...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Alborz Restaurant

If you're visiting London and looking for Persian cuisine to wet your appetite, then look no further than Alborz, a family-run restaurant located in Kensington near Olympia.  It's a short walk from the Olympia tube station, and close to other shops and hotels such as the Hilton Olympia.

The menu boasts traditional Persian dishes, centered around various preparations of lamb.  Chicken can also be found instead of lamb if your pallet desires, along with several vegetarian options. I almost couldn't make up my mind on first glance through the menu but settled on Qormeh Sabzi, listed as a traditional lamb casserole cooked with fresh herbs, lamb, beans, dry lime & served with rice.  I also could not resist an order of Tafton bread off of the appetizer menu.  The bread is prepared fresh to order in a clay oven near the entrance of the restaurant, and was thin with good flavor.  

My portion of Qormeh Sabzi was served in a separate white dish with an herb sauce and accompanied with a large plate of yellow rice.  I'm glad I had an appetite, as the portion was large enough to be split off to share with someone else if desired.  The waitstaff were attentive to my needs, and allowed me to enjoy my food without constant interruption.  The entire meal was under 10 pounds, not including drink and was a good value for the amount of food you receive. 

I look forward to a future trip to Alborz, and highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in supporting a local restaurant with well-prepared Persian cuisine.

End of Day 3

No starting plenary today...a nice change that gives everyone a chance to mix it up a little from the past days.  It was a nice cool morning to get to the conference, and my first session was one I was looking forward to...a conversation with Georgia Sorenson, one of the luminaries in our field.  George was the host and moderator, and I was fortunate to have Cheryl introduce me to Georgia before the session began...such an honor!  She talked about her work with James Macgregor Burns, and offered insights into where she believes that leadership is going in the future (did you know she was ordained as a monk in Japan? It helped her reflect on the idea of "invisible" leadership).  Having others like Ron Riggio and Jean Lipman-Blumen in attendance sure set the stage.

For the second session of the day I sat in on a discussion about emerging leadership and what emerging scholars can consider to be successful in the field.  This session was hosted by a friend and colleague from USD, Whitney M Miller who teaches at Northern Kentucky Univ.  What can we do to be more collaborative between our senior scholars and us newbies in the field?

Wanting to bone up on my publishing ideas, I decided to go to the Publishing in Leadership session for the final Concurrent session of the conference.  A panel that included Ron Riggio and Keith Grint gave us their experience and recommendations for emerging scholars to get published in the field, and what are the best tips to get an inside edge.   Can we weather the storm of criticism and feedback that is part of getting into a journal?  Best to hone up on my revising skills!

My afternoon/evening was spent touring with a new friend and colleague, Kelsey, from Virginia Tech before heading back and getting things all packed up.  I'll post a final collective conference summary shortly...hard to believe everything is winding down already...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

ILA Day 3

Nearing the end...sad to say ILA is almost over. Another full day of sessions, and then the great wrap up begins.  I also just saw that there is a nor'easter hitting the east coast today and tomorrow and travel waivers have already been issued.  Guess I will be calling United at some point.  Great. I swear I don't plan my travel to coincide with bad weather.

I'll also review my culinary experience at a local Persian restaurant last evening in one of my next posts.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

End of Day 2

Oof...another long day at the conference done, but another day of wonderful presentations and an overall enriching experience.  I'm always excited to go in the morning, and am disappointed when the day is over and I ask myself where the time went.  I guess that's a good thing...better that the time goes by quickly while you're having fun!

Today's opening keynote was by Polly Higgens, an international environmental lawyer speaking on ecocide, and her advocacy efforts to make more people aware of the damage being done to ecosystems.  This particular conference focus of 'one planet, many worlds' brings out many different perspectives - and while the room was full for yesterday's plenary, today's was maybe 40% full.  I'll be curious how the attendance shifts (if at all) tomorrow...could be a topical swing.

My interest in Concurrent Session 4 was around a colleague from my Qatar global study trip, Susan Komives, and the topic of Remapping Leadership Education.  The panel included John Dugan from Loyola (he's leading a trip to Rome over Intercession), and I was very impressed with the small group discussions we had concerning pros and cons behind educating others in leadership.  Will the takeaways hold with us as we go back into our normal work settings?

I was also excited for Session 5 today, as it was a look at Effective Leaders from a Qatari Perspective.  My good friend and colleague Denny Roberts from Qatar Foundation was part of the presentation, along with another colleague from Zayed University, Kate O'Neill.  The idea they're proposing on Khaleeji leadership is one that I believe will take off.  There is such a need for this in the Gulf region that I'm confident more individuals will become interested in being a part of the discovery. 

Session 6 was Dissertation Research Support, and that panel included Cheryl - I thought it best to attend that one as I'm nearing the start of my own research in earnest.  I got some good takeaways regarding publishing and committee work, so I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at so far in my own process.  Soon the research will come.  Soon.

And then shortly thereafter it was time to present my research!  I had a good number of individuals stop by and was able to have many excellent conversations about my research and findings.  Many nods of approval and encouragement to continue forward.  I'm really excited about where this research can take me, and the feedback I keep getting is that this is definitely a growth area to explore.

Another day of fun to come!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ILA Day 2

About to head out on ILA Day 2 - very excited to see what the day holds and the information that will be shared (and maybe my iPad will cooperate and let me post during the day).

I'm also looking forward to sharing my data and results from my research in Qatar this afternoon during the hosted poster sessions...will be nice to hear some feedback and see what people think.  All thoughts are welcome.  Here's the info:


Off I go!

End of Day 1

Finally back to the hotel, and I am wiped...today was a really great day overall, but I'm ready for some sleep.  Before I do that though, a quick recap is in order.

The first concurrent session was Leading the Transition from the Comfort Zone of Traditional Education to the Risky zone of Technology Enhanced learning.  Quite the title.  I was expecting a flutter of all things wonderful about technology, but the presenters did a good job of weaving in the pros and cons, along with a little context of where each had come from in their particular research area.  The Chair of this group was a grad of the U of Phx, so I was curious about what direction she might take.  But she steered clear of UoP advocacy and kept trained on the viability of tools to enhance instruction.  A very interesting discussion.

Session 2 was a packed room - Teaching Student Leaders and Leadership Studies Students.  I'm very proud that one of our own USD 'rockstar's was part of this panel session, Cindy Martinez.  She and the co-panelists talked about three approaches to teaching leadership, and Cindy's was focused on her work at USC in the school of Communications.  I thought each perspective had its own flavor for focusing on the instruction - some direct, some indirect.  Cindy's mentor model was well-received by the attendees, and she had a lot of good questions about development.  Was very proud of how she did.

For session 3 I was torn - I wanted to get to both colleagues from USD that were presenting at the same time (George and Cheryl) but knew I couldn't get all of both.  So I started in at Cheryl's talk - Margins and Mainstreams of PhD Leadership Studies programs in higher ed.  This panel included Eastern University and Lancaster University and each program highlighted the pluses and minuses of what is included in each experience.  I'm proud of where we are as a program, and Cheryl did a nice job of talking through our balance between practitioner and scholar-based focuses (and of course our highlights of 600 and 602).  I think we really are a well-respected program, and the discussion questions were good - including a mini debate about the EdD vs the Phd.  After a bit I quickly left and managed to sit in on the end of George's talk on New Research in Ethics, which was also a packed and SRO.  Many good comments and discussions overhead about it afterwards, so I know that he did a great job.

When this was over, I decided to spend time at the Emerging Scholars Research Consortium area and see various posters that were being discussed by students and selected senior scholars.  I was very impressed by the research being conducted, and look forward to seeing more about each outcome.  I especially enjoyed listening to John Adair give feedback - he is truly a sage in the world of leadership.

Overall a great day - can't wait for tomorrow.  My presentation will be in the afternoon!

ILA Day 1

Good morning from the Park Plaza and Day 1 of ILA!  The opening keynote is about to begin, and the day will be off and running.  I'm very happy to report that I successfully figured out where I was going and how to get here this morning, and had plenty of time to spare, so that bodes well for the rest of the week (other than the two elevator rides to figure out where this room was).  And because my iPad has crashed on me twice while typing this, this is go round #3 for getting this posted.

I'm excited about several sessions today including a discussion on the transitional aspects of moving from traditional education to technology-enhanced learning, a talk about leadership for creativity, and seeing my colleague Cindy from USD present on teaching student leaders and leadership studies students.

The opening session includes a presentation to John Adair, and the keynote will be led by Stef Kranendijk, CEO of Desso.  He will be speaking about the 'cradle to cradle' approach to business and leadership.

Here we go!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: North Sea Fish

Here's a more thorough review of North Sea Fish:

Situated in a quiet neighborhood and away from the usual bustle of London, North Sea Fish might not seem to be your typical glamor 'fish 'n chips' establishment in such a well-known city.  But don't let outside looks deceive you - this Zagat-rated restaurant offers one of the best menu experiences for those looking to satisfy their London to-do list of places to eat.

