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Fri
4
Apr '14

Trip Report: Dinner With Dan (and Lisa) In Denver.

Talk about a quick trip…just an overnight outside Denver with my ex and his wife. I would have stayed longer but the cheap flights were only on Tuesday and Wednesday.

And when I say cheap — $118 round-trip. Add $23 for the rental car, $10 for gas, and $35 for airport parking in Seattle and you have my expenses other than breakfast in Denver on the way to the airport (under $5).

Did I mention that I was upgraded in both directions? Knew about the return upgrade, but the “at the gate” upgrade when I was sixth on the list when I checked was a bit of a shock as there are only 12 seats up front.

In honor of my quick trip – a bunch of “selfies”:

In the Alaska Board Room.

From my going list of Airline Club Lounge photos.

The view on the tarmac featuring a salmon-thirty-salmon.

Shocked at my gate upgrade to first.

Relaxing at Dan and Lisa’s place.

Even Winston has started to like me.

In the Admirals Club at the Denver Airport…I can’t believe I forgot to get a shot of the room.

Next time. And we know there will a next time.

[205.4]

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Sun
31
Aug '14

Trip Report: Victoria With Hoosiers.

Met up with the kids in the check-in line at the Victoria Clipper – actually not in the line, at the counter…I was running a few minutes late getting there. Turns out we were some of the first people on the boat so we had our choice of tables. I prefer the ones in the back closer to the Duty Free counter.

Joe and Lisa on one side:

Me on the other side of the table with fixin’s for a Red Baron (also known as a Poinsettia):

Three hours later we are queued up for Customs and Immigration in Victoria:

Lisa had signed us up for the City/Butchart Gardens Tour through The Clipper which is basically a driving tour of the city on the way into and out of town on the way to The Gardens. Here is Chinatown:

And then the world-famous Butchart Gardens:

We tried to have our pre-tour lunch in The Dining Room but the soonest they could seat us was 2:30 – it was noon, AND the bus was due to return to the city. The Blue Poppy was where we ended up. Cafeteria line, but sit down, and with wine. I had the pulled pork sandwich and a glass of Cabernet. Lisa and Joe had sandwiches and shared a Salmon/Clam Chowder which looked like it had too many potatoes for my taste.

Back in the city we were the last hotel drop off as we are at the far end of inner bay. We only had to wait a few minutes for our room to be ready:

We were a little far for my tablet to get a good connection in the living room so I set up shop in the guest bathroom:

And even that took some work to get a connection – the redirect on their site after log-in wasn’t working so I had to call technical support and to have the phone close enough to the computer to work through stuff with tech support I had to string both the unit’s telephones together using the data jack on one to feed the other:

The things I do for a computer connection, at least with my status it’s free.

But the view is great – even for being on the first floor:

That would be the Coho Ferry heading back to Port Angeles – it’s the other ferry connection direct to Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

Joe went off to do the grocery store shopping while Lisa and I went around the corner to the mini-mart for the heavy items like Diet Coke, Tonic, Ginger Ale and ice since the clean out the ice bucket between guests which is a pain when you really want a cocktail ASAP.

I’d brought up Flank Steak for the first night large enough for leftovers with the eggs in the morning, and T-Bone Steaks for the second night. Protein is about double the price in Canada as in the US so it made more since to clean out some of the 50% off cow I had in my freezer. And dinner was good:

And breakfast was good thanks to Joe’s cooking:

For our full-day in Victoria, Joe and Lisa headed off on the water taxi to check out Chinatown and Antique Row:

It being Thursday I stayed behind to get the wine shop’s website updated. We met up for lunch at Barb’s Fish and Chips at Fisherman’s Terminal – my guilty pleasure when I’m up there. The one-piece for me, the two-piece for Joe, and Lisa had the Salmon and Chips.

Little did we know that Labor Day Weekend was an antique boat gathering called Classic Boat Festival. That might explain us not getting a Penthouse Suite with the hot-tub.


Quite a schedule of events – that we will miss since we have an 11:35 boat back to Seattle. At least we got to see them arriving in the harbor”

The afternoon for the kids was poolside. I joined them for an hour before heading of on the water taxi to the marina downtown to check out all the boats:

The ride into town was amusing with this group of partiers… apparently for $15 you purchase a wrist band from the water taxi folks and it gets you four ferry rides between various waterfront bars, and if you have at least four people in your group you get a free appetizer to share at each bar. Sounds like a smashing deal to me (Pickle Pub Crawl):

And here is a really great selfie on that same trip – so good I used it for my FaceBook profile picture:

Several people have commented that it makes me look like a young Pappa Hemingway. But the point of the trip was to see the stunningly gorgeous wooden sail and power boats:

Even the dinghies are pimped out…

And maybe one of the stunningly gorgeous captains…

And the wicker chairs in his cabin that he hates but can’t get them out of the cabin without cutting them in half…apparently they were loaded in before the roof was put on:

Sorry for the glare…gives it an odd “impressionist” feeling. And speaking of pretty boys, these buskers were also talented:

Time to head back to the condo for drinks and dinner…

Our condo from the water…we are one unit back from the front on the 1st floor:

And the dinner that I mentioned:

Up earlier on the final day to catch the ferry home…

Very crowded it being the Friday of Labor Day Weekend:

Not a free seat on the entire vessel – and for the final photo of this post, some crisps we shared with our tablemates:

Home a little after three and turned in for a power nap for tomorrow is a work day.

