Monday, July 29, 2013

Strange Landscapes

Ah yes, Valley of the Reclining Women... rode my Yamaha through there last year.
A bit difficult on my bike- very little traction, and some killer curves...


Upcoming Firearm Purchase

The 'Roach and I were talking shotguns...
"yadda yadda yadda - 8 gauge."
Huh? Wow. Wonder if a pistol-grip pump with an 18" barrel is available in 8ga?

We exchanged a couple emails and finally he sends...

"OK,  now this is a bit crazy.
Using a 8 gauge Slug to fire into molten steel to unclog it."
Ok, I gots to see me some of this...
After a quick perusal all I could think was "Yikes."

More research was needed... Google, don't fail me now....

From Remington's website:
Both the gun and the ammunition provide superior power, accuracy and dependability, shot after shot, at distances up to 300 feet. Obstructions like eyebrows, rings, balls, overhangs and snowmen can be eliminated more effectively.
Eyebrows, balls and snowmen- Oh my! can break up rings and balls before they interfere with production flow.
 I just bet you can break up a ring or some balls with that thing.

Daddy want!


Sunday, July 28, 2013


Just a little 2-wheeled jaunt this weekend...

- Friday 11:00 AM -
Jax Beach
Lake City
Live Oak
St Mark's Lighthouse
St. George's Island
Port St. Joe
Mexico Beach
Panama City
- Saturday -
DeFuniak Springs
Florala AL - (Rain)
Paxton AL  - (Rain)
Andalusia AL
Paxon - (Rain)
DeFuniak Spgs
Panama City  - (Rain)
- Sunday -
Panama City
Fountain - (Rain)
Live Oak
Jax Beach - 2:10 PM

1029 Miles
I've got to get a different saddle- these long trips kill me.

The purpose of this little sojourn?

Nope, I'm not in the picture-
I was still on my way back from my Andalusia portal attack...
Long story... Damn Frogs.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Public Service Announcement

How to remove McAfee Antivirus Software

(Yeah, it's really him.)


Thursday, July 25, 2013


I'm still puzzled.

All six of the jurors were women and Maddy, 36, who is Puerto Rican, was the only minority to deliberate in the racially charged case. Zimmerman, 29, was a white Hispanic and Martin, 17, was black.
What's with the 'white Hispanic' bullshit- other than race-baiting from ABC?
(I mean, you expect it from that other network... you know, the one that's Nothing But Communists, and their creative audio editing.)

So, if Z-man is a white Hispanic, how are we identifying President Obama?
Is he a white African-American, or a black Caucasian?

Just trying to get the puzzle pieces to fit.



ZeFrank is at it again...


KA3AHb - Food?

Shall we talk about food?

It was difficult to find real local cuisine...Not that I would know authentic Tatarstan cuisine if it jumped up off my plate and spit in my eye.

So we ate a lot of other stuff...
To begin with, next to The Devil's Asscrack Bordello, there was a Mexican/Sushi/Unknownistan restaurant.
How did we know?
Well, I kinda recognized the Eagle-Snake-Cactus symbol painted on the outside.

That, and the smiling face of Dirty Sanchez Ivanovitch on the sign on the front of the building.

We gave it a shot...
The wings were passable...

Not sure what the sauce was, thought it might be chimichurri, but no.

The nachos that SeanO ordered disappointing?

'Disappointing' is not a strong enough term.
Scary? Puzzling? Vomit-inducing?
You decide.

We also ate a couple meals at the restaurant in the Bordello From Hell.
The food is so-so, but the Engrish menu was hella entertaining.

I'm pretty sure they meant Croc Monsieur, but it was more like a BLT.

Salad Green Madness. Sounds like a symptom, not a meal.

Ah, They have Hodgepodge! Lovely.

And some nice paste for lunch...

But on the dinner paste, I'd avoid the Gants Epidemic Deathes...

And I guess mushroom washtub would be cool...

On deck: More food fun in KA3AHb.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

KA3AHb - Pt. VI - Vindication & Transport

It's 2 in the afternoon and we were in all-out setup mode...
It's all hands on deck - Cables to run, hardware being installed, configuring software, volunteers to be trained, etc...
Since I'm not skilled enough to do any of these things, I'm on "Bitch Duty"...
Taping down cables, dressing the the hardware with cable-ties and making it tidy, and generally doing housekeeping and tracking where all our hardware was being deployed.