Boasting a menu of daily fresh fish selections from Sea Bass and Salmon to the traditional 'fish n chips' choices of Cod and Haddock, guests can choose from two helping sizes along with both grilled and fried options.  Specials are typical, and can be found upon arrival.  A contemporary wine list is also available, along with standard bar options.  A special dessert menu accompanies your main menu choice.

For the purposes of this review, the sampled dish of the evening was a Fish N Mash selection off of the Special Menu - made with a boneless white fish embedded within a mashed potato shell accompanied with a bowl of peas.  The potato was soft and well-blended, and the fish accented throughout.  The dish was hot, and a white wine complimented the overall selection.

Apple Crumb was chosen for dessert, with a topping of ice cream that did not disappoint.  Best to go with the smaller main course to make room for this treat.

Don't let this hidden gem pass you by on your next trip to London - it's a short walk from the Russell Square tube stop and you won't be disappointed.  You can be sure this restaurant will remain on my visit list for my next trip!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fish 'n...mash

Greetings from London and ILA!

It's a nice, cool evening here right now...just a little light rain falling and the day is winding down.  Doesn't it always seem like it's supposed to be raining in London?  Hmm.  Good walking weather that's for sure.

Made it here in one piece on an airline I had never tried - Vueling.  I think the announcement they had as we boarded was "welcome to Europe's newest international airline...".  Well, that may be true, but their seats left little to be desired.  The plane was full, and they squeezed every inch they could between seats - as I sat in my aisle seat 21D, if my knees were at 90 degrees, I was about 1/4" from the back of the seat in front of me.  No room.  Whatsoever.  It was cheap though, and it got me here.  I might try them again if the cost is right.

After jaunting through Terminal 3 at Heathrow (where I nearly forgot my poster tube at the underground ticket place and a lady had to catch it for me), I was soon on the Tube and off to Earl's Court, where I needed to transfer to the Olympia stop.  When I looked up this route and location for the hotel, I was a little unsure about how to get here - London's never stopped me before though.  Pleasantly surprised that it's about a 5 minute walk from the train to the Hilton, and is very convenient.  My room winds through the halls and snakes around corners, but is the last room on the floor away from everything.  It's not a huge space, but comfortable and clean.

I got here early enough in the evening to drop my things off and head to dinner (since I didn't have lunch before I left), and I couldn't resist heading to my favorite fish and chips place near Russell Square.  North Sea Fish was hopping tonight - I mean, there were non-stop people in and out.  Large groups of 10, small groups of two...and me.  Now, those who know me best know that I love salmon, and normally I would not resist the temptation to have it fresh.  But one of the menu specials for the evening was 'fish and mash'...potatoes, that is.  How could that be bad?  And it comes with peas.  Time to try something new - and I must say that I was not disappointed.  It was great.

And then I had to have apple crumble after.  Ohhhhhhh yum.

Now I'm in recovery.  Good thing this place has a gym on the second floor, I might need it in the morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

a long walk

Best sign I saw of the day:

Caffe + Pincho 2,30e

If only I could find that in the US! 

Had a pretty good day - made it to the downtown area and did some walking despite the overcast and rainy skies.  I also found the La Navarra I was looking for!  Big thank you to my instructor from our Mondragon trip for the suggestion of visiting El Corte Ingles - the place is huge and I was able to find it up on the 5th or 6th floor.

There's also just something fun about small streets and walking in amongst the vendors and shops.  And there's another pincho just around every corner. I was fortunate that most shops were open for me, since tomorrow is apparently "Basque Day", or something like that.  I'm not 100% sure on the specifics of the day, but supposedly its a day to celebrate just being Basque.  Must be nice...can we schedule something like "proud to be Norwegian" Day sometime soon?  We could all eat lefse and lutefisk and party.

Back on the move tomorrow... 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

low key

A low key day for me today.  Recuperating from jetlag and just chilling.  Mixed weather helped.

Out and about tomorrow.  Hope the weather cooperates.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

back in Basque

It always amazes me how the nostalgia seems to set in when I return to a place that I've visited before.  Finding myself back here in the Basque region of Spain did the same thing as in other places I've traveled.  To be honest, I never figured I'd be back here as soon as now, but I'm thankful for the chance to be here again.  I'll admit it's not quite the same sans Jimmy and the rest of our group, but just walking through the airport again made me realize how familiar it seems.

One thing that is weird - sunrise is not until 8:34a.  8:34!  I woke up and was a little confused about what time it really was.  8:34 is very late.  I'd never want to get out of bed if I lived here and sunrise is this late.

Going to lay low today and get my system adjusted - figures to be windy with possible rain today and tomorrow, which dampens the potential fun.  I'll wait and see how it plays out...

from seat 40A...

