Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union Drinking Game 2007

The President gives his annual report to congress tonight.
And this year for me - it's all about the Drinking Game

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

2007 Design and Development Emergency Kit

So having been away from the office for three weeks, I was mildly surprised to find that someone left a present for me on my desk. It's a zip-lock baggie (with a little Santa Claus on it) that contains some goodies, and a damned funny little explanatory note. You can see the picture here, but just in case you can't make out exactly what the text says, I'll transcribe it...

--BEGIN--

2007 Design and Development Emergency Kit

To prepare for cuts and bruises from continued use of bleeding-edge technology, you will find the following:

* 1 Band-aid - for the nicks and cuts you may endure next year
* 1 quarter - for the headache or ulcer medicine of choice. See the medicine dispenser in L-1 or in other Corporate South Locations
* 2 pieces of chocolate - for its anti-oxidant & pick-me-up properties for those days when you're just feeling down or depressed

--END--

At first glance, I immediately assumed the quarter must be for "calling someone who cares" - but apparently that's just the obnoxious New Yorker inside me talking.

So much weirdness in so many places...

It has been a weird few days in in the news - literally all over the place:

My triumphant return to Bloomington-Normal

After three holiday weeks in New York, I returned to Bloomington Sunday night. And naturally - just because I was looking forward to getting back - and I had forgotten just how annoying this particular commute can be - there was a mildly annoying adventure in store.

Traveling on Sunday nights is almost always problematic - as is flying all the way to Bloomington (taking a connecting flight from Chicago, as opposed to just driving the 133 miles from Chicago) - as is also checking bags. That's why I avoid doing these things. But naturally - this week, I scored the hat-trick.

My flight from New York was delayed over an hour... and it landed naturally in a different terminal from my connection. I hustled across the airport and really should have made the connection, but unfortunately they decided to "close the plane" 10 minutes early...so I missed it. Naturally it was (almost!) 9:25pm and this was the last flight out. The gate attendant wouldn't help me - she just directed me to customer service (repeatedly... I almost asked if she could say anything else or if her needle was skipping). The United customer service was annoying too... they're like "you are rebooked on the first flight tomorrow morning". I had no desire to stay overnight - and I told her I was going to drive it. United naturally won't reimburse for a hotel or a rental car - and getting the one leg of flying to be refunded requires calling an 800 number that I've had to call before, but is literally *never* answered by a human being - and I'm convinced it's impossible to get a refund from them...but that's all they can do from the airport side...

Of course I did have this one checked one bag to contend with. Tee-hee. (I hate checking bags!) My bag missed the connection too...but the lady said to go downstairs to the United baggage claim and I could pick it up. Turns out that it's back in the first terminal where I landed - so I had to schlepped all the way back there... and waited on line for 20 minutes... only to be told by the grumpy dude behind the counter that they don't release bags at night - so I actually CANNOT pick up my bag. He informed me that it would be on the first flight to Bloomington the next day I could claim it at that airport... Waste of time. I don't know why the customer service person told me to go there when I could have left the airport 20 minutes sooner...but whatever...

Blah blah - this hole thing wasted oodles of time....I also had to stop at the Hertz place in Bloomington early the next morning to "return" the car - and check it out again (the same car!) - just so I wouldn't get one-way rental charges on the car everywhere I went all week...

One nice thing from Sunday night is that I met this really nice couple who also missed the same flight for the same reason... They are psych professors here at the university (ISU) - and they were coming back from visiting their families for xmas & new years... and we were commiserating at the gate and ended up renting a car together for the long drive. So - for the first time, I got to do this long drive WITH company (didn't turn on the radio once the whole way!). And they're really cool - we had lots of fun chit-chatting the whole way here. We all met up again (unplanned) at the Bloomington airport when claiming our bags Monday night. I believe these are my first non-work-connected friends in town...and cooler than that...I now know two Normal psychology professors! (yes - the puns are intended)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

New York has first snow-less December in 129 years

To be fair, they're saying this has nothing to do with Global Warming, but more to do with El Nino - but CNN says this is the first time since 1877 that New York City has not seen snow in December

Gee - it's a good thing I spend so much time in Illinois or I might have gone a whole winter without a good storm

Being healthy while being gluttonous

This is actually pretty great. (Granted - the big problem on cruises is eating TOO MUCH - but it's definitely better if all that food "Come on as passengers, but roll off as cargo" is not artery-clogging and deadly.)

"Royal Caribbean International, joining a growing trend, will become the first cruise line to make the move toward removing trans fat from its menus beginning March 1, 2007, culminating in a fully trans-fat-free menu fleetwide by the end of this year. Effective immediately, trans-fat-free frying oil will replace the old pour-and-fry oil originally used in food preparation, and entirely-new, trans-fat-free menu options will be introduced to Royal Caribbean's menus. Royal Caribbean has long accommodated requests from guests with special dietary requirements, from those looking to maintain a low-fat intake to others who face serious allergies. "Vegetable oils that have undergone hydrogenation result in a type of fat that doctors have linked to serious health risks including diabetes, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels," said Michael Bayley, senior vice president, Total Guest Satisfaction. "If we can offer guests a healthier serving of the foods they love by switching to trans-fat-free oils, while maintaining the same level of satisfaction, why wouldn't we make the switch?" The trans-fat-free oil was put to the test onboard Navigator of the Seas last November. The conclusion was that, not only is the trans-fat-free oil healthier for guests, but it provides a better tasting product. Royal Caribbean is working jointly with all onboard food and beverage partners as well as suppliers to ensure that a full transition to a trans-fat-free menu will take place fleetwide by the end of this year."

Once again, it's first New York - and then everyone else. :-P

Hat tip to my cousin Sandy at Your Cruise Concierge

Announcing "Meals By Marc"!

My brother-in-law and good friend Marc Sessler just launched his own personal chef business in central New Jersey.

Marc has always been a huge whiz in the kitchen. My larger family has exploited these talents for years - using their house for holiday dinners and parties and gatherings, etc. He can bake an awesome cake. He makes a yummy (kosher!) fish chowder. And he even makes sure that everything he makes is pretty healthy.

My sister Lynn (his wife) is actually also a really good cook, but unfortunately for her, whenever any of us is there for dinner and tastes something amazing - we always automatically assume that Marc made it (even if it's really something Lynn created) because everything he makes is so awesome.

I LOVE his new website - over at mealsbymarc.com. Marc wrote all the content and figured out how it would be organized, but the photos are all by his cousin Jon Roemer and the website itself was designed and implemented by my friend April Greenberg's company Spring Thistle Design

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tuesday, January 2, 2007