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by Sum1
Rated: E · Book · Travel · #1779685
I travel the country on business, sometimes the world. Come see where I've been.
         Talk about perks, my job has one of the best ones I can think of! I travel in the course of business, delivering classes for my employer. I am a Senior Training Specialist for Motorola Solutions, and teach classes on a wide variety of subjects centered around 2 way radio communications. I'm qualified to deliver approximately 30 different classes, but about half of those are 'Legacy' classes, and are not in demand anymore. My students are technicians, those who maintain, program, calibrate, and repair large 2-way radio systems. Some of these systems are statewide, and use TCP-IP networking to allow sites to communicate with others. Some are small, traditional type radio sites. The size doesn't matter, in each case the systems must be kept operational at all times, since many of them are Public Safety Systems. So I get to travel, sometimes frequently, 3-4 weeks in a row.... where am I this week?

         This probably won't have daily entries, but I will make entries when I get to go somewhere, and keep an updated list of coming trips. My schedule changes faster than the weather, so don't be too surprised to see me list an upcoming class, only to remark later on that it is cancelled, or delayed. Delays are fine of course, but a later date might mean that someone else gets to go instead of me,,, Well, here we go with this, let's see where it takes us.

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November 26, 2022 at 9:59pm
November 26, 2022 at 9:59pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Week of: 11/21/22

         This past week I was home doing almost nothing. Our boss sent an e-mail to everyone thanking us for a tremendous year, telling us to relax all we can before the push to end the year. Next starts off hot n heavy for me. I have the first week of January free (No travel, not teaching), and two weeks of planned vacation the week of February 20. Other than that, I'm delivering every week through April 10th! Of course my schedule can change on a moments notice, but right now I will be in Schaumburg, LA twice (January and March), Kansas, Colorado Springs, Tennessee (Twice I think), Maryland, and Kentucky. Ten weeks of delivery in the first quarter, it would be more if not for that planned vacation.

In Closing

         I will be home to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, then off the following week. My last two weeks of classes in 2022 will be a portable/mobile radio class in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, and yet another Networking Class in Fort Lauderdale Then it starts all over for me. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
November 24, 2022 at 3:50pm
November 24, 2022 at 3:50pm
Locale: Madison, Wisconsin

Week of: 11/14/22

         This past week I was in Madison, Wisconsin delivering that basic Networking class once again. I had five students originally, but one dropped out Monday at lunch when his wife tested positive for COVID. Of the remaining students, three of them has as much Networking knowledge as I do, if not more. The nice thing though, is they didn't try to run the class, they remained students throughout the week. That's harder to do than you might think, but they seemed to have mastered that part of things.

         Once again, it was a fun class, made that way all the more so by their willingness to learn, and help the one student who wasn't as up-to-speed on networking knowledge as they were. We did cover a little extra in our discussions, but for the most part, we remained on topic. As of now, I will return to Madison in May of 2023 for the second Networking class.

         Madison is a nice place, a college town/city, with a lot going for it. It's small in size, and that suited me just fine. I enjoyed my meals at night, except for one. Let's just say I didn't choose wisely as far as my meal is concerned. However, I did experience a few excellent meals!

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         Takumi Japanese Restaurant          https://www.orderonlinehub.com/takumijapaneserestaurant          I really enjoy dining at a Japanese restaurant, and Takumi was what I longed for this night. I had their Godzilla Roll as an appetizer, and their Shrimp Tempura Udon for mt meal. It had been a bit cold that day and the Udon noodles and Tempura really warmed me up.

         Erin's Snug Irish Pub Restaurant          https://www.erinssnug.com/dinner          It was my last night in Madison, and an Irish Pub sounded perfect to me. And it was. I will admit that my appetizer and dessert were definitely not Irish, but my meal sure was. Guinness Stew! Nice and hot, topped with a housemade puff pastry and baked. Definitely worth the visit. The dessert was Bread Pudding, and was good, but not fantastic. Then again, I'm spoiled when it comes to bread pudding.''

         Buck And Honey's          https://monona.buckandhoneys.com/monona-buck-and-honey-s-monona-food-menu          There were 3 or 4 appetizers on the menu that I wanted, so I opted for their appetizer combo. Bacon Wrapped Dates, Sassy Curds (Local Cheese Curds), and Firecracker Shrimp. I should have ordered two of these and nothing more, it was that good! Instead, I did order dinner, and had their Seared ahi Tuna Salad. This is a very nice place, I don't think I could have gone wrong no matter what I ordered.

