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Author Topic: Is it just me or...
TwinStarRocket
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..has no one posted a comment on this forum in 3 days. I am wondering if I lost my connection.
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smitty195
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Same on my end. Probably just a summer lull.

Way off-topic, but has anybody downloaded Mountain Lion yet (for the Mac)? I just did it last night---neat, but I can't figure out how to use the new "Messages" app. But I really like having Reminders and Notes right there in my dock, with everything auto-syncing through iCloud. All of my devices now talk to each other and remain in sync---calendar, contacts, notes, reminders, etc....Now I can't wait for "Part 2" when iOS 6 comes out in the Fall. They say Siri will no longer be beta and will do some amazing stuff!

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stlboomer
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I'd swear there was a post on Sunday, but the thread had vanished by Monday morning.
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Gilbert B Norman
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That's correct, Mr. Boomer; there were three messages posted this past Sunday. However, all have been removed by the authors (two of them were mine) as they were deemed to be off-topic.

The topic, however, remains active.

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notelvis
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Sorry - I'm still here but have been trying to spend extra family time in the last few days before I go back to work.

As always - I'll be virtually absent for much of August and September...... getting a new school year off the ground and accumulating AGR points by using my affinity card for everything auto related (gas, tires, brake work, oil changes) to support my 85-mile daily commute.

Got a couple of big 2013 trips in the planning stages already!

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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sbalax
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Smitty--

I haven't done the upgrade yet. My Apple Guru suggested waiting a few weeks in case there are any glitches. It's only available for the laptops and iMacs right now, correct? Not the iPad?

I noticed the slowness of the Forum, too, but I think it's just the natural state of things during the summer.

My next train trip will be in September to get to LAX (the airport) for my interview for Global Entry. I'm fed up with the delays at immigration (2 1/2 hours in Houston last Spring) and figure the $100.00 fee for five years is worth it.

I'll take the Surfliner to the Flyaway to LAX and the return the same way. The interview is in the Tom Bradley Terminal which is currently undergoing a major remodel/expansion.

Frank in overcast and cool SBA. Viva la Fiesta!

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sbalax
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We'll also be taking the Surfliner from SAN to SBA later in September after our HAL cruise from Vancouver.

Frank in, well, you know...

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TwinStarRocket
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Thanks, Mr. Norman for telling me about the vanishing posts. I thought there were more recent ones that disappeared, but then I dismissed it as either rapid onset of senility or passing in and out of the dream world in this heat.
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smitty195
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Frank, The new iPad software (iOS 6) is coming out sometime in the Fall. This will make the whole thing "complete". I can't wait! Lots and lots of neat stuff coming down the pike.

I'm curious about Global Entry. If you remember when the time comes, I'd love to hear what the interview process is like. And then once you're approved, what is the process for getting through security? It sounds like something very worthwhile!

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Henry Kisor
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I've installed Mountain Lion on my computers and it seems to be working fine. I like the instant notifications when a message arrives in the mail inbox, and also the Cloud. Haven't really explored the other new features yet.

I thought everybody had gone to Las Vegas with Smitty and that was why things were quiet.

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smitty195
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Whoops---just Google'd Global Entry. It's only for Int'l travelers returning to the USA. I thought it was something for domestic travel. Shoot!
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palmland
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Palmland checking in from an on time westbound Sunset.
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HopefulRailUser
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Someone buy a ticket and tell us about the e-ticket experience. I just got SAN/LAX round trip tickets but it was before the transition so I will still have to print these at the QuikTrak machine in October.

Meanwhile I will be in Vegas over Labor Day running our annual bowling tournament. Don't get much time to gamble but will do my best.

Busy watching Team USA vs. Tunisia. We are a +54 line but are only up 6 after one quarter. Yikes!

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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RR4me
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My next trip isn't until October; I expect others will have reported on e-ticket long before then.
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sbalax
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Vicki--

Where are you coming from in October?

Smitty--

Global Entry allows you to bypass the immigration lines which can be several hours (YES, hours!!) at some airports during peak times. You put your passport in a scanner and your palm on a reader. Welcome to the United States! It's available for citizens of some foreign countries including, I believe, the UK and Taiwan.

The interview, picture taking and palm scan can't be too complicated because they only allot 20 minutes per person.

Frank in sunny and warm SBA

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smitty195
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Okay, got it. Sounds like a wonderful thing to have! Especially for the frequent travelers.

Re: Mountain Lion---I think I've got it figured out now. iMessage was confusing me, but I believe I understand now what's going on. So far, so good!

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HopefulRailUser
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quote:
Originally posted by sbalax:
Vicki--

Where are you coming from in October?


