Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That's What It's All About

Those of you who know me that there's something to which I look forward when I come home to California, but my good doctor tells me I should only do in moderation. (I am talking about food here) And I love it more than Togo's.

Imagine my surprise and thrill when I found out one of my favorite indulgences was just around the corner from my hotel!

In-N-Out. That's what a burger is all about! (That was their old slogan) I was able to treat myself to a Double-Double (not animal style) tonight. It's the little things in life that are so satisfying. Gosh, I miss California!

And in case you need ideas for Christmas gifts for me:


Monday, July 23, 2007

You're Such a Teaz!

In my haste to pack a carry-on instead of stowed luggage, it wasn't until I got to the hotel that I realized thatI forgot to pack my shaving razor. I went to the Front Desk to buy one, but they gave me a Bic disposable razor. Have you ever shaved with one of those? They should call them Nic, not Bic.

With little pieces of tissue all over my face and feeling like a teenager again, I started driving to my customer's site for our day of training.

Chico is a university town, but instead of me showing you nice scenes and pictures of the huge graveyard downtown, I once again am obsessed with the signs I see.

The first one is just outside of my Courtyard hotel, but I can promise you that it doesn't reflect the inside of my room.

Then driving to work, I noticed that this probably one college from which I wouldn't advertise from which to be a graduate.

Oh, it's Butte, not Butt. Nevermind.

Then after our day of training, my customer wanted to take me out to dinner. She took me to some swanky hotel restaurant which dates back to 1901. It was a nice atmosphere and delicious food, but another restaurant we passed caught my eye as we drove by it.

I don't think it would have been appropriate for me to answer her question of "What would you like for dinner?" by answering this place.

My boss probably would have fired me. Although, could it have been any worse that when I was in Bellevue, Washington, and turned in my expense report for dining at The Nooner?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Almost Paradise

This week finds me back in my home state of California, but this time I'm in Northern part. Landing in Sacramento, I actually was looking forward to my almost two-hour drive up to Chico.
While you're usually hearing about the wacky things that happen to me on my journeys, there's something about driving by yourself with the tunes cranked up, the window down, and watching the sun set across the beautiful agriculture of the Golden State.

Just outside of Yuba City, I was noticed something walking by the side of the road. As you may recall, I saw all sorts of critters when I was driving in Louisiana. However, I can safely say that Sunday evening was the first time I witnessed a peacock walking on the side of the road. Seriously.

But then again, why not? I was on my way to Paradise.

Finally! The Wait is Over!

Not about my luggage this time, but having to wait until after noon did throw my laundry routine into a cycle. (Sorry about that)

No, I'm talking about the 7th and final installment of the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! After I was finished with my chores, I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up my copy.

Thankfully, I have a 3 1/2 hour flight to and from Sacramento this week, so I should be in a good spot for the race we're having in the office of who finishes the book so we can talk about it. I'm doing my best not to read anything on the web or listen to the news, because I don't want there to be a spoiler for me!

I'll let you know when I'm finished so we can talk about the book!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

With A Flair

To quote Emelius Browne from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, "Oh, it really doesn’t matter what I do, what I do, as long as I do it with a flair".

My last trip home from this customer in Canada I would do with a flair. Well, it wasn't so much me as much as what Northwest Airlines did to me.

It didn't matter that the flight was delayed an hour out of Detroit. I've come to expect that. It didn't matter that I sat next to a little old lady, who started chatting with me, and I was anticipating that she was going to turn on my reading light for me. She didn't and left me alone, so I go her luggage down for her as a silent thank you for not bothering me.

However, it wasn't until I arrived back in Minneapolis that I would experience the icing on the cake. After being delayed an hour and wasting another 50 minutes at baggage claim, my luggage didn't arrive. I went to all the carousels, went to the Baggage Claim counter three times (there's a treat in Customer Service if you've never experienced that), but my red Mickey luggage wasn't there to greet me.

