This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane earlier this month. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it

I’ve owned a Blackberry Storm 2 for about two years. It’s my work cell phone, or at least it was until I recently traded for a Motorola Droid 3. I’ve had the Droid now for a couple of weeks and I’m not sure I like it much better than the Blackberry. There are some specific reasons related to my job that I wanted to update to a Droid, but some of the inconveniences, not having the same features as my Blackberry did, are driving me a little crazy.

The first thing I tried to do on my new Droid was to customize the vibration sequences used for my various notifications. Blackberry allowed me to choose three different vibrations: short, medium and long, and three different patterns: single, two and three vibes. This worked out really well as I could use a single short vibration to indicate a new email had come, while I used two short vibrations to indicate an instant message of some sort. This helped me prioritize what I needed to respond to without having to look at the phone. With the Droid, I didn’t have any of those choices.

The Droid had one vibration, that was it. So I had to go out and find if there was an application to fix that for me. After searching for some time I came across Light Flow Lite. It had quite a few more features than the standard Droid set that came with the operating system. But it was still limited and in the end, I couldn’t really set up the specific signaling I had wanted. Even after setting things up using this app, some of the settings reset randomly and it was bothersome. I think it’s stable now so I can move on. My next problem was “holster” mode.
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This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane in October of last year. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it

Once again I find myself on a plane, taking some extra time to write. This time, the impetus for my wandering mind is five young gentleman who boarded the plane. Unlike those you normally see on a civilian plane, these are fresh troops from our military, each traveling in uniform to home or a new deployment. It’s not often I have the privilege to fly with these men, so when I have the chance, I like to thank them.

Today, the thanks comes in the form of snacks. Today, we are flying from Atlanta to Salt Lake on Delta. It’s about a four hour flight. If you didn’t get something to eat before boarding, and if you’re not sitting in first class, the best you can do for free are peanuts, pretzels or cookies, and a soda pop. If you wish to spend a little money, Delta offers larger snacks, such as small sandwiches, fruit, cheese and crackers; that sort of thing.

So why should our troops have to pay for a treat like that? Note I’m not throwing blame at Delta or asking them to serve these to our troops for free. However, if it’s within -my- power, and honestly not a plane load of them, it’s my honor to buy them what they wish. I was in the military and now it’s time to pass on the thanks I’ve received in the past.

I was in the Air National Guard. I did nearly 21 years. There may be rivalries between the various services, but when push comes to shove, each of us, no matter Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, we have each others back. When it comes down to it, we are there for each other, we are one team. So it’s never mattered to me which uniform they wear; they’re all servicemen and women.

Politely calling a stewardess aside and asking her to do this for me is such a small sacrifice. Yes, it may take a little green out of my own pocketbook, but it helps strengthen the green they wear. It offers up a Thank You for their service and it provides an example I am hopeful others would follow.

If you’re sitting in first class, but don’t really need to, or if you’re in coach and see these young men and women, I challenge you to find in your heart the thing you can do for them. Offer your seat if it’s better, if you can. Offer to buy them a more substantial snack, if you can. At the very least, help make them feel welcome among us. They deserve our respect, and we shall gain theirs in return.

What can you do today, or the next time you are on a plane, to tell others you are thankful for the freedoms our troops have preserved and are willing to die for… for you.

Asa Jay

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Normally I try not to engage in political discourse in my blog. Lately however, the shear magnitude of news simply makes me want to scream. Some may remember my post regarding the closing of Pontiac leading up to an anticipated bankruptcy of GM. That’s about as close as I got to making a political statement. This time, it’s the Occupy Wall Street Protests (OWSP) I take issue with because I’m having trouble reconciling their position.

In my post about Pontiac, I eluded to the idea of corporate greed being the impetus for so many car choices. A ridiculous number of car choices, just from one manufacturer. Even though I may not be a fan of some unions, this situation just seemed more corporate in nature. What eventually happened is the US administration gave billions of dollars to the car companies and banks. At the time I didn’t think that was a very good idea. Apparently the OWSP don’t think so anymore, or is that even part of it?

If the objective was to put money in the hands of the people, how was giving it to the car companies and banks going to do that? Sure enough, almost immediately afterward, the press reported on big salaries, bonuses and other money being given to corporate executives, contractors and others. Shocking! That was sarcasm for those that didn’t recognize it from me. Did anyone expect anything different?

What happened?
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This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane in August of this year. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it.

The last time I had wine on a plane was in 1986. It was February, The Space Shuttle Challenger had recently exploded shortly after launch. I was on my way home from a follow-on technical school at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. The school was for the AN/TSC-60(V) series communications shelter. I was flying first row coach with another airman from a nearby unit who had also just completed the school. We decided we should celebrate so we purchased a glass of wine. Today seems a little different and I got to thinking about where I am now, versus where I’ve been.

