Saturday, February 28, 2009

I SO Need My Day Off Tomorrow...

...because it's been a very busy week and I am tired. At least I seem to be over whatever was causing the glands in my throat to swell up (a large majority of our office staff has been sick and generally blame the new building we are in, specifically the new carpet and possible fumes emanating from it) so I don't have the aggravation of that to add to the workload.

And to top off the end of the work week, we have snow and sleet again. Here's a screen capture of the NWS radar for my area of KY (Frankfort and Lexington) at noon today. You can see what was coming toward us.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, it's because I slept the day away.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My Exciting Day Off

Last Sunday I slept in until almost noon. Between just being tired from the long hours at work and fighting off whatever this is that was causing my glands in my throat to swell up, I really needed the rest even though I felt like I let half the day go to waste.

It was incredibly cold outside and a few snow flurries were still falling from the night before, but I was hungry and wanted something that would "stick to my ribs", which meant that the nearby Panera, though they have excellent soup and sandwiches, was out. I took a shower, dressed warmly and then walked across the 4 lane highway in front of the hotel over to the Bob Evans Restaurant.

I've never been to a Bob Evans Restaurant in my life. I've lived near them and driven by them countless times in the last 25 years, but never darkened their doorway until Sunday afternoon when I decided they would have the hot, substantial kind of meals for which my stomach was growling.

So I don't know what the rest of their establishments are like in comparison to this one in Lexington, but this was a nice place. It was clean, bright and cheery and sort of reminded me of a Perkins Restaurant near our home in Orlando. They DID have those hot, substantial meals I was searching for, though I ended up altering my growling gut's demands a bit.

For some reason I was really in the mood for some pot roast and vegetables, but both of their pot roast dinners had substantial amounts of mashed potatoes, something I neither care for nor can eat in large amounts even if I DID like them. As I kept looking through the menu and telling myself to order one and just skip the potatoes (which is SO against my natural inclination not to waste food - ask Cindy), I spied a pot roast with carrots and onions SANDWICH on grilled sourdough. I ordered it and it was delicious.

Walking back across the highway with the ice cold wind blowing like it wanted to rip my coat off my body and quick-freeze me, I knew I was not going to want to leave the hotel room the rest of the day. So I stopped in at the Panera and bought a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup, a Sierra Turkey sandwich, an apple and one of their new granola/yogurt parfaits for dinner.

After putting dinner in the mini-fridge I spent the rest of the day doing some reading and writing (though not nearly as much as I had planned) and just lazing around the room, before eating my dinner (that granola/yogurt parfait was a surprisingly good dessert!) then lying in bed watching some of the Oscars before falling fast asleep.

Riveting, I know.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Colonel's Secret Recipe

I imagine that a lot of people under the age of 20 are probably unaware that KFC is an acronym for Kentucky Fried Chicken. But those of us who are of a certain age will clearly remember the late Colonel Harland Sanders and his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices which, to this day, are used to prepare Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Back in 1935, Governor Ruby Laffoon gave Sanders the honorary title of Colonel and Sanders began dressing in the style of a stereotypical Southern gentleman and calling himself "Colonel" as a way of self-promotion for his restaurant/motel where he was perfecting his method of preparing (that secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices) and cooking chicken (with a "pressure fryer" that allowed for much faster cooking than traditional pan-frying achieved).

There really is a handwritten piece of paper containing the famous recipe that is closely guarded by the company in a safe. Last September the recipe was removed to a super-secret location while the safe at headquarters was being upgraded and a couple of weeks ago it was returned to its new sanctuary. You can read all about the new safe here.

Back when I was much, much younger I was an assistant manager for a privately-owned drive-in restaurant in Oklahoma City that still, even in the late 70's, based its service on cute girls skating out to deliver orders. Jim Riley, the manager at the time was developing his own recipe and method of frying chicken and for fun I had a sign put on our marquee that read something to the effect of "Try Colonel Riley's New Fried Chicken." He was pleased and business was increasing until a few days later when the owner received a cease and desist letter from the lawyers in the corporate office of Kentucky Fried Chicken whose franchise store down the highway from us had complained about the sign because I used the words "Colonel" and "Fried Chicken" together.

I've never liked Kentucky Fried Chicken since.

