Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary

[Toasting Shana from the airport bar. Happy Anniversary indeed!]

Romantic guy that I am, I spent our 15th wedding anniversary in Boston – for work. Between flight delays due to weather, and MSP runway construction, I didn’t get home until almost midnight – rather than scheduled arrival of 8:30 p.m.

[Local school children had placed these frames near some of the graves.]

Plus-side – flight delays allowed a little walking tour of Boston – mostly Freedom Trail stuff – with special attention paid to graveyards.

[Brewer and Patriot - again with the little frame - and what's the deal with the little stones placed atop the gravemarker?]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Leaves



I'm crossing my fingers that I don't come home to a house will all the windows open again tonight. Duke must have eaten something bad (or worse than usual) because when M got home from school yesterday she was in for quite a surprise. Duke had had a major "accident" in his kennel. Shana had to clean up 99% of the mess - including bathing Duke. All I had to do was wash lots of yucky towels and clean our bedroom walls - yes the walls. Word to the wise: Think twice before putting your dog's kennel in your bedroom!

No meetings on the calendar today - and the bosses are away - which means I have no discipline in my schedule, leaving me time to do everything or nothing at all. So far, I'm actually making nice progress - cleaning up some loose ends that have been lingering for a while. Let's hope I don't lose momentum in a post-lunch stupor.

Beautiful fall day - even had my coat off during the lunch hour walk. We've had snow already, but of course that's come and gone. I heard one of the forecasters say this morning that we could have thunderstorms before the week is over. It's like Fall, Winter, and Spring all in one month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Monday – the Sun is Out




I’m feeling especially sun-deprived this Fall, so when the sun broke through just before lunch, I had to fight the urge to run out the door right away.

I think that the Dude is missing the sun as well. He’s been a bit down, and finding all sorts of excuses not to do homework, delay bedtime, and drag his feet going to school. Not as bad as in the past, but I find myself thinking, “one day at a time” and breathing a huge sigh of relief when we deposit him safely at school each day. The hard part of my day is over by 9:00 – sort of.

It’s been very busy at work lately. My co-worker had her baby last Monday and so begins a 4 month leave. I’m running fast to catch up with her project work. It won’t be easy – as she is irreplaceable (she knows it!) – but I’m muddling through.

After the short lunch walk, things look different and much more “doable”. It will be a busy week. I’ll be traveling to Boston on Wednesday, returning late Thursday evening – almost 24 hours in the city. That’s normal for most trips – but leaves you wanting more of your destination than the view from cabs and hotel windows.

As I posted, Shana called to report Duke had "messed up" his kennel pretty good. All the windows are open at home, and Shana was getting ready to wrestle Duke into the bathtub. I'm finally ready to re-think our decision to keep his kennel in our bedroom.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Week in Weather



[Friday afternoon: Winter - again.]



[Thursday - you can almost feel it coming.]



[Ahh - Monday!]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Situational Awareness"

A Northwest Airlines plane overflew the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles Wednesday night, while the pilots engaged in a heated discussion over airline policy, according to federal officials.


As one who has been called on to give their opinion on matters relating to Delta/Northwest, I found this MPR story fascinating,

The flight was 74 minutes late, according to the Northwest Airlines Web site. The site says the flight was "delayed due to weather-air traffic control." The flight landed at 9:15 p.m.

In interviews with the FBI and airport police, the crew stated they were in a "heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness," according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

"They probably lost track of where they were," said Keith Holloway, public affairs officer for the National Transportation Safety Board.


The pilots were probably discussing the StarTribune's penetrating piece of journalism from a few weeks ago.

Funny that the plane is described as a Northwest Airlines plane. In fact, the story doesn't even mention Delta. I'm sure the Delta PR folks will work to correct the story to insert the proper name of the company.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sick Kid



I thought about editing the picture to remove the toes of my Chuck Taylor's but then thought the better of it.

I was home today with M - who has been sick since Sunday. It's not the dreaded H1N1 (we think). No fever, just some aches, lack of appetite and inability to stay awake! The kid is sleeping like a pro. She slept until 11:00 today, then took a nap in the afternoon!

With a sick kid who slept most of the day, I was able to get a fair amount of work done. I had a lot of busy-work (messing with spreadsheets, etc) that was best done away from all the work-place distractions. By mid afternoon I was looking for a break - missing all the interruptions that comes with working in a large office.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Colors



Pictures from the Walking Path.



