Monday, October 25, 2010

Greetings from Solvang!

Hey Dave!

Talk about your good fortune, corporate has sent me to Little Denmark! But it's not all good news I have to report...

It finally happened. I knew all of this travel would catch up with me, and sure enough...bed bugs! I woke up itching in the middle of the night and, after ruling out my eczema, I realized I had bites all over me. I knew I shouldn't have stayed at a Comfort Inn with the Armenian manager! He was trying to sell me on all sorts or bells and whistles (pool view, extra hand towels, covered parking) but I'm no push over! I'm not going to let these wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am types walk all over me, especially not when corporate is projecting record low returns next fiscal quarter!

Solvang is everything I hoped it would be and more! It's a shoppers paradise, and the Danish theme is strikingly authentic. The knickknacks are unrivaled, and though the prices are a little steep, the craftsmanship is tremendous. I'm willing to pay full price after learning the hard way that a good price isn't always worth the trouble. Yesterday, I was scrolling through the local Craigslist listings, looking to finagle some Danish steals and deals, when I ran across a bargain to good to be passed up. After driving almost an hour out of town to meet a porcelain collector, Rex,  I was greeted at the front door of his residence, only to learn that he and I have very different definitions of "Danish Starfish." I mean, cheese and rice, put your pants on, buddy! Ha!

Like I said before, all this time on the road has started to take a bit of a toll on me, and I really need to start taking better care of myself. The other day I developed a large canker sore on my upper lip because the wire from my braces was poking out. I knew I needed to get it taken care of right away, I mean, I haven't seen a herpes like this since I accompanied my friend Lilith on her Rumspringa! The orthodontist I visited, Dr. Mike was very professional, and though he only had child-sized exam chairs, he was able to fix the wire. From now on, I'm going to try to take a little "me time" each day, to get my synergy back on track.

Well, I've got to get a presentation together for tomorrow's breakout session. It should be an exciting day: we are aligning our 3rd quarter business decisions with our strategic plan. Want to be prepared so I don't look like a monkey. Ha!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Greetings from Wasilla!

Hi Dave,

Well, I just flew into Wasilla, Alaska, and boy are my arms tired! Ha! My apologies if I seem a little punchy, but I’ve felt like a real dingbat up here due to the constant daylight. It’s only dark from about 2 am until 4 am, and it makes a person feel like they want to go bonkers!

Getting up here was quite a palin in the ass, (Ha!). I changed planes several times, and due to a canceled flight, I had to spend a night in Reno. Now, you’re probably wondering what has brought me all the way up here to the 49th state. Our branch office in Wasilla has had a very productive year thanks to all the publicity this area has received since the ’08 election.  This part of Alaska is historically entrepreneurial, but the recreation industry has boomed in recent months. We have seen a real shift in our customer base as of late, and that’s why yours truly was sent into town.  When corporate asked if I was interested in heading up to the Northern-most state, you can bet I said “No shoot, Sherlock!” Ha!

On that note, I imagine you’ve probably seen a lot about my company in the news lately: our stock has dropped 50% and many of our over-seas offices have closed their doors. To help cut costs, I was asked to stay at a Budget Inn. You sure get what you pay for! The walls are paper-thin, and the man in the room next to mine has a revolving door of visitors. I cant tell you for sure what’s going on in there, but I believe he may work for a sporting goods company; he keeps talking to his companions about Alaskan snow blowers and Eskimo chest warmers. I’ll have to check that out at the Cabelas down the road, maybe I can find you a souvenir.

It’s pretty cold outside, and I’ve been going stir-crazy stuck in-doors, so last night I walked around the block to a local “fishing hole” ;) This bar seems to be the most popular place in town, and the Stinky Stool can pour a mean drink. This place was full of men tom-catting around, but none seemed the least bit interested in me. Fine with me, I'm here for business not pleasure; if I was looking for love I'd be at a Sandals resort! Anywho, it was nice to get out of my room for a night, and this place was a real blast.

Well, I’ve got a presentation early tomorrow morning so I best rest up. Wish me luck! I’ll be in touch…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Greetings from Menomonee Falls!

First off, I apologize for my "radio silence" for the past few days, but this has been a whirlwind weekend! You're probably thinking that I have a friend on the inside, but I assure you, I do not, I ended up in the cheese state purely by coincidence! Menomonee is a beautiful suburb of Milwaukee, and it is home to some of the most courteous cab drivers on earth in my humble opinion (IMHO). I arrived late Friday afternoon and immediately checked into the Washington House Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast right on the outskirts of town. I have to admit, I was a little ticked off when I first rolled into town. I was quite enjoying Hershey, and I was not thrilled about the fact that corporate wouldn't spring for me to stay in proper Milwaukee, let alone a true motel. Apparently, the B&B was the only place in town with occupancy, and to further complicate matters, upon checking in I discovered an interracial couple was also staying on my floor. Not one to rock the boat, I bit my lip, but believe you me, I breathed a sigh of relief when they checked out the following day.

Now, I know I rarely mention politics, and that's mostly because you and I do not see eye-to-eye on most issues, but I did attend a political rally while in town. Fortunately for me, some prominent politicians were in town to protest a matter I feel strongly about, the repeal of the 23rd amendment. Despite the fact that Glen Beck bowed out at the last minute, the "Flush the Twenty Turd" rally was a huge success, and I believe it may have caught the attention of Washington "insiders." Forgive me while I stand on my soap box, but I have long felt that the District of Columbia has no place in the electoral college, and I will express my God-given right to say so.