What a fun couple of days.

[223.0]

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Thu
23
Sep '10

Greetings From Miami.

Ah, the tropical heat of Miami – didn’t miss it, still don’t. Plane landed on time – and by 8am I’d had a quick breakfast and was looking for someplace quiet to hang for a couple of hours until Dan and Lisa arrive from Tampa (driving). The answer – across from the post office (I also needed postcard stamps) was the chapel – not in my terminal, but pre-security. Nothing like spending your first three hours in Miami in church.

Actually, it worked out really will. I hung out in the back of the chapel with my luggage, in a dark corner – only two people popped in. I tried to look awake for them.

They made good time so we were out of the airport a few minutes after 11… much better than the noon I’d been expecting.

Next stop – some place that served healthy organic food between Miami International Airport and Boca Raton where Dan’s grandparents live. The answer was Metro. Dan and I opted for the cheeseburger with Fontana cheese, Lisa went for the seared Ahi – which is what I should have gone for because the burger was huge. Oh well.

Grocery store, then off to the Grandparents – me happily sleeping in the back of the Element. I really dislike red-eye flights, even up front.

Introductions, then naps for all of us – Dan and Lisa were up early as well as having a concert the night before.

Dinner of a veal pot roast, big salads (needed that) and a nice bottle of wine.

Canasta after the dinner dishes were cleared and cleaned. I watched and tried to get a feel for the game after a thirty year absence in playing. It may take me another round of watching as the game ended prematurely with Lisa scoring a “junk hand” on her first draw – for 5000 points, and the next round Grandmother Slyvia (Lisa’s partner) scored a win on pairs closeout after a couple of rounds – the odds of getting either of those hands is astronomical, and the odds of getting one after the other… well, I can’t calculate them.

Glad I wasn’t playing that hand.

[? ? ?]

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Tue
4
Dec '12

Waikiki, First Full Day.

Well, I must be on holiday as I had a HulaDog for breakfast this morning, granted it was a late breakfast.

I had the polish in a bacon taro roll with the mild sauce with Star Fruit Relish & Lilikoi Mustard – truly Hawaiian.

After breakfast/lunch (it was almost 11) it was off to the FoodPantry for supplies for the condo.

As promised, here are some shots of the condo. Yes, it’s the handicapped unit:

And a lovely shot of me by the pool:

Joe and Lisa showed up around five and I had a pupu platter laid out and ready for them. Lots of various poke (marinated raw fish) and a selection of drinks.

For dinner we decided on The Village Noodle House in Chinatown. I’ve passed through Chinatown many times, but somehow never managed to stop and eat. Lisa had the beef, broccoli, thin noodles; Joe the shrimp with vegetables, and I opted for the roast half duck. We shared appetizers of Moshu Pork and Green Onion Pancakes. All good, not spectacular, but I’d go back. Hell, they even have free parking, a rarity in Chinatown.

Had a little walk after dinner with sort of freaked Lisa out a bit… certainly wouldn’t as a woman (or maybe even a guy) walk around the neighborhood without being very alert.

Back at the condo, Lisa headed to bed (I had an overlap of a day on my reservations) and Joe came down to my room (luckily on the same floor) to chat and have a few more drinks.

Well, that’s the news for today.

[? ? ?]

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Tue
18
Nov '14

Trip Report: Quick Trip To Denver

Off to see my ex and his wife because the fare was so damn cheap… $135 and some change round-trip. No First Class on the way out, and a bad on-line seating chart left me in a middle seat, but at least it was an exit row.

Lisa met me at the airport and we stopped at Total Beverage to stock up the house on Bourbon and Boxed Wine, and to stock my suitcase with 3 bottles of bourbon (to replace the couple of bottles of Captain Rat Cinnamon Brandy that I brought.

And then there was the weather that greeted me:

Poor Winston who had to go out and do his “business”:

Yep, little booties and a sweater as its below freezing.

Dan was off this Wednesday (with Lisa working, so that was a change from the usual) so we ran a couple of more errands and engaged in unhealthy lunching. Yep, that would be Five Guys Burgers:

I do like their product – and even ate the bun.

The afternoon was filled with installing a recirculating pump on the hot water heater so that the hot water is almost instantaneous…got all done but the upstairs bit before we had to leave for BrightHeart’s Buddhist monk ordination. Fairly amazing that I just happened to have booked this trip before I got the invitation. It was a bit like an episode of Portlandia with nothing set-up when we all arrived at the church. We could blame the snow – took me pushing Dan’s Miata up the driveway to get us there. The ceremony was long and drawn out, with lots of audience recitations – clocked in at an hour.

We didn’t stay for the reception – the fear of more snow. Both starving we stopped at Old Chicago Pizza and split a cup of soup and a couple of crispy chicken salads, with me having a couple of Manhattans to wash it down. Nothing for Dan as he was driving.

Got back to the house and finished the plumbing project while working on some nice rye – and before you knew it, bedtime.

Noon flight back – Lisa was going to drive me since she was off, but Dan woke up sick and called in and ended up driving me because Lisa was apparently in worse shape.

Took a bit of time to check-in, luckily it turned out to be a delay with a good reason – a First Class upgrade to seat 1F. Window, but I’m not complaining. And my plane is here! It’s way at the end.