A little after 6AM EDT my phone rang.

CALLER ID: Big Cheese

Wow. He called to fire me. I was just expecting an e-mail for the weapons-grade insubordination I had sent off...

The conversation was short. (A $8/min it better be...)
Yours Truly: "Wow, calling to fire me. I feel somewhat honored."
Big Cheese: "Is the hotel REALLY that bad?"
YT: "It worse. I promise."
BC: "Then you guys move. Find another place."
YT: "Ok, thanks for the approval- I need to give LTC an opportunity to fix it. Moving will throw several monkey wrenches in the mix- site transport, airport transfers, etc. Plus, a couple other LTC staff is there too... The need relief too."
BC: "Regardless - take care of you crew. Get it fixed."


I sent a rather toned-down-but-still-very-realistic email to LTC project managers and the on-site director... That got a quicker response.
20 Minutes later I got a text from the LTC Project Manager "(Redacted) is on his way to the hotel to check it out."
SpongeMark said to have (Redacted) go to his room, so I shot a text message suggesting he experience Room 303.
I got a call 10 minutes later.
LTC PM: "You're moving. Hopefully you can stand one more night- pack and bring your bags with you tomorrow on the bus."
I heard from one of the other LTC staff that was at the hotel that when he went into Room 303 it was close to 100 degrees. He stormed out when he saw there was no A/C and only a desk fan to cool the place.

So we made it through one more night, and by the night of opening ceremonies for the Games we were in a brand-spanking-new hotel. Hotel Olymp on Prospekt Pobedy - and even mo' bettah, it was 10 minutes closer to the 'site.

We were roomed on 2 floors of a 12-story hotel... Floor 6 & 7 were mostly finished...

For instance, this is the door to the men's bathroom in the hotel restaurant...
But since the janitorial staff (usually old ladies) barge right in regardless of occupation, no door=no big deal.

They did try to make us feel welcome...

There was an elevator that worked, and they used keycards for entry. No WiFi, bare wires for lighting and (presumably) surveillance audio & cameras hanging out of the walls, but at least the 7th floor had blessed A/C. 
And curtains that actually kept the rooms dark enough to sleep.

We went out to celebrate- that tale has already been told here...

It finally looked like things were starting to level off.
...Until I found out the next morning that SpongeMark still didn't have A/C.
He tried to adapt and overcome-
Being on the 6th floor he just opened the window to catch some breeze, and at around 4AM a cloud of mosquitoes flew in and held a long discussion about whether to eat him right there or to pick him up and take him home for the rest of the brood to enjoy.

He came down to breakfast. He was not a happy camper.
"Fuck this place. Fuck this whole place. I'm heading for the airport."
We settled him down and put программист ученого on it. программист ученого speaks Russian but prefers not to... He likes to sit and listen to the locals talk when they think no one understands them. He says it's very educational.

We were off to the site and the first days of competition...


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

KA3AHb - Part 5

 - The Saga Continues -

So, программист ученого arrives 2 days late, SpongeMark arrives on the wings of disaster - including a 5 hour tour of Tatarstan when the driver bringing him from the airport got lost. (Seriously)

In that time SeanO and I got to experience some of the other joys of the house of ill repute bordello horrible shithole brothel cathouse  hotel.
It was a terrible place, really.
Once everyone had a chance to experience FortePiano an open rebellion quickly ensued...
Yes- it was as bad as I thought it was going to be.

In my daily updates back to HQ, I outline issues at the event site and any personnel issues...
In part of the closing I included a thumbnail description of the housing issue:
Worst hotel ever.
Sleep-deprived staff=poor performance.
Options to improve existing location are limited.
Relocation would be preferred.

The Staff in Kazan

I got a reply from The Big Cheese with the throw-away closing:
“…if there is anything we can help you with, let us know.”
Wow... Well, since you asked...

