Security Musings

Security Musings

Information Security Travel Guide

Stephen Northcutt, an Information Security Researcher, United Airlines 1k, Writer and Instructor, documents the struggles of the travel and hospitality industries as we all face continually increasing energy costs. He and his peers share their travel experiences and give you quick tips and short reviews of the companies they do business with as they travel. If you came across this article because of a Google search, what you want is probably here, just use find with your browser (CTRL - F), it is easier than reading from top to bottom; however, you may get some useful tips if you stick around and read. Each major cluster of trips is documented in a separate file.

Other Related Articles in Information Security Travel Guide

Information Security Travel Guide Edition 18 - Stephen Northcutt

By Stephen Northcutt
Version 3.1


[Sunday, July 10, 2011] A Perfect Day

I am sunburned a little, not all over, just in a few places I did not hit with sunscreen. But this was an awesome day. Summer weather was slow to come to Kauai, but it is here now. Yesterday in the great bug fight, I looked out the window and wished I could be at the beach. Today, we went to church at Calvary Chapel North Shore. After church we headed to Hanalei, Kathy had packed us up for swimming. It turned out that seven blue water crusing canoes from the Polynesian Voyaging Society were there. The crew members were very friendly and you could tour a vessel or get a ride. Then a Prindle appeared captained by Mitch McPeak, it was good to catch up with him. When we left, we stopped at Moloa'a Fruit Stand for a Passion Fruit Hoot smoothie and then went to our favorite swimming beach. Dinner was breadfruit. It does not get better than this.

[Saturday, July 9, 2011] Black bugs

Kathy had noticed a bunch of bugs in her sewing loft. The apparent source was some herbal backache thing Kathy had in our linen closet. All of our linens are in plastic tubs, but the bugs were somehow able to get into the tubs. They do not appear to eat the cloth, rather they use it for shelter. So, we ended up having to wash and dry every towel, sheet and blanket that we own. I drove to Cost-U-Less and bought every Space Saver bag they had. After we wash and dry something, we put them in the bags and use a vacuum cleaner to suck all of the air out. Since we are only planning on visiting Hawaii for a few weeks this year, this is probably a worthwhile exercise for a number of reasons.

[Thursday, July 7, 2011] Seattle to Kauai

Theweather in Seattle has been excellent. Blue skies and coolbut still warm enough temps. Kathy and I have canoed a lot, watchednature:Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Herons, Ducks, Swans, Crows, Bullfrogs,Muskrats, Trout and some other three-foot long fish. This has been oneof the best weeks of our lives. Tomorrow we head back to Kauai, andwho can complain about that!

[Sunday, June 26, 2011] Gorgeous weekend on the lake

We have gotten a bit tired so we took it easy, but we are enjoying blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Saturday, we smoked our own salmon on the Traeger. I have a bag of hickory pellets open. I like smoking my own food because I can control the amount of sodium. Crazy as it sounds, we did not put our boat on the water. We both did some gardening, Kathy planted herbs and I trimmed trees; we were a bit tired in the end, so we sat on our dock and watched fish jump and eagles fly.

[Tuesday, June 21, 2011] Back to Seattle

Sunday and Monday were glorious days, but I woke up this morning and could feel the VOG rolling in. I am glad we are going to have a chance to get out. We are doing the redeye. Our first flight was United 488, decent service till they quit serving the meal and then they were pretty much done. But no harm done, Kathy and I were both able to sleep on the plane. The puddle jumper from LAX to SEA may have had great service, I do not know, my head went down as we took off and I did not stir till we started landing.

[Wednesday, June 15, 2011] Ontario to Lihue

Wednesday we had a very civilized 12:15 P.M. departure on United 6350 to San Francisco. We pulled into the Red Carpet lounge and read our email. For some reason it was customer service day. We run a quality operation, but a few things went wrong, so I was calling people since both of them were my students. Got everybody back on track and was able to do some real work. Our next flight was United 773 to Lihue (LIH). The service was good till the meal was completed and then the crew was pretty much done. That happens on long flights sometimes, but we had a water bottle so it was OK. On Thursday we had a Luau. Kathy and I did not have an opportunity to cook, so we brought chicken from Chicken in a Barrel. That is really tasty stuff.

It was great to be able to spend a few days in Hawaii, it really does not feel like summertime yet, until Sunday June 19, that was truly a summer day.

[June 12, 2011] Ontario, California

OK, we really need to be on the East coast right about now, but we aren't. We are getting in position for some business meetings related to the college. I have never been to Ontario, CA and there will not be a lot of extra time, but it will be fun to see what we see. Mostly we did home cooking here in Washington, but we did go to Mama Santorini's for an early dinner one day when we were out and about and hungry. I have liked that place both times I have been.


Jason Andress and Steve Winderfield's book on Cyberwarfare is now out. I believe it makes a nice foil to the Will Gragido and John Pirc book with a similar title. They are both Syngress titles, I have read them both, lots to think about! While there is some overlap in content with the Clarke and Carr books, each book brings unique facts to light. There is a press release here and here is an Amazon link.

[June 2, 2011 ] Bound for Seattle

The time in Hawaii was nice. There was VOG. I was amazed at the price increases, gas is over $4.00 a gallon and food was just plain scary. We are still tying to clean up some loose ends from the decade we lived there and that, to be honest, is going slow. Before we knew it it was time to come home to Seattle.United flight 606 LIH to San Francisco was on time, good service. Flight 606 San Francisco to Seattle we got upgraded to first class, but the attendants didn't seem to care about service. I think that may be a growing problem for United. Any case, I had my own water bottle so I was fine and we got to Seattle safely. Good thing, a nest of carpenter ants has decided they want our house. We got a big bag of organic insect poison, but it does not seem to stop them. So I put two more bags down. I would prefer to avoid insecticide since we live on a lake.

[Tuesday, May 17, 2011] Headed for Kauai

TheJames Limo pickup was early, but we were ready. Got through securitywith no problem. Slept through UA 5831, woke up just long enough todrink the water they had poured for me. Got upgraded on the Chicago toLAX leg, the sign said first class checked in full, so just as we wereboarding, the ticket counter gave some indication and suddenly theyprinted firstclass boarding passes, and away we went. The movie was Country Strong, I was not interested, so I read, I am way behind on the news. We got to LAX and had a long layover anyway and in addition, our plane is running late, otherwise I would be boarding right now. This may be the last bit of brain work I am capable of, Kathy is already heads down on her desk. Maybe it is time to wrap up the computer and try one of those complimentary Red Carpet Club wines *smile*.

[Monday, May 16, 2011] Packing in between working in Richmond

We have a 0445 pickup tomorrow so in between email and office type phone calls I am packing. Even though I am a United 1K and can check multiple bags for free, I am only checking one. And it has almost no clothes in it. Instead I have my chef knife sharpener that I could not find a company to ship to Hawaii and my Brookstone industrial strength massage device that seems to be very helpful in helping my shoulder recover. It is a sunny day, just a bit cool still so I opened the side door of our apartment to let the sun in. There is an elementary school nearby and it is fun to here the chirping sounds of children as they come out for recess.

[Sunday, May 15, 2011] Lebanese Festival in Richmond

Someone told me this was the largest Lebanese festival in the United States, have no idea if that is true, but what fun. I suppose you pay a little bit too much for the food, but it is for a good cause. Everything tasted great, we met Trey and Ali there, we went with Norma. Afterwards we went back to Trey and Ali's to hang and chat. Kathy and Ali went shopping at Target. Girls bonding time. I faded out, no excuse, but too much time on the road, "Uncle Stephen" fell asleep, sorry to be boring.

[Wednesday, May 11, 2011] Back to Richmond

We took the redeye, United 238, from San Diego to Dulles. In the commuter terminal, we ran into the Marshall Tucker Band. They were on their way home from Iraq where they did a couple shows for deployed soldiers.

[Thursday, May 5, 2011] Sally's On the Water

Very busy day, but wanted to meet with a co-worker. We selected Sally's On The Water because it is close, I had another event to attend. The reservation allowed us to tell them we needed a fast turn-around and they picked up on that and took our order very quickly (we had already looked at the menu). I had the herb butter-broiled Alaskan Barramundi over spinach spu00e4tzle and mushrooms. It was a lovely dish, I ate my entire portion, which is not normal for me. Mason had the grilled peppered ahi with mashed potatoes and spinach and a glass of Pinot off the wine list. We both enjoyed our food. The bread service was not as good as the Harbor House sourdough, but the butter was pretty nifty, I remember seeing corn in it and some sort of nice spicing. They were also prompt with the check, so we were in and out in 45 minutes and I was on time for my next appointment.

[Wednesday, May 4, 2011] SANS Security West is Ready to Begin #sans-secwest-2011

Sat in on Lance Spitzner's Securing the Human Security Awareness course. He is such a gifted speaker. For lunch we went to Royal India at 329 Market St, what a great $12.00 buffet! We try to go there every year. Then we helped kick off registration, at least I comfort myself by saying I hope we helped. We wanted a dinner close to the hotel and selected Harbor House Restaurant, 831 W Harbor Dr. Water to drink, no glass of wine tonight, tomorrow is the big day. Kathy had the Planked Salmon, I had the Paella; I thought the Salmon was so so, but they have a really good Paella. Hawgs Seafood Bar in San Jose edges it out, but the Harbor House version will not disappoint.

[Tuesday, May 3, 2011] 5 A.M. Pickup to San Diego

Uggg. With the miles we have put down recently, the 4 A.M. wake-up for a 5:00 pick-up does not sound appealing, but we are employed and traveling with each other. James Limo was on time and we both slept in the car to the airport. Security was intense due to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, but we got through it. We opted out of the back scatter machine. The TSA lady told me, "There is no radiation. I know, I work here. I don't know what you have heard from whatever propaganda you were exposed to." United 6183 was on time to board, but we left a bit late. So we had a race through Dulles to get to our next flight. The shuttle to D gates had just left, so we had the full 6 minute 48 second wait till the next one. And it was a long haul, they were about 60% boarded when we got there, but we still found room for our stuff in the overhead bins. We did not score an upgrade, but we did get exit seats.

