World Cup memories

Posted by: Jason

I must admit that I got swept up in the 2014 World Cup. I was cheering for the United States even though I knew they had no realistic chance of advancing very far.

When the United States advanced out of the so called “Group of Death” by defeating Ghana, I thought there was a slight change they might be able to defeat Belgium. It was interesting to see all of the Americans rallying and watching soccer though it’s often considered the fifth most popular sport behind football, basketball, baseball, and golf.

Watching Tim Howard save goal attempt after goal attempt against Belgium brought me back to my first World Cup experience in 1994 when I was living in Sweden.

I was at a McDonald’s near the central train station late at night watching Brazil and Sweden in the semifinals. Thomas Raveli was the keeper for Sweden at the time and was making similar save after save before finally conceding a goal. The match ended at around 1 am Stockholm time. I remember walking outside pretty bummed that Sweden didn’t win only to see a group of about 12 Brazilian fans marching down the road beating a drum celebrating Brazil’s victory. Pretty brave if you ask me.

Sweden ended up taking 3rd place and the Swedes went bezerk. They had a heroes welcome for the team at Rålambshovs Park in Stockholm where 23,000 people came to celebrate their 3rd place victory that I attended. It truly sunk in how much soccer means to other countries. Henke Larsson and Martin Brolin were national heroes.

My second memory was when I was in Budapest, Hungary for a business trip and heard that Hungary and Bulgaria were playing that night in a World Cup qualifying match. I decided to go with a friend to the match. As we approached the stadium, it was apparent that it was going to be unlike any other event I had ever been to. We were greeted by 20-25 police officers with German shepherds. As we found our seats there was a tremendous amount of yelling between the Hungarian supporters and Bulgarian supporters which I found a bit amusing since neither speaks the same language so all of the verbal taunts probably fell on deaf ears.

The two opposing sections were encased in a chain link fence and barbwire to keep the two fan bases separated. At one point a particularly enraged Hungarian fan tried to scale the fence to yell some things at the Bulgarian supporters but stopped short of the barbwire. The Bulgarians won the match 2-0 and as I was walking back to the subway station, we realized that the subway wasn’t running that night. So you had thousands of soccer fans with no way to leave the stadium. We ended up taking a taxi after a long wait.

Do you have a memorable World Cup memory?

Free items at 7-Eleven: Big Gulp today and Slurpee tomorrow

Posted by: Jason

7-Eleven has had an app for quite a while and they’ve had a decent amount of free coupons from time to time.

Recently, they’ve been offering a free item every single day through their app.

Free liquid refreshment

Free liquid refreshment

Today you can get a free Big Gulp by showing your app and since it’s not tied to an account, if you’re so inclined you can visit multiple locations and redeem the same offer. Tomorrow’s free item will be a small Slurpee.

$50 off Alaska Airlines flights for Utah residents

Posted by: Jason

Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines have been sparring with each other for the last while as Delta increases their services via Seattle and cut benefits for Alaska MVP benefits.

Alaska has responded by directly targeting the Salt Lake market. Last night I saw a commercial touting a $50 off flight credit for Utah residents who join Mileage Plan.

$50 off your next flight

$50 off your next flight

The offer is valid for new sign ups through July 31, 2014. Travel must happen before November 19, 2014 and is valid for travel from Salt Lake City to any Alaska Airlines city excluding Prudhoe Bay.

I also noticed that Alaska Airlines is also offering 20% discounts for flights to Salt Lake City in conjunction with Brigham Young University football home games.

Simply click below, add your origin, dates, and book. The discount is automatically applied. Or enter EC9981 in the discount code box at

Discount valid from Alaska Airlines cities in the United States (excluding Hawaii and Prudhoe Bay) to Salt Lake City:

HOUSTON – September 9-13 – BOOK NOW
VIRGINIA – September 18-22 – BOOK NOW
UTAH STATE – October 1-5 – BOOK NOW
NEVADA – October 16-20 – BOOK NOW
UNLV – November 13-17 – BOOK NOW
SAVANNAH STATE – November 20-24 – BOOK NOW

Book by November 17, 2014. Restrictions apply. Click here for details.

I’m glad to see some increased competition in the Salt Lake City market that hopefully will benefits consumers.

My experience with pickpocketing

Posted by: Jason

The New York Times did a piece on tales of pickpocketers. It told the story of Wilfred Rose, a notorious pickpocketer, and some of the methods he used to steal money in New York City. Wilfred would pull wallets out by using both his middle finger and his forefinger to create homemade pliers.

The story mentions how most pickpocketing has gone high-tech now involving hacking and credit card skimming and that a lot of people aren’t carrying around cash.

I’ve had two experiences with pickpocketing. The first was on a Moscow subway.

Moscow, my first pickpocketing experience

Moscow, my first pickpocketing experience

I was rushing to catch a subway and as the doors closed I was reaching out to grab a hold of the harness on the roof. As I was doing this, the person I was traveling with yelled out, “your wallet!”. Right then, I put my right hand on my back pocket and my wallet was halfway out of my pants. I immediately moved to the other side and looked back at four men leaning up against the door. The person I was with yelled some things at them in Russian and they just sneered back. I had always played this scenario out in my mind that I would rush my assailants, arms flailing, creating quite the ruckus and defending my space. However, I figured that four on one on a Moscow subway was probably not going to be in my favor and I didn’t do anything.

The second time happened on a bus in Rome. My wife and I were on our way to one of the sites and I saw two men, facing me, standing right by a woman. One of them was reaching their hand into the woman’s purse attempting to extract money. The woman was completely oblivious to what was going on as she was engrossed in a conversation with her friend. The right thing to do in this moment would have been to yell out “Hey stop that” or “What’s going on?” or in some way alert the woman. Instead I was frozen with fear thinking that perhaps these two Italian pickpocketers would have weapons of some sort on them and it would have been bad news for me. So I sat there like an idiot and they both jumped off the bus at the next stop. I’m not sure if they actually succeeded in stealing any money or not.

Looking back, I wish I would have said something to stop it or done something rather than just sitting there.

Due to this experience of pickpocketing, I always keep my passport on my person when traveling on a plane so that someone can’t nick it out of my carry on. Secondly, I take only some of my credit cards and cash with me in public and keep it anywhere but my back pocket.

Have you had any experiences with pickpocketing and were you braver than I?

Citizens from certain states may not be able to board planes after 2016

Posted by: Jason

The Department of Homeland Security has recently announced the enforcement of the Real ID act passed by Congress in 2005. The act sets security standards for the issuance of identifications including driver’s licenses. There are still states and territories that have not complied with the act including Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington. Originally all states were supposed to be compliant by 2008 but an extension was given and now they plan to enforce it.

A non-compliant form of ID

A non-compliant form of ID

Enforcement of phase 4 which includes boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft is set to start in 2016 meaning that a second form of ID, for example a passport, would have to be used from residents of a non-compliant state.

In Kentucky, licenses are issued at the 145 Circuit County court locations rather than though a central state agency which has slowed the adoption.

For all states, there is also need from new technology that recognizes if an existing face is already in the database.

In the end, will the Department of Homeland Security really start to enforce this? It seems by publishing a timetable with phased and deadlines that this may finally push the remaining states to adopt the new regulations and if they continue to choose to delay, it could cause the citizens of their states to have to have a second form of identification to fly.

Rome Trip – Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St Peters Basilica

Posted by: Jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Sightseeing in Rome Day 4
9. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
10. Food in London
11. Activities in London

The itinerary for sightseeing on day 4 was Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St Peters Basilica. We started off early in the morning with the first stop being the Vatican Museum.

The Vatican Museum was hot and very crowded and frankly a bit underwhelming compared to some of the other museums.




















One fun part of the Vatican is visting the post office there where you can purchase postcards and buy stamps to mail out and get a Vactican City stamp on.











Next, we walked directly to the Sistine Chapel. It’s really crowded, we sat down on the edges. You’re not supposed to take pictures though people did anyways. The guards were continually yelling at people to stop taking pictures. As this is a church, guards kept yelling “be quiet” in English and people weren’t listening to them. Overall, we liked galleria borghese more than the vatican.

The Museo Dell Ara Pacis had an expensive entry fee for what the museum actually is. It’s air conditioned and interesting if you have extra. If you’re running tight on time, don’t go out of your way for this one.











After visting those museums, we moved on to just looking around Rome.