"This hotel is appalling. Seriously.
I am not kidding when I tell you this is one of the worst places I’ve ever stayed.
It is a by-the-hour hotel attached to a 24-hour “sauna” (nudge-nudge-wink-wink), and the conditions are horrid. There are no wardrobes/dressers or closets, so we are living out of our suitcases.
Housekeeping is limited to towels being changed out every other or every third day (we haven’t figured out the frequency).
There are no window shades and only an ill-fitting pseudo-curtain that barely covers the window.
As the sun comes up at 4:00am at this latitude, the lack of window shades/curtains makes keeping a restful sleeping environment impossible.
And that would be if we were actually able to sleep-
This whorehouse hotel has no air conditioning of any sort. Not even a ventilation system to move air in and out of the rooms. There are small oscillating fans (one per room), but they are only able to move hot air around the room, rather than actually cool it.
(And I’ll let you imagine how efficient and well-made this
small [Russian-gulag-manufactured] fan is when it comes to ‘quiet’ operation… It’s not quite as loud as someone shaking a tin can full of walnuts, but it’s damned close.)
So, to try to get some relief from the heat, you have to open a window, which is relatively safe if you are on the 2nd or 3rd floor, but not exactly safe if you are on the ground floor.
Opening the windows has its issues also…
With the windows open we get to hear the streetwalkers haggling with the Ivans, the symphony of chirps, whistles and beeps at all hours as the patrons lock their cars and arm their car alarms… And of course the inevitable alarm triggered randomly when someone closes a door too hard.
If you are near the stairway (Yeah, stairway- you think this joint would have an elevator? Hah) you get to hear the tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap of hooker heels tripping up and down the stairs all night. Very restful…
Restful is the key-
We are in for some long days- sunup at 4:17 and sunset at 9:40pm;
With extended hours for the schedule of play at the event, and the relatively few hours we will have ‘off’ it would be nice to be able to sleep past 4:00am, and that’s very hard when you’re sweating like a cat in a Chinese restaurant and the room is lit up like the surface of the Sun. (Some of us [Yours Truly] already sweat like a politician taking a polygraph, so it’s leaving some of us more than a little dehydrated.)
Better fans would improve things, but not much. Additionally, putting tinfoil on the windows would fix the sunrise/lighting issue, but the windows would have to be kept closed to have full effect. Probably not possible, even with a better fan.

I’ve mentioned the poor conditions at the hotel to the LTC project manager (Redacted), but Americans bitching about their hotel is probably not high on their priorities list.
Sadly- our DRIVER stays in a better hotel- he asked программист ученого why we were in such a shit-hole, that his place was much better. That's right- our driver was staying at the Kazan Kremlin Marriott.
The obvious solution is relocation, but I’m not sure what possibilities exist- программист ученого is looking into other accommodations that might be available… I don’t know how/what we can work out, but morale among the staff is pretty low at this point…

Sorry to vent, but this is redicking fuckulous.
I pressed the 'Send' button.
I figure I have 5 hours to get my affairs in order...

- Next up: Question to HR: Can you fire someone via email? -


Monday, July 22, 2013

KA3AHb - Part D

Part D, as in "Damn!"

The saga continues...

So- 5:00 +/- in the AM.
I'm dropped off at the Gates of Hell FortePiano and check in...

The lobby was (I kid you not) 90 degrees.
At 5:00am.

That should have been a clue.

I got the key for my room and headed up.

Key? Did you say 'Key'?


Yeah, let's all jump in the car and go back to 1990.
A hotel room key. How quaint.

That was clue # 2.

And then... Second floor, eh?
Where's the elevator?

Really? No elevator.
Strike 3...

I hump my bags up the stairs and find my room...

The nicest thing I can say is... uh... Nothing.

It was hot. As Pete would say, Africa hot.
Tarzan couldn't handle that heat.

At 5:00am.

I start looking for the thermostat... None.
I look for some kind of central A/C vents. None.

There's a fan on the desk.

Oh HELLS no.

I'm too tired to complain yet. I need a couple hours of sleep before facing the day.
A quick cold shower, flip on the fan to blow the hot air around the room and I hit hay.
The windows have no shades, but there are curtains. They really don't cover the windows much, so sunlight is streaming in...
The room is lit almost as well as a TV Studio.
Sleep is difficult impossible.

This, as we say in the bidness, is going to be a Problem.
If it's as bad in the other rooms as it is in mine there is a definite possibility of mutiny. (And as I'm Project Manager for this nightmare it's my job to make sure things go smoothly. This will not help.)

SeanO is already here. He's probably pissed.

программист ученого arrives tomorrow and SpongeMark the next day.
They will definitely be pissed.

This is not exactly imbuing me with a sense of confidence.
And I haven't even been to the site yet...

- The Saga Continues... -


KA3AHb - Part the Third

A/K/A -
Welcome to Hell; Population: You

I'm in one of those funky seats behind the Flight Attendant's station- not a bulkhead, and not truly an exit row, but lots of leg room just the same.

