Status

Mar. 1st, 2010 12:43 pm
jayfurr: (3-Day)
My status: I am sick, fighting a cold, but heartened by the actions of some very nice people.

Thanks to some very generous donations over the weekend, I am now effectively 3/4 of the way toward the $2,300 minimum I need to raise in order to enter the Tampa Bay Breast Cancer 3-Day. I'd like to raise a lot more than $2,300, of course, but my initial goal is set at $2,300 because, frankly, I know people are a bit more reluctant to donate when you're sitting there with this huge goal that their donation will barely affect. Once you're within a few hundred dollars of a goal, donations tend to come fast and furious. Not that I'm not grateful for each and every dollar donated, no matter when it comes in.

I still owe y'all a silly video of me sprinting around the local park made up with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and a cherry -- but unfortunately, there've been barriers to it happening. Valentine's Day was the day I meant to do the video but Carole reminded me we wouldn't make it home at all that day because of her Gospelfest concert; we didn't get home until very late. And the next weekend had me in Georgia all weekend. And this past weekend I was sick -- I did venture out to do a low-speed short-distance training walk around the local mall, but regretted it later because I really needed to rest, rest, rest so I'd be healthy on Monday. Turns out I wasn't on the mend, as I thought I was -- I was just between one bout of feeling like death and another one that set in later on Saturday. Right now I should be driving to Boston because I've got to be onsite at a customer for three days, Tuesday through Thursday, but I still feel weak as a kitten. I'm not sneezing or coughing, but I certainly don't have my strength back. Blasted cold. Nonetheless, I will do that video for DC and Heather, and I'm very grateful for your support.

Thank you all, again, for helping fight breast cancer. If anyone reading this would like to donate, parenthetically, the link is http://www.the3day.org/goto/jayfurr -- and, as always, thank you!

Status

Mar. 1st, 2010 12:43 pm
jayfurr: (3-Day)
My status: I am sick, fighting a cold, but heartened by the actions of some very nice people.

Thanks to some very generous donations over the weekend, I am now effectively 3/4 of the way toward the $2,300 minimum I need to raise in order to enter the Tampa Bay Breast Cancer 3-Day. I'd like to raise a lot more than $2,300, of course, but my initial goal is set at $2,300 because, frankly, I know people are a bit more reluctant to donate when you're sitting there with this huge goal that their donation will barely affect. Once you're within a few hundred dollars of a goal, donations tend to come fast and furious. Not that I'm not grateful for each and every dollar donated, no matter when it comes in.

I still owe y'all a silly video of me sprinting around the local park made up with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and a cherry -- but unfortunately, there've been barriers to it happening. Valentine's Day was the day I meant to do the video but Carole reminded me we wouldn't make it home at all that day because of her Gospelfest concert; we didn't get home until very late. And the next weekend had me in Georgia all weekend. And this past weekend I was sick -- I did venture out to do a low-speed short-distance training walk around the local mall, but regretted it later because I really needed to rest, rest, rest so I'd be healthy on Monday. Turns out I wasn't on the mend, as I thought I was -- I was just between one bout of feeling like death and another one that set in later on Saturday. Right now I should be driving to Boston because I've got to be onsite at a customer for three days, Tuesday through Thursday, but I still feel weak as a kitten. I'm not sneezing or coughing, but I certainly don't have my strength back. Blasted cold. Nonetheless, I will do that video for DC and Heather, and I'm very grateful for your support.

Thank you all, again, for helping fight breast cancer. If anyone reading this would like to donate, parenthetically, the link is http://www.the3day.org/goto/jayfurr -- and, as always, thank you!

jayfurr: (Hot dog buns)
For what it's worth, I will be in San Francisco for work from this Saturday through late Tuesday of next week. I'll be staying down on Fisherman's Wharf, the better to be near a conference I'm presenting at on Tuesday. If anyone in the Beigh Arya has absolutely nothing better to and wants to hold a public stoning or something like that, let me know. (I'll probably go to Monterey one of the two weekend days to drop in and say Hi to the otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, FWIW.)

jayfurr: (Hot dog buns)
For what it's worth, I will be in San Francisco for work from this Saturday through late Tuesday of next week. I'll be staying down on Fisherman's Wharf, the better to be near a conference I'm presenting at on Tuesday. If anyone in the Beigh Arya has absolutely nothing better to and wants to hold a public stoning or something like that, let me know. (I'll probably go to Monterey one of the two weekend days to drop in and say Hi to the otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, FWIW.)

jayfurr: (Sterling Pond)
I travel a lot. For work. I'm not overawed by the 'glamorous lifestyle' of lots and lots of air travel and getting to stay in business-class hotels. Some people think it must be all neat and stuff, having a king bed that someone else comes along and makes up each morning, having the occasional jacuzzi bath in one's room, having an indoor pool downstairs (albeit usually a small one), having the evening 'manager's reception' waiting in the lobby when you go back to the hotel each day, and so on.

It's okay, I guess. I must enjoy it because I've been doing it since 1998.

But to be honest, it's not that big a deal. In this economy, for example, hotels have cut a lot of frills: a lot of the major chains no longer put hand cream in the rooms and instead have it available on demand at the front desk. Not a big deal from my perspective; I don't have chronically dry skin. But you occasionally hear angry fellow travelers complaining about it.

And that 'manager's reception' that chains like Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites brag about? Well, these days it usually consists of a giant bag of Costco pretzels dumped out into a big bowl and maybe some chips and salsa. And, oh yeah, a couple bottles of cheap supermarket wine and some light beer on tap. Or if there's actual hot food, it's likely to be one large chafing dish of some random hot entree (again, probably warmed up in the back but produced by the local food service company). Not usually anything to go "ooh" over. And since I don't eat meat any more (and my cholesterol and blood pressure levels thank me for it), I usually can't eat anything they set out anyway.

But a couple nights ago, as I stopped by the 'reception area' in the 'lodge' of my Homewood Suites in Arlington, Massachusetts, to refill my Nalgene bottle with coffee for the morning reboot, I happened to peek into the big shiny food-service chafing dish that the evening's hot entree was lurking in, and ... came about as close as I've come since I started the vegetarian diet in July to breaking down and eating meat.

The chafing dish contained about a dozen, maybe more, CHEESEBURGERS. Just your regular, run-of-the-mill dollar-menu cheeseburgers: bun, patty, CHEESE. Condiments were nearby if you wanted them, but what I couldn't take my eyes off was all the melted CHEESE. In true steam-table/heat-lamp fashion, the cheese had already begun to do that melty thing, oozing out from under the bun. I used to LIVE on bagfuls of cheap dollar-menu style cheeseburgers like that, and if I could get them from a convenience store where they'd been sitting, foil-wrapped under a heat lamp all day, SO MUCH THE BETTER.

I mean, that's what they eat in Heaven. Pure nutrition.

And that sort of thinking is why I'd worked my way up to 235 pounds (though I'm down to 182 now). Just because you're traveling for work and on an expense account doesn't mean that you always go eat cordon bleu food and drink fine wine at nice restaurants, you know? Sometimes you leave the office at 9 pm and you just want COMFORT FOOD. And to my reptilian hindbrain, there's nothing more comforting than something that's been sitting, cheese melting slowly and oozing viscously out from under the top bun, under a heat lamp ALLLLLLLLL DAY.

With some effort, I replaced the lid on the chafing dish and tiptoed slowly away. Dinner for me was something nice and healthy back in my kitchen-equipped room. I can not has cheezburger.


jayfurr: (Sterling Pond)
I travel a lot. For work. I'm not overawed by the 'glamorous lifestyle' of lots and lots of air travel and getting to stay in business-class hotels. Some people think it must be all neat and stuff, having a king bed that someone else comes along and makes up each morning, having the occasional jacuzzi bath in one's room, having an indoor pool downstairs (albeit usually a small one), having the evening 'manager's reception' waiting in the lobby when you go back to the hotel each day, and so on.

It's okay, I guess. I must enjoy it because I've been doing it since 1998.

But to be honest, it's not that big a deal. In this economy, for example, hotels have cut a lot of frills: a lot of the major chains no longer put hand cream in the rooms and instead have it available on demand at the front desk. Not a big deal from my perspective; I don't have chronically dry skin. But you occasionally hear angry fellow travelers complaining about it.

And that 'manager's reception' that chains like Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites brag about? Well, these days it usually consists of a giant bag of Costco pretzels dumped out into a big bowl and maybe some chips and salsa. And, oh yeah, a couple bottles of cheap supermarket wine and some light beer on tap. Or if there's actual hot food, it's likely to be one large chafing dish of some random hot entree (again, probably warmed up in the back but produced by the local food service company). Not usually anything to go "ooh" over. And since I don't eat meat any more (and my cholesterol and blood pressure levels thank me for it), I usually can't eat anything they set out anyway.

