Friday, May 31, 2013

Occupation: Driving Instructor

The next time I am filling out a form that asks me what me occupation is, I'm going to put Driving Instructor.

On my drive home last night I realized how many times I was yelling instructions at people in cars in front of me...

"Hey! Moron! The light is green!"

"That stick on your steering column is NOT just a spot to hang your purse...

"Hang up the f'ing phone and drive, Dipstick!"

"I'll bet if you stop texting, you 'd be able to keep your farking car in your own farking lane!"

"Honey, you're looking for that pedal on your right... If you step on it just a liiiittle harder, you car might actually make it to second gear..."

"I can guarantee that you will not have enough time during the red light cycle to check your messages or do a Facebook update before it turns green, so don't even try."

"If you throw that cigarette butt out the window, I swear to Ghod I'm going to follow you home and shit on your front lawn, you f'ing slob."

(Desperately trying to avoid this scenario.)

Man, these morons are wearing me out.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hitler Wants An Ingress Invite

h/t Croc


Monday, May 27, 2013

Geocaching + MMOG + Cryptography + Augmented Reality

a/k/a - The thing that has been occupying my time lately...


Ingress is a near-realtime augmented reality massively multi-player online video game created by Niantic Labs (Google) and released for Android devices. The game has a complex backstory that Google is revealing piece by piece.

Players of the game belong to one of two factions, “Enlightened” (represented in green) and “Resistance” (blue). Players attempt to enclose regions of territory on Google Maps of Earth with virtual links between virtual portals; these maps are displayed on the players' smartphones, laptops and tablets (which function as mobile game consoles), with territory gained designated as "control fields". The ultimate goal of the game is for one’s faction to control the largest number of “Mind Units”, the estimated number of humans within the regions of territory controlled by the faction. The game has attracted an enthusiastic following in cities worldwide.
 (from Ingress Wiki)
The game is in beta right now, but you can request an invite from the website...There is no official iOS app yet, giving the existing players quite a smug feeling about their Android smartphones...

The game is a high-tech augmented reality geocaching experience. It revolves around XM-emitting portals - originally Post Offices and libraries, now including permanent structures like statues, monuments and plaques, but not limited to these things... One of the portals I visit all the time is the WaterTower in Jax Beach.

One of the most interesting aspects is that the game involves 2 novel concepts:
First, you HAVE to get off your ass to play... You can immerse yourself in the Intel portion, but in the end to really participate you have to get away from the console and head out into the cold cruel world and actual go to the Portals to progress in the game.
Also- you have to work as a team in real life, especially when you get to be higher level.
When you are low level you can completely activate a Portal solo, but when you are higher level you can destroy enemy hardware, but only partially activate a Portal- you need other players to finish the activation... Lots of strategy and tactics come into play.

Obviously there are large opportunities to participate in Ingress communities,
Google + and  hangouts, and there are real-time status line updates as play is underway.

A this moment the Resistance has control of the Beaches, as indicated by the blue portals and fields... But that can change like the weather. A team of the Enlightened can come in and convert all our Portals and leave the places covered in green like pond scum in a matter of minutes...
Those green portals at the bottom are in the Mayo Clinic area...
They can be tough to get to, but they will be turned over on Tuesday...

I was kind of amazed at how widespread the game is being played...

Check out London, where you can't swing a rat on a string without hitting a portal.

Even over in Kazan Russia (where I'm heading next month) there is a large player contingent...
 And this is a small sample of the Portal density in Shanghai...
 It's quite an interesting game...
It will be interesting to see what happens when it goes out of beta-
Lord knows, since I'm enjoying playing it, Google will probably cancel it...
That's what happens- if I like a show (Firefly, anyone?) or use a particular program (**cough**GoogleReader**cough**) it goes away...

On the Niantic Project website they release clues daily- and let me tell you, they are top-notch puzzles...


re-group in 4′s
Read first row down
go to second row, step 1 then read down
pat–then go back to top for last t
Go to third row, step down again
er–jump to top  np

In the end you get the passcode:
Are you f'ing kidding me?
Let em tell you- that was nothing...

Here's another that is completely insane...
View source the page and you will notice the following in a <span> tag at the end:
The style=” font-size:0px; letter-spacing:1px; is a hint on what needs to be done.
The numbers are the number of repetitions of 0 or 1 that are in a string when a run-length encoding is involved. Lets start with the first 2 as 00, which means the next 2 will become 11 and, the following 1 will become 0 and the 1 after that 1. Thus we get:
2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 4(1111) 4(0000) 2(11) 1(0) 1(1) 5(00000) 2(11) 2(00) 1(1) 2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 2(11) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 2(11) 4(0000) 1(1) 1(0) 3(111) 2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 3(111) 2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 3(111) 1(0) 2(11) 2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 4(1111) 1(0) 2(11) 1(0) 2(11) 3(000) 3(111) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 2(11) 1(0) 2(11) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 2(11) 2(00) 1(1) 1(0) 1(1) 1(0) 4(1111) 2(00) 1(1) 2(00) 2(11) 2(00) 1(1) 2(00) 3(111) 2(00) 2(11) 2(00) 2(11) 1(0) 3(111) 1(0) 4(1111) 3(000)
This gives us:
00 11 0 1 0 1 0 1111 0000 11 0 1 00000 11 00 1 00 11 0 11 0 1 0 11 0000 1 0 111 00 11 0 111 00 11 0 111 0 11 00 11 0 1111 0 11 0 11 000 111 0 1 0 1 0 11 0 11 0 1 0 11 00 1 0 1 0 1111 00 1 00 11 00 1 00 111 00 11 00 11 0 111 0 1111 000
Arrange in groups of 8. We get:
00110101 01111000 01101000 00110010 01101101 01100001 01110011 01110011 01110110 01101111 01101100 01110101 01101101 01100101 01111001 00110010 01110011 00110111 01111000
Converting binary to Hex this gives us:
This won’t work as the passcode yet, we need to find a keyword. Mass and volume form matter: 5xh2mattery2s7x
The guys who solve these have waaaaay too much time on their hands.

But if you enjoy this kind of thing and you have the time and inclination- join in the game...  It is a very interesting twist on today's "computer" games.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

AAR - Oklahoma City

"Something called 'the Oklahoma Standard' became known throughout the world. It means resilience in the face of adversity. It means a strength and compassion that will not be defeated."
- Brad Henry (D) - Gov. Oklahoma
Let me throw a few little comments from JAFO for you to start this off...

First- In Oklahoma City, the Airport is not on Airport Rd...
(And just to add to the irony- Terminal Rd is NOT where the Terminal is located.)

And since we're starting on The Airport...
It's called the 'Will Rogers World Airport'?
Because Will Rogers International Airport was taken?
Will Rogers Intercontinental, maybe?

(Looking at the flight displays there weren't many flights to Madrid or London.
There was a flight to LA so I guess its KINDA like an international flight.)

Now, the Chesapeake Energy Arena- now this was a nice place, and the guys running it were top-notch...

But - the name...
With the 'Chesapeake' in the name I would expect it to be in Baltimore or Norfolk... It might be reasonable to give that name to an arena in Richmond VA (University of Richmond- Go Spiders!)...

But in Oklahoma City- How about a local Fortune 500 Company?
Why not The Sonic Arena, or the Braums Forum, or maybe the Hobby Lobby Center?
(I would even suggest the name "Love's Shack" as an arena name, as Love's Truck Stops & Country Stores is a large corporate entity in OKC, and they have a decent marketing presence inside the arena already. Not sure how it'd go over with the B-52s though.)

Quite the trip. It was a last-minute gig, and on the spur of the moment I took a chance at reaching out to Famous the Evyl Robot and his inestimably better half- Jennifer to see if I could coax them out to a nosh and good conversation over tiffin.
And glory be- they acquiesced! And they brought along That Guy (a/k/a TeenBot) from A soft-spoken young man, but from reading through his 'blog, he might well be a force to be reckoned with in the 'blogosphere if he continues his writing...

Michael suggested we met up at a little joint in beautiful downtown Edmond OK,
Zarates Latin & Mexican Grill...
Holy mackerel! Such food, you would not believe...
Check out their menu-
I highly suggest a visit any time you are within 100 miles of the place.
I had the Pabellon- a Venezuelan version of Ropa Vieja... shredded beef, peppers & onions in a red sauce... Sooo good.
Michael had the chuleta and Jennifer had the Peruvian saltado (I think...).

I got to see Michael's modded Leatherman, and man, I'm going to whip up a pair of them tout damn d'suite... Go check it out...
Michael and I also discussed my desire for some custom leather for the the 92F Twins and my Anaconda. We'll see how that works out... From the photos and examples I've seen of his work, it should be amazing.

