Just a thought… Pinky: What are we going to do tonight, Brain? Brain: The same thing we try to do everynight, Pinky….TRY AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD! [Pinky and the Brain]
Hey there – hope your week’s going well so far. It’s been a week since Mike Cooper and I shared an hour with you via webinar. I wanted to update you on cabin availabilities and so on, just to keep this top of mind in case you’re considering joining us for a magical week (plus land tours, which I think Rob and I are going to do, and maybe Mike, too) river cruising from Switzerland to the Netherlands. As our host Gerry Koolhof of New Wave Travel put it, with ocean cruising you go to a country, but with river cruising you go through a country.
A reminder that if you book before June 30 (which is a Sunday – so better you should do it by Friday) you’ll get an added bonus of pre-paid gratuities ($185 per person) plus a $200 CDN on-board credit (per stateroom based on double occupancy). I won’t go on with details and prices; you can find out all you need to know about the trip in October 2020 here.
See, the whole reason I’m nudging on this is that we REALLY want to take over the entire boat with just our group. So far, we’re about one-third to one-half booked and that’s terrific! But if we get the whole boat, that way we can stage more than one dance of our own, Mike and I can have the run of the dining room in terms of visiting tables, etc. and we can just make it one big (old) school trip, if you will! Once you’ve looked at the itinerary etc. just email Gerry. He’s a sweet guy whom Rob and I have known and dealt with for about a decade.
That’s all I’ll say for now. I was just reminded to mention it by Jann Arden’s Instagram photos of the riverboat cruise she’s on in Europe with fans/guests. I hope they got their whole boat too – and that she’s having as much fun as her guests undoubtedly are.
Rob and I are off for a musical adventure of our own tomorrow and I’ll fill you in then.
Meantime, I’ve entered the world of home assistants. No, I’m not firing Rob; we found a great deal on Google Home last week and bought one for the bedroom and one for the living room. I think – like any new device – it’s going to be up to us to find uses for it, other than asking her what the weather is.
We play music on it, like soft meditation music or smooth jazz, but more often I’ll get it to tune in my favourite radio stations, Ocean 98.5 here in Victoria (without the static that used to accompany listening to it – stupid transmitter rules!) and 680 News in Toronto. That may sound strange to you, but I like hearing friends like Paul Cook and Steve Roberts. Plus it’s kind of comforting in its way to listen to “cottage country traffic on the nines” or hear how the 404 is moving.
I’ve had a few people ask, “Well, aren’t you worried they’re listening to you?” and frankly, I’m not concerned at all. For one thing, I have nothing to hide from anyone and if Google, his pal Alexa or any of the other home devices out there want to listen in on me, feel free. I figure we’re giving away information about ourselves every moment, so one more portal isn’t going to break me.
One guide to privacy quotes someone at Symantec (a cyber security company) as saying, “If you’re talking about your plans to take over the world, as you do every night, there’s a physical button to mute.” (Both Google Home and Alexa have that mute button.)
But I AM hoping she’s listening once in a while – like when I use a tool called “broadcast.” You say “Hey Google,” or “OK Google” to get her attention, and then tell her what you want the household to hear. For some, that means, “It’s time for dinner, everybody…” or “Someone had better walk the dog,” or a message like that. For me, as it was yesterday morning, it was, “Hey Google….broadcast ‘I’m ready for my coffee, Rob.'” She did, he laughed from the living room and, yes, I got my coffee, after he messaged me back with a few choice words!
As I say, it’s going to be all about making the most of this device. I do love the radio aspect (I think this is a bigger game changer than satellite radio, quite honestly) and the fact that I can ask Google to play me Terry O’Reilly’s latest podcast – or any podcast for that matter.
Hmmmm…maybe I’ll get into this podcast thing after all…we’ll see.
Back with you tomorrow on our midweek travel adventure!