Tuesday, June 24, 2008

She's Just Thrilled

Can't you tell?

If looks could kill...

Loggerhead '08

Tryin' to Reason With Hurricane Season

Greetings Constant Readers...
It"s that time of year again. I'm on that midnight run from Jax to Key West.
At daybreak Yours Truly, The Woman Who Knows Most Things and the Perfect Child will be skimming across 70 or so miles that separate weirdness from tranquility.
Just a little Lattitude adjustment before heading back to Beijing mid-July.
I'll have limited Intartube access, but hopefully I'll be able to do a post or two from the Tortugas.

TBG, Loggerhead-bound...

Friday, June 20, 2008

TR2 Summary

A one-paragraph to describe the last two weeks:
No matter what logic or reasoning you employ, you will regret any and all decisions you make.

This bodes ill for July 16 through August 27.

TBG, just shoot me now-

Poor Planning.

I didn't drink enough to make the Airport Experience as painless as I would have liked.

There is a fine line between "hapily buzzed" and "drunk and disorderly".

TBG - tired already.

On the Big Silver Bird, Again.

Termimal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport is huge.
That's the operating premise here in China these days. Bigger, faster, better.

Well, they have the "bigger" part down. We'll have to wait until after August to see how the rest of it plays out.

One thing they haven't improved (and they *really* need to work on it), is air conditioning in public spaces like airports and other large-volume indoor spaces.
Sitting inside T3, it is 85 degrees and probably 90% humidity.
By the time I get on the plane I will be a perspiring miserable old man.
I weep for the unknowing fool that crosses me in the next 20 hours.

On the road again...

TBG, a little traveling music...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sitting Duck

Beijing Food Porn

The one memorable meal I've had in Beijing on this trip was the night we went to Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant.
Memorable for a good reason, that is... I remember Friday's Cheesy Cheeseburger...and the 3:00AM indigestion. A hard-learned lesson.

On previous trips to Beijing I have gone to other Roast Duck places with good results, but Stass the CodeMonkey and Craig from NBC said Da Dong prides itself on having the leanest Peking Duck available.
(Me? I like lean meat as much as the next lowai, but y'know, there's nothing wrong with a little duck fat between friends. Heh.)

So... We went to Da Dong...
(And every time I say the name I can only hear Long Duck Dong from the movie "Sixteen Candles" saying "Da Donger need food!")

Craig, having had the pleasure of dining here before, did the ordering...

Craig, Captain Jia, and Yours Truly...
Yes, I know... Don't faint. Yes, that's a beer in front of me.
No... There wasn't a bottle of Capt. Morgan for miles around.
You gotta do what you gotta do.

Scallops... Some of the best scallops I've ever had. Truly amazing.

I missed getting pics of some of the dishes... The boys were hungry and the food what was sot before us was quickly consumed with the gusto of a hound dog...

The grilled eel was awesome too...

I missed the bamboo shoots and the dragon beans, and the fried prawns were only on the table a few seconds before disappearing completely.

There were 7 of us... We ordered 3 roast ducks.
We could probably have gotten away with only ordering 2... Some of the guys weren't really duck aficionados... Barbarians.

The Duck Cutters went to town, carving the birds quickly and efficiently...

Beijing Duck Slicing Machine

The finished product...

Take a Chinese tortilla, a little hosin sauce, some duck meat, some celery and/or scallion and wrap it up like a Beijing Fajita...
(Sorry, no pics of that. Maybe next time.)

And the delicacy...

Some neck meat and...

...How about a little head with your dinner?

(Jaden, get your mind out of the gutter.)

This meal went a long way to dampen the memory of the debacle of the Beijing TGIFridays and dinner at Domino's Pizza in Wuzhou.

I want to go back to Quan Ju De and compare duck fat content...
Purely for research, of course. For the betterment of mankind.

I know... Such self-sacrifice.
The things I do to improve life for my fellow man.
Hard living...But someone has gotta do it.

TBG, just ducky.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Hey, you! Out of the Gene Pool!

You *must* be kidding me.

"A woman called Orem police Friday afternoon needing help because her battery died and she was locked inside her car.

When police arrived, they found the woman sitting in the car...."

Original story

Is it just me or should the rescue crew just left her there?
Anyone unable to cope with the door locks on the car shouldn't be driving.

I'm just saying...

TBG, coping with technology-

Beijing Pizza Kitchen

"The Tree" in Sanlitun has a big wood-fired pizza oven in the middle of the dining room.
Too cool for words.

We (SMSH, DaveK, Erich & Ty) ate here one night last week.. the pizza was outstanding.

TBG- Who needs CPK?


"A Little High"... Hmmmm.
I guess those hookahs are classified as "artwork" or "novelties" or even "marital aids"...

TBG, remembering a hookah in Crete...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Great (fire) Wall of China

This is getting to be a monumental pain in the ass.

Chinese ISPs have locked out access to several domains including blogger and blogspot.com. Even my anonymizer isn't working anymore...
I can post pics by MMS messaging, and post basic text messages by e-mail, but I can't get to my gallery or the Blogger editor page.
Maybe Shanghai will be better.

TBG, semi-incommunicado.

I'm not telling him. You tell him!

