Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Five

So is it Fridays Five or Friday Fives?

The Excuse

Well, huh. I really wasn’t planning on getting this far behind. But next thing I knew 3 weeks has flown by and I had yet to do up a Friday Five. So I guess I owe you three weeks of updates. I thought about doing 3 weeks of Fives as well, but I don’t want to hold up production while I try to come up with 15 new things about myself.

The Weeks

Well, these past three weeks were big ones.

The first week (9Mar[1]) was extremely cool. It started with a trip to Vegas, where Abram joined. It was just Abram and I for the first two nights, until Liam and Baron joined on the last night to celebrate Liam’s departure from the Navy. While most of the trip certainly falls under the category of “Stays in Vegas”, I do need to mention Abram’s 30 minute roll at craps. There are two things that clear out a craps table – a great roll or something happening to kill the mojo. Abram’s was of the great roll variety. He’ll likely never do that again, but when it happened it was amazing. The second part of that week saw Abram visiting San Diego and getting into his normal trouble.

Last week (the second week (16Mar)) I found myself heading to Tampa. Unfortunately work had me, well, working, and I really didn’t get to go out and experience all that much. But what did make the week was Karin visiting over the weekend. The company I was working for prefers Saturday departures (over the normal Friday), and they weren’t big on me heading home over the weekend. Ok fine – we’ll take advantage of the situation and have Karin come visit. It was cooler than I thought having Karin come out to where I was to visit.

While we had intended to see a ballgame while we were out here, the only day that would have worked was Sunday, and the only game available was Yankees/Rays – sold out needless to say. But we did manage to have dinner with Bill & Amy. And we IMG_2972went out to the Big Cat Rescue for their feeding tour. (I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about me, but I have a small thing for tigers.) The tour’s about an hour long with one of the staffers leading you around the place, talking about the cats, and tossing huge pieces of meat at them. It was beyond cool, and something we fully intend upon doing again when we have the chance.

What was amazing was the couple of smaller cats that they had. Little bigger than housecats, they still had the same instincts as IMG_3009 their bigger cats, and according to our guide had a bigger attitude. The birds were also funny. The small parade in front of the tiger was great (apparently one of the tigers caught a bird one time – wouldn’t eat it (they’re spoiled), but strutted around with the carcass for weeks). You can see the rest of the pictures here.

This week was a back to the grindstone week. Mostly just work, but I did manage a little fun for myself – I went out to play poker on Thursday night. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play as long as I had wanted (not much to do when your QQ gets beat by JJ when he turns a set), but it was still great to get out and sit at a table for a little while.

The Restaurant

For lunch on Sunday Karin and I went to this place called The Press Box. It’s really just a hole in the wall sports bar, but it’s a great hole in the wall sports bar. It had hole in the wall sports bar food, hold in the wall sports bar waitresses, and tons of TV’s. It was fantastic. I had the sloppy joe (it wasn’t as good as Karin’s (it was actually better, but don’t tell her that)) and Karin had the Philly which was also tasty.

The Exercise

Well – I actually started back up again. Well, twice, but still – that’s better than zero. It’s that first step that gets us started, right?

What I really need is a goal to build towards. Suggestions?

The Travel Note

Abram has a reputation for being singled out. At some point I’ll have to blog the peach story, but for right now I have to note two travel items about Abram’s trip.

I’ve been on a small number of plane trips. In all my time, I have never, not once, see someone get carded on a plane. While I’ve still never witnessed this, Abram did inform me upon landing in San Diego (before we left for Vegas) that he was carded from DC to Houston.

To add insult to injury, TSA started doing random secondary security screenings on the other side of security. Sure enough, Abram got selected for a second pat down.

Fortunately for him, his friends and family show him more respect than the rest of the world.

The Five

  1. What I appreciate most about Vegas is that it’s a different experience every trip. Depending on the people you’re with, the circumstances, the time of year, etc, it’s always a different experience. And each time it’s a blast. Well, that, and the open container law.
  2. Penn & Teller is still my favorite show in Vegas. Blue Man Group and Avenue Q (despite it being an abbreviated version) are a close second and third (in some order).
  3. For the longest time I couldn’t get into March Madness. Then I got a job working for the CBS affiliate in Duluth. During the first two Thursday/Friday nights of March Madness we had to wait to go on the air until the games were over. Sitting in a CBS affiliate there’s not much else to do except watch March Madness. After the first couple of nights I was hooked.
  4. As we approach baseball season, I have to say I much prefer watching defensive highlights over offensive highlights. Watching a baseball fly out of a small ballpark is not overly exciting. Watching a diving grab is.
  5. In the only season I ever played organized basketball (it was a 7-9th grade league) we won a collective 0 games – including the game against our fathers. The first time through playing the opposing teams we’d lose 100+ to mid-teens. The second time around the coaches would hold them back to around 50.

[1] I mark weeks by the Monday, as that’s how I email it out to potential clients.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello, World

Hey – look at that. I have a blog! Who knew?

I apologize to my reader[s] for not posting recently. Every now and then life just gets very busy, and the way I usually react to that is by disconnecting from everything. About the only thing I’ve been keeping up to date with is Facebook and Twitter, and even that’s been sporadic at best.

The problem is when I start putting things off (like blog postings and Yelp updates) it becomes like being behind at work – it becomes like another job. So I need to get back into gear and stay current once again.

For those of you who expressed concern, thanks – it means a lot to me.

