The Halls Head West – Part One

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Had a good visit with my parents last week. Hadn’t seen them in two years! Was nice to visit them in Southern California, enjoy the weather, and tour some of the local sites.

Our plane flight, out of Gregg County, was a bit bumpy. Our pilot had to dodge thunderstorms while flying into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

View outside the plane as we took off from Longview, Texas.

Nothing like a little turbulence as we flew around thunderstorms.

We eventually landed at DFW and made our way to our second flight. The flight boarded but we had to sit in the plane as a second wave of thunderstorms made its way into the area. Tab and I caught up on much needed sleep (we were so excited that we hadn’t slept the night before).

Fun Fact: When lightening hits near the airport, a clock starts a countdown to an all clear (so much time has to go by). Apparently airport workers cannot work out on the tarmac when lightening has struck nearby. Safety first!

Landed in San Diego without incident. Loved flying on what appeared to be a new Airbus! Tab and I watched Netflix’s The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, on the flight. Super good movie about two former Texas Rangers hunting down Bonnie and Clyde. We had about 30 minutes till the end of the movie when our plane landed. Can’t wait to finish this film.

My parents picked us up in San Diego. The weather was cool, cloudy, and drizzling. Such a relief from the 80 degree humid weather we’ve been having in East Texas.

We made our way over to Old Town San Diego, ate lunch, and toured around.

I can’t imagine traveling in a wagon like this. Talk about back issues!

While there, we walked into Seeley Stables (which was pretty amazing and free). Came across some old gaming machines… something that one rarely sees in a museum. I was impressed.

THE JUDGE!

THE OWL!

Rolling history.

After a bit of walking around, we braved the traffic and headed to my parents house.

The next day, we woke up and headed to Anaheim. Spent the day at Disneyland. Wyatt loved it (his first trip) and we all walked quite a bit.

I do not have a ton of pictures from Disneyland. We spent the day being in the moment and absorbing the magic of Walt’s original park.

Highlight of our day was Wyatt getting to meet Darth Vader. Wyatt tried to pledge allegiance to him… and Lord Vader seemed pleased. He told Wyatt that when he was of age that Wyatt would make a great recruit for the Imperial Army. I’m taking this as a parenting win!

Click here for Part Two

Invasive Agent Groping

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I haven’t flown the friendly American skies since last summer. Back then airport security was relatively tame:

  • Remove your shoes
  • Store all liquids in a clear plastic bag
  • Place your laptop in a separate bin for scanning, etc.

All of the above were a part of a standard operating procedure list that was non offensive. No where in that list were calls for forced radioactive scanning or invasive agent groping. My how the times have changed.

Flying out of San Diego’s Lindbergh Field this past week, I found myself a bit apprehensive over being subjected to the new TSA rules. In the back of my mind I kept hoping that somehow the backscatter x-ray technology had not been deployed yet. I was wrong in getting my hopes up. Upon entering the security line, I noticed a sign that said that I could either be scanned or be “thoroughly” searched by a TSA Agent. The word “thoroughly” looked scary to me for some reason. So I opted for a small dose of radiation via the backscatter.

Some lonely TSA Agent, sitting in a darkened room, is probably enjoying this.

Stepping forward in the security line, I proceeded into the x-ray. After turning sideways, raising my hands up over my head, and holding that pose for 8 seconds, I was asked to proceed forward to where an agent was standing. As I stood face-to-face with this particular TSA Agent, I was trying to figure out what was wrong. Had they found something? Perhaps my wife had cut me open one night and inserted something beneath my skin. Nope, no such luck. The agent was simply waiting to get an all clear from the monitoring station. I was good to go.

I walked away from this experience feeling violated. Someone, besides my wife, had seen me without my clothes on. Not cool. This got me thinking about how we, as Americans, have come to a place to where we have to be radiated and groped in the name of security. We all know that this method has never actually stopped a bomb. Why subject millions of Americans to such Communist practices? I think that airport security needs to be rethought. Be it profiling, hiring well-trained interrogators/ interviewers, I don’t really care. Being humiliated by a government agency is not what being an American is all about. So rise up America, demand that something be done to stop this practice. Call for a halt to legal radiation dosing and TSA Agent groping. Please. To allow this to become a norm is a travesty for both you and me.