San Diego to Fort Lauderdale, round trip, 28 days. On the Statendam.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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sbalax
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We are doing the Coastal on Statendam before the first PC. So, you will do the Canal twice? We will break them in for you!

Actually, you are "Grand Poobahs" on HAL now so I should have you say a few good words for us!

Frank in dark and pleasantly cool SBA

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mgt
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This time last year there was very little activity on the site. We were on the Southwest Chief and experiencing different attitudes to the Sunday alcohol laws between dining car staff and the conductor, on which I commented.
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RRRICH
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Yes, the Dog Days of Summer are here............
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Gilbert B Norman
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Regarding Rich's immediate, NBC Chicago runs a wonderful series each August:

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/weird/PHOTOS-Dog-Days-of-Summer-96494594.html

Here is the song to which the photos are set when the segment airs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHFy3YWpRx8

Turn on the song and watch the photos simultaneously. Oh well, my three week boycott of NBC and anything Olympics will be over by the time this series will start.

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Henry Kisor
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The Mrs. and I took the Statendam from Alaska to Vancouver a couple of years ago, although we are not cruise people. Litotically speaking, the voyage was not the worst. (I love to make people look stuff up. Especially when, in this case, I just now had to.)
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smitty195
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I need to take a cruise!!!
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Gilbert B Norman
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Smitty, get to some "Love Boat" reruns, courtesy of one or the other of your electronic playthings, before making that decision; from what I've learned of you here at the Forum, I think you would consider it a waste of your time and $$$$.

As I've noted here, cruising is a "been there done that" with me; the two Trans Atlantic sailings I've done in this life, namely to get from here to there, were otherwise.

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Henry Kisor
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Why, GBN, for Smitty the Love Boats are just floating Las Vegases!
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Gilbert B Norman
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With the odds even more in favor of the house....?-

There was a rule in Blackjack shipboard (at least on Holland America) that says when both the Dealer and the Player "bust", the Dealer/House wins. Rationale for that rather than a "push"; Player "busted" first.

I went along with the "contrived merriment" for five cruises (all HAL) because I had a (now deceased) girlfriend 1981-86 who thought of them the way Frank and Miss Vickie do.

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Henry Kisor
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So long as we are engaging in full disclosure, I will say that the Mrs. and I are planning a 14 day cruise from San Diego to Hawaii next February, including a round trip in a bedroom on the Chief thanks to Guest Rewards.

Why not fly? Four hours Chicago-San Diego and five further hours to Honolulu is more than my spinal woes can take. I do not plan, however, to gamble (no good at it) in the casino or pig out at the communal trough .

Suicide shuffleboard, anyone?

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Mike Smith
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My wife and I are taking an Amtrak trip to Seattle, then board the Golden Princess for 7 days, returning to Seattle and flying home in June 2013. My sister and several other people will be going.
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sbalax
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Who are you sailing on, Henry? Have you booked hotels in San Diego. We've stayed at the Holiday Inn across from the dock (very convenient to the train station, too.) but it's becoming a little worn and can be noisy. There are plenty of other choices.

We've just booked two more cruises on Celebrity. The first is 12 nights from/to Southampton with port calls in Le Havre, Bordeaux (forget the actual port), Bilbao, Vigo and Oporto. Three of those are "overnights" which opens up some interesting shore excursion possibilities such as train to/from Le Havre and not having to worry about missing the ship.

That's followed by a 15 night transatlantic from Southampton to Miami (Le Havre, Lisbon, Tenerife) and lots of glorious sea days.

There was a major price reduction yesterday and we were able to book a Concierge Class balcony (same one for both cruises) for under $100.00 pp/pd including taxes and prepaid gratuities. The later is required because we do "Select Dining" without a fixed dinner time. If you are not happy with the service you can change the amount at the end of the cruise. We usually added more in the form of a direct payment to each service person.

Our online travel agency is kicking in $175 per cabin per cruise as an OBC (On Board Credit).

Now we just need to figure out how to pay for it and how to juggle Norm's schedule to accommodate 27 days at his new base at LAX.

Frank in sunny and warm SBA

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HopefulRailUser
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Norm won the LA base lottery? Hooray!

Glad to see all the cruise/rail combos. It is a great way to travel.

Henry, have done the 14 day Hawaii trip three times on HAL. Love it. Lots of time to play bridge too.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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sbalax
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Vicki--

Right now he's #64 out of 350 who applied. They are taking the top 300 in seniority. It will be a very senior base (His DOH is 1970) and, consequently, service levels should be very good. There is a reason the previous LAX base was called "Jurassic Park". "Senior Mamas" who know what service is, how to provide it AND who know where the skeletons are in the corporate closets to make the tools they need appear.