The conversation ranged far and wide- I got to hear the first-hand tales from the NRA Convention, which has steeled my resolve to attend the festivities in Indy next year. We discussed the different bloggers we have all met over the years, talked about firearms, blogging, family, shooting (and lack thereof recently) and all manner of things we find fun...

I got Jennifer to tell the tale of her banner pic with the KSG by Oleg Volk, and we discussed rampant stupidity of mouth-breathing droolers (Those colors don't go together!)
Jennifer and & broke out our iPads and shared pictures, and generally we all had a great time.

But- all good things come to an end- they had obligations and I had an airline employees to make miserable, so we parted company- only briefly, I hope.
One never know who will show up at a blogmeet.

They are Good People-
Odd how that works- JayG and all the NE Blog Crew, Borepatch, the folks in Indy, and all the Texas bloggers like KX59 and Belle in Houston, to BobS and good folks up in Dallas, to the danged Florida bloggers like Robb and McThag that I can never seem to get around to visiting even though they are 3 hours away....
The GunBlogging community are just amazing folks to be around, and I count myself fortunate to be able enjoy their company now and then.

Wrapping up- Michael, Jennifer & Teenbot- y'all are awesome- thanks for a great afternoon.



I think he just likes the IDEA of being President, not the actual work involved... He didn't know it was going to be so hard.

(Well, I think they (Mooch-elle and the Obamettes) like all the perks too- Worldwide spare-no-expense vacations, unlimited golf, all the Hollywood glitterati fawning over their every move, etc)

Seems like whenever the work-work-work gets to be too much, he either a) Leaves DC to go give a campaign speech for an official visit somewhere to talk about job growth or the economy or wahthaveyou, or b) goes off on vacation with Michelle and the girls to some far-off location surrounded by friends, cronies, wannabees, Secret Service agents, lackeys, toadies, minions and ass-kissers.

Basically he doesn't like the job, he doesn't like the Media, he doesn't like dealing with the senators or congresscritters of either flavor, he feels like he's a Washington outsider, and he hates American exceptionalism.

What he DOES like is giving a well-written speech- full of buzzwords and 'let-me-be-clears', stern looks, finger pointing/shaking on a properly functioning teleprompter and giving his shit-eating-grin as he accepts the enthusiastic applause of the beguiled masses.

He's almost as bad as the last Democratic shitheel that held the office of President...
The one who lied through his teeth just like our current Chief Executive and everyone believed him, or they just didn't care...

You remember- Mr. 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.' and 'I never inhaled.'

This one carries on that grand progressive tradition with his greatest hits: 'I only found out on Friday when I was watching the news' and 'You can keep your doctor' and 'I don't want to take away your guns.'

Which brings me to an aside on Austin TX... (reading the account of his recent visit to Austin was what triggered this missive, just-so-you-know...)
Texas is the textbook definition of a Red State, every city in the Lone Star State I have ever visited has been as conservative as they come...
I've driven across the state on coast-to-coast runs probably 8 times, worked multi-day events in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and spend several days in Midland-Odessa, Bridgeport, Corpus Cristi, and Amarillo... and Austin is the ONLY place that came across as being full of hipster-emo-pinko turds of the first order.
I find on reflection that the only way it can be explained it that Austin is the state Capitol (thus, filled with career politicians- who as a rule are typically progressives) and the location of the University of Texas- a hot-bed of leftist activity if one ever existed.
(As a matter of fact, google up some of the tenured professors that teach politics at UT, then look at their CV- you find most of them [all of them I looked at] are proud activists.
If you have left-wing activists teaching your political courses, what do you think they are teaching?)
I don't know how Borepatch ever made it through his tarriance there...


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who Does This Sound Like....

...Suddenly, another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves.  
When others spoke, they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell only lasted while the voice spoke to them, and when it spoke to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler’s trick while others gape at it. 
For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.
Ring any bells?


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

OMFG-Dark-30 Ruminations

Flight time: 6:31a Sweet Jeebus, why did agree to this dog's breakfast?

After waking up every twenty minutes or so starting at 2:00am, at 3:40 I couldn't stand it any more.
I got up, showered, dressed and strapped my bag on my bike and headed for the airport.
I got about a mile then went back for a thicker jacket.
Ambient temp was 50, and considerably cooler in a t-shirt and a 70mph wind chill factor.

