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MSN Security Line Observations

January 10th, 2009 No comments
  • A man was “going to risk carrying on some liquids this time.”  He’d never tried it before and was nervous. “Seems like women need liquids more than men.  My wife’s a pro at this.”
  • Same man, listing his only liquid: hand sanitizer.  “I love this stuff.  I’m addicted to it.  Seems like ever since I’ve started using it, I’ve never gotten sick.”
  • Same man, talking about why he uses hand sanitizer: “As soon as I shake hands with someone I whip this stuff out and clean up.”
  • Same man, re: other hand shakers: “You know, somepeople will even go as far as not shaking hands with someone if they’re sick.  Can you believe that?”
  • An older (60+?) lady in front of me in the security line handed the TSA her Visa card as ID.  I had to turn away to laugh.
Categories: Travel, Work Tags:

Marriott Copley

April 4th, 2008 No comments

I stayed at the Marriott Copley last week in Boston.  It wasn’t anything amazing, in fact it was somewhat dreary and antiquated.  It felt like an old, fancy hotel where doorman and bellhops would be around every corner.  It wasn’t, it was just a Marriott.

I did have a room on the 27th floor, though.  It had a very decent view.  I grabbed a couple pics through the dirty windows so you can have an idea of what it was like as well.

One other thing to note is the valet parking charge was the most expensive I’ve ever seen.  $40 a night.  Whew.

Categories: Work Tags: , , ,

Overheard while boarding the plane

March 24th, 2008 No comments

“What’s the difference between an Airbus and an airplane?”

Categories: General, Work Tags:

Holiday Inn Mt Moriah (Memphis)

March 16th, 2008 No comments

My MEM -> MSN flight was canceled on Friday, so Northwest issued me a voucher to Holiday Inn Mt. Moriah.  It was pretty gross.

The halls reeked of cigarette smoke, and the hallway carpet was peeled up at spots.  In fact, it looked like it was in the midst of renovations, but it wasn’t.  The bathroom cabinet obviously hadn’t been cleaned in a while, the furniture was gouged, and the clock radio hadn’t been cleaned recently as well.  My room was non-smoking, but the room across from it wasn’t so smoke wafted into my room.

Would you stay here?

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Reasons to dislike San Antonio’s airport (SAT)

January 25th, 2008 No comments
  1. The security line is two lines in one.  Where one row of people should be standing, SAT decided it was big enough for two rows.
  2. A group was handing out Watchtower from a kiosk.
  3. Wifi is nearly impossible to access (use wifi4public – it works after the 10th try, and it costs $6.95/day).
  4. Traffic is miserable all around it.
  5. NWA’s operations are entirely outsourced.
  6. There is no WorldClub, or President’s Club, or Crown Room Club.
  7. It takes forever to get from the gate to the runway.
  8. Avis’ lot is a shuttle ride away.
  9. The security line is two rows of people squished into one line (see #1 above).
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San Antonio River Walk

January 24th, 2008 No comments

I ate at Boudro’s on San Antonio’s River Walk tonight (the official site spells it River Walk, everyone else spells it Riverwalk), it was ehh.  I had stuffed quail, but it was overstuffed and overpoweringly flavorful.  The fresh limeade was very good, as was the tableside guacamole.  People were eating outside along the “river” (it’s man-made) with western-style ponchos on.

Afterwards, I took a few pics with my new camera.

Categories: Food->Restaurant, Photos, Work Tags:

Distortion

December 19th, 2007 No comments

This is an update to the Residence Inn post below.

 The TV has horrible distortion.  When I was watching it last night, a crawler was going across the bottom of the screen.  The letters were real tall and wide at the edges of the screen, and normal sized in the middle.  I actually thought it was an effect done on purpose.

Now, watching it tonight, I’ve noticed more than just an edge distortion, but an overall staring-through-a-warped-magnifying glass distortion.  It’s kind of annoying when you notice it.

Also, the bathroom door has to be closed for you to access the sink.  It actually looks like there is no sink in the bathroom when you first look at it, but once you get inside and close the door you realize where they hid the sink.