I’ve been working for Itron, Inc. for about 15 years. My most recent job move with the company was into Product Marketing. I’m now playing the role of a Product Manager, for our Mobile Collection systems. I travel some in this new job and I’ve gained a frequent flyer status with Delta. Today I received an upgrade to First Class. I decided to have wine.

It’s a white wine, a good blend, tasty, not too tart, not too sweet. It’s smooth and puts a warmth into my chest and belly. It makes me melancholy. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing. The seat is roomy and comfortable. I feel all warm and fuzzy. It seems a nice way to top off this trip.

In addition to the wine, I’ve received the honor of being served a dinner. I’m on a flight from Minneapolis to Spokane. It left about 5:40 in the evening and will get me home about 6:30 or so, with the time changes. After a heavy lunch, I wasn’t sure I’d consume the entire dinner on board the plane. But it went down easy. I saved the peanut butter brownie for later and asked for a short (half glass) top off of white wine.

I’ve only had the privilege of traveling first class a few times. Once was when my original plane turned out to be too small for the bookings and they had to re-route me on different flights. I got the first leg in first class which was kind of nice. No meal though. The next time was on a quick trip at the last minute, that one had a meal. I didn’t book it, a fellow employee did and I think we both managed to get upgrades. This time seems more special.

On this trip I finally had my status upgraded so I’m not just accumulating points (miles) while sitting in coach. This trip I was actually eligible for priority boarding and first class upgrades. I can also choose better seats in coach when booking. Yes, it’s all a “perk” that comes with my new job. So why not have a small (and the glasses really -are- small) glass of wine to celebrate?

Asa Jay

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This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane in August of this year. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it.

It’s 2011, I’m 47. Where did the time go? Mentally I still feel like that testosterone filled young man of my 20’s; looking to fast cars and gorgeous women. Physically I feel like I’m in my 30’s. In reality, I’m married with a son who turned eight this year. I think the angst has changed.

Sometime after 16, when I got my first car and it opened more of the world to me, there was so much I wanted to do. I needed money and I needed to figure out how to be “smooth” with the ladies. I never really developed either one at that age. Does any kid? Instead I trekked along a long series of years that found me fawning over very few women and always trying to figure out the next step in finding good work to make money to take girls out. It found me working jobs that didn’t much seem like they had a future and I wasn’t very much sure where I wanted to go.

The one thing that brought stability to my younger years was being in the Washington Air National Guard. There was a commitment there, a one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer kind of commitment. It gave me some education, a place to be and people to know. It helped me build relationships and find jobs. It never really helped me find love though, that had to wait.

I still didn’t have a full time civilian job, and without one, I just never felt like I could support a wife, much less kids, and at the time I never really wanted kids. The angst was how to find a woman, how to date, how to make it to third base and what to do when it came time to hit a home run. The quest for a woman gave me angst. And oh what an angst it was.

My angst was driven by the lust for beautiful women; the desire for companionship from someone who cared for me, was gorgeous to behold and generally could satisfy my desires and whom I could satisfy in return. Even so, long ago my dad had impressed upon me the chivalry I should carry into my relationships. As I look back, I know it held me back some. My fathers words to me still ring true today, he said I should never do or say anything to a girl (woman) I wouldn’t want some man doing or saying to my little sister. Yea, -that- stuck in my head because I was protective of my little sister. It helped me treat the opposite sex with a bit more respect, and it sometimes kept them at arms length.

It was no wonder I really didn’t take my quest more seriously until after my sister was married. After that it just felt better as I tried to gain the confidence of the women I dated. Still, the angst was there. Some of that angst can be found in the poety and short stories I wrote in my younger days; things I’ve not done for years and sometimes wonder if I ever will again. I no longer have that same angst that drove the emotions and writing of my younger days.

Eventually I met a women and we saw the value of loving each other. We dated for about two years and finally got married. It’s like the quest was over, the dragon had been slain. The angst disappeared. I don’t wish to make it sound like marriage has subdued me, because I do have a loving wife and we enjoy many things together and separately. I still like fast cars, car shows, and other things. It’s just that now I share those things with my son and wife. Still the angst seems to be gone. I’m not pining after the affections of a girl anymore, because I have my wife now. Without that old angst I don’t seem to have that same lustful creativity I once had. It’s like marriage killed it, but I must it’s more than that. Perhaps it’s only suppressed, waiting in the wings for something to trigger it all again.

I now have a good job and a stable income (thank the Lord). I have a wife who takes care of me and a son who loves me. It’s like life is complete, yet sometimes there’s this empty hole. I think my angst fits in there, but it’s missing and it took a lot of my old creativity with it.

Have you seen it?

Asa Jay

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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton