Oh Hi

Oct. 18th, 2010 04:31 pm
av8rmike: 10 HOME; 20 SWEET; 30 GOTO 10 (home sweet goto)
Once again I fail at keeping journals and such updated. I'm surprised I haven't been taken off everyone's Friends/Reading list by now, but in case anyone was concerned, I'm still alive. Some updates:

Two weeks ago a giant moving truck showed up and dropped off a zillion boxes with all of Jamie's stuff. We're still sorting through all of that.

Last Tuesday we flew out to Madison, picked up some beer and coffee, then spent the next two days driving back here. It was a pretty uneventful trip, although we did get to see a massive wind farm near Lafayette, IN. Speaking of which, it felt like a tour of Midwest college towns in a way: Madison, WI (UW), Lafayette, IN (Purdue), Columbus, OH (THE OH State), and Morgantown, WV (WVU). The last one featured lunch at Sandwich U, a business that definitely knows its clientele and eating habits. Just check out that menu; I dare you not to gag.

I'm also feeling like quite the accomplished home-owner. So far I've changed a deadbolt lock, a shower head, the furnace filter and thermostat; mowed my 6'-square patch of grass, fretted over a wasp's nest, and cursed out the previous owners more times than I can count.
av8rmike: (blinkie ponie)
I'm cross-posting this entry from Dreamwidth for some reason, even though it is all about things LiveJournal. Also, I'm still deciding how much involvement I want to continue to have here (DW).

So, Vegas. I can't do a day-by-day round-up of everything that went on because it's already a little hazy in my memory, but suffice it to say that everything was awesome and we had so much fun. (OK, sitting in traffic for an hour trying to get to Hoover Dam wasn't as fun, but that's life.) Some highlights:
  • The house kicked ass, but everyone who was there already knows that.

  • Jamie and I trying to make rice pudding in the auxiliary kitchen for 20+ people, then screwing up and subsequently salvaging the recipe.

  • Seeing the NV State Museum with [livejournal.com profile] gameboyguy13 and [livejournal.com profile] teshiron.

  • Finding a Lucille's BBQ while hunting for an Original Pancake House.

  • Of course, the big Cheesecake Factory group dinner, and meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen since high school (who lives in LV). The long-ass table wasn't the optimal seating arrangement for conversations, unfortunately. If only the people at the opposite end of the table had seen the text messages I was sending them. ;)

  • Instead of Melting Pot, Moroccan food at Marrakech (no offense to those who went to MP, but I think we had much better food).

  • Collecting "cards" while on the Strip and seeing the Bellagio fountain show.

  • The aforementioned driving out to Hoover Dam with more people than I can mention.

  • Running into [livejournal.com profile] burr86 and [livejournal.com profile] hachi while trying to meet up with them at the Atomic Testing Museum.

  • Mille Bournes and Monty Python Fluxx (finally!) with [livejournal.com profile] ferrell, [livejournal.com profile] elyssa, [livejournal.com profile] stevieg, and [livejournal.com profile] snarkbite.

  • MST3k with [livejournal.com profile] coffeechica, Glee with [livejournal.com profile] danceinacircle, and talking shop with [livejournal.com profile] aveleh and [livejournal.com profile] the_kitty_kat.

Everyone else I didn't mention, thanks just for being your wonderful selves.
av8rmike: (webcam)
So, I'm going back to Madison in October, then Jamie's coming back here two weeks later.

Vacation

Jun. 30th, 2006 10:32 pm
av8rmike: (webcam)
Going to PA tomorrow... I'll still be on e-mail and everything, as Mom bought a new computer and it's up to me to get it set up properly.

On the 4th, like last year, we're going to play with the orchestra's free concert. I'll figure out something to do with the rest of my time.
av8rmike: (webcam)
Either there hasn't been much going on, or I just forget to write down the random things I think about posting. Anyway, I never said much about what went on over the weekend in New York. My brother already posted a pretty good summary, so read it, if you dare... I'll get around to posting the pictures one of these weeks.

The vital stats

Shows watched: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a new and very cute musical. For the life of me, I can't figure out why it had to be a musical at all.