In Closing

         I will be home to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, then off the following week. My last two weeks of classes in 2022 will be a portable/mobile radio class in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, and yet another Networking Class in Fort Lauderdale Then it starts all over for me. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
November 14, 2022 at 8:17pm
November 14, 2022 at 8:17pm
Locale: Schaumburg, Illinois

Week of: 11/7/22

         This past week I've been in Schaumburg delivering a more Advanced Networking Class. Well, it's not that much more advanced. The basic class teaches students the subject of IP Addressing, how TCP works, what a switch and router are and how to configure each, as well as backing up and restoring each. This week's class teaches them just about the same subject, except the discussion is centered around their operation in our radio systems. Plus, in the basic class, an older Cisco router is used. In this one, we use a Motorola Router, and soon, a Juniper Router. So same subject in some ways, but we cover the material in a more in-depth manner.

         It was a fun class, even if I did get the impression that someone was 'taking' cables they shouldn't (my impression was wrong), or that someone had taken one of my USB drives (again, I was wrong). I really enjoy delivering each of these classes and try to impart that feeling to my students. With three and a half days of all hands-on activities in this class, it's a fun class to deliver. If you don't mind doing the hands-on activities yourself. I enjoy doing those activities which makes it all the more fun.

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         Buffalo Wild Wings          https://www.buffalowildwings.com/menu/          If you've read any entries in this blog at all, you know I typically do not dine at a National Chain restaurant. I sort of make an exception when in Schaumburg, because having lived here for 15 years, it's like being home. NOT! Okay, it's a place I'm quite familiar with, and at times I make an exception. Let's leave it at that. This particular night I was in the mood for Wings. But I didn't have them. Why? Because I found they have a Green Chile Cheeseburger! *Smile* They label theirs as a Bacon Smashed Hatch Chile Burger. This was a no-brainer in my eyes. And as fate would have it, I ordered an appetizer, the Hatch Queso. You can never have too much Hatch Chile if you ask me.

         Fat Rosie's Taco & Tequila Bar          https://media-cdn.getbento.com/accounts/b4b148424bd38e72d3c74dc5c074a855/media/FeX9P0J7SbCDdAYMbAma_FatRosies_L_Dinner_11x17_08192022B.pdf          It was Taco Tuesday, that's what I wanted. Where else should I go besides here? It was good, not spectacular. Fa Rosie's Queso Dip and a couple of Taco's, plus a nice Margarita set me up well.

In Closing

         I will be in Madison Wisconsin next week, then celebrate Thanksgiving the following week. Only two more weeks of delivery this year before having three weeks off for Christmas/New Years. Then it starts all over for me. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
November 4, 2022 at 12:01am
November 4, 2022 at 12:01am
Locale: Schaumburg, Illinois

Week of: 10/31/22

         This past week I've been in Schaumburg delivering a basic Networking Class. This is a class that I don't get to deliver often, but one I really enjoy delivering. But, here is what's happened with this class. I delivered the original class for 4 years in the mid-2000s. As I qualified to deliver new courses and new instructors (contractors) arrived, I didn't deliver it for 8 years. In the meantime, the course was rewritten. Suddenly we cut back on using Contractors, and I was once again scheduled to deliver it. With it having undergone that rewrite, I essentially had to re-qualify on it. I spent 2-3 weeks during a December holiday period reviewing the course materials and performing the hands-on activities at home using equipment that had been shipped to me. I've now taught it 7 times in the last four years. That's not often enough to really get comfortable with the flow of it. Don't get me wrong, the class has gone well overall, I'm able to answer their questions without having to look things up. There are just 3-4 small things that you have to know/do to preclude having issues during the hands-on exercises. It seems I remember them AFTER we have those issues. But it's been good overall. I've had some fun despite seeming to struggle with minor stuff, the students have been great. I guess I just enjoy delivering a Networking class.

         Schaumburg is my office location, about 2 hours north of Bloomington Illinois, where I live. As such, every class I deliver in person is a field class or road trip. I find I don't miss Schaumburg one bit and love living in a smaller town. There are pluses and minuses to this, as there are to everything in life. For me, the pluses outweigh all the minuses.

