Back in Los Angeles now, and managed to evict the elves who were taking care of the homestead. They left the place is pretty good shape for them, meaning the furniture hasn't been destroyed and there's still food in the refrigerator.
If you travel by air just once a year, I can't recommend highly enough applying for TSA PreCheck. It costs around $85 for five years. That's a whopping 17 bucks a year. And given that for every you'll get to use it twice, that works out the $8.50 per flight. To not have to stand in a loooong line at the airport, but zip through is good enough, but then there's the added benefit that you can leave your shoes and belt on, and leave your jacket on and not have to take out your computer, is SO worth it.
You just fill out the application form here, and then set up an appointment. That's the only semi-inconvenient thing, since the locations may not be convenient for you. Usually there's an office at the local airport, as well as some others in the area. I chose not to go to LAX, and instead drop deep into the San Fernando Valley to where it seemed like I should have packed a bag lunch first. But the appointment itself took about eight minutes, and even though I showed up about a half-hour early they took me right away.
One caveat -- or suggestion. If you do any world traveling, consider applying for the Global Entry card. It costs a little bit more, $100 for the same five years, but it includes TSA PreCheck. The main benefit is that it lets you avoid the looooong lines when returning to the U.S. from overseas and go directly to the Global Entry kiosks. So it's only costing you $15 for that -- or three whole dollars a year. You can find out more here -- or read this article by travel expert Peter Greenberg who compares the two.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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