Porcupyn's Blog

April 23, 2017

My Financial Advice on an Index Card — When I Have Time by Sara Rosso

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 9:44 am

I share my bite-sized financial advice and some additional resources.

via My Financial Advice on an Index Card — When I Have Time by Sara Rosso

April 18, 2017

Paris and Berlin – a Thanksgiving Saga [Part 3 – Orlando (MCO) to Gardermoen Airport, Oslo (OSL)]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 8:19 am

After much trepidation, our day of departure dawned. Norwegian Airlines (or Air Shuttle, or whatever they want to call themselves) was a relatively new airlines, and we had read mixed reviews about them, including instances where the flight had been cancelled after the passengers reached the gate to board the plane. Besides, we had learned that a consortium of US and other airlines had sued to block them from US skies. With all that in mind, we were a bit sceptical that we would actually be on our flights without any issues. Thankfully, our fears were assuaged when we saw that the plane was ready at the gate a short time after we got there, and we started boarding.

Baab was thrilled at the sight of the Dreamliner, the first time we were going to be travelling in one. The boarding process was relatively straightforward and we got one (or maybe two) window seats among the four of us. It was nearly midnight (past 11 pm if I remember) that we finally took off amidst a light rain shower. My photos show the raindrops streaking across the windows as we took off.

Norwegian being a budget airline, there are no complimentary services enroute. We had brought onboard with us some burritos and sandwiches for dinner, which we had a few minutes after we boarded. I liked the barebones service. It would be great if the airlines would knock off a couple of hundred dollars and leave everyone to their own for the duration of the flight and have minimal stewards/stewardesses. I did engage the crew in conversation during a visit to the restroom. I was surprised to note that the crew were either from Thailand or from Indonesia. Having recently returned from a cruise where the majority of the crew was from Indonesia, I quickly figured out one of the means that Norwegian uses to keep their fares low! Basically, they were using the cruise model with the airlines … at least with respect to the attendants.

After a short while, all of us fell asleep. The flight was pretty uneventful, but for the fact that when I woke up, it seemed still quite dark outside while the smartphone (my first!) that I had brought with me indicated that the local time should be past nine am. It took a while before I figured out, thanks to Baab, that it is the effect of the Dreamliner. Instead of window shades, these windows were photocromatic and could be darkened (or lightened) by the touch of a button. So, I spent a few minutes figuring out those controls and, sure enough, I got bright sunlight streaming in!

I could see the ice and the fjords in the Norwegian landscape by this time, and the plane was starting its descent into Oslo’s Gardemoen airport. We landed on time, and had a few hours to kill before the flight from Oslo to Paris. After enquiring around, we found out that we could leave the security area of the airport, then get back for our outbound flight – and that there would not be too much of a queue to get back, so once we were done from our walk outside, we needed to allow only about 15-30 minutes to get all the way back in to the gate.

So, we decided to head out and see if we could walk about a bit outside the airport. Earlier, I had researched to see what our options were with regard to visiting the city. However, the four-five hours that we had appeared to be too less to try that out – at best, it would be a quick trip out and back with an hour spent in the city, which would not be much at all. So, we had abandoned that plan from the get go.

As soon as we came out of the terminal, the blast of cold air hit us. The temperature was about 26 degrees Fahrenheit. And though it was about noon, the sun was way far down in the horizon. I took photos of the longest shadow I’ve ever cast during the middle of the day!!

And I thought you were smart – a Katya tale

Filed under: Family,Humour,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 7:18 am

As I was cleaning up around the house and trying to remove traces of my packratism one paper at a time, I came across an unbound tome – it was my doctoral dissertation from more than two decades ago.

Some background aka “flashback”: Katya goes to a school whose director has his PhD. As a mark of respect, everyone refers to him as Dr. ___. It so happens that his daughter is Katya’s classmate. So, each time she refers to this gentleman, she uses “Dr. ___”; I, on the other hand, have never had anyone calling me “Dr. Porcupyn” so it is obvious that Katya has no clue. So, one day, I informed her that I too have a PhD and am within my rights to demand to be called “Dr. Porcupyn”. Katya laughed at me, “No you don’t! You are kidding.”

It took some effort on my part to convince her, though truth being said, I was never really convinced that she was really convinced.

Back to yesterday: Now that I had proof of my “Doctor”ness, I promptly took the sheaf of papers over to where Katya was and said, “Look, here is the dissertation I wrote that made me a PhD!”

Katya: “What is it all about?”

Me: About traffic studies.

Katya (rolling her eyes): Traffic? I thought you were into maths and science!

Me: Well, it needs maths and science.

Katya: Traffic? Who writes all that much about traffic?! Traffic needs maths and science?

Mrs. Porcupyn (coming to my aid): Yes, sure traffic needs maths and science.

Katya (disgusted): You got your PhD in (with extra emphasis) traffic? And I thought you were smart!!

Me (thinking to myself): At least Katya thought I was smart … though it is now in past tense! 😉

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