I just spent 40 minutes trying to get checked in for my flight to Shanghai...

40 minutes.

There were many ID checks and e-ticket verifications. Lots of different China Eastern Air employees would come and chat with the girl who was assisting me with my flight.

They would come over, look at my ticket, look at the screen, look at me, look back at the ticket, then a long conversation would ensue. The new person would depart and the poor girl would get a look of helplessness on her face, tell me "maiwenti" and the cycle would start over.

Having flown domestic airlines in China I have learned to value of patience and persistence.
I calmly waited at the counter.

Finally a Suit showed up, went through the same song and dance then finally addressed me.

Suit: Ah, very sorry. Your flight. It is...cancel.

(Long pause -waiting for my reaction)

I shrugged my shoulders. China Eastern has hourly flights to Shanghai. No big deal.

TBG: No flight at 10? Can you put me on 5108 at 11 o'clock?

Suit: Oh, maiwenti, maiwenti, no problem!

A quick conversation with the check-in girl and I was on my way...

Am I that scary, that they are afraid to give me bad news?

TBG, hanging at Beijing Capital Airport-

Friday, June 13, 2008

Teapot Depot

I took Ty and SpongeMark to Panjiayuan Market on Saturday morning...
Ty had a car coming to the Hotel for him at 1:15 and SM's car was scheduled for 3:30.
(I was riding with Mark to the Airport in order to drop off equipment at the FieldShop... Easier to deal with it on Saturday than to try to play Musical Equipment Cases on Tuesday when I get back from Shanghai.
We strolled the market for a couple hours in a cool drizzling rain...

I'm going to link to some of Mark's photos from the trip...

Everything went well, even the "interesting" ride back to the hotel...
The traffic in Beijing is horrible, but just like everywhere else, rain really screws everything up.

TBG out-

Can you hear the arteries clogging?

Because a TGIFriday's cheeseburger isn't bad enough for you in it's original state...
Let's throw a big slab of fried mozzarella on it along with some semi-cooked "bacon".

It was horrific.
The heartburn set in at about 3:30 in the morning...
I had to dig into my emergency kit and find the bottle of Tums.
(Thank Ghod I had them with me.)

Never again.

TBG out-


TBG to a souvenir hawker: "Bu yao!" (I don't want!)
Spongemark: "...with a side of Johnson."

Ask an LPGA guy...


Overheard in Beijing

In the car on the way to Mutianyu...

Mark: I think I should put the strap on.
Jay: That's what she said.


Common question from people that I was told could help me with some aspect of our project:

"Can someone else help you?"

Or sometimes:
"Let me call someone else to help you. Then I will call you back."
Which means "If I can get you off the phone maybe you will call someone else when you get tired of waiting for me to call you back."


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wall, Great

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wait... What?

TBG: Where's Stass?
SpongeMark: He left. Said something about the end of the world...


Beverage of Choice

Captain Morgan? No.
Gecko Seahorse booze, yes.
Cobra Scorpion hooch, for sure.

To each his own, I guess.

The 4' 10" proprietor of the liquor store made it clear that he could go toe-to-toe with me if he did a shot of either one.

If he *did* take a snort of either one of those I wouldn't tussle with him...
It's bad luck to punch crazy people.

TBG, not drinking? Heaven forbid!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Heads Up

On the street in Beijing you have to watch out for widowmakers like this little jewel that Stass and David are about to get intimate with.

...and there are about 5 or 6 of these within a few blocks of the hotel.

It pays to keep your head up when strolling Wanzhou...

TBG, in self-preservation mode...

Sundown Over National Stadium

Out of Context

The first Beijing OOC quote:

Stass: "Every day has a happy ending."

TMI, dude. I really don't need to know that much about your habits.

TBG out-

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mmm. Breakfast.

Braving food poisoning, I hit the breakfast buffet at the Crowne Plaza.
Last time I was at a big chain hotel in Beijing I got the worst case of food poisoning... 24 hours of pure hell...
Since it will be a long day at the field shop, I figured I'd fuel the machine...

All kinds of goodies at the buffet- cold cuts, fresh fruit, cereals, eggs prepared the way the pan-flipper wants, regardless of how you order them- it's comedy gold to watch a Brit guest order scrambled then watch the chef hand him 2 over easy. Hilarity ensues.

More goodies:
Free-range waffles, French toast made with the worst bread ever broiled, miso, fried noodles, mackerel, 3 kinds of dim sum, a do-it-yourself Natto bar (Ghod save us), 5 kinds congee (red bean with century egg is quite good) and a pickled vegetable bar with some great kimchi.

(Sorry about the poor Crackberry picture.)

TBG, hungry.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


14 hour flight, sitting next to the bathroom.
At least I'll have some legroom...
This is going to be fun.

TBG, reaching for the Ambien...

Cup of Brown

Greetings Constant Readers...
I'm off to Beijing to several fun-filled days
of testing for the 2008 Olympics.

No doubt there will be all manner of frivolity and shenanigans.
Keep an eye on this space for full coverage.

In the mean time, check out MC Elemental:

"When I say 'herbal', you say 'no thanks'..."

Elemental - Cup Of Brown Joy from Moog on Vimeo.

TBG - looking for a cuppa...