And the wireless Internet access was crawlingly slow last night.

I still can’t complain too much, this place puts the Courtyard to shame.

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Tabla Bread Bar

December 19th, 2007 No comments

I’m travelling alone this week, and that means I have to eat alone. At least it I’m in New York where it’s a bit easier to find a place to eat alone.  I did some searching and found a few recommended places for dining alone, and decided on Tabla’s Bread Bar.

 I’ve had Tabla, the main, upstairs, restaurant on my to-do list for a couple years now.  I figured now was as good a time as any to cross it off.  I hopped in a cab to 11 Madison Ave (near Madison Square Park, in the Credit Suisse building) in the rain and was there in 15 minutes.  The (three) hostesses offered me a table in the lounge area underneath the steps, and also mentioned a bar seat was available as well.  The main seating area seemed to be relatively full.  I took the lounge table, next to the bathrooms, underneath a large mirror.  It was really well lit, so I somewhat felt like I was on display as I ate.

 The incredibly nice server, Steve, came by and suggested a glass of sauv blanc, which turned out to be pretty good.  I started off with an amazing green apple salad, after being advised not to order the raita (apparently it’s more of a sauce than a salad).  The green apples were sweet, and mildly tart, and it was sauced with tamarind chutney and yogurty chaat masala.  Also accompanying it were radishes and potatoes, and it was topped with a crunchy topping of unknown ingredients resembling chopped chow mein noodles.

My entree was a stew of pork shank vindaloo, which my server warned me takes 30 minutes to prepare.  It was worth the wait, though (and the wait was only 20 minutes or so).  Falling-off-the-bone pork was stewed in a pot of intensely spiced, chili-laced curry sauce and served in a cast iron bowl.  I had rosemary naan to go with it.  It wasn’t overly spicy, but was a bit on the salty side.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was overseasoned, but I would say the cook had a heavy hand.

For dessert I ordered an $8 saffron-poached pear with homemade chai “sauce” and pear sorbet.  All was served atop a loose vanilla genoise.  While full from everything else I had eaten, the portion was small.  Three quarter-sized pears were all the poached pears turned out to be.  They were very good, but not enough there to consider the dessert to be poached pears and not vanilla cake with pears and sorbet.  The homemade chai “sauce” was served cold (which I question if that was correct), poured around the genoise.  There was definitely a hint of cayenne pepper on the sauce’s finish, which made for an interesting taste for a dessert.

The meal was enough to inspire me to return for their upstairs tasting menu at some point in the future.  It appeared to be very busy as suit-clad diners traversed the stairs all night to use the restroom just behind me.  If you’re a single diner in New York, I’d definitely recommend Tabla’s bread bar as a nice treat.

The pics below show two things: 1) I don’t feel comfortable sitting alone, taking pictures of my food 2) my cell phone doesn’t do well with macro pictures.

Categories: Food->Restaurant, Work Tags:

Residence Inn Times Square

December 18th, 2007 No comments

I was checking in to the Courtyard Times Square today and was offered the opportunity to switch to the Residence Inn across the street.  I’m not sure if they were doing that to a lot of people or just because I’m Marriott platinum.  Once I assured I’d still earn my full points despite going to a usually-half-point-earning hotel (I did have to ask to get that, though), I said yes and headed over.  It didn’t hurt either that the last time I stayed at the Courtyard (January, 2006) I thought the rooms were small and that it smelled smokey.

Now, I’m in a room on the 19th floor and am pretty glad I switched.  It’s a suite, of sorts, just like any Residence Inn room is.  It’s got one of the nice, new Marriott beds in it, marble everywhere and stainless appliances (that I’ll never use).  The TV is “digital,” but not HD – I’ve yet to stay in a hotel with HDTV, but I have a feeling that’s coming soon.

Aside from slow wireless access, I’m pretty impressed with the place.  Let’s see if they follow through on the point matching once my stay posts.