Finally, a nice gentleman at the counter helped and said it was scanned for my flight, but must have been left in Detroit, so they would deliver it to my place on Saturday. Tired and without my dirty fine dedicates, I hailed a cab home.

And just to completely round out my evening, the cab driver tired to carry on a conversation with me in poor, broken English (no, not mine) and at such hushed tones, I had to constantly have him repeat everything.

Yep. Traveling with a flair. Stay tuned to find out if I get my luggage back.

UPDATE: They called at 8:30 AM to say they found my bag and to see if I was home to deliver my luggage. It didn't show up until 12:30 PM. At least it came home ready for my trip tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Plus Qu'il N'en Faut?

More than enough? (Remember, everything is in French and English up here)

Pictures that is. I figured that since this is my last night in Woodstock, Ontario (not the one with lots of pot and debauchery), I'd show you where I spent four weeks of my life with some wacky stories.

So, here we go! Let's explore Woodstock!

The Woodstock Peace Lighthouse. Yes, there's a lighthouse hundreds of kilometres away from water. It houses an original stone from the home of St. Peter in Galilee as well as a collection of ancient maps from the holy land. Imagine that!

This next one is hard to explain. Apparently, there is a senior couple who ride around town in this John Deer tractor/trailer. The husband pulls his wife along at about 10 clicks per hour (translation: super slow) on the busy streets, and because they've been doing since before time, the local authorities allow it. I wish I could have seen it in action, they are a Woodstock institution.

This is where I sent my family and some friends their post cards, eh?

Job hunting certainly is interesting up here.

It only took me three trips out here to discover a very cool totem pole on the way to my customer's office.
And finally, making calls can be entertaining. I'm using calling a Loonie, not using one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Which One Is It?

Okay, y'all. This one would even have Paula Deen or Martha Stewart confused. What would you expect to find on this menu?

Apparently what that means is you can get Chinese food and burgers. I was expecting yummy Peameal bacon. If you haven't had that, it's worth the trip to Canada!

Maple Leaves

I've noticed this on every trip up here, whether it's been in person or on commercials. So here are some examples of what we see in the US and how the branding has been modified in Canada.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Today my customer sent me to one of their locations in London, Ontario. Part of Southwestern Ontario, its nickname is "The Forest City", because it used to be an isolated city (it felt that way on the drive out there!), and is a city within the forest of trees. My customer told me that you'd be hard pressed to find the city when flying over it.

Maybe explains this exit, which sure made me feel like I was there.

Oh, and today was the first day they've had rain here since April, hence the raindrops you see from my windshield.

Happy 52nd!

I found this image at http://www.mouseplanet.com/ and thought it quite funny.

Happy 52nd Birthday today, Disneyland! Too bad there weren't more pictures like this one, so the next one will probably when you're 55 or 60.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Where's Scott?

Well, it's my last trip to Woodstock, Ontario, Canada for this customer. It's been quite the experience with some wacky tales. So why should it stop with this trip?

First, and always with these flights, there were delays. Not bad ones, but the one from Detroit to Kitchener was due to them waiting for a mechanic to fly up with us to repair a plane. So they rolled back the jet bridge and opened the plane door again.

After 15 minutes, they said they didn't need to wait for the mechanic any more, so we'd take off soon. The power went off and we sat in the dark, so the pilot asked to have the jet bridge rolled back so we could take off, but the gate agent had left.

The pilot came on the speaker to tell us that since we were already delayed, they were taking care of getting the other flights out "on time" so that they could say they have a good on-time record. So we know the games the airlines play.

After an hour delay, we took off and made it back to Kitchener. I was looking forward to seeing Scott, my Customs "buddy" since I had my papers in hand in anticipation as to what I was doing in Canada for business.

Imagine my surprise to find two other agents at the Customs windows and not Scott. (And no, they weren't Canadian Mounties)

To top it all off, he asked the purpose of my visit and the name of my company and that was it! No issues whatsoever!