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         The Local Kitchen And Tap          https://thelocalkitchentap.com/menu/          When I travel to a city, I will pull up Google maps and look at nearby restaurants. I find their menu to see what they offer, and choose a restaurant that way. Having lived up here for 15 years, I know the area decently well, but new restaurants pop up all the time. Such is the case here. One look at their menu and I knew I had to dine there. For an appetizer, I had their 3 whiskey/3 cheese offering. It was three one-ounce shot glasses of whiskey. One not aged at all, a Rye Whiskey, and a cask-aged whiskey. The cheeses were sliced cheddar, Mint Goat Cheese, and Jalapeno Cream Cheese, grapes, and Naan crackers. WOW! For my meal, I chose their Blackened Mahi Tacos., Again, WOW. Street Tao size, perfect as a follow-on from the Whiskey/Cheese tray.

         Tokio Pub          https://www.tokiopub.com/menu/dinner          Again, the menu here drew me in. The meal was good, but not near as good as the Local Kitchen. I had the Ahi tuna Hot Rock Appetizer. Thinly sliced Tuna in a soy ginger marinade (it wasn't covered, it was sitting on a rectangular plate with the marinade not quite covering it), with Cucumber Salad, and a Sesame Ginger dipping sauce. A River rock heated to about 500 degrees F was in a small bowl. You placed the Tuna on the rock for as long as you like, then dipped it. Yummmm . It was Taco Tuesday, so I had to have their Crying Tiger Shrimp Tacos. Jumbo butterflied shrimp, avocado, sriracha chili sauce, house slaw, cilantro.

In Closing

         I will be back in Schaumburg next week before going to Madison Wisconsin the following week. If you're in the NW Chicago burbs and would like to meet for coffee or a meal, let me know!
Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
October 29, 2022 at 9:59pm
October 29, 2022 at 9:59pm
Locale: Washington, DC

Week of: 10/24/22

         This past week was spent in Washington, DC, working with the U.S. Secret Service. This sounds like a 'Wow!' moment in some ways, but it was really 'just another class'. The difference of course, was where I was, and the significance of the customer. Yes, the class was held in the Secret Service Headquarters. No, I didn't meet anyone that the Secret Service guards. Yes, we had a conference room for the class. It was small, pretty small.

         The class itself went very well. The subject matter was relatively new to them since everything in their new system was IP based. Their RF knowledge was sound, so talking about that part was easy, everyone had the chance to display their RF knowledge as we discussed system operation. The IP part is how their new system is connected, so pretty new to most of the students. The second half of the class concentrated on small device they had little to no knowledge of. We spent Thursday and Friday configuring it, and discussing how it fits in their system.

         The highlight for me was the small gift shop downstairs. On Monday, the manager went down and purchased two challenge coins, two lanyards, and two mouse pads, all with Secret Service labels on them,and gave them to me. Later, I went there and added two more Secret Service challenge coins, a shot glass, and a nice bag that will be used to hold the cables and necessary adapters I take with me to every class. This started out as a small zip-lock bag years ago, and is not a small carry-on bag for my flights! I will give one of the Challenge Coins to a good friend of mine, and maybe one of the lanyards to another friend. Obviously I will keep one of the lanyards for my use (work badge hanging from it), but I am not use what to do with the second one. We will eventually use the mouse pads, it's too soon to do a lot since I leave for Schaumburg tomorrow. Maybe I will give one of the lanyards to my best friend at work.

         I also had the pleasure of learning to ride the small electric scooters around the city. We have a partnership with Uber. We download the Ubre Ap and add our corporate card to it. We then use it in large cities that we don't rent a car in, like Fort Lauderdale and Washington DC. For less than $30, I rode one to and from work the last two- three days (it was close enough to walk), and to/from restaurants at night. I also snapped a couple of photos.

Photo's From Visit:

Sunset at The City Park

I served with this man (Dan Maloney) on the USS Alabama. He was chosen as the model for this statue. The sculptor snapped a photo as Dan exited his car and automatically flipped his collar up to shield his neck on this cold, windy, winter day. He then shoved his hands in his pockets, and that's when the sculptor snapped the photo. It was then used as the model that the sculptor worked with in creating this statue.

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         Oyamel Cocina Mexicana          https://tfgmenus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20221002_OYL_MainMenu-1.pdf          I have to confess that this was my second choice that night. My first choice will not be listed here, but they had no available tables, I couldn't even sit at the bar! So I dined here, and loved it. For an appetizer I had Ceviche Verde. Mediterranean Bass marinated in lime juice with avocado and tomatillo. My dinner was Camarones al mojo de ajo negro. Wild caught Gulf Coast white shrimp sautéed with shallots, árbol chile, poblano pepper, lime and sweet aged black garlic, served with a side of Spanish Rice. Compared to most places (which serve you far too much really), the dinner seemed to be on the small side. But it wasn't. It was perfectly sized if you ask me, especially when I poured the Shrimp (Camarones) over the rice.

