wander project Hodge-podge


One of the things I do in the wander project is share pictures. The pictures today tell a very odd story, and I thought, why not, let’s share strange! The first picture today is a vivid green 3d print of a Labrador Retriever. I made three of these, two green and one black. The two green, one is displayed in my wife’s office. The other is displayed in the basement. The black lab is also in my wife’s office, and his a print of her dog, Raven! My wife does not like green plastic at all! I took the green plastic, and three years ago, at Thanksgiving, I printed 20 green napkin holders for the Family and friends Thanksgiving gathering we hosted that year (my daughter invited several friends to the event). My wife gave the green napkin holders to our guests to keep.

PB090022

As I said, she hates that green.

The next picture is one take by my daughter underwater when we first got the Olympus TG camera.

The next two pictures are of my father and me, and my father and my sister. I have two sisters, and this is of my middle sister. There are so many great scans of pictures of my mom, my sister or me but few with my father in them, My grandfather took a lot of pictures of my father, his son and the grandchildren. Funny how who holds the camera makes a difference. I love old pictures and share them as part of my online experience!

The last picture came from the wedding. My daughter and son-in-law wanted the dogs involved in the ceremony. The tutus were my daughter’s idea for the dogs to wear. Raven, Serenity, Tamsyn were all involved in the wedding. Our old neighbors (still my daughter’s friends and our friends) dog Corbin was the flower girl for the event. My dog, whose nickname is Bear, got to be the Ring Bear for the ceremony.  I remember the ceremony, and overall the dogs were really good. We had dog sitters to pick them up when the ceremony was over. So today, we wander from 3d printed Labs to Labs in a barn celebrating a wedding! Although the picture is actually outside the barn and there are no labs in the picture!

.doc

wander project my favorite hotels


I have talked many times about landing in Prague and the sheer amazement of seeing the multi-floor hotel room. I’ve seen/been in multi-floor hotel rooms many times, just a few that were as nicely appointed as the one in Prague. That got me thinking of the most well-appointed hotels I’ve been to around the world. So today’s wander is my all-time favorite hotels. First off, what I need in a hotel is very simple, and I will start with that:

  • Lounge and free breakfast
  • Room with a decent desk and good bed
  • TV and ability to connect my laptop to the tv

DSCN1534

Based on that, I also like convi3ence and easy access to where I was supposed to be.  If I am going to be at the hotel for more than a week, it is important that there are decent restaurants close to the hotel. I also like having a nice lounge where you can go and relax outside your room! Over the years I stayed in many countries and many different hotels. I will say that my all-time favorite hotels don’t start in the US.

  1. JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
  2. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
  3. Marriott Hotel (and Casino) Prague Czechoslovakia
  4. Marriott Hotel Michigan Avenue Chicago Illinois
  5. Marriott Hotel the Rio Gaithersburg MD

That list is in order of preference. I’ve been to every hotel on that list at least two times. Some more than two times. Each of the hotels has amazing service, great rooms and overall just a wonderful place to stay. I also have several other hotels that would make my list for family travel. For business travel in places where I didn’t get a car or wanted to avoid massive traffic and congestion, I needed to be close to where I was going first. When we are traveling as a family we are looking for many different things overall, and the list would change.  I spent more than 1000 nights in hotels all around the world; some of them were not worth rating, and some, as the list above shares, were the best places I’ve stayed.

Make today a great day!

.doc

wander project Brussels (TinTin)


One of the things that I started reading when I lived in Bangkok was the Lord of the Rings. At the time, it was only four books, and I read them all. The four books were: The Fellowship of the Ring, the Two Towers, The return of the king, and as Bilbo called it the Red Book of Westmarch. I was such a fan of those books. I came back to the US, and I couldn’t find them. I didn’t buy copies when we lived in Bangkok. I didn’t take them with me. The books had not been released in the US at that point. The other thing I realized, when I returned to the US, was that TinTin wasn’t available either. It was, but you had to go to specific places like big book stores in Chicago or other huge cities. It wasn’t in Indiana.