Writing this got me to thinking about other restaurants that use initials instead of spelling out their name. First I thought of ARBY'S, which if you believed their commercials of the past, stood for "America's Roast Beef Yes Sir" but is, in fact, the initials of the Raffel Brothers (RB's), Leroy and Forrest who created the concept.

Second, I thought of TCBY, a yogurt chain that my step-daughter used to work at and that my in-laws love to frequent. The company website states that the initials stand for "The Country's Best Yogurt", but I'll have to take their word for that since I've never tried their product.

And finally, TGIFriday's, which everyone knows stands for "Thank Goodness It's Friday."

So, are there any other restaurants that use initials instead of spelling out their name that you can think of that I missed?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer, R.I.P.

I was saddened today to receive a Tweet from author Neil Gaiman advising that author Philip Jose Farmer had passed away in his sleep early this morning at the age of 91.

He wrote some good science fiction.

Our sympathy goes out to his family, friends and loved ones.

Saturday Snow Pictures

Saturday afternoon I looked out my office window and saw the rain had started. Rain is fine, even when it is as cold as it has been here, but I knew from the weather report that this rain was going to change to snow. Sure enough, within about 30 minutes the raindrops had changed to snow flakes and I worried that the bridges on the drive back to the hotel would begin to ice over, so I left work early in the hope of getting over them before that happened.

Driving back, I snapped these photos...some of them through the windshield as you can tell.

And the view from my hotel room after arriving safely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your Education Tax Dollars At Work

No child left behind except...the author of this sign.

I'm trying to accept that, but...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Guest Of The Day

After I finished up my meeting in Elizabethtown last Wednesday, I had to drive another 2 hours down to Hopkinsville to spend the night and prepare for a meeting the next afternoon.

I ended up booking a room at the Fairfield Inn due in part to the fact that it was one of the few places I could find a room and in part to add to my Marriott Rewards point count. After driving to the Elizabethtown meeting in the rain, attending the meeting and then driving to Hopkinsville, the time I pulled up in front of the Fairfield Inn I was somewhat tired and knew I had a few hours of work to do on the laptop once I checked in, so I was probably beginning to shows signs of some tiredness.

So you might be able to imagine how I was surprised and buoyed to walk into the lobby and see this sign by the front desk.

Now, in all the traveling I've done over the past 18 months and all the hotels I've stayed in, I've never been (or even seen signs about, for that matter) Guest of the Day, so that was definitely unexpected. But when I got to my room, there was a further surprise.

And here is what was inside the bag.

Now, unfortunately, out of those three items I can only have one and you can imagine which one it is, but still it was a nice touch and put a smile on my face at the end of a long day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cold Kentucky Rain

I was driving from Frankfort to Elizabethtown last Wednesday for a meeting. It was cold and it was raining. So, of course, the radio station I was listening to played this song:

Seven lonely days
And a dozen towns ago
I reached out one night
And you were gone
Don't know why you'd run,
What you're running to or from
All I know is I want to bring you home

So I'm walking in the rain,
Thumbing for a ride
On this lonely Kentucky backroad
I've loved you much too long
My love's too strong
To let you go, never knowing
What went wrong

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead's another town
That I'll be walking through
With the rain in my shoes,
Searching for you
In the cold Kentucky rain,
In the cold Kentucky rain

Showed your photograph
To some old gray bearded men
Sitting on a bench
Outside a general store
They said "Yes, she's been here"
But their memory wasn't clear
Was it yesterday,
No, wait...the day before?

Well I finally got a ride
With a preacher man who asked
"Where you bound on such a cold dark afternoon?"
As we drove on through the rain
And he listened I explained
And he left me with a prayer
That I'd find you

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead's another town
That I'll be walking through
With the rain in my shoes,
Searching for you
In the cold Kentucky rain!
In the cold Kentucky rain!
In the cold Kentucky rain!

"Uhh thank ya very much ladies and gentlemen, thank ya very much."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doubletree Twitters Me

So, last Friday I blogged about checking into the Doubletree in Lexington, Kentucky and how happy I was in comparison to the "Hotel-Chain-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named" that I had checked out of a few days earlier.

Here's another example of how cool it is being on Twitter. THE VERY NEXT DAY, I had the following Twitter message waiting for me from Doubletree which, amazingly enough, has its own Twitter account!

If you check their Twitter page you can see they use the app to send nice messages like the one they sent me and to tell their guests in various locations about things going on around the hotel area in which they are staying. Just another way Twitter is functioning as a social media tool and a marketing tool for businesses.

Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Commonwealth Of Kentucky

Within the 50 states that make up our United States, four are designated as "commonwealth" rather than "state." Those four are Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky. Much like the adjustment I had to make in Louisiana last year when it came to using "Parish" instead of "County", it has taken me few days to make sure all my report references are to the "Commonwealth of Kentucky" rather than the "State of Kentucky."

According to Wikipedia,"This designation, which has no constitutional impact, emphasizes that they have a 'government based on the common consent of the people' as opposed to one legitimized through their earlier Royal Colony status that was derived from the King of Great Britain."

Originally Kentucky was a part of Virginia, but in 1785 residents began petitioning the Virginia Legislature for statehood. Statehood was granted on June 1, 1792 and in 1850 all references were adjusted from "State of Kentucky" to "Commonwealth of Kentucky" and have remained so until this day.

For the first 12 days I was here I drove to work in the morning while it was still dark, back to the hotel at night in the dark and had only seen the immediate area around our office in daylight when I went out for lunch. A couple of days ago I was able to leave work while it was still twilight and I got to see miles and miles of horse farms with some of the beautiful creatures grazing not far from the Interstate I drive on. When I get a couple of days off I'm going to enjoy doing some sightseeing in Kentucky. Horses, Bourbon Whiskey, and UK Wildcats, lol.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We'll Always Have Paris

Sunday I finally had a day off. I slept until 10:30 when my bladder forced me to leave the comfort of my bed. And if I haven't mentioned before, the bed at Doubletree is EXTREMELY comfortable.

I fell back in bed and tossed and turned for a few minutes before finally deciding I wasn't going back to sleep so I called Cindy for our every-morning call and then stumbled around the hotel room for a while before deciding to go see "Taken" at the movie theater.

"Taken" stars Liam Neeson as the former special-ops father of a teenage daughter who is kidnapped in Paris by white slave traders. You can guess the rest. As a story, it was ok, with the usual plot holes and questions left unanswered that accompany most action/adventure movies, but overall it was a satisfying movie.

The main reason I went to see the movie is because when Cindy and her mom and I were in Paris of May 2007 we happened upon a scene being filmed on the Champs-Élysées with Liam Neeson and an actor that we thought at the time was Kevin Spacey. We were wrong about the Kevin Spacey part; it turned out to be an actor who looked like him from a distance. But it was fun to watch the scene being filmed right in front of us and a real kick when that scene came up on the screen at the movie theater. I wanted to shout out, "I was there!"

If you want to see what we saw that afternoon, you can go to this link to read about the experience and view the video I shot of the scene and afterward.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On The Road Again...

I'll be on the road today, first for an afternoon meeting in a town about 2 hours from the office, then driving another 2 hours to a town in Kentucky named Hopkinsville to spend the night before a meeting there on Thursday afternoon.

Hopkinsville is a city located in Christian County, Kentucky in the western part of the state. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 30,089. It is the county seat of Christian County.

Probably the most interesting thing about Hopkinsville is that it was the birth place and home town of the notable psychic Edgar Cayce.

I'll be staying in a hotel that is NOT a Comfort Suite. Speaking of Comfort Suites, I answered their request for a survey of my stay at the hotel in Georgetown. I was a little nonplussed by the fact that, though they allow you to make a comment explaining the situation you were unhappy with, they limit you to 256 characters! Hell, get with the times, we're not living in the dial-up days any longer. Comment sections can and should be as long as necessary to tell your tale. I can only view it as further evidence of a lack of caring about customer service at Choice Hotels. I DID leave my full review at Tripadvisor, so hopefully other travelers will be warned about the lousy customer service at this hotel.

After my meeting Thursday afternoon, I'll drive the 4 hours back to Lexington and the comfort of the Doubletree. They're even being nice enough to hold my large suitcase for me so I only have to take my carry-on bag on this 2-day 1-night trip. As I write this, the forecast is for rain all day Wednesday and snow all day Thursday with ice and sleet thrown in both days for good measure. It's going to be a fun drive!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kentucky Autism Awareness License Tag

I was driving back to the office from lunch yesterday when I pulled up behind a car at a stop light. The familiar puzzle pieces design immediately caught my eye as I realized I was looking at the first Autism Awareness state-issued license tag I had ever seen.