         Farmers & Distillers          https://farmersanddistillers.com/menu/lunch-dinner/          This was a nice place to eat, but the portion sizes were large, (as mentioned above). For an appetizer I had Pickled Vegetables Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Excellent, except the Cucumbers were a little squishy. My meal was Drunken Beef & Chicken. Mushrooms, Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage, Bean Sprouts, & Sesame Seeds.

         Umaya Izakawa          https://www.umayadc.com/menu-landing/          I was in the mood for Sushi this night, so I satisfied that urge by dining here. My appetizer was Tuna Tataki Seared Tuna Sashimi served with Ponzu Sauce. This was very good though it was shaped a bit like something from a shallow tin can. It was actually molded in that shape is all. I also had Shrimp Shumai, six smallish shrimp rolls served with an excellent dipping sauce. My dinner was the Volcano Roll. Baked Scallops, Tobiko, Shrimp Tempura, Kanikama Crabmeat Mix, Spicy Aioli, Avocado, Soy Reduction. Everything was excellent, though it was a little hard to separate the pieces of the Sushi Roll. I wasn't complaining though....

In Closing

         The next two weeks will be find me in Schaumburg delivering out two networking classes. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
October 17, 2022 at 6:40pm
October 17, 2022 at 6:40pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Week of: 10/3/22 through 10/17/22

         After a long period of travel and very little at home time, I am home. Three weeks in a row! Whatever will I do with my time? I will tell you in a minute...

         Late last year, I scheduled two weeks of vacation in October 2022. My plan was to go to Albuquerque during this period for the annual Balloon Fiesta. As I am fond of saying, "Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men.... " Yeah, I didn't plan things really well, if at all. Let me explain.

         A couple of things were not considered in my planning. My schedule. Being so dang busy with classes that at times I didn't know if I was coming or going. Add in other things that I never considered, like my High School class holding a 50th reunion a month before the Balloon Fiesta. Doctor's appointments scheduled during this time, some I couldn't change or cancel. The Akita National Specialty Dog Show two weeks before the Balloon Fiesta. It all added up to me remaining at home instead of going to New Mexico. Sure, we made it to the Dog Show, but that too was tiring. Let's look at how tiring this became for me.

                   Week of 29 August: Three day class in Schaumburg. Drive there Monday the 29th, home on Thursday afternoon, 9/1.
                   On 9/2, fly to Albuquerque for my 50th class reunion. Scheduled to arrive at 8:30 pm, arrived at 12:45 am due to flight delays (weather)
                   On 9/3, attend my high school class 50th reunion. Dead tired still, but there was no way I'd miss that.
                   On 9/4 fly home, arrive home two hours late, again due to weather
                   On 9/6 fly to Buffalo for a three day class. Fly home on Friday 9/9, finally arriving home on time, 9:45 pm.
                   On 9/11 fly to San Francisco for a class in Sacramento. Return home on 9/16 on a red-eye flight from San Francisco. Of course I couldn't sleep on the plane, so was awake all night. Arrived home at 11:15 am Saturday.
                   On 9/12, began the drive to Virginia Beach for the Akita National Dog Show, Arrived there on 9/13, late afternoon. It took me until Wednesday to start to feel like myself after all this.
                   On 9/23 began the drive home. We had to leave Friday because yours truly had a flight to Dallas on Sunday! On the way, we stopped briefly to drop off a bottle of Moonshine with Robert Waltz that I'd picked up on the drive to Virginia Beach.
                   On 9/25, flew to Dallas early Sunday, and home on Friday 9/30. For once there were no flight delays! *Smile* It was at that point that my two weeks of vacation started, and as I thought, I was not in the mood to travel once again. Having thought ahead and realizing this, the plans to go to Albuquerque were cancelled well ahead of time. I've been relaxing at home ever since. This third week of being home is because the customer I was going to teach this week could not support the class. Since it was too late to schedule a different class for me, I get to remain home.

