Dec 4, 2014 - Family, Featured, The Real Me    Comments Off

Christmastime is Here

Merry Dec. 4, 2014. Is Christmastime just a day for you at the end of the month or do you celebrate throughout December? I often find that Dec. 23 and 24 get here so fast that I’ve largely trudged through each day of the month as though it didn’t count.Merry Christmas FB

Terminal cancer patients often seem to be in touch with their mortality. Those of us without it tend to take our days for granted. Do you ever think about how numbered they actually are and they’re not to be forsaken? I’m trying to keep things, get things, into better perspective this holiday season.

There is much I could sit and pine about, but there are so many more blessings God has put in my life to be thankful for. I need to spend more time counting them than the things that are wrong.

I hope you are free of mind to do the same. God bless you.

Go make it a great day. Every day you live is one less you’ll be here for….

Dec 3, 2014 - Featured, Novel Writing, Product Reviews, Thank You, The Real Me    Comments Off

The Artist’s Way

The Artist’s Way

This morning I began something new. Morning Pages. They came at the behest of Julie Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, a book that’s been referred to multiple times now in the work I’m doing in the SMU Writer’s Path program.

Morning Pages are simple. You wake up. You grab a pen and you’re then to write out three pages in long-hand about whatever it is that pops into your head. There is no right. There is no wrong. There is no editing. No review.  No one, not even yourself, are supposed to read what’s written. The exercise is done purely to free one’s mind of the gunk that’s collected there that’s blocking the way to creative thinking. Pure. Simple. So far, mid-day, it feels like it’s working. At least once I got up from the desk this morning, I felt like I’d left a lot of baggage on the page and emptied it from my mind.

Then came a walk with Maycee. Actually, my Morning Pages contain multiple references to her whining and begging to go out. She’d already been out. So I was compelled to let her on to the porch. Nope. More whining. More writing. More whining. Back inside. Then she went to the front door and rang the Christmas bells that are hanging from the knob. Maycee is now six months old and those bells only were put there last Wednesday. Thursday, the twins, Reagan and Haley, I’m told because I didn’t witness it, trained her to ring the bell with her nose. That she’s learned to do that, I can testify. When she needs to go out and poop, it’s ring, ring, ring.

After a second trip out this morning, I completed my Morning Pages. I didn’t go back and read them. I went on with my day, which now led to another trip to the potty area for dogs, and then Maycee and I left out on our usual morning stroll of at least one-mile’s length before 8 a.m.

Done with that, shaved and showered, I got in the car and headed to meet with my mentor, Ron Rose. You see, I’m at a stuck point in the development of The Privacy Patriots, the novel I’ve been trying to develop over the course of 2014. I gathered up a couple of notebooks I keep working through, grabbed a laptop and iPad and out the door I went, promising to be there by 9.

Traffic on 635 was a mess, so I wound up running parallel to I-30 west until Dolphin Street. Made it through the Canyon and on the other side, began to realize I was actually going to make it to our rendezvous point early.  And then the car stalled. It apparently went into “Limp Mode.” A design feature to keep serious damage from happening to the engine.

By 9:20 my car was attached to a tow truck and headed from whence I’d just come, back to Mesquite.  By 9:44 a.m., the time OnStar’s people said the truck would be at the spot of origin to get me, we were pulling into the repair shop.

The shop, one I told the tow truck driver I use because it’s so quick, is backed up. They have about three or four jobs in front of mine. So Bruce, the owner of the shop, dropped me here back at home.

And instead of going and talking to my mentor, discussing, hashing and rehashing, God revealed to me another plan.

Sitting Still

You see it was yesterday that another now very significant mentor in my life, Author Suzanne Frank, told me to go do something besides trying to work on my book. She said to go trim the tree.  (I didn’t write her back and let her know there are already three up.) She said to bake something. But to get away from my book and let my mind wander a bit.

And so I began reading Week One’s section in The Artist’s Way.

And wow.

When I did all but about three of the first week’s exercises, I turned my chair from the desk, leaned my head back and closed my eyes and said a prayer.

I Am A Brilliant And Prolific Writer

I wrote in a notebook the following sentence:

I, Donald J. Claxton, am a brilliant and prolific writer.