One other thing.  On the way up, the guy in the elevator was like “You’ve got to try the breakfast.  It’s free, and it beats $20 bacon anywhere else in Manhattan.”  I’ll be the judge of that.

Categories: General, Work Tags:

Snowdin

December 18th, 2007 No comments

As if traveling all day, not getting upgraded, not getting a meal, no restaurants being open in MSP, and having to do work on a day off wasn’t enough, I returned to a snowed-in car Monday night.  I parked on the top level of the parking structure in the middle of a snowstorm, but that was the only spot that was left.  I figured I’d have some mess to clean up when I returned, but I didn’t think it would be this bad.

I had to scrape for a good 15 minutes just to clear the snow.  Then, I had to rock the car back and forth for another 10 minutes to get it out of the spot.  I thought I was going to have to ask someone to tow me out.  Luckily, after burning through what was probably an inch of rubber, I was able to pull out and leave.

When I went to pay I found that my window didn’t want to open either, so I had to get out to pay.  What’s funny about the whole thing is you still pay the full $9 if you park on the roof of the parking structure in the open air.

For the trip I’m on now, I made sure I found a spot on the inside.

Categories: Work Tags:

Orange County

December 11th, 2007 No comments

I flew out to Southern California today for work.  Tomorrow Ross flies out and we have reservations at Disney’s Napa Rose (menu).  Zagat calls it the top restaurant in Orange County.

Pics below are views from my room at the Anaheim Marriott, as well as my wanderings around the area near my hotel, which is right next to the Disneyland Resort area.

I had lunch at Napolini at Downtown Disney.  It’s the walkup window for the Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria table service restaurant next door.  I had a panini (portabella mushroom, mozzarella, sundried tomato), and it wasn’t that good.  First, the place has no semblance of a flow to it.  You have no clue if you’re to order the pizza/sandwich first then pay, or pay then wait for the food.  In any case, I paid first and waited a few minutes for my sandwich to arrive.  When it did, the cheese wasn’t melted enough, and the sundried tomatoes were nowhere to be found (I defy you to find more than a dribble in the pic of it below).  I hadn’t eaten all day, so I made due.  The tea you see in the picture was $4.95 for the bottle.  Crazy.

 I’ve been to Disneyland before, but I had forgotten how different it is from Disney World.  Cast members were all over the place in uniforms from their respective jobs.  One had a Tower of Terror costume on, another was a cook leaving work.  The Magic Kingdom has the utilidor system to prevent that from happening, so it’s odd to see people walking around “out of place” here.

Note the Downtown Disney directory sign picture below.  All of the eateries owned by the Patina Group are clearly marked, and there are a lot of them.  I wish Disney ran all of the restaurants on property (some of the Patinas are chains), so it’s disappointing to see how many aren’t Disney-run.

One last thing to note is how cold people perceived it to be.  The temperature was in the low 60’s, high 50’s, maybe, and people were running around in sweaters and jackets rubbing their hands together to keep warm.  My short-sleeved shirt proved perfectly comfortable.

I watched 3/4 of North by Northwest on the plane, and I’m about to finish the rest in a few minutes.  I’ve been up since 2AM California time (it’s 9PM now), and my body is starting to remind me of that.  It’s always odd going to bed in a city and thinking that just that morning you were in another place entirely.  This morning at 5:30 AM I was driving through some of the worst snow conditions ever on the beltline (two cars went over the median like it was a ramp), now I’m in a Marriott in Anaheim anticipating one of the best Disney meals I’ll ever have tomorrow.

Dayton comments

October 19th, 2006 No comments
  • Dayton has many homeless people
  • Dayoton is seemingly not safe
  • Dayton is dominated by NCR, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and chain restaurants
  • The sun never comes out in Dayton
  • The Dayton Marriott is sub-par
  • Picking up a car from the DAY Avis facility feels like stealing it because there’s no exit gate at the lot
  • Dayton seemingly has only one major mall and it’s in Miamisburg
  • Seat 3D on a CRJ is not comfortable.
  • Dayton might qualify for being in “the South” based on location, speech and voting preferences
Categories: Travel, Work Tags: