31 August 2010

Food Trucks, We Need Them

Dear Purveyor(s) of Amazing Food from a Truck:

My plea is simple. We need food trucks something awful in the Second City. And we need them to make an occasional stop in the 'burbs. My 'burb in particular. So I would like to request that the bahn mi truck be the first. Specifically this one:

If you were here, I could buy bahn mi from you, all the time. Gorgeous, tasty bahn mi like this:

I would be very happy to be a frequent customer. Please make with a truck here in the Second City. Thank you for listening.

Hungry in the Midwest

27 August 2010

Well done, Air New Zealand!

Air New Zealand has done a great job thinking outside the box. They've been very willing to be creative in rethinking what an international airline should be and it's paying off. The carrier just reported a full-year profit. It's a well-managed carrier but one that doesn't take itself too seriously. This has been demonstrated in their marketing and in particular, their safety demonstration videos. The latest one is a riot:

Using the team theme and the All Blacks was a stroke of genius! It's also a very funny demo. Will it get more people to pay attention? Absolutely! Will it save lives? Probably not. But it sure beats this (bear in mind that I can't even count how many times I've seen this now):

U.S. carriers should take a lesson from Air New Zealand and have a little fun with the safety demo. Again, well done, NZ!

It's the end of a very, very long week. Kids are back in school. CAL is a senior (!) and the Boy entered high school. And Our Lady of BYU has just three semesters left before she graduates university. I think I aged ten years this week, realizing all this. No wonder the week has been so long. I'm really glad it's Friday.

23 August 2010

The Madison Mini-Marathon Recap

This past Saturday, August 21, I ran my second half-marathon. I was a part of the Madison Mini-Marathon in Madison, Wisconsin. What a great event!

I can't say enough about it. It was a very well-organized race, with lots of volunteers and excellent community support. The race was run through the heart of Madison and it was like taking a tour of the city. What a beautiful place! My previous experience in Madison had been limited to using the can in a gas station right of I39 - admittedly, not the best way to get to know a city. It's great place. Any place that offers Nepali and Tibetan restaurants can't be bad. Unfortunately, I was only a mile into the race when I discovered those dining gems, so we'll have to go back and give them a try.

I loved that this race started smack on time at 7:00AM. We started in groups by estimated finish times. My only complaint is that the pace groups did not have pace leaders, so as soon as we were on the course, the pace groups scattered like there was no tomorrow. Oh well...while I missed the comfort of my running group, running the race solo wasn't bad. When we started, it seemed like Mother Nature might behave. It was about 71 degrees at race time, but humidity was sitting at 95%. There was plenty of cloud cover to make it seem cooler. It would quickly prove that it was not cooler. The humidity was insane. Within minutes, my technical shirt was a sponge, constantly needing to be rung out. My shorts looked as if I'd been in the deep end of the swimming pool. So while I was already looking like a drowned rat, I was also facing hills. Note to self - the next time you are racing in a new place, check out a topographical map. It would really pay to know about the hills. Yowsa!

All that being said, the oppressive humidity, the hills, and the heat (yeah, the race organizers threw up the "yellow" caution flag about an hour into the race), this was a great experience. Incredible course and cool people running it. I was so glad to see my family at the end of the race. They were right there as I crossed the finish line. I pretty much have the best fans ever.

So now if you read the last post, you saw a picture of my shirt from this race, with what looks to be blood on it. Oh it so was blood! During this race, I reached another milestone as a runner. The ubiquitous bloody nipple. About eight miles in, I noticed the stream of blood. I have to tell you, I was thrilled. I'd hit that milestone! Um, I was not so thrilled once I got back to the hotel and extricated myself from said shirt. That nip hurt worse than my tired, tired legs. And p.s. - it still does!
Just after hitting the finish line and getting my medal
With the BEST.FANS.EVER. Note - no one will touch me. Wonder why...
Gallons of sweat and one bloody nipple later, I did it!

I'm really liking the 13.1 mile distance. Not feeling any burning (well, except for the burning nipple) to run 26.2. At least not yet.

22 August 2010

Some More Summer Photos

Sometimes photos tell a better story than words and right now, I'm a bit pressed for time. Our Lady of BYU flies back to Utah this afternoon and still have a few things to get done. So I give you some more pictures from some of our summer activities:
At Wrigley with good friends from San Diego. They joined us for the first game of a four game sweep by the Padres of the Cubbies. It's been an unpleasant season for the Cubbies.

The kids were able to spend some time together along the Riverwalk.

Spent some time on the trains into the city. It's a good thing my girls take after their mother.

Being on the Lake (yep, Lake Michigan) has been fantastic.

It's been a good summer. CAL and The Boy head to school on Wednesday. Both will be in high school. Time marches on. I'm trying to keep up. I'll try and post later tonight about yesterday's running of the Madison Mini-Marathon, my second half-marathon of the year. For now, I'll leave you with this photo teaser:

18 August 2010

Some Random Photos

It's been a crazy week. It's only Wednesday. I've got my second half marathon this Saturday and I'm beginning to feel woefully unprepared. Yikes.