DSCN1267

I missed LOTR, and I missed TinTin. Imagine my sadness later when the books, LOTR were released in the US by Penguin, but they were modified. There was much missing from the original US release of the books. I would love to say that it was because the US had edited JRR Tolkien to make his works flow better, but that isn’t the case. They, the four books were too long for the US market. Plus, the US, at that time, was always editing and cutting books into smaller bits. I bought the paperbacks when they came out and argued with my friends. I told them that the books were different; they were not the books I had read in Bangkok. They were shorter.

Plus, in Bangkok, I read the three together in a single book. Not the three books released in the US. Many years later my parents went to the UK to visit my mother and father, dear friend, they asked (it was near my birthday) what I wanted from the UK. I told them I wanted the original one book version of the lord of the rings and the hobbit. Two books read in Bangkok that changed my childhood. Well not as much as the two people did (mom and dad), but they, the books had an impact on me. I now have the English version and the US version in my well now limited library. There are things that impact us, things that help us see things differently. I have yet to see a dragon in the real world, but I continue looking!

.doc

Wander project in search of Redbull


I worked for a team many years ago that our manager had selected our team name. Team RedBull was the name he selected. RedBull stocked the refrigerator in his office.  RedBull for those who do not know is a high caffeine drink. It is advertised as giving you wings! But for Team RedBull the primary reason for the team name was that the manager loved the drink. So, as we traveled to Europe for a bunch of presentations for the team, we decided to take pictures of RedBull all over. The pictures today are all from Brussels. We took an empty RedBull can with us so that as we were walking around the city we could take pictures of the can.

DSCN1269

Some of the pictures are not very good, but you get the idea. We had fun finding odd places to put the can.

The trip that was done on was Paris, Brussels, Prague, ending up in Istanbul. The Prague and Istanbul legs were done by just me. We had a larger team for Paris and Brussels. I enjoyed being in Prague, and I loved the tour of the castle. The local team of the company took me to several places in the city. The Castle, which sits on the hills overlooking Prague was the only one I knew about before arriving. We also went to the bar where Franz Kafka wrote many of his works. It was fun to have a beer in the place where Metamorphosis and other stories sprang to life. By then, I had traveled for five years, I no longer needed to do tourist things (other than seeing the castle) I liked to see where the local team wanted to go.

Interesting the first day in Prague they took me to a Mexican restaurant. I laughed; it was the favorite restaurant of the team!

The other thing I enjoyed was walking the old cobblestone streets. I learned very quickly not to use my rolling bag on Cobblestone streets. The sheer wear and tear of the bumping on your arm were bad! Luckily I had a rolling bag that could be a backpack. The other thing I always had to carry with me was the power conversion kit. I am not sure why it has become the way it is, but very few places in the world, have the same power plugs. So you carry a converter!

.doc

wander project records…


We have had many dogs with us over the years. It is a great joy and of course, in the end, painful. Grew was a Shepard who joined our family in Cincinnati. Fran was a Lab who joined our family in Indianapolis. Both are no longer with us, and from time to time I miss them. The last picture comes from the UK and is of a telephone booth. The telephone booths in the UK are different than the ones in the US. Once in the 1950s, there was a huge craze seeing how many people could fit into a single telephone booth. I’ve seen pictures of humans crammed into the telephone booth to set the record. I would report on the record, but I am not sure that it matters anymore.

IMG_0640

That did get me thinking about strange records. The Guinness brewing company has published the Guinness Book of World Records for many years. Some of the records in that book are strange (like eating hot dogs, raw eggs, or pies.) The number of records continues to grow every single year. There are rules, of course, and there has to be a specific person monitoring the record attempt. They even have a world record day, where you can apply to complete a world record. If you got to their web site https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/showcase/ they have several categories. For human beings, or the human body anything from the longest fingernails to many others.