The entire plane is full of student participants of the Universidae and a mere handful of coaches for the respective teams.
Lots of good-natured jingoism, especially between the Aussies and the Micks. No one is screwing with the Japanese for some reason (aside from MY occasional 'Excuse YOU, ya sandal-wearing goldfish tender' as I get slammed with an equipment bag as they pass).
Flight leaves around 8:40pm and touches down 4 hours later, and adding the +2 hour time change, I'm in Russia at 2:30 AM.


I clear C&I with a minimum of issues, my bags are on the carousel, and I'm out to arrivals tout-de-fuckin'-suite.

Where I am met by a cheering mob.

WFT is wrong with you people. It's 3AM.Go home.

No, it the Universiade Spirit.

I do my best to melt into the woodwork but alas- not possible.
Two girls from LTC spot me and begin waving and shouting, which triggers more wavaing and shouting from the Welcome Mob.
LTC Greeter: "Well-coome Mr. Big Guy! You are most well come."
Yours Truly: "You bet. Where's the friggin' car?" 
I've not slept in... gah- 29? hours and I'm going to start getting cranky soon.
LTCG: "Wait here for a moment, then we will go to the car."
Ah. Excellent.
45 minutes later of telling taxi shills to Отвяжись! and sweating my cojones off... ('Member what I said about getting cranky? Yeah.)
LTCG shows up with another victim.
LTCG: "OK- we can go to the car now."
(Astute Constant Readers will notice she didn't say "We'll leave now." Oh no.)
Me and Other Guy stow our stuff in the back of the Microvan after a 20 minute sojourn to the curb.
LTCG: "Please to wait right here. We are expecting one more."
Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. Question mark.

Now, I have alluded to the early sunrise at this latitude, and as we sit by the van waiting for our 'One More', the sun fully rises off in the north east.
When Mr. One More finally arrives we are finally off... on Mr. Toads Wild Ride Around KA3AHb and all suburbs.
We arrive at Hotel 1 (Ibis) in 40 minutes, and then after a 10 minute delay we are off to  Hotel 2 (The Shithole) and another 10 minute delay. Then it's just me, the LTCG and the driver.
I finally get a look at FortePiano.

I'm checking in at 5:30 AM. We have a 9:00 meeting at the Tennis Academy.
Yeah- this is gonna be an awesome 2 hours of sleep.

Oh yeah... It looks normal from Google Maps.

But if you get a peek into the basement, past the dead hookers stacked in the corners like cordwood...
That's right - FortePiano, a liberally translated: "The Devils Asscrack."

Coming up: Turning Up The Heat


Your Tax Dollars At Work


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Getting Caught Up On Current Events

I just want to make sure I got this straight...
Lots of stuff happened while I was away and I'm not sure I'm following all the logic involved.

So, a Hispanic dude shot a black guy for bashing his head into the concrete repeatedly. He was tried in a legal proceeding, and acquitted by a jury consisting solely of women.

Somehow it turns out that it's all the fault of white, gun-owning males.

Am I missing something?


KA3AHb - Part 2

Frankfurt & Points East

During the ticketing process the Travel Goddess mentioned that my requested routing would entail a long layover in Frankfurt.
This I have no issue with.

I don't mind a long layover... There is one thing I can always find in an airport and that's alcohol.

How long?

10 hours? Wow.

Now, some people would use this opportunity to go walkabout in the city of delay.
Not none of me. I had bidness to attend to.

There was a disconnect between United and Lufthansa regarding the FRA-KZN and the outbound KZN-FRA flights. My United account showed different flight numbers and departure times. Never a good thing when it comes to code-shares.

On arrival in Frankfurt I headed for the United transfer desk and had a chat with the attendant there. She tapped away at her keyboard and made phone calls. She finally gave me a sheaf of paper with cryptic notations and told me she THOUGHT she had everything ironed out. Now I needed to take this stack of airline scrip to the Lufthansa desk and clear it with them to get my boarding pass...
Been down this road before.
"I can help you no further- you must find other assistance."
So I merrily trip off to the Lufthansa desk.

I get about 10 feet and am herded to a side corridor by a young man in a police-looking uniform.
Out in the clear space near the Customs & Immigration checkpoint, there was a lone black bag, and on the periphery a cadre of serious young German police are clearing the area.

Oh shit.