And it’s still snowy out:

Alaska has an agreement with American to use their Admiral’s Club in Denver. I’ve been there a bunch of time. Nice, airy, free booze and snacks…I ordered a Whiskey and Diet – and this is what I got:

Only one of those and a couple of cookies and it was time to head to the gate.

Now all we need is the flight crew which is stuck behind an accident on the way to the airport – luckily we did get out on time considering the number of folks onboard who had connections heading to Alaska (from cold to colder).

Not a bad lunch in First:

A nice Chicken Caesar.

I was home in plenty of time to make myself a nice quite evening meal and relax away from the cold and snow (well, away from the snow).

[225.6]

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Sun
1
May '11

Food Day.

The morning started with a huge breakfast at the Mercury Cafe, this organic place that’s been around in one location or another for years. I had the “Free Peyton Manning” breakfast special, whatever that means — apparently it means two medium over eggs and organic German link sausage with horseradish cream gravey, with cheesy home fries. Good, but heavy, even with the addition of a mimosa. We met Dan’s Mom and Step-Dad there who are in town for the birth of Dan’s brother’s twin girls scheduled for later this week.

Needless to say, after that breakfast it was nap time for Lisa and I. Dan isn’t so good with the mid-day snooze thing.

Later, off to the dog park for a short romp, the dogs not me. Me, I sat on a bench and continued on with the reading of Michael Tolliver Lives, by Armistead Maupin. When I’m done Dan (and maybe Lisa want to read it before they return it to Swanda for “the collection”. It’s just something that you can’t do very easily on the Kindle. Lots of open space north of Denver where Dan and Lisa live, apparently it was a requirement for developers to set aside land if they wanted to build.

A little reading break before Dan and I were off to see Dan’s father’s new condo — yes, his place is filled with unpacked boxes and unhung art just like Dan and Lisa’s. After a thermostat repair and a couple of shots of tequila, off to Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q. A chain, but the meat wasn’t bad, and all the sides looked good. With the breakfast this morning I should have opted for something a little smaller than the 2-meat platter (which was a lot of food for $12.95). Happy hour mean $2 well drinks, $2 tap domestic, or $3 tap domestic premium beers. Dan and Dad had domestic premiums, I had a double on the rocks. It’s sort of an “odd”chain. A dozen branches in/around Jacksonville, Florida, a couple of more along the east coast of Florida, and then two in the Denver Metro area. Odd.

Returned back to the house in the second food coma of the day, but at 8pm it was a little early to go to bed, so we read until both Swanda and FaceBook announced that Osama bin Laden had been executed so we hung artwork while waiting for the President to make the formal announcement.

The kids went to bed before me, but with the reading lamp now hooked up by the couch I read for a bit longer there, then off to bed for more reading.

Not a bad Sunday all around.

[? ? ?]

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Mon
14
Jan '08

Work, Then Play.

8:30am staff meeting — yes, me, in an early morning staff meeting. Shocking.

This week I’ll be reporting from a work/play trip to Sunny Florida (or at least I’m hoping for sunny) logging some billable hours for Shirts of Bamboo.

After Dan’s doctor’s appointment we are off to Daytona Beach — too bad it isn’t spring break with all the half naked guys running around. Well, not exactly after the doctor — there is picking up the rental car and getting lunch in with Lisa before we hit the road.

Check-in is at 4pm at the lovely (hopefully) WorldMark Ocean Walk. It’s a two-bedroom penthouse — which hopefully means sometime more (like a private hot tub) than waffle weave robes. WorldMark really needs to fix their descriptions if it doesn’t. Example: WorldMark Oceanside (the other ocean — north of San Diego) is an example of a “Penthouse” not including a private hot tub — should be renamed Deluxe instead.

Current plan is to check-in, see what they consider a full kitchen, and then do shopping for two days of dinners and breakfasts. It’s also turned into a business trip since Dan will be meeting with a store owner (seven locations) about carrying some bamboo items from our wholesale line.

Stay tuned for updates, unless I’m having too much fun.

MID-DRIVE UPDATE

Nothing like two geeks on holiday. We are finally making some time after having to repeated stop to get the toys in the rental car working. No Toyota Camry as promised, but instead we have a Ford Fusion with 3800 miles on it — the the Microsoft/Ford Sync system — hence the technology delays.

It was easy enough to get the computer plugged in and hooked up to the system so that we can listen to KPLU (Seattle Jazz Station) and still get directions from Microsoft Streets and Trips via GPS. It was getting the bluetooth on my phone to work — never did, but Dan’s newer bluetooth phone does work, and it downloaded his address book and everything. It’s actually better that his phone work than mine since he gets more calls than I do.

Next stop, Daytona Beach.

******** STOP THE PRESSES ********

Special Update for Helene: Lunch with Dan and Lisa at Pho 97 — a lovely Vietnamese restaurant on 34th in St. Pete. Great fresh rolls which both Lisa and I had — and I had a pork sandwich as well (my portion of the bill…. $5). Nice lunch before being dropped at Hertz.

AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM

Off to the market and the liquor store. Publix is a couple of miles north of us. Dinner is both shrimp and lamb with salad, bread, and asparagus…. on the worst collection of cookware that I have ever seen in a WorldMark resort. It’s so bad it is worthy of MORE than the call for a supervisor (still hasn’t shown up), a failing comment card, and many comments on the WorldMark Traveler’s Forum as to “what to expect”.

And here is a shot of Dan and I from last night. I’ll give the link to the rest of the photos when I get them uploaded.