We were sitting next to a Navy Captain returning home from forward deployment in Afghanistan. We had a very patriotic flight attendant on board and she brought him a glass of wine. He is a doctor and drinks a glass of wine a day. All very interesting, there were actually a lot of military people returning home. At one point I saw this cart with seabags and Marine suitbags piled at least 7 feet high moving through the airport. Our driver to the hotel, Doug, was a bit of an odd duck, first time I have ever tipped a town car driver less than ten dollars. It is great to be back to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, this is a great hotel.

For dinner we went to the Top of the Market, great food, but warning, ask to sit inside. Yes it is waterfront, yes sunsets over the water are great, but I warn you, you will suffer pain like you have never experienced. They really need a 20% reflective film on the glass, it is hot and it is bright and unless your sunglasses are glacier quality, it will not be enough. And this is a pricey place, so you will be eating your $35.00 entree as fast as you can so you can ask for the check. Tragic, talk about how to screw up your brand. The food, as I said, is good; Kathy had the Halibut and I had the Monkfish wrapped in Bacon, and our sunglasses, while not glacier quality, are sailboat quality and we are used to heat, so we did OK, but it was not optimal.

I received this letter in my email:

Dear Mary Washington Graduate,

As president of the University of Mary Washington, I have articulated my vision that UMW will be the best public liberal arts university in the nation. In order to reach this goal, it is essential that we effectively document and publicly celebrate the many successes of our alumni. I am asking for your help in this important undertaking.

We are seeking to establish a comprehensive database of information on the career tracks of our alumni, the graduate and professional schools they have attended, the honors and awards they have received, and their other accomplishments. In addition, we want to know more about how their experiences at Mary Washington have had an impact on their lives and how we can strengthen connections between our alumni and the University today.

I encourage you to take a few moments to participate in this newly developed alumni survey. You may access the survey online at the following website location: There are two slightly different versions of the survey, and we ask that you complete the version that is appropriate for your year of graduation. I would appreciate your response by June 6.

The results will assist the University in its efforts to better understand and serve our alumni and to promote the value of a Mary Washington education. Your responses will help us tell the story of Mary Washington to prospective students, to employers who will hire our future alumni, and to the wider world. Demonstrating the success of our alumni will raise the visibility and stature of UMW and assist us in advancing to the next level of excellence.

Thank you for your support.

Richard V. Hurley

= = = So I signed up for the survey. First, they asked for all of my personal data. Then, a bunch of questions about how did the college benefit you. Next, a call for contributions. I am fairly sure this note violates the CAN-SPAM act. This is my school so I will not nuke them, but yuck!

[Sunday, May 1, 2011] Richmond for two days

Beautiful day. We are going to go to Grove Baptist with Norma and then have brunch. I am a little short on veggies, but we can have Salmon Wasabi with Scallions, Scallops on Blue Cheese Grits and Fresh Corn. Still thinking about a little dessert, we bought some blueberry preserves at the French Food Festival. We don't have much free time, but I would like to take Kathy on a drive in the convertible in the afternoon. Had to clean the pollen off the truck windshield, we both woke up with slight pollen headaches today. Not a big problem, you can't expect no impact whatsoever. However, we will only be here two days and then off to San Diego, so haven't even bothered looking.

Thinking about investing in a Chinese Solar Cell company. Got the idea from Motley Fool, but have been doing my research. Looking at HSOL closely. According to Google finance the debt to earnings ratio is 19, which is pretty good. P/E is 4.2 which could indicate a value invest. However the institutional owned is high 101% which means computer trading whipsaws. They are currently trading at 6.8 with a 52 week high of 13.4. So it looks pretty good. Sure wish I had seen the SPWRA.O coming. Sun Power jumped 33% on the merger news. I am also planning to invest in First Solar (FSLR). The P/E is 18% so plan on a smaller position in First Solar.

The worst stock position I have is Gramercy Capital Corp (GKK). After I bought it, an apparent computer trade dropped it from 4 to 3. Ouch. Now, that one went against my own rules, According to Google the Debt to Assets ratio is 74.72. I am going to hold on a while longer though, for one thing, to remind me that I need to be a value investor first, second and third. I do think this is the right time to look into REITs and similar, they should be hitting bottom.

For supper I did a Salmon Quiche. The idea was to make it healthier than the norm. Step one, instead of pie crust, I lined the backing dish with corn tortillas. When the eggs, milk and cheese mixture hits the corn, it will blend them into the dish. Next, I mixed up 4 eggs, Salmon, Green Onions, Cheese, Spices, and as much potassium and as little salt as you can get away with. Baked at 325 and it was a real hit. Healthier Quiche, how neat. When I get back from my next trip I will look into an egg white replacement for the eggs.

[Saturday, April 30, 2011] Back to Richmond for the French Food Festival

We worked hard in Augusta. The most notable restaurant was The Boll Weevil Cafe, I would be happy to go back there. Kathy had a kickin' Reuben, I had a breaded chicken dish. But what they are most known for is their desserts, this is one of those places you simply must have the dessert. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and I have no complaints. We ate at Amici, it was OK for neighborhood Italian and we could walk from the hotel. We also ate at Outback Steakhouse and Carolina Ale House, in both cases we had a really hard working waitress and tipped accordingly. This morning we got up very early and headed to the airport. Hunter picked us up when we got to Richmond, we were starving so we went to a food court since that is fast and you have choices, Kathy had all vegetables from Little Tokyo and I had the pulled pork from a Bill's Barbeque Express. I got a haircut at SportCuts on Broad Street and Kathy and I went to the French Food Festival, a fund raiser.

[Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011] Augusta

Life is moving too fast. We got back to Richmond from Reston for a couple of days, but we were working so it went by in a blur. This morning Hunter made us his signature spinach and banana smoothie for breakfast and drove us to the airport; thank you, Hunter. Delta 1334 was on time and a good flight. Kathy was hungry so we had lunch at Paschals. I would love to visit the original sometime, such history. Delta 5310 was late, some kind of mechanical. But we flew. We are driving a black 2011 Camry from Enterprise. So far, it seems like a nice vehicle. We are staying at the Hampton Inn, the room seems neat and if you are headed for Fort Gordon in the morning, the hotel is in a good location. Kathy and I went to the Kroger to get some whole wheat bread so I can pack my lunch at Fort Gordon. We ate at Amici Italian Cafe which is in walking distance of the hotel. The guys at the bar are too funny, very uber male focused, but I am glad such folks are in service to our country.

[Friday, April 15, 2011] Headed for Reston

Last night we went to the Richmond Hooters.Now before you laugh, have you checked out the price of their crablegs,oysters, and steamed shrimp? On Sundays, you can get two pounds of crablegs for 14 dollars, you can't buy them at Costco and cook them cheaperthan that. And yes, last night was the Bikini contest, but we left longbefore it started *grin*. The food was great, what is not to like aboutking crab legs and oysters, but the cocktail sauce is not as good asthe cocktail sauce at the Hooters in Augusta. One would have thoughtthat there would be one source for everything; also, the Richmond clawcrushersare different than in the Augusta location. I guess they missed theconsistency lecturein business school. I need to get my shower in a few minutes, we havethe truck loaded up and it is time to head for #sansreston2.

[Wednesday, April 13, 2011] Working in Richmond VA

The JetBlue flight was on time and easy. We are back in Richmond. The high speed thing is still going. Worked till midnight and still can't get ahead. Worked on my marketing for Boston, trying to show that Boston is a great city to visit, I know I love it, with the Insider's Guide to Boston. Most recently, updated the restaurant guide to Boston. Kathy and I forget, not everything, who can forget Shabu Zen or UFood, but we can't remember everything and so having a guide when we return to a city is great for us. Besides work, the main area of focus for me is MGT 514, Security Policy in Depth. It just did not perform as well as I would like and so I have been working on trying to make it better. The big Aha! moment was to add more structure. It is now in three major sections. I think that will help a lot, guess there is a reason for the beta process.

[Tuesday, April 5, 2011] Headed for Richmond VA

We finally got the job done, I am exhausted. Very late lunch yesterday at the Cabana, innovative cuisine, not just pub food. I loved the sauce with the Peel and Eat Shrimp. Last night we ate at the bluezoo. I had the Swordfish with the Barbecue Rub. Fantastic, Kathy had a Miso preparation with her fish. Car comes in 20 minutes so I must be brief.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011] Life at the Speed of SANS

We have a great room with one of those one cup coffee makers, but with 12 or so servings of coffee to make. I do not drink that much coffee, more of a green tea fiend, but this is going to be a long run, so you set your clock a little later and get up and move fast. Coffee helps in that mode. We have been eating at Picabu, the Buffeteria. It works, it is not great. Last night I had a business dinner at bluezoo with Mason and Bonnie. I was not hungry so I just had the Scallop Appetizer and while I love their wine list, did not partake, I would have fallen headfirst onto the table, I am giving my all teaching. Tonight Kathy and I manged to rush over to Il Mulino at the Swan, they do not seem to really understand "we have to go back to work", but they were nice. Kathy had their fish special, I think they called it Red Fish, it was great, I had the Saltimbocca. It was the worst rendition of that dish I have had in my entire life; heartbreaking, and it is one of their highest priced entrees so their intent must be to do it well. Then we raced back to the Dolphin to catch the second sets of talks. Coming into day 3 of the event with plenty of energy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011] Rolling to Orlando

No matter how much we travel, the day of travel is stressful. We ate a healthy brunch, did our last errands and Hunter drove us to the airport. We flew Jet Blue from Richmond to Orlando, flight B61115, left on time, arrived early, what is not to like, I like Jet Blue and Diane scored exit row seats, how awesome is that. Roger was our driver, he has picked us up at the airport multiple times in the past so it was old friends time. We are checked in at the Swan and Dolphin. I have talked about the conference "swoosh" in the past, this event will be more consuming than any other, but I am excited to see and chat with people.

[Tuesday, March 22, 2011] Getting Domestic in Richmond VA

The great room and Hunter's room did not have curtains. We were shopping and found some great spring rods and high quality tabbed curtains at Big Lots, of all places. So instead of spending thousands of dollars, we covered 12 70" windows for less than five hundred dollars. And while we were out, we needed a bit more food and there was a super Wal-Mart next to Big Lots so we grabbed some ingredients there.

