Links: The Links Goes To Hawaii, Day 1

by October 09, 2007

by Lang Whitaker

Aloha, yo. That’s right kids, I’m in Hawaii, here to finally write that long overdue cover story on Austin Croshere, since the Warriors are out here having training camp. (So are the Lakers, actually.) You know SLAM, going to the ends of the earth to bring you hard-hitting stories from around the world.

And since today is/was Columbus Day, I was asked to make like my main man Chris C. and travel. A lot. I went almost 5,000 miles in the last 24 hours, and I took notes all day…

1. Even though we have a SLAM travel agent, we also book our own trips a lot of the time just to save ourselves the hassle of trading emails and phone calls. I booked this trip myself last week using Travelocity. I couldn’t fly direct from NYC to Honolulu because there was like two direct flights a day and they cost about $10,000 apiece.

So I found a flight from NYC to Los Angeles, and then another flight from LA to Honolulu. Each of the flights was about six hours. I went through and looked at various options and then settled on the itinerary I took because it was the cheapest.

When I went to select my seats for the first two flights, I was only shown the first class cabins. I hadn’t asked to fly first class, but I guess it was part of the deal or something. Not mad. I was mad, however, when I looked at seats for the return flights later this week and was offered only one seat on the first leg, smack in the middle of a row of five seats way in the back of the plane.

2. Got to JFK airport this morning and checked in at the First Class counter, which felt really bougie. I mentioned that on the return flight I thought I might have “the worst seat on the plane,” and the woman behind the counter looked it up and said, “Actually, 45E is a fine seat.” I almost came across the counter after her. I’d like to see her sit in that seat for 7 hours.

3. Boarded the United Airlines flight and found my seat and immediately realized I’m going to be spoiled for the rest of my life. I already hate jamming into coach seats, but this first class stuff was almost embarrassing. I actually tried to stretch out my legs and touch the seat in front of me and I couldn’t, they were so far apart. This is what I was on, and it was the most comfortable flight of all time. SLAM needs to cut a deal with United Airlines or something so that we only fly this class from now on.

4. Just after we took off they passed out personal DVD players and a book of DVDs for us to watch. I went with “Blades Of Glory,” the Will Ferrell movie that I missed when it was in theaters. Great movie, better than “Talladega Nights.”

The one thing I don’t get is Jenna Fischer, who is a big part of “Blades.” You guys know who I’m talking about, the plain-jane girl from “The Office” who everyone raves about. She’s cute and all but…I’ll pass. She’s like a poor man’s Julie Warner.

5. And as Will Arnett says in the movie, “Nothing breaks up a team faster than herpes.” Bobby Petrino should have that painted on the wall of the Falcons locker room.

6. One of my rules when traveling is eat as often as you can, because you never know when your next meal is coming. I ordered what was described as “Warm pan-seared tenderloin with grilled portobello mushrooms, feta and gruyere cheese on ciabatta with pine nut pesto spread.” It was basically half a steak sandwich, but it was dryer than the food in the Press Room (presented by Vonage) at the Meadowlands. I would’ve killed for some of Gary Sussman’s famous Jersey Chicken Diablo.

7. I tried to take some time to consider what I know about Hawaii…but I had my seat basically laid out flat and I was tired so I fell asleep instead. United Airlines, yes.

8. After I woke up, I thought about what I know about Hawaii and wrote down three things:

1. Selleck

2. Dog the Bounty Hunter

3. Brady Bunch/Tiki Doll episode

Selleck refers, of course, to the amazing series “Magnum P.I.” I was really young when this was on TV, but my Mom used to love it and I remember watching reruns in the afternoons with her when she came home from work. I’m thinking Sam might like this show because Cam’Ron sampled the theme song once.

Dog the Bounty Hunter is the man. Everyone knows that. If I end up getting arrested while I’m here, I’m totally calling Da Kine Bail Bonds.

And the three-part Brady Bunch storyline where they visit Hawaii, find an evil Tiki doll and then get abducted by Vincent Price is a classic, plain and simple.