Greetings from seat 40A, high above the clouds on Lufthansa flight 425!  I'm on my way to my adventure, and this is a quick post to check in.  The flight thus far has been uneventful, and soon I'll try to sleep and see how that will work - good thing I've got a window seat for this first leg.

Food so far as been ok - rice and chicken, with a small pastry dessert.  Not bad.  My seatmate is crowding me a bit, but once I sleep I won't have to deal with that very much.

I will check in next chance I've got internet again. Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

going going...to Istanbul...


This is a pre-trip post as I will shortly be heading to the International Leadership Association conference and presenting my research from Qatar.  I couldn't go, though, without a getaway post of a cool destination (which by the way will be on temporary hiatus as I go).  Today's place is:

The Hagia Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey

Otherwise known as the Church of Holy Wisdom.  Considered the greatest church when originally begun by Emperor Justinian.  Sadly plundered by the Crusades in 1204.

I plan to be blogging as I can while I go, so check back for updates!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

random act of kindness

I experienced a random act of kindness this last weekend when I was going to hop on a bus and pay for my pass - a girl coming off before I got stuck out her hand with a pass in it and said "it's a day pass, here just use it"...score.  $5 saved.  I said 'thank you', and got on. 

Anyone else heard about this?  Novel idea.

Speaking of beer, one hot new craze in Australia has been the installation of rubber sidewalks outside of pubs, as The Wall Street Journal reports. Originally intending to dampen the noise of revelers and clanking beer barrels with the rubber mats, bars and pubs quickly found that rubber mats work just as well cushioning the falls of tipsy bar-goers and those prone to fighting (which, according to the article, is quickly and sadly approaching epic proportions in Australia, with a 30% increase in violent assault in the past 10 years). One manufacturer, A1 Rubber, reports that it's seen a 35% increase in orders for these rubber sidewalks since 2005. It's had to open new warehouses to keep up with the demand, a tidbit that will likely be left out of any future Australian Chamber of Commerce business highlights. ~J.R. Wells Fargo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Who or what is Udvar, you say?  Well, it just so happens to be a refernce to Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, the namesake for the Museum at Dulles in Washington DC.  This is the highlighted place of the day to go!

National Air and Space Museum - Washington, DC

One of the most visited museums in the world.  And has a Concorde.  And an SR-71 blackbird.  Oh...and the USS Enterprise.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

rumblin and stumblin

All I can say is that I'm glad it's Friday.  A lot.

A recent friendly post made me think about my game console that I'm missing and that is sitting up at my grandparents farm - it finally got its fixes done and should be ready to go (cross my fingers).  I haven't plugged the board in yet and powered it up, but I'm surely hoping that after such a long time that the dern thing works. 
Can't wait to play this again - there's nothing like a little Punisher to work out your stress!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

meetings and more meetings...in the Hermitage?

I had a lot of meetings today.  I never typically think I'm going to have that many, but it seemed as though I was running all over today and finally didn't really settle until later in the afternoon.  I'm ready to be done with meetings for today.

So, I'll offer up another destination:

The Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia

It supposedly would take you almost nine years to see each of the museum's 15,000 artifacts (anyone want to try?) which make up only 5% of its collection.  Oh, and there are 1000 rooms.  And Catherine the Great used to live there. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a whale of a time

Yep...I know. I'm behind on my destinations for this week.  So...here's one to get me back on track.  Now that my lunch meeting is over and I'd rather not go outside into the 99 degrees (not sure why its so warm), today's place to go is:

Hermanus - Western Cape, South Africa

Hundreds of whales descend on Hermanus each summer, but when you look down over the water you might also catch sharks, penguins, and seals.  The Cliff walk takes to a lookout spot where you can take it all in.

yes we catan...er...can

Had a nice laugh about my Catan shirt this last weekend while walking about...

Random 50 year old Man: Excuse me...
Me: Yes?
Random Man: I just wanted to say that I really like your shirt.
Me: Why thank you...
Random Man: Where did you get it?
Me: GenCon Indianapolis!  Do you play?
Random Man: No no, but my son does and loves the game.
Me: Oh that's great.
Random Man: Yeah, well, I just thought that shirt was pretty neat.
Me (walking away): It sure is, thanks!

Who will give me brick?  :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

just don't understnd...

Dealing with a state budget crisis...people are getting laid off and have no jobs...and then we have this:


Mind you, I'm not at all against education and I'm certainly all for higher education and supporting students (since I am one).  But I'm not sure I can justify in my head giving anyone money unless they are a citizen.  Can someone help explain the rationale of what CA is doing to me?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yap yap yap...