After the rally, I spent Saturday evening at the Menomonee Film Festival. Many of the films were inspiring, but none more so than the documentary Who Cut the Cheese? by Kevin Moore (Micheal's nephew). This film was a rare glimpse into the illegal culturing of bovine-dairy products, and I have to say, it was a real eye-opener. Speaking of cheese, boy did I go cheese sampling! Happy cows may come from California, but delicious cheese is 100% Wisconsin! Ha! First thing Sunday morning, I set out for a cheese tour of the county. My cabbie/ tour guide, Rory (a young man fulfilling community service obligations by order of a local magistrate) informed me that this is known among industry insiders as "cheese dickin'", so I'm fairly certain I know what we will be doing next time I'm in the Bay area!

All in all this has been a great weekend, and I highly recommend you try to visit America's Dairyland (trademark). Well, I hate to end things so abruptly, but I've got an early morning flight tomorrow, and you know what they say: early bird catches the worm! Ha!

Greetings from Hershey!

Surprise! More like the surprise is on me, I suppose, but here I am in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania! I had to whiz back to the East Coast to lead a synergy seminar at our Hershey office after an unfortunate incident involving two ornery executive assistants and a toner cartridge. Fortunately, I will be here for the weekend, and I am greatly enjoying the Spring Hill Suites, where I have a pool view. A girl could get used a life like this, ha! Earlier today Hershey hosted a gubernatorial debate between Corbett and Onorato, two-business friendly candidates, and so the hotel has been abuzz with staffers, but this chaos should settle down tomorrow.

As a lover of all things chocolate, and perhaps a full-on chocoholic, this is a dangerous place for me! You may need to contact the television program Intervention! I toured the Hershey plant earlier today, and then headed over to lunch at the Hershey Highway Cafe. Delicious! I purchased a souvenir shirt for you that says "I got fudged in Hershey" and a coffee mug that reads "Put the chocolate down and nobody gets hurt." HA! Now, I know how you feel about the Pennsylvania Dutch, but you must admit, these people have an incredible sense of humor!

A note about the town of Hershey itself: I was surprised to find out first-hand what a rampant feral cat problem they have. Apparently it has something to do with the gasses emitted from the cocoa beans at the factory, but regardless of the reason, it can be quite a burden. Fortunately, some local entrepreneurs have embraced the cat population, along with cat enthusiasts, and started a bakery just for felines. Streusel Pussy is a booming business! I tried some of their sweets, and I have to say they aren't half bad, considering. I picked up a bag of Cat Snatch to bring back to Judith (the accountant I stayed with in Dearborn, Michigan).

Well, I should probably sign off. I purchased the new Nicholas Sparks novel, Masterdating, and I cant wait to start reading! Hope to make my way to the west coast soon!

Enjoy your weekend!

Greetings from Albuquerque!

Hello David!

Well, you never know when corporate is going to swing down their golden hammer, do you?! Two days ago I was writing to you from flood-ravaged North Carolina, and today I'm in the great state of New Mexico! The timing couldn't be better, as I'm sure you are well aware that the America's Challenge gas hot-air balloon race kicks off here in a few days. While the tone of this year's race will be somewhat muted due to the unfortunate accident involving two American balloonists off the Italian coast, I understand it will be quite an impressive event.

I've only been here for a full day, but so far I am most intrigued by The Land of Enchantment. The folks that run the La Quinta where I am staying are most hospitable, but the same cannot be said for the young Algonquins who loiter in the alley below my room. One of them has anointed me with a traditional tribal name, and has taken to calling me the "Tuna Banger" whenever I walk by. While the name is a kind act of hospitality, his behavior is slightly concerning. Around 9 pm last night, after I unpacked, I left my room to grab a sammy at a cantina across the street. I was just finishing my dinner and cherry cola, when this teenager ("Conchito," they call him) slide into the booth across from me, asking if I would like a mustache ride. Assuming this was a local attraction, I agreed, and after paying the bill and leaving a 3% tip, I followed Conchito out. It quickly became apparent that this hoodlum had something quite risque on his mind, and I high-tailed it out of there.

Despite the setback, I believe I will enjoy my time here is the most arid state of the continental US. Well, I better hit the road, Jack. I've got to swing by a satellite office and ensure that middle management is properly implementing the new HAT program. You know what they say about middle management: not quite sharp enough to make it to the top!

I'll keep in touch,
"Tuna Banger" of the Southwest

Greetings from North Carolina!

Hi Dave,

Well, needless to say this has been a difficult time for me and the other residents of North Carolina. Who would have imagined all of this flooding when I moved here 2 years ago to pursue a job in green technologies?! Apparently tropical storm Nicole had other ideas for me, so my ground floor apartment is flooded, and I have had to stay with co-workers. it hasn't been so bad, Dina in Accounting is very nice and has a lovely spare bedroom, but it is difficult living with cat, I've found my allergies acting up again. I guess I dont like pussy after all! I have most of my belongings at Todd from Human Resources house, but I chose not to stay with him after I learned that he and his roommate play Magic on the weekends. Talk about a dork.

Well, I dont want to make it sound like everything has been bad since I moved here. The bbq really is amazing, the Carolinas certainly live up to their reputation. Although I'm not yet a fan of the Bluegrass music, I have to say, it is growing on me! Ha! Where I'm located here in Ashville there is a lot of nightlife, and I've started frequenting a piano bar called Sullys on Main. It's a fun place if you can get past the oak paneling on the walls. Ha! When you come to visit I think you will find it very easy to fly directly in to the Ashville Municipal Airport, and there is a beautiful Embassy Suites right on the river that you can stay at. If these darn floods dont dry up I may be staying with you! Ha!

Well, I better run, I'll keep you updated on the rest of my happenings, but for now I look forward to seeing you in November.