         Since my vacation was changed to a 'Staycation', I had no problem working from home. The nice thing about doing this, is that I can work as much, or as little, as I needed or wanted to. I have 2 classes coming up that needed the course materials tailored for the delivery. One is next week, in Washington DC. The other is still waiting to be scheduled. I spent the better part of 50 hours going through the materials to tailor them for these customers. This tailored class in Washington DC will be very similar to the class I'll be delivering later, so I was able to solve two problems at the same time. *Smile* Those course materials are finally ready to be used, so the rest of this week will be spent tailoring a third course for a class in Kentucky, but that's not until April 2023! I prefer to front load things and be ready for changes, so I will work all I can to prepare for a class six months away. You might wonder about schedule changes, and what happens if the class moves to another instructor. It's simple, I will share those files with him. Besides, there's only three of us who are qualified to deliver this class, one of us can't travel due to having the same Cancer I have, so that leaves only two of us who could deliver it. That other instructor who can travel is my immediate supervisor, and he has a schedule as full as mine, so it's doubtful the class would move to someone else. If it does, it's fine...

         Life is good, it's always good if you ask me. I don't mind being busy, I love to travel, and being this busy removes any concern about job security. It's nice to be needed, I think we can all agree on that. Being needed this badly is nice, as long as you don't let the travel tire you too much. Tire too much by poor planning on my part that is, because I am my own travel counselor. Except for International travel. Then we get American Express involved. Speaking of International Travel.... the Training Department is in the process of finalizing a quote for a series of International classes. This is not too unusual really, but this time the customer will need us there for about a MONTH! Can you imagine being overseas for a month? Since it would be at least a month overseas, the 'boss' has asked for volunteers who are willing to spend a month there. But where? How about spending a month in Mongolia? Of course I volunteered! Now to wait and see if that is placed on my schedule. Only time will tell....

In Closing

         I am home this week, enjoying my free time. Sunday I will fly to Washington DC for a class, and of course, it's a Federal Customer. I won't broadcast it here for a couple of reasons, but I will be teaching the class about 3-4 blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. No, I will not be meeting or seeing any politicians. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
October 1, 2022 at 3:05pm
October 1, 2022 at 3:05pm
Locale: Irving, Texas

Week of: 9/26/22

         This week finds me in Irving, Texas for a week long class. The customer was a company partner, the students were from various locations in Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, and more. It was a fun class in some ways, a tiresome class in others. I think you know what i mean.

         This was a Networking class, most of the students had very little Networking experience. One student was much more experienced than the rest, he became my assistant during the hands-on exercises. This can be very good really, because instead of having to monitor all three groups, I could monitor/help two, while he worked with his group. The one thing you have to be careful of though, is that he doesn't become the instructor, and that the students don't look to him for answers. This didn't happen at all, he was content to help, he answered questions at times, but never tried to be the instructor.

         My hotel. Uggh. Despite being a Hilton brand hotel, the one I checked in on Sunday was not one a business traveler would want to stay at. It was a Tru by Hilton, and in my humble opinion, was a step above a Motel 6, but far below what I've come to expect with a Hilton Brand Hotel. Yes, I'm spoiled. My room was on the small side, that was okay. There were no drawers to place your personal clothing items in, there was no closet to hang things in, just a bar that jutted out from the wall and bent upwards to connect to the ceiling. This was above the small refrigerator in the room. I didn't really like that, but I could live with it. The TV could not be moved, it was mounted to the wall, parallel with the wall, and could not be rotated. The only place you could really see the TV and watch it, was from the bed. I don't know about you, but I get in bed and the next thing I know, it's hours later. Yep, I fall asleep, and fall asleep quickly. Did I mention that the room was on the small side, with just enough room around the bed to walk? Being the only person in the room, that wasn't a big issue. Believe it or not, the biggest issue I had with the hotel in general, was that there was NO COFFEE maker in the room. Are you listening Lilli 🧿 ☕ ? Can you believe that? No coffee maker in the room! The only way to enjoy early morning coffee was to go to the lobby breakfast area and get it. Another issue for me was that there was no restaurants I'd enjoy dining at nearby. I mean fairly close, I don't mind driving some distance, but in a city like Dallas, I'd rather find restaurant close to the hotel. Don't get me wrong, obviously there were nice restaurants all around me, I just couldn't find several that I'd enjoy visiting during the week. Needless to say, I spent one night (Sunday) in that hotel, checked out and went to a Home2Suites by Hilton Monday afternoon. Its disadvantage was that it was a 30 minute drive to and from work. The advantages? Better room, much more suited to a business traveler, and a lot of dining option very close by. I enjoyed that hotel much more, and Tru by Hilton is off my list as a viable place to stay from now on.

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         So, about those restaurants....

         Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen          https://pappadeaux.com/menu/          I worked at a Pappadeaux in Arlington Heights Illinois, and left there about the time I joined WDC, so I knew how the food was prepared, I knew it's quality too. I enjoyed their Texas Redfish Pontchatrain. This was Pan-grilled redfish, lump crab, shrimp, brown-butter wine sauce, with dirty rice. I really wanted their Greek Salad, but it was far too much for me. I should have gotten it for lunch on Tuesday.

         Sanabels Mediterranean          https://www.ubereats.com/store/sanabels-mediterranean/vBB9GcRfQvaM5IhCffXFlQ          I do enjoy Mediterranean food at times, and felt like it this night. For an appetizer, I chose their Dolmas. I've long wanted to try this, but hadn't yet. Tonight was the night. Domas - Hand rolled grape leaves, stuffed with rice, tomatoes, onions, and parsley marinated with lemon juice and olive oil. The filling seemed to resemble meat, not what the menu describes, still, it was very good. For dinner, I chose their Kabob Sampler, and had the Lamb Kabob, Kufta Shish Kabob, and Shrimp Kabob. It was excellent, just what I was craving that night.

         La Fisheria          https://www.facebook.com/lafisheriarestaurant/menu?referrer=PAGE_ATTACHMENT          Their menu page link is broken, but you can find them on Facebook using the link I'm providing. I went there for Seafood, so why did I end up ordering their Brochete de Rib-Eye Y Camaron? Just look at the photo on their menu. Sixth row down, middle item. Yummm. Was far too much for me, I could have had 2 or 3 of you with me and we'd all end up full. My only 'complaint' about this place, is that the music was very loud. If I'd had someone with me, we'd have to yell to each other to be heard. Either that, or text on our phones, something I refuse to do while dining out.

         Cantina Laredo          https://www.cantinalaredo.com/menus/view/?place=cantina-laredo-14&menutype=main          I chose their Queso y Guacamole Combinación for an Appetizer. Chili con Queso and guacamole with diced tomato and queso fresco. For the meal, I chose RELLENO DE CAMARONES. Shrimp, monterey jack, vegetable and mushroom stuffed roasted green chili, with avocado, roasted red pepper and poblano sauce, on charred street corn and cilantro lime rice.

         Bombshells          http://4bombshells.com/menu.aspx          First off, this is not the type of restaurant I would choose to dine at. But one of my students is the son of the man who was my mentor at Motorola. I mentioned him in my notebook I'm sure. He retired from Motorola in July 2020, and died from cancer July 2021. John wanted to have dinner with me one night, so we chose Thursday. We picked this place, and it wasn't until we'd commited ourselves (we could have backed out of course) that we learned it was a bit like Tilted Kilt, Hooters, Twin Peaks, and the like. You get the idea I hope. We decided to still go there because of one appetizer, their WMD's (most of their menu items are named after some kind of weapon). We get there, order our drinks, and the WMD's. The server takes our order and returns moments later to tell us they are out of WMD's for the night. We settled for Bomb Poppers. Bacon Wrapped, Jalapeno Stuffed Shrimp, with grilled onion and mushrooms, topped with Cheddar Cheese and their Swet n Spicy BBQ Sauce. For dinner, I just had a burger, which though it was very big, was very good. Still, I wouldn't dine here again if given my choice, only because it's not the kind of place I would frequent. The same goes for La Fisheria, the music was just too loud for me to frequent the establishment.

In Closing

         The next two, probably three weeks will find me at home on vacation (staycation) again. I will go to Schaumburg on Monday the 10th to make cables that will connect two of the devices on our small K Core. After that, I can do all the configuration from home. That 3rd week was supposed to be a class in New Jersey, but the customer has to complete instructor led online training, and did not attend as scheduled. Since my class with this was all hands-on activities, the online portion has to be completed before my class, and since that was not completed,nor can it be completed in time for my class, it's been cancelled Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
September 20, 2022 at 10:06pm
September 20, 2022 at 10:06pm
Locale: Sacramento, California

Week of: 9/12/22

         This week finds me in Sacramento California for a week long class. The customer this week is a Federal Customer, and once again the class is a tailored class. With a tailored class, I combine the Powerpoint slideshows and hands-on exercises from two or more courses into one class. I've taught this same class to this customer four times already, it was this delivery that made me realize how different this group is from the others.

         One subject in this class involved a small black box that can perform several functions in our radio systems. I don't mean to 'bang my own drum here', but I consider myself somewhat of an SME on this product since I'm the only instructor who delivers this course, but am also considered an SME on it by several customers and groups. The delivery of this class showed me I still have a lot to learn. I knew that, but knowing is one thing, seeing it is another. The good in all this is that I was able to adapt to their needs, and show them what they intended to do (their network is not yet completely installed/designed), and how it would operate once the work was completed.