And for everyone – I will have a Friday Five this week if it kills me, with a recap of the last 3 weeks. It should be fun!

Thanks for reading – I think my favorite words to hear are, “Hey – I read your blog.” (Well, that and “Wheels down at McCarran International” are amazingly cool as well.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Friday Five

The Excuse

I usually peck this thing out on Friday while sitting in the airport awaiting my flight out of whatever town I’ve found myself in that particular week. The particular client I was working for this week prefers their trainers fly home on Saturday. So I sit on flight 1669 out of Houston for San Diego.

The Week

I was in Tampa, FL this week. Or Clearwater to be more specific. It was my second time in Tampa, and it worked out better this time than last as I was able to see friends this trip. The first few days were all work, but Thursday and Friday included some time for play. Thursday was dinner with Joe-Bob and Friday was dinner with Amy & Bill, all of whom have commented here before and are great friends of mine (and fantastic people to boot). It’s always nice to get a little pleasure out of a business trip.

And on a little personal note, it was also wonderful to have Dunkin Donuts again. It’s amazing how one misses the regional things that others take for granted.

The Restaurant

Joe and I did dinner over on the west side of Clearwater at a place called Frenchy’s Cafe. It’s a shack-style seafood joint, which seems pretty popular in Tampa (or at least I’ve noticed a handful of them).

We wound up being seated by whom I’m pretty sure was the GM of the place.

Joe insisted I try stone crab, which I’d never had before. I found out that the way they harvest stone crab is they pull the crab out of the water and pull off one side of its legs and throw it back in. They pull off the other side the next year. This led to the following exchange:

Me: That’s a tough existence.

Joe: A delicious existence.

I can’t argue, as the crab was fantastic. And I can assure you that based on their shells stone crabs aren’t called stone crabs for nothing.

Dinner was a Cajun style grouper sandwich for me and a buffalo grouper sandwich for him. All very tasty.

If you find yourself in Clearwater, you should certainly stop by.

The Exercise

Hey look – I still have this section on the blog!

The Travel Note

There are many things that need to change at the San Diego Airport. Terminal One has one bad restaurant on the other side of security. There’s only one runway. And its location makes things a tad interesting for planes landing. But what I do love is the fact that the taxi time from the runway to the gate is near nothing. That and the location next to the harbor is just gorgeous.

The Five

Let’s see if I can’t peck out five things.

  1. I often wonder if we have too many “social networking” applications. Between Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, … I feel like about the only person who it’s difficult to talk to is the person in front of me.
  2. Normally it’s near impossible for me to get out of bed. But every now and then something happens and I just start magically waking up right before my alarm goes off. This was one of those weeks.
  3. One of my favorite things is feeling the plane make its decent into San Diego knowing I’m just about home.
  4. If travel has taught me one thing this winter is that I hate cold weather. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
  5. When I was about to start going to school I came *this* close to going to flight school instead of going to school for computers. I made the right decision.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Friday Five

The Excuse

Well, huh. I wasn’t planning on needing an excuse. And then I flat out spaced finishing this on Friday night. Ugh.

The Week

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Or something like that.

I was in Houston again this week, which was just fine. The hotel was fine, the car was fine, the flight was fine. Everything was just fine. I knew I was going to be busy this week as I had a good amount of work to do, but still – it should have been a pretty normal week.

And then on Tuesday night I was asked by the owner Happy Jerseyof the company to accompany them (and others) to the box suite they have at the Toyota Center for the Rockets game. Who am I to say no? As part of the deal, they had a couple of cheerleaders roam into each suite, and of course I couldn’t pass up the photo op.

On Wednesday night it all went wrong. I don’t get sick. I get an annual sinus issue that crops up, and on occasion my voice will go out because of what I do, but I don’t get sick. Until about 11p on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure it was food poisoning as it hit me like a ton of bricks all at once, but I’m not sure. I’m feeling much better today, but I was a miserable human being on Thursday. I couldn’t call in sick and I still had to teach – and be friendly and energetic. Ugh.

The Restaurant

I should know better when it comes to visiting sushi places that try overly hard to be trendy. Generally speaking the money is going to go to decor and not the food. Sure enough, I found just such a place. Close to the hotel was a place called Sushi King, so I stopped in out of convenience more than anything else on Monday (this wasn’t the place that gave me food poisoning). I can sum up my entire experience there in three letters: meh. The seaweed salad was mostly flavorless, and the sushi was decent but that’s about it. Plus the combo I had wound up coming with a deep fried roll, one of my peeves. When you check out new restaurants sometimes you win and sometimes you wind up at Sushi King.

The Travel Note

I’ve found myself starting to pick the most obnoxious color possible when picking out a rental car. Makes it much easier to find the bright yellow car in a parking lot of white and tan cars, and much easier to remember what car I rented in a given week.

The Exercise

I knew it wasn’t going to happen this week as I knew I was going to be busy. But I do need to get back into the groove again.

The Five

Five odds and ends

  1. I own more pairs of shoes than Karin. I’m not sure if that says more about her or me, but in my defense most of them are sports shoes.
  2. The only ballpark in California I’ve never visited is Oakland’s. I’m not in any rush to check it out either.
  3. I used to support Mac OS 7. I don’t miss those days at all.
  4. I hate watching or listening to myself on anything recorded. Oddly enough I find my voice rather annoying. It sounds much better in my own head, though.
  5. I ran track in high school – 110 hurdles. Despite the fact that I was 4’11”.