Archive for December, 2009

Sign of the Times

8 December 2009 at 11:57 am
by Berck

While applying for unemployment benefits with the state of New York, there was the following note: “If your financial institution has recently merged with another financial institution, the new financial institution should be contacted to obtain the new bank routing and account numbers.”

Unemployment Law!

8 December 2009 at 10:50 am
by Berck

I dare anyone to understand this:

8-70-117. Employment – base of operations. “Employment” means that the entire service of an individual is performed within this state or both within and without this state if the service is localized in this state; or that the service is not localized in any state but some of the service is performed in this state and that the base of operations or, if there is no base of operations, the place from which the service is directed or controlled is in this state; or that the base of operations or place from which the service is directed or controlled is not in any state in which some part of the service is performed but that the individual’s residence is in this state. For purposes of this section, service shall be deemed to be localized within a state if the service is performed entirely within the state or if the service is performed both within and without the state but the service performed without the state is incidental to the individual’s service within the state or, for example, is temporary or transitory in nature or consists of isolated transactions.

This is the law that the friendly fellow from the unemployment office read to me over the phone today. It seems that, according to Mesa airlines, I can apply for unemployment in Arizona, Illinois or New York, but not in Colorado because they have no “base of operations” in Colorado. Now, as best as I can tell, Mesa has incorrectly applied this law, and I am, in fact, eligible to apply for unemployment in Colorado, but there’s a long drawn out legal process that I’d have to go through in order to make that happen. I’m tempted to do that, because I suspect it would wind up with Mesa owing the state of Colorado a substantial amount of money. On the other hand, I’m now eligible to apply for unemployment in the state of New York which should, apparently, be worth more money anyway.

My interpretation: Mesa is claiming that the base of operations for their United Express operation is in Chicago. This means that “the base of operations or place from which the service is directed or controlled is not in any state in which some part of the service is performed but that the individual’s residence is in this state,” (this being Colorado), which would make me eligible in Colorado. Since I haven’t flown to Illinois since I’ve been based in Denver, that means my state of residence is good enough, at least since April. That said, I’m still eligible to apply for unemployment in either of the other 3 states, and New York seems to have the higher benefit amount, so I should have done that to begin with.


Private: From Mesa Airlines. You can’t make this stuff up.

5 December 2009 at 8:11 am
by Berck

You do not have permission to view this post. See about private posts.


3 December 2009 at 2:24 am
by Berck

I’m busy distracting myself from my pending unemployment by traveling. So far it’s working.

My last trip was a good one. I had no more than 2 legs per day, and even had a Saturday night Jackson Hole overnight, which means times for a trip to both the brewery Saturday night and D.O.G. in the morning for a breakfast burrito.

The Captain I was flying with let me fly almost all the legs on the flight, which was awfully nice of him. My first landing on the trip was one of the worst I’ve ever done in a Dash. The last one was one of the best, fortunately.

I’m going to miss it. I’m addicted to geographic displacement, and being an airline pilot is an easy way to feed the addiction. I loved flying over the mountains (relatively) low and slow in that tank we call a Dash. I loved the peace and quiet of long flights at night. I liked the search for beer and breakfast burritos in quaint corners of Colorado, and I liked being missed when I got home. I loved the noise and vibration of 5,000 horsepower turning a couple of 13-foot propellers when I pushed the power levers forward for takeoff, and the way the Dash would climb at a seemingly impossible 15 degree nose-up attitude all day long. I loved the satisfying kiss of the absurdly stiff landing gear against the pavement after a job well done. I loved the noise the props make going in and out of the beta range while we taxied.

There was plenty I don’t think I’ll miss about being an airline pilot, but things had gotten pretty good by the end. I didn’t have to fly to work, sit reserve, or even work too many early mornings. While I was certainly grossly underpaid, it was good enough to get paid to do a job I love.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do next. I’ll worry about it on Monday after I apply for unemployment. It looks like I should be able to make enough on unemployment to get by for awhile.

After I landed in Denver early on Monday morning, I turned in my books and epaulets to the local operations manager in DEN. I arranged to mail my badges back after I was done traveling, then carried my now startlingly light-weight flight kit to my car and drove home.

Jonah came home for lunch and we had another Thanksgiving that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t wake up until 40 minutes later, when I had to do laundry, send the rebate off for my Droid, and print out my pay stubs in case Mesa has already locked me out of the system on Monday morning.

Then I drove to the airport where I didn’t manage to get on the flight to Burbank that Todd wanted me to take. I called Todd and asked if he wanted me to go to LAX, and he said he’d much rather I go to Ontario. I scanned the board, and there was a flight leaving for Ontario in 40 minutes. I was anticipating that the flight would be on a Skywest CRJ, but when I got to the gate, there was an Airbus A-320 waiting. It suddenly occurred to me that it was entirely possible that this was a flight to Ontario, Canada, and I didn’t want to accidentally go to Canada. The gate labeling didn’t help—it said the destination was “ONTARIO, CA”. Really. I listed for the jumpseat, but didn’t ask if the plane was going to California or Canada. Instead, I got out my Droid and looked up the flight which was, thankfully, going to California.

The flight was uneventful, and I actually got a nice window seat in economy plus in the exit row. Though it was one of only 4 seats on an A-320 that do not recline, I at least had plenty of legroom. I slept fitfully until we got to Ontario.

Tuesday, Todd informed me that he and Tiffany were currently down to one car, which meant that we’d have to drop Tiffany off at work, which took 1.5 hours in LA rush hour traffic. We made our way to the Getty where I was sufficiently impressed with the collection, grounds and architecture. I was sad that I’d forgotten to bring my camera, but I spent some time uploading pictures to Facebook with the Droid. I picked the right time to go to the Getty because there just happened to be an Irving Penn exhibit. The exhibition was title “Small Trades,” and it’s a huge collection of 252 portraits. Irving Penn shot them all in the early 1950s as a side project while he was working for Vogue. The photos are all of workers, from icemen to welders to barbers to organ grinders. They were all photographed in natural light in Penn’s studio with their work accouterments. The series is wonderful and the body of work is one that Penn spent years printing. Almost all of the prints in the exhibition were done in the late ’60s on either Platinum/Palladium or Gelatin Silver, and often both. Some exposures were printed many times throughout the exhibit, often side-by-side which allows a photography geek like me to compare. Some were printed by Penn as late as 2003; it was obviously a consuming project for him. It was by far the largest collection of Penn’s work I’ve ever seen, and it’s well worth seeing if in you’re in LA anytime in the near future. It’s also far more pleasant to look at than, say, his shots of fat naked dancers.

We also headed to the Griffin Observatory, which is the only other place in LA that I had much interest in seeing. It’s geared a bit at the non-scientific or younger crowd, but the building was still worth seeing, and a Focault pendulum is always cool. The building itself is nifty, and there are some pretty cool views.

I spent the day traveling as an airline passenger, which is a pretty miserable thing to do, but at least I didn’t have to pay for the torture. And I flew American and American Eagle today, which means I at least got to drink Dr. Pepper. I made it to Mobile, where I had a wonderful barbecue dinner with Robert, Sarah, Ben and Amanda. After dinner, there was much beer and beer cake! Then there was beer on the porch and some yelling from the folks walking down the street which made Ben say, excitedly, “Oooh! Domestic Violence!” Which was pretty funny, but not as funny as the domestic dispute itself. I was going to type out quotes, but I don’t remember them well enough, and the ones I typed out don’t seem as funny as I remember them.

So, instead, I give you the Ben quote for the day: “I don’t have the right glasses, but would you like to drink it out of a Bourbon Sifter?”