Tag Archives: 2013

Art I Love: H’Mong Woman

29 Jul
Hmong Woman

“H’Mong Woman” by Laos artist Vunhuhai (c) 2013 ~ Oil on Canvas

Airline Reviews: American Airlines

20 Feb





American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (1 flight).  


Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

This is where everything went VERY wrong on the part of American Airlines.  I ordered the tickets via CheapTickets.com, so the process was fairly simple.  They didn’t show up on the AA list before my flight though, so I had to have the email confirmation in hand.


I was coming in from Seoul, South Korea and originally planned a three hour changeover from Korean Air international to a domestic American Airlines flight at LAX.   When the Korean Air flight had to go north to avoid a pretty large storm, it changed my changeover window to 1.5 hours. 

Still, according to the airline website, you need to arrive about 1-1.5 hours ahead of time for a domestic flight anyway, so I wasn’t actually late at all.  Since AA had access to my itinerary and the flight records, they would have known that my planed would arrive in time.  Figuring everything was okay, I showed up at the check-in counter only to be told I’m not on the flight list.  You can imagine the trauma that brought forth–my bags were scheduled to be put on the plane, my family was waiting on the other end for me to arrive, and suddenly I’m not there.  

Immediately I start asking questions; I had the confirmation number, I had the itinerary, I was on top of things. So what the heck went wrong?  I was shuffled off to a customer service kiosk,fwhere I waited in line 10 minutes trying to explain to VERY RUDE employees that I was now in a hurry.  They told me to just “wait my turn young lady” (very condescending btw), and then informed me that I had been deleted from the system. It wasn’t an accident at all–AA deleted me on purpose. Unable to answer my questions or resolve the issue, they sent me across the building to another kiosk with less than 45 minutes remaining before my plane left. After another 10 minute wait, I’m told that since my flight was late, they  had removed me from the roster. LATE?!?!?!  Since when?!?!?  I had a whole hour (as recommended by their directions) before I was supposed to leave on the AA plane! The only reason I was late now is because someone took me off the roster!  I was FURIOUS with them; they had no right to give away my seat when I showed up on time according to their own guidelines.   Finally, they said they thought they might be able to slide me in last minute, but I’d have to run and I wouldn’t get the seat I’d chosen. I was left with 20 minutes to get through security and run to the gate.  No apologies were offered, no discount, nothing to make up for the stress.  I arrived as the last people got on. While I made it onto the flight, this is one of the worst examples of service I have seen with an airline.

Baggage Allowance:

First/Business Class customers get 3 free checked bags all the time, but it differs for economy depending on your destination. You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger) and a carry-on.  If you want a checked bag, they cost around $30 each for the first 2. I prefer airlines with at least 1 free checked bag.


Yet again of the bad.  I arrived at the desk rushing up to ask if I had been added or not, and was yelled at because “you should have been here earlier, we’re boarding now, so you need to hurry up if you want to board”  (not the most polite response I’ve ever gotten).  Realizing that if I wasn’t on the flight, my bags might not be on the flight I attempted to ask about my luggage. Their response “Ma’am you need to get in line now.” Finally, I was obviously upset and a lovely cleaner woman stopped and asked if I was okay. After explaining my problem, she patted me on the shoulder and hurried off to stop the pilot walking by. She brought him over and he informed me that it should be okay (Thank you both if you read this; you saved me a great deal of grief).

In Flight:

I’ve yet to be impressed with AA flight attendants–their concept of customer service is one of the worst I’ve experienced. Food is horrid and there is little of it; drinks are hard to come by. There are few amenities, and the only entertainment was a tiny tv at the front that you couldn’t really see and the microphones were broken.  Trying to sleep didn’t work because the flight was cramped; and I ended up crushed in the middle when I wanted an aisle seat.  We still arrived late.

Only positive–for the first time since I’ve been flying with them, the AA plane had a fairly smooth ride.

Luggage Retrieval:  

My luggage wasn’t where I was told, and no one was available to tell us where to go.  I was happy though to find out it arrived on the plane.

Overall Conclusions

HORRIBLEThis airline was extremely and unnecessarily problematic due to bad business  practice on the part of American Airlines.  Given the significant issue over my retracted ticket, I would have expected at the least helpful kindness and patience from their staff. That was not forthcoming.   I was also expected some kind of apology or reparations for my aggravation, and they acted like I was the problem and that I should be grateful they were working with me to fix it.  

For Comparison’s sake, I once arrived at a Korean Air flight check-in fifteen minutes before boarding.  They rushed me through check-in, grabbed my bags, and hurried me through to my flight with 2 minutes to spare. Plus, they were exceedingly polite in the process.  AA FAILED. I will avoid them in the future.

Sightsmap – 2013 Most Photographed Locations

9 Jan
Most of you probably have already heard of this, but I think it’s rather cool!  When Instagram published their “Top Locations on Instagram in 2013,” many were surprised that a Thai mall found its way into first place.  Even higher than Times Square which was knocked squarely into second place.  It was only natural that people would then beginning wondering what other surprising locations would have made their way onto a longer list, and of course, where their favorite places would rank.  
So Google stepped in and has released their new “Sightsmap” program, based somewhat apparently on their “Google Map” system.  They have taken all photos tagged with geographic locations and combined them on a searchable world mapping system. So while it doesn’t take into account all photos taken, it does consider by far the vast majority.  And the result is the Sightsmap, a huge mapped system that uses a color-coding system to show which locations in the world have been photographed most.  The brighter/hotter the color shown, the more photographed the place is.

Check out the world:


The United States:





Even my Hometown of North Liberty, IA!

If you want to see where your hometown falls on the map, check it out at www.sightsmap.com!


New Jersey July 2013 Bar Exam Results

7 Nov

New Jersey’s Bar results for July 2013 can be found here.

New Jersey Bar July 2013

5 Nov

Apparently New Jersey’s Bar Results were posted yesterday, Nov. 4; however they aren’t up on the website for public viewing yet.  I’ll update this with a link as soon as it’s available.   You can keep an eye out on their webpage here. Congratulations if you got good news!

Maryland Bar Results July 2013

1 Nov

Maryland’s Bar Exam Results are out for July 2013! You can check your (or your friend’s) results here.  Congratulations to those who succeeded; sympathies and hugs to those who didn’t get better news.  Unfortunately, it only lists the people by Seat Number. Wishing you the best of luck!


Seoul International Book Fair

21 Jun

Seoul Book Fair

The 2013 Annual Seoul International Book Fair

Yes, all you English Majors in the world out there, be very, very jealous. For today, I was placed into a HUGE auditorium filled with books, and authors, and publishers, and it just keeps going! It was reader’s heaven!  So many books out there that I had never heard of (mostly because the vast majority were in foreign languages 😛 ).  

First opening in 1995, the Seoul International Book Fair has been going strong ever since.  Every year the Korea Publishers Assn.  hosts the event, which this year is at the COEX Exhibition Hall from June 19- June 23.  You can by your ticket at the ticket booth next to the exhibition hall, and then enter into a book-lover’s (and child’s) wonderland.


Instead of being one of those places where children with sticky Continue reading

Procedure of Electing a New Pope

13 Mar
Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI

Sign of the White Smoke: Electing A New Pope

Before explaining the election process itself, it is necessary to offer a very brief explanation of the participants.  Naturally, you will first have the previous pope.  The Catholic pope is the highest-ranking authority within the church.  The process of electing a new pope begins when the previous pope no longer holds the position.  The second group of participants are certain members of the Bishops (the second highest-ranking group of people). These people are chosen by the pope from amongst the thousands of Bishops around the world to serve as Cardinals (2).  The Cardinals only job really is to serve  as advisors to the pope and to elect a new pope when needed (2).  Currently there are 117 Cardinals eligible to vote, although only 115 actually took part (3).  Finally, you have the potential successors to the position of pope.  Technically, any Catholic man who meets certain requirements (basically is of a certain age and hasn’t done anything to put them on the wrong side of God and the Church) is eligible (4).  However, usually the winner will be one of the Cardinals themselves.  

Up until now, usually the election process would start with the death of a pope.  However, while Pope Benedict XVI is not dead, the process will remain the same this time.  The process was most recently updated by the Universi Dominici Gregis (5), a document established during the reign of Pope John Paul in 1996 (1).   

  1. First, the Cardinals must set the date to begin the Conclave (the election).  This date must be within 20 days of the previous pope’s leaving (4).  
  2. One the date of the Conclave, the Cardinals convene.  They will be locked into the Sistine Chapel until the election is completed.  They are sworn to secrecy, and may only bring with then a secretary, servants, and in certain cases a doctor (4).  All Cardinals may attend, even those not voting. However, they will all be sworn to silence. As part of the process they are locked away from all outside contact. It’s basically like our jury trials where the jury goes to the back to choose guilty or not guilty.  
  3. Then the Voting Begins.  According to the instructions established by Pope John Paul, a 2/3 majority vote + 1 vote is necessary for the election (4, 5).  Until this is reached, four votes are held every day.  For each vote, the Cardinal receives a paper ballot, which he fills out by hand.  They then move to the altar and place the ballot onto a plate, which they use to drop it into a chalice.  This makes them use the tools of communion for the vote, binding them morally.  But it also makes it really hard for them to drop in more than one ballot, those limiting cheating (4).
  4. The Ballots Are Counted. There are three “scruitneers”–people who count the votes.  Before all of the Cardinals, the first takes the ballot and notes the name. The second then takes it and also notes the name.  The third then announces the name aloud, sticks it with a needle and hangs it on a thread. When all the votes are counted, the thread will be tied off and the votes will be placed together in a bowl (4).  If the vote was good, the ballots are burned in a way to show white smoke, stating a victory.  If it was unsuccessful, certain chemicals are added to make the smoke black. (4).  
  5. And the New Pope Is Announced! After a successful vote, the elected man is asked whether he accepts and what name he wants to adopt.  From then on, the inauguration and official speeches (including the Apostolic Blessing where the new pope speaks to the people at large for the first time) takes place.  He is now set into place where he will remain until he resigns or dies.

As of March 13, 2013, the new pope has been elected! His name is Bergoglio (Francis I) of Argentina

  1. John L. Allen, Jr., How a Pope Is Elected: A Step by Step Guide of the Process to Elect a Pope.
  2. The Three Tier Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church
  3. How Many Roman Catholics Are in the World, BBC. 
  4. How the Pope is Elected, RELIGION FACTS
  5. Universi Dominici Gregis

New Pope!

13 Mar

The white smoke rises, a new pope has been elected! His name is Bergoglio (Francis I) of Argentina

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