         There was a bit of an oddity on this trip, something that has happened only twice before. After class on Tuesday, my rental car wouldn't start, the battery was completely dead. I do mean completely. With this location being a Federal Customer site, someone had to remain until I left (not that I stayed late very long) to buzz the gate open so I could leave. When he saw that my car wouldn't start, he searched around a storeroom and found a set of jumper cables. The battery was so dead that we had to wait a couple of minutes before starting it. Once started, all was well. I drove to the Avis site at the Sacramento Airport to tell them what was going on. Of course the car started right back up after turning it off. I liked the car, and since the battery was taking a charge, I thought (hoped) it was due to me leaving something on, though for the life of me I couldn't think of what it might have been. I had no warning lights on the dash, no alarms when I got out, nothing. Still, I elected to keep the car. Bad decision. I went to dinner, then to my hotel, all was well. At least until the next morning. Because the next morning, the battery was once again dead. And once again, after getting it jumped, all was well. This time, I exchanged the car at Avis, and everything was fine the rest of the trip.

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         Pete's Restaurant & Brewhouse          https://www.petesnatomas.com/appetizers          I decided to dine here based on one dish, an appetizer. Artichoke Hearts - Tender artichoke hearts fried in a tasty beer batter, served with basil aioli and mild garlic butter then topped with parmesan cheese. I chose a burger for my meal, their Jalapeño Burger. Half pound patty, topped with fresh jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, avocado, tomato, finished off with a red pepper aioli.

         Fin's House Sushi          https://www.finshouse.com/menu          I dined here my first night in Sacramento because I was in the mood for Sushi and/or Sashimi. I wasn't too hungry though, so settled for their Jalapeno Bomb appetizer. Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, imitation crab meat, and spicy tuna, topped with masago. My meal was Sashimi, their 8-piece Chef's choice Sashimi. If you like Sashimi/Sushi at all, you should have joined me! We could have split the 24-piece Sashimi, and an additional appetizer.

In Closing

         Next week I am on vacation, but I doubt I will get much rest. I am on a red-eye flight to O'Hare Friday night, and will arrive home shortly before noon. Then either that afternoon, or Sunday morning, we'll head out to Virginia Beach for the Akita Club of America National Dog Show. A dog show holds little interest for me, I've never been into things like that. But my other half has, we're going for her. Besides, I plan on visiting my oldest child who lives in Hampton Virginia, and will also stop by the Forks Of Cheat Winery/Distillery to grab a couple of bottles of wine and Moonshine, maybe some Brandy. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
September 14, 2022 at 9:37am
September 14, 2022 at 9:37am
Locale: Buffalo, New York

Week of: 9/5/22

         This week finds me in Buffalo New York for a three day class. The customer this week is Erie County looking for a bit of a tailored class on different devices. Getting here was not near as bad as trying to get to Albuquerque last weekend. There were no flight delays at all, but, there's always a but, isn't there? But. I had to fly from Bloomington to Chicago, Chicago to Philadelphia, and Philadelphia to Buffalo to get there. Obviously there were other flight options, but the connections were either too short, or too long to consider using them. Coming home, I was able to fly from Buffalo to Chicago, and Chicago to Bloomington. The only advantage to having two-stops on the way there was that I was given priority due to the length of time I'd spend traveling. Believe me, I'd take a non-stop flight any day (not possible from Bloomington), or a one-stop trip over a two or more stop trip. But, talking about it doesn't do any good, does it...

         The class itself was excellent. The students wanted, and needed to learn about the equipment in their system, I was quite willing to share what I could. There was a lot of interaction and discussion between all of us during the class, with the hands-on activities going quite well. Class ended on Friday about 2 pm, then it was time to head home. I'd only have long enough at home before heading out again though.

         You can't go to Buffalo (in my opinion) without seeing Niagara Falls (been there, done that), or riding the 'Maiden Of The Mist', (a boat tour of the falls), been there and done that too. Since I had already seen the falls on two or three previous occasions, I decided not to go again. That's a shame too, but because water does draw me, whether it's fresh or saltwater. Also, there wasn't really time enough in a day, other than after work. Usually I'm too tired now to get out much, which also contributed to my decision about going.

