Archive for March, 2010

California Here I Come


I’m headed out for a trade show in San Diego through Thursday.  Should be a good trip.  Lots of customer meetings setup, and we’re meeting…are you ready?…on a boat.  :)  Rather than get a boring booth on the show floor, we’re renting a 42-foot boat.  We’ll have our “formal” meetings in the cabin, then cruise around the San Diego Bay for a while.  The boat has a nice deck out back where we’ll have food and drinks, you can get up on the bridge for a great view, and there’s plenty of room out on the bow.  We’ll get to see the Navy’s Pacific Fleet (hoping a carrier will be in town), sea lions, etc.  This is the trip that makes-up for all the red-eye flights & cheap hotels!


Free Inflight Wifi


You know, it’s the simple things in life…  I’m on my way home from NJ, and I hopped on Delta’s GoGo internet service just to check the status of our flight.  They give you free access to and I was curious what gate we were schedule to end-up at.  As it turns out, they were unable to process payments, so internet access is free on this flight.  Sweet!  So I thought I’d say hello from 34,000 feet over Wilkesboro, NC.   :)

Travel Tip – Car Rental


Car rentals can be expensive, but I’ve discovered an easy way to help cut your costs.  Join the company’s frequent renter club.  They all have a free membership that will almost certainly save you time and money.

So here’s the deal, and it couldn’t be easier.  If you need a car for 3-4 days, reserve the car for a week and just return it early.  The weekly rate is always cheaper per day than the daily rate.  Dollar’s fee is $15 for early return, but the fee is waived if you’re an Express member.  They prorate the weekly rate, so you end-up with a much lower rate.  I frequently make 4-day trips, so I book the car for 5 and save 40-50%.

You’ll save time, too.  Some companies have a special line at the counter, where they will have your rental agreement already printed.  Others have their members go straight to the car.  In either case, you’ll bypass the line of tourists who didn’t take the extra couple minutes to prepare.

Geek Finds Skylark Diner


My geek side has really benefited my foodie side lately!  I’ve always known I could store a “favorite” on my GPS, and I frequently created those “favorites” on my PC and saved them to the GPS so that I’d know where to find places that I’d never actually been to before.  Alice’s Restaurant is a prime example.  It has been marked on my map for probably 9 years, but I only got there last week.

What I just discovered, though, is a site called POI Factory.  A “POI” is a “Point Of Interest”.  POIs are how your GPS stores all the gas stations, restaurants, parks, etc.  They’re very similar to “Favorites”, but not quite.  In any case, POI Factory is a user driven site where people share locations that they’ve already marked.  What I stumbled into was a file with the locations of all the restaurants featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  I’ll admit to only being a casual fan of the show, but having all these spots on a map seemed like a fun way to explore good new restaurants.

Last night I saw that I was relatively close to the Skylark Diner and decided to give it a shot.  Whoa!  This is not your everyday diner!  It’s a “fine diner” (their term).  The food and decor were both very upscale for a diner.  They have a full bar, with an extensive wine list.  Yea, quite different.   They had recently added a fresh cavatelli dish, so I decided to give it a try.  Cavatelli is a type of rolled pasta, and this was made fresh (not dried).  You can really taste the difference.  They topped the pasta with chopped hot Italian sausage, escarole, roasted red peppers, shaved garlic, and olive oil.  It was absolutely delicious!  I was stuffed from dinner, but had to take a cannoli back to the hotel for desert.  It was good, but but award winning.  I’ll certainly go back to visit the Skylark.  Check-out the link a above for photos, menu, etc.  Well worth a visit if you’re anywhere close.

Skylark Diner - main dining room

Service Makes The Difference


The flight this morning was great, and it was the cabin service that made it so.


Headed For Good Italian Food


I’m making a trip up to New Jersey this week.  Going to brave another winter storm to visit the home office and a customer.  I’ll also get to visit my favorite restaurant, Cafe Picasso.  I’m up early Tuesday morning, and back late Friday evening.  I had two upgrade certificates that were going to expire, so I burned them for this trip.  It’s a shame to “waste” such a valuable instrument on a 745 mile flight.  This same certificate would upgrade me all the way to Asia in business class, but at least I won’t have to wonder about an upgrade.