Saturday, September 27, 2008

To tip on service or on custom -- that's the real debate

I am in D.C.  Hartford is, was and always will be a mess.  The new phrase I picked up in Hartford -- "Global Mess".  I think that's worse than a "Hot Mess".  Anyway.  Got to BDL on Thursday, got in a filthy rental car and went to our hotel.  Stayed at the Residence Inn on Main Street.  Big rooms, good service, sort of smells like a combination of moth balls and a meth lab though.  We went to dinner with one of our vendors -- 3 middle aged women who don't seem to get out much.  We had fun, but let's just say it's not one of those nights that when I wake up in the morning I'll be sad it is over.  We went to Trumball Kitchen, then hit a few bars on Asylum and closed out the hotel brew pub.  The meeting went pretty well the next day.

Then I got the hell out of dodge.  My flight to D.C. was an uneventful 382 miles of airline wine and conversation with some dude who is very important -- in his own mind.  We had an aborted landing this time.  Nothing too extreme though.  We broke through the cloud cover (a few thousand feet) and instead of reducing thrust, we punched it and looped around.  The plane was full of seasoned travelers so no one freaked out.  Much nicer than that screaming fit people had on the way to LGA.

JDE picked me up and went to her place.  She's become a much better manual transmission driver -- no worries on the hills at all.  She'll have to be my partner when I go on the Amazing Race (which starts tomorrow night, btw).  

We decided to go out along Pennsylvania Ave for bar food, beers and the debates.  I probably know 8 people in DC, all from Linfield.  We were walking down Penn and who do we run into??  Yes, AMU and his boyfriend JXN.  Haven't seen AMU since I left him chatting up some guy in an Alley behind the Abbey in WeHo 3 years ago.  Haven't seen JXN since we left him chatting up some guys outside a restaurant (Einstein's??  not the bagel shop) in Midtown (ATL).  We chatted for a few minutes then went out separate ways.  What a random run in, eh?

I forget where we went along Penn, but the burgers were good, the beer were fine -- although slow as hell on the refills...man, everything was slow at that bar. It was like pulling teeth to get the bill.  We watched the debates with a ton of Washington pseudo insiders at the bar -overhearing lots fun comments.

Not sure what the plans are for today -- probably going to the Mall.  I want to see the Lincoln Memorial and the FDR Memorial.  Then Sushi tonight.  Not sure where exactly - but I hear sushi in DC just sucks a big one, so my expectations aren't high.

I'm not adding links like I normally do, because I'm using a mac laptop and I'm too dumb to figure out all the trips and tricks.

Two more things:  1)  The Debates were Ugh.  Barrack needs to win.  We can't have McPalin.  'Nuf said.  The Veep debate is next week, I can't wait!  2) WaMu fails?  Duh, if you start charging ATM Fees you'd have cash, you dumb fuck.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Go East, Young Man!

Heading to BDL today and IAD tomorrow. I'm going to be sitting at BDL for 2 hours waiting for my colleague (assuming our respective flights land on time). DC will be rainy while there -- still will be a good time though.

So, why would you suspend your campaign because of the economy. Of course on Monday we could be in a depression bigger than the "great depression". I wonder what the likelihood of this could be. I'm not adjusting my investments. Prices are dropping -- I thought it was a good by at $X, if it is now $X - 20% it is even a better buy. Scary times though.

Did you all write your check for $10,000 to cover the toxic mortgage bail out? Don't you think if the American tax payer could afford an additional $10K, they'd be using that to pay for their mortgage?? Come on. Mark my words -- this toxic debt isn't going to turn into a huge money maker for the government. GWB is nice enough to put another nail in the coffin before he slinks out of DC with his tail between his legs (to his multibillion dollar post office life). Yes, the American system is flawed.

Back to Chicago on Sunday, barring metal fatigue or pilot error. (FYI: I did watch part of Bounce last night, so I think my tradition of crash movies before flights will keep me safe -- unlike last week).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fall...

It is fall. It is dark around 7pm. It is going to be cold and snowy soon. How sad. I can't believe how quickly time is passing. I say this frequently but it seems like life is just speeding by. Maybe I'm paying more attention to things like this now because I'm turning 30 in a few months and I'm reevaluating where I am in my life. Am I where I thought I'd be now?

Anyway. I had a most perfect time in New York. The conference was absolutely fantastic. I met some great contacts in the Risk Management industry with some of the nations best firms. I truly learned a lot. I wish I had more time in New York to actually do New York things. I spent about 90 minutes out and about on my own and the rest of the time (8am - 10pm) at the conference.

I'm going to Hartford on Thursday and DC on Friday. I am looking forward to seeing JDE and JXC this weekend. We are going to watch the first Presidential Debate at a bar in DC Friday night. Should be fun -- what a novel concept -- treating something important like the election like most Americans treat football. Should be a great weekend.

EAD was in town for about 24 hours this weekend. We had a really nice time. Picked him up at ORD and went to brunch at Tweet. We did some shopping and bought some wine and cheese and sat around my place talking and eating for a few hours. Hit a relatively new sushi place in the neighborhood (two thumbs up), then stopped by a few bars in Boystown. We went to see SO and EJ at the L&L and then met up with a friend (neighbor) RR and closed out the North End. Topped the evening off with a late night visit to Taco and Burrito House. Lovely.

I also watched Lions and Lambs today. I really liked it. Go watch it. Lots of talking heads and an ending that isn't an American ending (whew).

Going to watch the Star Wars Family Guy spoof and eat some homemade pizza now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Kind of Town...