I thought it was cool! I was so excited I immediately Twittered it. My state of current residence, Florida, doesn't have one. My state of future residence, North Carolina, does but I've never seen one during our visits there.

You go, Kentucky!

Yeah, I'm easily excited.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Fun With Word Errors

Here's a guy who is having problems with a certain homonym. It's that, or he thinks this storm stinks with a strong aromatic odor. Even so, I'm wondering where this newspaper's editor was in all this. Perhaps he was away from the office sniffing out a new reporter

Storm Reeks Havoc

The powerful late-afternoon storm that raced across Kentucky uprooted large trees, knocked over trailers and generally reeked havoc throughout Whitley County Wednesday.

As of Friday morning the spelling had not been corrected. Maybe no one else thinks it smells good either. This whole thing "wreaks" of confusion.

Of course, my own co-workers are not faultless in this respect. I received an e-mail from our Safety Officer this past week exhorting all of us to "Error on the side of caution." In other words, "To error is human, to forgive is divine."

Finally, with another homonym mistake, I was very surprised to see this gaffe in an AP article. Standards are falling, folks, when an entity like Associated Press lets this kind of slip go out under their byline in a story about other states and agencies outside Kentucky offering help.

"Among the aide flowing in from outside..."

This "aide" (not sure if it was a male or female) must have been very limber to be able to make such an entrance. I hope they weren't in need of any First Aid afterward.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Media & Social Media Acceptance Growing?

If you're reading this in the morning, please don't read too loud as hopefully I'm still sleeping in on my first day off after 2 weeks and 144 hours of work.



On a daily basis, when I am out on assignment around the country, I review news clips that mention our mission. In the past, only those from "official" media outlets have been collected and disseminated. But for the first time this past Tuesday a blog entry was included and on Thursday, lo and behold, a Twitter post appeared. It feels so cool that new media and social media mentions are beginning to be included now and not dismissed as being beneath recognition.

Do you think Obama, with his high visibility of using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and even placing a blog on the official White House website, might be responsible for that?

New media and social media writers or spokespeople are consistently accused of being unreliable or inaccurate by the "official" media, but we're all very much aware that those so-called "official" media outlets aren't always reliable when it comes to relaying accurate reports either.

In fact, tomorrow's post will highlight some more of those fun spelling errors I see all the time and some of those are from the "Big Boys."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Another Valentine's Day spent away from my Valentine.

Last year I was in Baton Rouge, LA on Valentine's Day and though I did not forget the day as it relates to Cindy, it did slip my mind when I went out for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Sitting alone in a dining room full of happy smiling couples, I vowed not to relive that experience again if we were apart on Valentine's Day. So, tonight I'll be eating dinner in my hotel room and avoiding the "in your face" reminder that we're not together and out enjoying a romantic meal ourselves.

A quick search of Google reveals the following "lonely heart" references:

Owner of a Lonely Heart - 1983 song by rock band Yes

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - 1967 Album by the Beatles

None But The Lonely Heart - 1944 film

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - 1940 novel

A Lonely Heart - several poems with this title, but my favorite is the one by Myrtle Thomas.

So, to all the lonely hearts out there today, whether because you are away from your love or have not yet found them, this post is for you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Doubletree In Lexington

After leaving the front desk on Tuesday night, I went back to my room, got online and booked a room at the Doubletree in Lexington, a hotel that, while a little farther away, was getting good ratings from some co-workers.

I arrived there Wednesday night about 8pm to check in. Let me tell you, the difference in customer service levels between Doubletree and Comfort Suites is like night and day. The room itself is fantastic, decorated in what I would describe as a Modern European style (NOT that I know ANYTHING about such things, it's just a shot in the dark, ya know?), reminding me of our trips to Scotland, England and France.

The bed is one of the most comfortable I've ever, ever slept on. And the bathtub is some kind of double-sized monstrosity with spa jets that look like they could create a tidal wave, lol. I haven't used it yet, preferring to shower as I usually do, but I may have to get a beer, a cigar and a book one night and enjoy the jets.

I asked for a top-floor corner room and they apologized profusely for only having a corner room available one floor below the top. When I was checking in they noted that I was a diamond-level member (something I didn't have to point out to them the way I had to with Choice) and thanked me warmly for choosing to stay with them. At the moment, the longer drive is definitely worth it.

I've been extremely busy the past few days as we prepared for a fairly high-level meeting that was held yesterday morning. I felt it went very well, and thankfully my boss, her boss and her boss all felt the same. It's always good to please the boss. :)

Photos of the new room below, but first the best news of the hour...I have this Sunday off! The time off to rest and recharge will be very, very welcome. These past two weeks I've worked 144 hours, which doesn't count lunch time off each day and driving back and forth to and from the office. If I get out of bed Sunday before noon I'll be extremely surprised. And mad!

Ok, ignore how messed up the color is in this shot and look at the size of that thing!

Looking down from the fourth floor hallway to the interior courtyard/lobby.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If It's Thursday, This Must Be Lexington

Yes, another city and thus another hotel. But this move was a voluntary one on my part. Sort of.

I've never been a fan of Choice Hotels (Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, etc.) but when I was in Iowa back in July through October of 2007, there was a brand new one that opened close to the office and everyone of my co-workers who were holed up there gave it rave reviews so I got a room and immensely enjoyed my stay there for a two month period. The room was nice and the staff was always friendly and helpful.

So, when I needed to find a room late last week in the Georgetown, KY area I noticed there was a Comfort Suites and, though I had a small bit of trepidation, my positive experience in Iowa beat it down and told it to shut up while I booked a 30-day stay. I asked for a top floor corner room, as I always do, but had to bring up my Platinum Elite status (from all those nights in Iowa) to get them to give it to me, which was a little irritating because it meant they weren't even looking at my booking information where that level is noted.

This past Monday night I checked into the hotel after a 13 hour day. Though worn, the room was clean and comfortable. However it had a strange layout that prevented you from seeing the TV if you were sitting at the desk. Since I love to dual-task by working on my laptop while watching TV, this was a bit aggravating, but since I also did not have much time to do either while on this current schedule, I wasn't truly bothered by it.

The next morning I woke up, showered, dressed and left the room to go downstairs and see what was for breakfast. Out of habit, when I'm leaving any room I'm staying in I always close the door and then automatically try to open it to be sure it has locked shut. In 18 months of traveling and staying at a multitude of hotels, I've never had one that did not lock as it should.

Until Tuesday morning.

I tried several times to be sure I had pulled the door completely shut and checked inside to see if there was some kind of latch that I failed to notice, but no matter what I did the lock would not engage. I remember thinking that it is a good thing I always engage the deadbolt AND close the inside door jamb latch; otherwise someone might have come in during the night and molested me. No, wait, that was a dream I had. LOL

So, I went downstairs and informed the young female desk clerk of the problem and she promised to have maintenance fix it first thing that morning. I was running short on time so I left my clothing and toiletries in the room, but took my laptop and camera with me in the rental car.

At work I sent an e-mail to the hotel asking them to notify me as soon as the door lock was repaired, but I never heard anything back from them and I was so busy that I didn't take the time to call them. Driving to the hotel after working another 13 hour day, I was slightly perturbed that they had not responded to my request.

I entered the hotel and walked up the stairs to my third floor room. Without using my key card I turned the handle...and the door opened, completely unlocked. I went in and made sure my belongings were still there, then went back downstairs to the front desk where a young (are we seeing a trend here yet?) man who was reading a book entitled, "Searching the Scriptures" was sitting. I informed him of the situation and he phoned someone who he identified later as the maintenance person. He hung up and reported that the maintenance person said he fixed the door. I said, "Well, I'm telling you, again, that I just opened the door without my key card, so it obviously is not fixed." He shrugged and with an unconcerned, unapologetic tone and attitude said, "So, do you want me to move you to another room?"

Although the entirety of the situation was causing me a great deal of anger, especially since I was tired from working long hours, I always try to represent my employer in a positive manner and not do anything, by action or behavior, that would reflect badly on it. So rather than following my anger-fueled wishes, I simply told him I would stay in the room that night and then check out the next morning and cancel the remainder of my 30-day booking because the hotel's actions and attitude were not acceptable. He again shrugged and said, "Ok."

