Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Perceptions

Too good not to post...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Questionable Activity

-or-
"Do you really want to spend the entire flight in the airplane lavatory, throwing up - or worse?"

I passed up all the open-dish-with-flies places and salmonella-on-a-stick joints and found the Roast Duck and Pork Char Siew kiosk.
3 bucks for a nice taste of duck and pork.

Now- If I can just make it to Abu Dhabi without doing the technicolor yawn on the flight...

TBG- Streetfood Gourmet

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Like a Boss

As I am taking a break from Tennis (Shanghai Rolex Masters) and the NBA (DC, Indy, Golden State) to come to Kuala Lumpur to make a tiny contribution to the SMT-IDS Golf Department, I give you a moment of Golf Zen:

From 2010 at the Senior PGA Golf Championship at Harbor Shores-
"You want me to show ya how to putt it?"

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stereotypes

And I ain't talking Marantz vs Kenwood, either.

I've had the idea for a post scurrying around in the wide open spaces found twixt my ears for a couple weeks.
Problem is, I can't put it to words and post it as it could be considered, if taken without proper context, as be quite raaaacist.

I can give you the gist- I was in Shanghai and this year the traffic, especially the large numbers of near-accidents and offensive driving incidents was markedly higher than in previous years.
It's not hard to imagine why- think of the worst stereotype about Asian drivers in the US, then imagine driving in a place that was populated by ONLY these kind of drivers.
All the time.
And if you carry the stereotype of Asian drivers to the next quantum level, segregating by gender,it is no surprise which sex gets the nod as being worst than the other.
And by obvious extrapolation, half of the total drivers in Shanghai are the stereotypically worst type.

(I hope I have been sufficiently vague-but-obvious...If not, ring me up and we'll chat.)

So I have been noodling that for a good bit...
But today/tonite's flight has been quite an eye opener, stereotype-wise.

I have been on several airlines that are geared to one nationality or another over the course of my job...
US Carriers that cater to bacon-eating, gun owning, loud, fat, ugly Americans such as Yours Truly...
I was on JAL - a carrier that tailors their passenger jets in a configuration lat enables them to stuff 4 or 5 salarymen into a space that would normally fit one of the afore-mentioned bacon-eating Americans...
(And let me tell you, that was a miserable center-seat nightmare.)
And I was on the ANA flight a few weeks back in a center seat built for Taiwanese nationals. And it was pure joy, if you will recall...

But tonight... Wow. UAE-based Etihad Airlines.

I have never been looked at with such smouldering animosity for 20 hours...
Both on the plane and here in the terminal waiting for my next hop to Kuala Lumpur.
On the whole trip, in line to board, one the flight itself, getting off in Abu Dhabi, hanging out in teh terminal...

I thought I might have had one of CJ's "Pork-Eating Infidel" t-shirts on for the number of hateful looks I was getting just for being a 'Murican on a Middle East flag carrier.

Really- from the looks I'm getting you'd think I was walking around with a paintbrush and a 5 gallon bucket of pig fat, anointing all flat surfaces I come in contact with...

And that is not the worst of it- I have found an out-of-the-way spot to kill the 6.5 hour layover and do my favorite thing- people watch - and man, it's quite entertaining.

I thought I was the only one getting the looks-that-could-kill-if-I-had-a-block-of-C4-and-a-kindergartener-to-tape-it-to...
Oh no- any Westerner here gets a "fuck you infidel pig" treatment- and the worst recipients - any Western woman- and the more attractive, the nastier the looks and reactions.
You can practically read the minds of the typical Middle Eastern male:
"Western whore! How dare you dress like that to tempt and titillate me! Get out of my presence, but hey- Abdul- check out her cleavage before she goes..."

Fuck this entire place.
Cannot wait to get outta here.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Suckage Begins

12 hours to Abu Dhabi...

My knees hurt already...

Forgot How bad It Was...

Going back through TSA Checkpoint...
Since I'm booked on Etihad Airways and I don't have a profile registered with them, I had them apply my American Airlines FF number, not that I have much status, but I was hoping they'd pass my TSA Known Traveler number on and I'd get PreCheck.