P1040523

Sat
30
Apr '11

SEA-DIA-First Bank Center.

I love early afternoon flights. You get up at leisure, you have your coffee, you take your poop, you have a little breakfast, and THEN you head to the airport. Or in my case, to the apartment to leave the car, then take light rail to the airport.

I was all checked in and in the lounge at 11:05 for my 1:05pm flight. Oddly enough, they collected my coupon for the upgrade — last I’d looked there were still seats available. Hopefully I on’t have to use the other one next Saturday. It would be nice to have a round-trip set to save for a long flight — like Cabo San Lucas in November.

Flight was good, which means on time. It was the same sandwich for lunch that was on the Cabo return, apparently the menu changes tomorrow. For those who have forgotten, it’s a turkey, provolone, roasted pepper sandwich on a ciabatta rolls served warm, with a cold salad on the side. Next time I think I’ll just stuff the salad in the sandwich.

My bags were on the carousel by the time I made the trek in for the end of the “A” concourse. And Dan and Lisa were waiting curbside at door 411 — talk about easy.

First stop of the night — Tokyo Joe’s, a fast casual Japanese food restaurant whose claim is “No MSG, No Fried Food”. Good, fast cheap — light dinner for three $20. It seems that they have dozens of locations, but only in the metro Denver area. Too bad.

Next stop — First Bank Center to see the Denver Roller Dolls take on the Philly Belles ins a roller derby match. What a pleasantly odd way to spend a Saturday night. Dan, Lisa, Sean, and Sean’s woman friend whose name I forgot, but pleasant none the less.

It took three trips to the bar and three trips to the souvenir stand before I was sated — lots of stickers, one t-shirt, and three doubles. I’d like to go back sometime and get a sky box for the match as the stadium is small enough that you’re still not that far from the action.

Last stop is Dan and Lisa’s new place in the northern suburbs of Denver, and the bed calls.

[228.7]

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Sun
22
Sep '19

Life Report: What If We Went Back To College

While I was visiting Dan and Lisa – Dan talked about returning to school for a degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. It got me thinking – so I looked up what courses they offered, and found this link to a “what am I suited for” quiz as it related to the CSU curriculum: https://csu.mymajors.com/quiz/

I was curious as to what they would recommend for me. I found the answers amusing (rated for best match in interest and down):

  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 529
  • Interior Architecture and Design
    Your Score: 410
  • Apparel and Merchandising
    Your Score: 407
  • Hospitality Management
    Your Score: 383
  • Women’s and Gender Studies
    Your Score: 317
  • Journalism and Media Communication
    Your Score: 299
  • Political Science
    Your Score: 299
  • Philosophy
    Your Score: 297
  • Sociology
    Your Score: 285
  • Human Resource Management Concentration
    Your Score: 283

Interesting, really. Fermentation Science and Technology – that might be good for my moonshine fascination and my love of pickles as my late night salty/crunchy snack.

Mentioned the test to Dan, who results were:

  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 516
  • Hospitality Management
    Your Score: 463
  • English
    Your Score: 450
  • Human Resource Management Concentration
    Your Score: 377
  • Business Administration
    Your Score: 377
  • Social Work
    Your Score: 316
  • Animal Science
    Your Score: 313
  • Equine Science
    Your Score: 313
  • Zoology
    Your Score: 313
  • Human Development and Family Studies
    Your Score: 266

WOW – apparently both Dan AND I are supposed to be on a Fermentation Science and Technology track. Wondering what that is?

Fermentation Science and Technology is a multidisciplinary major focusing on the science of fermented foods and beverages. The curriculum focuses on the science of the processes and methods involved with using microorganisms in the commercial production of fermented products. Courses in the major also emphasize the safety, culinary, and nutritional aspects of fermented foods and beverages. This major prepares students for employment in the fermented food and beverage industries in such roles as product development, processing, quality assurance and control, sensory evaluation, packaging, distribution, and plant management. Students enrolled in this major have the opportunity to participate in industry activities and professional organizations to increase their practical understanding of fermented food and beverage production, processing methods, and specific techniques. Learning Outcomes Students will demonstrate: Ability to integrate biological and chemical processes to quality and stability of fermented foods, and to critique and effectively communicate the relationships among processing of fermented foods, nutrition, and food safety. Discipline specific knowledge of the skills and competencies needed in fermentation science and technology. Examples include knowledge of food chemistry, sensory evaluation of fermented products, brewing processes, refining and packaging technology, food production management, and fermentation microbiology. Understanding of classification, production, financial aspects, consumption, and service of controlled beverages, including effective management of facilities and people with emphasis on safe service training and management. Competent application of science, history, culture, safety, health, and nutrition dimensions of fermented foods and beverages.

Potential Careers: Potential Occupations Partnerships with industry help provide field experience and internships for majors in Fermentation Science and Technology. The food industry is the largest in the world and fermentation science is a rapidly emerging area, so the future is promising. Examples of careers include fermentation scientist, food scientist, food technologist, food health inspector, food safety specialist, brewer, biotechnologist, quality control analyst, sensory analyst, food microbiologist, or entrepreneur.

Now let’s throw Lisa into the mix with her results:

  • Human Development and Family Studies
    Your Score: 617
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
    Your Score: 617
  • Neuroscience
    Your Score: 588
  • Psychology
    Your Score: 588
  • Nutrition and Food Science
    Your Score: 580
  • Animal Science
    Your Score: 570
  • Equine Science
    Your Score: 570
  • Zoology
    Your Score: 570
  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 530
  • Social Work
    Your Score: 444

So, even though Lisa’s score in the Fermentation Science category was number nine on her list – the level of appropriateness was right in the same numerical range as Dan and I.