I went to get my rental car, and the National Car lady who has helped me three of my four visits now knew me by name as well. A business man who was on my flight asked where the Avis person was, and she said she hadn't seen him all night. She didn't have a phone number for him, and neither did the business man.

So, while Catherine (we're on a first-name basis now) and I finished my paperwork, the business guy, whose name was Dave, asked his options. It was either sleep at the airport or call a cab. Since I went through the same thing two visits ago, I asked where he was staying. As it turns out, it was at a Holiday Inn that I passed on the way the 401 anyway.

While I don't condone giving rides to strangers, he looked trust-worthy and the sermon at church that morning was about the Good Samaritan, so I offered to drop him off. He thanked me, I dropped him off, and on I went to Woodstock. I hope that my last week here will be problem free!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Don't Take This Tip Literally

From an AOL web article, there are some interesting tips on what to do at Disneyland. Tip # 7 could get you into trouble.


Tip 7: Nail your characters early.
If your little ones are dead set on having their pictures taken with princesses and mice and bears, best to do it sooner than later, as the lines get longer as the day goes on. The princesses take up court in the Fantasyland Theatre, Buzz Lightyear hangs out in Tomorrowland, Pooh and the gang take over Critter Country, Mickey and Minnie are easily found in Toontown, Ariel has a clamshell in the fountains near Tomorrowland, and Aladdin takes up shop in Adventureland, while a mix of characters sometimes take over the Small World area. Sometimes the villains come out to play around Fantasyland, and old-timers -- like Brer Bear -- chill near Adventureland. Sometimes it’s set, other times it’s luck of the draw, but if you miss someone during the day, sometimes they make a post-parade appearance on Main Street near the Mad Hatter.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I've Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now

What a gorgeous day to be flying! Finally, a nice trip home. Here you see the flags of the city of Waterloo, the Province of Ontario, and I hope you recognize Canada. The clouds were absolutely beautiful from the ground.

As the six passengers and three flight crew took off in our prop jet, it was even more spectacular. This picture doesn't do it justice, but as we flew through the clouds, I felt like Aladdin and Jasmine on their Magic Carpet ride. And later, my cab driver's name was Abu. Hee hee.

Then on the connecting flight home through Detroit, it wasn't the man wearing a Finding Nemo bowtie that made me laugh. Seriously, dude. Even I wouldn't wear that! Nor was I concerned about the man who was being extradited from Michigan to Minnesota. Two Customs officers lead him on the plane first before the rest of us were allowed to board, and two greeted him when we deplaned, and of course he sat two rows in front of me. It wasn't even the little old lady sitting next to me, who insisted on turning on my light to read. That's like the second or third time that's happened. Was that what entertained me?

Nope. Rather, it was the Yenta with the three carat ring and her foot in a removable cast sitting in the row in front of me where I could see her that would be the source of my laughter this trip. By the way, she had her bare foot resting on the airplane blanket some of you may like to cuddle up in. I've seen that one a few times and a lot worse, so don't ever use the blankets or pillows on the plane. It's a germ-fest.

Anyway, back to my Yenta. She purchased two Sky Vodkas from the flight attendant, who didn't have her change for her, but promised he'd be back with her $8.00. She began to shmaltz it up, having tipped back a few prior to the flight I'm sure.

A little while later, she's waving to a business man in a tie who was standing in the aisle talking to his friend. The Yenta ways her arms in the air and cries, "Oy! Bubbee! Come here!" The guy points to himself and mouths, "Who? Me?" and she says yes. He comes over and she says, "Oy, you owe me my gelt!" The guy says, "Not me. I don't owe you anything lady." She looks at him as says, "You're not the flight attendant?"

Turns out Friday the 13th was okay after all.

To Infinity...Or Just Cars?

Bet you know who I thought of when I saw these colours across from my hotel, eh? Let's hope I'm lucky today and no wacky travel stories on my way home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Do you think this company is regretting their choice of company name and initials?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Coin a Phrase

Okay, y'all. This is pretty cool. Back in the States we're doing the quarters for each State. In Canada, they are doing Olympic quarters. But some of them have colours! They are much more attractive than our coins.

And notice the value of those two coins. Yep. That says $25 Canadian Dollars.

They even did a Loonie in colour, eh?

But while I was here this week, they released the world's first coin to commemorate the Paralympics. So I was able to pick up a few. Don't mind my fingers.

There wasn't much out on the web, so here's an excerpt for those who are interested.

Canadian First Mint commemorates the Paralympic Games through the issuing of a circulation coin
TORONTO, July 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) today officially released the third of 17 circulation coins to celebrate the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Wheelchair curling is depicted on the 25-cent coin. The RCM is proud to be the first ever Mint commemorate the Paralympic Games through the issuing of a circulation coin.

Up to 22 million 25-cent wheelchair curling coins enter into circulation on July 11, 2007 and will be available exclusively at RBC Royal Bank and participating Petro-Canada outlets. RBC Royal Bank is a Premier National Partner and Petro-Canada is a National Partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Canadians can also look for these special coins in their change.

Americans here on business have to go to the bank to get theirs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Laugh Up Me 'Earties

I'm working from my hotel room listening to Canadian Idol. It's too bad that they still aren't good after four weeks and the judges are too kind in their feedback. Boring!

Anyway, the show switched over to a show called Pirate Master. Obviously riding the wave of the Pirates popularity (pun intended), this show is Survivor meets Captain Jack, but it just doesn't work for me.

I thought it was a Canadian show, but it turns out to be produced by CBS. I don't see it listed back home in my area, but I wouldn't be putting it on Tivo either.

Check it out, but ye be warned, me matey. It may make ye go "Arrrgh!"


Oh, and there isn't a Redhead in case we wants one.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tower of Terror?

Here I go with the signs again.

This sign is courtesy of the Quality Inn, the better of two hotels in Woodstock, Ontario (Best Western is the other choice).

I have a history of getting stuck in elevators. Once in an American Express elevator, and the other at a Fairfield Inn in Columbia, SC. Fortunately for both occasions, I had my cell phone, I wasn't hungry and I had "Plan B" in case I had to tinkle. But ever since both instances, I have been cautious of vertical transportation.

This sign convinces me to take the stairs while staying at the "Quality" Inn, no matter how many floors.

And then when I get up to my room, I find I have a "space-age" washroom. None of that is porcelain. Nope. It's all grey plastic. The shower and bathtub were worse. And this is Quality?

Delays and More Delays

Here we go again.

Sunday evening, there was a severe thunderstorm that came through Minneapolis at the same time I was about to board my flight. There was thunder, lightning and hail, and the sky was dark, but it cleared up in about 40 minutes. They delayed my flight three times, and that made me my connecting flight to Canada.

I had them look for flights through Toronto, London as well as Kitchener, and the earliest flight they could find for me is arriving in Canada tomorrow morning. I had to fly to Detroit Sunday night, as they did not have any available flights Monday morning. They had rerouted all the planes, so it was kind of eerie to see the airport without any planes at any of the jet ways.

That reminds me of the time when they canceled my flight out of Columbia, SC. I turned in my car, went to check in, and that’s when they announced they canceled the flight due to mechanical problems, and they would get us out the next morning.

Since I had to be in San Diego the next day for a Microsoft Convention, I asked to be rebooked on another airline. They said all the other airlines were full. So then I had to tell the person to look for flights out of Charleston, Greensville, or even Charleston, because I figured I could drive there to make a connecting flight. Finally, they found a flight for me out of Greensville, which was about 1 ½ hours away.

