Voyeuristic Views of the World

With so many still under some form of quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to ‘virtually’ escape and go ‘visit’ other places around the world is obviously in demand.

In late June, a site called Window Swap was making the rounds. It is a site that has the simple premise of being able to share a photo or video of what the world looks like while looking out the window of your home. For example, how about having this view of the Egyptian Pyramids outside of your window. I’d never stop looking away.

Keeping with this trend, another neat site that takes this premise to the next level is Drive & Listen. What this site does is let you watch dashcam video from people driving in and around all sorts of great cities of the world, and ‘overlays’ it with radio broadcasts from that market. So for example, you can watch a video of someone driving around Rome, Italy during any normal day while listening to Italian radio. There is even a Drive & Listen Instagram account as well.

A ho hum day driving around Rome, Italy

For someone who loves to travel and is kinda frustrated to have to be at home for so long as our country deals with this pandemic, being able to see the nuances of many of the world’s great cities from my desktop computer is a pretty neat trick.

Where Is My Toothpaste?

There is a vast conspiracy against your dental hygiene when you travel.

Why has toothpaste been relegated to this supplementary status? I asked this question of executives at 18 North American hotel chains, and most provided the same pair of explanations. First, they said their in-room amenities are chosen based on extensive consumer research. In other words, if the hotels aren’t giving you toothpaste, it’s because you don’t really want toothpaste. “If such requests did begin to trend, explained a representative from the Wyndham Hotel Group, we would evaluate our brand standards and offerings.

The hotel chains are essentially playing chicken with each other, waiting for the other to move first and put toothpaste in their bathrooms. They don’t currently include toothpaste because they don’t perceive there to be a need for toothpaste from their customers.

My Own Parking Spot

After waiting patiently for ten months, I have finally arrived. That’s right, I have finally gotten a parking spot at the transportation center in my town, where I pick up the bus to go to work every day. And while I won’t have my own personalized spot, I will be able to park in a lot far closer than where I park now. In addition to the benefit of being closer, it will also be cheaper on a monthly basis for me. Instead of paying $3/day to park my car, it will be $20/month or approximately $1/workday.

Land of the Rising Sun

I have spent the past few days in Phoenix, AZ visiting my company’s office out here. My group has had some all day meetings which are always fun. In this quick visit here, I have enjoyed the nice warm weather, the dry air and a good steak at a place called Cartwrights on the north side of Phoenix. I think the interesting aspect of this town is how spread out the city is. The thing I find weird is that all of the houses have the same look and feel to them – very homogenious. Its been refreshing compared to the sub-zero cold of the Northeast this time of year. PHX is not a bad place to be in February!!

This is the first time I have been out in PHX for about 8-9 years. The first time out here was nothing but fun as I went to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.

I look forward to coming out here for future visits so that I can get in a round of golf, maybe catch a Arizona Diamondbacks game and add “the BoB” (BankOne Ballpark) to my list of visited baseball stadiums, visit Taliesien West, the Arizona Biltmore, and whatever else I may find.

Cleared and Ready For Takeoff

This past weekend, I flew up to New Jersey instead of driving. The reason I flew was because a new discount, low fare airline hit the market this month called Independence Air. Their hub marketplace just happens to be Dulles/Washington International Airport and as part of a marketing/promotional deal, they offered AOL employees a free flight anywhere they fly during the month of June. And being that they fly to Newark, NJ, I figured I may as well give it a shot. It was free (except $18 in taxes).

Oh boy, what a trip this was. I flew up this past Thursday (6/17) and for those of you in the Northeast, you may recall that there was some nasty weather that evening, which in turn essentially delayed all airline flights on the East Coast. So to start, the 6:30PM flight was delayed until 8:30PM, which was a bummer but tolerable. So we all boarded the flight ahead of the 8:30PM departure time, we had the doors on the airplane closed, and then the flight crew got the call…the FAA grounded flights to Newark and Boston because of the weather. So here was a plane full of passengers stuck on the runway. And with this news, the flight attendent did the only reasonable thing he could do…he started to serve free beer (and wine). I have to give the guy credit, because in a very difficult situation, he kept everyone loose and in a great mood, cracking jokes on the PA system and just doing all he could to keep everyone happy. Somehow, he even had some of the passengers serving drinks. A classic scene was when one of the women helping him went from the last row of the plane to the front, and announced to the flight attendant in a firm and determined tone, “OK, give me two reds, a white (wine), a Heineken, and a cup of ice.” Just classic.

We eventually took off a little after 10:30PM and arrived in Newark around 11:30PM, making a 45 minute flight a painful 7 hour trip. Hardly a way to kick off a new airline, however the situation was out of their control and it should be noted that the flight back was smooth as silk.

Maine

Just got back from a week in Maine with the wife and kids. Had a great time, although the weather during the week was overcast and rainy. We were able to salvage a few days at the beach which was fun. Rebecca really enjoyed playing in the sand.