Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hey New Orleans!

(NOTICE: Foul language alert.
If you can't stand a little cussin' take
your dolly and go play elsewhere.)

ATTENTION: People of New Orleans,

Get. The. Fuck. Out.


Is that clear enough? Loud enough?

New Orleans is a steaming pile of shit.

The first time I went there I thought it was pretty cool. Jazz and blues leaked out of the bars, restaurants and clubs and gave it atmosphere, almost enough atmosphere to cover the smell of garbage, sewers and vomit in the French Quarter.

Overall I wasn’t that impressed with the food—never have been. At most of the nicer places the chefs and operators are overly self important and the food is style over substance.The one place that I truly enjoyed has closed it's doors, not because of Katrina but because the owners wanted to retire and they didn't feel that a new owner could carry on the same quality of food and dedication. I really mourn the demise of Ugleseiches.
Other than that- fuck 'em all.
There were/are a few places that are very good, but you could say that about any city... The way most people conceptualize New Orleans is that every bar is a fine ol' time and every restaurant is the acme of cuisine.

Ever since then, whenever I’ve gone to The Big Sleazy, the place has impressed me less and less each time.

The last time (February of 2008), it was absolutely revolting. Gone was the old-time jazz and blues; instead, it was loud, obscene rap music which poured out of the establishments (as opposed to the earlier leakage) and flooded the streets. Worse, the place was full of frat boys—either actual frat boys, or people behaving like frat boys—and that was as true for the women as for the men. Bourbon Street was too crowded (Pickpocket Central) and too rowdy (Fight Club, with vomit), and off Bourbon Street the place was eerily quiet (hello, thugs & muggers).

And above all, the place was filthy: and I’ve traveled not only in Asia but in Mexico, so I know filth when I see (and smell) it.

And that’s the part which is supposed to be the great big tourist attraction.

Even before Katrina, when you traveled outside the French Quarter, the place looked like Liberia: potholed streets, abject poverty, rundown houses and people sitting around with empty, sullen eyes.
Now it's even worse... Even shittier condition, but people are just sitting around waiting for their entitlement. Of course they use it to buy a Hummer or a Land Rover and continue to live in their FEMA trailer and not repair their house or whathaveyou.

Frankly, if the whole place—that is, the entire 400 square miles—had disappeared permanently under the Katrinian waves, like some modern-day Atlantis without the historical importance, I’d have thought, ”good riddance” and carried on with my life, untouched by the loss.

Don’t even get me started about the corruption, crime and decadence which would have justified its Gomorrah-like demise, or the government-dependent leaches who infest the place like maggots and worms in a rotting corpse.

Which is about as close a metaphor as I can think of for New Orleans, come to think of it. The hell with the place.

So here comes Gustav...

Get. The. Fuck. OUT.
Shut. The. Fuck. UP.

TBG- Not giving a shit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beijing Farewell

You know the length of your trip.
The width and depth of your journey is what you make of it.

For me, this was best summed up in a bar in Sanlitun last night as I chatted with two (Mostly Drunk) Kiwis in a bar on the backstreet...

Mostly Drunk Kiwi: "The best Olympic Experience is about confusing the journey and the destination."

Yours Truly: "So, what is this... Is it the journey or is it the destination?"

MDK: "Haven't you been paying attention? This is the confusion."

Well- I'm outta here. The plane boards in ten minutes. I'm still researching that fine line between "buzzed" and "too drunk to fly".
We'll see how it goes at the gate.

Thus ends Beijing 2008.
TBG- Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow...

My last visit to the IBC is over.
My stuff is packed, inventoried and palletized. It'll be home in a couple weeks, barring the sinking of the container ship...

Most of the crew left Monday, the Code Monkey is flying today and Yours Truly is traveling tomorrow.
Trying to decide on dinner... Duck? Dumplings? Sichuan? Hunan?
Decisions, decisions!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stormy Weather

There is a storm rolling in tonight...
...and you know how I love shooting lightning.


TBG, out in the storm...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Public Service Announcement

It it wasn't so close to the truth, it would be funny.

More Random Beijing

IBC Snackfood.

No. I didn't try it.
I like my peaches and bananas in smoothies and on ice cream sundaes...
Not popcorn.

TBG - Food Prude. ;)

Random Beijing - 2

Let's see what else we have in the file...

Did you enjoy the Archery competition from the Olympics?

Try it yourself...

TBG Out-

Random Beijing - 1

Let me look through the Doorknobs...

Here's one...

Hmmm... I'm not sure about going to this party.
If I did, I'd probably want to wear a raincoat.

("A tight grip" indeed!)

TBG out-

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Cojones. Diseased cojones. Diseased donkey cojones. For dinner.

I must be living right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hurricanes, 2008

From XKCD...

"Hurricane Illinois-has-it-too-easy." Heh.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Russia got the gold, USA took silver in Women's team foil.


I didn't see one roll of chain-link or a coil of barbed wire. Not even a picket.
How do they even call this Fencing?

Friday, August 15, 2008

OMG! It's Sufei!

Today I kept hearing from everyone how nice it was outside, that it was a blue-sky day, so I decided to go out with my camera and get a picture or two.

About a month ago I posted a clip about a Internet TV show/station in Beijing called SexyBeijing...

As I bulldozed my way through the crowded Olympic Green I noticed a girl getting her picture taken... She had those funky glasses with cats-eye frames...

Sure looks like Sufei.
I waited until they were done and I tapped her shoulder and asked her name...
Holy crap- It's Sufei... Anna Sophie Loewenberg.

I think I scared her and her Mom who was with her, that I would recognize her from out of the blue, let alone running into her by chance among the countless people wandering the O'Green.
Anyway- I twisted her arm to get her to take a pic with me...

They were on their way to the Today show set over by Ling Long Pagoda.
I'm pretty sure she was going to be interviewed today...

TBG, frightening Interweb celebrities daily...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is the Rodeo in Town?

From our "I Wish I was a Fly on the Wall" Department:
(N.B.: This was put together from cryptic text messages on my Crackberry and the hungover/drunk/one-foot-in-the-grave ramblings of one of the participants this morning, who had a 7:00 crew call and still though it was a good idea to go to Sanlitun last night.)
Identities masked to protect the innocent.

I got a text last night...sometime after 2:00.

SMSH: Cowgirl?
YT: Wubbawubba who?

Obviously there is a bigger story here.
Let me lay it out for you...

Three Americans are sitting in a bar in Sanlitun enjoying cold adult beverages.
A local girl come up to the table and begins making small-talk with Our Visiting Heroes.
Soon, she is has chosen her target and is speaking directly to just one of the victims Visitors.
After several minutes of engrossing conversation, this exchange takes place.
Visitor 1 (A/k/a/ Birthday Boy): "You're a Cowgirl?"
CowGirl: "Cowgirl... Cowgirl."
V1: "Hmmm. There is a rodeo event in the Olympics? Interesting."
CG: "No, no... Cow Girl."
V1 (to Visitor 2): "She says she's a cowgirl. She's not really dressed like a cow girl..."
V2: "A Cowgirl?"
CG: "Cow girl. Cowgirl." Cowgirl makes some vague hand and body motions...
V2 to V1: "I'm not sure she's saying 'cowgirl'..."
Visitor 3, who is trying to keep from laughing out loud: "She's not a cow girl...She's saying 'Call Girl.'"
V1: "Call girl....?" A light goes on...Suddenly all the pieces fit into place..."Ohhhhh...."

(Doubtless there are some parallels...
Some riding skills are involved, perhaps some roping and hog-tying; I'd avoid the bareback riding and the bull riding events... but the barrel racing and the rodeo clowns in that event might be interesting to watch...And the goal is to stay on more than 8 seconds...?)

Just for the record:



Not a Cowgirl

Let's just leave Our Heroes as we found them... swilling Chinese beer and fending off Cowgirls & GreenCard prospectors.

TBG, out-

REALLY out of context...

Had a few good ones here in the last couple days...

Spongemark sent me one this morning from the Swimming and Drowning venue...

"Do we have replay of the four guys hugging?"

and earlier in the week we got a real winner from TyW:

"That wasn't clean and jerk, that was snatch."

The capper for me was yesterday as I was walking through the lobby as there was a crowd watching a large bank of TVs. I heard the commentator (Australian I think) say:

Wait for it...

"She's having trouble seeing the cock."

I turned my head back so fast I almost got whiplash.

TBG out-

Marketing genius.


Beijing 2008 Olympic manicure/pedicure kit.

People will buy anything with a logo on it...

Monday, August 11, 2008

HTML Feng Shui

For Laura:

I got a note on my keyboard this morning...

Big Guy likes haikus
Though syllables don't add up
But who really counts made your point.

