Things that I read, and read, and read, and read...
USA Today (yes, I believe everything in this newspaper), FORTUNE, Forbes, Business Week, Inc., Fast Company (hey...I like this kind of stuff), Folio, Advertising Age, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney and the best reads of them all: Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, This Old House and Garden Design (hey, all work and no play make any frequent flyer a very dull person). Reading the newsletters of all the frequent traveler programs falls in the business category.
Favorite Thing To Do
Drink Margaritas with chips and salsa anywhere in Las Vegas (even the Border Grill in the Mandalay Hotel), and then run over to see any of the various Cirque du Soleil shows in town. If you've never seen a show by Cirque du Soleil, then you are really missing something... I've seen them in the U.S., London, Switzerland and Japan and still can't get enough. I have seen their new show, "Quidam," several times, and I can't get over their artistry. It's hard to compare the traveling shows with those performed in Las Vegas, where the theaters are custom built just for Cirque du Soleil. While a big fan, I'm not real big on their water show (O) at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I can't wait for my next visit to the Air Canada offices in Montreal so I can take an extra day to visit the Cirque du Soleil facility there (a tip from one of my WebFlyer visitors)!
Second Favorite Thing To Do
Play pickup basketball at the YMCA when I'm not out flying around. While I can't shoot the three-pointers anymore (actually I never had a three-point shot), I do warn you that I'm still there for the rebound. Dennis Rodman doesn't have anything on me, well, maybe a tattoo or two. Best memory over the years was a visit to the US Airways frequent flyer program offices (then) in Winston-Salem. I was treated by their marketing staff to a Hornets/Bulls hoops game. The corporate seats were at the end of the visitors bench and I was this far (<----->) from Mr. Jordan and Co. Needless to say I was in hoops heaven. One of these days I will have to leave my shoes on the court, but I'm really not looking forward to it.
All Dressed Up and Somewhere To Go
How many guys do you know that have Nike listed as the Official Sportswear Company of their business? That's me. I know where every Nike Outlet store is, and I have visited every Niketown in the U.S. If it's got a swoosh, then it's probably got my attention. Maybe it's because their motto is the same drive that keeps this company going...JUST DO IT. When I'm not doing the casual shuffle, I'm a glutton for Perry Ellis dress shirts and ties by Armani and suits by the BOSS. But trust me, I only wear Nike when traveling...it's the comfort zone for me. Though, I've become strictly the blue denim guy when working on the ranch - Bear Canyon Ranch
There's really no after work, as frequent flyer miles command my attention 6 or 7 days a week. But when I can, you'll find me on the ATVs or pushing snow on the snowmobiles at the ranch, or relaxing with a good book - not deep thinking stuff, but the usual big sellers: Clancy, Grisham, etc. A great business book is Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andy Grove, recommended to me by the President of the American AAdvantage program many years ago. Also, I'm usually weeding my herb garden or thinking of a new project to demolish my house. Recent projects included converting a bedroom to Julia's Cantina, which features my personal collection of 147 different kinds of tequila and I'm building an authentic Moroccan patio to display the various antiques I've brought back from there over the years (Marrakech is one of my faves in the whole world). In the winter I try to sneak away to Breckenridge for my version of speed skiing. I love the sport, although I'm far more fearful of the bumps as I get older. But then again, who's getting older.
Give Me Food
I subscribe to three major food groups: Mexican, Chinese/Thai and Italian. Luckily, I've met some great people in cities all over the world that have showed me where to fill up. Some of my favorites are Zum See in Zermatt, Switzerland (on the mountain), Ermitage in Zurich, Switzerland, Thai on the Water in London, Marten Trotzig in Stockholm, Sweden just to name a few. My overall favorite restaurant is Pancho's in Cabo. Located by the zocalo (town square), it has an old and traditional feel to it with indoor and outdoor seating and the largest tequila collection in Cabo. The ceiling is open to the sky and is a really great atmosphere. Strolling musicians off the street and I'm very happy there. But if there is one thing I truly crave, it is eating onion rings at the counter at any Hard Rock Cafe. Thinking of food, I'm always looking for new recipes, so if you have any, email them to me.
I've mastered Dim Sum, but I am having problems with a variation of an apple pie that is grilled on my outdoor grill. I've decided to keep baking until I'm happy with it...I'm on variation #8 of the same recipe. Back home, I'm still addicted to my wife's guacamole and bruchetta.
My current ride is a Jeep (the wife has an Audi TT convertible, so this is my version of that). I've always got the basketball, volleyball, homework, newspapers, magazines, extra clothes and a whole lot more riding around with me. I have become a big fan of Acura and own a TL but my fave has to be the RV. As a frequent flyer, I would have laughed at you years ago to think I'm the guy behind the big wheels at ground level. Always take it to Santa Fe several times a year and have ventured farther but still waiting for my vacation time to build up (yea!) so I can really take it afar and park it one the deserted beaches of Oregon.
What's My Technology Posession?
I'm a self confessed Mac addict. I've owned a PowerPC, PowerBook, Newton and almost anything else that Mac has ever made. In the early days of the business, I would donate free awards to my Mac user group for auction. Proceeds were used to send someone to MacWorld each year. This was my way of saying thanks to the machine. I'm convinced that, without Macintosh, I wouldn't be in business today. In these offices, we have about 40 Macs (including our Apple Internet Server for our company intranet, IntraFlyer) and two lonely PCs, which we use to run a credit card communication program and do cross browser tests on Web site projects. I've a new PowerBook and wouldn't think of owning anything but. But, the thing that I prize the most is my iPhone. There is nothing I've bought from Apple over the years that has been so valuable as this jewel. Already have my order in for the 3GS.
My Miles and My Points
This business is still the greatest thing in the world to me. At last count I've earned over 13 million combined miles and points from all of my programs (I belong to over 70 of them) and I search for opportunities to earn more all the time. I still regard my responsibilities to customers as the most important service offered, and I spread my travel dollars around the industry to stay on top of the differences among programs. It's not unusual for me to stay at 3 different hotels in a city if I'm there for 3 nights. And while I could probably fly for free the rest of my days - I still pay for almost all my travel (unless when asked to speak or provide some advice, then I'll get that coach ticket). I love chatting with members of all programs, and with the explosion of the Internet, I am deluged with almost 500 questions a day about programs via mail, phone, fax (yes, there are still some that use this) and the Internet. The most unusual thing about this business is that I'm truly not compulsive about miles and points. I probably consider myself more of the ultimate fan than a mileage junkie. But trust me, I have heard just about every trick in the world to earn miles and points. And what I don't know, I rely on those on the FlyerTalk boards to teach me. Yes, living an ordinary life extraordinarily. Oh, and one last thing - I have no favorite frequent flyer program....they all are.