Posted by: thediygeochemist | December 13, 2009

best of the semester

At the end of my first semester of grad school, I thought I should give out some awards. Not for professors or classes (I’ll wait to award those until I have more experience), but for other things I’ve become intimately familiar with over the last semester. For example:

Best airline
I never thought I’d be a frequent flyer, but living in a different state than my spouse and children made me change my mind really quickly! By the end of this semester, I will have flown twelve roundtrip flights. Three airlines–United, Frontier, and Southwest–have nonstop flights between Denver and the airport I most frequent in California.

United’s only advantage is that they offer free headsets with the ability to tune into the air traffic control. The seats are cramped and the service is mediocre; their prices are also usually higher than the other two airlines. Frontier offers more leg room and better service than United, and their prices are tied for lowest. I usually fly Frontier back to California, since my schedule forces me to take late-Friday-night flights and Southwest does not have such a flight.

The clear winner, in my mind, is Southwest Airlines. Reasonable amounts of leg room, snacks that you don’t have to pay for, the best service, and bags that fly free–and they usually have the best prices!! I take Southwest whenever my schedule allows it. Some people dislike Southwest’s “open seating” but I don’t mind it; I’ve always been able to get a window seat.

Best short-haul airplane
Without a doubt, this award goes to the Boeing 737. The 757 is also decent, but a bit too large in my opinion. The Airbus 319 and 320…well, at least they don’t crash. These seem to have been designed with reliability in mind but little else–like a car with a good body and engine but an uncomfortable, noisy, poorly-designed interior. The 737, on the other hand…AHHHHH. I love it. Everything is right where it should be, and it’s as quiet as you can make an airplane.

Best homemade frozen dinner
Since I don’t have much time to cook, I generally cook in quantity and freeze the remainder for later. When I have several free hours I generally make two or three dinners and freeze them. And my favorite dinner is…

Quiche. It tastes good, freezes well, and reheats a lot faster than many other dishes.

Best homemade lunch
Cauliflower-cheese soup with homemade rolls. (I make big vats of the soup and freeze it. The rolls also freeze well.)



  1. United has never bothered me that much, but then at 5′ legroom is the least of my concerns. Delta is currently drawing my ire…they changed my flight itinerary immediately before the trip (tomorrow!) and now I’m set to arrive several hours later. Then again, there’s an epic snowstorm in the area, so this could work out for the best…

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