Friday Nov 16, 2007

Rules of the Road


1) If you have a tight connection or are delayed going into ORD, your connecting flight will always be in another terminal.

2) If a hotel gym describes itself as state of the art, it isn't.

3) Unless the engine falls off at the gate, any other delay will be treated by the airline as weather related.

4) Unless you require one, never accept an "accessible" room.  Same for Parlor rooms.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

Still Not Dead

And not in Canada this time either.  Currently in Alabama.  And for what it's worth, the Golds Gym in the Vestavia area of Birmingham is about one of the nicest I've ever seen!  The UAB folks are great and sharp Sun Ray folks too.  Heading home tomorrow, hopefully in time to make Bellamy's ENT appointment.


Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

I will remember you...

While I'm a happily married man, I just spent an hour with a woman I'll never forget.  I should thank the TSA, for if they had any clue on how to schedule their staff, we might have just been two ships that passed in the  I'm pretty sure the TSA staffing formula looks like this (5/1)a + HOSPb = 2 Lanes Open.  Wouldn't it be brilliant if somehow there was a way they could actually forecast how many people would be at the airport on a given day?  It would be silly to think that airlines actually knew a few days in advance of how many tickets they sold.  Silly.

But I've gotten off track, back to the subject at hand.  While I may never know her name, I did come up with a pet name for her: Mom Jeans Lady.  Excuse me gentle reader as I direct the rest of this entry to MJL.


Thank you for the amazing view.  The Black Eyed Peas kept playing over and over in my head..."What you gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?".  While Gerontophilia is not my bag, all I can say is you took those jeans and made them your own.  I couldn't resist preserving the moment digitally.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  What can I say, I was love drunk on your humps.

Fortunately I'll have something else to remember you by as well besides a blurry picture.  However, there is something I want to share with you.  A bit of May-December advice if you will.  You really don't need to tote your carry on bag at a full 45 degree angle to get it to move.  Your arm has this muscle called a bicep that if used, you can actually keep the bag almost parallel to that fabulous money maker.  Also, if you check that you have your boarding pass once and then put it away you can actually stop checking to see if you have it.

But this is advice I'm glad you didn't have prior to our meeting.  Because if you did, you wouldn't have constantly been dropping your bag and I wouldn't have this reminder of our time spent together.  Love hurts, especially love that was never meant to be.

Yours Truly,

Thin Guy


a In LAS there are five stations to check your ID and boarding pass.  These five lines then converge into one line.

b Hordes of Stupid People 

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

Feeling jilTED

I don't know the exact reason, but I love United Airlines.  I know a lot of people do not.  Perhaps it's the childhood memories of seeing my Dad off1 on his international travels which meant getting to spend the morning at the Sea-Tac Red Carpet Club.  Hey, free danish and juice to a kid is like gold.  Perhaps it was all the wings and coloring books they used to give out on the flights.

When I joined Sun, I was really happy that United was our carrier of choice.  The next three years, well two and a half, I was Premiere 1K with them.  Upgrades galore, no fee for flight changes, etc.  Channel 9.  Happy times.

Sun, like any cost conscious business, put out the bid for our business and this time American won the business.  While I felt I got the raw end of the status matching deal (1K to AA's 50K platinum status), I made it work.  Soon Exec Platinum on AA.  All was OK, but geez...They flew old jets, their staff wasn't as "warm" as the United folks, the TWA planes blew.  I longed for United.

I got my wish in late 2006 when United won back Suns business.  I actually made out on the status match this time, retaining my Platinum, but really only flying about 45K (Bellamy was born during the qualifying period and my wife was on bedrest).  But here comes the big but.  During my AA days, United introduced TED, their lower cost airlines that flies to the "Sun and the Fun".  Well, lower cost means no first class, and "Sun and Fun" includes Las Vegas.

This means that no matter where my first segment takes me (which a lot of the time is my only segment), I'm stuck in coach regardless of how many upgrade coupons I have or what my status is.  Throw in the new expiring miles bit and as a UAL flight attendant said to me, I might as well be flying Southwest.

1 Yes, it's true.  Back in the olden days you used to be able to actually go to the gate to see people off or pick them up.

Thursday Aug 09, 2007

I'm not dead...

I'm just in Canada doing a two day customer workshop that I really need to pay attention to.  Vancouver is beautiful.  Lots of flashbacks from my youth.

Friday Aug 03, 2007

August on the Road

I'm currently enjoying one of the last Fridays I'll spend at home for the month of August.  For the next few weeks I'll be touching both coasts a few times, even up to Vancouver, BC.  I get to come home for the week-ends though, so that's always good.  Really looking forward to the trips as there are good folks @ each stop.  I'd say it's been close to 20 years since I last saw BC.  We used to sail the San Juan Islands each summer, eventually ending up in Victoria.  I'll be staying downtown with a few other Sun folks, if interested in grabbing a pint with us, drop me a line.

Thursday Jul 26, 2007

Vegas Tips for ASM/GEH/CEC Attendees

I had a comment on my last entry regarding some tips for some of my Las Vegas bound colleagues.  We have three big internal meetings here this year (starting this week-end) with thousands of Sun folks coming to Sin City. 

Taxi Service:  If the queue is long (it almost always is), do the following:  Grab a Sky Cap (porter) and ask them for help with your bags.  It doesn't matter if you only have carry on luggage.  They will walk you right up to a waiting taxi and you bypass the line.  Tip $5-10 per person.  The longer the queue, the bigger the tip.