I love New York. I don't know how I can love a place so much. It is just the best and most perfect city on the planet. Unfortunately my trip here was not all the best. Got in the office around 7:30am. Left around 12:30 for my 3:05 flight. On the plane -- we had a slight issue. Shooting down the runway, the front landing gear is poised to kick up for take off -- SCREECH! Slam on the breaks, reverse thrust and turn HARD to the right (starboard). A few people (girls??) squealed in the back. According to folks on the other side of the plane another plane was landing on an intersecting runway.... According to the pilot, he was taking off and the front cargo door indicator light came on -- thus the door was ajar. We go back to the penalty box and wait. No one came to look at the door -- even though the pilot said they were coming. The pilot then comes on and says that we have to wait 45 minutes for our breaks to cool down -- if we don't wait for them to cool down we don't be able to stop in the event of another aborted take off. Uh, how many do you plan on us having each day?

That's not the best part. After we nearly get splatted the 23 year old squash player sitting next to me decides to start vomiting. Lovely. He pukes all over himself, fills 1/3 of the puke bag and then pukes on the chick next to him. If he puked on me, I would have killed him. No questions asked. BOOM. Done. And then in 20-25 years I would have been given the Lethal Injection -- but come on. Puking on someone is something that should require your own death.

Let's hope tomorrow is less near death, less vomit full and more fun.

I do live a glamorous lifestyle, don't I? Oh yeah, I flew coach too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Travel -- Kickin' Into High Gear

In 14 hours I will be on a flight to LGA. I love NYC. I am going to a Risk Management Conference for two days. The invite list is pretty exciting -- invite only, about 190 people attending. Staying in Midtown at a nice-ish hotel, but it looks like I'm flight Back of the Bus too --but I guess it's ok, since it's only two hours. Back in town on Wednesday evening.

We've had a hell of a lot of rain around here-- Hurricane Ike caused "steady rain" for two solid days. Tons of flooding in Chicago. The Chicago River popped over it's banks and the Albany Park neighborhood was extremely flooded. Nothing back happened near me -- well, I'm 16 floors up, so if my apartment gets flooded, millions of people will be dead. So let's all hope my apartment says dry for ever.

EAD will be in town on Saturday for about 27 hours. Looking forward to having him in town. Probably hitting a nice restaurant for dinner, then perhaps going out along Halsted for a while -- anyone interested in joining us? Won't be an extremely late/wild night. He's got a flight in the early afternoon. Come one, come all.

Hmmm -- Just had a slight after thought... I travel a decent amount (not as much as I'd like though). For well over 18 months now, I have happened across a plane crash movie (Flight 93, Bounce, etc) the day before a flight. I just realized, I haven't stumbled across a movie/TV show like that this trip. I'm not superstitious, but I am a creature of habit. Fingers crossed, gang, fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Yellow cake? A Tasty Treat or a Slippery Slope of Lies...

Today is beautiful. Sunny and no humidity. I'm playing around on my computer, watching WTTW (PBS). Today, all day, on WTTW Bush's War is being shown. It's funny to look back 6 years ago and see all the lies and falsehoods that were put forth as god's honest truth. These lies of course sent us on a collision course with an unpopular war. The best part, so far, of this documentary relates to the immediate moments following the morning of 9/11/2001. Can you believe we are almost 7 years removed from that. How quickly we forget the horrifying moment of that morning. So, according to GWB Iraq was actively seeking 500 tons of Yellow Cake Uranium from Niger. Funny -- there are no written records that show anyone but GWB thought this was even a possibility. The British Intelligence Agencies were quoted as the folks who had confirmation of this info -- but alas, it was a total fabrication. Maybe GWB will now list me as a terrorist state as I just Googled "Yellow Cake Uranium Niger Bomb."

We are 8 weeks from the election. I don't like Palin. She was a great pick for the Grand Old Party though. She chose not to abort her rere. Her daughter is preggo and she's not getting an abortion-- She is marrying her high school fuck buddy. I'll wager that this marriage doesn't last -- assuming it actually goes through. If the (R)'s lose the election (fingers crossed) this little harlot won't get married at all. If, god forbid, the (R)'s do keep the Executive, this marriage will fall apart once they are out of the office. I do Palin entertaining though. I am so excited to watch the Veep debates. Biden vs. Bulldog w/ Lipstick.

So, you've all heard me talking about this for months -- technically 16 months ago is when I decided this. I bought my tickets to DXB (Dubai) for my 30th Birthday Bash. I am leaving on 1/28/2009 and returning to Chicago on 2/8/2009. Got my First/Business class upgrades confirmed. Right now, I'm the only one with a confirmed ticket. EAD and JFB are still coming, they just haven't gotten their transit finalized. I'm still debating on what to do for the second half of my trip. We aren't spending the whole time in Dubai, it is too expensive, plus it might get a bit boring after a while. I have three things that are top in my mind for the last half of the trip: Male, Maldives; Kish, Iran; Sharm al Sheik, Egypt. More on that to come.

I have a presentation to give three times on Tuesday. I am remaining local for this presentation. A week from tomorrow I will be flying to New York for a Risk Symposium -- I will be focusing my attention on the Risk and Transportation Sub Group. Am looking forward to it. Not spending any personal time in New York, just in for the conference. The end of the month I will be in Connecticut for a two day business meeting then going to DC to see JDE. Then I remain local for 6 weeks. I go to LAS for 5 days (business and pleasure). Make your travel arrangements -- Luxor 11/21-23 (the dates of the pleasure portion of the trip).