Archive for March, 2019

Only 100% Cheese

March 22, 2019

Saw this yesterday. I know I need to stop dunking on Moon Cheese but this “Only 100% Cheese” button got me a-gigglin’ hard. If you can figure out the difference between “only” and “100%”, let me know.

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ACTION ITEM: Do not taunt the Moon Cheese

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Alarming

March 20, 2019

Travel tip – unplug the clock in your room. You probably have an alarm on your phone plus the hotel will be thrilled to set a wake up call for you (I do this as a redundant system). These in-room clocks just make the room brighter while you’re trying to sleep plus the previous occupant almost certainly set the alarm for 4:00 am and the housekeeper didn’t reset it.

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ACTION ITEM: Unplug. Now.

Coffee as Social Lubricant and Occupier of Time

March 18, 2019

In more than one of the offices in which I worked I was offered coffee flavored with cardamom called qahwa (hoping I remember this name correctly; the flavors are complex and intense). It was a way for the host to extend a welcome courtesy upon arrival and provide a warm-up to meetings or planned activities. It took me awhile to become accustomed to framing time as an Arab might – schedules are not necessarily fixed and rigid, and business engagements are as much about strengthening relationships as they are about resolving matters at hand. BTW, my local contact Husam Atout gave me a substantial quantity of instant qahwa that I’m happy to share – just reach out to me (quantities are limited!)

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ACTION ITEM: I’ve encountered this critical importance placed on social relationships in places other than the Middle East – in Asia, for example. When you plan business meeting in places like these, be sure to factor in plenty of additional time for social pleasantries; you’ll not only be more successful but you’ll also have a better time.

Finger Food

March 15, 2019

My local hosts exposed me to dining experiences that were just this side of sublime: ample quantities of some of the finest food I’ve ever enjoyed. But I think my favorite was reclining on soft cushions while dipping into a shared platter of tender lamb and rice. I learned there’s a specific way to cup my fingers to contain the food and thumb it into my mouth.

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ACTION ITEM: Wash your hands

Bill of Arabia

March 14, 2019

I worked late last year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) creating a customer use case for client Cisco. It’s probably one of the most challenging and interesting location shoots I’ve ever done and I wanted, in the next few postings, to share a few thoughts it.

As you might imagine, obtaining the correct documentation (passport visa, ATA Carnet) was one of the most complex and time-consuming things I’ve ever done. For my visa, I worked directly with the KSA Embassy in Southern California but, in retrospect, wished I’d worked instead with a broker as the process consumed many hours of effort and follow-up (if you choose to use a broker, I recommend G3 – ask for Mauricio!).

Also, I ended up using a local video crew instead of importing my own gear; the problem was that KSA is not a signatory to international ATA Carnet conventions so I wasn’t certain how the process of importing my own gear into KSA would work out. But in the end, had a great experience with the local crew – at a higher overall project cost but with a huge reduction in complexity.

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ACTION ITEM: If you’re planning travel anywhere in the Middle East, plan as far ahead as possible – and it cannot be too far ahead. My visa is good for the next 5 years

Bill Comes Home (captured in December in Sydney, Australia)

March 9, 2019

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Yes. Yes, he does.

ACTION ITEM: Come home.

Platinum Status

March 8, 2019

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Got a small upgrade to my airline status this year to Platinum. Choosing an airline as your primary carrier and accruing points can have many benefits that make air travel more tolerable (e.g., better seating, early boarding, first class upgrades and lounge access, etc.), and I highly recommend it. The best part is I can carry up to three cases with me, up to 70 lbs. (about 32kg) each. That’s a huge savings when I have to transport a lot of gear.

ACTION ITEM: If you haven’t already joined a frequent flyer/hotel/car rental club, do it now, even if you don’t consider yourself a frequent traveler. Plus, many clubs aggregate your flyer, hotel, and car rental plans as points multipliers so there you go.

Snow Bikes

March 5, 2019

I collect vintage Honda motorcycles and sometimes have to leave them outside, under cover. But this latest storm blew the covers off and topped the bikes in a fluffy blanket. Brrrrr!Snow Bike

ACTION ITEM: Stay warm


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