Rushing back to National Car Rental, where I had returned my car 30 minutes prior, I asked if I could get the same car back. No go. Not only did I have to rent a car for 2 hours, that car rental for 2 hours cost more than it did to rent the car for the entire week.

Amazing. You would think that we’d have a better way to travel. Would someone hurry up and make the Transporter please?

Click on the article, and read where it says that "normal operation" came back within the hour. But what about my 4 1/2 hour delay?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Houston's Submerged in Water

Okay, this is just too cute to pass up. My friends' dog, Houston (his brother's name is Austin), needed to go to doggy therapy. They have a doggy pool and a doggy vest. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
This is also the couple who dressed up their doggies as Pirates last year. I don't think they could get the cats to do it.

Now that I've told on them, I should also tell you they do a fantastic job being a foster family for pets and volunteer a lot for the Animal Humane Society. To learn more, go to


Put Your 257-Foot-Tall Arm Down

I would have to say that the Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere at EPCOT is probably one of my most favorite Disney Park icons. I was not happy when during my parents' first trip to WDW in 1999, they had put up the Wand and writing in anticipation for the Millennium celebration.

Now after all these years, it has grown on me. This September, my parents and I are going to WDW, and it will be their first time back. And as it turns out, they are taking down the Wand and the words EPCOT.

Oh the irony.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July Memories

Some good friends are coming over tonight for food, drinks and to watch the fireworks from the balcony. Last night I saw a few, but being the old man that I am, I couldn't stay up to 10:30 to watch all of them. (I was up at 5:00 AM, so is that an excuse?)

But seeing the fireworks reminded me of all the fond memories I have as a kid with my family. My Mom and Dad would take my sister and me to parks, Disneyland, and even this cool firework show I had to see a couple of years in Long Beach, because they had special displays with Planet of the Apes and Star Wars themes. And we're talking the original shows here folks.

Some of my favorite shows either had themes like described above, or, as many of you will agree, to have moving music set to the show like at any Disney theme park. To this day, if I ever see a 4th of July display (or the 3rd of July for the parts for which I could stay awake), I always hear the Disney American Medley music in my head (for once the voices stop talking). It makes me say, "This is my country...God Bless America!"

So what does all this have to do with Jessica Rabbit? Absolutely nothing, but don't you just love her? She fabulous!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel Sign

My friend reminded me of a sign he saw in a Tokyo Disneyland hotel.

Be careful of the thick staff.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What Are Words For?

My boss, Jennifer, is going to London, Paris and Amsterdam for 10 days next week, so I offered to help her with a few phrases every tourist should at least attempt to say when visiting Europe. My French is a bit rusty, so I may not be pronouncing it correctly.

In case you're interested, the list I gave Jennifer is below.

French English

S'il vous plait If you please/please

De rien You’re welcome

Bonjour Good Day

Bonsoir Good Evening

Parle vous Anglais? Do you speak English?

Je m’appelle Jennifer My name is Hot Stuff

Pardon Excuse me

Je ne sais pas I do not understand

Je t’aime Say this to get free drinks

Ou est … Where is …

Toilet I think you know this one

Combien distance est pour... How far is it to...

C’est combien? How much is it?/How much does it cost?

Dutch English

Dag! Hello/Good bye

Tot ziens See you/Until next time

Goede morgen Good Morning

Goede dag Good Day

Spreekt u Engels? Do you speak English?

Hoeveel kost dit? How much does this cost?

Hoe ver is… How far is…

Dank u wel Thank you very much

Niets te danken Nothing to thank/You’re welcome

Mijn naam is Jennifer My name is Hot Stuff

Ik hou van jou Say this to get free drinks

Waar is…Where is…

Toilet I think you know this one

Queen's English How We've Slaughtered It

Right You know what I mean?

Trousers Pants

Pants Underwear

I say! No s#%t!

Hello, Luv Yo, Beeach!

And if you're in the city of York:

A street is a gate.
A gate is a bar.
A bar is a pub.