I do my flight planning in the morning and drop off the documents for the hotel desk to fax. The Flight Information Region department that takes our flight plans doesn't accept electronic submissions yet. Hotel breakfast is a surprisingly good omelet. It's hard to get those things cooked properly in mass production. It doesn't have as much onion or as tasty a cheese as I would have put in it, but the eggs are cooked right and it isn't too greasy. Breakfast has to last me a long time, so I'm happy when it's good. There's multigrain toast, and honey too. We have to come back to this hotel. My coworker introduces me to "Call Me Maybe" mashups while we eat. This was last summer, but yeah, I'm still a little behind the times on Internet memes. I haven't even seen anyone do the Harlem Shake yet. Knowing that it's this year's Gangnam Style seems to be enough for me.
We check out, and I pick up my faxed flight plan, checking the fax number and number of pages on the transmission record. It won't be the hotel receptionist's problem if it didn't go through correctly. We're halfway to the airport in the cab before I realize that I didn't hand in my cardkey. Does anyone collect these things? I'll send them to you. I sometimes hang onto them for the next time we go back, but some places we'll never go back. I just hate throwing away plastic.
Preflight complete, I'm starting up on the apron. Oil pressure up, power to auxiliary systems, avionics on, get the ATIS, turn to ground. The controller calls me before I call him, asking me to turn my transponder to standby. Oops. I left it on. I'm spoiled by this transponder. It turns on automatically as I take off, so I don't have to select the altitude setting as I enter the runway, but because I haven't turned it on, I don't get that, "haven't turned it off" feeling. It's on the after landing checklist, of course, but I made a deliberate decision to leave it on, because I did my after landing checklist on the runway before taxiing off via runways. I always leave it on until I'm clear of all runways in the hopes that if something went terribly wrong, an aircraft about to land on top of me would receive a TCAS alert. I missed it in the final shutdown checks because it's electronic, so after the avionics master goes off, there's no dial position to show that it isn't selected off.
The controller says it was giving spurious readings now. Uh-oh. A malfunctioning transponder can ground us. He says it's probably just an artifact of start-up, that it read normally on the ILS yesterday, Heh, it's the same controller, and he remembers the dizzy chick who insisted on flying the ILS in VMC. At least I kept it on the glideslope, if he was watching me. He gives me my IFR clearance and I depart, the transponder apparently behaving now.