60 Hours in Transit; and the best Old Fashioned I’ve Ever Tasted at 35,000 feet

I had a great trip to Cape Town last week. Great city, really productive week.

The less ideal part of the week was the 60 hours it takes to get from SF to Cape Town and back. Lots of time in airports, and on planes…

This gave me a lot of time to catch up on some movies and books I had stored up in the queue. Over the course of the trip, I watched/read:


The Hateful Eight: I’m a big Tarantino fan, but was disappointed. A step down from his previous two movies, both of which I loved. Jennifer Jason Leigh was ridiculous though – well deserved Oscar nod.

Black Mass: Anyone who’s lived in Boston knows the story…so I needed to see this movie. It was only OK. In the right hands, this could be an epic on par with Goodfellas.

The Martian: My second viewing of this movie, and liked it better on the re-viewing. It’s a good action/sci fi movie, and great performance by Matt Damon. There’s no way the movie can capture all of the intricate science that made the book so good. The best comparison, I think, is to the Hunt for Red October movie/book. Both are great in their own way, but shouldn’t try to compare them to each other.


Consider the Lobster: I’ve been on a David Foster Wallace binge, and really loved this collection. All the pieces were good, but the review of Tracy Austin’s autobiography, and commentary on sports bios in general, was transcendant. Reading DFW makes me happy, and then sad, every time.

Modern Romance: Aziz Ansari’s sort-of-funny, kind-of-illuminating study of dating in this millenium. Some really interesting chapters on texting culture, and online dating. My main takeaway was that I’m really happy I got married before the launch of Tinder.

Straight to Hell: About an expat I-banker’s hedonistic adventures in Hong Kong. I have to think a lot was exaggerated…but confirmed all of my pre-existing thoughts about Wall Street culture. Not a bad read.

Breakfast of Champions (Audiobook): I’m not a huge Vonnegut fan, and this is a wierd, quirky book that I’d not ordinarily be drawn to. But..the book was performed by John Malkovich, and that alone made it worth a listen. Great match between reader and material. The printed version apparently includes a lot of illustrations, and Malkovich’s shorthand descriptions of them, as they appeared in the text, was classic. (“And here is a drawing of a flamingo, standing on one leg”).

And Finally..

In between reading, watching movies, and sleeping, I managed to solve a long standing problem – how to get an decent Old Fashioned on a plane.

Before I left SF, I swung by Flight 001 (one of my favorite stores in the city) to pick up some power adapters. Right under the adapters was a product that blew my mind. Carry On Cocktail Kits…everything you need to make an Old Fashioned at 35,000 feet (other than the bourbon).Cocktail Kit

My air travel life is forever changed….

I saved the kit for the return flight, cracking it open just before the dinner service. As advertised, it had all of the ingrediants needed to make a decent Old Fashioned (but no cherries.. :(). All you need to add is a bottle of bourbon from the drink cart. My seat mates were a confused, but intrigued, as I set up my little chemistry set, and mixed up a drink using South African Airways house whiskey.


The end product was decent. But in the grand scheme of the Old Fashioneds I’ve consumed while cruising at 35,000 feet it was far and away the best.

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General Counsel @ Automattic




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