Previous      |      Main      |      Next


Big blimpin'


A lot happened this last weekend. Some of it was great, some of it was grueling, some of it... well, fucking surreal.

The great parts were that I finally got to see Davíd Garza perform live. He was doing an in-store performance at Jupiter Records. I met Davíd a few months ago. His brother Raul is a writer for LCP and a close friend. One night we were at Raul's house for New Year's Eve and Davíd comes in and at one point I remember he was playing the piano. I'd heard some of his CDs, but never got to see him play and it was a treat to see him do his thing, much to the delight of the record-buying public.

I also got to stand outside a Molotov show where it was so packed that not even people with South by Southwest badges couldn't get in. People gathered outside The Vibe, and they could hear every note from within. This worked out fine until the crowd got so big that police officers on horseback had to come in and try to get people to back away from the congested clump they'd created on the sidewalk next to the 6th Street club.

Then there was working late Saturday night and there was some Significant Shopping done earlier that day. There was the free food buffet that Andy and I crashed Friday evening on Auditorium Shore just as the free live music was about to start. There was working on the lawn all day Sunday with my family (it takes an entire family of Mexicans to do my yard. More about that later).

But by far the strangest, most unusual thing that happened was... well, it sounds silly if I say it out loud.

Here goes: I flew a blimp.

Specifically the Fujifilm blimp. It's the green and white one.

According to a helpful press kit they gave me, the blimp weighs 15,820 pounds, is 206 feet in length and requires a staff of 22 to keep it going (it's so temperamental, it requires people to watch it 24 hours a day. In this sense, it's like a big, white Diana Ross).

The way the trip happened was very random -- I got a phone call from someone I'd dealt with in the past on work-related stuff. They mentioned that the blimp would be in town and asked if I would want to go up in it.

Who in their right mind would turn down a blimp ride? I mean, besides people who died in the Hindenburg and somehow were reincarnated and could travel back in time to the day before their death.

I even got to bring a guest. Rebecca and I waited early in the a.m. for the Fujifilm people to meet us at a general aviation airstrip not far from my house. Some morning radio station people were there and, remarkably, they were not awful and scummy. In fact, they were freakin' hilarious. The three of them were taping segments on a digital recorder for their radio show and, instead of being grating and annoying, they added running commentary to the freakishness of being Blimp Riders. They do call themselves a "morning zoo crew," but we'll forgive them just this once.

So. We get driven out to this grassy area where there are about nine red-shirted people pulling on ropes. The ropes are connected to OH MY GOD IT'S A FUCKING BLIMP! Big. Green and white. Inflated. They've got men and women, young girls and old boys in equal measure, hauling these huge ropes, keeping this behemoth near the ground. In pairs, we went on board, entering a cabin that resembled that of a small chartered plane. There were seats, seatbelts, a cockpit, big windows.

We waited and cracked jokes. The pilots introduced themselves and told us about some of the places they'd been. Apparently, it costs about $7 million to buy a blimp and then whatever it costs to pay 22 people full-time salaries to run the damn thing .There's only one Fujiblimp, so if you've ever seen it on TV (or in the sky, perhaps), that's the one we were riding on.

The blimp has two engines and when the airship is ready to take off, the engines pivot and propel the thing up in the air. The ropes are let go and you are suddenly pointed toward the sky at about 45 degrees. The grass outside the window recedes and you're floating in the air without the noise of an airplane. And then things get smaller. And then you're floating above it all and free to walk about the (tiny) cabin and marvel at the things passing by below.

It's very tough to put into words what we were feeling up there. Mostly it was just childish glee. When you're on an airplane, everything up there reminds you that you are on an airplane. The cramped quarters, the loud engines, the popping in your ears.

The blimp was slow, ungainly, but something that felt like real flying. We floated along at what couldn't have been more than 55 mph. Each of us got to take a turn at the co-pilot seat and steering the thing was like steering a huge boat. It responded to your turns, but slooooowly and in big arcs.

I took lots of pictures and then probably tell the story a little better than I can. I still have to look at the photos just to remind myself that this really happened and that it wasn't some strange dream...


The big ass blimp


Leaving the Earth

The morning zoo blimpers

The state capitol from way up high

The near-Hindenburg moment



Remember the Fucking Leaves? We finally got them. Not all of them, but close. My whole family came and helped and many hours later, many hurt backs, cursed words and rain gutter-clearing trials later ("What do you mean the trash man won't take these 40 plastic bags!?! We have to transfer all the leaves to paper bags!?!?!), it was done. The final tally of biodegradable, recyclable bags of leaves: 60 bags. No joke.



Big pimpin'

I did a few capsule reviews for South by Southwest Film. You can find them here, here and most importantly, here.

I watched Bush's Address to the Nation. Let's just say I really don't want to talk about it. Sigh.

I absolutely love this entry and I wish I had written it.

My birthday's coming up in a few weeks. Should I throw a house party or invite some friends for a night out? I'm really completely stumped for ideas this year.

Oh, and go buy you some Glarkware!


Previous      |      Main      |      Next


Hey, look at this! Stuff to buy! Haaawwwt-Damn!

Clip Art Corner

Please don't read too much into this, beastiality freaks.

The usual stuff:
Copyright 2000-2003 by Omar G.
E-mail if you want to be notified of updates.
Don't use any of this stuff unless you plan to pay me first...