I stand humbled.

TBG out-

Pictures, we got 'em...

The ever-resourceful Apostle garnered some beautiful images from the opening ceremonies.

Amazing, eh?

TBG, in awe of great photographers-
Hey Google...

You're embarrassing yourself. Actually you're embarrassing me...

I told you before, knock off the predictive ad placement...

Ms. Su would probably be horrified to see this AdSense link on her site...

TBG, losing my appetite-

Sunday, August 10, 2008

W's big day out...

It's good the be the W...

You definitely have to check out this gallery from W's day off in Beijing...

The look on his face in the first pic is priceless....

TBG out-

Comparison: Atlanta '96 to Beijing '08

I got a note recently that reminded me of the Opening Ceremony from Atlanta in 1996.

After watching Athens in '04 and the other night in Beijing, I decided to look for some footage from Atlanta because I vaguely remember being embarrassed for being from the South after seeing the Atlanta Opening Ceremonies brought to you by Chevrolet...

Sherman, set the Wayback... 1996.

It'd be awesome if it was halftime at a SEC football game.

Horrific for the Opening Ceremonies.

Atlanta OC 1996 - Epic Fail.

TBG out-

Saturday, August 09, 2008

TWSS - Part 1

"It's leaking from places it shouldn't leak from."

"I'd only come at that point."

"Those two boys were easy to get off."

"You need to lick it a couple times, then I'll never sit in it."

"Move. Just Move."

"You need to get closer."

"Don't fling it around, Baby. You've gotta keep it steady."

"Ty, I've got something I want to try with you..."

More to come, no doubt.

Friday, August 08, 2008

C'mon, New Guy. Just Order your F*ing Coffee.

Ah, you can always spot the new arrivals to Beijing.

The latest bonehead to entertain us was the self-important ass who stood at the No-Bucks in the commissary and placed his normal high-maintenance-too-impressed-with-myself bullshit order with the diminutive Chinese barista.
These girls only know about 6 phrases and orders... Coffee, Caffe Mocha, Caffe Latte, Iced Latte, Cappuccino, and tea.
And everything is one size... None of the Tall, Grande, Venti, Bueno Grandissimo, or any other No-Bucks-centric coffee language.
One size.

The Self-Important Ass placed his well-rehearsed order...
"Give me a Double Venti half-caf soy latte, and a double shot skinny latte with hazelnut."
The girl behind the counter looked at him with a look of embarrassment.
"Ummm...Two latte?" she asked, picking out the only word she knew.
"Didn't you hear me? Double Venti half-caf soy latte. Double shot skinny latte with hazelnut." saying it louder, hoping more volume would help her understand the foreign words.

His companion studied the rather sparse menu...
I could see him warming up to order a decaf venti-3 pump sugar free vanilla- 3 pump sugar free cinnamon-nonfat-no whip-no foam-stirred latte, and if he did I was going slap him with a slice of Butterfish.

Some other interesting things I've heard at the NoBucks in the NBC Commissary in Beijing:

"Does a Frappachino have ice in it?"

"Can I have a cold hot chocolate?"

"What's in your iced coffee?"
(There's actually kittens in there, and maybe some urine.)

"Do you have any sandwiches?"

"Which drink has the least amount of calories?"

Jeebus, people. Read the menu.
Caffe Mocha
Caffe Latte

Order and get the hell out of the way. And the next idiot who orders a Non-Fat Whipped Soy on iced Carmel Macchiato with mocha and caramel drizzle gets a size 14 tennis shoe up their ass.



Put the mushrooms down and step away...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dance Teams

Maybe I was a little harsh a few days ago...

The dancers are really trying hard to live up to the standard set by the teams that performed in Athens in 2004.

When I was out in Chaoyang yesterday I was able to get a few (hundred) pics during the dance team practice.

Working on the rhythm... finger snap, head toss, finger snap, kick...

OK Number 1, lose the flipflops...

I just am not finding the words...

Jeebus lady! How much do bad implants cost in China?

Where is that Pantene sponsorship when you need it?

TBG, thinking about changing my venue...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Recipe to Drive TBG Nuts:Repetitive Redundancy

There is a pre-specified serial feed cable missing from Beach Volleyball.