Maybe the three of us should start a business that relies on fermentation. Beer? Whiskey? Pickles?

Here is a graph of where the three of us interact in our interests:

Please feel free to take the test and see where you end up. Granted, this is for a state-run land-grant college with some unique degree choices.

Definitely one of the most geeky posts I’ve done.

[221.2]

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Sat
3
Mar '18

Trip Report: Midweek to Denver

When I planned this trip back in November as one of the final “Cyber Week Sale” flight, I didn’t think it would have a theme, just thought I’d be going to visit Dan and Lisa.

The new theme: Money, Laundering. Please note the comma.

Before we get to the Money portion, let me explain the “laundering” part. Exhibit A:

Exhibit A is an all-in-one ventless washer-dryer that I got in January to replace my first-generation model that lasted 13 years. The new one worked WAY better than the old one, having clothes come out warm rather with a little dampness like the old one. Well, it worked better when it worked – got less than ten loads out of it before it locked the door, gave me an error code, and forced me to call warranty service (GE Appliance Repair). Called on a Saturday morning, and they were out Monday morning (a longer service window than I would have like 8am to noon). Sadly, he needed two possible defective parts…which as it turns out, the control board was on backorder…until April 3rd. This saga played out over about three weeks whilst I was in Hawaii first, then 10 days in Europe.

As of Thursday, we have resolution. They are sending me a brand-new machine, installing it, and taking the dead one away. I think it would have been cheaper for then to air freight in the control board from China. Install date will HOPEFULLY be Thursday/Friday/Saturday of next week before I leave for another 10-day trip. I’m trying to push most of my travel to the beginning of the year when business is lighter.

What all of this means is that I’ve been without clean laundry for weeks now – and why I packed two bags of dirty clothes to visit Dan and Lisa and borrow their washer-dryer.

But back to Denver – Lisa was a doll and picked me (and my laundry) up at the airport, after my ride-to-the-airport scare of forgetting my laptop bag and less time that usual before my light.

On the upside, at least I’d gotten the upgrade to First Class, so there was food on board:

Think sort of a Southwest-style breakfast plate served in my favorite seat (1C). The stress of the airport run led me to order several vodka-cranberry doubles.

Once we got back to their house way north of the airport, those double led to nap time. Like a three-hour nap! The joys of holidaying.

The evening plan was dinner for five, we were joined by another couple around the dining table for “Instant Pot” pork belly, bok choy, and potato salad. Sadly, the only picture I have of dinner is of the bottle of Bonny Doon Le Cigaré Volant from 2008:

It worked quite well with the richness of the pork belly. Green and Black Organic Chocolates from the Alaska Lounge was dessert for several of us. Others had ice cream.

Even with the nap, I was in bed early – and oddly, UP EARLY. This has been happening for the last couple of nights since returning from Europe last week. Gave me time to get some work done in the morning before we headed into town to hook up with DancingBear, who was flying out to Denver on a mileage run combined with lunch with Dan and I, and a tour of the U.S. Mint.

We met up at the train station since there is a direct link to the airport – and grabbed a table (after swinging by the mint to get tickets for the 2PM tour) at Stoic & Genuine – where I’ve eaten before and can best describe as, “top-notch”, and “not-cheap”. With tip, $145 for lunch and drinks for three.

The lunch:

Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned for DancingBear, a Nigroni for me, Haut Toddy (which was actually a Star Wars themed cold drink) for Dan.

Nice, open, airy place with a cute bartender (you’d have to zoom in). And superb food, like my (and Dan’s) fish (cod) and chips…

And DancingBears Diver Scallops on Beat Salad…

Portions were not huge, but excellent quality.

Mint tour wasn’t until two, so we had time to kill at the train station – which is a great place to hang out and watch people:

Got to the mint at the required 1:30pm for our 2pm tour…to find us last in line to go through a very thorough security (cell phones off, no purses, backpacks, knives)…

No pictures allowed inside, so, here is the entrance:

DancingBear hit the gift shop for coinage sets for his collector Mom, and back to the station to drop him off before heading back north to make a liquor store run for me to pack in all that clean laundry.

Dinner my last night was pan-fried steaks with some more of bok choy from last night – not a fancy the pork belly, but just as tasty (and there will be leftover steak to go in the morning scramble).

Sadly, I wasn’t there for the scramble – I had a 9:45AM flight which put us in rush hour traffic to the airport – don’t know why I booked this particular flight (must have been cheap, which it was at $150 r/t), but I’ll know two things for future trips:

  • Arrive and leave mid-day
  • Two nights isn’t really enough

No upgrade on the way back, and a completely full airplane, but I was sitting in a row of partiers, so we all had a great time.

Home and a nap.

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Fri
21
Feb '14

Trip Report: Denver

A couple of months ago I snagged this GREAT fare to Denver on United Airlines… $118 round-trip! You can imagine my surprise when I also got UPGRADED in both directions. Snagged another one in early April for the same price on Alaska, but that one is just an overnight. I try and visit Dan and Lisa as often as I can find cheap fares – it cheers him up from the burden of financial and the resulting emotional stress.