         Another thing you have to do, if you're a foodie, is visit the 'Original Home of Buffalo Wings', the Anchor Bar & Grill downtown. It was there that this whole Buffalo Wing madness started. https://www.thetravel.com/where-did-buffalo-wings-originate/ So being there, I obviously had to have dinner there one night. I've been told that The Anchor Bar doesn't have the best wings in town, but they are the original home, so going there was a must for me. *Smile*

Noteworthy Restaurants:

         Anchor Bar & Grill          https://anchorbar.com/          As mentioned, I had to go there. The wings were fine, but not the really spicy Buffalo Wings you find at most places, like Buffalo Wild Wings. I enjoyed their appetizer of Stuffed Hot Peppers, which were Hungarian peppers stuffed with a blend of cheeses and baked to perfection, served with garlic toast. I had 5 wings on the side, soaked in their secret sauce, and their Tuna Melt Sandwich. No wonder I gain weight when I travel!

         Liberty Hound          https://www.libertyhoundbuffalo.com/menu          This place is on the river, with a menu that just sounds like one could spend a week there sampling dishes. Sadly, I only had the one night to sample their dishes, and believe it or not, I only chose one. Their Mediterranean Salad. I was in the mood for a salad, and this hit the spot. It was not small by any means, consisting of Romaine Lettuce, Kalamata olives, tomato, red peppers, onion cucumber, feta, pepperoncini, pita. I couldn't have asked for a better dish that night.

         Deep South Tacos          https://deepsouthtaco.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/DST_Food-menu_2022.pdf          This place was a block or two away from my hotel, walking there was easy, even for someone my age. They had quite the selection of sipping Tequila's, but I steered away from those. I did have a Bourbon based drink called The Revenge Of The Luchador, it was exactly what I was looking for that evening. Strong, but not too strong, flavorful with the Bourbon and Reposado Mezcal dominating it. Their Shrimp Ceviche came on a hard corn tortilla, that was a little surprise, but it was quite satisfying. For dinner I had three of their taco's. A Shrimp Taco, a Fish Taco, and a Korean Beef Taco. The tastes of each was quite different, especially the Korean Beef taco. I need to go back and try more from their menu, and have another Revenge of The Luchador.

In Closing

         Next week I will be in Sacramento California for a week, then enjoy a week of downtime (vacation anyone?). During that week we'll go to Virginia Beach for the Akita National Dog Show. I will make sure I visit my oldest child while there. She lives in Hampton Virginia. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
September 7, 2022 at 5:17am
September 7, 2022 at 5:17am
Teaching In Schaumburg For Three Days

Locale: Schaumburg, Illinois

Week of: 8/29/22..

         I last taught this class about 3 years ago, but was not worried about my knowledge and presentation of it. I was correct in that thought, my knowledge was solid, I had no difficulties delivering the class, nor any difficulties in answering questions. Where I lacked though, was the flow, being smooth, knowing where I wanted to be at the end of each day. Small things like that. Something like that can only come with consistent scheduling, and thank God I'm scheduled to deliver this class 3-4 times next year!

         There was one area of 'rustiness' that I couldn't avoid, that being the use of the Service Monitor to perform checks on the system. In one of the hands-on activities, we needed to get to the Spectrum Analyzer mode, and from there, the Track Generator mode. I couldn't remember how to do that! I got there on one of the three Service Monitors, we only needed the one. Thankfully, one of our lab techs asked how we were doing, when I mentioned the Spectrum Analyzer mode, he politely showed me how to get there. I don't think I'll forget that small step very soon.

         After the class, I flew to Albuquerque for 2 days, just so I could attend my High School class 50th Reunion. Yes, I am that old. *Smile* The trip there was delayed 5 hours by thunderstorms in Dallas, the trip home was also delayed 2.5 hours for the same reason. It was a good time, I loved the 'New Mexican' breakfast I had each morning, but it was also very tiring. Luckily I was able to nap some on Monday, so caught up a little bit. It was a weekend I wouldn't change one bit, other than 'healing' our housesitter/dogsitter so my other half could join me, as we had planned. I ended up going alone. If not for the reunion, I would have cancelled the trip. As it is, due to several doctor's appointments being scheduled during my planned October vacation, we've cancelled plans to go there for the Balloon Fiesta. That's probably a good thing too though, because I would have been exhausted when we headed out.

In Closing

         I am in Buffalo next week, and know I'll stop at the Anchor Bar and Grill for dinner once. It's the original home of Buffalo Wings. I was there in 2014, and long to return. My schedule remains full to the gills through the end of the year and through March of 2023. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell

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