Our Venue Operator is unable to find anyone to take responsibility for resolving the issue.
No problem there, it's not really his job; it should have already been identified, labeled and tested before he got on-site.
Yours Truly had already visited Chaoyang looking for it and spoken to the VITM (Venue IT Manager) about it days ago and got the famous handwave and a maiwenti...
"No problem, no problem."
So I knew there was going to be a problem...
But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

So here we are at 4 days out from start of competition and there is no love...

Now... (And here is the meat of this post...)

There are two ways for this to work...

Average efficient project manager: "Hey Big Guy, can you take care of Task A* for me."
TBG: "Sure. When do you want it done?"
AEPM: "It's pretty important. By end of day tomorrow is OK."
TBG: "No worries. I'm on it. Top of my list for the AM."
AEPM: "Thanks."

The task is then place in my priority queue and assigned critical path status. No problem. Provided nothing else is assigned with higher priority, it gets handled.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

Task assigned, task accepted.
Task accomplished within acceptable time limits.
Easy-peasy-lemon squeezy.

How it works in Beijing:

Not So Efficient, Stressed-Out Project Manager, 11:00am Tuesday:
"Serial cable at Beach Volleyball is still not working."
TBG:"Hmmm. Ok. Let me make some calls."

NSESOPM: "We need to get that cable at Beach Volleyball fixed."
TBG: "I'm on it. This take priority over the IDF Backup?"
NSESOPM: "Yes, high priority."
TBG: "OK- I'm on it."
Several phone calls are made, threats delivered, ultimatums issued.
Responsible parties are not available, one guy on vacation, another missing in action. This is going to need Hands-On from TBG to come to fruition.
I make plans accordingly, setting up to go to Beach Volleyball in the morning to close the OVR-to-IDS Sportbug air gap.
The issue will be resolved.

NSESOPM:"So, Big Guy, what is up with the serve-speed feed for Beach Volleyball?
TBG: "No love from anyone. I'm going over there in the morning to take care of it."
NSESOPM: "It is very important to get resolved as soon as possible."
TBG:"Got it. No worries."

NSESOPM: "Big Guy, have you made arrangements to fix Beach Voilleyball yet? It is very important..."
TBG: "Dude. I'm on it. I'm going in the morning."

NSESOPM: "Jay- I wanted to let you know... It is important to get beach volleyball taken care of very soon. We have only 3 days...."
TBG: "Already cleared my schedule. I'll be there in the AM."

Telephone call to my cell while I'm at dinner:
NSESOPM: "Big Guy.. I want to remind you to take care of Beach Volleyball in the morning..."
TBG: "I'm. On. It." (*click*)

Text message:
NSESOPM: "Jay... The cable for the Sportbug at Beach Volleyball... Have you made arrangements to take care of...."

Email from the Code Monkey
NSESOPM: "Please remember to go to Beach Volleyball in the morning..."

A note is slipped under the door to my room.
NSESOPM: "Big Guy. Beach Volleyball serial cable still needs to be resolved some time today. Please make arrangements..."

NSESOPM: "Jay, are you going to beach volleyball today? We need the cables for the sportbug..."

NSESOPM: "Big Guy...I'm thinking there might be an issue with the Serial cables for the Sportbug..."

TBG: "Hey Stass... I'm on my to badminton. I'll catch you later..."
Look of shock, anger and surprise from the code monkey.
TBG: "Just kidding- Volleyball. I'm outta here."

The feed was found, labeled, terminated, tested and secured buy 1:30.

Guess what time it is?
It's time for the Code Monkey to quit f@#&%ing with me.

*"Task A"
= damn near anything from terminating a Cat-5 cable for a network switch, to planning and executing a small squad infiltration and demolition of a military installation, to engineering a hostile [and I mean *really* hostile] takeover of a Fortune 500 company.

Bugs for Dinner

One of the courses for dinner last night was fried duck with scorpions.


Not scorpion-shaped biscuits...
Not scorpion-like meat products...


There's no doubt that when we ordered these, the guys back in the kitchen got a laugh.
"Those dumb American tourists! They want to eat the scorpions again.
Tell Lee Sun to go move the boxes in the shed and find some arachnids."


The first person to get a mouthful of chitin was Anne, one of the IBC crew...

Mmmm. That's good bug.

Mitch also imbibed...


Not to be outdone, Yours Truly also enjoyed the treat. Twice.

I know what you're going to ask...

1. Crunchy, without much taste.
2. The stingers are still sharp. Don't eat that part.

Ben (Help Desk escapee and IBC Staffer) also was shamed into enjoying a bug...
(Alas, no picture though... :( )

Speaking of bugs...

We got a huge charge (heh) out of Ty electrocuting himself with a electronic bug zapper...No photos, but the visual will stay with me for a good long time...

Ty and Mark went to the Lotus shopping for a fan and some other goodies. One thing Ty picked up, along with the Corn Juice, was a paddle-shaped bug zapper.

We had enjoyed several adult beverages and had commenced monkeying about with the bug zapper and Ty had convinced himself that the device was either too technologically advanced for him in his current (heh) state, or the device was defective.
Right about that time, he shorted the two metal mesh surfaces against his hand. There was a pop and a blue spark and Ty almost vaulted over the railing of the balcony.
He got a nasty little charge that caused his arm to go numb for several minutes...
I laughed so hard I think I peed a little bit, and Mark was having trouble catching his breath.
Ten minutes after The Incident his arm was still tingling...

Good times, good times...

TBG- Bug Cruncher...

Beach Volleyball Entertainment

There is a TV camera at Beach Volleyball with a stationary shot of the court, and that camera has it's own channel on the Closed Circuit system in the IBC.

Dancer practice is fun to watch...

Well... They're not the Laker Girls...

Did you expect them to be?

TBG - Always amazed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Captain & Corn

Corn juice.
I shit you not. Corn juice.
Sweet, buttery corn juice.

Mixes well with The Captain.
So I hear anyway...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Caption the Picture

1. This is why Sumo is not a recognized Olympics sport.

2. New IDS @ IBC workout program.

3. Tokyo Conga Line - FAIL

4. (singing) "C'mon baby, do the loco-motion..."

5. "Hey, now, Number 4...Both hands up..."

6. ...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

City at Night

It has been insanely clear here the last two days. We've had some rain and things have been looking great during the day. Real "Blue Sky" days...
The problem with that is that when you are walking across the Olympic Green...(nothing green about it- it's asphalt and concrete) it can get hot-hot-hot.
But at least the sky has been nice.

Even at night...

The view from my window-
Looking roughly east southeast from the NorthStar (Homeland Green) Media Village.

A balmy 23 degrees...

TBG, waiting for the Second Wave-

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Office

The Office in the IBC is nearly complete...
Most of our laptops are installed and configured, and the IDS Crew that will work inside the IBC has arrived.

(Click picture for larger view)
It's gonna be tight in there...
I think I'll be camping out at C2 near the WaterCube.
Or perhaps at Beach Volleyball...Heh.

TBG- needing elbow room...

Catering in Beijing

Does it seem odd that I can make this statement:
"I'm looking forward to having breakfast at the IBC."
How about this quote:
"This is one of the best pancakes I've ever eaten in my entire life."
(Spoken in true reverence, with syrup dripping from my chin.)

Lord knows, I've bitched enough about the food here in Beijing, and I believe I've sent a Tweet or two about some menu items, but there is one specific point I have to make...
Some of the best pancakes I've had in years were made in Beijing China by a Scotsman.

Catering for all the NBC venues in Beijing is being handled by a company called Behind the Scenes. I'm met several of their staff and all of them are pretty cool people... I 've met the front-of-house guy at the Field Shop- Frasier- from Canada and the Chef from Athletics- Jodi from Sydney Australia. Awesome people, all of them.
The one that really stands out so far is Marc- the Griddle Master.
In contrast, the food from the Media Village, which is, in the timeless words of Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, "...This is low-grade dogfood."
(Really, don't waste your time at the restaurants in the MV.)

My man Marc the Scot starts making his pancake mix the night before...
As I get a cup of coffee in the evening at the NoBucks (Free Starbucks) I see Marc working back in the kitchen area. I stop by before heading back to the office to see what he's whipping up...

"Hey man. We' havin' pancakes in the mornin'."

He's setting a vat of batter to rest before going back to the Media Village for the night.
The next morning I head back to the griddle Where A Miracle Is Occurring.

Mmmm. Pancakes.
They're light and thin. Just a hint of crispness on the edges.
And tasty? Oh. My. God.
Marc -is- King of the Griddle...

The only thing that would make this a Perfect Breakfast would be to be able to create the Famous Texas One-Eyed Stack:
3 thin pancakes, topped with a fried egg sunny-side up, 3 slices of crisp bacon and drown the entire structure in maple syrup...
But I'll just take the pancakes for right now. I'm not pushing my luck.

TBG - Looking forward to breakfast.