No such luck.

So I'm in the cattle class line, remove all your stuff, belt, shoes, etc. Take out the laptop, turn you head and cough.

I've been spoiled with PreCheck...
Just empty pockets and go.

Now I have to go find the restroom to clean up from the full-arm rectal exam I just got...

This will be an interesting trip.

TBG

Bear With Me...

Been trying to get my head above water-
I have several Shanghai stories to share, and an item or three from the DC/ Indy/ Oakland whirlwind...

I'll never get caught up if this morning is an indicator...

Attend me:
Sept 28 - Oct 14 - Shanghai (and an extra night in Chicago)
October 17 - October 23 - Washington DC - Indianapolis - Oakland CA.

And when I walked into the office this morning my man Slaw catches me as I'm talking to Bookkeeping.
Slaw: "Hey... You got any plans for the weekend?"
YT: "No...."
S: "I need help. Can you make a quick trip to Malaysia?"

Holy crap.

So...
6:00pm - Jax - JFK
JFK to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur.

I'll give the hand-carried case of correct equipment to the tech (who took the WRONG equipment with him initially), headslap him, and get back on the plane and head home.
Back Tuesday.

FML

TBG

Thursday, October 23, 2014

4:22am SFO

I'm giving United yet another shot at screwing up my day/week/month...
I'm on the 6a flight to Chicago...
The same one that I was scheduled on a couple weeks back when they had the suicide/fire at the Aurora FAA radar facility.
Dodged the bullet (heh) that day...
Wonder what they'll throw at me today?

TBG- Travelin'

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ruh Roh, Shaggy..

5:50am
Avis bus stop @ IAD

We hear a plane landing and it sounds very off, like some kind of botched landing.

Suddenly lots and lots of sirens.

Let me guess.... My flight is going to be delayed. Again.

Film at 11

Catching Up On My Summer Reading

One of the things that I was able to accomplish with all my travel delays was to finish reading several books that have been stuck in my queue for the last few months.

I have finished Captain Ward's "Tales of the Anna Karrue" and "Into the Mystic" - the chronicles of a tugboat captain in Charleston SC.
Capt. Ward is an old friend from Key West- he and his wife kept me sane on more than a few trips to the Dry Tortugas, where he was a captain on the Yankee Freedom.
His stories give a glimpse into life on waters in and around Charleston SC, really highlighting some of the drama that surround a very colorful segment of coastal life.
Tasty stuff... Pick them up if you enjoy a good seaside tale.

Speaking of tales- or more appropriately - tails...

If you have not secured your copy of The Book of Barkley yet, what the hell are you waiting for?


It took me a while to get mine, but I am so glad I did...

I may be a bit biased, having had the pleasure of meeting the author not once but twice, and this book has double impact on me: Knowing the author, and being the recipient of the love of a black lab at my humble abode, the tales hit home with a vengeance.
As the author shares her tales of life, love, a mischievous black lab, and ultimately, loved ones lost, she weaves thought-provoking tales of home, work, squeaky toys, and family, she makes you reflect on your life and your loved ones in a very profound manner.


If you read this book and don't smile, laugh out loud, and shed a tear or three (or like me, about 50), I will have to revoke your status as a Constant Reader. 
Listen to your Uncle Jay: Go to the site and order The Book of Barkley now.

Now.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shanghai Surprise

As always- Shanghai is a challenge.

Getting there is a 20 hour nightmare, and once on the ground, the CBD is hell-and-gone from the airport in PuDong.
Count on at least an hour, one-way.

But once you're in your humble abode, things get better.
Or, at least you hope they will.

I was prepared to rise to challenges this year, but there was one big change that caused me a good bit of inconvenience-
Google (and Google products) are strictly forbidden behind the Great Firewall...
There are work-arounds, but every Interweb connection goes through filtering and censorship that was pretty effective.
(VPNs are usable, but being the cheap  bastard I am, I won't spring for paid service, and since I'm on vacation I couldn't (ethically) use the company VPN)

Case in point- any website that was on the whitelist would still load slowly.
and if there was any Google APIs (like AdSense) those segments would stall the page load or just hang the process entirely.
A monumental pain in the ass, really.