All my Americanism vs Communism classwork came flooding back...
Here I am in a German airport 20 yards from a "abandon bag" and all I can think of is Marinus van der Lubbe and the Reichstag Fire, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Red Army Faction, Popular Forces and the Revolutionary Left...

So I dig out my smart phone and shoot a pic.

And about have my arm broken by the fanatical young policeman...

Ok, probably a bad choice.
I guess my layover is about to get longer.

An old Armenian couple race back to the bag and surprisingly DON'T get proned out by the Stasi German TSA analog.
(If it had been Newark they'd be kissing the terrazzo and the 80-y/o babushka would be getting fitted for a size 14 proctoscope to make sure she was not in possession of other "suspicious objects")
Germany is kinder and gentler than the US DHS, and the old couple go on their way with minimal bruising.

Me- I head to the first of 4 trips to Lufthansa and United to get my tickets ironed out.
Thank Ghod for that 10 hour layover.

Almost 3 hours later I have a stack of papers that might get me to Kazan, and hopefully (and more importantly) back out at the end.

And then the next adventure begins-

I go through security and enter the sterile (so they say) gate area and find a comfortable spot to spend a few hours.
I am shortly joined by a gaggle of redheads- a large contingent for college-age Irish girls on their way to the Universidae are on my flight... And they are setting up camp in my quiet zone. Lovely.
An hour or so later there are even more college-age females from Australia... Followed my a mixed-gender group of Japanese schoolkids.
I'm really starting to feel old.
I'm blowing the bell curve for the average age on this flight...

We are finally herded onto a bus and taken out to our plane and around 8:30pm, we are on our way to Kazan.

Next- The Devil's Asscrack
Stay Tuned


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spoken Word

- Or, I'll take "Languages that scare the crap outta me" for 500, Alex. -

After a long layover in Frankfurt and working with the Leipzig contingent from LTC, I have come to realize that this is completely true.


Real Life

Every. Woman. Ever.

Yeah. Pretty much.


Mostly Back - KA3AHb Part A

Greetings Constant Readers...

I'm mostly back-
A significant portion of my sanity is still on a Lufthansa flight between Kazan and Frankfurt.

I've been under a social media blackout - we got an email that kinda implied large fines, social ostrasization, deportation and possibly transportation to Vorkuta if we were to post to Facebook, personal blogs, or any of several SM sites any info regarding the World University Games.
So now that I'm back among the living in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (regardless of what Lady Gaga or Al Sharpton would have you believe) I can start to chronicle the Universidae 2013 KA3AHb,

Flights have been pretty roundly disappointing on this trip.
I did have some luck- bulkhead seat out of Jax... Bulkhead on the DC to Frankfurt leg-
But that's when the wheels fell off.

An angry German woman with a 2 year old and a infant plopped down in the two seats next to mine and began nesting...
(The "angry" became obvious when the flight attendant came to tell her that she couldn't have the 3 babystuff bags, food bag, and sundry toys for the 2 y/o on the floor for take off.
She offered some choice ugliness as she re-organized her crap then stored it up in the overhead. I tried to help and was greeted with a withering "Get the hell away from my spawn, you monstrous schweinehund pedophile" stare.
Ok then, Frau Blücher- You're on your own.

One of the flight attendants could sense trouble brewing and tried to help me out.
"I have a seat in an emergency row back in the next section- on the aisle. Why don't you take that one..."
Told her I appreciated it and headed back to the next section, where someone else was getting re-assigned to the same seat.
Damn. Conflict- I hates it.

The flight attendants had a quick confab- and when it seemed that 'Ogre-next-to-messy-German-mom' would trump 'separated newlyweds', at the last second that real occupant of the seat in question arrived and we were all losers.
I did the Walk of Shame back to my seat next to Frau Verärgerte Mutter and the Teufel spawnen. She looked as disappointed as I was.
As we readied for takeoff, Frau set the tone for the rest of the 7 hour flight...

She got the 2 year old settled with a bag of cheerios (that soon became projectiles) and proceeded to whip out a well-filled mammary and plug her youngest in for a nosh during take-off. Not the merest attempt at modesty or privacy. Just a 4-month old, hanging remora-like from a B-cup udder inches from my left elbow.

Nice. (Please- hon- get a hooter hider. The rest of the world will thank you for it.)
(One assumes this activity during takeoff and landing is OK with the airlines, since yon hardware isn't battery powered and doesn't emit radio transmissions.)