A master honing his craft

A master honing his craft


I personally enjoyed getting spaghetti alla carbonara – but the people we were with found this highly amusing that of all the Italian food we could eat, that I picked such a simple dish.







Nothing elicits a fight quite like which gelato in Rome is the best. A lot of people have their own personal preferences and in fact in previous visits I was convinced that Blue Ice was the best.

Following Rick Steeve’s advice, we had some gelato from Giolitti this time and I can safely say that I will never go back to Blue Ice.

There was such a taste different between this gelato than others I had tried.






Strawberry and Lemon combined!


After several days of seeing all of the historical sites and museums in Rome, it was time to head out to London for my wife’s first trip there.

$10 free credit for all Uber users

Posted by: Jason

Add promotional code 10r62014 to receive $10 off a trip. You must use the credit by July 10, 2014 at 1 am Eastern time.

This promotional code is even for existing Uber users which is quite rare.

Celebrating Swedish Midsommer

Posted by: Jason

One of my favorite traditions to relive is the Swedish Midsommer (Mid summer) celebration. It marks the longest day of the year and as the majority of the year in Sweden is covered in darkness and cold, it really is a time to celebrate.

In Utah there is a Swedish Heritage Society where natives living here and also others who have ties to Sweden come together each year to celebrate these traditions.

Decorating the tree

Decorating the tree

First, the preparations are made for the maypole that is the focus of the celebration. It is decorated by everyone.



Now it’s time for everyone to help carry the maypole around while traditional songs are played by the orchestra.




Then it’s hoisted up in the center of the area where people link arms and dance around the maypole singing traditional songs.





There were other activities including a Swedish store that had many items such as cheese, caviar, wienerbröd, Swedish chocolate and other items from the area. There was also a catered dinner for those wishing to purchase that included meatballs, mashed potatoes, jansons frestelse, and many other items.

A traditional summer cottage

A traditional summer cottage

We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather while friends in Sweden reported that it was still snowing in Stockholm – a depressing reality after having waited so long for summer to come. This coupled with the fact that Sweden hadn’t qualified for the World Cup makes for a pretty grim summer.

If you’ve never had the chance to experience a Swedish summer celebration, I encourage you to see if there are local Swedish societies near you or if you have the time, take a trip to Sweden during the summer – you’ll be glad that you did.

The winner of the Gate8 luggage Twitter contest

Posted by: Jason

The winner of the Twitter contest for the Gate8 luggage is tweet number 16, Daniel Skiffington (@danskiffington) who said that he would take his Gate8 luggage to Dubai. Congratulations and thanks to everyone for entering the contest.


Gate8 luggage giveaway part 2

Posted by: Jason

I tried two weeks ago to giveaway a piece of Gate8 luggage that I was given to review. The winner, however, never came forward – therefore, I’m putting it back up for grabs again with a little twist.

This time, I’ll be doing the giveaway via Twitter. In order to enter:

1) follow me on twitter @questformiles

2) Tweet at me @questformiles and let me know where you’ll take your Gate8 luggage if you win.

The contest will end on 6/29/2014 at 3 PM MST. Once again, due to the bulk of the item, only US resident are eligible to win.  Good luck!

Save 20% on gas via Home Depot

Posted by: Jason

There currently is an American Express offer of a one time $15 statement credit off a $75 cumulative purchase at Home Depot by June 30, 2014. Registration is required.

My preferred method for registering is to tweet #AmexHomeDepot through your American Express synced twitter accounts. Each authorized user on each account is eligible for these offers if you tweet from each separate synced account. You can also load it through, and click on “Offers for You”. I installed the TweetDeck plugin for Chrome and have loaded all my Twitter accounts so that I can tweet one time for all accounts.

You certainly could use this offer to purchase Home Depot gift cards. However, I always try to use these deals on items that I’m already purchasing in order to maximize savings. At Home Depot, there is a gift card aisle. My Home Depot carries gas gift cards from Shell and Esso in denominations of $25 and $50. These gas gift card purchases (and any other gift card purchase) count as a purchase for this promotion.

$75 of Shell Gas Cards

$75 of Shell Gas Cards

The best part is you can go through the self checkout to do this transaction which makes using multiple cards for multiple transaction painless and easy.

There is a Shell station nearby where I live and therefore I will be purchasing over $1000 in gas gift cards in order to save 20% off gas this summer.

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