This was new for this year and it was really bad. I was for all intents and purposes incommunicado for most of the trip.
I did post a few Instagram photos and did a couple tweets, but as a rule, I was too busy to do much blogging even if connectivity was good.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

So... Where Were We?

Oh yeah-
United Airlines was bending me over the back of the couch and having it's way with me, in a very horrid and painful manner.
Again.

I made my connection in Nooowark, but just barely.

For the long flight I did have the seat next to me empty, so that was a small victory.
Not a lot of sleep though.

On the ground in Shanghai things got interesting.


 Traffic was just as bad as it always has been...
At least my driver didn't hit anyone on the way to the hotel this time.

Once ensconced in my temporary domicile, it was only 2 O'clock in the afternoon-
And after long experience I knew that getting comfortable and lounging would lead to sleep, and that was the recipe for disaster.

I needed to fill the larder.

One thing about China, you can find some familiar but different items... A veritable cornucopia of Spam varietals for instance... And no.
Didn't get any of them. But I was tempted.

Another familiar-but-not-so-familiar variation:
The tried-and-true XXX Acai Vitamin Water. Love this stuff. I grabbed a taxi and headed toward Shinesun Center, the replacement for the old CyberMart on Huaihai Road.
I got a little sidetracked and found an interesting side market near by...
I was a little puzzled by these tiny ceramic bowls.
Serving dishes for Barbie dim sum?
No... This dude was working on an additional accessory for the same sport/pastime/hobby.
He's carving out these dog-dish sized containers made from semi-soft terracotta. They are the homes and food dishes for Chinese fighting crickets.
(Sorry about the crap focus on my photos- had a hard time keeping the phone steady.)  
Seriuosly- some of these bastards are the size of your thumb.

Here's one in his natural environment. 

The place was creeping me out- I'm heading back to the tech market.
If you want to know more about the sport of Chinese Fighting Crickets, go here.


But first- wanna buy a bag of fish?

Seriously- bags of fish.

Back at the tech market I was treated to a demo of the latest must-have gadget for the Round Eye- Blue lasers.
Here the girl running this kiosk is lighting a cigarette with one. Oh yes, I gotta have me one of these.
I picked one up, along with some other sundry crap like bluetooth enabled selfie sticks and  some other goodies, then headed out for an early dinner.

There was a restaurant nearby-
Let's see what's on the menu:
 
Yeah, a great big NOPE on that.


I guess if you're looking for for some spicy ass, this would be your restaurant.

Me, not so much.
I'll take the Spam instead- I headed back to my hotel. There's a Cantonese restaurant nearby. Porkbelly and dumplings are on menu tonight.

So much for my first afternoon in Shanghai-

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Monday, September 29, 2014

Who Didn't See This Coming

Heading to Shanghai this AM. Lovely 6am flight to EWR then on to PVG.

Five minutes into boarding they stopped and took everyone off.
"Maintenance Issues".

I am about to lose every bit of my charm and decorum.
I can guarantee an ugly scene if I miss my connection to PuDong.

Film at 11.

TBG, pissed.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This is now going on a full year of travel issues-
Last year at this time there was a bomb scare at JAX that caused me to have to drive to Orlando in the middle of the night to catch my early-morning flight to Newark and on to China...

I had issues with that trip and the subsequent trips to Krasnodar, Sochi, Sydney, the second trip to Sochi, and the other trips all thought the year.

Really... Is it just me?
Or is it United Airlines and/or travel in general that is just getting worse and worse.

I'm going to ask American if they'll match my United status to convert all my travel over to them... I wonder if they'd go for it?

It can't be any worse.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Aaaand - Canceled!




TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Ctrl-Alt-Zzzzzzzz



TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Changing The Name of This 'Blog -

It's going to be called:
"United Airlines Sucks And Other Travel Issues"


(Of course, it's been delayed even more now....


Never gonna make that connection.


This is just getting out of hand...


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rise of the Machines


After writing up this post, I got to thinking...

Maybe it's not...

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arena Technology

No wonder arena hardware is always FUBAR...