DC to Frankfurt - 7 hours.
The score:
3 full-immersion breastfeedings (with no involvement by Yours Truly)
2 vomiting episodes (complete participation by YT in both episodes)
2 scoldings from flight attendants about the cheerio-flinging 2 y/o
2 movies (Jack Reacher & Skyfall)
Multiple looks from the FAs that implied "Sorry, you poor bastard, but you just HAD to have that bulkhead seat. You bought that ticket, now you gotta sit through that movie."

The entire episode reminded of an episode from my sordid past.
(Cue flashback wavy-video effect)
I was once on a cross-country Greyhound bus trip in the late 70s- on my way to Kenosha WI to run AD&D tournaments at Gencon. In the hinterlands of Tennessee a young mom with a babe in arms got on the bus accompanied by her mother.
Grandma was in her 60s, and if Mom was even 17 I would be shocked.
Mom and Baby took the 2 empty seats across this aisle from me, and Grandma sat next to me on the aisle.
In the middle of the night the bus stopped. An honest-to-Gygax wraith got on and scared the crap out of everyone. He was about 80 lbs of dirt, filthy clothes and heroin addiction, carrying a huge suitcase and a guitar case. He stashed the (presumably) guitar in the first spot he could find, and continued toward the back toward the back of the bus with the suitcase that looked like it weighed more than he did.
Since TeenMom was holding the baby, the wraith zeroed in on the empty seat and hefted his 200+lb suitcase (obviously a compact heroin refining lab) into the overhead rack.
His eyes looked like two baseballs made from lean bacon...
He looked at TeenMom, then at the pink bundle in her arms...
"That kid pukes on me, he's out that f$#%ing window." and promptly closed his eyes and feigned sleep.
We all started breathing again and did out absolute damnedest not to wake the dragon...
Good times, good times.

Next up: An Eternity in Frankfurt


Saturday, July 13, 2013

'Merica Follow-Up

And another county is heard from ...
(Yes, by email. I guess OldNFO is the only CR who knows how that comment button works.)
((Well, him and KX59. And Luc.))


Stereotype Much, Big Guy?

I was taken to task via email (I so wish to hell some of my Constant Readers would learn to use the furshlugginer "comment" button. Seesh!) for using the (relatively) new slang term "'Merica!".
Seems that one "CF" is unimpressed with the fact I am promoting a stereotypical "Redneck" persona of Americans abroad (the Ugly American Syndrome).

So I did a little digging...

"'Merica is the whole experience of America summed up in a stereotypical way. Eating anything deep-fried, shooting shotguns, getting so fat you attempt to use the force to levitate it (sic) off the coffee table, all compressed into one word.
People often say it when they see Americans doing things only Americans can do, such as:
- trimming a hedge with a chainsaw
- eating quadruple burgers with extra lard
- driving tractors in the middle of a freeway

It is often expressed in a proud and commonly exaggerated manor.
This phrase is one to be only used when the time comes to say it, like at a eating contest or at a mud pit wrestling match.

As there are so many people in America that truly express what the word is all about, there is one family that pushes it over the limit. They are commonly called the "Honey Boo Boo Family".
They are known to do the same, and even more, of the equally stupid stunts that typical rednecks would do. They are reported to relive acts of true 'Merican spirit, like drinking 2 liter bottles of DIET cola, driving trucks into frozen creeks, getting pointless tattoos of American birds on their backs, eating processed nacho cheese in a bacon cup, tucking their Ak47s in their pillows, ordering 27 Big Macs at McDonalds with a side salad, and so much more."

Hm. Sounds about right to me.
Except the AK47 part. Everyone knows true 'Mericans have ARs.

And nacho cheese in a bacon cup?
Pure genius.


Summer Intern: "Totally Worth It!"

Holy crap.

I was going to say "Too soon, Dude..."
Then I read this...

NTSB statement on erroneous confirmation of crew names

July 12

The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.
The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident.
Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

As a Redditor commented, "Somewhere tonight, a fired intern is kicking back a beer and thinking "Worth it."

Too soon, Dude.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей

I know- I'm slacking.

I'm just slacking on the website...
I've actually been busier than a vibrator in a women's prison here in Kazan.

Long days, and really short nights and some really redicking fuckulous conditions that I will expound upon later.

I can tell you that this is a place where you will find quite a bit of makeshift repairs and expediencies...