Lots of “selfies” in this post – apparently I was on a roll this trip.

In the Alaska Board Room even though I’m flying United – speaking of which – the plane box, the plane – sporting an EcoSkies livery:

Typical rainy Seattle day…wouldn’t want to be a ramp worker today.

Settled into Seat 1A. Not my favorite, that would be 1B (bulkhead aisle), but it’s a free upgrade and in the bulkhead so no one can put their seatback into my space.

And with United you get a cocktail while you are still on the ground. The blue ear buds are my short-haul noise cancelling headphones. For the longer trips it is still the over the ear Bose.

Looks like someone is a little behind in changing their signage at the Denver airport:

One of my cocktail glasses from the flight was still branded Continental so did them a favor and liberated it so that it can go into SuperModel’s collection.

Lisa met me at the airport for the 45-minute drive to their place in Broomfield – when it’s just an overnight trip (like the one coming up in April) I rent a car since it asking a lot to have someone spend three hours over two days running back and forth.

A shot of Dan and I being silly – well, it’s really just me begin silly:

The first full day found us checking out the new Trader Joes in Denver – one of three coming in the next couple of months, and the only one to have a separate but attached liquor store due to some odd state liquor laws which says you can’t have more than one liquor store permit. The store just opened a couple of days ago and it’s a zoo… we had to park two blocks away:

Serioulsy – the checkout line started at the BACK of the store even though they had 10 checkout lines open.

After a quick bite of TJs snacks it was off to a quick visit to Dan’s father George. He’s got quite the aquarium system filled with all sorts of coral, fish, and odd creatures:

Dinner tonight is what I brought from Seattle – lamb shanks. Though I guess you could say I brought some of last night’s dinner as well since I showed up with a pound of lox trim (for toasted bagels from Moe’s Bagels in Boulder) from Trident Seafoods which bought out Port Chatham where I’ve shopped for years especially for XMess presents for the family. Wow, that was a run-on, now back to shanks:

On my last full day in Colorado is moving all the tools from Dan’s garage to the basement to make it easier to get both cars and his motorcycle parked:

Then it’s a Depot Dog at Home Depot – huge selection – I went for the Beer Braut. Next up was Diet Verners and Coke from King Soopers to restock Dan and Lisa’s fridge with what I usually drink. And finally off to Total Beverage to fill the suitcase with liquor. Here is a great bit of merchandising – the Olympic rings done in 12-packs of CocaCola products:

Up and out of the house by 8AM for my flight home. My breakfast at the French Bistro (Pour La France) in the airport:

Eggs Benedict served on a croissant.

And for the rest of the post, just a bunch of “selfies” in the airport and onboard my flight home, where I actually had TWO first class seats to myself – not that my butt is that big:

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Wed
27
Aug '14

Trip Report: Amtraking From Seattle To Denver Via Sacramento (Part Three)

Too bad I didn’t get the picture of the woman on the platform in Denver doing the ALS Ice Water Challenge – I did, however, donate my ice to the project. I had ice still in my bucket, and I’m in Denver, my destination – better to soak someone than being poured down the drain. Personally I like the picture from the movie Carrie that I posted on FaceBook with the comment “Ice Bucket Failure – Got Blood Instead”.

Because of a thunderstorm that rolled in at the same time as the train (coincidence?) our table was a little late as they moved patio people inside… but soon we were eating at the lovely Stoic & Genuine:

Drinks in hand, waiting for oysters….

Oysters killed, killing the tuna tartar….

Then the heirloom tomato salad – and in the background the watermelon salad.

After dinner we walked through the rehabbed station….

There is even a hotel in the station – the front desk looked good, but no idea the rates. That would be the Crawford Hotel.

It was a long night…luckily both Dan and Lisa aren’t working for my “big day” in Denver…Dan and I ran to HomoDepot (and didn’t give in to the hot dog guy there) to check out parts to fix my suitcase (again) and then off to shop for cheap liquor for me to drag home….but soon it was dinner time:

Chicken off the grill (that’s what is in the big bowl, lots of legs off the grill) while Dan dealt with issues on one of my web servers… and before you knew it, we were both beat…

When you are beat, you are beat.

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Seattle. Thanks Lisa for running me to the airport!

Got my booze laden bag checked (2×1.75, 1x.75) and headed to the Admirals Club (American) which Alaska has privileges with. First priority is to start posting some blog reports… second thing is to get some food before my trip. Yes, there are cookies and snaky things, but unlike the Alaska Board Room, you have to pay for real food – I got the roast beef sandwich on a Pretzel Roll and I swapped out the chips for extra pickles ($9.95 plus tax) – I didn’t realize I was going to get a bucket of pickles:

Loved the horseradish sauce.

Got a post done and then it was onto the Alaska flight home…sigh, no upgrade., but new seats with power outlets. Not an open seat in the plane and in case you were interested, I was number seven on the upgrade list. Damn Friday afternoon flights.

I was in seat 6D – so these are in the back of the first class seats – the regular seat outlets look like this:

I love the fact that the outlets take ALL international plugs…and have USB, the true international standard.

And thank goodness for the Whiskey and Diet smuggled onto the plane…

It isn’t pretty, but it worked.

Had my free drink on the plane (MVPGold Status Benefit), read a little, napped a little and caught a cab home.

Too short a visit – but I needed that train ride (and the time with Dan and Lisa).

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Wed
16
Jan '08

Back to St. Pete.

