Leaving Delta in 2015

Delta recently announced changes to the SkyMiles program for 2015. Miles will be awarded not by miles flown but by dollars spent.  For an example, see this grim comparison below of a $1,566 round-trip ticket from Lexington, Kentucky to Bangkok, Thailand (on a calculator ironically provided by Delta).


(Try it yourself here.)

I had originally thought to put forth a careful and detailed argument against this change, but no longer.  There is no point.  (See Delta’s Facebook page for the amusing consumer backlash versus Delta’s robotic copy-and-paste response policy.)

So I told Delta via Facebook that I’m leaving them for American Airlines in 2015.  This was their reply to my announcement of departure:

Hello Ryan Staples, please remember that you can continue to earn up to an additional 2 miles on Delta spend with the SkyMiles Credit Card. That is 40% , please remember that you can continue to earn up to an additional 2 miles on Delta spend with the SkyMiles Credit Card. That is 40% more miles on Delta flights as a General SkyMiles Member in the new 2015 program in addition to the miles you earn on every day spend with the Card. Thanks for voicing your concern.

(T.S. must be The System)

One thing I would suggest to Delta and The System: mile is a measure of distance, and if distance is no longer rewarded, then please don’t call them miles.

That just doesn’t fly with me.


The Gettysburg Address

The gentlemen and ladies of Why They Came and I celebrated Presidents’ Day this week by delivering President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  I once experienced the surreality of having The Gettysburg Address recited to me by an elderly Japanese man in Ueno Park (that story warrants its own post), and our version is perhaps just as endearing and definitely much more awkward.

Yesss, I missspelled addresss in the creditsss.  Unfortunately, YouTube does not possess the glorious file replacement feature that makes Vimeo such a vastly superior host of video.   If it did, I could simply fix my typo, re-upload the file, and we’re none the wiser. Perhaps one [cold] day [in Hell], YouTube will care as much about its users as it does advertising and add such a feature.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes iPhone video (held horizontally, as it should be)…


Collins Ave.

Arrived yesterday afternoon from Miami’s sunny 81° to Cincinnati’s sad snowy 25°.  An hour and a half later, back in Lexington to unpack Florida and pack for South Carolina (where I now sit).  Still dragging rear from a late-but-amusing evening with Philip Bloom and new friends from Filmgate, I had just enough energy to edit this little driving timelapse of my daily morning commute from Hollywood Beach to the Lincoln Road mall parking garage.  I have a ritual of listening to a liberal amount of Beach Boys in Florida rental cars and had gleefully saved my six-disc Made in California boxed set for this very trip.  So I stuck the GoPro to the hood, and with the radio blasting, went cruisin’ just as fast as I could (35mph).


Off to Miami

Off today to Miami for Filmgate Interactive Media Conference. Seems not that long ago since last year’s Filmgate, where I attended Philip Bloom’s one-day workshop that culminated in a timelapsing outing at South Pointe Park, Miami Beach.  We were taxied over in small groups from the Miami Beach Cinematheque, and being in the first group, I decided to go ahead and get set up.  When Philip and the other groups arrived, they congregated some distance down the beach.  My timelapse had then already commenced, so I couldn’t leave it unattended to join them.  Thus I was left somewhat alone, thinking about the days, with Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, the festive departing cruise ships, Floridian passersby, and the intervallic clicks that marked the lapsing of time.

The next day, I busted out the GoPro and drove to Key West.  The battery only made it to Cudjoe Key.  (The GoPro battery, not the car battery.)

I toured Hemingway’s house and drove back.

This year, I’ll be with Philip Bloom for a three-day filmmaking workshop in the Everglades. I’ll try to stay with the group this time. More to come.

The Night I Looked at You

People dancing.   That’s all this is really.  The Night I Looked at You was July 29, 2012 at the wedding reception of Jordan and Jenny Dongell, with whom I have many mutual friends, of which most were in attendance.  This led me to shoot quite a bit during the open dance floor.  For Etta James’ “At Last” (agonizingly overplayed at wedding receptions but delightful at this one), I decided to roll one continuous clip for the duration of the song and see what happened.  What happened is a slice of life made a bit more cinematic: people dancing, newly in love, married a few years, married a few decades, meeting for the first time, swept off their feet, discovering two left feet, looking at each other.  Sincerity.

My shadow makes several appearances, notably my goofy head and overpriced Zacuto rig.  Focus is problematic.  Exposure goes to heck hear the end.  This film isn’t perfect.  Life isn’t perfect.  But it’s Good.

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