Where in the World is Kate?

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:42 am EST

Can you guess where I am right now?


Hotel California

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:49 am EST

As promised, the conclusion to my California story…

Now where was I… oh, right. After finally getting to LAX, I was surprised by a waiting car, which whisked me (as fast as one can “whisk” in LA traffic) to the hotel just as the reception dinner for my meeting was starting.

The hotel was… how should I put this…? VERY nice. Beautiful gardens with lots of water. The second oldest fig tree in the state of California (which was apparently payment for a bar tab).

It was right across from the beach—though separated by a bluff and a highway, as I would discover. (Check out a satellite view of the hotel on Google Maps.)

My room was equally impressive. They gave me a suite with a king size bed, a huge bathroom, a jacuzzi, and a sauna. That’s right, I had a freaking sauna in my room.

Not that I got to spend a lot of time in my room, mind you. My weekend was almost completely scheduled, from early breakfasts to late dinners.

But I made a point of putting my feet into the Pacific Ocean about an hour before I left. There was no way I was coming home without doing that! Pictures for your viewing pleasure after the jump. (more…)


Monday Leg Blogging: Nittany Lion Style

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:32 am EST

Can you guess where I was over the weekend?


Funky Shit Goin’ Down in the City

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:10 am EST

In response to the post I made about my flight to Los Angeles, Sherri W. pointed out that there’s always someone who’s had a worse flight than you.

Yeah, I’ll say. Like the people on Virgin Atlantic Flight 45 on July 21st.

I’m paraphrasing here, but you’ll get the gist of it:

At around 6 pm, as we were descending into JFK, we were told that we would have to go instead to Philadelphia International Airport because JFK was shutting down due to the bad weather conditions.

Over the next 7 hours, we were told that the Philadelphia airport was bullying the crew and allowing other diverted planes to disembark and refuel over us because Virgin Atlantic had no right to be at that airport. And to add insult to injury, the fuel company was demanding to be paid in cash in full at the time of refueling.

Finally around 9:30 or so, we finally began to refuel and were told that we’d be in the air in no time. We started to taxi down the runway and then….stopped.

The flight supervisor came on again and said that if we didn’t land within the next 20 minutes, the crew would be over their allowed hours worked, and thus would be illegally operating the plane.

So we had to disembark in Philly, which would be a little difficult seeing as how we still had no gate or way to get through customs…

Dan Rubin over at Blinq reports that most of the story is true, according to Philadelphia International Airport spokesman Mark Pesce. You can visit the links below for more detailed information.

Man, that puts things in perspective.

Further Reading:
-Virgin Atlantic Flight 45 [Consumerist]
-Bringing The Benjamins [Blinq]


Going to California

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:20 am EST

As you might have guessed from the leg blogging post, I was in California over the weekend; more specifically, in Santa Monica. But alas, I was there for work, and it was a short trip, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see much.

The trip got off to a shaky start, beginning with my flight from Philadelphia. The plane actually boarded on time, but we got rerouted due to thunderstorms and had to wait while we took on more fuel.

Well, we made it to the runway, but when we were finally the second plane in line for takeoff, a storm rolled in and pounded the airport, grounding all flights for 20 minutes or so.

After the weather cleared, they announced that the storm had affected flight control, but they would have it fixed right away. A few minutes later, they informed us that we were reverting back to the original flight plan, which had us taking off in a different direction. That meant that we had to go to the back of the runway queue and start over.

So we taxied to our new position, and waited. And waited. And waited. Until they told us that during the storm, a flock of geese had landed on the runway, and we would have to wait until they were cleared out. (At that point, everyone on the plane just burst out laughing.)

We finally took off two and a half hours late, and people were getting pretty hungry. Too bad they ran out of food. And ice. Oh, and did I mention the screaming babies? Because there were three of them.

I eventually landed at LAX and made my way down to ground transportation in search of a cab, grumbling to myself about the hotel not having a shuttle. I almost didn’t notice the man in the suit standing there holding a sign with my name on it. That’s right, to my shock and wonderment, there was a car waiting there for me. ME!! And at that point, the trip started to improve.

More on this later (possibly with pictures if you’re lucky). Right now I’ve got to go earn my living.


Monday Leg Blogging: California Dreaming

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:18 pm EST

Those are my legs, standing in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.


Running Scared in the Valley Below…

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:19 am EST

I’m beginning to think I’ll never finish the recap of my July 2005 trip out west. It’s pathetic, I know. I swore I would finish it before we took another trip. But I guess what: I didn’t.

And I wouldn’t want that to mean I had two unfinished projects, so I decided to go ahead and write up our Death Valley Excursion. After all, I had a mere 700 pictures to sort instead of the 3700 we took in July.

I actually had this ready to go last week, but I was having a formatting problem that my OCD would not allow to see the light of day.

Hope you like them. (Click below.)


