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About jpalbny

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Albany, NY
  • Interests
    Adventure travel, wine, food
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Silversea, Oceania, Uniworld
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Wherever I am going next!
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://jpalbny.smugmug.com, https://www.blogger.com/profile/01909358205846920309

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  1. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Hi all I think some hack got me. Not sure if it was the recent Marriott/Starwood one, or another, but someone tried to buy a Roomba on my AMEX yesterday. They had my address, phone number, CC#, and e-mail on the order. Fortunately (maybe?) they were stupid (or smart?) enough to use my e-mail to place the order. And they entered my billing address, but had it shipped to Brooklyn. LOL. I saw it immediately, logged on to AMEX, and saw that there was indeed a pending charge. So I contacted AMEX via chat from the website, canceled the card, and stopped the order within a few minutes. Great customer service. I say maybe it was fortunate, because I think my quick action only served to verify that my e-mail is valid. About 30 minutes later the 'bots hit. My email address has been signed up for accounts on about 1000 different websites - yes, that number is not an exaggeration - all over the world, most of them in different languages. My spam folder is bursting. Luckily most of them get filtered there... Some 'bot is having a field day! I am a little worried about all of the signups but not much I can do about it. Most reputable websites need you to confirm that a human actually signed up by clicking a confirmation link in a second e-mail, which I won't do. So most of the signups won't work. The 'bots don't seem to have my email password which is different from all others and pretty strong, so they can't access my email to verify accounts. I have many accounts that use my compromised email address as the login ID, so I changed passwords on any of those that had weak passwords. I figure the next step by a smart hacker would be a brute force attempt to crack another page's login, then hope I use the same password everywhere else. So that will make it harder for them, as I use stronger different passwords on accounts that need it, and weak passwords on accounts without any sensitive information. Any other thoughts?
  2. jpalbny

    Rhine water levels 2018 and similar topics

    Great pictures in the article! Thanks for posting.
  3. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Haha, the one cat who we have left doesn't climb trees, thankfully. Or if she does, she only does it when we're not home. She really does like to lie under it, though. And she will eat tinsel now and then. One of our cats climbed the tree years ago and knocked stuff off. That made it a challenge to have a tree in the foyer (with marble flooring). They are funny critters!
  4. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Lois, that sounds great! You will enjoy it. M, we are working all of Christmas week...again. Trying not to be too grumpy about it. We put up a tree the weekend before last; here it is after the lights and before the ornaments. Looks nice on the new floor. The towels are down to protect the floor from the stepladders that we used while decorating. It's not my usual decor... Not so many food pix lately so here are a few. Some burgers, made on the stove instead of the grill, when it was beastly cold out a week or so ago. I used to grill in any weather but I these days I have become soft, lazy, smart, whatever. The one good part about burgers on a grill pan is that the cheese dripping off the edge gets crispy as it fries on the pan, and you can scoop it up and put it back on top of the burger. Yum! Here is a simple but traditional Ukrainian meal. We went to the Eastern European market here in town and picked up some Ukrainian sausage (Kobasa). Simply made with boiled potatoes and horseradish sauce. So easy to make but so tasty and satisfying. When my sister was here last weekend she ate the rest of the sausage so now we have to go get more. She's coming back this weekend for more! An old favorite meal that we made tonight. Pork chop pounded thin and breaded, served with tomatoes, herbs, and vinaigrette over arugula. We had the original version years ago in a restaurant, with a veal chop. Here I am with my pipsqueak of a niece Lily, the night before Thanksgiving at my brother's place in Ithaca. I bought the kids some Halloween candy when we were in Virginia last month, and I brought it to them on Thanksgiving when we visited. I have a candy eyeball stuck in my eye and Lily has some candy teeth. Chris says that I look like Mad-eye Moody in this picture. I have to agree. And one more meal from a few nights ago. Veal meatballs in a mustard-cream sauce (I substituted Greek yogurt to cut the fat). Served over Spaetzle. We had leftovers for lunch today and it was just as good. If not better! Sipping a Gin and Tonic before bed. The last week on call was pretty brutal but I have a few weeks off before Christmas to recover. And he big trip is only about 4 weeks from now, so lots to look forward to!
  5. jpalbny

    Athens to Muscat - The Middle East with a Muse

    Hm. It wasn't the arm or the leg that was the problem, Silver. I always thought that the Ancient Egyptians were more medically sophisticated!
  6. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Oh great! It is a gorgeous old building, but newly renovated as a hotel. We really enjoyed our stay there. The WTC memorial is within walking distance, as are the freedom tower observation deck and Le District - a cool French market with restaurants, kind of a smaller French version of Eataly. And yes, there's an Eataly branch nearby too. All of Lower Manhattan is within a mile of there so the location is very conducive to wandering around and taking in the sights. I hope you have as much fun there as we do!
  7. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Mysty. I decided that I hated raisins when I was a kid, and it stayed with me until I was in my 40s. Turns out it was all mental. I was a picky eater back then...I hated all kinds of cheese and even used to pick the cheese off pizza. Asparagus? Brussels sprouts? Never. Now I like all of that stuff. But raisins took a lot longer. I finally realized that I like a good red Zinfandel, which when it's made in warm years, has a raisin-y taste. So I convinced myself in that way that I should like raisins, so I tried them and liked them. And now I eat them. It was as simple as that.
  8. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Lois, I bet it is a cached reply that inserts itself when you hit reply. I sometimes see that on my phone when I'm using that, but the old post shows up and I see it, and can delete it, then type the new post. Weird, I agree. I wonder if clearing your browser cache will eliminate it? Or, check the bugs and glitches section of the forum to see if anyone else is having that problem?
  9. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Lois, I think I mentioned The Beekman in Lower Manhattan which is within walking distance to the WTC memorial, and the Michelangelo in the theatre district. Our favorite is the Nomad, high 20s and Broadway. We walk from there to Times Square all the time but not sure if you want that.
  10. jpalbny

    Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five

    Hi all, slogging my way through a busy week at work so not much time for posting. Or sleeping, for that matter... But, less than five weeks until our South America trip! So, some sunlight to look forward to. Every year I am amazed at how little light there is. We leave for work in the dark and come home as the sun sets. I want to go to bed by 6:00. Tomorrow is a milestone birthday for my little brother (the older one of the two). He's turning 40... Kids! Off to work soon; have a fun day all.
  11. jpalbny

    Silversea Expedition Cruise

    That seems odd, though admittedly we sailed in that area some time ago. So our experience may be different from what they are doing now. Are you doing the July 2, Tromso to Longyearbyen itinerary? Or are you doing July 22, Tromso to Reykjavik? For our Svalbard voyage (August 2011, opposite direction, Longyearbyen to Tromso), SS only included the charter flight in one direction: from Oslo to Longyearbyen. This was at the beginning of the trip. The plane returned to Oslo that afternoon, carrying the passengers who had just disembarked from the previous voyage. But, once we disembarked in Tromso, we were on our own as SS did not have a plane flying guests to/from Tromso. So I arranged a one-way flight from Tromso to Oslo independently, in order to connect to our RT itinerary to/from Oslo. SAS sold tickets cheaply, at least back then. Did SS arrange your air for you, and only took you to Oslo? It's a long way from there to Tromso!
  12. jpalbny


    Glad to hear! Have a safe and relaxing trip home despite the painfully early departure hour. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
  13. You have so many great oprions! Nuremberg is a great place to spend a few days. It's also a short train ride from Munich, Regensburg, Vienna, etc all worth visiting. Vienna to Budapest is an easy train ride too. If I were you, I'd divide my available time between Nuremberg, Vienna, and Budapest. Take a day trip to Munich once, if Nuremberg isn't exciting enough. Vienna and Budapest both have enough to occupy you for a few days. I would embrace this opportunity to spend a week in these places on my own. It would be a treat to follow your own schedule and not always be on tour. We actually did this in 2013 when our river cruise was canceled due to the flood of the millennium. Has anyone see the mark on the Passau Rathaus dated June 3, 2013? Yes, that was when we were supposed to be cruising! Needless to say, it didn't happen. We had our own plane tickets, and two mostly-empty weeks to deal with. So we booked hotels for the first week and left the second week open. We made the trip up as we went along. It was one of the best trips ever. So don't look at a cancellation as a disaster. It's a great opportunity to do whatever you want. Hope you enjoy whatever comes to pass.
  14. jpalbny

    Muster/embarkation timing

    We were on Silver Wind. Our disapproving looks were delivered in private... Unibok, I don't know where to find that information prior to boarding. Perhaps your TA could get that from SS?