(Click for hugeness)
This widowmaker was a winner we found during setup...
Sean was moving one of our air conditioners and it almost bit him.

Another excellent example was a delivery UTE that arrived at the site when we were heading out one evening...

(click for bigness)
Yeah- that's the bottom of a water bottle, cut off and slapped over the neck of the fuel filler.
Oooo, I feel so safe in this place...

On a more festive note, we were celebrating the fact that we got moved to a hew hotel last night... There was a small tent serving beer and some kind of meat on a stick (we have found it's better not to ask) next to the new hotel.
We has just ordered up a round of drinks and put in our dinner order when an older gent at the table next to me leaned over and started to try to talk to me...
Through really broken Engrish, slurred Russian and hand gestures, he challenged me to an arm wrestling match.
Oh Ghod.
That last time this happened was in '97 in Miami during the Sony-Ericsson when we were arm wrestling at Hooters and broke one of their tables and were asked (nicely) to leave.
When I picked up the waitress and threw her over my shoulder and headed for the door, the "nice" demeanor of the management evaporated and there were police involved.
So, needless to say, I was hesitant to agree to this dude's request.
I had visions of the rather flimsy table getting destroyed and getting arrested for violence & mayhem, or the off chance that this guys was some kind of Tatarstan Arm-Wrestling savant and he knows some esoteric elbow-fu and could kick my ass blindfolded.
More likely, it would go the other way I wind up hurting him and waking up in a Gulag the next morning because I snapped some local politician's father's arm.

Trying to avoid this...

Egged on by the entire bar, we did engage in one round of Bras de Fer...

Literally, the entire place was cheering (for him, I'm pretty sure), and the end result did not result in injury, damage or even hurt feelings...

Yeah, I beat him like a rented mule. Just because he's a drunk old guy, I'm still a benevolent and patriotic American and I don't care if it harelips the Pope, the Roosky is going down.
'Merica! Fuck Yeah!

And, of course, to the winner belongs the spoils.
Sometimes it's good to be The Big Guy...


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day

If you really want a chance to be introspective about the meaning of Independence Day,
try spending it in Russia...

We're celebrating July 4th over here by working a 16 hour day...

(H/T to SeanO for the flag pic idea)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

You're Doing It Wrong... Again.

Hey Congressman...
That's gonna hurt when you pull that trigger..

I know you think you know what you're doing,
But practical experience beats book-learnin' every time.

You might want to ruminate on this as you
write legislation on subjects you aren't familiar with.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Best Friend, My Ass

"I wait patiently while you enjoy your General Tso's Chicken...
And you only think of me when you get your fortune cookie?"

"For Shame!"


Monday, July 01, 2013

False Alarm

Guard dog.


On the Launching Pad - Part C

Past History - LTC Tennis Events

Not too long ago we did a Tennis Event for the LTC over in India...

Just before the opening ceremonies, an unwanted visitor was found in the bathroom in the tennis stadium...

This is the deadly cobra snake workers discovered slithering down a drain in Dehli's new tennis stadium just days before the Commonwealth Games are due to start.

Now, there aren't a huge number of poisonous snakes, let alone cobras in Russia...

Snakes don't bug me at all, even poisonous ones...
But if I could pick and choose finding dangerous stuff at the Tennis Academy on Orenburgsky Trakt Street, I would hold out for a free-range AK-47, an all-organic Tokarev or even a semi-domesticated Mosin Nagant.


Looks Like a Shopping List for A Fun Weekend In Vegas

Man, talk about a detailed list...