But a couple nights ago, as I stopped by the 'reception area' in the 'lodge' of my Homewood Suites in Arlington, Massachusetts, to refill my Nalgene bottle with coffee for the morning reboot, I happened to peek into the big shiny food-service chafing dish that the evening's hot entree was lurking in, and ... came about as close as I've come since I started the vegetarian diet in July to breaking down and eating meat.

The chafing dish contained about a dozen, maybe more, CHEESEBURGERS. Just your regular, run-of-the-mill dollar-menu cheeseburgers: bun, patty, CHEESE. Condiments were nearby if you wanted them, but what I couldn't take my eyes off was all the melted CHEESE. In true steam-table/heat-lamp fashion, the cheese had already begun to do that melty thing, oozing out from under the bun. I used to LIVE on bagfuls of cheap dollar-menu style cheeseburgers like that, and if I could get them from a convenience store where they'd been sitting, foil-wrapped under a heat lamp all day, SO MUCH THE BETTER.

I mean, that's what they eat in Heaven. Pure nutrition.

And that sort of thinking is why I'd worked my way up to 235 pounds (though I'm down to 182 now). Just because you're traveling for work and on an expense account doesn't mean that you always go eat cordon bleu food and drink fine wine at nice restaurants, you know? Sometimes you leave the office at 9 pm and you just want COMFORT FOOD. And to my reptilian hindbrain, there's nothing more comforting than something that's been sitting, cheese melting slowly and oozing viscously out from under the top bun, under a heat lamp ALLLLLLLLL DAY.

With some effort, I replaced the lid on the chafing dish and tiptoed slowly away. Dinner for me was something nice and healthy back in my kitchen-equipped room. I can not has cheezburger.


jayfurr: (Default)
You frequently find yourself thinking "I should call the wife. Wait, what time zone am I in this week?"

Then you think "Wait, what city am I even in?"

And then you have to stop and ponder for a while before you remember the answer to those two questions.

(Hotel rooms and training rooms all start to look alike after a while.)

jayfurr: (Glern)
You spent all day cooped up in tiny little regional jets flying from one end of the country to the other and when you finally emerge from the little tin can full of recycled air and other people's miasma you feel like DEATH. Stuffy, congested, achy, miserable, logy, stupid. Sort of what it must be like to be Beano Cook, only more so.

Sweet Jeebus, but it's getting harder and harder to cope with all-day flying. As soon as I get another hour or so of work-related email and stuff done I'm going to go sit in the bathroom with the shower on FULL MAX STEAM and just wait for the evil to be purged out of me. God, I feel rotten.

jayfurr: (Southernmost Point)
Assuming that the snow hitting the mid-Atlantic and southern New England region today doesn't foul up the airlines beyond recovery, we're flying tomorrow from Vermont via DC to Miami and then spending a week in the Florida Keys. The forecast for northern Vermont, the Washington area, and Miami looks good throughout tomorrow -- it looks like we'll be hopping over the bad weather without actually being affected by it. Knock on wood.

Eeble

Nov. 20th, 2008 10:18 am
jayfurr: (Default)
Due to a slight cutback in the frequency of flights from Chicago to Burlington, I'm having to take three flights to get home from Fargo today. Starting at 6 am Fargo time, and arriving home (if all goes well) at 5 pm Vermont time. Sigh.

But on the other hand, I just had a venti mocha latte and I'm feeling very perky. Not sure "perky" is the right mood to be in when I'm about to board a plane to New York for a couple of hours, but hopefully the passengers around me won't mind if I spend the time grinning inanely.

Monch

Sep. 15th, 2008 12:39 pm
jayfurr: (Hot dog buns)
A few minutes before boarding my United flight to Louisville the gate agent called me up to the podium. Since I'm Premier Executive level with United I figured they were upgrading me to first class so they could give a standby passenger my seat.

Um, no. They had bad news. Their new baggage conveyor belt had 'eaten my bag', my green wheelie. It had caught on something and ripped the bag open. They'd scooped everything into a black duffel bag (apparently they have them for sale) and swore nothing had gotten lost... And then gave me a card to hand in here in Vermont on my return to get the bag replaced/repaired.