Wal-Mart Crawfish Etouffee

  • 1 pack Wal-Mart peeled crawfish tails
  • 1 pack Wal-Mart green onions
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 large chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • Whole wheat flour and olive oil roux
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Tony Cahare's Creole seasoning, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Cooked brown rice
Green peppers, celery and onions first, they have to cook the longest. The crawfish are fully cooked, I add them about three minutes before serving. Traditionally this is served over rice, but you can also add the brown rice to the dish.

[Sunday, March 20, 2011] Family Day

We went to church with Norma at Grove Avenue Baptist. We did brunch afterwards, risotto, Parmesan salmon, and an egg. Then off to Costco to get a replacement photo printer and some office chairs for the great room. Putting them together took some doing, but we got 'er done. Soon as we finished it was time to pop over to Trey and Ali's, spend some time with the kids and we did take out from Dalat Restaurant. This is Vietnamese food, but not your average Pho. Very imaginative menu: I had Quail, Kathy had Mussels in a lovely Ginger Sauce, Ali had some type of soup, can't remember which, and everyone else had the chicken platter where they give you all the ingredients to make your own spring rolls. Very tasty, everyone was happy.

Masters in Public Administration Website

I got a note from Chase Guggenheim with a link to this site saying, "My goal was to compile an unbiased and updated list of every school that offers a Masters in Public Administration degree in the US. I felt the existing lists were not comprehensive, easy to find, and many web sites have outdated information and links. I spent a lot of time building a useful resource for potential students and would simply like to ask that you consider linking to my site if you agree. All the schools are listed on the front page and lead directly to each program, additionally they are sorted by state." Pretty nifty

[Saturday, March 19, 2011] Gorgeous Days in Richmond

Oh my, theweather has been great, we got a bit of rain, but on the main, blue skywithtemps in the mid-seventies to eighties. Wednesday, we arrived toRichmond via Amtrak from Union Station. I love the train because I canstay online. Theyactually let you bring water into the train station, you can even havetoothpaste in your carry on bag and no one gets spastic. They don’teven make you walk through the backscatter machines.

Last night Kathy and I went on the full moon tour of Maymont. If you are ever in Richmond VA, a walk through Maymont needs to be on your list. To walk the grounds is free, though there are paid experiences. If I am here, I will try to join you; the Japanese Garden by moonlight is stunning. By the way, we got a note from Yoshi who runs SANS Japan in Tokyo, he and family are OK, but will not be able to join us in Orlando; maybe SANSFIRE. On a different note, I thought about Mike Poor a lot this week, I walked by Norwood Recreational Center and there were folks practicing fly phishing casting on the grass. Then on Wednesday after work we went to Deep Run Park and there lots of folks fly phishing in the ponds for bass. What? Nope, in my world that is the way they spell "fishing"[SIC], honest.

Today Hunter and went out to get a wheelbarrow or lawn cart at Home Depot. We found a nice one that should last a long time. It has solid rubber wheels so we will not have to do the air pressure thing. While we were there, we spied a rolling composter, assembled, on a high shelf. We tried to buy it. They would not sell it to us because their computer said they had ten more and it was the floor model. But they couldn't find the others, three different employees went looking for them. Now it is a beautiful day and I am standing in the garden department for, no kidding, 30 minutes at Home Depot while people are searching for the stash of composters. I am very thankful they didn't find them since, as you and I know, they are not assembled, they are in boxes somewhere on those high Home Depot storage shelves. We wandered to customer service, told our story, a person came with us, we went through the whole discussion again and then they finally agreed to sell the floor model to us. Why was I so patient? Well, Kathy and I had just assembled one in Washington State. It took two and a half hours and we had a complete tool set including power screwdrivers and multiple ratchet drivers. I was more than happy to wait 30 minutes to capture the assembled floor model.

Wealso went to Costco to geta printer. Kathy sometimes needs to print a photo and sending them toCostco has not been working very well of late. Kathy keepsgetting pictures back with the top of the head cropped off. Amazingly,HP now ships two different printer cartridges for the same printer. Onefor set up, another as replacement cartridges and they are notinterchangeable. Wouldn't you know, I put the wrong ones in and couldnot configure the printer. We will try taking the whole mess back toCostco and see what happens. Tonight Hunter had an indoor soccer gameand we went to watch. His team waxed their opponents, seven to two andit could have been worse. Like so many other things, this was a lessonin life. The "red team" was totally focused on offense, but theirgoalie was not up to the task of single handedly defending the goal.They lost for two reasons, first Hunter, as a fullback, took goaldefense very seriously for his team and even though they had a greatgoalie, the goalie was not on his own. When ever the ball was in the"black team's" side of the field, Hunter was engaging. When it gotclose to the goal, he was always between the ball and the goal, buttried to not be in the goalie's line of sight. The second fatal mistakefor the "red team" was supporting their goalie. He was lessskilled than the goalie on the "black team" and so the team's focus onoffense meant he was all alone, and yet they never figured it out.

[Tuesday, March 15, 2011] Last Day in Bethesda

We met with Middle States today. My opinion is that the meeting went well. We had certainly done our preparation work. They work hard to make meetings successful at the Hilton Garden Inn; they have my recommendation and I am in the business. After the meeting Bonnie, Matthew, Debbie, Kathy and I went to La Madeleine for dinner. It is a French style Bistro, great prices, great food. Bonnie had the 1/2 Rosemary Chicken and a Potato Gallette (it was so good, Kathy had one for dessert), she had a Caesar Salad, I had the Wild Greens Petite Salad. Debbie had the Chicken Crepe, Kathy had the Shrimp Crepe and Matthew had the Chicken la Madeleine. Everyone was happy and the bill for five people was a whopping $66.99. They have 60 locations in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. If that is a place you are going, I think you might enjoy it.

[Monday, March 14, 2011] Preparing for the College Meeting inBethesda

Todaywe worked to prepare for the Middle States visit. It was productive andI think we are ready to tell our story in a meaningful and digestibleway. The banquet service at the Hilton Garden Inn was very alert andattentive and brought us at least 50 times more coffee than we coulddrink. After work, we popped out to McCormick& Schmick'sSeafood Restaurant on Woodmont Ave. Kathy had the Parmesan Sole with aHouse Salad and I had the Seafood Grilled Platter. All the food wasgood, a bit pricey, but good. One odd thing, there was no breadservice, yet there were bread plates; no big deal since I could justbarelyfinish my food as it was, but at that price point you expect a fewamenities. I did check the Internet and a recentreviewsays they do serve bread, though that reviewer complained it was stale.Service was good other than that. Since I spent the day in meetings, weheaded back to the hotel to try to get our regular work done.

[Saturday, March 12, 2011] Last Day in Seattle, Hello Bethesda

Yesterday I broke a tooth. Called around and most of the dentistsappear to work Monday through Thursday. Found one company, Ranier Dentalthat answered the phone on Friday and could see me on Saturday. This ispart of challenge of being on the road so much, I expect gettingprepared for a crown in one place and trying to get it installed inanother is going to be a tough problem. But we will work through it.

Just four days after arriving in Seattle we are shutting down thehouse. We put the Manchestergrill and fire ringunder the deck and put its cover on. Packed and organized. Put thecompost from the kitchen into Kathy's new composter that we assembledafter I got back from the dentist, took us two hours as there were alotof parts, but it is done. Sunday we flew. Tough day to fly because at 2A.M. Sunday, daylight savings time kicked in. Thankfully, Diane alertedus to that. Kathy and I set our Samsung Galaxy phones together, andonly her alarm went off, but it was all we needed. Starline Limo was ontime.

United Flight 916 Seattle to Dulles was on time. Totallyfull, but we got in line early and there was plenty of space in theoverhead for our bags. The only two seats together in first class wererow one, bulkhead. Worse, they were the ones on the right hand side,which gives even less space for your legs than United Economy Plus, butwegot through it. Flight was on time, service was excellent, there wassome weather, but if you have been reading the news that should not bea surprise; movie was TheConviction, that was a ho hum from my perspective.

How to get from Dulles to the hotel? I called James Limo for a carservice recommendation, but they did not answer. So I found Burki Limoonline. The pro is that you can book online, everything else is thecon. They did not send an email confirmation though the website saysthey do, they say the driver can take a credit card, he demanded cash.Since there were two of us it was the same price as SuperShuttleand the driver did meet us at baggage claim which is a plus since wetend to travel heavy, but I will continue to keep an eye open for a carservice in the DC area.

We were hungry, we had not eaten sincebreakfast on the plane so we went for a walk in Bethesda. Sunday March13, was a lovely day, a bit cool, but nothing a merino wool t-shirtcould not cover. We ended up at a brand new place, Geste Wine and Food,4801 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda 301-718-1675, about two blocks from theBethesda Metro Stop. Kathy had the Vegetable Calzone, I had theProsciutto and Mozzarella Panini, they were both good. You can get abottle of wine and drink it with your meal with no corkage fee, so weselected a Washington State Merlot, TheVelvet Devil.Being short of sleep, it hit us hard and we were very careful crossingthe streets walking back to the hotel where we each took a nap, checkedemail, and tried to watch Alice inWonderlandbefore crashing. I have heard a lot of bad things about the movie, butI liked it and thought it true to the original work by Lewis Caroll.

[Wednesday, March 9, 2011] Five Glorious Days in Seattle

Theweather is amusing. Mostly cloudy with some rain, then the blue skypeeks out. We have been terrible about exercising, just so much to do.Kathy is making bread in her bread machine and I am putting too muchtime into work, but again, so much to do. It is raining to beat theband in Seattle, which would be fine except that I was hoping to cooksome fish over my new woodfired grill. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

[Sunday/Monday, March 6/7, 2011] Sunday in Richmond - Headedfor Seattle

Wewent with Norma and Trey to Grove Avenue Baptist Church. After theservice, I made lunch. Wal-Mart has prepared raw sweet potatoes in amicrowavable bag. Followed directions let them sit after microwavingwith some chopped up pistachio nuts and just a bit of black and redpepper. Really went over well. Also did an egg battered halibut and thespinach crackers mentioned below, had the meal to the table in fifteenminutes and there were no survivors, er leftovers.