And then I wrote it out again. Eight more times I repeated this function for a total of 10.

And as I wrote, I began to hear little voices saying, “No you’re not.” “You fool.” “If you’re so good, why haven’t you published anything significant yet? Your 49th birthday is Saturday. What the hell have you been waiting for? Lunch?”

I wrote those things down, too.

And then I identified people, “Monsters” the book refers to them, in the past, who might have called me things like that or said things about my writing that was negative. And then I identified positive people and positive things that have been said about my writing.

There are a couple of more exercises I need to do for the first week. And I will do them another day. Tomorrow, I will get up, scribble some thoughts about hopes and prayers the car gets repaired and isn’t going to cost a lot of money, money I don’t have, to get on the road again.

Tomorrow I have a writing class at SMU that I missed in November because of a family tragedy back in Alabama. Now, at the moment, even being there tomorrow night feels like it’s in jeopardy.

But I have to firmly believe as I sit here at this writing and believe that the same God who made sure I took some time today to be still, to think, to not think, to just meditate and breathe in the good and the bad of life, is going to make sure tomorrow works itself out, too. Perhaps if the day had gone some other way, I’d be upset about all this.

Something tells me already today’s first week lesson has already taken hold on my heart.

 

 

Nov 26, 2014 - Family, Featured, Travel    Comments Off

The Holidays: Leaving Friends And Loved Ones To Be With Family

A counseling friend of mine once described the Holidays as “the time we leave friends and loved ones to go be with family.” 32

My own family has been going through a painful trial the past few weeks, the details of which I will not go into. But it has been a time for prayer, consoling, and unconditional loving.  In today’s age when dysfunctional families are more the norm than the exception, that seems like something nearly impossible.

I am directly copying (below) advice from another counseling friend, Dr. Harold Duncan of Preston Place Counseling in Dallas. This came from his recent post and email entitled “A Word About The Holidays.”

This is sage and safe advice. As we all know, there seem to be some in most every family who wear their feelings on their sleeves, just waiting for someone to come along and bump into them and give them new reason for aggression and resentment. So here are Harold’s suggestions:

1.  Slow down

  • Take time to think about what is really going on–the significance of the season.

 

2.  Be realistic in the financial arena.
  • Gifts are a form of communication. Consider what you are saying by means of your gift.
  • The most meaningful gifts are not necessarily the most expensive.

 

3. Pay attention to your health.

  • Exercise
  • Monitor what you eat and drink. Focus on moderation.
  • Get enough rest and relaxation.

 

4.  Plan ahead-avoid overloading your schedule–decide to say  “no” to some of what is expected of you.

  • Set and stick to you own realistic limits.
  • Don’t commit to more than you can handle.
  • If traveling, allow yourself plenty of time.

 

 5.  Make your own plans–do not defer all your time to others.

  • Make plans to do something you enjoy.
  • Make plans to be with people you enjoy.
  • Say “no” if you don’t want to do something.

 

6.  Allow yourself to feel sadness and grief when appropriate.

  • Say a special prayer or memorial for a loved one, make a keepsake ornament, reminisce and don’t deny the grief or pain you may experience.

 

7.  Don’t use the holidays for family therapy.

  • This is not a good time to work on your spouse’s attitude or your mother-in-law’s sharp tongue.
  • People are probably not going to change much–especially during the holidays.
  • Courtesy is usually a very important priority.

 

8.  Consider volunteering some of your time to help others.

  • Take clothes to a homeless shelter.
  • Serve food to the needy.
  • Provide gifts to a child.

 

9.  If your “holiday blues” don’t lift after a few weeks, seek help.

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety that are moderate to severe and long-lasting may be signs of an illness that should be discussed with your physician or counselor.

 

Be safe out there traveling. Take lots of pictures. And keep love in your heart. We’re all only here for a whisper of time. Make the most of every breath, during the holidays and throughout the rest of each year as well.

God Bless you all.