I’m Baaaa-aaaack

Filed under: — Kate @ 5:55 pm EST

Well, here I am in Philly again. I didn’t fall off a cliff or get sucked into a vicious cycle of booze and gambling, but I am kind of paying for the time off now. Both Edo and I have completely screwed up our sleep schedules and are swamped with work.

Maybe I’ll get around to posting a few pictures tonight. But anyway, until I have time to return to blogging full-force, check out these recaps of “Dude Weekend” by Holz and Lushy.

Oh, in the picture on Lushy’s site of everyone at dinner, I look like a giant blob with no arms. Rest assured, I still have my arms. Both of them. And I’m really not quite so blobbish, either.



Filed under: — Kate @ 3:57 pm EST

Well people, that’s it for this week. I’m pretty sure they don’t have the internets in the back country of Death Valley, so you won’t be hearing from me for a few days. I know it’s hard. But you’ll get through it.

Anyway, check back next week. I’ll try post a few pictures from the trip, and if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll even have a special leg blog.

Viva Las Vegas!

Death Valley: T-7 Hours and Counting

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:50 am EST

Man, the last day of work before I’m off for a few days is always so stressful that I find myself almost wishing I wasn’t taking time off. Almost. I NEVER have enough time to prepare work for other people. Sometimes that just means I leave late, but when there’s a flight to catch at 6:00 PM, that’s not really an option. Grrrrr….


Valley Girl

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:05 am EST

Next week, Edo and I are heading westward, to hang out with friends at Lushy’s place in Vegas. While the men partake in their “Dude” activities, I will probably spend most of my time laughing at them with Lushy’s lovely wife Melissa.

But first, before the Vegas Dude Fest of 2006, Edo and I are going to hit Death Valley for a couple of days. I would really appreciate advice from anyone who has been there–what to see, what to do, what to avoid, etc.

Also, I know most of my readers live on the east coast, but don’t think I don’t see those west coast ip addresses! I know I have readers on the other side of the country who just keep to themselves—which is fine—but if you have anything to contribute, now is the time to break your silence!

We really haven’t planned as thoroughly as we’d like, but here’s a rough itinerary:

Wednesday night: Arrive in Vegas and rent 4WD vehicle. Drive as far as we can toward Death Valley. Find a place to sleep (maybe in Beatty?). It will be late, so we need to find a place that accepts late arrivals.

Thursday: Up at first light, and hopefully reach Death Valley around sunrise or a little later. You can’t really see much during the first hour of sunrise anyway. Spend all day in Death Valley hiking, driving the offroad trails, etc.

Thursday night: Camp in Death Valley. We could do back country camping, but there are a lot of different camp grounds, so we might as well stay in one of them.

Friday: Get up and do more of the same.

Friday night: Drive back to Vegas, or stay another night in Death Valley and get to Vegas early on Saturday morning?

That’s it for now. We are SO not prepared…


Atlanta The Vicinity of Atlanta

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:48 am EST

I guess my trip to Atlanta went pretty well. As expected, the airport and the inside of the hotel were the only things I saw besides this lovely view from my window. But the flights went smoothly, the meeting was moderately interesting, and I met some cool people. Plus, I get to check off one more state on my map. :-)

I did come to realize a few things, though.

1) At every meeting, there will always be one person who asks one stupid question after another, much to the chagrin of the speaker and everyone else in the room. The questions will be either completely irrelevant, or about something that was already covered. Sometimes the questions will not even be coherent.

2) There should be mandatory training before anyone is allowed to give a PowerPoint presentation. The training should expressly forbid the use of things such as an image Superman standing in front of a giant American flag, or the words “Thank you” in a rainbow of colors, flashing, spinning, and flying in from ten different directions.

3) No matter how perfect I try to be, I’ll at least find some minor way to be an idiot.


Fun With Maps

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:39 pm EST

At World66, you can create a map of the states you’ve visited.

I know I did something like this in one of my surveys a while back, but this visual representation is way cool.

They also have one for countries of the world, but there’s really no point in me trying that one, now is there?

The states in turquoise are the ones I’ll be visiting within the next month. Kinda rounds it out a little to include them.

UPDATE: Everybody’s doin’ it! Check out these other maps:
DaveT, Holz, Larakin, Lushy, Stan

UPDATE #2: Y’all should probably just save the map image and host it yourself instead of using the code they provide. It’s taking forever to load on your sites.


Where the Streets Have No Name

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:05 am EST

I finally got around to doing the pages for Day Two of our road trip. Hopefully I can get through the rest of it a little more quickly. Anyway, the second day’s journey took us to Zion, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Kodachrome Basin. Hope you like it.


City of Blinding Lights

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:30 pm EST

Every trip needs to have a beginning, and for us, that was Tom and Melissa. We had a great time at their wedding, and a lot of fun exploring Las Vegas afterwards. And of course, we would never have gone on our fabulous road trip if they hadn’t invited us out to Sin City first.

So here’s to Tom and Melissa!

And here are some pictures for you. (more…)


I’ll Show You a Place High on a Desert Plain

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:17 am EST

I finally got the chance to sort through some of loads and loads of pictures from my trip. Even after I narrow it down, there are still a lot, so I figured I’d just post them a little at a time. I’ve created a homepage of sorts for this purpose: Beneath a Desert Sky. There’s a permanent link to it on the right. The first day of the road trip is up and running. Let me know what you think.

In the near future, I’ll probably put up a few pictures from Tom’s wedding in Vegas, too.


Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:43 pm EST

Well we’re back in Philly again. Arrived yesterday morning on a red eye. The trip was incredible. My first real vacation in five years.

Tom and Melissa’s wedding was beautiful. I’m so happy for them! The road trip was amazing. Certainly the best trip I’ve ever taken. I’ve seen so many spectacular things that it’s hard to believe it all really happened.

In the next week, I will definitely be writing in detail about the trip and posting more pictures. Right now I’m back in the office and boy does it suck. All I want to do is hike down a canyon or drive up a unpaved road.


Desert Sky, Dream Beneath a Desert Sky

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:43 am EST

Well here I am at the end of Day 6 (4th day on the road) of my American West trip. So far this trip has been incredible. The pictures of these places don’t even come close to the real thing. I wish I could spend another two weeks out here.

Seen so far: Valley of Fire State Park, Snow Canyon State Park, Zion National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (via the gorgeous unpaved 46 mile Cottonwood Road), Kodachrome Basin State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, and some of Arches National Park this evening.

I’m in Moab tonight, and we’ll be in Arches and Canyonlands tomorrow. After that it’s on to Mesa Verde where (hopefully) we’ll find a place to sleep. I’ll probably write more than you’ll ever want to know about the trip when I get back, but for now, here’s a picture Edo took of the moon rising at Arches tonight.


Viva Las Vegas

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:21 pm EST

Sitting here in McCarran Airport taking advantage of the free wireless. Very cool. Don’t know if I’ll be posting much over the next week, but if I have access I’ll check in here from time to time. If I can set a few posts on time delay, I might do that as well.

Tomorrow: Tom and Melissa’s wedding!!

Sunday: ROAD TRIP!!

Back in Philly on the 26th.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Guess who still has some office work to do….


I Want to Feel Sunlight on my Face

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:57 pm EST

Desert Trip: A Packing List for the Freakishly Pale:

Fallene Total Block Clear Sunblock, SPF 65 (for face in strong sun)

Hawaiian Tropic Ozone Sunblock SPF 70 (for body in strong sun)

Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 45 (for face the rest of the time)

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Oil-Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 45 (for body the rest of the time)

Banana Boat Aloe Vera with Vitamin E Sunscreen Lip Balm, SPF 30 (lips burn, too)

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, Fair Skin Tones (for my efforts to make my skin look less translucent)

Stylish every day sunglasses (for any time there’s daylight, or when I have a hangover)

Oversized sunglasses (for those moments in extra blazing sun)

-Big floppy black hat (to wear when dressed up)

-Big floppy navy hat with chin tie (to wear in the wind)

-White bucket hat (to wear the rest of the time when I don’t want to look perfectly idiotic)


Great Western Trip - 2005

Filed under: — Edo @ 4:17 pm EST

For all of those who asked, or were curious, here is the tentative route we are planning to take out West.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image, including a list of route points on the left column. Warning: the image is 520KB in size and you might have to tinker with your browsers’ autozoom settings.

(This guest post has been brought to you by Edo.)
(Edo disagrees with the usage of the passive voice, and the editing of the disclaimer above without marking it as edited.)
Edit: Edo is a pain in the ass.

Update: We’re no longer staying at the San Remo on Saturday night. They’re turning it into a Hooters and there’s construction mess everywhere. So now, #1 on the map = The Luxor. :-)


Saffron’s Mad About Me

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:49 pm EST

So, as previously mentioned, I went to see The Gates in New York City last Saturday. I took the train up with Edo, my brother, and his friends Eric and Alex. It was a sight to behold.

Aside from the obvious “saffron” colored gates, it was a great place for people watching. Such a diverse crowd. All ages and races, languages and cultures, large groups and individuals.

I overheard one man explaining to his companion in a very proper voice “This differs significantly from Christo’s last project, when they wrapped the Reichstag….” And then a few minutes later, I heard a woman say in a thick Brooklyn accent “And this one time, they made the ocean pink!”

We walked around Central Park, and then spent some time in the Met. It was a lot of fun, and later we had dinner with a college pal that I don’t get to see too often. All in all, a very nice (and exhausting) day.

Here are some pictures from our day.

Find more info about The Gates at ChristoJeanneClaude.net


I’m Just Mad About Saffron

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:08 am EST

This past weekend I had the chance to visit New York City and see The Gates in Central Park. Very neat. I will post some pictures soon. Also, check out the post I made about the FCC that I was finally able to restore.