New Music from Me

Sort of a break from my normal posts. If you’ve liked any of the music I’ve created over the years, well … this blog post is for you!

I’ve been working on a new album full of songs – 11 in all. And here they are!

This video features my song I Drive a Pacer. It’s about fixing up and cruising around in an old AMC Pacer. Purposefully silly!

Like this song? There are 10 more just like it! You’ll find songs about robots, getting older, regrets, God, headaches, and erasers. Mostly in a rock/alternative style.

You can find it on iTunes and at Bandcamp.

Enjoy!

Airplane tickets, broken lamps, and Crazy Glue: David’s Travel Tips

on a planeI’ve been doing a lot of traveling the past 7-8 years, mainly for speaking and consulting engagements. And I have picked up some travel tips along the way, including:

1. The airline doesn’t always provide a room for the night if your flight is delayed, even if they promise they will.

2. Some airports are more comfortable to sleep in than others. (see #1)

3. If you return your rental car in great condition, but then the rental car company wants to charge you for a bunch of damage, your insurance agent can help (apparently one of the airport rental car employees banged up the car after I returned it, and tried to blame it on me. Didn’t work).

4. If you travel internationally, bring along some familiar cold and flue meds. Just in case. (Hat tip to Sarah Houghton for this one).

I have two more things to add to my list of interesting travel tips that I picked up on my trip to Monterey for Internet librarian 2013 (great conference, by the way – I picked up a bunch of useful stuff this year! If you’ve never been, you should think about attending).

What did I learn?

5. You have to communicate with the airline if you miss your flight, or they will automatically cancel your whole round trip ticket.

I booked my Kansas City to Monterey flight pretty early. Then my travel plans changed, and I needed to go to Chicago for a meeting first, and then travel to Monterey from there. And to complicate things further, my family drove me up to Chicago (to see my oldest daughter).

Instead of flying out of Kansas City, I needed to fly out of Chicago … but I already had a round trip ticket from Kansas City to Monterey and back. And of course simply canceling my first ticket included a $200 dollar cancellation fee. Yikes!

So, instead of paying a cancellation fee, I booked a second one-way flight for about $170, and just ignored my first flight, figuring that I’d be a no-show, and everything would be fine for my return trip home, since it was already booked, and I hadn’t canceled anything. $30 bucks saved, right?

Wrong.

On Wednesday night (last night of Internet Librarian), I tried to check-in to my return flight. I opened up my United iPhone app, tried to check in, and received a “this trip is canceled” message. Huh? So I logged into my Expedia account, and found the same thing. Canceled.

Uh oh.

Then I called Expedia’s customer service (after hunting for their phone number – not easy to find), and explained my situation to them. They helped me book a one-way ticket back to Kansas City (my home airport).

Who knew? When I’m traveling and a flight gets delayed, I get all sorts of warnings and reminders on my iPhone. Texts and emails from Expedia and the airline, and alerts from TripIt Pro (an iPhone travel app I use), all warning me of impending doom and plane delays. United even calls me with one of those silly automated “you’ve been delayed” recordings. Multiple times.

But when you don’t show up for your flight? No calls. No texts. No emails. They “helpfully” decide to cancel everything and take all your money anyway.

Lesson learned (three plane tickets later): if your travel plans change, call the airline so they don’t cancel your return flight.

6. When you accidentally break a lamp in a hotel room, the hotel replaces it and they don’t charge you.

This was a first for me. I knocked a lamp off the table in my hotel room. The lightbulb shattered, and the fish tail statue on the fancy lamp broke in two.

Well, that’s embarrassing.

It’s especially embarrassing if, say, you sheepishly decide to prop up the broken fish tail statue on the lamp so that it looks “normal,” and hope the cleaning staff won’t notice.

It’s even more embarrassing if you decide to visit Walgreens to buy some Crazy Glue to “fix” the lamp, then get back to your room and discover that the hotel has already replaced it. Thankfully, the hotel didn’t charge me for that (’cause, you know, I’m gonna need that extra money to pay for those three plane tickets).

Lesson learned: when you break a lamp, the hotel finds out anyway and replaces it. No questions asked, no extra charges given. At least at the Monterey Marriott. Your mileage may vary. Probably a good thing to just report it to the front desk.

Do you have any weird or useful travel tips you’ve picked up along the way? Share them in the comments!

Just a Test

Photo on 5-23-13 at 12.46 PM

No real content here – just a test! Apparently, the email version of my feed has been acting up. So, I’m testing it out, making sure everything is working!

Can you do me a favor? If you read my blog via email, can a couple of you visit this blog post and leave a comment, letting me know everything’s working ok? I’d appreciate it!

I also appreciate all you readers! You guys are truly awesome. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

I Was Hacked!

On Wednesday night, I was hacked.

OK, more appropriately, I received a weird text message with a web link, and I apparently clicked that link, not really thinking about it.

And that somehow opened the door to my gmail account, which then started sending out hundreds of emails to all my contacts.

Well that’s embarrassing.

What did I do? Well, first, I received a few quick tweets and texts, saying “oh oh, I think you’ve been hacked!” (thanks guys for being so fast!). Then I wasted no time in accessing my email account and changing my password. Then deleting all those emails, answering a bunch of emails (i.e., “yes, I was hacked. Don’t click that link. Sorry!”), etc.

Blake over at LISHost (my web hosted) even shut down my website for a few minutes once he saw that I had been hacked – Blake and LISHost is awesome, as always!

Moral of the story?

  • Don’t click weird text message links :-)
  • Or – pay attention. I wasn’t.
  • Don’t click those “what were you doing in this video” messages that you probably get in Twitter.
  • If you get a wierd email from me or from someone else with a web link in it, don’t click it!

On my phone, I also set up Google Authenticator. It’s an app from Google that works with Google’s 2-step verification, and provides an additional layer of security when signing in. And prevents stuff like what I did last night.

Because, well, you know … it happened to me, it can happen to you, too.