Sunday, October 25, 2009

In LA until Thursday

I'm in LA until Thursday for work. The nice thing is...Patty is here with me

We flew in this afternoon after celebrating a friend's b-day @ La Grande Orange (happy b-day, A.!)

Once we arrived in LA, we metup with my parents for an early dinner. After dinner we were thinking of things to do and decided to stop by Disneyland. One day, one park tickets are a whopping $72 (we both thought that there might be discounted admission after a certain time, like half price tickets after 6pm, but no luck), so we decided to walk around Downtown Disney instead. The place was absolutely packed for a Sunday evening...aren't kids in school right now?!?

BTW, my rental car this time around is the worst car ever - a Dodge Caliber. I thought the Chevy Aveo and HHR were terrible, but this car surpasses them by far. Oh well, it's my ride for the week.

Time for bed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back in town for a week

Some random pictures to share...

Complimentary croissants from Vincent's Market Bistro...I love this picture.

Chicken Kabob Wrap from The Greek Wraps (one of my favorite places in the world!)

Witty labels on dual-flush toilet at Luci's Health Marketplace

"Dan bing" that I made this afternoon...another posting about one of my favorite comfort foods here

Happy Diwali! (taken @ Thunderbird on Oct. 17, 2009)

Friday, October 16, 2009

In San Francisco

I'm currently in San Francisco. I'll be heading back home later today.

Patty should be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean right now on her way home...I just realized that we are supposed to land in Phoenix at exactly the same time! I knew the two flights (me from SFO; Patty from TPE via LAX) were coming in around the same time, but I didn't know it was going to be to the minute (if all goes per schedule).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dinner tonight

Yikes! I haven't cooked for nearly six weeks! Here's what I made for dinner tonight:

Tilapia w/ oven roasted red potatoes w/ rosemary and sauteed bean sprouts

Total time from prep to table: 15 mins
Total cost per serving: ~$3.25 (this is why I rarely order salmon or tilapia @ restaurants...I can make it just as good, or better, and for much less ;-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sit Back, Relax

Enjoyed this short article from the October 20009 issue of Hemispheres (United's awesome in-flight magazine). It's such a nice perspective, after reading US Airways CEO, Doug Parker's ridiculous letter that I recently posted about...


THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE you’re seated on a United or United Express flight right now. And except for the aroma of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee or the view outside the window, nothing should distract you from this magazine.

Why? Because United has invested significantly in cabin upgrades to ensure that your experience is a comfortable one.

For example, if you fly frequently in North America, you’ll notice new leather seating throughout the cabin on many of our Airbus A320 aircraft. And all United aircraft are getting new, updated upholstery and carpeting.

Notice a brighter, cleaner appearance? We hope so. We’re installing “cool white” lighting on United aircraft and, perhaps most importantly, we’ve doubled the frequency of our most thorough interior aircraft scrubbings. And our cleaning solutions are EPA-rated as environmentally friendly.

We’ve upgraded audio and video systems, and increased the frequency of inspection, maintenance and replacement of seat controls, reading lights and window shades. All of that means that when you want to recline your seat, your seat will recline. When you want to dive into that great new mystery novel, you’ll have a working reading light.

Because when a flight attendant encourages you to “sit back, relax and enjoy your flight,” we want to make sure you can.


Love it. While it still has a long way to go, United seems like it's headed in the right direction - focusing on the traveler's comfort and experience. Doug Parker - you should read this letter!

Original article:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home again

I'm home again...for a week this time.

Questions to Homeland Security:

For air travelers, what does "Threat Level - Orange" really mean?!? We've been at that level for over three years now.

I spent a bunch of time waiting in airports this week and heard the recorded message about the current threat level being at orange, blah blah...endless times.

Will travelers react differently at different threat levels? Will Homeland Security ever lower the threat level back to "Yellow" again?

Will we ever get to travel again without having to put our 3oz or less liquids in a quart size clear zip-top bag and scan that bag separately? Will Homeland Security ever end its "war on water"? Laptops? Shoes?!?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I'm back home for 35 more hours...