I'm thinking of using part of the $200.00 credit I have for the Surfliner SAN-SBA after Statendam in September. Can that be booked online or do I need to call or go to the station. I was told that any unused amount would be reissued as a credit from that date.

Frank in sunny and still warm SBA

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Henry Kisor
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Frank, it's Holland-America we're taking. The HAL web site says the Feb. 16 departure from San Diego is on the Zaandam, slightly larger than the Statendam we took from Alaska.

HAL passenger lists are full of old people, but then we ARE old people.

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sbalax
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While the demographic is a little older than other cruise lines we've met some very with it seniors. We had dinner on our last HALcruise (Oosterdam to Vancouver) with two Canadian women who were both well into their 80's. One had just quite skiing and taken up golf and the other was quite proud of being able to swear in French for fifteen minutes without repeating herself. She had demonstrated that for two "Frenchies" they were seated with the night before. She and her husband ("the dead one") had traveled all over the world and lived in half a dozen countries.

Frank in still sunny and cooling SBA

BTW I think we've missed Zaandam. We've been on Oosterdam and Zuiderdam but Ryndam is our favorite. Be sure to walk the forward staircase of any HAL ship. There should be an oil painting of a different "Dam" ship on each landing. The easy way is to walk down and take the elevator back up. Most of the ships also have excellent art tours on iPods that you can check out in the ship's library. I'm not sure how that would work out for you. Perhaps your wife could be your guide and interpreter?

A bit of HAL trivia -- all of the passenger ships have been "dam" while the cargo ships were "dyk".

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smitty195
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GBN: The Love Boat used to be my favorite show as a kid. I used to daydream about what it must be like to take a cruise. Back then, it seemed so grand and beautiful. I have seen real photos of the boat used for the TV show, and it is really small compared to what's out there on the seas today! As a side-note, that poor ship has gone to the scrapper last I heard. I have a friend who is a "boat foamer" and he send me pictures about a year ago.

Those BJ rules on-board are crazy! If it's a push, the dealer wins?? That's nonsense! I'd love to see what that does to the house odds. It must push them up into the 3 or 4% win category, which means you'll rarely win. Now there are bizarro rules in Vegas, however, here's the deal: As long as you go to a Strip casino, and as long as you are playing at a table with a shoe (6 or 8 decks of cards), then it is normal BJ rules. Split, double-down any first two cards, split Aces up to 5 times, surrender, etc. But if you go to any Strip casino and play 1 deck or two deck, you are not going to have any fun, and you certainly won't make much money. Your "wins" turn into "pushes", and your blackjack win pays 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2. They just started pulling this garbage too--I'd say in the last 3 or 4 years. When I first started going there in 2005, they did not have these stupid rules. I guess I should be thankful that I can still play "normal" BJ at a table with a shoe.

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RRRICH
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The older I get, I am more inclined to think of cruises the same way Mr. Norman thinks of them -- we took one 3-day Bahamas cruise a few years ago, which was OK, but we are not into 24-hour disco clubs or even gambling that much. I did play BJ on the ship and lasted about 2 hands. Sure, laying on the deck and swimming in the pool are fine, but you can do that anywhere.

The only additional cruise I would still like to take, however, is a cruise through the Inside Passage from Vancouver/Seattle to Alaska.

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sbalax
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Mr. Rich--

Your cruise (Was it Carnival?) would be akin to judging Amtrak by riding from, say Carpinteria to Oxnard

There is SO much more to cruising than what you experienced.

Two cruises we have NOT done but have on the list are Panama Canal and Alaska. The latter is a tough one because there are so many different itineraries. I'm going to defer to Vicki and Art when it comes time to pick one.

Frank in overcast and cool SBA where today's "El Desfile Historico"/Historic Parade will pause briefly for at least one Surfliner and the NB Starlight. Viva la Fiesta!

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smitty195
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Frank--you actually managed to shock me! With all of your cruising, and you've never been through the Panama Canal? Wow!
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sbalax
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I've been TO the Panama Canal twice but have never gone through it! Shocking, I know. [Big Grin] [Big Grin] There are still plenty of places on the "Bucket List".

Frank in overcast and cool SBA

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RRRICH
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Frank -- yes we were on Carnival. Your point of judging cruising by just one short trip is well taken, but I am just not that interested in cruising -- I'd much rather take a long train trip, where you can see more than just waves and water and overly-expensive tourist trap exotic island ports! But yes, I DO want to take the Inside Passage Alaska Cruise someday..
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sbalax
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Mr. Rich--

There you go. Carnival's reputation is built on the "Party Boat" model. Even the longer cruises, I'm told, tend to be that way. One of the first questions I ask people when they want advice on a first cruise is "What sort of atmosphere are you looking for?". There is truly something for everyone.

Frank in cool and overcast SBA.

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