Restaurants visited:
Ellen's Stardust Diner in Times Square, the 50s place with the singing waiters.
Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network. It was certainly very nice, but it lacks the "open-market" feeling of a place like Lexington Market.
Mahmoun's Falafel in Greenwich Village.
Magnolia Bakery, also in the Village.
Penang, for Malaysian/Thai, which doesn't seem to have its own web site, but seems to be a popular name for restaurants.
Delta Grill, a Louisiana/Cajun, which my brother decided was good, but still not as good as the real thing in New Orleans. OK, just the beignets.
Phil's friend James' baked ziti Sunday night was good, too, but doesn't count since he's not a restaurant. The Sopranos is a hard show to jump into the middle of.

Celebrities spotted:
Timothy Daly and Ċ½eljko Ivanek, both of whom are in the play "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial". It also stars some guy named David Schwimmer, but we didn't catch him walking into the theater.
Edward Hibbert (Gil, the British guy from "Frasier"), whom we saw just after leaving a Starbuck's on 9th Ave. We also chose not to shake him down for anything.

Oh yeah, we also went to Zabar's and the English/Scottish import store that has the cat that got stuck in the wall. I can't remember the name, butMyers of Keswick, it's the place in the Village that sells Scottish eggs and Spotted Dick.
av8rmike: (webcam)
I know, no one knew I was away... =P I didn't get much chance to write anything before leaving. Mom got the idea that her and I would go to New York City for Mother's Day and see my brother, something we hadn't done in about 3 years. We left Friday morning by train, and got back about an hour or two ago, then she left to drive back to PA. All in all, it was fun; I'll write more about it some time later and post the pictures.

Unlike while in Korea, I didn't get much chance to check my friends list, and I doubt I'll have time to read everyone's entries. Anybody have great and wonderful things they wrote about that they'd like to inform me of?

I'm Back

Apr. 27th, 2006 02:23 pm
av8rmike: Alton Brown with megaphone (AB-rant)
Halle-freakin'-lujah. The plane ride back was one of the more miserable experiences of my life, due to no leg room and the in-flight TV system not working correctly.

One other note before I head out for some food not consisting of rice or cabbage: "Karaoke" in Korea can have two vastly different meanings, depending on the kind of place your esteemed host wants to take you, and how much money you're willing to drop.
av8rmike: (rolleyes)
Today, finally (according to my colleague), I got the taste of what the last trips to Korea have been like for the other employees, i.e. sitting in meetings that last from 9 or 10 AM until a lunch break around 1:00, then more sitting and talking until around 6:00. Much of it is haggling over minutiae and who did this or didn't do that, most of that done in Korean. The only interesting thing was the V.P. of the company taking a dozen or so of the other employees and us to dinner at a fancy Japanese restaurant, with course after course of I-don't-even-know-what. Since I'm sure no one wants to read about meetings, I guess I could ask: what would people like to know about, or what should I write about for the last few days I'm here? Post a comment here and I'll try to answer it, but I'm hardly an expert after being here for five days.

A beautiful carving in the ceiling of a Chinese restaurant we found in China Street (appropriately enough), near Busan Station.
Pictures, of course... )

<Dave Chappelle>I'm rich, biatch!</Chapelle>
Money! )
av8rmike: (webcam)
Yes, we eventually had to get back to the business at hand, i.e. more meetings. Although, today involved driving about an hour to the factory of one of our suppliers to get a presentation on their capabilities and the parts they've already produced for the project. I took about a dozen pictures, but I doubt I can post them here, and they're pretty much only of interest to the people back at the office anyway. For lunch, before the factory trip, our hosts took us to the same business district we were in yesterday, right to the Outback Steakhouse. I guess they wanted to make us feel at home, even though I haven't been to an Outback in several years. I didn't have steak, but the food seemed pretty similar to what one would have back in the States.

Luckily, we finished the meetings early and were back at the hotel by 6:00 (compared with 8-9:00 other working days). For dinner my co-worker and I decided to head to the same area as this afternoon, and maybe a little more shopping. I wanted to try and find the Batman Bar to see if it was actually open, but despite asking a few younger guys, no one seemed to know where it was. At least I have some photographic evidence. My co-worker really didn't want any more Asian food, and since our only options were either the myriad tiny Asian restaurants or the few Western staples like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or the Outback, we opted for the Pizza Hut.