I arrived late yesterday from Williamsburg, Virginia - a total travel time of nearly 12 hrs!

Interesting observation:
I flew on four flights over the last week - all on US Airways, and noticed that none of the flight attendants were under 40 (by my estimates). They also seemed to be hating life (or their jobs) as there were no smiles observed. What a stark contrast to my recent travels in Asia, on a variety of Asian airlines, where none of the FAs were over 35 (again, by my estimates) and they all had permasmiles and really seemed to take pride in what they are doing. No offense GW (I'm sure you are a superstar)!

Another observation:
On one of my flights yesterday, it took the FAs nearly 45 minutes to complete the beverage service in the economy cabin. I think an EVA/ANA/(insert any Asian airline here) crew could serve pre-dinner drinks, meal, and after-dinner drink in the same amount of time.

Does any one actually like US Airways?

I try to avoid US Airways whenever possible, but it's pretty tough as it's the dominant carrier here in Phoenix (along w/ Southwest).

On one of my flights yesterday, I was reading this month's issue of US Airways Magazine. I always find the letter from the CEO segment very entertaining. This month's letter did not disappoint. Here it is (highlights are mine):

The Choice Is Yours

Chairman and CEO Doug Parker

The comforts of home may be hard to find at 35,000 feet, but US Airways is working to give you more inflight offerings to make your travels with us more enjoyable.

Over the past few months, we introduced a variety of popular snacks for sale in addition to our fresh meals and snack boxes, and we began offering several new restaurant-quality cocktails and premium beverages. These choices — more than we’ve ever offered — are all part of a new inflight menu called US Airways MarketPlace.

We’ve selected some well-known brands to offer something different from what you might expect while flying. In addition to our assortment of complimentary soda, juice, coffee, tea, and water, you now have the option to purchase three popular “pick-me-ups”: AriZona Arnold Palmer Lite Half & Half, the classic iced tea-lemonade combo; iced Starbucks® Frappuccino® Coffee Drink; and Red Bull, the number one energy drink in the world.

We’re also pleased to offer you three new, award-winning, all-natural cocktail mixers from Stirrings. You’ll have the choice of a Pomegranate Martini, Mai Tai, or Margarita, all made with real fruit juice, triple-filtered water, and cane sugar.

In addition to enhancing your travel experience with more snack and beverage options, US Airways is helping you make the most of your flying time by turning our aircraft into Wi-Fi “hotspots.”

Beginning early next year we’ll install Gogo® Inflight Internet service from Aircell on our fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft. Customers with laptops, smartphones, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices will be able to purchase full Internet access including Web, instant messaging, email, and VPN access on select domestic flights.

Whether you decide to catch up on work or relax and surf the Internet is up to you, but we know that our new Wi-Fi service will make your travels with us more enjoyable. On behalf of our 33,000 employees, we appreciate that you’re flying with us today. We look forward to serving you in the future.

Doug Parker
Chairman and CEO


I'm pretty certain that Doug Parker did not write this letter. If it a joke?!? How many times does he mention for sale/purchase above? This is the same airline that recently tried to charge for all non-alcoholic beverages and decided to reinstate complimentary beverage service due to the following reason:

"The beverage program was distracting from the outstanding improvements in on-time performance and baggage handling US Airways` 34,000 employees worked so hard to achieve last year," said Parker.

New (for purchase) drink selections and for purchase internet are going to improve customer satisfaction? By the way, the cocktails are $8!!! I walked through the cabin right after beverage service was completed and did not notice any customers w/ a cocktail. Wonder if they'll last...

Other random things:

I canceled our cable and phone land-line. We don't really watch much TV and rarely use the phone. For TV, we'll rely on any free broadcast HD channels that we get.

Why do car rental companies buy the worst cars (i.e. Chevy Aveo, Chrysler PT Cruiser, etc.)?!? It seems like they could save a bunch of maintenance expenses and improve customer satisfaction by using more reliable cars. I'm thinking Toyotas, Hondas, etc here...

That's all for now!