Dark Matter?
One of these days, the clock will hit zero and the entire city of Chicago is going to collapse into a black hole.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

WTF?

Seen on Racine St in Chicago.

No sign or anything...

But I did find out what it was.
BMT

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Signs Of Our Times

I think this is the place Borepatch goes in Roswell...


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Notes from the Road - Food

There were some opportunities for tasty chow...
We hit several really good places...
If in Phoenix and you want a great meal, I highly suggest The Arrogant Butcher. Awesome...well, everything. (menu)
Amazing.

If you're looking for great regional food, I suggest The Fry Bread House on East Indian School Rd.

We really overdid it.

I had this frybread taco filled with chorizo and cheese. That bowl of lava red beef stew was a mistake.
A big, evil, hot, spicy, mistake that I paid for over and over for the next 36 hours.

Jason had 2 fry bread tacos and the green beef stew (even hotter, if you can believe it) along with some hatch chilies.

We continued taking our lives on our forks as we transited to Chicago...
I was not impressed with the famous hot Italian beef (dipped, wet)...
It just wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

That night Kui and I joined AdiW from the NBA at a pub near our hotel called The Exchequer for a Chicago deep-dish pizza...  (When in the Windy City, do as the Windians do.)


Chi-town deep-dish is insane.  It's more like a lasagna with crust.

The next night we decided on something more exotic...
We wound up at a place called Yum Cha- a dim sum place on East Randolph.
Wow.
Nice xiao long bao... (one of my weaknesses).

We also had some great pork belly, and Singapore chicken & rice,
and some lovely bone marrow.



The one thing that none of us had ever had prior to this was jellyfish.
A cold dim sum dish...

It was...uh, different.

Cold, very elastic. Tasted like sesame oil and rubber bands.

Ok... I can check that one off my list.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who had 'Flight Delay' in the pool?

I'm pretty much done with United...

Flight won't make ORD in time for my connection to SFO.
I'll spend the night sleeping in the mud, blood and beer in the food court in the C Concourse then catch the 7am flight to SFO.
I'll arrive at SFO right when my meeting is supposed to be starting in Oakland.

I think this is the last nail in United's coffin for me.

True Dat

From Hope n' Change

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

On Second Thought...

...Don't.

Hey Road Warriors-

I know this is tempting, but you could probably drive some Honduran housekeeper into apoplexy with this kind of shit.



Don't do it.

Except maybe on your last day when you've been living in a Russian bordello.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Allegiances - Which House Are You?




Prospecting for Hidden Gems

When going to a new place I have a habit of combing through Google Maps and looking at restaurant reviews for places near my hotel or work site.

Thought I had found a winner in the form of a small cafe for breakfast...
...until I saw the name of the menu .pdf in the Interweb.



Either a completely clueless Do-It-Yourself restaurant manager-webmaster came up with this, or a malicious 12-year-old neighbor who built the site for said clueless restaurant manager is the culprit.
I betting on the latter, based on the rest of the website.



TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

The Betting Window Is Now Open

Getting ready to fly again today...
Based on the last few trips, I am girding my loins and anticipating getting bent over the back of the couch by United Airlines yet again.

Item:                                                  Odds


Flight delay:              70% 
Equipment Issue:           40%
Irritating seatmate:       90% 
Bulkhead seat:             50%
Baggage Loss:              10%
Harpy Flight Attendant:    60%
Missed Connection:         45%
Broken entertainment unit: 65%
Adjacent seat empty:      .05%
Complimentary upgrade:    .0061%
 
This one's not so bad: 2.5 hours then 4.5 hours to destination.
Next week, though... That's gonna be a bite in the ass - 2 hrs, then 15 hours.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Notes from the Road - Phoenix

I was in Phoenix a while back... too damn busy to blog very much.
Just a few pics here and there on Instagram.

While we were there it was pretty nasty at one point...

We had a sandstorm come through one afternoon... Howling winds and a grit in the air that was all-permeating.

We took refuge in a local watering hole...
The Palomar Hotel has a breastaurant, the Tilted Kilt, as part of the complex.

There are a couple things about that place that I greatly admire...

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE