Category

Bald Eagle

Flip Flops

Alaska, Bald Eagle, Wildlife

Bald eagle in flight, sidelit, cloudy sky and Kenai Mountains in the background, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle in flight, sidelit, cloudy sky and Kenai Mountains in the background.
Image ID: 22596
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

OK, I’ve been running since I was thirteen. That’s 32 years of running. I’m not a skinny guy, which means I’ve been pounding my feet, heavily, for a long time. The nerves in my toes are now so sensitive that its hard for me to wear shoes for long. Which is why I always wear flipflops. (Unless I have to go to a wedding, and then I still try to wear them but rarely get away with it. I have to go to a wedding in a week, and I’ll try again but I am not optimistic. If I was single I could probably pull it off.) However, never before have my flipflops caused so much apparent consternation as they did flying up to Homer. The further north I got, the more incredulous people seemed to be. Come on folks, it might be snowing outside but remember we are INSIDE all day, either inside the plane, inside the terminal or inside the corridor between the plane and the terminal. Inside, inside, inside. Flipflips make strategic sense at the security checkpoint too. And yet, I was asked about 10 times “You shore yore going to the raht place with those shoes?” From Seattle north, everywhere I went people that noticed my lucky flipflops — every California guy has a pair of lucky flipflops that he saves for special occasions, mine are for travel and nice restaurants — had but one reaction: shake the head sadly, look down to avoid making eye contact and mutter something under the breath. OK, I get it, I’m supposed to wear snow boots, jeans, thick jacket and Anchorage Equipment Rentals ballcap. Well, maybe next trip, this trip I’m going with flipflops until I have to go outside.

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Secondary Inspection

Alaska, Bald Eagle, Wildlife

Bald eagle, closeup of head and shoulders showing distinctive white head feathers, yellow beak and brown body and wings, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle, closeup of head and shoulders showing distinctive white head feathers, yellow beak and brown body and wings.
Image ID: 22582
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

Going to try my hand at photographing some bald eagles in the cold. Up at 4am, shower, throw the bags in the car, down I-5 to the airport, drop the car at the lot, shuttle to the terminal. At the ticket counter manage to score a seat in an row by myself, all is looking good for a day of travel! Get to the security checkpoint, the line is never very long at such an early hour, so I get to the security x-ray guy who motions me through. And, as always, the x-ray guy sees all the metal, electronics and leaded glass in my camera backpack and calls out “hand inspection please”. OK, this always happens, no problem, it will just take two minutes while they swab my gear and put the sensor swab in the computer to check for bad stuff, nothing there, pick up the cameras and look them over, place them back in the bag and tell me to have a great flight. Only this time, the alarm goes OFF. What? No problem, just check it again, must be a malfunction. The guy checks it again, fresh swab and BEEP BEEP BEEP. More alarms. OK, what the hell? Inspector Detector, giving me the half-smile-half-frown that he and all his buds learn in security inspector school, says please wait here. A few minutes later Senior Inspector Detector arrives, and they proceed to swab my gear three more times, each time setting off the alarms. By this time the crowd is checking me out, alarm guy. Oh, isn’t that special, there’s a red light that flashes with the alarm. Nervous? Hell yeah I’m nervous, I’m going to miss my flight. I’m going to have to call Tracy at 5am from some FAA cell and tell her I need a lawyer well versed in FAA-speak. This goes on for what seems like 20 minutes. I’m doing my breath exercises trying to calm my chi and get into the zen and tune all this out. It’s not working. I know these guys are going to send me to Abu Gharab or Guantanamo or something. At least Bush is not in charge anymore, so there is a limit to how bad this can get. Finally, Super Senior Master Inspector Detector arrives, suggests that perhaps the machine is malfunctioning and let’s try testing the gear at the next station. Holding my breath as they swab my gear yet again, I wait for the verdict. Alarms? Lights? Nope just “have a nice flight.” Wow, no flowers? Not even going to buy me dinner? Not sure how I am supposed to feel after that special experience.

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