Finally, you guessed it, more pictures. First, the Korean version of the Dollar Store:
Clicky! )

I know, I keep taking pictures of these buildings with all the lighted signs. It's because, in this city, they're everywhere, especially in the more commercial areas. Those signs that say "PC" are, as I'd guessed, Internet cafes. They are also everywhere.
Clicky! )

Here is the inside of one of them, which seemed to be pretty nice. There were some young women, but mostly younger guys, playing WoW, or CounterStrike, or Half-Life 2 (I think) and whatever else the kids are playing now. Maybe broadband is too expensive to install in people's homes, or the kids are just trying to avoid going home to their families, but these places must be really succesfull.
Clicky! )

Finally, one clinic where I definitely would not want to be a patient:
You know you want to clicky! )
av8rmike: (rolleyes)
Words can't even describe what today was like. I'll try to let the pictures speak for themselves. My co-worker and I walked down the hill from the hotel to an area of town called Gukje market. It takes up several blocks of the main street, then extends off each side for several more blocks before merging with another shopping area further downtown.
Gukje main street... )

The main part of the market is lots of tiny stores, most selling clothing, shoes, luggage/handbags, but others selling electronics, office supplies, other textiles, anything. Off to the right of the street above is the really cramped part of the market where they sell mostly food products: fresh fish, other seafood and products I couldn't even identify, packaged goods... It kept going on and on. Unfortunately, as I look through the pictures I took, I was trying too hard not to look like a complete tourist to take pictures of the really crowded section. This, coupled with the fact that most Koreans just don't speak English well enough to want to deal with me, made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

This side street had a number of video arcades, and according to one map I found, a big movie theater at one end.
Arcade street... )

This street marked the end of the market proper and the beginning of a slightly more upscale shopping area. For the three or so hours I spent in the market, I didn't buy a single thing, mostly because there was nothing I was wanting, no one in particular I was shopping for, and no desire to buy cheap knock-off Korean goods.
Click here... )

Batman Bar! )

The whole time, I had this song going through my head, appropriately:
A man walks down the street,
It's a street in a strange world.
Maybe it's the Third World.
Maybe it's his first time around.
He doesn't speak the language,
He holds no currency.
He is a foreign man,
He is surrounded by the sound, sound ....
Cattle in the marketplace.
Scatterlings and orphanages.

...except that I didn't see any angels in the architecture, and was carrying about 90,000 KRW.
av8rmike: Mythbuster's Adam, text: I reject your reality and substitute my own! (reality)
Well, no more or less "real" than the Korea we saw on the train trip yesterday. Anyway, we had another meeting today; The Koreans, like most Asians, it seems, never stop working. Even though we were meeting with one of the sub-contractors on Tuesday, they wanted to have a pre-meeting with us for part of today.
Four hours later, we seemed to have ripped through the entire agenda for both days, without actually answering any questions. Mostly, because we didn't have the answers; we'd have to write back to the office and hope to get a response in time. Our hosts, who were three young-ish engineers from this company agreed to take us to lunch at Haeundae Beach*, which is a popular tourist area. We didn't go to the actual beach, because it was in the upper 50s and very cloudy, instead we drove to an area in the hills overlooking the bay. It reminded me of Mount Washington in Pittsburgh, if that provides any context. On a clear day, they told us, you could see all the way to Japan.
We ate another traditional Korean lunch, this one featuring a small hibachi built into the table, where they kept putting more meat. The table was absolutely filled with small dishes of appetizers. Afterwards, since my co-worker mentioned wanting to buy something for his wife, they decided to take us back downtown to Lotte's large department store, which is like a Macy's in New York City, but more crowded. We didn't really like the place, but just a block away, in the back alleys, was an inner-city market like something out of Blade Runner. That, so far, was the coolest thing I saw so far, just because it felt so authentic. We also visited a health club owned by a former co-worker of our hosts who had left their company only recently.
Since this entry is getting long and I still have to post pictures, I'll just say that no matter where you live, there is no way the traffic is worse there than it is here. That drive from downtown to the beach easily took an hour and a half, and was probably 20 miles or so. This department store parking lot was absolutely full, and they were practically stacking cars to get them in the garage.

