Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can I Part You From Your Money

I've been spoiled. For the last several years, I've traveled so much that I've acquired frequent traveler status at hotels and airlines and have been able to maintain some level of "status" year to year. Frequent traveler status is easily reached when you use one or two specific airlines and/or hotels.

Travel was minimal this year. What travel I did was not with my preferred carriers. I got to be treated like an ordinary customer. No perks in sight. No seats at the front of the plane. No priority boarding. No free calls. No free internet. No free breakfast. No free social hour.

This past weekend I attended a convention in New Orleans and stayed at the Sheraton New Orleans -- not one of my usual hotel chain. It's a refurbished hotel which still needs lots of help with their plumbing -- temperature coming out of the shower head was not the same as the tub faucet. You can scald yourself. The hotel looks very nice and the bed is great. Room kind of smallish for a high end hotel.

Anyway.... When I'm at a hotel that does not offer free internet, I use dial up. I was not going to spend money for the internet if I don't get to use it optimally. If I'm going to pay for 24 hours worth, I want to be able to use it for 10-12. So, no high-speed internet on this trip. I don't really need the speed as I use it to check my email. Dialing locally is a lot cheaper than paying for internet service that you only need for about two hours. If I had to, I would have stayed dial up because I'm a money pincher and am old veteran with dial up. Well, that was not possible for this trip.

This is the first time I've seen a hotel charge for local calls the way the Sheraton did. It's $1.50 for the first 60 minutes and 10 cents for each minute thereafter. Whoa, the hotel is really slamming you for using their phone system. Am I right? Is it going to be an additional $6.00 for talking locally for another hour? It's best to hang up and call again.

Help me understand this. Lower end hotels, like the Hampton Inn, offer a set price for a local call (under $1.00 for unlimited time) and even offer free internet. And, you might even get a free continental breakfast. Higher end hotels give you a lot less for the buck. You are paying for the prettiness and the convenience of onsite services like a room service, a bar, a restaurant and a Starbucks :) that want your money, too.

Remember, don't touch those bottles of water in your room. You will definitely pay. Noooooo....not free.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Baby Corn

I had a Lean Cuisine Lemongrass Chicken for lunch today. It had baby corn in it. Let me tell ya. It was the biggest baby corn I've ever seen. Baby corn is about 1/4 inch in diameter. My meal had one that was 1/2 inch in diameter. It was kind of tired look. You could actually see some of the kernels had the sunken/wrinkled look.

I think Tom Hanks in the movie Big would have enjoyed eating this one -- a kernel at a time I always think of this movie when I see baby corn.

I was a good girl and ate my vegies.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

MySpace Layouts

In more cases than not, I find a lot of the MySpace profiles to be turn offs. Why?!?!?

Some of the backgrounds overpower the words. When the background picture is the same color, or close to it, as the words, YOU CANNOT READ IT. The background is not suppose to take center stage. That is why it's called "back"ground.

Too many pictures of different sizes. In my eyes, it makes the page messy. In fact, it looks like my house which is a total mess *LOL* My roommate sister said it's turned into a warehouse and my other sister has asked for invites to come over to "shop". Plus, the refrigerator is still blocking one of the entrances to the kitchen (different story). No company has been over in quite some time.

I especially hate it when I have to scroll horizontally back and forth to look at a page. Not everyone has the latest monitor that is extra wide. There are still lots of people out there with good old monitors. On one of the BBS that I hang at, the horizontal scrolling to read a post has coined the phase of doing the "cha-cha" which belongs on a dance floor and not a web page. What a turn off!

Do you think everyone has a high speed connection to Sorry to burst that bubble, too. There are still many pockets around the world that is using dial up. What do I mean by dial up? You connect your computer to the internet using a modem and a telephone. The highest transfer rate of information between your computer and the internet is 56 kilobits (56,000) per second. While cable modems or DSL or broadband or T1 lines have data transfer rates of 10+ megabits (10,000,000) per second. Dial up also happens to be one of the cheapest way of connecting to the internet as some are still watching their pennies.

So if you got lots of pictures, guess what. Your page may be bypassed because it takes too long for it to load -- especially if all you have are pictures to promote yourself.

If you are going to write, prove that you passed elementary school. You know, where they taught you how to write a sentence and use punctuation. I only excuse the people who write poetry because that totally breaks the writing rules.

No, I'm not a web page coder. I'm just a critic :)

Oh, one more thing. To the females out there, if you don't want to be treated like a piece of meat, but with respect (per Ms. Anita Franklin) like a lady who happens to have a great bod and a mind, too, put some nice clothes on. Why show everything you've got?

Monday, October 2, 2006


My oldest brother actually gets paid for chauffering as this one of his jobs -- he drives limos and sometimes even a stretch. But this is not about him as he is generally not around because he's always working.

I and my baby older brother are the chauffeurs for our family -- Taxi 'R' Us. When someone needs to be driven somewhere, he or I would get the call. It use to be just him before I got my driver's license and a car. What's really interesting is everyone, except my mother, Ray's wife and my other SIL, have driver's license. Really, they do. They just don't drive. I even offer the use of my car when I don't need it. As soon as they got their driver's license, the knowledge went into the wind. No, we don't get paid. Not even for the gas we use in our cars. We get the pleasure of doing something nice for the family ;) It's really not too bad as we're only called when public transportation is not a viable option or it's a big family get together -- 17 in the immediate area *WOW* (we need two tables in a Chinese restaurant now); 19 if the CA contingent comes in.

My last chauffeuring job was attending my baby sister's friends wedding. So we left the house at 1:30pm and did not get home until 11:15pm. I cannot really complain because it was something different from "can we go shopping". I could have dropped her at the church, but I would have had to wait and transport her to the reception. I was my sister's guest.

The church and wedding ceremony were nice, especially when the priest talked about the three rings in life -- the engagement ring, the wedding rings and suffering :) He got everyone to crack up. The food was lip smacking. The reception had lots of food -- you could have made a meal of it. An hour later was dinner * yum rack of veal*. DJ team was toe tapping -- though I don't really dance. I enjoy music and bopping in my chair. I leave the dance floor to everyone else.

Oh, back to the chauffeuring... I'm working on getting my baby older sister back behind the wheel. She really needs to get back behind the wheel as she has two little ones. Once I get her driving again, she can hijack her hubby's car, Lexus :D, and bum around NJ. Maybe, I'll be lucky and she'll drive me around.

As for my baby sister, she absolutely refuses to drive. She lives with me and has learned to use public transportation when she wants to go into the City. She only screams for me when she misses the bus or winds up at the off hours bus stop.