So what record would you want to break? I know that Carol Dm would love to set the all-time largest flock of bluebirds in one place, at one feeder ever! I think that record or possibly the largest flock of butterflies every seen would make Carol happy. The birds would probably drive Brindel and The Dude crazy. I would what record Ghostwriter would consider, I know LaJenna would want the record for pecan muffins made in 2 hours! Alex Ledante would love the record for most lights in Docs office for a Virily post! Albert might want to aim for the most escalators ridden in 24 hours (based on his post of today). Lado might want the most pictures every of cows and goats (based on posts). Vidocka might want to set the walking around Lakes records.

There are many people here, and many records which one do you want to set?

(ps all the records listed for Virily authors are made up)

.doc

wander project we are all different


I love to wander, although in fairness I no longer wish to wander alone. When you are traveling alone the world is different than when you are focused on traveling with family. In part, you spend time thinking about different things. You focus on the trip, the business and what you have to do when you arrive. You find yourself focused more on yourself. I used to, when in Europe or Asia, always try to call home twice a day. It didn’t always work. When in Europe it was really important to remember the time difference. When Asia it was less difficult. If I called at 7 am in Asia, it was 7 pm in the US. The family was done with dinner and settling in for an evening of homework or TV.

DSCN0081

In Europe because of the time difference, I often had to call around noon, or 1 pm (lunch) as that was the early morning in the US. The evening in Europe was the early afternoon in the US. It was more difficult, but we still managed to accomplish that. It was the goal we set for trading. When you travel with a family you don’t have to worry about those calls. The one thing I do miss about traveling back in the day is my phone. The only people that knew I was out of the country were the people that if they called I knew regardless of the time of day it was critical. Everyone else went to voicemail. Now everyone goes to voicemail other than either my sisters or my mother. The rest of the family is with me not calling!

Traveling can be a wonderful thing. When you see the world, you expand your view not just of here and now, but of what is around you. You are open to more experiences. It becomes less about nationality and more of a global perspective. I know, have traveled both as a tourist and as a business person, and I have learned two really important lessons.

  1. Everyone is a tourist if they are not in their country.
  2. No culture is better than any other culture.

I have, as an American been berated by a French Cab Driver. I have also given a tip to a cab driver in France, that caused them to tear up. Europeans don’t tip the way we do in the US or Canada. It reminds me every time I travel that the difference is only the place. The people are the same. I find that we are more similar than we are different.

We are people, and that should help us all see we are different but the same.

.doc

wander project remember to smile


Today in the US is a holiday. It is Thanksgiving day. A day to stop and remember family, both those with you and those lost. It is also a day to remember kindness. The First Thanksgiving without the help of the First People would have also been the last. The kindness to those who arrived on their lands and yet they still helped others, shows the humanity of the First People. I am sorry for everything that came after that first Thanksgiving.

DSCN0069

I have, over the course of my life had the opportunity to travel: Europe, Asia, and the Americas. I can tell you honestly as someone that has traveled a lot, and the best trip is always the trip home. No matter what, going home and ending the journey is always the happiest. In fairness, it was the happiest for me. Packing my suitcase and adding the things I got for family members was always fun! It meant I was going home. Many times on my way home I was delayed. I have sat in airports all over the world. I know the look on young parents’ faces as their child melts down. Sitting in aborning the adult world for 4 hours or more will drive most children to be upset. It is not a world designed for them.

The longer the delays, the longer the lines at the coffee shop. The longer the lines at the ticket counters. Angry people suddenly delayed now, standing and yelling at a person that does not control the weather. It does not control where the plane is. It does not control the overlapping flight crew or the fact that various flight agencies around the world ask airports to shut down during bad storms. By asking, I mean tell — the board where all the flights are listed ticking up. Delayed, Delayed, Cancelled and the day grows longer. They are standing in the line again to see if I could be rerouted. Listening to the person in front of me berate the poor counter person just for having to say no. Yelling when someone is trying to help you, is ultimately an indication of you — a telling of your personality and the flaws therein.

When my turn approached I could see the counter person cringing. Another lambasting was coming. Another angry traveler was about to tear into them. I would smile and say “looks like you have a worse day than I am.” Remember always the human.

.doc