Anyway, here's some random photos. This past Monday, we met some friends, who were in from San Diego, at Wrigley to watch the San Diego Padres begin their sweep of the Cubs in the first of a three game series. Fun for the San Diegans, more pain for us. It's been a rough season for Cubbies fans. Really rough.
It was a gorgeous summer night! Our friends got a taste of Wrigley's finest too - a massively drunk father and son. Never such creative use of the "F" word have I heard in my life. I did not know it could be used as a noun, verb, adverb, and an adjective all in one sentence. Epic.
It was great to be there with the kids too. The aforementioned drunks had left at this point. Otherwise I would have had them take the picture.

And here's a few pictures from my Sally Field "You like me. You really like me!" moment last week at the NBTA Conference in Houston.
One of the banners announcing the award. (Note to self - update the bio photo. Fatty is so fat anymore!)
Making the walk across the stage
Accepting the award with NBTA President Craig Banikowksi (another note to self - make sure your mic is off before saying 'OK let's get off the stage' - turns out 5,000 of your friends can hear that).
So there you have it.

15 August 2010


"Buh-bye. Buh-bye. Thanks for flying with us. Buh-bye." Ah, the sweet song of insincerity. A song I've heard many a time and it's been taken to new heights, no pun intended, by one irritated flight attendant.

While at NBTA last week, the news broke of the the hasty exit of one Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant, from his airplane upon arrival at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The story of the flight attendant who'd had enough with nasty passengers went viral in about three seconds flat. There was a lot of buzz about it on the conference show floor as well. The JetBlue folks that were there took it all in stride.

It's had me shaking my head. Given the amount of time I spend in the air, I've gotten to know a lot of flight attendants and have seen the garbage that they put up with. And by garbage, I'm not referring to the trash they sometimes have to scrape out of the seat pocket. No the garbage I refer to may be the drunk in 14E, or the irate tool in 5C, upset that he's not getting a meal on a flight at 10PM, or the proof why cousins shouldn't marry mother demanding to know where are the cupholders for her two obese sons. Those last two I've witnessed myself in just the last couple of months. I know pretty much every flight attendant, at least those flying for U.S. carriers, have dreamed of pulling a Slater by telling off that most obnoxious passenger, blowing the slide, and scooting off into the sunset. Slater's become a folk hero. Good for him. But now, in a world where CCTV is becoming omnipresent, I'm shaking my head more. Here's the video of his now infamous exit:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.

So here's where it gets weird. News reports made it seem like Mr. Slater hightailed it off that airplane in no time. But the video seems to tell another story. You've got a jetway fully attached to an airplane, a catering truck already elevated and ready to start pulling the galley out of R2 (door at the rear of the aircraft), and you've got ramprats already doing their thing. So this plane was buttoned up tight at the gate. Then you see L1 (door at the front of the aircraft) open, the slide deploy, and then nothing. Wait for it, wait for it. There he goes. Perhaps the delay was the time he needed to bust open his locked bar cart and grab the brewskis. I kind of don't think he took the time to complete the liquor report.

Anyway, this video for me sheds some light. It casts a doubt or two on the story Slater is serving. It would be nice to hear from the angry lady who ignited this whole thing too. Her side would be interesting. This is going to make for one heck of a cheesy movie. You know that's going to happen.

The bottom line is that we need a little bit more civility back in air travel. Do we need to go back to the days of white gloves for ladies and suits for men while flying? No. But, people, it's not a Wal-Mart, it's a commercial airplane, please dress and behave accordingly. And flight attendants, not every passenger hates you. A lot of appreciate what you do. So, c'mon, let's just all try to work it out! Good flights to all.

12 August 2010

NBTA - A Quick Recap (Photo update 8/13/10)

So the blog went dark for a week. My apologies. It's been quite a week. I've been in Houston, where it could not have been hotter or more humid, for about a week for the National Business Travel Association Conference and Exposition. The convention is THE event of the year for corporate travel management professionals from all over the world. I've been involved in this association for many years now and have had the honor of serving on its Board and was elected as its Vice President. I've made many wonderful friendships and it was great to see all these good people again.

It was a week of learning and great experiences. Like the "Gospel Brunch" at the House of Blues:
This woman can belt out the praises, can I just tell you?

Suffice to say, these guys were a break for me from my normal Sunday services. During the praising, I leaned over to a friend of mine (actually one of my first bosses when I got in the business more than twenty years ago) and said, "Well, this sure makes the Mo'Tab look tame." Frankly, I've decided that our church services could use some livening up. I have half a mind to bring these guys up to put some serious spirit into the singing of "The Spirit of God," but that's for another day.

There were some great speakers, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Regardless of your politics, you came away admiring her brilliant mind and astounding sense of loyalty. She was very impressive. Sir Richard Branson was cool. Very cool. I got to meet him. And Lance Armstrong capped the week. He retold his story and framed it well as a springboard to serving others.