Basically, my knowledge of our 50th state—not counting Pearl Harbor, which occurred before Hawaii was a state—is almost entirely formed by television.

I’ve actually been to Hawaii before, about eight years ago on a vacation with Wifey. We drove all around the island, went to Pearl Harbor, went surfing, laid around on the beach, did all that stuff. So this time I’m hoping to just chill and do some work, which is why I’m here in the first place.

9. Noise-blocking headphones are amazing.

10. That movie “Waitress” that came out a few months ago? Skip it. As soon as I saw Cheryl from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” doing a southern accent I knew it was doomed.

11. At the airport in L.A., I saw a guy walking along with a huge tribal band tattoo just below his knee, about where NBA players wear those straps to combat tendonitis. I don’t know if any of you Linkstigators have tribal band tattoos, but if you do, I’d look into that laser removal stuff.

12. I also saw a guy hustling through the airport carrying a walkie-talkie in one hand and a sign that read “CUSTOMS QUARANTINE” in the other hand. I went the opposite direction as fast as I could.

13. Tried to check email at LAX but they have it set up to where you have to pay for internet access. I wanted to check in, but not that badly. Why don’t airports get a company to sponsor free wireless? If the Nets can get Wrigley to put in gum dispensers, surely Google would put in free wireless at huge airports. They have it in Vegas, I know, and I’m sure there’s other airports with the same deal. Would seem to be a way to make people remember your airport for something good, and if you know there’s free wireless you’re more likely to get there early and spend money on other things.

14. The flight from LAX to Hawaii was also on United but wasn’t that special P.S. service, so it wasn’t nearly as spacious. I was sitting next to a woman who was a dead ringer for Donatella Versace. She might have been a cougar, I’m not sure, because she was kept trying to talk to me but I was giving her the one-word answers and then quickly went to the headphones.

(15. I keep mentioned United Airlines in the hopes that someone from United’s public relations department reads this and gets me into better seats for my flights home. That’s all I’m clinging to right now. “United Airlines: The Official Airline of The Links” has a nice ring to it if you ask me.)

16. The pilot came on and announced that from LAX to Honolulu, it would be 2,277 miles. For the first half of the trip we’d be flying about 468 mph into a 12 mph headwind, and then the second half of the trip would average about 471 mph because of a 28 mph tailwind. Not sure why he said all this stuff but I wrote it down. It was on United Airlines. Did I mention that already?

17. They brought out an appetizer that I gladly accepted, a piece of chicken on a skewer. I was surprised to bite into it and find it cold. Not even two vodka tonics and two glasses of wine could help me eat a full dinner.

18. Actually, I take that back, because those drinks totally made me eat a full dinner.

19. My Jenna Fischer day continued when they showed an episode of “The Office.” If you like mousy women, that’s the show for you.

20. After that they showed an episode of “Without A Trace,” which I’d never watched before. They should change the name to “With A Lot Of Traces,” because the person disappeared and then they found unbelievable clue after unbelievable clue and ended up finding the guy. Oh, and the episode I saw starred Eriq LaSalle as a Katrina evacuee who moved to New Jersey, got into some fight clubs, then went back to New Orleans. And guess what? They found him at the end of the episode.

21. Movie time was a film called “The Invisible” which was really bad. They had four movies to show but this one ended up getting the nod. I’m not blaming United Airlines for this, though. I love United Airlines.

22. Landed in Honolulu at 7:00 p.m., Hawaiian time, or 1:00 a.m., New York City time. I hustled out of there, got over to my hotel and checked in. The girl behind the counter told me I had a “partial ocean view.” Not sure what that means because it’s dark out, so right now I have no ocean view. Maybe you can see it in the day but not at night, which means it’s a partial view?

23. I’m tired. Tomorrow night we kick off The Links’ NBA season with Lakers/Warriors. I’ll have notes up here after the game. And “Dog The Bounty Hunter” is on A&E right now. What!

24. Mahalo, peoples.