  2. Next: Getting elbowed in the ribs by William Shatner. He says this is his gig and I crossed union lines. Sigh…

  3. You know with an imagination like that you should have been a politician instead of a writer!

  4. “The sky plane [didn’t catch] fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
    [No] fireball of lightning, [didn’t shake] all our hills,
    Who are all these friends, all [flying in economy]?
    The radio says, “They are just [tourists]””

    “Solidarity,” shouted the gremlins! “Solidarity,” mumbled the trolls.

  5. This is why ‘merica is becoming a second-rate country. The gremlin tells the troll that if he does too good a job destroying airplane wings, they’ll all have to destroy more wings for less pay. And lets not even get into the physiological hazards of working right next to a jet engine without proper eye and respiratory protection, which the gremlins and trolls are expected to provide at their own expense. Or the psychological strain of being terrorized by the histrionics of William Shatner, John Scalzi and small children while trying to provide a critical service. Next thing you know, gremlins and trolls will want seat belts, and just expect to be coddled by Ralph Nader while we destroy our own planes! Is that the future you want for your children?

    @ The Other Jens

    Quite complicated…

  6. Thank you. I was hoping you’d collect the gremlin tweets, I missed a couple of them.

  7. This suggests that the airlines hire the gremlins. Well, I suppose that makes some sort of twisted sense. Wait, it doesn’t. Confused now.

    Shorter terminal queue = shorter flight delays. You think they make you pay up front because they’re operating on a shoestring? Wake up, man! Smell the coffee…oh, right…smell the Coke Zero! You’re just a seat number to the airlines. Why did they wait half an hour to tell you about the low cabin pressure? Stop being a sheep. Fight the jet power!!!

  8. Back when Shatner shot a gremlin off his plane wing, the “hijacking planes to Cuba” meme hadn’t started, so he could carry a gun on the plane, and the gremlin was a guy in a bad rug suit.

    When Lithgow remade it, they had to tell a bunch of complex story to put the gun on the mantle, and the gremlin was a bunch of bad CGI. No wonder the gremlins are going on strike.

  9. I see we have a bunch of Serling revisionists here. A real gremlin wear googles, leather flying helmets and flight suits.

  10. @ Bill Stewart

    I’d never seen the movie, so I had no idea Lithgow was in the remake of Terror at 20,000 Feet. I just went and watched a clipshow of it on YouTube. It’s worse than the original in every way, which is directorially impressive given how much better an actor Lithgow is than Shatner. But Lithgow overacts the part and Shatner actually managed to keep his hamming in check. Also, so much better in black & white. Another piece of my childhood is ruined by remakes. Isn’t it ironic? Yeah, I really do think…

  11. People are always telling me that it’s weird in my head. While I can’t argue with that, I think it’s even weirder in YOUR head.

  12. It’s good to see that you’re using in-flight Internet productively…

    Meanwhile, in Australia, all flights still have you “turn off all electronic devices” for takeoff and landing, and “put them in flight mode” at cruising altitude… sigh…

  13. *I* was the Troll that crossed the Airplane-Gremlin picket line. I ate the flyer because, well, THE GREMLIN SAID IT WAS A “F-L-Y-E-R” AND IT WAS LUNCH TIME! It wasn’t filling so I ate the damn, mutated mogwai then left.

  14. One of the truly great moments on “Third Rock From the Sun” was when Shatner guest-starred and he and Lithgow discuss a terrifying airplane experience. “Wow, that happened to me too!”

  15. Enjoyed the mono-twitter-dialogue thingie, but it did bring up something a little disturbing. At least, disturbing to me. I mean, you’re on a plane in the air–way high up in the air. And you’re writing about your plane getting damaged and not just a little damaged either. Doesn’t that freak you out just a little bit? Like you’re looking at Fate straight in the eyes (or whatever It has for sensory organs/components), and saying, “Yeah? Whatcha gonna do aboudit? Hmmm?”

    I do remember when I first came to the conclusion that while such a thing as a Supreme Being would likely never be known, I definitely didn’t believe in the God of Catholicism any more. The first time I ever made such a declaration to someone else, I remember actually waiting to see if I would be nailed with a bolt of lightning, or other such angry god thingie. Even writing this to you makes me uncomfortable.

    Bravery comes in many guises and I have to say you’re a braver man than I when it comes to snubbing the gods. On the other hand, this makes for a great opportunity to toss off a pint of some excellent date ale in the fridge. After work, of course.

    Enjoy the tour!

  16. Your first clue that it was an anoxic hallucination was that there was no inflatable rat.

  17. I read “It’s a Good Life” when I was a kid in a collection of stories called Tomorrow’s Children. Scared the shit out of me. You know it made an impression because I remember the title. I just looked it up in Amazon and it’s still in print. Not surprising since it was edited by Asimov.

  18. Correction: it’s not in print. They’re just selling used copies. Why isn’t it still in print?

  19. I have to say that reading this on twitter from the day we were having in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was just a little weirder than usual.

  20. I *kittened* my coke (another usenet ism for a < value of usenet. I also remember and loved Tomorrow's Children…and tried to build a tesseract and a mobius strip…never quite got the klein bottle.