Busy Monday. My co-worker has begun her several month maternity leave (a boy - Owen Michael !), and I'm already slightly confused, but muddling through.



M is at home sick - and I suspect I'll be staying home tomorrow. Had a chance to step out at lunch and enjoy some sunshine and temps in the mid-50s. Indian Summer - or whatever we call it now. Very nice.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Am I?



The Dude snapped this picture today.

Hint - The photo was snapped while climbing trees this afternoon.

I Get a Treat Soon - Right?



Duke - ever the good natured pet - puts up with the Dude dressing him in the old Harry Potter Halloween costume. Too small for the kids - but just right for the 75 pound Golden Retriever.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Love Email Marketing

I'm on a number of email lists, receiving all sorts of valuable information from retailers, news organizations, non-profits, etc. This afternoon I received an email from Roto-Rooter. They send only a few a year - so I took notice of this one. I got a kick out of the seasonal tie-in:

John,

Millions of pounds of pumpkin pulp is scraped from pumpkins throughout the Halloween season, resulting in yummy pies, creative jack-o'-lanterns... and plumbing nightmares.

Every year, plumbers get lots of calls to repair garbage disposers and kitchen sink drains that have been clogged with slimy, stringy pumpkin pulp and seeds.


They are not content to stop the Halloween tie in there. They go on,

Did you know... In 1979, Roto-Rooter created a popular TV commercial called "The Raving," which was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem "The Raven." It's still popular today.


Hmm - still popular. We'll see about that.



Suddenly there came a rushing,
as of someone slowly flushing
water 'cross my chamber floor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Old News

The StarTribune article on Delta-Northwest is now online. My comments appear in this sidebar piece - without picture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Born to Run



[Hat tip on the video to Conditioning Research.]

Last week I finished Born to Run , by Christopher McDougall – one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It appealed to me on a number of levels – as a runner/former-runner and someone who loves a good adventure, travel story.

One aspect of the book – barefoot running, and the basic anti-running shoe company message – has attracted lots of attention. This short piece from CNN is a nice introduction to the book and some of its highlights.

Just watching this video made me want to take off my shoes and run - except for the snow. Hmmmm.

You Must Come to Our Store!



Happy Tuesday - here's a quick recap of the past 24 hours - in no particular order.

Duke started things off with a seizure this morning. It was his first seizure in one month. That is one of our longer seizure-free stretches. He’s been very active lately. With his lower weight, and the cooler weather – he’s very active. We even “jogged” this morning – a few blocks.

Last night we ran into a snag attempting to order a Halloween costume online from Party City. On Sunday, the Dude and I visited the local Party City store. He had found a costume while browsing online and wanted to pick it up at the store – only they didn’t have it at the store. The very helpful clerks informed us that they don’t stock all the costumes at any one store. They suggested we go to counter and ask the staff to locate one at neighboring store. I said we would try to order online – since that’s where we first found the costume. The clerks said that sounded like a good idea as well.

Last night, the Dude and I go to order the costume only to be called up short with this message:

[Click to enlarge.]

Apparently they would like us to go to a store to purchase the costume. We already know that our local store does not carry this costume, so we will have to go to another store to make the actual purchase – or will we? I’m never good with the angry customer routine, but I’d at least like to have them ship the costume to “our” local store. I’m not driving around the Twin Cities for a Dark Skull Warrior costume.

That said – it was a beautiful morning here in the frozen north.


Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Famous

The article I was interviewed for finally appeared in the StarTribune - yesterday. Except I can't link to the article. It was one of their print-exclusive pieces. The sort of thing designed to get everyone to run out to the newstand and purchase a paper - because it's the kind of thing you can only get in print.

I'm not sure why it was a print-only article. Everything that needs to be said about the Delta-Northwest merger has been said already. It's not really an exclusive story.

Too bad it's not online - it's a real nice picture, and I need to update my FaceBook photo.

One of my colleagues emailed and said "You're Famous". Here is my reply:

Today while driving my 9 year old son to school he said, “Do you think people in the other cars are slowing down because they recognize you from your picture in the paper?”

Yeah – in my dreams!

Hmm - Never Seen That Before



With snow on the ground, it seemed a good weekend to try something completely different. Earlier in the week, while driving the Dude to school, I noticed the sign at the State Fair entrance. There was going to be a comic book convention at the Grandstand over the weekend. I read the sign out loud - big mistake!

