After years and years now of getting up at 4am to write novels that I hoped might find their way out into the world someday, I can’t believe that’s actually happening with TAKEOFF. Similarly, I can’t believe that I now have this gorgeous website thanks to!

For those of you who’ve already followed me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I tend to post about writing and books, but also about travel and technology (both of which feature prominently in my novels), as well as a few of my personal interests (sharks, comic books, Duke basketball). My plan is that you’ll find more of all of that here on the blog, just in more depth. In particular, I’m hoping I can use this as a place to share some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, recommendations for things that make travel better/easier, and as a forum to hear from you Reid-ers who care about the same things.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be rolling out some regular features as well as commenting randomly when the mood strikes, but to kick things off, I thought I’d give credit to one of the simplest pieces of technology on the airplane, but one that’s saved me multiple times: the little twisty latch that holds up your tray table.

How can this little doodad be such a lifesaver? Well, if you’re like me and you have to do computer-based work on planes, you know that the risk the person in front of you will recline their seat and potentially break your laptop screen is omnipresent. Specifically, if the seat comes down too fast, the upper corners of your screen can get wedged into the hollow where the tray table goes when stowed. Before you know it, your screen gets bent backward and looks like fingers a mobster has broken to teach you a lesson.

The solution, I’ve found, is that after you drop your tray table into place, turn the latch back to pointing straight down. This way, the latch catches the upper edge of the screen as the seat is coming down, forcing the screen closed rather than bending it backward. While you still might have to contort yourself to see the screen—particularly given reductions in seat pitch—at least your computer will survive to let you type another day.

I hope this little tip helps, and hope to see you in the skies!