 

dc

Nov 11, 2014 - Auburn, Featured, Novel Writing, The Real Me    Comments Off

Binge Watching HBO’s The Newsroom – A Lesson In Character Development

THE NEWSROOM

Several of my friends posted on my Facebook wall Saturday p.m. about how distraught I must have been about Auburn losing to Texas A&M.  I really was not.

Truth is, I didn’t even watch the game, and for that matter, haven’t sat beginning to end for an entire collegiate game all season.

I’ve had other things going on.

Namely, I’ve continued to use every available moment to work on my first novel project, what I’m calling, The Privacy Patriots.

So what was I doing most of Friday evening, nearly all day Saturday and three hours on Sunday?

My homework, prescribed by Author Suzanne Frank from Southern Methodist University.

I was binge watching, the HBO series, The Newsroom. Yes, from about 1:30 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Sunday, I watched all 19 episodes of Season 1 and 2, and then at 8 p.m Sunday night, watched the first episode of Season 3.

WHY THE NEWSROOM?

I’d never heard of the show before Thursday night’s class at SMU with Suzanne.PS newsroom

As class was beginning, she handed back 36 pages of 12 scenes involving my lead character, Kip Rippin. The exercise was designed to learn about what 12 major events had shaped him before the book begins. We were supposed to develop things that made him weak, strong, wounded, needing to change; the guy he is when we meet him on Oct. 13, 2016 in the newsroom of the fictional media blend of TV, radio and print called The Washington Broadcaster.

On the cover page of my submission was a note from Suzanne: “PS: you need to watch ‘The Newsroom’ especially this final season.”

Suzanne cautioned me about binge watching. “Every show is so intense.”

And is it ever. From the beginning scenes you’re sucked into an emotional roller coaster with multiple character archetypes and storylines.

Twenty hours of viewing later, I’m a much different person than I was Friday morning. I’m a much different budding author and writer, too, as I’ve seen some excellent examples of what I need to be planning and revising in my own characters. Not to make them like Will, Mac, Maggie, Jim, Don, Sloan (BTW, how in the hell does Aaron Rogers from the Packers wind up with a girl like that?) Charlie, and Neal, but to give them places to grow and develop in the pages I have yet to compose and then revise a dozen times before they hopefully appear printed before your eyes.

HBO

HBO has a great show on its hands. Regrettably, there are only five more episodes to go before the series is over and the character arcs are completed. The important thing about this new season is that Neal, one of the techies in the show, is now entangled in a mess with an Edward Snowden type of character, much like my Kip Rippin is in The Privacy Patriots. Naturally, my storyline isn’t going to be like the Newsroom and the premises between the show and my work are completely different, aside from involving whistleblowers. The richer experience for me, no matter how the Whistleblower storyline goes, is an example on making characters come to life, play off each other, and live rich lives in the conflict that’s created in their tiny world of a cable newsroom in New York City.

I can’t wait to see how the next five episodes go. But more importantly, I can’t wait to see where my own characters go because of the experience of watching excellent storytelling on TV.

 

 

 

 

Oct 11, 2014 - Featured, Geeky, Get A Mac, Product Reviews, Thank You, The Real Me    Comments Off

It’s My Seven Year Appleversary! #Mac #Apple

It’s My Seven Year Appleversary! 

On Oct. 11, 2007, I made the second most important conversion of my life–I bought my first Mac.

Today, I own an iMac, my second MacBook Pro in that time, and a MacBook Air. I also have the iPad Air and an iPhone Six Plus. During my time of evangelism, I’ve also brought more than a dozen others to the fold–family, friends, maybe an enemy or two.

appleversary

There are many blessings that come from being a Mac. I don’t have to run Norton and slow my processes down.  I’ve not ever had a Blue Screen of Death from Windoze. I’ve NEVER had an issue with a virus. And with Apple Care, if anything has ever happened to go wrong, Apple has fixed it in less than three days time.

One-on-One Training

In 2007 I also bought a year’s worth of One-on-One training that Apple provides. You get to basically go to the Apple Store of your choice every week for a year and sit with an Apple expert and they teach you how to use your new machine. Adolpho Cantu taught me Aperture, Final Cut Express, and then we dabbled in ways to move things out of Photoshop into my video projects, which seven years ago, were sophisticatedly primitive given the level of video equipment I had at the time.