I got hit by a wave of aromatic nostalgia during my ride out to JAX...
As I crossed the Intercoastal Waterway there was a heavy scent of salt marsh in the air and the smell brought me memories of driving down US1 down in the Keys in the days of my sordid youth.
The smell of exposed salt flats and decaying seaweed always takes me back to those days where I spent my days diving and my nights swilling paint-thinner tequila and throwing up,
Good times.... Good times.
- - - - 
Chesapeake Energy Arena is in my crosshairs this morning...
The OKC Thunder are about to be eliminated fromthe playoffs and we'll be there to help drive the last few nails in the coffin.
One of these days arena personnel are going to start recognizing us as harbingers of doom and quit being so helpful when we come knocking.

But until then....

- - - - - 

Meanwhile... Can I interest you in some mockery?

- - - - - - - - 

(While deplaning in Atlanta)

I understand that you have been incommunicado for 45 minutes on our flight from JAX to ATL, but for cripes sake, can you either stay in your ferschlugginer seat and finish your text message, or wait until you get out to the concourse.
Because this "I'm going to block the entire jetway as I slowly try to walk and text at the same time" is going to get you a quick leg-sweep from that ogre behind you...


- - - - - - - - - -

Gotta say, the Chesapeake Energy Center is quite a nice arena...

- - - - - - - - - - 

TBG, in the press box.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Puzzler Of The Day

One of my left-leaning co-workers today opined that Joe Biden was behind the re-opening of the Benghazi hornet's nest...

"He's doing it to make Hillary look bad- that way he'll be President in 2016." she said.

Man, I'm surrounded by morons.


Oceanus Non Carborundum

ZOMG! The little esquimaux are gonna drown causa teh Globull Warmenings!

Seriously USAToday?

Alaska town to vanish by 2017, report says
When it comes to the fate of the 350 residents of Newtok, Alaska, the Guardian pulls no punches: "Exile is inevitable," it writes. That's because their coastal village, located about 480 miles west of Anchorage, is in the process of being washed into the Bering Sea.
I don't know about you, but where I'm from we have this thing called "erosion".
That's where the land is washed away by the movement of water.
And last time I checked, "erosion" "rising sea level".

While you are checking out 'erosion', 'abrasion' and 'desedimentation', look up 'estuary'.
See if you can figure out why you shouldn't build a castle in a swamp.


Knock it the fuck off, you're scaring the low-info voters.


Pop Quiz: "Never Let A _______ Go To Waste"

-or- "If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander."

Carney: "Because, you know, what we have here with one issue – Benghazi – is so clearly, as we’re learning more and more, a political sideshow. A deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy."
Cracker, please.
Yo- Spokesguy!  - Were you not paying attention for the last 6 months?
Do the words "Sandy Hook" mean anything to you?

But this is SOP for the Obama Presidency... The administration's mantra that is famously attributed to Rahm Emanuel says it all...... Never let a serious crisis go to waste.
They never finish the actual quote when they use it... it goes something like:
"...unless you are a Conservative, in which case if you use a crisis for political gain you are low-life, scum-sucking cretins just like us."

What gets under my skin is the hemming and hawing that they do-
"Let's not jump to conclusions..."
"We can't act without all the facts"
"We are looking into it..."
"We don't have irrefutable information on this situation..."

Seems to me most of these prevarications are shorthand for "we don't know how we can turn this to our political advantage yet, but when we do, you'll know it when we use it to bite you in the ass"...

With any luck, by June there should be several White House entities back in the private sector, earning $20,000 a pop for speaking engagements.


Then & Now

From Adam Baldwin on Twitchy via Doug Ross

Yes... "Save this for 2016" indeed!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Feeding The Monkey

It's D-Day for Kazan...

Actually it's more like S-Day-
Shipping Day.

All my equipment for the event ships today. If it ain't in the box now, it ain't goin'.
(Mainly because I'm not going to even try to hand-carry any equipment over there.
It's a bite in the ass both going and coming home.)
And let me do the math... It's May 13, event starts the first week of July...
I assume it's going by some combination of airfreight, cargo container, semi, cargo van, and camel caravan.

So my cases are all packed except for one element-
I needed some backpacks  for the volunteers to carry their equipment in when they head to their work locations... So they arrive this AM to be packed in my last case.

If you are familiar with international shipping you know if you put something like "backpack" on a manifest, Customs Officials usually assume it is a 'giveaway' item, and it is dealt with in a completely different manner than our other carnet items like our laptops, etc. So instead of "backpack", which would get red-flagged, I'll tag them as "equipment deployment bags"... Yeah- that has success written all over it.

Yes, it has rather ominous connotations, especially if you are a suspicious Customs guy, but I've gotta try something.