Headed back to St. Pete this morning… but for those who have requested more pictures, you will find them here:

http://www.twango.com/channel/markso.floridaJan2008

Out of the resort at 10am — a mess at the check-in counter again. Bad, bad, bad customer service. Not even a comment card to complain on.

Really do love the Sync system in the Ford Fusion. Hit the microphone button on the steering wheel and say “Call Lisa Jacobs” and the system answers “Call Lisa Jacobs Mobile or Home?”. Say “Mobile” and it starts dialing. Really slick — to bad it doesn’t work with my phone but Dan’s. Guess I should research that.

Lunch with Dan and Lisa at Kissin Cuzzins — and they were out of the Pulled Pork, so it was a Reuben. At least I didn’t have the fries, but the cole slaw.

Work in the afternoon at the warehouse. Expecting a quiet evening since I fly out tomorrow.

Take-out broiled chicken from Yaya’s Broiled Chicken. Damn fine. Damn quick. Damn easy, and pretty healthy with sides of beans and cole slaw (yes, more).

In case you were wondering about my EVDO connection with the new updates and software, here are the latest numbers.

Not as nice as the SpeakEasy test for visuals in the link — the real thing is much better, but it’s a damn flash thingee that doesn’t copy and paste.

And SpeakEasy.Net used to have a great copy and paste speed test — but they’ve switched to some damn flash thing as well. Speeds were 667 and 332 (and the previous test was 702 and 256) to Dallas (rather than Fort Worth). Thought I’d pick two cities in Texas as they are a ways from St. Pete.

Off to bed. Out of the house at 8:30 tomorrow (again).

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Mon
1
Jun '09

Denver: Day Two.

Out of bed at a little after 8 so I could get some breakfast in me before they stopped serving — at 9:30 it turns out.

Dan, Lisa and George show up at 10:30 for our trip to the DAM, the library, and maybe the mint. Oh the plans of people sightseeing on a Monday.

  • DAM (Denver Art Museum) closed on Mondays
  • Library open, nice short tour
  • Mint by reservation only

Instead — we are off to Paris on Platte for lunch and then spice shopping next door — you could smell the spices half a block away. Yum.

After our misadventure it’s back to the hotel for me, and off to nap time for Dan and Lisa. I did get a little work in, but missed the nap.

Dinner at the Buffalo Bar and Grill a couple of miles from Dan’s Dad’s Place. I had the buffalo meatloaf which was good, and generally everything looked good… and the prices weren’t too bad either — max entree was like $15. I don’t understand how a bar cannot have bitters to make a Manhattan — geez, it’s like $2 a bottle.

After dinner we took George home and headed to Dan and Lisa’s friends from Seattle who move to Lafayette, Colorado which was 30 minutes away on the north end of town. Great folks, great kids — and that’s alot from me!

Home at 11:30 exhausted — but not too exhausted to finish this blog post.

Tomorrow — no morning plans other than work.

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Mon
2
Nov '09

Monday In The Air.

God I hate morning flights – I think I’ve gotten spoiled with the mid-day flights to Oakland.

Up at 5. Out of the house at 6 with Raf driving me to the airport (thanks Raf), through security and in the Board Room by 6:30 for my 8:45 flight.

Why so early — well, it’s me, and there is the free breakfast and drinks at the Board Room. I have to get my money out of that $300 a year membership.

Off I go to the land of the mouse — Orlando. And not in first class. I asked at the desk and I was number eight on the list. At least I’m one row behind first class, in 6D. Unfortunately, when I looked last night at seats, the one next to me was open. By this morning is was filled with someone larger than me who as spilling other both sides. Not big enough to require a seatbelt extender, but close. That’s OK — it’s only a 6 hour flight. It could have been worse, at least he didn’t have body odor.

Slept for part of the flight, read for the rest. Finished Aaron Elkin’s A Glancing Light and am now two thirds of the way through David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim which I’ll leave with Dan and Lisa.

Speaking of Dan and Lisa, they picked me up at the airport about 20 minutes after I got in. My flight was half an hour early so that wasn’t bad considering they started out in St. Pete. Luckily they brought enough food and booze for at least the first night so we went straight to the WorldMark Orlando at King’s Reef. Such a weird name — and where is the reef?

p1090500

Like what we did to the place? It’s all the streamers and balloons from the Window 7 Launch Party Kit. Gives the place a festive look.

Dinner tonight was chicken thighs in a pan sauce (thanks Dan) and broiled asparagus (thanks Lisa) and a lovely bottle of wine following a couple of rounds of Manhattans.

Dessert was a little WII Bowling since they brought their setup, and I brought my WiiMote.

Add a little time in the hot tub and it was off to bed.

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Wed
18
Oct '06

Tampa, Almost Not

Towncar service came and went. I slept. The SIM card was in the computer, not the phone, hence no phone service. I woke up at 4:45 in a panic. No shower, no shave, no clean teeth. Grab the breifcase, forget the clothes, and drive to the airport and park in the garage. Thank god I printed out my boarding passes last night!

Of course the gate was all the way at the end of A terminal. No time for breakfast — at least there was a snack on the plane to Salt Lake City, and time for sleep.

15 minutes late getting in, so off to the next flight, with no time for food. Came in at the end of C concourse, and, of course, was leaving at the end of D concourse. I wasn’t surprised when I arrived in Tampa — at the far end of the Delta concourse. Does mean that I found the Crown Room for the return trip, but at 6am, probably no drinks. Damn.