And the evening events were great. An amazing dinner at Brennan's one night. Dinner onstage in one of Houston's amazing theaters another. A private concert with INXS and the gang from the Virgin group. The band was absolutely awesome!
Brought back such good memories. I don't know who the new guy is, the one who replaced Michael Hutchence, but he's excellent. They put on a great show.
(08/13/10 Update - got to meet the band at a pre-event along with Sir Richard Branson. Very, very cool!)

This conference was special for me as I was awarded the NBTA President's Award. This award recognizes a member for their contributions to the association and the industry and I was so very honored to be chosen as this year's recipient. I so appreciate the recognition and I hope to continue to live up to the honor. I was touched as I walked across the stage on Monday to accept the award in front of those in attendance. It was truly an honor. As a part of the award, NBTA produced a video and it was played before I hit the stage. I was very touched by what people said. I've been beyond blessed by those around me. I really have. I hope you'll indulge me and let me share the video. Here it is:

Thank you to the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, two of my team, Sharon and Beth, and to Jeff and Greg for being a part of this. Like I said, I'm very lucky.

05 August 2010

Leave it behind

As you may have guessed, I fly a lot. Some would argue too much. When you can recite the safety demo in three different languages for the airline you fly the most, it's probably a sign I'm flying too much.

When I fly, I'm mindful of the exits and what it will take to get the heck off the plane. And I hope the dopes sitting around me have paid attention as well, because I'm not sticking around. I'm getting the heck off the plane when I hear the word "Come this way! Evacuate!"

Well, a United Airlines flight (949 from London Heathrow - a flight I've flown a few times) landed Wednesday night at ORD and suddenly an evacuation was underway, thanks to flaming brakes. It appears the crew did exactly what they were supposed to do, leading a swift evacuation. Unfortunately, the passengers did not. Check out the video captured from the scene:
Kudos to the guy who went down the slide in shorts without losing six layers of skin. I've been down a 767 slide in a mock evacuation. It's like going down the back of a dry cat tongue. Not something I'd want to do in a pair of shorts. And well done, tripping over the guard light. But the crown goes to the lady who managed to escape with her carry-ons in hand. She's the reason people die in accidents. While she's desperate to save her "Many Purses of Queen Elizabeth" plate that she got at the Marks and Spencer from the overhead, people behind her are overwhelmed by smoke and don't make it off the plane. Well done, lady. LEAVE IT BEHIND!!!

So here's hoping on my next trip that it's drama-free. And if we're evacuating, remember, I'm not waiting around. Leave it behind! 'm getting the heck off!

01 August 2010

When girls go to camp

As I mentioned in my last post, CAL spent this past week at Church Girls Camp and it was a great experience for her. She made new friends and from what she has told us about it, she had an opportunity to grow and progress. She truly had a good time. The mighty fine and stunningly patient SML was able to spend a couple of days with her at camp and had a good time as well.

And I got to go too. For one night. As I've mentioned before, in our faith, we are led by lay clergy and I am one of them, serving as a counselor in our local ward (think parish or diocese) bishopric. Thursday night was 'Bishop's Night,' the night when a bishop gets to spend a few hours with the girls from his ward. Our bishop asked me to cover for him, as he was stuffing himself silly at a Brazilian restaurant. Something about a groom's dinner for his daughter's wedding. I was glad to cover for him. Until the evening's skit. More on that later.

So I put together a brief devotional, and thanks to my mom's suggestion, totally ripped off the cheesiest game show on TV, hosted by the absolutely biggest TOOL that TV has ever given us, Guy Fieri (what a wad, seriously). I refer of course to "Minute to Win It." I don't feel so bad about ripping them off because they have a whole section of their website dedicated to how to do their challenges. We did about four of them. The 'Double Hanky Panky' was a fierce hit:

I also bribed them with cupcakes. And not the crappy grocery store cupcakes either. No, not for our ward girls. Instead, I ordered a dozen from Foiled Cupcakes. As usual, Foiled did not disappoint.

After the 'bishop's time' with their girls, we all met together for a final night service and testimony meeting. It's meant to be the spiritual cap of the evening, which it really was, but, of course, it starts with foolishness. Foolishness involving us who had come up for the evening - how is that right? The theme for this year's camp was a cruise theme and we were given hats - think the hats Mr. Howell wore from time to time on the Island - leis and grass skirts and were taught some hula in a less than five minutes. We were then paraded into the dining hall. Here's my grand entrance (queue the screaming and clapping, of which there was plenty - apparently girls like humiliating their elders as much as boys):

The hula of the doomed was captured on video and has been uploaded to Facebook. Click here to see Part One and here to see Part Two. Let me advise you that these videos show me dancing. No good can come from of it. Consider yourself warned. Enjoy.

And, MQ, when you read this and see the videos, let me remind you that you owe me. It should have been you in the grass skirt.