I stood there slack-jawed at the news but didn't scream or holler. If nothing did get lost and if they do make good on Friday when I get back, I'll call it one of those things and let it go. If not, though, I make no promises.

Perhaps because I didn't freak out, a few minutes later they called me over again and THEN gave me an upgrade to first class.

US Airways

Sep. 8th, 2008 05:30 pm
jayfurr: (Aaaaaaaaaaaargh! Redux)
For whatever reason, my United flight from Chicago to Phoenix today was actually a US Airways flight done via codeshare. No problem, I said, since my Premier Executive status with UAL will still get me in the first boarding, still won't have to pay their per-bag fee, etcetera.

I had forgotten how much US Airways has changed in recent years.

I can't recall seeing so little pitch between the rows. I've been spoiled by United's policy of giving frequent travelers six more inches of legroom up in the front of coach. US Airways ain't got none of that. They had less, as far as I can tell, than the worst steerage-class sections on any other airline I've been on.

US Airways also had no movie on the flight -- they took the DVD player and DVDs out to save weight. No problem; I never watch the damn movies anyway. But it deprived all my fellow passengers of their main form of mental stimulation. Halfway through the flight I woke up from a doze and realized I'd never been on such a still, quiet plane. Looking around, I realized that everyone was out cold, head back, mouth open, dozing. Sure, there were the occasional whistles and grunts and snores, but nothing along the lines of ordinary human noises like turning pages or talking. Eerie.

And the whole charging-for-beverages? That's going over gangbusters. Four times during the flight one of the two flight attendants would walk down the aisle holding up a can of Coke and a "snack box" and ask if anyone wanted to buy a drink or a snack. Each time, no one moved. The attendant didn't even bother loading up a whole cart and pushing it down the aisle; evidently she'd already learned that people aren't going to jump out of their seats and holler "YES I MUST HAVE THAT $2 CAN OF DIET COKE YOU'VE GOT THERE."

I hadn't bothered to buy a big bottle of water to take on the plane with me so I sort of toughed it out for four hours, feeling pretty dry but adamant that I wasn't going to be the one who Broke The Code.

When the plane finally landed and we disembarked, I've never seen such a swarm of people heading straight for the water fountains and stuff.

And I'm sure as heck not going to go out of my way to fly US Airways again. My legs are still stiff from having them jammed up under my chin the whole flight.

Bleargh

Aug. 19th, 2008 02:00 pm
jayfurr: (Default)
I am in Louisville, Kentucky, training for the first time since my vacation to Virginia. I'm finding it's just a little bit hard getting adjusted to being back out on the road after two weeks not traveling. Part of that may be due to the marathon week-after-week-after-week-on-the-road schedule I led for a while. Maybe I'm still not 'recovered'.

I'm home next week and the week of Labor Day unless things change, though, so I've got that to look forward to.

jayfurr: (Atop the fire tower)
Next week we'll be up on a mountaintop near Blacksburg attending a Fun-Filled Family Gathering, also known as my parents' second 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration of 2008. The first one was held on the actual date, back in March, but unfortunately, the Most Favored Daughter (see if you can figure out from that link which one shares my genes) and her husband and their kids were out of the country, in Germany, thanks to a Fulbright scholarship my brother-in-law won. (Props to him, by the way.)

So we have to do another gathering and this time for some odd reason my parents want us to all gather at the Mountain Lake Hotel and hang out for a week, doing something. Can't be enjoying the lake, because the damn lake dried up. Completely empty if I understand correctly. But at least we can hang out with the perplexingly large legion of fans of the movie "Dirty Dancing" who apparently congregate there.

I'm sure we'll have the time of our lives.

jayfurr: (Torch Run)
I am in north Raleigh. Read more... )


jayfurr: (Aaaaaaaaaaaargh! Redux)
Last night I drove from Denver up to Fort Collins to have dinner with an online friend of mine from a college football newsgroup. Everything went fine and we had a nice dinner. But coming back I hit road maintenance project after road maintenance project, over and over again. Apparently the state of Colorado only does roadwork at night, but they do it all at once, on every highway, so no matter which route I took I was stuck. It took me two hours to get back -- and it'd only taken me one hour outbound. Sigh.

I didn't get to bed until past 11 local time and since I've been getting up at 5:30 to check email, do some work on my laptop and stuff, have some breakfast, and so on, and so on, it was a short night. I probably only got five hours of real sleep, maybe not even that. I feel awful.