My decision to not trust or deal with such an uncaring staff was borne out in the morning when I checked out and the young woman I had dealt with the previous morning said not one word about the door lock or my early check out. Maybe the kid from the night before had left a warning note, I don't know. But the level of customer service at that Comfort Suites hotel was below acceptable and quickly moving into the realm of completely unacceptable.

Next time: So, where did I move to?

Monday, February 9, 2009

If It's Monday, This Must Be Georgetown

A new town and a new hotel. I won't miss the horrible Internet connection from the old one and this one seems to be very good so far. Looks like I'll be at this hotel for a while, though it does involve a longer commute to the office. But driving through the new town tonight it looked very inviting, even in the dark. I'm looking forward to a day off where I can photowalk some of it in the light.

Speaking of the office, some of us were curious and after asking a few people found someone in the know who confirmed that, yes, our office is the size of a regulation American football field. It's almost like walking a mall for exercise to make your way up and down the length of the building.

Well, tomorrow is another long, busy day so I'm hitting the sack.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Semper Gumby

I was so tired and distracted last night when I posted my previous entry that I completely forgot to write about the reason for the title "Always Flexible" so I'll remedy that now.

One of my co-workers sent an e-mail about how crazy things were and that, as our unofficial motto states, we must be flexible and he signed off with the words "Semper Gumby." I meant to tie that at the end of my post to the title and it completely slipped my mind until I was lying in bed about to go to sleep.

Now you are fully informed.

Moved into our new building/offices this morning. I moved my stuff from the old location at 6:30 this morning and drove the 4 miles or so to the new building while it was still dark. That caused a bit of a problem when I was able to get out for lunch later in the daylight because I didn't recognize anything in the light. I uploaded the pics below to TwitPic (see, if you were following me on Twitter you would have seen them before reading this) after a couple of hours in the building. As you can see, there is still a lot of moving-in going on. But by lunch time most everyone was moved in and pretty much up and running.

We're not freezing, we have plenty of room, both organizationally and personally, and we're closer to lots of places to eat. That's important when your work day is 13 hours long and you've got to eat three meals in close proximity to the office.

Speaking of freezing, the temperature here in Frankfort has started to rise and today would not have been bad if the wind had not been so brisk. Forecast is for the area to eventually reach the low 60's by the middle of the week and I can't believe I actually think that is warm but I do after the -1 degree morning we had a few days ago. It's all relative, right? The only downside of the warmer temps is that they will be accompanied by days and nights full of rain. We are worried that the melting snow and ice, combined with the new rains, may pose a threat of flooding in this region.

The wi-fi signal in my current hotel is still hit and miss...with more miss than hit. Rather than fight it over and over trying to get this post uploaded, I've stopped at Panera for dinner and to use their wi-fi signal so you can read my wonderful words. LOL.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Always Flexible

We got word today that our temporary operational HQ here in Frankfort will be moving to a new location about 2 miles away on Saturday. We've been temporarily set up in a facility on a military installation and while they have been very gracious, the building (more like a storage warehouse) is not meant to be used by living, breathing, feeling people so it is not well-heated or insulated. Almost all of us typically work with our jackets, sweaters or coats on. My work area is on an outside wall, so it seems even colder to me. So much so that I'm always happy to have a reason to print something on the laser printer so I can feel the warmth of the copies in my hands. What little heat they do have is only on from 8am to 5pm, so we are usually extremely cold between 7-8am and 5-8pm.

It's very difficult to type with gloves on your hands and the knit cap makes my head itch, LOL.

Unfortunately the reality is that there are residents here who are still waiting for power, so it feels ridiculous to even talk about our cold working situation.

Our new "home" is really new, modern and up-to-date which helps make the work process flow faster, since you don't have to make so many adjustments and work-arounds to get a job done like you do in an older facility. For instance, my "file drawer" is a stack on my desk...and it ain't getting smaller. Our facilities folks, knowing we would be moving to the new location, have not been anxious to bring in equipment, so we've scraped by as best we can. Having an equipped office will help us do our job of helping folks.

