The Way Home
Jun 4th, 2007 by Mike

Every time I drive to my parents’ house, I take the same route: I90-I84-I81-I80. And every time I seem to hit traffic in the same places, Hartford (such as it is), Wilkes-Bare/Scranton, and the I84-I81 split. This time, I’m thinking of trying a different route: I90 to I79. It’s going to take me about a hundred miles out of my way, but it’s a different route. I’ve never driven across upstate New York

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I’m not sure it will add or subtract any time from the trip. In theory, it should add time to the trip, but when you sit on I81 in Scranton for an hour, it just might make a difference.  Assuming we leave at 7:00, we’ll have all day to get home. Time really isn’t that big of a deal.

Besides, my car is fun to drive.

Map stolen from Google Maps.

Day Trip to NYC
May 16th, 2007 by Mike

I was up shortly before 4:00 this morning to catch my 6:00 flight. There were nine people from my company all on the same flight.

It was a quick day in the NYC office to take care of a technical problem that our helpdesk should have picked up on. I was also supposed to have some face time with our international client services rep. Those two hours got reduced to fifteen minutes because he was busy with clients and their architects.

Because of the storms about to hit the northeast, we were afraid the 4:00 and later shuttles could be cancelled. When I say we, I mean the other four people who were going back to Boston.  And let me tell you that our approach into Boston was one of the bumpiest I’ve ever had. We were buffeting more than I cared for. I was seriously getting nauseous, and for me to be upset by a flight, you know it has to be bad.

One of the great things about today’s trip is that my expenses are minimal. I had to pay my taxi to and from Logan, which is cheap. We had a car service to and from LaGuardia, and those were picked up by one of our project executives. I’m okay with that.

You know, it’s kind of sad when New York, the greatest place on Earth, stops being exciting. I find Chicago more exciting these days.

Flight Memory
May 14th, 2007 by Mike

I’ve recently been playing around with flightmemory.com. It’s a tool that allows you to input all of your flights and then keep a history. In the past five years, I’ve flown 64 flights for over 80,000 miles, enough to circumnaviate the globe more than three times.  The map here shows just my domestic flights. It does not include four transatlantic flights and two transpacific flights. Oh, there are two intra-Europe and two intra-Australia flights as well.

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I wish I still had the records of my road warrior days. That would really show some flights.

Here are some interesting statistics of my travels.

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I love NY
May 14th, 2007 by Mike

I’m off to New York on Wednesday for work. I’m down and back the same day, meaning I don’t need a sitter for Reggie. I’m not looking forward to this trip, but it’s a necessary evil.

I’m on the 6:00 AM shuttle and coming back on the 6:00 PM shuttle. If all goes well, though, I can try to catch an earlier one.

Books
May 10th, 2007 by Mike

Everybody is going to ask what I did on vacation. Aside from seeing some friends in San Francisco and eating, the honest answer is “not much.”

One of my favorite ways of killing time is to visit bookstores. (Legitimate bookstores, boys) In San Francisco, I visited A Different Light and picked up a copy of Michael Thomas Ford’s Last Summer.  It’s got everything a gay novel should, including a gay man with a cheating boyfriend, someone coming out, someone being outed, a transexual, an AIDS scare, a hunky straight-ish handyman, and a pair of old queens who have been together forever.  It was a page turner and I finished it in about two days.

As soon as I got to Portland, I picked up his next book, Looking For It.  Going from one to the next probably wasn’t the smartest idea because the stories had very different paces. It was a good story, but it took a little longer to get into.

As one of my readers suggested, I visited Powel’s City of Books. Let me tell you that I spent a good four or five hours in their main store and probably another hour in their Technical Books store.  The Technical book store was like a big geekgasm and I loved it. I picked up a book about Boeing jetliners while I was there. The book is a little out of date and was pretty cheap. Their main store was just incredible. I browsed all kinds of subjects for hours. I fed my Star Trek geek appetite with a couple of books I’d been meaning to pick up but never had. So I bought the first two in the series and will pick up the third one in the near future.

By the time I got back to my hotel to pick up my luggage, which they kindly stored for me, my backpack was getting heavy, even though the two Michael Thomas Ford books had been put in my luggage.

Back in Boston
May 10th, 2007 by Mike

I got back to Boston this morning. My flights were rather uneventful.

Before leaving Portland, I had a beer at the airport and took a .25mg Xanax. I remember taking off, putting my pillow up against the window and then waking up as we were descending into New York.  We were late getting into New York because of fog. My 90 minute layover became 45.  When we took off for Boston, they stopped in the middle of the safety demo and opened the doors again. A few other flights were coming in and they were going to allow those people to catch our flight. That took about ten minutes and then we started to taxi. The captain said that we were going to be there a while because of the fog and that we were number 25 for takeoff.  I honestly don’t remember the hour we waited on the runway because I woke up when the flight attendants were serving drinks. I had a coke and cookies.

Yeah, my flight was an hour late getting into Boston, but it was fog in New York. If I’ve learned anything in my years of travel, it’s that you can’t bitch because Mother Nature throws a curveball at you.

The weather in Boston is much more humid than it was in Portland. Tomorrow, I’ll probably have to install my air conditioners.

Anyway, I’m tired and will be going to bed soon.

Apizza Scholls
May 8th, 2007 by Mike

Tonight I made the trek to Apizza Scholls in Portland. There was a line of people waiting to get in when they opened the doors at 5:00… on a Tuesday night!

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What can I say? This is arguably the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Yeah, it was pretty amazing. Pair it with a Bitburger beer, and you have a match made in heaven.

The staff was outstanding and very helpful in making my choice of pizza. You can tell they’re passionate about the pizza.

It was a good experience and I’ll certainly be back the next time I’m in Portland.

Maple Bacon
May 8th, 2007 by Mike

Anthony Bourdain was right about one thing. VooDoo Doughnuts are addictive. I went back this morning for more and had myself a maple bacon doughnut.

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This sounds gross, but I’ve got to tell you that it was quite amazing.  The saltiness of the bacon brought out the sweetness of the maple. Yeah, Bourdain got this one right.

Good Cookies
May 8th, 2007 by Mike

On my flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Alaska Airlines served Cougar Mountain Gourmet Cookies. They were Bananas and Oats cookies, and I must say that they were quite awesome

You can order them online, but I’m going to try to find some here in Portland while the opportunity is there.

Portland’s Tasty Treats
May 7th, 2007 by Mike

I walked through the Hawthorne area of Portland today. Well, I took a bus out to where I wanted to go and then walked back. I did find Apizza Scholls.  As I mentioned, they are closed on Monday.  And as the sign says, they close when they run out of dough.

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As I was walking back, I stopped by Pix Patisserie.  I was craving, as usual, something sweet. They had something that fit the bill perfectly.

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On the left is their Tarte au Citron, which is a basic tart with lemon curd. It was quite good. But the more incredible part was their Fleur de Sel chocolate. It’s a salted caramel in a chocolate shell with the bottom slightly salted. Let me tell you that the salt really brought out the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate.

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into Pix, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. This place was completely foreign.

One of the things I find really unique about Portland is that despite the downtown area, the city is very decentralized and spread out. You can find little shops all over the place. Despite the random Starbucks, there are still a ton of coffee shops.

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