But that $99 a year and the curiosity to learn has made a tremendous difference from where I was then and where I am now. Eric is another of the trainers at the Apple Store at Northpark Mall in Dallas. I visited with him recently and he’s still teaching. Many thanks were tendered during our conversation. I then showed him what we’ve been doing with books for the iPad and it made his day. Neither of us could have imagined anything like that would have even become possible in October 2007.

The Price Threshold

I often hear people talk about how expensive Apple products are and how they can get a cheaper: computer/tablet/phone with another company that runs Windoze or Droid. Yeah, you can.  But with them come headaches you don’t get with Apple products. That’s not to say Apple is perfect, because there are issues in the Mac World as well, but nothing near as problematic as I was experiencing when I had a PC.  My point is, you pay a little more for peace of mind and it’s worth every penny.

My Apple World in 2014

I’m running the beta version 5 of Yosemite on two of my work machines now. For the big machine, it’s still running Mavericks. There still are a couple of crucial things for my work that aren’t jiving so well in Yosemite so I can’t make the complete change over. But it is cool to see the things that are coming soon from Apple–ways to make the iPhone, iPad and Macs all share the same information seamlessly without even having to do anything to make that happen.

And this part may surprise some of you, but I have the iPhone Six Plus and I have to say, I wish more and more that I had gone with the smaller iPhone Six. No, I’ve not bent it like six other people apparently have done out of millions of them sold already, but I just find the whole experience with it to be a little wonky–a little like a return to the Droid/Microsuck World, if you will. There have been times when the screen on my iPhone Six Plus has gotten stuck upside down. A time or two when I couldn’t start the video in horizontal position, and had to turn it sideways and then back to horizontal to shoot wide and not shallow. And then when I’m out walking the dog and I want to start MapMy Walk or take a picture while I’m walking and holding the leash in the other hand with a 45-pound dog yanking in the other, it just feels like I’m a flicker away from dropping the massive thing. In other words, it’s just a little too big, even for someone with big hands.

The other thing I wish Apple had done was better timed the coordinated release of iOS 8 for the iPhones and iPads with the commercial release of Yosemite. We have all this functionality sitting there on the iOS devices that really doesn’t work to its full potential right now and I’m certain most people are going to miss out on some of that when Yosemite finally does go live.

Happy Appleversary! 

Regardless of those quirks, I have no regrets for being a Mac. Having Apple products in my life has changed my world and work dramatically in seven year’s time.  I’m now a much better photographer, graphic artist, video producer, video editor, sound editor, music producer, book for iPad producer, movie-maker, 3D graphics designer, photo editor, web designer, and even educator because of what I’ve been able to learn in the Mac World since.

Thinking of making the conversion?  I encourage it whole-heartedly. It will change your world in ways that only you can imagine. Thanks Apple, Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. Oh, and War Eagle. We need to beat Mississippi State today….

 

Sep 30, 2014 - America In Ruins, Family, Family--Parenting, Featured    Comments Off

Ebola Is Now In Dallas

Ebola is in Dallas now. The CDC confirmed it today, just 23 days after President Obama went on Meet the Press and said he didn’t think it’d spread to the US.

So much for that thought.

Now that it’s here, there of course are a thousand million questions to run thru every American and more particularly, every parent’s mind.

FAQs

It’s time for someone to step forward and lead in America and tell us really what this is all about. I don’t need to hear anything else from anyone else at the White House or the Congress. I never put much stock in anything that came out of this president and now that he’s been proven wrong again in only 23 days, I certainly don’t want to hear any more out of him.

What are the real dangers? An NBC Dallas reporter was just on TV saying he’s not worried about standing outside the hospital where the unidentified patient has been quarantined.

But WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE EXPOSED TO THIS PERSON before they went into the hospital?

Does this person have any schoolchildren?  Have they been tested?  Have they been exposed to who ever has contracted the deadly disease? Are they going to be allowed to go to school with other children whose parent(s) haven’t just gotten back from Africa and now are in a hospital sick in Dallas.

It’s foolish to think the identity of the patient is going to remain a secret. So what happens when it’s out? What obligation does the news media have to report on the identity of the sickened person?  Our government already has done a crap job of telling us this wasn’t going to come to America when in reality, it was just a matter of time.

So what to do now?

How do we combat Ebola in America?

The Mayo Clinic offers these suggestions:

Which include “avoiding areas of known outbreaks.” Does Dallas now qualify as an area to avoid? The Chamber of Commerce will be fighting against anyone saying that.

Wash your hands frequently is another tip.

Avoid contact with infected people. And see, this is where it goes downhill and fast.  If this person who is in a Dallas hospital flew over from Africa, that means there are a couple hundred people who were on a plane next to him or her. That means also there could be family here in Dallas who also have been exposed, who now have a two to 21-day incubation period before the CDC can tell if they’re sick or not. So can you contain them?

They say now is a time to keep calm and think rationally. So, please do so.

But someone has some questions that need answering and fast.

One would hope that the Obama White House, which 23 days ago said this wouldn’t reach America has been spending some long days and nights somewhere figuring out an actual strategy for this now that it’s a real problem and not something flippantly dismissed by the president on Meet the Press.

But faith has waned so badly in the effectiveness of this “leader” in the White House. Why would we come to expect anything like that now?

 

Aug 31, 2014 - Featured, Novel Writing, Product Reviews, The Real Me    Comments Off

The Writer’s Journey

The Writer’s Journey

For much of my life I have been in love with writing. If you jump over to TraverseAdventures.com, you’ll see a reference to the window at 208 Fortress Street on what was KI Sawyer AFB, in Gwinn, Michigan. From that window of opportunity,  I would sit at my kidney bean desk and a children’s typewriter and construct stories.

Admittedly, I long have had a problem in my writing. I like people and dislike controversy so much, I found it hard to create characters who I began to care for and then needed to throw every sort of imaginable adversity in their way to make a compelling tale. As I told the class I was in at SMU over the summer, “I hated to skewer my characters.” Essentially, however, that’s what makes a good story; one worth reading, one that has something to say.

My life has changed drastically over the past four years. I have had a lot of bad things happen to me emotionally, physically and any other kind of -ly you can come up with to where I’ve been able to punch through what I didn’t have in me before. I’ve experienced how bad things happen to people that shouldn’t, how nutty and dishonest people can wreck one’s life. I’ve witnessed how mean and disingenuous people really can be. Disillusioned now, I have seen how the truth has so little to do with what goes on in court rooms, and how jealous, greedy and evil some people really can be. I’ve seen what demise the use of meth can bring about to a person and their family. Ultimately, I’ve learned to put new value in the simpler things in life.

Christopher Vogler‘s The Writer’s Journey

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

There are two upcoming classes at SMU I look forward to beginning the next two weeks. One is called Story, a five-week class that features the book The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. The second is a class called, “Stakes,” which is a two-session class designed to help writers “raise the stakes” their characters will endure in a work.

I’ve begun reading Vogler’s work, which also led me to Barnes and Noble yesterday to purchase Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Vogler wraps a lot of what he has to stay around the works of Campbell, which are largely based on premises of Freud and Jung–and as much as modern psychology has undone the concepts they put forward years and years ago, I have to wonder about some of what Campbell says–but I’m enjoying the aspects of what Vogler has put forward. But Campbell also dissects the essential elements of what stories have been about for thousands of years of recorded human history, largely through myths. Volger and Campbell’s contention is that stories, even today, are still deeply rooted in the tales of yesteryear and will be until the end of time.

At this writing, I’ve only ingested the first part of the book but it has been exceedingly insightful into the essential elements of the characters a successful work theoretically should contain.

Of course, a story needs a hero. But then there are certain other foke that a hero must get help from, or be opposed by, to make a good story work.  I highly recommend this book already. Yes, I’m still a fan of Bob McKee’s STORY, but Vogler is able to say things in some ways that are simpler to comprehend than McKee.

The Privacy Patriots Progress Update

For the Stakes class, yesterday, each of us in class were to have sent in two chapters of our work, and a 12-point plan for our “hero’s journey.” That’s a dynamic spelled out in the Vogler book where the progress of a story is broken down into 12 logical steps from setting the stage of the hero’s ordinary world, getting called to go on an adventure, refusing to go, meeting with a mentor, crossing the first threshold or point of no return, going through tests, meeting allies and fending off enemies, to approaching the lair of the biggest enemy, the ordeal, getting the reward or seizing the sword, the road back, the resurrection or climax, and then the return with the elixir.

Essentially, any good tale is going to have all of those elements, not necessarily in that order, but they will be contained in the work to make it compelling to read or watch.

In some ways, it almost ruins the reading or watching of books or movies, because instead of concentrating on the content of the story, I’m now more mindful of which element is in play and where. The trick of all writers though is to make the tale so compelling, that while one might be aware of those elements, the reader is still captivated.

So I’ve begun the process of writing the book. The two chapters I sent in were a prologue–which many books argue is out of fashion today, but if you go to the book store and pick up a book, it’s still likely to have one–and then blocks of what’s theoretically going to happen in establishing the “ordinary world” of my primary characters.

This past summer, along with massive client projects, I’ve managed to build some in-depth character profiles for each person in my book. And now, almost as if I were a character in a story about writing a book, I’ve been given my call to adventure (START WRITING IT WILL YA?!)  and in part, answered it metaphorically with, “I’m not ready.”

My two instructors over the next six weeks are going to be the “meetings with the mentors” to get me further down the road with this tale I so desire to tell. It’s time to skewer some characters and make them hurt before helping them emerge on the other side, stronger, better and more human because of it. Much like the last four years has done to me.

 

 

Aug 23, 2014 - Featured, Product Reviews, Thank You, Travel    Comments Off

Ask for Mia at Hilton Garden Inn Merrillville, IN

Ask for Mia During Breakfast at Hilton Garden Inn Merrillville, IN

Headed through Merrillville, Indiana?  Need a comfortable place to stay that includes breakfast?

I’m not talking about the microwaved sausages and eggs that some places serve. This is cooked food, like omelets, bacon, sausage links, waffles, and country potatoes.

What’s better than that?

The service.

Mia

This past week I was in Merrillville for my grandmother’s funeral in Hobart. (That’s pronounced Ho-bert BTW).

I got up to go down for breakfast expecting traditional hotel chain food. When I got to my table, a young lady named Mia approached me.

I wanted iced tea.

“I’ll get some fresh made for you. What would you like to eat?  Can I get you an omelet or something?”

And within a few minutes, I had hot food on the plate in front of me and a big glass of iced tea.

Mia kept checking on me and when other members of the family came down. She tended to them the same way.  It was nice.

The next morning the treatment was the same.

The morning after the funeral and we were all coming and going at different times to get ready to leave for our return flights, Mia was the calm in a storm. She always wore a big smile and delivered kind, friendly service.

If you ever have the chance to stay there, don’t go over to IHOP for breakfast.  Stay at the hotel and ask for Mia.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Aug 23, 2014 - Featured, Product Reviews    Comments Off

Southwest Airlines and Early-Bird Check-In

Southwest Airlines and Early-Bird Check-in

As I said in the previous post, I LUV to fly Southwest Airlines. I have friends who work there, too, and the culture is admirable. But I have an issue with the whole Early-Bird Check-In scheme they’re running. To me it’s below the cultural integrity established long ago by the Low Fare Airline.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (N235WN) t...

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (N235WN) takes to the skies above San Jose International Airport, San Jose, California, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early-Bird Check-In

If you don’t know, there is no assigned seating on Southwest. That can be a good thing or a bad depending on when you get a boarding pass. Or it used to be based on when you got a boarding pass. Now I frankly can’t explain to you what the deal is.

Those who fly all the time or pay Business Select for a flight get access to A-list boarding passes, usually they’re the first 15 people to get on the plane, which means they get the best seats.  Now you can make the stupid statement that “we’re all going to the same place,” but when you get a window seat, and are sitting on the tarmac at Midway MDW in Chicago like I was on Thursday on Flight 745 with a bigger guy than me sitting in the middle seat and the ground crew screwing around with “putting more fuel in the plane because we’re taking a longer route down to Houston” it becomes a big deal.

At 2:50:02 p.m. on Wednesday I checked in for my flight home. I got B-03 for my boarding pass in Chicago and B-17 for a flight no one in Houston could check in for another three hours and 10 minutes. Now if they can’t even check in, how is it I’m getting in line behind so many people?

Paying For Early-Bird Check-In

Here’s the racket part.  Southwest will let you pay an extra $10 or so for each flight to get “Early-Bird Check-In.” If I’d not done that, no telling how much further back I would have boarded.  With EBCI, they’re supposed to hold you a place in line even before the non EBCI people get to check in 24 hours before, like 36 hours before.

SOUTHWEST, this system is broken.

After the cluster F in Chicago–now why would we have needed more gas to get to HOU from MDW?  Does that mean the plane is running on near fumes normally to get to HOU?–they dicked around up front, loaded us all onto a hot plane, the AC was barely working, and we finally got to Houston at 6:35 and I’d missed my 6 p.m connection to DAL.  Not really an issue because they fly from Houston to Dallas every 10 minutes it seems, however, here’s the part that ticks me.

I got a B-11 boarding pass and they gave it to me at 6:45 p.m. when I got off the plane from MDW and said from gate 42 that we were taking off from gate 21 at Hobby at 7:15 p.m

It was a full flight, too.

Now with a room full of people all going to DAL on a Thursday p.m. and people had had 24 hours to check in for this flight how could I possibly have wound up with a B-11 boarding pass?  It seems to me that my boarding pass should have been back in the Cs, which would have really hacked me, but clearly, my point is, SWA is playing games with the boarding passes.  We’re paying to get on early, and they’re shuffling the deck so that it’s all but impossible to get a good boarding pass unless you’ve forked over a ton more money. That kind of system’s not what Southwest Airlines was built on.

I don’t like this.

I LUV SWA and I’m so ready for the stupid Wright Amendment to be dropped so one can fly anywhere from Dallas, but SWA really needs to make it so you don’t have to pay for something you’re not getting in Early-Bird Check-In.

And someone in Chicago needs a reaming for the BS they pulled at gate B1 on Wednesday afternoon.  It was the worst experience I’ve had in flying on SWA in the past 13 years.  Worst. And I’ve been nice about it.

Aug 23, 2014 - Featured    Comments Off

How Southwest Lost Business from BHM to US Airways

How Southwest Lost Business from BHM to US Airways

I Luv to fly Southwest, but there are some things that they do that I just can’t explain and in this post I’m going to cover one of them.

Last week my last grandparent died. Grandma Claxton lived to 90 years and two days. The funeral was this past Wednesday and my brother Richard, a hard-working man, needed to get from Montgomery, AL to Northern Indiana without losing a lot of time from work.

On Sunday we thought it might be a good idea for him to just drive to Birmingham and fly to Midway in Chicago on Southwest. Well, it was going to be about $330 each way, meaning $660 plus taxes for a direct flight. I understand so close to a travel date the price being that high.  However.

With that being the price on Southwest, we checked on Expedia and sure enough, US Airways also flies out of BHM. Yes, they had to go to Charlotte before going to O’Hare, but the price was $360. Roundtrip.

Now how can it be cheaper to fly from Birmingham, Alabama to Charlotte, North Carolina, land, change planes and then fly from Charlotte to O’Hare in Chicago? Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 6.35.35 AM

In this case, the “low fare airline” was anything but that. And there have been multiple times I’ve tried/wanted to fly SWA and found the fares to be much higher than what was being offered on Expedia Now maybe it’s a volume thing, I just don’t know, but it’s frustrating because I’d much rather fly SWA than see my brother, who doesn’t like flying as it is, on US Airways.  Some might jokingly say I don’t love my little brother very much to let him fly US Airways, but in the end, it worked out well for him.

There were even weather problems at ORD on Thursesday. My brother got a text at 8:06 a.m. and he immediately called me in a semi-panic.  “My flight has been cancelled.”  I called the 800 number for US Airways and by 8:13 a.m he was slated to fly out at 1:55 p.m. instead of 12:05 p.m.  You really can’t beat that.

And that’s how Southwest lost out on some business this week.

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