Monday thecar came at 8:30 A.M. for the trip to Dulles. I had a Richmond TimesDispatch Sunday paper and it took the whole ride to finish the paper.That is a long drive and the car is expensive, I think flying out ofRichmond is the better choice. What a joy to have a non-stop flight.United Flight 197 was on time and the service was excellent. The moviewas TheKing's Speech and I really enjoyed it. We just mailed Red, typicalBruce Willis, but fun, back to Netflix from Augusta and our next movie,The Book ofEli, was waiting for us when we got to Seattle. Good movie,but too scary to watch at night.

[Saturday, March 5, 2011] Travel Day

Delta assigned us seats apart from one another so we got to the airport early. We turned in the rental car, a Grand Marquis; it was lots of fun to drive, but boy does it eat gas. Delta was able to seat us together. The Augusta airport is small, but they have these lovely outside areas and rocking chairs. Sadly, most of the rocking chairs are filthy, but we found a pair of clean ones. We spoke with a soldier that had lost his leg in a firefight in Afghanistan. Apparently they were in the middle of nowhere and could not get air support in time. Six of his buddies were injured. So he gets a Purple Heart and a prosthetic leg. We cried a bit, but not in front of him. A little while later another guy with an Army lanyard came through in a wheelchair, clearly missing a leg. I have been thinking about the true cost of the war all day.

We got to Atlanta just fine, flight was on time. For lunch we went to Popeyes, we both got the Red Beans and Rice, I got the Green Beans, Kathy got the Mash Potato and Cajun Gravy, yum. Delta 4258 was about an hour late arriving in Atlanta, but we had tail winds and made it to Richmond almost on time; how amazing is that! Hunter picked us up and after he drove us home, he and I went to the store to get some food for supper and tomorrow. We talked about college, he is applying to several four year schools. I made crab and smoked salmon cakes and spinach crackers.

Spinach Crackers (Low sodium version)
Layer fresh baby spinach in a skillet or baking pan ( non-stick is best )
Sprinkle on top of spinach:
- Chef Paul Prudhomme's Salt Free Seasoning
- No Salt Potassium Chloride
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese

The spinach will dry up like a cracker and the cheese will help bind together, yummy!

[Friday, March 4, 2011] Mission Complete

Today was the last day teaching MGT 512, Security Leadership Essentials, at Fort Gordon. I hope the students are prepared properly for the GSLC exam. They test Monday and Tuesday of next week. We worked hard to make sure they are prepared. Last night the local Augusta chapter of ISSA was kind enough to take Chad and I out to dinner. We went to the Carolina Ale House, which is a hopping and popping joint. Kathy had a Strongbow Cider and the Asian Style Ahi and I had an Oatmeal Stout and also had the Ahi. Tonight we think we will stay in the Augusta DoubleTree and eat the buffet. After teaching for a week, staying late after class to prep the students, I am a bit behind and need to work tonight. I cannot recommend this hotel. We had cigarette smoke in our room most of the stay, and while we were finally able to change rooms late in the week, the new room does not have enough water pressure for a shower. With this new room we did not find a pair of lady's sandals, but we discovered a water glass on the floor beside the sofa with dried wine. That sort of thing should not happen twice in a row. The people are very nice though, and we have gotten to know Joe the maintenance man on a first name basis.

[Wednesday, March 2, 2011] Teaching in Augusta

The past three days have been focused on earning my keep. I am teaching at Fort Gordon and trying to give the folks what they want / need. We had a fun restaurant experience at French Market Grill,many people say this is the best restaurant in Augusta. Food was good,I can't give it great, Kathy had the Seafood Crepe, I had the MixedGrill Seafood Special. Service was so-so at best. Our server, Tina, didnot monitor the water glasses, and our table had a view into thekitchen where we could see one of the cooks eating chicken wings whilecooking - no gloves,putting the wings up to his mouth and then working on the food forcustomers, not once, oh no, nine times. If you never hear from me againon this blog, I died of food poisoning.

Monday night, we went to the Mellow Mushroom, a micro chain. It was good and Kathy was overdue for a Calzone so it truly satisfied. Tuesday was "carpet picnic" night in the hotel, it was fun to spend some time with each other without having to do the restaurant boogie.

[Sunday, February 27, 2011] A Sunny Day Off in Augusta

We got up and headed to South Carolina to hike the Aiken State Natural Area. It is a bit of driving to get there and there was a scary moment where it says "Pavement ends", but that is only for 150'. They have a lake and walking trails. The place could use some more signs. Then we headed back, our plan was to ride the canal tour boat, but it was not running. Since we had done one hike already, we just went a short way along the canal. We had lunch at Hooters Augusta, I had the Steamed Shrimp, Kathy had the King Crab Legs, instead of Cocktail Sauce and melted butter, which is what I had in San Diego, they served horseradish instead of the butter. I added some horseradish to my cocktail sauce and whew, that was strong, good strong, but sometimes it just floods up your nasal passages. Anyway, it was a lovely day, glad we got outside, by the time we got back to the hotel it was up to 82 degrees.

We zipped back to the hotel to get organized, we meet Mark and his wife at 4:30 P.M. for a short tour of Atlanta, a trip into Fort Gordon to see the training location and early dinner at California Dreaming. Good food, the She Crab Soup is excellent, but probably not healthy, *grin*.

[Saturday, February 26, 2011] On to Augusta Georgia

The highlight of the day was Hunter being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the two year school honor society. Then we went to the airport and had lunch at Ma and Pa's Diner at Sandston just outside the airport. The Crab Cakes are fabulous, the Salmon Cakes are very good and the prices are very reasonable. We flew Delta 1874 to Atlanta, flight was on time, the plane was half full, which was nice it let Kathy and I stretch out a bit. Delta's web site is deceptive about what you can bring on board. It say no carry on roll-aboards and yet lot's of people had them. We bought oversize laptop bags just for the trip. We flew flight 5152 from Atlanta to Augusta, I think it was on time as well. For the people that have roll-aboards, they just gate check them, it is exactly the same process as a United Express flight.

Diane researched Enterprise Rent a car and learned their booth would not be open when we arrived so we booked with Thrifty which was. Kathy is the driver this trip and she is loving it, she got a black Grand Marquis which looks a lot like a town car. So we have been making jokes about rewriting the Driving Miss Daisy script so that Miss Daisy is the driver. It was almost 9 P.M. when we drove to the hotel, so we stopped and had dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill on 275 Robert C. Daniels Jr Parkway. Good food, good service. Kathy had the Breaded Sole, I had the Mama's Trio which was enough food for three meals. We got a box for the food we could not eat, our hotel room has a fridge so we have some backup food. We saw five Army guys that clearly had walked to Romano's from the hotel and picked up their check without them knowing. That felt good.

The Augusta DoubleTree hotel gets mixed reviews. We upgraded one level to a Junior Suite since there are two of us for seven nights. It is big enough, but there is no desk. We have both laptops sharing a tiny two person table, but we can make it work. There is a huge whirlpool tub in the bathroom, I think this must have been packaged as a honeymoon suite at one point, the tub has hearts in it. However, it did not come close to passing the cleanliness test, there were visible black hairs and dirt, so we called the hotel to come do that over again. As we were moving furniture around to make the room usable as an office we found a pair of ladies leather sandals under a chair. Hotels are supposed to be pretty careful when turning over a room. That said, these are nits, the staff has been friendly and everything appears to be running well.

[Friday, February 25, 2011] Power out in Richmond VA

The wind really picked up today and it wiped out power at Hunter's house in Richmond. We had some battery powered lanterns and a candle lantern, but nothing to charge the cell phones, wireless and laptops. Not the greenest thing I have ever bought, but we bought an iGo gadget that accepts 2 AA batteries and can keep your PDA alive, didn't seem to be able to get an android past 1/2 battery, but the drain never went below that and Kathy was dealing with a crisis back home and was on the phone for about two hours straight, we did change out batteries after an hour, it is pretty small. Also the iGo system let's you get different tips, so the same device can support an iPhone and a Blackberry if you get the two tips needed.

[Wednesday, February 23, 2011] Snowstorm in Seattle

You may have read something in the news about a big storm on the west coast. On Tuesday we went out to the grocery store in Seattle and while we were driving the temp dropped 5 degrees in 15 minutes. We saw a spot where the clouds were in a total updraft being sucked or blown up into the sky; talk about unsettled weather, if it had been summer in the South we would have thought tornado. Kathy had a bad feeling about the storm so Wednesday night we decided to get to an airport hotel; good call, because a Thursday morning we were greeted by three inches of ice. We got to the airport, sat in a plane for two hours waiting to be de-iced. Since we took off two hours late, there was no hope of making an aircraft connection to Richmond VA, so we had a car pick us up. Sadly the pickup was 5:30 PM at Dulles on a work day. I do not know how those people that commute to DC do it. I had my cell phone so I could check my email and stuff while stuck in traffic, but it is insane, took three and a half hours to get to Richmond by car. Not complaining though, it all worked and we made it to the east coast to be in better position to teach at Fort Gordon.