Meanwhile, after my cases roll out the door, it will be business as usual.

This is just about how my workday runs, on average...

I'm usually in one or the other of these roles, depending on the day and the event.

Actually, I think it's more like this...

As my man Pete would say: "Feeding the monkey to watch it shit..."


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mockery, We Has It.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


From Breitbart...

“DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls,” reads the banner at the top of his website “Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

Really? You think that's gonna work?


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Random Thinks - Tuesday PM

So, it seems like 2 kids were punished for pretending pencils were guns and going pew-pew-pew.

Kinda like the kid that bit his pop-tart into an Idaho/pistol shape...

Of course, the Authorities in both cases over-reacted. (Gee, y'think?)

I don't know if these jerkwads know anything about human psychology, but the more you make a big deal about something, the more attractive it is to kids...
I can see where this is headed...
And I'm going to tell you how to profit by it, it it isn't too late already...
Go down to WallyWorld, Tagret, and S-Mart and buy up all the cheap-assed plastic pistols you can find and ferret them away.
Every cap pistol, water gun, nerf gun, etc- anything with a barrel and a trigger.
In 5 years you will be able to make a killing (heh) on E-Bay with these collectibles.

I can just see a teenager in a trench coat, on a streetcorner near an elementary school in about 10 years...
Saleskid: "Pssst! Hey kid! (opens his coat) Got a dart gun here... comes with 3 suction-cup darts. You in?"
Impressionable 8 year old: "Naahh. I want a cap gun... And not one of those danged six-shooters that use roll-caps. I want the one that takes the plastic yellow ring of caps."
SK: "Oh... a connoisseur! Well Tex,... I have a Western Legends Outlaw- die cast, 12-shot ring caps, comes with a holster."
I8yo: "Perfect! How much?"
SK: "Oh, this fine piece of workmanship will set you back 150 yuan."
I8yo: "100 RMB and 2 supersize Big Gulp cups."
SK: "125, the cups, and you introduce me to your big sister."
I8yo: "Wait a second, this isn't one of the California models... Bright green or orange, right?"
SK: "No... I only got quality stuff here....Look you want it or not?"
I8yo: "Ok... Deal."

We shall draw the curtain of charity of this felony transaction....

Moving on:

From our "It's not my fault; Society is to blame" Department:

Lauryn Hill, an entertainer of some sort, has violated the US tax code and is now in the  defecation of quite some depth... to the tune of a cool million dollars.
(Not enough to make her a candidate for an Obama cabinet post, but still...)
Now poor mis-educated Ms. Hill is going to spend a night or three in some sort of Federal housing for her transgressions, followed by a nice stint of house arrest.

Money (heh) quote:
“I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” Hill said before U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo. “I had an economic system imposed on me.”
Hmm. I had this economic system imposed on me... Does that mean that I don't have to pay taxes either?

Meanwhile, instead of following the Apostle Timmy Geithner, she instead followed the Church of Wesley Snipes and Willie Nelson...
At the time of her arrest last year, Hill wrote a criticism rejecting pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.”
Right. So that makes it all okay then.

Personally, I think it is just a matter of magnitude... Apparently she didn't owe enough to warrant that cabinet post, perhaps an ambassadorship or a seat in the US Senate- the usual place you find tax dodgers and thieves.

Oh well.

Next up:

A buncha cool kids (OldNFO, JayG, Jennifer, etc) went to the NRA Convention in Houston. Looks like they had a great time...
I might have to look into going next year.
It's going to be in Indy; One would hope the Hoosier Gunbloggers will rise to the occasion and have a blogmeet of epic proportion, given the possible guest list.

From my "Already Blogged By Better Folk, But I Still Want To Make A Point" file:
From the Palm Beach Post:
"Florida House and Senate budget leaders have awarded Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw $1 million for a new violence prevention unit aimed at preventing tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., from occurring on his turf."
“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradshaw said. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ”
 Great googly moogly.
A million bucks...
And his plan?
Ask the good folks of Palm Beach County to inform on neighbors, friends and relatives if they think someone is "anti-government".
Here- here's a tip line for you to call.
Okay... that's about $200 or so, depending on where the Sheriff took the reporter from the Palm Beach Post for lunch to deliver the press release. I wonder what the other $999,800 will be used for?

Now, there is someone with quite an axe to grind with Mr Bradshaw that could probably give a reasonable guess as to where the money will go...
(This website is quite a hoot.)
Guess who will be the first to be "investigated" with the Sheriff's new initiative...

I have a good idea who will be second- I wonder how many of the 'person making anti-government comments, threats or speeches' will be leveled at Palm Beach resident Rush Limbaugh?
Over at The Gormogons, serial commenter Island Dweller riled up The Czar with some interesting observations on this whole kerfuffle, and The Czar, as he is wont to do, broke down the entire situation quite nicely... Go take a peek. Tasty stuff.


All right, enough already.
The highway is a'callin'...


Russia "How Do I..." Items

I was compiling some items for my 'How To' list I give to my victims coworkers...
Tips on basic polite phrases, ordering drinks, finding the bathroom, etc.

In discussion with one of my many co-conspirators this weekend, I was getting a few protips (he spent 4 years in Moscow) and learned that body language goes a long way...

Yours Truly: "So, how does one ask for the check in a restaurant?"

Moscow Mike: "Well, what I do is throw my empty plates on the floor, then grab an empty vodka (or beer) bottle and slam it against the wall. Then I pull out my wallet and wave money in the air. The smashed plate is to get their attention, and the broken bottle shows them I mean business."

YT: "Uh, yeah... So... How are the Russian prisons then?"

TBG, pondering the true meaning of "некультурный"

Thursday, May 02, 2013

What? Where? When? Whoa.

Ok- next on the agenda...

Where? - That's what I said.

Ye Ghods.
This is gonna suck.

So I go chat up Travel Girl...
I give her the details and she waves me off-
"No worries- I'll get something arranged for you..."
(You can't rush Travel Girl. You wind up with a size 16 colon in a middle seat back by the bathroom on a trans-Atlantic hop after a close encounter with a pair of blue gloves and a TSA Speculum. Let her do her job in peace. Learn from my mistakes. Srsly.)

So I waited- watching my United travel app on my iPad.

When the booking finally showed up I was in the airport in Houston on my way Brooklyn with Blee and Dingo. I started walking through the cities, times and connections.

Looks like a good start...

DC to Frankfurt didn't look too bad...Only 10 hours.


Jeebus Pete. 10 hours to Frankfurt and 13 more to Kazan?
Gonna be a loooooong day.

Now... About coming home...

Wait a sec... Kazan to Istanbul? 18 Hours?
Oh HELLS no.

Dingo and Blee got quite a laugh, then we started google mapping.
1300 miles... 18 hours... that's... 76mph?

Dingo: "Did you piss off Travel Girl? 'Cause that looks like she's got you on an airline that uses Cessna 150s as their primary equipment."
Blee chimes in: "You're either riding in a zeppelin (Led or otherwise) or they are gonna tie a metric shitload of helium balloons to your happy ass and push you out the door."
Dingo: "I know... You'll go down the jetway in Kazan and there will be a bus labeled 'airplane'... Better you than me, Big Guy."

Blee is googling Selcon airlines- "It's a Nigerian outfit."
That explains it all...
I guess this is the latest iteration of the 419 Scam.
They sell you a ticket on-line then when you get to the airport, there is no airline, no flight, you're on your own.

I resolve to have a word with Travel Girl when I get back to the office.

So- in Kazan.
World University Games 2013... We're doing scoring and stats for Tennis.

Let's see-
Talk about an environment fraught with peril for an ogre far from home...
A couple thousand college kids- the law of averages says half of them will be female...

For instance- This is a cut-sheet from their press kit.

As I have said before - this can only end in tears.
Their tears will be from the shock and terror, mine will be from the tasers and pepper spray.

You heard it here first: This will probably end badly.
Film at 11.

Some of the REAL fun is figuring out how to code the equipment carnet to get our stuff in and out of Russia without 1) a huge number of bribes to everyone from Putin to the local dogcatcher in Kazan and 2) theft of all my equipment.
After all, what customs inspector couldn't use 8 or 9 laptops...

I have a friend in Minsk,
Who has a friend in Pinsk,
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk.
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk.

And when his work is done -
Haha! - begins the fun.
From Dnepropetrovsk
To Petropavlovsk,
By way of Iliysk,
And Novorossiysk,
To Alexandrovsk to Akmolinsk
To Tomsk to Omsk
To Pinsk to Minsk
To me the news will run,
Yes, to me the news will run!
 - Lobachevsky - Tom Lehrer- (not this one, this one.)
 Yes- the solution is quite complicated, including photographing every single piece of equipment on the carnet and making each one a line item...
(Well, it's not quite that bad, but close.)
Oh, this is gonna be fun.
Stay tuned, kids.