Anyway, the pictures. To get to this part of Busan, you have to cross this huge bridge. These tall buildings we saw yesterday are everywhere, but are not corporate housing, they're only constructed by the various companies. I didn't get a chance to ask about the ferris wheel.
Read more... )

Just a small part of the Blade Runner market:
Read more... )

A slice of Western influence, in the same area. I've also seen Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds (of course), but not nearly as many as in the U.S. I have seen at least three Outbacks, however.
Read more... )

*- the location is probably wrong, but Google Maps doesn't seem to have that in the database. =(
av8rmike: (webcam)
I'm not going to take a lot of time and detail everything that went on today.... mostly because very little happened. We had to get up early and take a train to Cheonon, which is back towards Seoul, and even on the high speed (300 km/hr) train, still over 2 hours. We met with some clients there, toured the manufacturing facilities, then they took us out to lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant. There was floor seating, chopsticks, spicy appetizers, and for the main course, a bare chicken boiled in a small pot with broth, rice, and seasonings. With all that hot food and the beer, I'm amazed I could stay awake through the afternoon meeting. That took only about an hour and a half, and since our train didn't leave for over another hour, we basically had to sit there in an uncomfortable silence until they decided they were done with us and talking to each other.

By the time we get back from dinner and typing up minutes and everything, I'm so tired I'm practically falling asleep. I don't know if it's jet lag, or just a draining work day. Tomorrow, another company wants to meet with us in the morning, but they've promised only a half-day, plus they'll find something for us to do the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, more pictures. Here's a huge chandelier-type thing in the hotel's lobby that I thought was really cool:
Read more... )

The outside of the hotel, which is a "traditional" design:
Read more... )

Just to show that we actually did leave the hotel, I took pictures from the train. Most of the Korean cities have identical buildings like this, which my co-worker and I surmised are a type of corporate or factory housing. Some of them had logos on the side for LG and Samsung, but most we didn't recognize. What would it be like to live here?
Read more... )

Finally, coming out of the train station on the way back, there appeared to be some kind of Buddhist festival going on just outside:
Read more... )
av8rmike: (webcam)
As far as work goes, today was pretty easy. We didn't have to be at the client's office until 1:00, so my co-worker and I went to breakfast, walked down the street a little bit, and came back. I don't know what he did after that, but I walked around a bit more and took some photos before getting ready. Then it was off to the brand-spankin' new office building, a different off-site office of the project manager, then back. We tried to help with what we were asked, but much of the time was spent listening to them all talk to each other in Korean. That ended at around 5:30, and we came back with questions to send back to people at the office. I'm going to check out the dinner buffet soon, but I'll probably end up right back here in a few hours. In the meantime, a few photos.

The view out my hotel window, of the city in one direction and the harbor in another:
Read more... )

The view inside my room's mini-fridge. I am not going to drink the can labelled "Pocari Sweat", mostly because I have no idea what kind of animal that is.
Read more... )
EDIT: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] delphica, now I know what Pocari Sweat is. Now, the stuff in the black bottle (on the left) is scary. It's labeled "ADH Project" and has a yellow strip sealing it. On the strip is the only other English words on the bottle: "Hangover, Recovery from Fatigue Condition", "Pacificating Action of Alcohol", "Dissolution of Alcohol", "For Hotel", "Dissolution of Ammonia Gas", and "Shampinion Extract Added".
av8rmike: (webcam)
I may be paying for bandwidth at the hotel here, so I should keep this short & sweet.

15-hour plane rides really aren't fun, especially in Steerage class. At least I was by the bulkhead, so I could stretch my legs when I needed to. Couldn't really sleep, though. The worst part is after they've served you dinner, you've read 100+ pages of your book (thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] scout1222!), and watched "Good Night and Good Luck" on the little LCD screen, when you flip on the flight stats page and it tells you there's still 10 hours of flying time left. The system kicks ass, at least. They have classics like "The Godfather" and "Citizen Kane", plus a bunch of current movies. I also watched "Syriana", since I'd been meaning to catch it in the theater but kept missing it.