I mentioned in the previous post that I was scheduled to leave here Friday for the western part of the state but we have altered (Surprise, surprise, surprise) that now and pushed it back to a possible Monday departure. At least I can stop living out of the suitcase for a few days and actually hang some clothes up. In fact, as I was discussing it with my supervisor today, it seems that we really should re-examine the plan and perhaps scrap it for the time being. So I may stay here in Frankfort to work out of our new office.

And by the way, this hotel is nice but it's Internet connection is off and on like fireflies.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If It's Thursday, This Must Be Frankfort

Well, it was actually 4 degrees, not 5, this morning. Though one local TV weatherperson showed a map with Frankfort having a temperature (not a wind chill) of -1. Realistically, I doubt a human body could tell the difference between 4 degrees and -1, but the mind certainly causes an involuntary shiver when contemplating the lower temperature.

I'm on the third floor and at the very end of the hall in my hotel. I am wondering if that is a contributing factor in the spottiness of the wireless Internet connection. Still, it is better than NO connection, so I am not complaining too much. If it weren't SO cold I would consider walking the three blocks to a cafe which offers free Wi-Fi, but the temperature and the wind are brutal. And I am just too exhausted by the time I return to the hotel at 9pm to want to make the effort.

As I type this the plan is for me to move down tomorrow to the western part of the state which was also the hardest hit part during last week's ice storm. That plan could change at any moment and probably will, but if not I'll make the 3 hour drive down on Friday and set up operations out of my hotel for my part of our efforts in that area over the next couple of weeks. Our mantra includes the word "flexible" and truly adopting that mindset helps keep you from being constantly frustrated by the changes that are part and parcel of this type of operation.

I'm going to be trying to fit in some Twitters, so if you're not following me there you might want to consider it as it will probably be where you'll see more of me. I recommend TweetDeck for your desktop/laptop and TwitterBerry if you're using BlackBerry.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Kentucky And It Is COLD!

Spent the first 2 nights at a hotel with an Internet connection I could never connect to, no matter how many times I tried. Hence the reason there was no post yesterday (not even the Cheese Grater Slide). I had to leave the hotel because they did not have continued availability for tonight. Evidently, even a Platinum level membership is not reason enough to provide a room for a loyalty program guest who needs accommodation, but I wasn't ALL that disappointed since I couldn't get a working Internet connection,

We're working 13 hour days 7 days a week right now. Yesterday we were forecast to get 1-3 inches of snow. At 11am, after 3 hours of snow, I said "I'm just a Florida boy and I'm not sure how they measure snow here in Kentucky, but what's on my car right now looks like a layer of snow that is 6 inches deep."

Here are some photos.

It's been snowing about 20 minutes in this one.

About 3 hours in this one.

Also about 3 hours.

Tonight and tomorrow night I'm at a nice hotel in downtown Frankfort. If you're reading this it means the Internet connection is working. I have a view of the frozen river and snow-covered everything else.

Forecast for tonight is 5 degrees. Tomorrow we're expecting a heat wave of 30 degrees. Saturday will begin a 5-day period of forecast rain every day. Yeah, I can't get that Elvis song out of my head either.

Ok, heading to bed. Tomorrow is an early day, a late day, a long, busy day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Heading For The Bluegrass State

I'm flying out early this morning for Kentucky. If there are no flight delays I'll arrive in Lexington late in the morning, get my rental car and drive to the state capitol of Frankfort, about 30 minutes away. After meeting up with some of my co-workers and picking up my assignment materials, I'll either drive to Bowling Green in the western part of the state, or spend the night in Frankfort and drive over on Tuesday.

Posting may be sparse for a while, depending on what happens once I arrive.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Save The Words

My friend, Mary Ann de Stefano of MAD About Words, Twittered earlier this evening about a really cool site called Save The Words and I thought I'd share it with you.

The basis of Save The Words is that every year words are removed from the dictionary due to lack of use, so if people will adopt these rarely used words and employ them in their writing and conversation they can be "saved" from removal or even reentered into use and the dictionary.

In addition to adopting these words, the site also offers suggestions on how to spread your adopted word in conversation, e-mails, SMS text messages, letters, and even in unusual ways such as sky writing and tattoos. You can also sign up to receive a Word of The Day e-mail to expand your vocabulary.

My adopted word is "plebicolar", because that's how I roll. What's yours?
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