All Blacks

Men in Black & Air New Zealand’s safety video

Air New Zealand - Men in Black Safety Defenders

Air New Zealand’s newest in-flight safety video – “Men in Black Safety Defenders” – stars the All Blacks (New Zealand’s national rugby team and defending world champions), other international rugby greats, actor Rip Torn and that scary talking pug – in a rap-style video inspired by the “Men in Black” film franchise.

The celebrate, the airline is giving U.S. customers a chance to win two roundtrip tickets to London from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand.

Free cupcakes at Newark Airport; free coffee at LAX, with planespotting

The early bird gets the… cupcake.

CRUMBS free cupcakes

If you’re catching an early flight Friday morning (January 28th) out of Newark Liberty International Airport, be sure to get yourself a free cupcake.

A branch of CRUMBS Bake Shop has opened in Terminal C (by the C2 checkpoint) and, to celebrate, they’re going to give the first 1,000 people who stop by a free cupcake. The sugary celebration starts at 6 a.m.

CRUMBS EWR free cupcakes

You might bring that cupcake with you to the LAX Theme Building Observation Deck on Sunday morning, January 30th, where Los Angles International Airport officials will be hosting a Sunday Morning Coffee from 8:30 until 11 a.m.

The Observation Deck is usually open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and this Sunday planespotters and aviation buffs will be out in force to see some unusual airplanes that will be stopping by.

Air New Zealand’s new Airbus A320 with All Black Livery will be making at stop at LAX on its way to New Zealand from France. The All Blacks are a rugby team sponsored by Air New Zealand and this fall the 2011 Rugby World Cup games will be held in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new Boeing B777-300 is also scheduled to operate at LAX on Sunday and Qantas Airways’ daily Airbus A380 super jumbo jet service between LAX and Sydney resumes this Sunday as well.

Here’s the Sunday morning schedule sent out by LAX:

  • Air New Zealand All Blacks A320:  ETA 9:25 a.m.; ETD 11 a.m.
  • Qantas A380:  ETA 9:45 a.m. (evening departure)
  • Air New Zealand B777-300:  ETA 10 a.m. (evening departure)

The Observation Deck has a 360-degree view of LAX’s terminals and airfield, and there are complimentary telescopes installed up there for better viewing. On Sunday morning there will also be a portable scanner available so visitors can listen to the radio transmissions between the pilots and the air traffic controllers.

And after the Sunday Morning Coffee event the party can go on: the space-age, retro-themed Encounter Restaurant, right under the Observation Deck will be offering a Plane Spotters Lunch Special.

What I’m watching, reading..instead of working

Don’t tell me this hasn’t happened to you.

You have stuff to do.  Deadlines.  Work someone will pay you for if you just, you know, do it.

So you pour a cup of coffee and sit down at the computer.

But then, dang, the Internet happens.

Here’s a bit of what got me distracted today.

Air New Zealand posted time-lapse video footage of its first new domestic A320 being built and painted with all black livery.

The paint job has something to do with the All Blacks rugby team, so of course I had to visit that site and then the Small Blacks site as well.

As long as I was visiting the Air New Zealand site, I had to check in on what that wild and crazy furry creature, Rico, was up to. I found this reel of bloopers.

A quick check of email and Twitter sent me off in new directions.

Florida’s Dali Museum was opening in its snazzy new building in St. Petersburg, FL. And as someone who first came upon that museum collection, by accident, when it shared space with a factory in Cleveland, Ohio, I of course had to visit.

While there, I came across this clip of Salvador Dali as a guest on the old TV show, What’s My Line?

Then, of course, it was time to check email and Twitter and catch up on my RSS feed.

A blog post by the folks at the  Smithsonian Air and Space Museum – 5 Cool Things at the Udvar-Hazy Center You May Have Missed – caught my eye because the Udvar-Hazy Center is just down the road Dulles International Airport.

And then I really got tangled up in the web. A comment on the museum blog post mentioned Anita, “the spider from Skylab.”  I didn’t know about Anita so had to follow that thread.

It turns out that Anita and a companion spider, Arabella, were part of an experiment flown on Skylab, a space station launched in May 1973.

According the Smithsonian website:

Scientists and students interested in the growth, development, behavior, and adaptation of organisms in weightlessness provided a variety of biology experiments for flight in the orbital research laboratory. A common Cross spider, “Anita” participated in a web formation experiment suggested by a high school student. The experiment was carried out on the Skylab 3 mission, which lasted 59 days from July 28-September 25, 1973. Astronauts Alan Bean, Jack Lousma, and Owen Garriott carried out the scientific research in space, reported the results, and returned this specimen at the end of their mission. NASA then sent Anita, a companion spider “Arabella,” and the experiment equipment to the Museum.

Anita is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Anita Skylab Space Station spider

Arabella is in storage.