Fortunately, my flight home tomorrow doesn't leave until 8:57 am local time, so I don't have to get up at 3 to get to the airport. 5:00, sure, but not 3. If I go straight back to the hotel after class this afternoon, do most of my packing, and then get right to bed I'll probably feel human again by sometime this weekend... just in time to catch my Sunday flight to Oregon.

Sigh.

Luggage

Jul. 6th, 2008 09:24 pm
jayfurr: (Default)
I just got to Denver via United Airlines and was really pleased to find my bags already waiting just outside the UAL baggage office. Guess they just made the earlier flight that was boarding when I arrived at O'Hare. Nice to not have to wait 45 minutes in a crowd of impatient fellow passengers and screaming kids like I normally do.

Ow

Jul. 6th, 2008 03:11 pm
jayfurr: (Default)
Soaking my thumb in hydrogen peroxide

My right thumb mysteriously began swelling and paining me yesterday. I hadn't done it any injury that I knew of, but there it was, acting all infected and everything. There was no visible entry wound or nick or scratch to smear antibiotic ointment on, so about all I could do was smear it anyway and wrap the tip in a Band-Aid in hopes of somehow, some way doing some good.

That didn't work. It's more infected and painful today and starting to ooze a small amount of blood at the left side of the nail. It's very painful. I was in so much pain when I got off my Burlington-to-Chicago flight just now that I decided to go find the O'Hare medical clinic and see what they thought. Fortunately, I had a lengthy lay-over before my Denver flight, or I'd have had to just tough it out and hope gangrene didn't set in.

The doctor on duty said I probably had a tiny hangnail inside the flesh, causing the infection and swelling, and that it looked like we'd caught it early enough that we wouldn't need to anesthetize it and surgically drain it. Instead, he had me soak it in hydrogen peroxide for about ten minutes and then put more antibiotic ointment and another Band-Aid on it... and then gave me a lovely bottle of erythromycin tablets to combat the infection. He recommended that I soak it in hydrogen peroxide each night until the swelling goes down to help wash the blood and pus and stuff away. I said I'd get right on that as soon as I got to Denver and we parted friends.



Durgin Park

May. 1st, 2008 07:12 am
jayfurr: (Glern)
Tuesday evening I walked from my hotel in the Back Bay section of Boston over to the Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall area. It was drizzling and very very VERY windy; I can't tell you how many ruined, abandoned umbrellas I spotted lying around on sidewalks or dumped next to garbage cans. When I got to my destination, the Durgin Park restaurant at Quincy Market, it was CLOSED.

CLOSED I tell you.

Given that it was founded in 1827 and has been there through thick and thin, I didn't think they'd close for anything short of an ice age. But posted on their door was a sign informing one and all that they'd had to close due to a gas leak.

No kidding; I went around to the other side of the building and there was a huge hole in the sidewalk, a smell of rotten eggs like you wouldn't believe, and about a dozen police, fire, and utility vehicles all getting in one another's way as the workers around the hole tried to patch the leak.






I wound up walking from Quincy Market over to the North End and Little Italy and walked morosely around, pondering whether I felt like going in to one of the dozens of nice Italian restaurants in that part of town, but in the end, slightly damp and on my own with no one to eat with, I sighed, caught the subway at City Hall, and wound up getting soup and a sandwich at the Au Bon Pain in the Prudential Center, near my hotel. So much for my venture out into Boston culinary life.

jayfurr: (Default)
Thanks to a recommendation from my students at the hospital, I had dinner last night an a Phoenix landmark, the Fry Bread House.



Very good food. 100% Tohono O'odham owned. (You may know the tribe as the Papago, but see this Wiki entry for why they don't use that name any more.)

I ate more than I should: I got an order of their red chile stew and an order of their green chile stew, each of which came with big tasty pieces of Indian fry bread, then to tamp it all down, two red chile tamales. Their tamales were a little odd -- corn husk, which I of course removed, then corn meal batter, then MORE corn husk, then more batter and then the tamale filling. I can't imagine eating the corn husk on a tamale (a shibboleth for detecting tourists is that they try to eat the corn husk) but having double layers like that made it a bit difficult to avoid. As for the stew, it was excellent; I'd have a very hard time saying which I liked better, the red or the green.

Tonight I'm going to try to meet up with my wife's aunt and uncle in Tempe and tomorrow morning, early, I fly home.

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