"Oh, we are so going there!" said the Dude.

"Yeah, well, maybe, we'll see," I responded uncertainly.

Come Saturday it seemed like the thing to do so - after tennis and a quick stop at the library - we drove over to the Fair Grounds. I knew it would be interesting when I saw folks "in character" wandering the streets of the Fair Grounds. When we got inside - holy crow! Comic book displays everywhere - obviously - but also lots of figurines (or whatever you call those "toy" figures representing comic book, tv, and movie characters), games, and other "stuff" I couldn't identify. There were a number of cool "zine" type publications - lots of stuff that looked like people published themselves, and then of course - the biggies - DC, and whoever else. [Sorry - I'm not a comic book guy.]

The artists were there as well - the Dude purchased a Batman (or was it Batboy) book, and the artist - the penciller and inker - autographed the cover.

And of course - folks in costume. The picture below shows only a few of the people who dress up for these events. I regret not snapping the shot of the rather roly, poly teenager wearing only gym shorts who had painted his entire body green. The Dude and I were not sure if he was the Hulk or Green Lantern - or a new action figure, "Soft Green Teen". There was a also a great Hagrid - looked almost like the movie version.

Anyway - a splendid time was had by all. I'm sure this will be a "can't miss" event next year.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday John Lennon



A quick search of the Hobbled archives shows I posted a Beatles video featuring John Lennon last October 9 – Lennon’s birthday. Continuing in that tradition, here’s Nowhere Man, from 1966 in Germany.

Happy Friday!



This picture is from Wednesday - at noon on the Walking Path. The sun had finally broken through and it was a beautiful Fall day. Sun is out today as well - but they are predicting possible SNOW for tonight and tomorrow.

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been very crabby – just ask Duke! As usual, I only post when in a good mood. That explains the hiatus – and now that pizza night (it’s a tradition as you recall) is just around the corner, it’s time for another post.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cancelled Flights and Lost Luggage

Oh the joys of business travel. I returned late Friday (make that early Saturday) from a brief trip to Charlotte, NC.

It started out fun on Thursday afternoon when I was interviewed by a Star Tribune reporter for a story she was writing about the one year anniversary of the Delta-Northwest merger. She and a photographer were standing outside the security line trying to get folks to talk but most wouldn’t even make eye contact. [Haven't seen the story yet - I'll be sure to post a link when (and if) it comes up.]

I was friendly enough to make eye contact and answer a few questions. My only complaint – if it was even serious enough to call it a “complaint” was the confusion I encountered trying to check my one suitcase.

I had booked my travel using my employer’s online travel planning tool. The itinerary that printed showed the following, “Airline – Delta Air Lines; Flight 3377, OPERATED BY COMPASS AIRLINES”. No reference to NWA. I had checked into my flight the day before and printed a boarding pass – the boarding pass was for NWA. Hmmm.

At the airport, all the signs behind the ticketing agent say Delta (there is no reference to good old Norwest Airlines – or NWA.) I approach the ticketing agents and notice that the computer screen at check in presents me with a choice for logging in – Delta or NWA, KLM, etc. I choose Delta, and walk though the steps only to have it stop short and tell me there was no record of me, and that I should see a ticketing agent. The ticketing agent sees my boarding pass and says, “Go ahead, and do it again – but check NWA this time.” Success – and I’m off. It was right after this that I was stopped by the reporter. I relayed my story of my 30 second delay – and that was that.

As an aside – I favor checking luggage – I hate schlepping around both my laptop bag (which I carry on) and my luggage small as it is. Security is a pain since you have to remove the laptop from the bag and run each through separately – not to mention, shoes, watch, etc. It really comes down to not wanting to deal with my liquids – so I check the darn bag.

On the way home, Friday night (I wish the reporter was there), my flight was delayed once, then twice, then three times, then was cancelled outright. I was able to work my way onto a different (and direct !!) flight on Mesaba/NWA/Delta – but my luggage was going to be going through Detroit – on Saturday. Made it home about 1:30 AM, and crawled into bed for about 5 hours of sleep – we had a busy Saturday morning. My bag arrived about 4:00 PM that afternoon.

I am rethinking my checked-luggage philosophy. This makes two times, in two trips, that I arrive a day ahead of my luggage. Next time, I’m carrying it on – better make sure I have the appropriate 3 oz. bottles.