Items That May Not Be Brought to the  Sports Venues
1. Explosives, blasting supplies, or items containing the same, such as:
• Explosive powders of any kind, in any packages or amounts
• Ball cartridges, including small-caliber ones;
• Cartridges for gas spray guns;
• Hunting capsules/caps;
• Pyrotechnical devices, such as signal/illuminating flares, signal cartridges, landing sticks, smoke cartridges/bombs, bomber’s matches, Bengal fires, petards;
• Trotyl, dynamite, trilit, ammonal, or other explosives;
• detonating caps, electric detonators, electric spark igniters, detonating chords, fuzes, etc.
2. Compressed/Liquefied Gases:
• Gases for domestic use, such as propane-butane, and other gases in any containers;
• Neuro-paralytic/tear gas spray containers, etc.;
• Lighters;
• Paint cartridges.
3. Inflammable Liquids:
• Acetone;
• Benzine;
• Highly inflammable oil product samples;
• Methanol;
• Methyl acetate (methyl ether);
• Carbone sulfide;
• Ethers;
• Ethyl cellulose.
4. Inflammable Solids:
• Substances prone to spontaneous ignition;
• Substances forming highly inflammable gases when contacting water;
• Potassium, sodium, calcium metal, and alloys thereof, calcium phosphide, etc.;
• White/yellow/red phosphorus and all other inflammable solid substances;
• Matches.
5. Oxidizing Agents & Organic Peroxides:
• Colloidal cellulose nitrate, in granules or in flakes, dry or wet, containing less than 25% of water or solvent;
• Colloidal cellulose nitrate, in pieces, wet, containing less than 25% of alcohol;
• Dry/wet cellulose nitrate containing less than 30% of solvent or less than 20% of water, etc.;
6. Toxic/Radioactive/Caustic/Corrosive Substances:
• Strong inorganic acids, such as hydrochloric, sulfuric, nitric acids, etc.;
• Hydrofluoric (etching) acid and other strong acids and corrosives.
7. Poisonous/Toxic Substances:
• Any highly poisonous or toxic substances, liquid or solid, in any packages or containers;
• Brucine;
• Nicotine;
• Strychnine;
• Tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol;
• Antifreezing agents;
• Brake fluids;
• Ethylene glycol;
• Quick silver (mercury);
• All salts of ammonocarbonous (cyanhydric) acid and all cyanide preparations;
• Cyclone, “Black cyanide”, arsenous anhydride, etc.;
• Other dangerous substances, objects and cargos that may be used as attacking instruments or create a threat to the Games.
8. Pharmaceuticals & Medical Means Exceeding the Amounts/Volumes Specified.
Pharmaceuticals may be brought in the amount not exceeding 1 pack for at most 3 different pharmaceutical names, in any form, including sprays, drops, medical syringe, etc., in manufacturers’ packages. The amount of pharmaceuticals may not exceed 100 ml.
9. All types of alcoholic products.
10. Drugs and psychotropics, the precursors thereof, including those in form of medications.
11. Weapons and Supplies:
• Fire weapons,
• Signal weapons,
• Pneumatic weapons,
• Gas spray guns,
• Any weapon supplies,
• Electrical shock apparatuses and spark gaps,
• Main parts of fire weapons;
• Objects that can be used as weapons, such as bats, sticks, etc.
12. Stabbing or cutting objects, other than nail scissors, which can be used as weapons, knives or any other ‘cold’ weapons, propelling objects, including those of the cane type. The only exceptions shall be medical equipment and medical tools included into the medical sets of the doctors in sports delegations.
13. Any fluids in any containers exceeding 100 ml, except for personal hygiene products in containers that do not exceed 300 ml.
14. Glass containers/bottles.
15. Cigarettes, smoking pipes, electronic cigarettes, matches.
16. Food stuffs regardless of their shelf lives or packages.
17. Laser devices
18. Any forms of propaganda materials, as well as flags or banners containing offensive or political statements. The only exception is national teams’ flags.
19. Any items being similar in appearance to the prohibited items, the copies or versions thereof.

SpongeMark: "Damn. I'll have to leave my Black Cyanide at the hotel."
Yours Truly:  "Bring it to my room. I'll keep it with my Bengal Fire and the petards."


Man, That Would Suck

This will make things interesting...

Ramadan (GIMF) is July 8 to August 9, give or take a few hours, depending on your latitude and longitude.
One of the elements of the observation Ramadan is fasting from sunrise to sunset...

Well, up at the 55° 45' N lat, it's a loooong time between noshing.

DateSunriseSunsetThis day

Jun 30, 20134:03 AM9:31 PM  17h 28m 03s

Jul 1, 20134:04 AM9:30 PM  17h 26m 50s

Jul 2, 20134:04 AM9:30 PM  17h 25m 29s

Jul 3, 20134:05 AM9:29 PM  17h 24m 01s

Jul 4, 20134:06 AM9:29 PM  17h 22m 27s

Jul 5, 20134:07 AM9:28 PM  17h 20m 45s

Jul 6, 20134:08 AM9:27 PM  17h 18m 57s

There's gonna be some cranky Muslims wandering the streets of Kazan in the late afternoon and evening.
I'm going to have to watch my step.