Lisa met me at the airport and off to Shirts of Bamboo we go.

Nothing like a little work after travelling, thank god the wine started flowing at five thirty or so cause we didn’t get out of there until seven thirty.

Worth the wait — dinner at the Oyster Bar on Central Ave. A starter of oysters (they only serve bluepointes) baked with blue cheese. I had the crab cakes (after much discussion) with a caesar salad with extra anchovies. Dan had the seabass (get it before it’s extinct) and Lisa an amazing chicken dish. Usually I don’t order chicken because it is dry by the time it hits the table, but the Chicken Rosa was great. No wine, but great Booker’s Manhattans for Dan and I, Lisa had the Abolute Ruby Martini.

Home to check the mail and have a couple of scotchs before bedding down in a totally wonderful cat-free bed.

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Tue
14
Nov '06

Work, work, work, drink, drink, drink.

Work all day, play in the evening. Dolce Vita for breakfast, Gilley’s BBQ for lunch. Nice to be able to stroll to nice places to eat. See previous St. Pete entries for links.

Dinner is a condo preview 14 blocks from the store. Mirabella on Central (Sophistication and the City). Nice spread of hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Scotch followed by many cosmopolitans. I think it was the sugar from the Triple Sec that made my sleep rocky.

Before bed rearranged Dan and Lisa’s guest room for Lisa’s mother’s impending visit. Actually looks like a bedroom now with art hanging, the TV hooked up (though the remote is somewhere else) rather than a storeroom with a bed in it. Now if I would have slept better.

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Thu
19
Oct '06

Tampa, Humid

Humid in Tampa, but at least I have clothes to wear made out of bamboo. Check out the link to the right to get your own clothes made from bamboo. Got a couple of pairs of the half socks, a casaba t-shirt, and one in black. Great stuff.

Breakfast at Cafe Dolce, good coffee, breakfast a little heavy on the starch in the breakfast, Florence Morn (scrambled eggs, e-coli spinach, etc. on a square bagel with homefries — should have had the fruit).

Cafe Dolce on Central in St. Petersburg

Great shot of me working in the warehouse at Shirts of Bamboo doing new on-line banner ads and what-not. Affliate program is about to launch.

Uncle Markie Working in Tampa

Lunch at the Chicago hot dog place up the street called The Original Bill’s. The “Wonder Dog” was a true Chicago-style dog, with the exception of the toasted bun (rather than steamed). Peppers, bright green relish, slice of pickle, the celery salt — the works.

Original Bill's on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg

Dinner tonight at Ceviche. If it is as good as last nights dinner, I’m in heaven. Dan and Lisa sure do know how to eat.  And was it good — but Lisa wasn’t up for the meal so late in the evening (8:30). Red peppers stuffed with goat cheese, olive platters, white bean and ham hock soup, lamb chops, cheap red wine, can you ask for more.

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Tue
11
Sep '12

Flying On A Day To Remember.

Funny how my odd act of patriotism is to fly in September 11th. Today I’m off to Denver to see Dan and Lisa – turns out it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen them. Too long.

Maybe that’s why I have this huge pile of luggage for three days…

That would be one roller bag (the one that transforms itself into a hand truck), a 6-bottle wine carrier (one grappa, 2 reds, 1 white, 1 rosé, 2 toasted sesame oil), my computer bag and flat carrier for two prints I’m taking them. I’d forgotten how handy that Porter Case (the transformer) is – might have to go back to using it more often.

Got to the airport way early using light rail and the Porter performed pleasingly. For the second time, I got to use the Pre line – which was open even though the First Class/Gold lines weren’t open. How nice to just stroll up to the conveyor belt with no one in front of you, and just take off your ring/phone/keys and proceed through the scanner (and not the full body scanner).

Plane was on-time, though I got a bit of a jolt getting on the plane – they’d moved me from 1D (my preferred seat) to 3D – at least it’s an aisle, but the food/beverage service is slower. Oh well, it’s still a free First Class seat.

Arriving at the far end of the A terminal, it’s about a 20 minute walk to the baggage claim, which started a little after I got there… but not quick enough for Dan and Lisa who were circling like sharks waiting for bait (that would be me).

A nice evening of conversation and whiskey before bedtime called.

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Wed
5
Dec '12

New Day, New Unit.

Here are some shots of the non-handicap units.

Still no burners – good thing I brought the hot plate!

Didn’t fire up the hot plate this morning – ate leftovers from last night. Think Chinese breakfast.

We were out of the units a little before 10 and headed to the Kanaka Ukulele factory tour. I’d done it before, but thought Joe and Lisa would enjoy it (which they did).

Next up was the Aloha Bowl Flea Market. Not as packed as it usually is according to the vendors. Cause: very muggy weather, but overcast so you don’t have all the heat from open sun.

After a couple of hours and only covering half of the flea market we set out for something air-conditioned: Hilo Hattie. Yes, more shopping – and here it the result from the flea market:

Fabric for something, maybe a shirt? ($10 for three yards)

And who couldn’t resist Christ nailed to a surf board – looks great draped in puca shells. ($15, down from $18)

Three new Hawaii shirts from Hilo Hatties. (1 @ $4.99, 2@ $9.99)

Joe and Lisa headed back to the windward side of the island while I had the remaining leftovers for dinner.

In for the night – my dogs are barking (my feet are killing me).

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