Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I'd Walk a Mile for a Nissan

Hey, I'm looking at something I have seen very little of during the past three months: sunshine.

Sunset on the beach.
Yep, I'm in Newport Beach, Calif soaking up some rays and enjoying Nissans from around the world. It's the Nissan 360, which showcases everything Nissan sells here and abroad.

Nissan put us up at The Resort at Pelican Hill near Newport. Located just a block or two from the Pacific, it is a gorgeous facility. My bungalow is spacious with a gas-burning fireplace and a view of the ocean. It's fun pretending I'm rich.

 I only have a couple of gripes. The first is that this bungalow is about half a mile from the resort's main building and lobby. It's not a bad walk going to the main building; it's down hill. That means, of course, it's up hill going back. I hit the gym every day, but by the time I slip my key card into the appropriate slot in my room's front door I am huffing and puffing, and asking myself if I'm just imagining that my left arm is going numb.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope not to stroke out.
This morning I hiked to breakfast with a song in my heart and a smile on my face. I'm trying, albeit not very hard, to preserve the slight weight loss my recent "Bataan Death March" diet managed to achieve; consequently, I ate a bowl of Cheerios passing up the French toast, scrambled eggs and, sob, bacon.

Convincing myself I was full, I stormed the hill leading to my bungalow. I reached the door and began checking my pockets for my key card. Nope, not here or here or here… Holy snikies, I left it in my room!

Crestfallen, I glanced down the hill I had just climbed. I only had about 40 minutes before our scheduled departure from the resort to the driving venue. Just walking to the lobby and back would burn up 20 or 25 minutes of that. Plus, I had to get the front desk to make me another key eating up more of the clock. I needed stuff in my room and it would take a few minutes to gather it all together. It was going to be a close call no matter what.

I think I can; I think I can....
Bowing my head, I trudged back down the hill, once again passing all the hotel employees who had stopped what they were doing to say good morning to me on the way up. Replacing my key card required mere seconds, but I chose to speed things up even more by coaxing one of bellmen to whisk me to my room via a golf cart. I grabbed my stuff and hiked back down the hill with about 10 minutes to spare.

My second beef has to do with the in-room coffee maker. It's another case of too much technology. I was happy to see a coffee maker in the room. Typically high-end accommodations add to their bottom line by requiring guests to order room service if they want coffee in their rooms. The Red Carpet Inn, at $35 a night, can provide a Mr. Coffee and the appropriate supplies for making coffee in your room, but at $500 a night, The Four Seasons just can't manage it. How does that work?

It appears harmless enough, right?
 Any way, I was happy to find a coffee maker in my bungalow. Upon closer inspection, however, it wasn't a simple coffee maker, but some sort of bean-grinding, water-heating gizmo from hell. 

My flat-screen TV didn't come with this many instructions.
A long sheet of instructions rested beside this contraption. You've got to pour water in one place, beans in another. Pushing this button then that one prompts enough racket to wake up neighbors three bungalows away. Once the beans are ground, the heated water drips through the system into a stainless-steel pot.

Climbing out of the shower, I was all set for a great cup of coffee. Unfortunately, my meticulous adherence to the instructions was rewarded with caramel-colored water. I'm not sure the water even passed through the grounds. Where the hell was my coffee?

(I figured out later that I had poured the beans in the wrong place. All of that grinding racket was just churning air. Bleary-eyed at 6:00 in the morning is not the best time to unravel the mysteries of a complex piece of kitchen machinery.)

Thankfully breakfast -- down the hill, of course -- was already under way. My Cheerios and a cup of real coffee awaited.

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