...no, it's not what you think.  It's today's highlighted place to go!  (Click on the name below for a map)

First discovered by divers who wanted to swim with the manta rays, you can still do that if you visit.  Lots of diving and adventure awaits!

Improbable research awards

Courtesy of my WF newsfeed and Jeremy Ryan:

 The Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last week by the Improbable Research organization to "honor achievements that first make us laugh, and then make us think." There were also some other awards handed out by some other group (Nobel Prizes, I think?), but these are the ones that matter:

- The Physiology Prize went to a group of researchers who published a paper with a title that says it all: "No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise Geochelone carbonaria." This paper no doubt outraged the pro-contagious-yawning camp.

- The Chemistry Prize was awarded to Japanese researchers who discovered the proper density of airborne wasabi to use in their wasabi alarm clock, designed to wake people up in case of a disaster. To those unfamiliar with wasabi, it's kind of like horseradish. And, also like horseradish, it's not typically airborne.

- The much-coveted Literature Prize went to John Perry for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which hypothesizes that the way for a procrastinator to get something important done is to find something even more important that needs to be done and then not do that second thing. Thus, doing the first thing is a way to procrastinate from doing the second, even more important thing, while—and this is the crucial part—still managing to get something important done (the first thing, which is being done as a way to avoid the second thing). He recognizes, of course, that this is essentially a pyramid scheme that necessitates the continual finding of something more important.

- Researchers from France and the Netherlands won the Physics Prize for their landmark study on why discus throwers get dizzy after throwing the discus. For centuries, such dizziness induced in the twirling discus throwers has plagued scientists, who couldn't figure out why someone engaged in a sport that involved spinning in circles would make them dizzy. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just quote the title of their study: "Dizziness in Discus Throwers is Related to Motion Sickness Generated While Spinning."

- And finally, Daily Advantage favorite Mayor Arturas Zuokas of Vilnius, Lithuania, won the Peace Prize for his groundbreaking work on ending the scourge of illegally parked luxury cars by running over them with a tank. He thus proved the ancient maxim that, "If you can't beat 'em, roll over them with a tank." Which, come to think of it, is really just another form of "beating them" so I guess that doesn't really work.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

couldn't help myself

close call

My way into work today was just a tad bit perilous - almost got ran over twice, and one driver didn't even stop as I jumped out of the path.  What a great start.  Good thing its almost lunch time.

I saw a new app on FB today via a friend from Qatar and it tells you where all your friends live...thought it was interesting so I tried it out.  Here's what I got:

The colors are nice, and it's neat to see where everyone is.  Do I really have seven friends in India?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

volume control...not in Panama

What do you get when you forget to turn your iPad's volume down overnight?  The constant 'ding' of new email arriving all night long, which then causes you wake up at 4am wondering why you're awake.  Word to the wise...make sure the volume is down.  I know I will be in the future.  (sigh) Sheesh.  And that combined with allergies really did me in for today.

But...not too far in to make me not highlight a destination for today, which is:

The Panama Canal - Panama

It took more than 75000 workers more than 10 years to build, and includes three sets of double locks over 50 miles long.  And no, you can't swim across it anymore.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A kingdom within a kingdom

My choice of destination for today was another random choice, but intriguing none the less...

The Kingdom of Mustang - Nepal

And no, it's not about a horse.  This is referred to as a 'kingdom within a kingdom' as it remains relatively autonomous from the Tibetan government, ruled by a ancient Tibetan royal family. Filled with ancient walled fortress-villages and monasteries, its trade routes date back 1000 years.  Only way to get there though is through a trekking company.

Monday, October 3, 2011

still waking up...and Drakensberg

Can't say that I'm happy it's Monday morning, but I don't really have much choice in the matter.  I didn't sleep particularly well due to my allergies last night, so today is going to be long.  I might need caffeination to assist me around lunch time.  I'm happy to report that I survived my weekend of class though, and my case study briefing went very well.  Next up on my task list is finalizing my poster for ILA.

But...I can't forget about a featured destination for today.  So, the choice for today is...

....the Drakensberg Mountains in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

This location is believed to be the inspiration behind the setting of the Lord of the Rings, and the view from Blyde River Canyon is referred to as God's Window.  Hiking and horseback riding are preferred, but you can even take a helicopter over. And if you're lucky, you might be able to even find a waterfall or two at this Wolrd Heritage site. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Class on a Saturday...

Not sure if there's another way to lay it out.  Saturday.  7 hours.  In a classroom.  And it's only going to be 80 and sunny outside.

Oh well.