OK, I think that's enough for one night.
av8rmike: (rolleyes)
I have to drive to a co-worker's house in an hour or so, then it's a cab to Dulles airport, a 13-hour flight to Seoul/Incheon, then another short flight to Busan. Where it will be tomorrow night. The company laptops finally showed up yesterday, but I don't get one of the nice ones. I get the boat anchor. I couldn't even think of any software I'd want to install on it, nor did I really have time last night anyway, with the having to go to rehearsal, too. Fortunately, I'll have some form of Internet access at the hotel. I'll have to, since we'll need to send e-mails back to the office, and we need a Web interface to fill out our time sheets.

So, stay tuned. I'll try to get an update when I can, in between all the meetings and whatever else.
av8rmike: Futurama's Bender in Jeffries tube, text: I'm done reconfoobling the energymotron (Default)

Damn hamsters.  Every other time I try to access the board I get the "database down for maintenance" error.  I'm wish they'd just take it down until they're done making repairs, but how else would they beta test?  Anyways....

I had a pretty good time this weekend in New York.  I first want to thank [livejournal.com profile] gingy and [livejournal.com profile] weirddave for letting me ride with them.  [livejournal.com profile] hamadryad was our other travelling companion, and she's a riot as always.  Stacey, I'll have to forward to you the new song lyrics with "Jew" in them.  Before we all left we hung with [livejournal.com profile] anamorphic and got the director's commentary while watching his movie, Stark Raving Mad.  It's cool, kinda reminded me of Ocean's 11, but better than both versions.  You all must see it.

We got kind of a late start, but we didn't seem to miss much of the gathering at Blondie's.  Everyone there was so nice!  [livejournal.com profile] geobabe1 gave me a big hug when I first met her, like we were old friends, which I thought was really sweet.  Not that I was expecting anything otherwise, but it was still sweet.  We had to get [livejournal.com profile] oxymoronnyc to explain to us the subway rates and parking laws before we left for the hotel, since we were that confused.

Saturday I elected to go with [livejournal.com profile] delphica on the Queens tour, and even managed to convince my brother to go with us.  I think he was worried the "Internet people" would have no legs, but according to his blog, he had a good time.  The Greek food was good, although I'm not much of a connoisseur.  Getting to see the MOMA was neat, and I want to thank Barbarian's wife Annick and SmackFu for getting most of us in for free.  Others in attendance were: Jane D'oh, Acrylic_Vessel (who has awesome tattoos BTW), and Banger, in case anyone was curious.  Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] delphica for organizing the trip, and for her commentary, which helped expand my limited art knowledge.

That night was dinner at America restaurant and then drinks at No Idea.  I'd agree that the food wasn't stellar, it's the size and variety of the place that makes it acceptable for a group our size.  I didn't have as lousy experience as  [livejournal.com profile] opalcat did, but I sure felt stiffed after $25.  At the bar afterwards, I started to let my shyness get the better of me and didn't talk to a lot of people.  Though I think [livejournal.com profile] blumunk was caught off-guard that I recognized him so quickly  =).  I enjoyed meeting: [livejournal.com profile] scottevil and want to hear more about the musical he's writing; [livejournal.com profile] persephone767 and [livejournal.com profile] eutychus make a very cute couple; [livejournal.com profile] montrealais for his constant stream of Margaret Cho jokes; and stuyguy for his encyclopedic knowledge of New York history.  And of course, everyone else I've forgotten. ;)  It's a shame I wasn't in town long enough to see [livejournal.com profile] cosmopolitenne and wish her a happy birthday, but I'll get another chance in a few weeks.

Some weirdness:  When I was checking out of the hotel and talking with [livejournal.com profile] geobabe1 and her husband UncleBillGorgon Heap, and Acrylic_Vessel, I reached into my suitcase to put away the receipt and pulled out my Gerber Multi-plier.  The same one that I was sure I'd lost Thanksgiving 2002.  The one that I know was not in my suitcase the dozens of times I'd checked in the last year.  The only possible explanation?  Four-dimensional wormholes do exist, and they are stealing from us.

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av8rmike: Futurama's Bender in Jeffries tube, text: I'm done reconfoobling the energymotron (Default)
av8rmike

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