[Saturday, February 19, 2011] Blue sky day, Gig Harbor, Point Defiance

Whew, during the week we are busy with work things and then after the work days, we try to do things like get our haircuts. Saturday, I was willing to write, but it was a perfect blue sky day and Kathy was spending a lot of time reading Facebook about Jim Gaither, our ultralight instructor who died in a crash last week, so we decided to drive down to Gig Harbor. It is on my things to see and do list. We pointed the GPS to the visitor center and the lady there made some recommendations. One of the things to do this weekend was get in a good walk and Gig proved to be perfect. People there love to walk and run along Harbor Drive and it seems to go on forever (Gig Harbor is not a dense shopping area, it is spread out so wear walking shoes). From a Caucasian standpoint Gig Harbor was identified by Charles Wilkes an interesting historical character with the U.S. Exploring Expedition. I learned that at the Gig Harbor museum. The most amazing thing I learned about was the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, it taught us as much about how to not build a bridge as much as anything else since it only lasted four months. Lunch, based on the welcome center's recommendation was at the Tides Tavern, we did not have a reservation and the parking lot was full, but they seated us immediately and with a water view table. The food was GREAT, I was mentally prepared for pub food. For an appetizer, Kathy had the Steamed Clams, I had the Clam Chowder, both were perfect. We both had the mixed grill (scallops, shrimp, salmon, halibut, roasted vegetables and a couscous salad they call tabouli). I could not find anything about how they cook, but clearly they use a wood fired oven, it really hit with the salmon. Truly over the top, best pub food ever. There was still enough daylight before driving home, so we set course to Point Defiance, a great park. Even though the weather was great, the wind was cold, so we only stayed about an hour and then headed home by way of a trip to the Old Cannery to look for a file cabinet for the office. While it is a great furniture store and a lot of fun we wisely passed on everything they had, even got to the point we wrote up a slip, but we talked ourselves out of it. I figured this week we could pop over to Northwest Fine Woodworking and commission something. However, since we were so close to Puyallup and the South Hill Mall, we swung by there and found an Office Depot that had a fake wood one on sale and they were down to the floor model. We took it, tied it into the truck and headed home. So now we have one piece of fake wood furniture, but we also have a four drawer filing cabinet. The wonderful thing about the floor model is that it was already assembled. The instructions for assembly were in the cabinet and it is something I would not enjoy doing. Dinner was Salmon Teriyaki. My brother taught me a great teriyaki recipe, but to be honest, I just used Kikkoman's Garlic and Green Onion. I added my own Garlic and Green Onion to the dish as well and a splash of Kikkoman Tamari sauce (watch out, one teaspoon is 50% of your daily sodium intake).

[Monday, February 14, 2011] Valentine's Day in Seattle

If you visit Pike Place Market, you will see Beecher's Cheese shop. I always thought it was purely a tourist play. The big glass windows, the free samples. Well, Kathy bought some of their cheese over the weekend. It is great! And the way it melts, their web page says world's best mac and cheese, I can't wait to try. Is it the best cheese I have ever tasted? No, but it is very, very good. I have enjoyed some real smoked Gouda, (not the fake stuff) that is outrageous. But Beecher's Flagship is very wonderful cheese. For the weekend, we decided to drive to Sumner/Puyallup for the Sumner Sweetheart wine walk. Great idea, miserable weather, even my Gore-Tex raincoat soaked through, but everyone had a good attitude, especially after a couple wine tastings (glad I had a spare pair of shoes, mine soaked through). While we were down there, we decided to try the new Asian massage place in Puyallup. Now I know what you are thinking, but this is clean, legit and fantastic. It is called China Happy Foot Massage and Kathy and I had two, count 'em, great three-hour massages for a very reasonable price. We also took a hike Sunday afternoon before heading back home and re-entering SANS land, and we saw eagles, not one, but two! They were talking to one another in the unique eagle voice. And today was Valentine's day, I cooked a special meal for Kathy, I would tell you what it is, but a boy has to have some secrets :)

[Wednesday, February 9, 2011] Another Lovely Day!

Nary a cloud in the sky and I am inside, but we will try to sneak a walk in after work. Work is going great, I hit a milestone on a massive writing project two days earlier than I dared hope ( thank you insomnia). So what do you do if you make Tomate de Platano and you have four tablespoons left over? Well, what about an Indian Cuisine Oatmeal for breakfast!

Standard water and oatmeal mix.
Spices:black pepper, red pepper (go easy, it is morning), turmeric, garlic,red curry, and decide about salt at the last minute.
1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter (works better if you smush it up instead of dropping the whole thing in the oatmeal).
Leftover Tomate de Platano.
Just before serving I added a heaping tablespoon of non-fat cottage cheese.

'Twas quite fun for oatmeal.

Allmy meetings are going smoothly including a few popups, and I hope DebJ.didn't mind me making lunch while we talked. I opened a can of pastasauce yesterday and still have a lot left. I really wanted a rice pilafat lunch. Had a pre-mixed pilaf (various red and brown rices andlentils) so I fired that up. Used black pepper, pinch of salt, paprikaand garlic as my spices and, when almost done, added a coupletablespoonsof pasta sauce. That came out well. To go with it, well, I had a smallamount of smoked salmon that needed to be used up as it was getting dryinthe fridge. Decided on a few slices of red bell pepper and about afourthof a can of garbanzo beans; put them in a skillet, then cut up thesalmon, but kept it till the last minute. The last two flavorings wereshiitake mushroom sauce and truffle. (For the mushroom sauce, take acouple dried shiitake mushrooms,reconstitute them with as little water as possible, wring them out,take the liquid you get from the shiitakes and match it with the sameamount of Kikkoman shoyu - you can store that in your fridge for aweek or two, great for flavoring). Just before serving add the salmon,push it around so it can absorb some liquid, and then add a bit oftrufflepaste or truffle oil. That was so good, we actually got a bit of breadafter the meal to get what was left on the plates.

OK, back to work!

[Tuesday, February 8, 2011] Sleepless in Seattle (literally)

Neither Kathy or I have been falling asleep easily, but we have plenty of focus so we have both been working till midnight or one. Today was a gorgeous day, so we snuck out for a long walk in the sunshine. Hopefully the exercise will help us drop down. Tonight, we had a plantain dish for dinner. Tomate de Platano would not be my choice for a main, but it makes a great side dish, the semi-cooked onion, tomato sauce and plantains create an interesting taste sensation. This is not a hard and fast recipe, you kind of need to decide how much of whatever you want. Here are the ingredients, just do not overdo the pasta sauce. Now almost every time I cook with onions, I put them in the pan first with oil and cook them till transparent, you may need an antacid, but let the onions cook with the rest of the dish.

Put a small amount of oil into a non-stick pan and add:
1 Plantain cut into slices
1/4 large onion
1 small red pepper cut small

Now turn the heat on low, you are about ten minutes to serving.
Spice with black pepper, red pepper, hot sauce, and garlic.
Cut up some fresh spinach while the dish cook, reserve into small pieces.
When the dish looks like it needs some liquid, add the pasta sauce ( I did about 1/8 cup ).
I added 1/8 cup diced ham, if you keep this veggie, you will probably need a bit of salt.
As soon as the plantains are ready, it is time to serve; just before pulling it off the heat add:
2 tablespoons nonfat cottage cheese and the spinach.
Stir till they are assimilated and serve.

[Thursday, February 3, 2011] Bouncing out of Kauai to Seattle

The VOG is back on Kauai with a vengeance and neither Kathy or I do well with that so we needed to get back home anyway. I checked the web sites and found two tickets on Alaska Airlines for $242.00 each. They were both middle seats, but what the heck. The web site said they want the bags two hours early, we were the only ones that believed that, but since we were the first customers of the day, they were able to give us two seats together in an exit row. How cool is that? Plane was a bit late, they did not have real food to buy on board, just snack boxes, but we know they will soon, friends have told me that Kauai Pasta won the contract. The flight left a bit late, but we did not have a connection, so that was not an issue. Starline picked us up and we are back home in Seattle, yayyy.

When I cook, I make a bit extra for first nights home, we had a chicken, ham and yam stew with freshly made cornbread. Great to be home.

[Wednesday, February 2, 2011] Last Day on Kauai

Well, I think I am going to stop work an hour early and hike to Kealia and back. I enjoyed our week work_cation on Kauai, but we need to get back home to Seattle. It will be nice to hear the ocean and maybe I will see a whale or two. Experimenting with a tool called CCleaner, it is designed to help manage all the junk you have on your system, cookies, flash cookies, temporary internet files, you name it. First look was great.

[Saturday, January 29, 2011] Creole Corned Beef Hash on Kauai

The flight from New Orleans to Kauai went well but, boy, that is a long flight. The weather here is amazing, there isn't much wind so the ocean is flat, makes it really easy to see whales. Today is Kina's birthday and I did not want to bring a musical instrument, so instead I am bringing my version of Corned Beef Hash in two levels of spicy.

Creole Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef from brisket, at least two pounds, mine was four
1 lb Hot Italian Sausage
5 lb Potatoes
2.5 lb Onions just about any kind, mine were sweet onions
1 lb Carrot
1 bunch Celery
1 bunch Parsley
1/2 cup dried Shiitake mushrooms
Spices to taste: garlic, celery seed, mustard seed, fennel, paprika, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, sea salt if needed, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce
8 oz Guacamole
(A food processor with a slice and dice blade can save a lot of wear and tear on your arms and legs )

In a large pot, fill with water and start cooking the brisket (do not throw the spices in yet). Corned Beef is set with a lot of chemicals and fat, so to rinse you will want to bring water to boiling and pour out the water after 15 minutes of boiling, then again after 30 minutes. and on the third time, add the spice pack, I also add the mustard seed into the water. The Corned Beef will need to cook for about 2 hours, plan accordingly.
In another pot, fill with water, boil the potatoes till just a touch al dente.
Slice blade the onions, put them in a skillet with olive oil on low heat and cook 'em down.
Dice blade the dried mushrooms, add enough water to cover for 15 minutes then toss in the onions, add the garlic and don't be too conservative.
After the onions have cooked for at least 30 minutes (45 is better), dice half of the carrots, slice the other half, then add them to the skillet and onions.
Cook the Italian Sausage in a skillet.

Assemble the corned beef hash, I used my large pot that I cooked the corned beef in: Use your slice blade to shred the corned beef and then the potatoes. Shred the celery and parsley into tiny pieces so children do not see all the veggies. Add the Guacamole and sausage. When you start spicing, use the paprika, Worcestershire and thyme first and then add the rest to taste. I like to make two batches, one milder that I pull at this point, then I come back with another round of Worcestershire and Louisiana hot sauce.

I am serving in individual containers and have written Mild and Spicy on the lids, I strongly prefer Spicy. Best served with a fried egg over medium or, if organic, over easy.

[Tuesday, January 26, 2011] Last Day in New Orleans

This was our last day in New Orleans. Mostly, I used the time to catch up on email and attend meetings. Tonight we went to Bayona, a Susan Spicer restaurant, what a great restaurant! Kathy had the Parsnip Carrot soup with Hazelnet, it was great and a Porcini Encrusted Flounder and I had the Scallop appetizer and the Bone in Pork Chop. We shared a bottle of Limerick Zinfandel. This was, bar none, the best dining experience we had in New Orleans this visit. If you are coming to New Orleans and you want a great dining experience contact Shannon Fristoe, general manager, or you can email or call (504) 616-5202.