Departure: It depends on when you leave but if you have a Sunday or Monday morning departure, plan on being at the airport 2 hours early (at least).  If you luck out and there is no line, you can always play the slots.  :)

Shows: Must see shows include Love, O, Blue Man Group, Penn and Teller, Wayne Brady, and Lance Burton.  You probably can't go wrong with any Cirque show, but I wasn't a fan of Zumanity and have heard the same about Ka.  Have heard the Celine show is great, I won't tell anyone if you go.  OK, maybe I will.  I will however camp out and see who I recognize going to Barry Manilow and I will blog that.  See who is going to be in concert that week and you might want to go see one of those.  However, keep in mind that you will pay a premium for seeing the show in Las Vegas.  You also probably can't go wrong with many of the comedy shows in town. 

Eats:  If you want a local taste find a Robertos Taco Shop or Faustos Mexican Grill (same menu/food).  If you like Subs find a Capriottis (also on the east coast, same family).  For some of the best pizza in the world (yes, the world) find a Metro Pizza.  If you get a chance try the buffet @ Bellagio.  Expensive, but amazing.  There is so much good food here, just leave a comment for with your tastes and I'll try to find something good.  We also have this little local coffee shop we are proud of, it's called Starbucks (I joke, I joke).

Finer Eats: Prime (Bellagio), Picasso's (Bellagio), N9NE (Palms), Antonio's Italian Ristorante (Rio), again just too many to choose from.  There a lot of cool trendy places, especially @ the Hard Rock.  Try the Pink Taco or AJ's if in the mood for a Steak.

After Hours:  Almost every resort has a stellar and crowded nightclub.  The Rio has the Voodoo Lounge, The Palms has the Ghost Bar and Playboy Club.   Both are close. Dress nice, not geeky.

Other things:  Red Rock Canyon and Hoover Dam.  Worth seeing both.  If you have access to a car, Valley of Fire and Lake Mead are pretty cool too.  Pretty much any thrill ride (like at the Stratosphere or NY, NY) are going to be fun.

Fitness:  If the Rio Fitness/Spa isn't up to your speed and you want a real gym, Golds Gym and Las Vegas Athletic Club have a lot of locations.  Some pretty close and if you come to the Golds on Eastern & Serene around 5:30 AM we can work out together.

Things to avoid:  Cheap shows (non-headliners i.e. Splash, American Superstars, etc), strip bars, etc.  Not that I should have (or want) to mention this, but prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas.  I only mention this because I hear so many comments to the contrary.  I'm not trying to blog morality here, just trying to keep my fellow colleagues out of trouble.  If you are into that type of thing make sure you are not in Clark County.

Golf:  Too many good courses to choose from, all expensive.  There are a few local gems and if you pay for me, I can get us a locals rate. (Hint, hint)

I'm sure I missed some topics, if you have a question just drop me a comment and I'll respond as best I can.



Sunday Jul 22, 2007

My favorite co-travelers

I loveathe these people:

Mr. "Do I have everything?" - After standing at the ticket counter for an hour and receiving a boarding pass, he still doesn't trust that he has a seat.  They have to go check in with the agent at the gate.  Yes, you have everything.  Go have a seat, away from me.

Mr. "I just have a quick question" - This guy has a question that is so important he refuses to wait in the line.  Instead he stands at the end of the counter and tries to get the agents attention.   9 times out of 10, this is one and the same as Mr. "Do I have everything?"

Mr. "I just called to say hi" - No one likes to be Bored Dialed.  No one likes to listen to it in progress either.  Get a book.

Ms. "200 lb carry on bag" - You bring, you lift it.  Those are the rules of the road.

Mr. Catapult - Funny, the back of the seat in front of me does not say "Pull here to stand up"

There's a whole other category of travelers,  if you've ever flown into Las Vegas on a Friday night you know who I'm talking about.  Unless of course you're that person.  I avoid Friday return flights like the plague now.

Thursday Jun 07, 2007

A bit tougher one

Where Am I here? (Note the Sun ski hat!)


Where in the World

New category; Where In The World?

Here's one of my stops on the upcoming Roadshow  (Haven't been there in two years!).  First to answer wins a....hug.



Ghost Train

Here's something that does not happen every day.  I had to whole Air Train to my self all the way from SFO's Terminal 3 to the Rental Car facility.  Kind of spooky.



Monday Jun 04, 2007

Things you don't want to hear 15 minutes before leaving for the airport

"Delaney's homework is to fill 50 water balloons."

Oh where do I begin.  First off my daughter is sent home with really cheap water balloons.  You know the type, the kind that they actually give you a cheap plastic nozzle with because there is no way they are going to fit over a normal hose/faucet.  Except they didn't send home the nozzle.

Then you have my wife who despite all her beauty and talent in almost all things mom and otherwise, she's just not that strong when it comes to working with tiny knots.

Finally, these are water balloons.  Do you think maybe there should have been some accounting for breakage?  Especially with 3rd graders?  Nope, the kid was sent home with exactly 50.

What's life without a challenge.  Luckily we have a sprayer nozzle that tapered just enough to get the balloons over without breaking.  50 filled balloons in 25 minutes and not a single broken ballon.


My wife is going to have to figure out how to get them to the classroom which weigh more than my daughter.

 Update:  My wife used a small rolling suitcase to get them to class.  Clever!


Monday Mar 26, 2007

Vacation Time

Back on April 9th.


Monday Mar 05, 2007

Hola from Mexico City

Here all week.

La red es la computadora


Thursday Dec 21, 2006

What the TSA guy told me

When he watched me place my Sun Ray 2 into a bin (like you do for your laptop)

"Sir, You can leave your hard drive in your bag"



My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


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