I Got Pranked!

Big surprise in my hotel room 6Being a consultant I am used to dealing with the unexpected. These “surprises” are usually in the form of last minute customer requirements, flight delays, faulty projectors and defective laptops that spontaneously burst into flames. Imagine my surprise however when I got back to my hotel room late last Tuesday night to discover that my team mates “pranked me”.

A little background. For the past 10 days some team members and I worked diligently on a customer Proof of Concept presentation. Most of the team had been working in preparation of the event for several weeks where I was coming in to learn about the project and lend some final preparation assistance. What started as a 1 day trip to Dallas, TX turned into a 10 day trip to Los Angles, CA. We worked days, nights and weekends getting all the presentations and programs to work in sync for the big event.

The night before the presentation we had a client dinner scheduled but we also had submitted some last minute color printing to the local Kinko’s. Our Creative Director, Kerry, agreed to handle the job and since both he and Kim were scheduled to leave for home early the next morning, they agreed to pick-up the job and bring it back to my hotel room. I in-turn would bring it with me in the morning to the customer presentation. All appeared to be good .. or so I thought!

I find myself even now asking the question when they planned to get me. Did Kerry ask me for my room key knowing that that he had devised this scheme, or had the thought occurred to him after he was standing with the printed material in my hotel room. One thing is for sure … I never expected to return to my room after dinner to find my hotel room covered with neatly lined up tri-fold brochures all standing in a line, one after the other across the entire hotel room, like little paper solders.

Big surprise in my hotel room 1 Big surprise in my hotel room 2 Big surprise in my hotel room 3 Big surprise in my hotel room 4

Big surprise in my hotel room 5

I was also not prepared to explain the sketch he left on my bed of a gorgeous brunette kissing me which I discovered at the head of my bed. Even now Sharon is looking at me suspiciously.

The moral of this story … Never let your colleague pick up the printed material at Kinko’s while you go out to dinner and party with your client. For if you do … you deserve everything that happens to your hotel room in your absence. Thank goodness he didn’t find the mini-bar key and clean me out of my private stash of macadamia nuts!

Thanks Kerry & Kim for a great surprise and a really good laugh!


A quick guide to Newport, RI

Newport BreakersNewport Oliver And JakeNewport Sunset
A friend of mine is taking his family to Newport, RI for the first time last week so I offered some tips on places to go and things to do.  Here is the summary of what I shared with him:

Restaurants of Note:

  • Mamma Luisa’s Restaurant (673 Thames Street, Newport RI 02840, #401-848-5257) – Great Italian Food.  Nothing more be said.
  • Puerini’s Italian Specialties (24 Memorial Blvd W, Newport RI 02840, #401-847-5506) – A musician friend of mine introduced me to this little italian restaurant over 10 years ago.  I have never had a bad meal here.
  • Clarke Cooke House (1 Bannister Wharf, Newport, RI 02840, #401-849-2900) – Very expensive but good food.  The Porch (upstairs) is a great place to have a quiet romantic dinner with the one you love.
  • The Moorings (Sayer’s Wharf, Newport, RI 02840, #401-846-2260) – At one time this was one of my top 10 restaurants in the USA.  Unfortunately they were bought out by a corporation and the menu is not what it once was.  It does however still have one of the best views in all of Newport.  If you decide not to have dinner there, make a point to have a drink at the outside bar slightly before sunset.  The outside bar on the back deck faces west and you can watch an amazing sunset over the sailboats in the harbor.

Restaurant Guide of Note: Table Hound – Interesting Google Mash-up that allows you to search for restaurants by price, type of service, etc.

Things to Do:

  • Mansions – The Newport Mansions demonstrate that life was different at the turn of the last century.  Built as “summer cottages” these homes are exquisite.  I have toured most of them two or three times.  My personal favorites are: Marble House, Rosecliff, The Elms and the Breakers.  You can buy passes for one or multiple homes.  The homes are maintained by The Preservation Society of Newport County and they provide daily tours.  If you only had time for two I would strongly recommend Marble House and The Breakers.  Whichever you decide to see .. make sure you see The Breakers last.  You should be aware that not all the mansions in Newport are managed by the Preservation Society.  A few are independently owned and managed like the Astors EstateBelcourt Castle, and Hammersmith Farm (Ocean Drive).
  • Cliff Walk – The mansions hug the northern and southern ends of Newport.  Around the coastline is a path called the Cliff Walk which starts on Memorial Drive and ends on Narragansett Ave. The walk is a total of 3.5 miles but there are many exit points along the way.  Most of the path is well paved and you can easily use a stroller.  Sharon, Jake and I usually stop at a deli an pickup sandwiches on the way to the walk and then stop and have lunch along the way.  There are fabulous views of the ocean and the mansions along the way.
  • Shopping – Like every town there is lots and lots of shopping in Newport.  Since Newport is a fairly upscale town the shopping here is of a better quality than other seaport towns I’ve been to in New England.  The most interesting can be found on Bannister’s Wharf, Bowen’s Wharf, and The Brick Marketplace
  • Sailing – Because Newport has such a large and naturally deep harbor it has been a sailing capital for centuries (literally).  There are several companies that offer day and sunset sails around the harbor.  If you are not up to sailing around by yourself, Sharon and I really enjoyed the charter run by Adirondack Sailing Excursions
  • NightClubs/Music – There are a number of bars and clubs in Newport that hire live bands.  Since I am still trying to hold on to my youth, I always make a point to stop by One Pelham East (270 Thames St., Newport, RI) where they always have a good rock band performing.  There is also a good Jazz club down the street from One Pelham located in an old bank (closer to the Post Office) but their name escapes me at the moment.
  • Parks – If you’ve already done the cliff walk there are two other parks in Newport that I recommend visiting; 1) Fort Adams State Park (Brenton Point, off of Ocean Drive) – The fort dates back to 1799 and was once the most heavily armed fort in the nation.  It has a great view of the entire Narragansett Harbor, and 2) Ocean Drive – If you travel south down Thames St you can pick up Ocean Drive where it starts and follow it all around the entire southern end of the island.  Along the way you will pass Fort Adams, Hammersmith Farm, and some of the most beautiful homes and coastline in New England.

Don’t forget to check out … Official Newport Visitor’s Bureau