[Sunday, January 23, 2011] Light at the End of the Tunnel in New Orleans

I have a challenging class, that happens sometimes. There is one lady from the Puget Sound Energy that scored me a 3 on a 10 point scale and I am putting heart and soul into trying to deliver a good class. Oh well, you try to have grace, you try to deliver and you let the chips fall where they may. Maybe when I get back to Washington, I can make contact and see if I can do something to get PSE what they need. Tomorrow is the last day of my class and then I have two evening presentations, one to introduce the GIAC program and the other We went to Brennan's Redfish Grill last night, their Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Gumbo was excellent, as was the Redfish. Nice to have a bright note.

[Friday, January 21, 2011] SANS Security East New Orleans

Today is day 2 of my course, Management 512, Security Leadership Essentials. Last night we went to the original Popeyes and got their sides, Chicken Gumbo, Cajun Rice and Red Beans and Rice and honestly, it was the best meal we have had this trip and we have been to Brennan's, K-Pauls and Galatoires.

[Sunday, January 16, 2011] Down Day in New Orleans

Well, all the heavy work starts tomorrow, so we walked to Walgreens in the French Quarter to get some milk for in-room coffee and some snacks. We have an appointment later in the day and a working dinner tonight. I have some reading I need to work on to prepare for the meetings tomorrow.

[Saturday, January 15, 2011] New Orleans

You do not want to know how early the car pickup is scheduled for, but let me just say they charge $10 extra to come that early. Kathy's brother is out and about, but we are sure he is fine. We flew Seattle to Denver, Denver to New Orleans. Took a walk down Royal Street looking for a nice piece of estate jewelry, really did not find anything. Tomorrow, we have two appointments, including a business dinner, as we attempt to woo and court the future Provost for Dinner was Felix's restaurant and Oyster Bar, I know the place is famous, but to be honest, I was not very impressed. The Char Oysters on the half shell were OK, the Gumbo thin and lacking punch, we didn't even finish the Turtle Soup and the catch of the day, Tilapia, was clearly frozen fish. I would put this on my must avoid list, there are too many better restaurants.

[Saturday, January 8, 2011] Seattle

A week in Hawaii was fun, but we needed to get back home. They are promising a snow storm, but it does not look like that will happen. Kathy's brother is coming over so I made extra food, we have to leave for New Orleans, but hope he enjoys Seattle. Mostly just did SANS work from Seattle, but picked up some great smoked salmon. Turns out a lot of people add chemicals to smoked salmon, we managed to find some all natural salmon.

[Wednesday, January 5, 2010] A Lovely Island Day

Fired up a bread machine, what fun! Read the label on the store-bought bread and said no thank you! SANS Forensics 558: Network Forensics is available for the first time in the Mentor format starting May 10, 2011 in Germantown, MD. Mentors Chris Crowley and Zoher Anis will lead the course which focuses on techniques for assessing forensic information from network resources. This course equips you with the insight to make intelligent analysis from the mountains of log data from your web proxies, DNS and DHCP servers.

[Saturday, January 1, 2010] Happy New Years

Lordy, it has been a blur. A week ago I was on snowshoes, today, we are getting ready to take tropical plants out to our farm. Last night, New Years Eve, we spent with my brother's family, setting off some safe fireworks after a lovely meal together. I did get online about 10 P.M. and noticed, again, that a number of people say Happy New Years using Twitter and Facebook. The VOG is back, but that is the only downer.

[Tuesday, December 28, 2010] Back to Hawaii

Oh my! My parents have changed their mind again and now they say they are not coming to Hawaii. So we have an empty house. My brother and his wife invested their leave time to come down and help us set up the house. The good news is that I will get to spend time with my brother's family. The big blessing is that my parents changed their minds before we had bought furniture and all of that stuff. Anyway, instead of going home to Seattle, we need to sort this house out. But we are going to play some first.

[Saturday, December 25, 2010] A White Christmas

Last night we attended a candlelight service at a local Baptist church. Made me smile: all the men had short hair, plaid shirts, and jeans, so Kathy and I stood out like we were glowing neon, but they all tried to be friendly. Organ, hymns, I smiled, not my cup of tea, but I am happy for them. Today was a fun day, got together with family. As we started to time out, I looked outside and it had started to snow. It isn't sticking to the roads just yet, but the soccer field next door, is starting to dust white. That is kind of cool, I'm dreaming of a White (day after) Christmas. I decided to bust out some serious food for the family Christmas meal. I haven't done twice baked potatoes in a while and we had some small red potatoes on hand; also had some smoked cheddar, diced ham, two green onions from Wal-Mart (they have the best green onions, and they stay plump longer too), and the secret that took the dish over the top was a generous splash of black truffle oil.

I notice that a number of people are using Facebook to say "Merry Christmas" to one another. Do you think that might become the prevailing practice? Sure is greener than paper Christmas cards.

My Garmin Nuvi 750 is still screwed up. After doing the hard reset it can now find satellites, but it does not recognize any address in Richmond. They closed tech support on Christmas eve, so I have been trying to get through the web site. It does not work either. This is incredibly frustrating. There is some security check that it will not pass. And their web site is incredibly slow.

[Wednesday, December 22, 2010] Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

Is the economy improving? Yes! This time of year is supposed to start slowing down, but I have never worked this hard on business development. We have had meetings up in DC and I will miss the company lunch in Fredericksburg VA, sorry guys. After my 4:00 P.M. meeting I snuck out to get a haircut. My last haircut at Sportclips was really fun, so I thought Kathy and I could go there. Bad move! Sportclips in Richmond VA sucks, at least the one on Broad St. does! There were only two people cutting hair, the waiting area was full and people kept giving up, they don't let you call ahead, there was none of the MVP experience, it took three times to get our name on the list. I tried to give them feedback, but their website is too screwed up to use with firefox. Strong prediction, this company will go down as fast as it went up. Based on my experience today, investing in this franchise is the fastest path to poverty I know of short of gambling. Great concept, but they also have to execute.

[Saturday, December 18, 2010] Taking the train to Richmond VA

We got up early, finished packing and picked up a car to Union Station. We are packing heavy because it is Christmas. We had to get a Red Cap to get from the street to get our tickets. Palmetto was on time. We brought too many bags as carry-on and the escalator and train steps were a gas.

[Friday, December 17, 2010] More snow, heard about a security conference in Luxembourg

There is an ISACA security conference in Luxembourg Wednesday 9th Feburary, 2011 at the hotel Royal 12 Boulevard Royal, L2449 Luxembourg. It has two tracks, looks like it is all vendor tracks.
Meanwhile in Washington, it snowed yesterday and half my students ran for the hills. The good news is that the beta of MGT 514 is going fairly well, at least from my perspective.

[Monday, December 13, 2010] Snow, colder, MGT 512 coming into the barn

One day to go with my class, they are pretty good kids and I have enjoyed teaching them. After class I went up to the COINS Community reception and the Vendor show at #SANS CDI and ran into David Turley. We went out to eat and he told us about his trip to Israel. They visited in August and apparently it is pretty warm! We ate at the Lebanese Taverna in Woodley Park. Kathy had the Ardic Melki anf Fatteh Blameh, David had the Shawarma, I had the Lamb Kabob. Going to spend the rest of the evening trying to catch up on email.

[Wednesday, December 8, 2010] Dang it is cold up here!

Monday we caught the red eye, United 262. A non-stop from Seattle (SEA) to Washington Dulles (IAD). I think we were slightly delayed, I know there was a turkey sandwich snack, I even had a glass of wine and then fell into some half sleep state; I saw there was a movie on, it looked like a historical thing. After we landed, logistics were crazy; the car met us, but we needed to drop Kathy off at Union Station to zip down to Richmond on the train to take care of a few things. The driver was quite unhappy to have two drop-offs and there was plenty of rush hour traffic to go around. It took an hour more to go from Union Station to the Marriott Wardman Park. Our suite was not ready, but they gave me a loaner room with two double beds which was really great customer service.

I crashed for about an hour then woke up and forced myself out of bed, when you travel you must make every effort to sleep and work in the time zone you are in or it gets crazy. I also needed some exercise, so I decided to walk down to Dupont Circle to get some lunch down there and maybe poke around a few shops. I have a heavy wool Calvin Klein coat that I sprayed with a can of silicone to make it more wind and rain resistant, thinsulite gloves, sock hat and a scarf. All that and I was cold within a minute of leaving the hotel; surely if I walk briskly, I thought to myself, I will get warm, but I thought wrong. Had lunch at the Palm, the Nova Scotia Lobster Roll hit the spot. Wandered in and out of a few shops and then the hike back. If I were in Seattle it would already be getting dark, but here in DC, I have at least another hour of light. Chatted with Kathy on the phone and then sat down to do email. I was still very tired and only tackled the easy emails. Then I saw one that required action by tomorrow (Wednesday) and it was complicated. Words were not coming to me, it felt like swimming through cotton candy and I know it was not my best work ever, but I got it done and I think Diane and Debbie made sure there was nothing too stupid. Then a few more emails and off to bed. Need to get to bed at a reasonable time, business meetings in Bethesda tomorrow.

Got up at 7 A.M., not bad, and I needed the sleep. My instruction sheet says to take a cab from the Wardman Park to Bethesda. However, based on the experience with the car at the airport, I decided the Metro might make more sense, after all it is all on the Red Line. I wasn't exactly sure of where to go from the Metro to the meeting so I left my Garmin Nuvi on the laptop to charge it and entered the address I was trying to reach before going to sleep.

A Garmin Gone Wrong

I got my Garmin a year and a half ago and it complained that the maps need to be updated so, before we flew, I invested the time to do that. I bought the lifetime of the Garmin map updates for $90.00 instead of the one time for $50.00. It took several iterations to get them to realize they were paid and then the download started, took about an hour and a half on the MiFi, which is plenty fast enough to watch Netflix streaming movies from. Glad I started early. Then we packed it up and brought it here. I might have made several mistakes. Most critical, I left it connected to the PC when I went to sleep. At some point my laptop hibernates and then as crazy as this sounds, it begins to discharge the Garmin's battery. So I went to sleep with the Garmin having a full battery and woke up, as I was soon to discover, with an empty one. The other thing that might have a relation to the problem is that I put the address into the Garmin while in the building, it could not get any satellites to key on inside and went into some simulation mode.

Anyway, Wednesday morning, put it in my pocket, headed for the Metro. The Metro is still a nice transport system, but they are starting to have some breakdowns. On the way to Bethesda, an elevator was out at some site and they were doing bus shuttles. No matter, a train came along and pretty soon I was in Bethesda. I got to the surface, turned on the Garmin and it could not find any satellites. It asked if it should continue trying, I said yes and then a low battery warning came on. So that was it for the mighty Garmin. I was in Bethesda and it was still near Pike Place in Washington state, the last place I had used it. Now I just charged it again and it still cannot find satellites, so I will need to try to see if there is a setting I can change.

Current Status, still failed, but a Google search shows this has happened to other people too. Will keep working the problem. Called Garmin Tech Support, they are closed, they work daylight hours while they sell a product that people use around the clock, ain't that sweet? Went to their web site to try to find an FAQ and there was a note about a battery recall. Checked, it did not apply to me, yeah! From the web site, these are the two most likely issues:
  • If you have just finished updating the software in your unit or you have performed a master reset, your unit may take 3-5 minutes to acquire while outdoors as the data that is used to locate satellites may have been erased.
  • If your unit has traveled over 500 miles while turned off or not tracking your travel, it may take 3-5 minutes to acquire even in ideal conditions.
I will charge the unit and try again tomorrow in a big open space, film at eleven.

[Monday, December 6, 2010] Flyday

There is a certain finality about the day you fly, especially when you are leaving home for a long time. In some sense I can relate with the folks of generations past when travel meant months or even years. We are going to bop over to the east coast where Kathy and I will split up; I will attend some business meetings and Kathy will stabilize our east coast life. Then we will be back together for SANS CDI 2010, last event of the year. Next, we zip to Richmond VA to do some family things, and finally zip to Hawaii to tie up some loose ends. Life has gotten mildly complicated, not a big deal, but things need to be taken care of; I will be sharing some of the details as they unfold, right now, things are murky. Anyway, we have enjoyed our time in our Seattle home. The lake is a lot of fun, so quiet, so pretty. We might even be able to get down to the dock one more time before we travel.

The sun just came out and everything was so marvelous I took a short break and went for a walk. Back when I used to live in Hawaii, when I would go on travel a day or two before I was scheduled to leave I would experience an incredible sadness. When I am in Richmond VA or Seattle, I experience an incredible stress, my chest knots up. You would think someone that logs as many miles as Kathy and I would be quite used to travel, but it is not so. Guess I will go pour myself a cup of calming tea and get a grip!

[Sunday, December 5, 2010] Getting Ready to Leave Our Seattle Home

Yesterday, I washed the truck to get the salt off of it. Then I filled it with gas since it will be sitting for a while. While I was out, I got a haircut at SportClips. That was fun. The girls are friendly and you get to watch football on a TV right at the chair. Somebody is going to make serious money on this one; it is a spa for guys. Currently there are no franchises right in Seattle, but there is one in Redmond and also in Bellevue. We leave for church in a few minutes. It is a lovely day in the Northwest and perhaps we can get a long walk in after church. We are both starting to think about the pack, we fly tomorrow and sadly, will be gone for a long time. The good news is we will get to spend some time with family in Richmond VA.

Church was interesting. The music guy was off key, but he banged out Chris Tomlin songs off key with gusto. The opening song was physically painful. Too bad, he has 90 something percent of what it takes to be a rock star; but I guess a lot of folks have 90 percent of what it takes. This is the second Sunday the pastor did not preach, he was visiting family in Oregon last week and they had a missionary from Chile this week. He was not a great speaker, but he had great stories. Somehow this group in Chile has ties to Iraqi Christians, so he had stories from Chile and stories from Iraq and he managed to pull it all together. They turned the lights down low and Kathy and I were both nodding out, didn't mean to fall asleep, but the room was cold, dark and the speaker was not the best. Worse, his three gorgeous daughters were in the row behind us so they had to notice. I finally got up and got a cup of coffee, church coffee may not be the best, but it was warm and I truly wanted to hear his message and hoped it would help me stay awake.

After Brunch at Pan Africa, we wandered uphill to Columbia Street, there is a group called Acts of Kindness that gives out hot dogs to homeless people and we wanted to meet them. Did not get to meet the head guy, Jon Coyne, but it was still nice to see. Maybe they will let us get involved when we get back.

[Tuesday, November 30, 2010] A rainy day in Seattle

It isn't very rainy, drizzle really. I have an opportunity to work on my course so I am pulling that file up. The search for the Provost for SANS.EDU is stalling and we need to think about what we can do to get that back to an active project.

[Sunday, November 28, 2010] Sunday at the Lake

Friday night, we decided to drive down to Sumner for the Bridge Lighting Festival. It is anchored by the Old Cannery, one of the more interesting furniture stores I have ever seen; think The Dump on steroids. They claim to have 10 acres on display. We wanted to get a leather recliner for our living room, we are doing it home group style. However, we needed a comfortable chair that is not too big or heavy. One of the interesting problems of a tri-level home is getting furniture to the top level. We found a great chair, did not pick it up on Friday, instead paid for it and picked it up on Saturday. This gave us an excuse to hang around Sumner for the day. We decided to try lunch at Hop Jacks, a local restaurant and bar named after the people that roast hops for beer. You might be interested to know that a considerable percentage of the hops used to flavor beer all over the world comes from Washington State. Lunch was OK, but I wish I had gone to the Windmill Bistro, my favorite restaurant in Sumner. The table at Hop Jacks was not clean, and both the Peach Lemonade and Mango Iced Tea were too sweet for us to enjoy. I had the Fish Taco, they don't bring an extra napkin and it is finger food, so you are sitting there with food on your hands and face till you finish both tacos. We asked for water, only got one. Kathy had the Hummus plate, I will say that is a delightful hummus, a little bit of spice, plenty of garlic, we were both craving hummus. Also, the salsa on the side of the fish taco was quite tasty, so I lifted a couple corn chips from Kathy's hummus plate and finished the salsa off. We happened to come at Happy Hour, it starts at 2 P.M. on Saturday; if you eat off the Happy Hour menu you could get a very affordable meal. The wait staff was very friendly, not attentive, they will walk right by an empty water glass, but they do it with a big, genuine, smile. The idea of the place is to serve as a local gathering place and it seems well suited for that.

If you are an AT&T wireless customer, check your bill closely. They signed me up for a $2.99 a month "roadside assistance" program with a shady insurance company called Asurion without asking first. I put out the word on a mailing list I belong to and it has happened to several other people I know. In Washington State they apparently had to settle some sort of legal action and promise to repay people:

[Thursday, November 25, 2010] A White Thanksgiving!

Wow, it snowed again last night. Everything is so pretty with fresh snow on it. I have been working for a couple days on the dishes - we are going to have all the trimmings. This is the only time since we were married that it has just been just the two of us for Thanksgiving.

That was really fun. We did get to catch up with most of our family with video Skype. And we will see the east coast folks in just over a week. I set up the Xbox Kinect. Wow, is that cool! I like it a lot better than the Wii. So far the only game I am any good at is boxing, but it sure is a lot of fun, especially the two person games. I decided not to wait till Black Friday, for one thing, I think there may be a shortage of Kinects, it is such a cool concept.

[Wednesday, November 24, 2010] Last Working Day Before Thanksgiving

The secret to travel is to put your stuff in exactly the same place every time. Sounds obvious, but if you are in a different house or hotel routinely it is not so easy. I woke up this morning and my glasses were not where I normally put them. Kathy was asleep and I did not want to turn on a light so it was a challenge, but I succeeded in finding my glasses.

[Tuesday, November 23, 2010] Snowed in

Not really. I have a four wheel drive truck, but I am not going out to drive until tomorrow. I just went outside and shoveled the top half of the driveway. The bottom half is very steep and I made a path to the mailbox then had a hard time getting back up so I hope the sun softens the snow and will hit it again in the heat of the day. Today is full of meetings so that is where most of my time is going.

Scallops Ceviche with Leeks and Plaintains

24 hours before cooking, cover 3/4 cup small scallops with juice of two fresh limes, let these set in the fridge.
Take the top half of a bunch of leeks, cut as small as you can, put it in a skillet with water to cover, high heat.
One plantain cut into slices.
Add one can black beans rinsed well.
Between a teaspoon and tablespoon of minced garlic depending on your taste.
A few nuts, I used pistachio as a source of salt about 20.
Spices are cayene pepper, chili powder.
About five minutes before serving add the scallops, be careful not to under or over cook scallops.

[Monday, November 22, 2010] Let it snow

Snowed all night. Friendly snow, covers the ground and trees, but the roads have been clear at least at our house. It did freeze on the atrium so we turned the heat up in the house to melt it off, not sure how much weight the atrium can take. Meetings and more meetings today, but that is part of business. We had the split pea soup I made before before San Antonio, hot soup on a snowy day really hits the spot.

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[Sunday, November 21, 2010] Home to Seattle

Boy did time fly. I had a few evening talks and Kathy and I ate a lot of Mexican food, went to Mexican Manhatten twice, not great but close to the hotel and man do they give you a lot of food for a little money. Yesterday, Saturday, we finished early and Kathy and I had a great walk on the riverwalk and took the boat tour. This morning we had a 0730 A.M. pickup from the hotel and began the flight back. Both flights on United were on full size aircraft, UA 369 was an airbus and UA 339, a 757, I had forgotten what it was like to actually fly with my carry on luggage. 339 left Denver late, but arrived early at Seattle. What is up with that? I realized that almost all my United flights "arrive early". It must be some sort of social engineering. I am guessing they add about 15 minutes to the arrival time so they can beat it.

It was snowing in Seattle, it is quite pretty and for extra credit, it is not sticking to the roads! As soon as we got home, I raced out to the store and refreshed the fridge. We have a couple of days till Thanksgiving, so I want to start building the dinner. We have been with lots of other people for some time and want to have Thanksgiving alone. However, I want a real classy dinner. So for supper I made buttermilk cornbread that was designed for the stuffing. I added corn, celery, leeks, even a bit of ham and bacon.

[Sunday, November 14, 2010] SANS San Antonio Begins

Actually, you could argue the conference has already started. Eric Cole has been teaching the 20 Critical Controls, but the main event starts tomorrow and we get it up and running today. We got up early to watch the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon, watched till over half the people going by were walking. They say over 30,000 people participated; wow! Then we went to breakfast at the Embassy Suites. Breakfast is complimentary and cooked to order. It is also a bit of a zoo. Still, I love the Embassy Suites concept. And this hotel doesn't have the big hollow area in the middle and they get double points for that, if you have noisy people at the evening manager's reception it carries into all the rooms with the older design. Still, a free breakfast is a zoo. The cook to order station was amazing, they were fast and friendly, though I did not order bacon in my omelet that had more bacon that I have ever seen. The drink station was a disaster. People that carried their plate had no where to put it, I saw several creative solutions. But it was solid juice on the floor under the juice machine. Still it was breakfast and I appreciate that and it wasn't that hard to scrape the big pile of bacon off of the omelet.

For dinner Kathy and I treated Eric Cole to Bohanans Steak and Seafood Restaurant. Kathy had the Bone in Fillet, Eric had the Rack of Lamb and I had the Quail. We shared a bottle of the Titus Zinfandel. For sides we got the Goat Cheese Mash Potato and Grilled Mushrooms. Eric and I had the monster prawn as a starter. Everything was great, the Goat Cheese Mash was the BEST mash potato I have ever had, I am sure I am full of fat and sodium, but yummmmm. The quail portion was very generous and I was only able to eat one of them. We lost track of time and I had to be somewhere and they did a gracious get us out of there fast set of moves. The strange thing is, my favorite wine varietal is and always has been Zinfandel. We ordered the Edmeades Piffero, I think of Zin as fruity and bold and bit sweet. This was so dry ( tasting to me ) I was afraid it had turned. The restaurant was gracious and took it back, I have never done that, ever. The Titus came out and it was dry, but I said great. It really tasted (to me) like a cross between a Pinot and a Merlot. We took it of course. I figured the person that ordered wine for the restaurant had an odd taste in Zinfandel. After the restaurant, I had some work to do getting ready for tomorrow and met some of my students and we decided to split a bottle of 2005 Brookwood Sonoma Zinfandel, finally a taste of Zin and no, it was dry and flat. Well you know the saying, if you are having relationship problems with everyone you know, maybe it is you. Is this an extraordinary coincidence, or has there been some sort of temporary or permanent change in my taste buds. Well, we surely cannot crack another bottle of Zin to find out, tomorrow is a very big day, as I said earlier, simulcast time! In the event you are a new reader, we are now entering conference mode. That means my posts will be very spotty, I work some crazy hours in conference and then we also have business meetings etc.

[Saturday, November 13, 2010] Goodbye Seattle, Hello San Antonio

Cloudy, but a nice morning. We both woke up at 4:00 A.M, You would not think it possible as much as we both travel, but travel is very stressful for us. The car picked us up at 8:00 and we made it through security easily, there was no line, everyone was really calm. We ducked into the Red Carpet Club and they had corn flakes and yogurt. It will be interesting to see what happens when they complete the merger with Continental, I think there is a Continental club here as well. We have a job in San Antonio, next to last time this year for me to teach MGT 512, SANS Security Leadership Essentials. It is a huge class and it will be taught both in the class room and virtuallly as well simulcast style.

Our flight, 6270, operated by Skywest was late coming in, but we have a long layover in San Francisco so no worry there. Service was good, they were very attentive and the pilots did a great job putting the plane on the ground in the wind, we were bumping around some. We got lunch at San Francisco Soup Company in the upscale food court. Kathy had the Organic Split Pea Soup, I had the Turkey Chili in a bread bowl. Turns out you get a small sourdough loaf with your soup so getting the bread bowl is a waste, though it is fun wrestling with the soupy bread trying not to spill it on your clothes. I bought a chapstick at one of the stores, four dollars and thirty seven cents, there ought to be a law limiting airports to double the normal price of things.

Ever hear of a dry cloud, it is a cloud with no moisture making it impossible to pick up with aircraft radar. Just listening to a guy coming in from Australia, his plane hit a "dry cloud", this is something you do not want to have happen to you! Apparently that was some rockin turbulence. Could be worse, British Airways flight 9 almost bit the dust.

United 6252 was on time and some of the best service I have seen on a plane all year, not to be sure, the plane was about half full ( one of the only times I have seen that this year as well ). We landed and everything went smoothly, our bags were coming out the second we got to baggage claim ( how often does that happen?). First impression of the Embassy Suites is very positive, brand new hotel. I was hungry so we went to grab some supper, we went to Acenar, right on the river. They seated us next so a very loud birthday party, so we grabbed out plates and moved to a different table, much better. I had the Snapper Adobo, Kathy had the Crab Tinga Tacos, they were OK, not great. Still it was food and that has to count for something.

GOOGLE MAP FAIL. Try finding a grocery store using Google in Riverwalk San Antonio, I am on search number 20 and no joy. We have a fridge in our hotel room at the Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk and it would be great to pick up some healthy food, fruit, veggies, whole grain, that sort of thing and if I need Google to get that, it is not going to get done. Guess I will try Yellow Pages next.

FRAUD WARNING: There is a group called Bespoke that claims to make custom suits. We were at the Marriott Wardman Park, Washington DC and they were having a "custom suit" special. Kathy and I decided to invest in several of these. They did not fit. They did not even cut the end off the strings. We called, they do not refund. They asked me to send a suit that fits. NO WAY. What I wish I had done was ordered 1 suit. Then, if it had all worked out, they would have had my stats. I could have ordered more. Then I would be out less money. Anyway, they are coming to Washington DC, November 16 - 20. Be careful. Exchanged an email with the owner, he claims it is not him, it was someone else, he just started coming to Washington. Then how did he have me on his email list to get the note saying they were coming back. As I say, be careful!

[Wednesday, November 10, 2010] Gorgeous Day in Seattle

Yesterday it alternated between rain and drizzle, today there isn't a cloud in the sky. Sadly Iam totally locked up with meetings till late afternoon. Hopefully the weather will hold and Kathy and I can do a short hike along the Puyallup river. Today, we have been interviewing people for our open Provost position at the school. I started a split pea soup, this is an experiment from the ground up, used rice pilaf instead of potatoes ( forgot to buy a potato last night). They had an incredible deal on ham at Wal-mart, so that is the salt source. Also, threw in a pack of pre-sliced mushrooms and some celery and just before serving will add carrots, basicially trying to build a "split pea stew". Goal is to freeze some so when we come back from San Antonio we have some ready to go food.

[Sunday, November 7, 2010] Home in Seattle

Fantastic late morning and early afternoon in Seattle. I made us a Creole lunch, Shrimp Etouffee, loosely based on this recipe, but I used leeks instead of onion, red bell peppers instead of green, and a brown rice pilaf instead of white rice. Then we went for a walk, and that was fun; the weather was great and we took advantage of it. The fall colors are probably past their peak, but we saw some very vibrant trees. After that we headed off to shop at Tacoma Boys and also Costco in Puyallup. Tacoma Boys had some awesome local produce, so we will have butternut squash, a quarter cup of the leftover Etouffee from lunch, and some lovely smoked Alaskan Salmon for dinner. The spicing I use is a tiny bit of cinnamon, a little more cayenne and two ounces of buttermilk. The smoke from the salmon and the buttermilk play off one another. Be careful about adding salt, every two ounces of smoked salmon averages 20% of your daily sodium intake. I used four ounces in this dish for two.

[Saturday, November 6, 2010] Headed home to Seattle

Just finished packing my suitcases. We are slowly moving some of the stuff out of the closet in Kauai to Seattle. If you don't use it on Kauai, you lose it, and we will probably only come visit Kauai four times in 2011. Still, it was nice to visit. We have a pick-up scheduled with Sue's Taxi in a couple of hours and I am feeling that familiar pre-trip stress; never quite sure what causes that, but I get a big case of the nerves before I travel.

I have been really focused on writing for the past few weeks, but I took a break last night and this morning to do some investment analysis. The good news is that I am now fully positive after weathering the great recession. Since I am going to end the year in the black, it appears, I really want to study what is going on. Because of my age and distance to retirement, I should be looking at bonds more carefully, but I think they are overexposed, so my focus has been on stocks. It is getting dangerous to buy individual stocks - people like me who travel a lot can't respond quickly enough if a stock starts to go south. You can add some sanity with mutual funds, but mutual funds may have tax implications. So, most of my focus today was on ETFs. The next thing I am going to focus on is folio investing, I will try to fund that shortly.

United Flight 454 from Kauai to Denver left on time. The purser humiliated some poor lady that was late, they had boarded early and wanted to leave early. Snack was a chicken salad wrap that was so-so. Service was pretty poor after the snack - all the flight attendants went to the back of the plane. At one point, I emptied my water glass and instead of refilling it they took the glass away. In first class no less, at least they usually give you water in economy. Fortunately, I had my thermos. They said they were going to show two movies since it is over a six hour flight, but there was only one, Ramona and Beezus which is a slight step up from Little Miss Sunshine. Short layover in Denver, we got a Jamba Juice and headed for the gate. There was something going down allergy wise in Denver because my eyes watered, and people were sneezing and coughing all over.

On United 875, Kathy and I were not seated together (hey United, if two 1ks have linked tickets and the same last name, seat them together please). However, the flight was only two hours and eighteen minutes. The movie was The Sorcerer's Apprentice, that is actually not half bad, I warmed up to it towards the end. Not that I saw the end, the flight crew waited too long to start the movie and we were in the exciting conclusion when they did the prepare-the-cabin-for-landing bit and turned off the movie a few minutes before the conclusion. I guess if my experiences have anything to do with anything, United's stock isn't that high.