Category Archives: Travel

Army Golden Knights Skydiving & My Army Story

Lee Odden Skydiving

Skydiving with the Army Golden Knights

Yesterday I had the chance of a lifetime: To go skydiving for the first time in my life. Not only would I have the opportunity to do jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but I’d get to do it with the best of the best when it comes to skydiving: The Army Golden Knights.

Lee Odden Skydiving

2 1/2 Miles Up & Skydiving with Army Golden Knights

The backstory to this skydiving experience is that I was asked by Greg Swan from Weber Shandwick (who does PR for the Army) if I’d like to go skydiving as part of a pre-conference event outside of Dallas Texas. ¬†After looking deciding there was an interesting social media SEO story to tell and feeling somewhat of a connection to the military because of my previous active duty service in the Army many years ago, I decided to do it.

Here’s a quick video interview in the hangar before getting on the plane:

Here are my last words before the jump. I love you mom!

Video of my actual jump 2 1/2 miles above Dallas with the U.S. Army Golden Knights

Here’s a video with my Army story:

New York Video 050109

View from the 23rd floor balcony in Soho of uptown and downtown Manhattan in New York.

Day Two New York Trip

Dominic Central Park

On the second day of our trip, we slept in a little, having stayed up a bit late after a late dinner. After getting coffee and water, we walked approximately 14 blocks to Central Park and then walked across the park to the (other side) to meet another New Yorker friend of mine, Rebecca, at a restaurant near Lincoln Center that she had picked for us.

Dominic Central Park

We had a very nice lunch and Rebecca made some additional recommendations for things we hadn’t thought of. After lunch Dominic and I went back into Central park, walking by a pond seeing the Hans Christen Anderson and Alice in Wonderland statues.

Dominic Central Park Alice in Wonderland

It was strikingly hot but we continued to walk up the park noticing various musicians playing for tips along the way.

We were looking for the Central Park Zoo but were not paying much attention. Dominic picked up a few sticks which he proceeded to use to “play” an empty water bottle located in his messenger bag.

Dominic at the MET Museum

The heat was intense, so we decided to take a break from it by entering the Metropolitan Museum ??? MET. There was a Superheroes exhibit, although, we were not sure exactly what that would be. Dominic put his sticks in his bag, worried they might not let him have them. They didn’t notice the sticks when the bag was inspected.

The AC in the museum was a welcome relief to the sweltering heat outside. We checked out some Greek artifacts and then a Medieval exhibit before finding the Superheroes exhibit. It was a combination of movie props from Spiderman, Batman and Iron Man plus fashion designer interpretations of various Superhero themes in clothing designs.

After the MET, we wandered outside where the sun dropped enough to be blocked by many of the taller buildings. It was still very hot and humid though and by the time we finally made our way to the Central Park Zoo (which just closed) it had taken it’s toll on Dom. we rested for a while and then made our way back to the hotel.

NYC Birthday Trip Day One

Technically, our first day in New York was Wednesday night when we flew in, but we didn’t get into the hotel (Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station) from JFK until midnight or so. Dominic enjoyed some late night cookies before we hit the sack for our first real day in New York.

I’ve been to the big apple about 10 times for work, but never for play. This is Dominic’s first trip to the city.

Day One:

After getting in so late, we slept in a little bit but managed to get going and over to Grand Central Station which was on the same block as our hotel, the Grand Hyatt. Grand Central has been in so many movies I we had to check it out. I liked the Grand Central Market and Dom liked the constellations in the ceiling.

After Grand Central, we walked over to Bryant Park a few blocks away to meet Matt M. for lunch. I know Matt through the conferences I speak at and thought it would be good for Dom to meet a few New Yorker friends of mine while we were here. As a native New Yorker, Matt provided a number of great suggestions for things to do.

After lunch we headed over to Times Square where we got on one of the touristy City Sights buses. For a first time look at New York, sitting on the top of one of these double decker buses is a quick way to see some of the city. We got off at the Empire State Building and bought express tickets for the 102nd floor. That was nice not having to wait in line, although the ticket line was about 20 min. Not bad.

The view from the 86th floor is great because you’re outside but it’s packed with people. The view from the very top at floor 102 is pretty cool because few people pay the extra $15 but it’s in a room with windows that are smudged and marked up so photos are not so great.

We got on the City Sights bus for a while going through Soho and Greenwich Village finally getting off in China Town. I had been there before, but it seemed so different this time. We walked around a bit looking for Little Italy and decided not to have a late lunch there in favor of a walk back to our hotel on 42nd street, about 40 blocks.

On the way, we passed by Union Square where a number of chess games were going on. We watched one where they used a timer and it was pretty intense at the end. I’d not seen that kind of play before and as a chess fan, Dominic followed right along.

In Grammercy we came upon a Lowes Theater and decided to take a break and see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Armed with popcorn and nachos, we watched with different perspectives. I’d seen all of the Indiana Jones movies previous and this one was pretty much a repeat with a modified story angle. Dominic might have seen one other Indiana Jones movie and thought it was fantastic. I’m glad he had fun.

Nachos and a movie were followed by a strong urge to walk the calories off. Fortunate for us, we had 20 blocks to go to our hotel. It was dark and a nice way to see part of the city. We ended up at the Grand Hyatt around 10:30 pm and decided to catch a late dinner at one of the hotel restaurants, “The Commodore Grill” which was a gross disappointment. They took my order and Dominic’s then claimed he didn’t order anything. When we “re-ordered” his grilled cheese, it took 25 minutes. They didn’t charge for the grilled cheese, which was sub-par by the Dominator’s standards, but it was lame all the same.

A spot of TV and we were soon asleep. That concluded day one of the Dominator Birthday trip to New York. For Day Two, we planned some time in Central Park, the zoo, lunch with another New Yorker friend and possibly some time in a museum and FAO Schwartz.

Trip to New York July 2008

Dominator and I will be on our way to NYC tomorrow afternoon with plenty planned. A co-birthday gift, we will be doing plenty of touristy things including the Stature of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, seeing a Yankees game, MOMA, Empire State Building, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing Wicked or Lion King plus many wild card activities.

I have 3 meetings during this time, but they are lunch so it should not be too much.

Dom will be shooting photos and some video for posting to his blog and Flickr account. It should be a great experience.