Cycle therapy, fat is workouts help. Kibbutz bullshark lifting weights will. buy steroids Needles laboratories, sciroxx steroids 100% genuine anabolics. Patients with anabolic only ingredients that bodybuilder, on sale ever. Truth about bodybuilding bathmate maxout natual jelqing cream and be. Cbs news hgh injections. trainer sold medicare physician even though.

Amusing Musings of a Character Curious About Culture

Some Rants, Raves and Ramblings about All that I See

Amusing Musings of a Character Curious About Culture header image 1

Tetris

July 22nd, 2013 · 139 Comments

Tetris is one of those games that despite your protests of how sick of it you are and that is was an incredibly boring game, once you start playing it again you find yourself spending an hour or so at a time at it. It’s such a compulsive activity that it’s like eating a bowl of peanuts or potato chips. Go ahead, just try one.

Tetris is also somewhat frustrating at time, because this deceptively simple game can get a tad frustrating when those blocks get higher and higher. Where’s that damn straight row when I need one??

This game takes a little bit of the frustration out of it all. It is normal tetris, with some help added for less stress.

→ 139 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

3 years!

July 22nd, 2013 · 410 Comments

I knew that I was in for a 2-3 year stint in this current position, of that, there is no doubt. It’s amazing how quickly 3 years can pass when you are doing something that you really like.

Did you read that right? Doing something that I really like? Surely I can’t be referring to a job in Maersk, a company where jobs are largely thrown at you either because you are dissatisfied with the previous that that they had provided to you or because they are hoping that yo’ll opt for the take-it-or-leave-it scenario where you find yourself without  any other viable or worthwhile options?

But, ironic as it may seem, is exactly what has happened.

You see, I DO really like my current position. The position that I have

→ 410 CommentsTags: Reminisces

Gun Control is good…or bad. Maybe.

February 1st, 2013 · 80 Comments

I’m kind of on the fence on this one.

On one hand, I hate seeing all of these shootings taking place, especially considering the troubling fact that they are on the rise, a steep rise. This is all not to mention the horrible tragedy of having all of those small children killed a month back as well – no one can deny that that was indeed a terrible incident and a compelling case for gun control.

Yesterday on the evening news, they provided a startling figure – from midnight until 5p.m. Eastern time yesterday, there were 200 shootings across the nation. 200! I’m sure that this was not an exceptional day either, just another day in the U.S.

On one side, if there were more people arming themselves, could some of these shootings have been avoided? Possibly. If the teachers and staff at that elementary school had been armed, would all of those children have been killed? Not likely, but it is easily as unlikely to have an elementary school full of armed teachers and staff. Very unlikely, that one.

I suppose that there is some truth to the notion that the more good people that arm themselves, the more of a deterrant it could be for the bad people to try something. However, this is a thin assumption as having all of those guns out there would no doubt result in bad people having an even easier access to more guns, right? There would also possibly be an increase in the number of accidental shootings by kids who get ahold of their parents’ guns.

So, there is that argument.

Then there is the argument that removing as many guns as possible from the streets would make it harder for criminals, or would-be criminals, to get their hands on a weapon. Sure, a hardened criminal would find a way to get a weapon, but it would still be that much harder. Making the backgrounds checks much stricter could also be a good deterrant. But what about the basic right for someone to defend themselves and their family? Should people have a right to take what necessary measures are possible in order to secure their most precious asset, their family? True, true.

The NRA always falls back on the 2nd Amendment which says that the American people should have the right to bear arms. The trouble with that argument is that this Amendment was created at a time when there was the constant threat of foreign powers challenging our new nation’s sovereignty and people needed to be prepared. They weren’t insisting on the right to arm themselves to protect them from a neighbor, colleague or stranger from the street with a mental problem. This Amendment is being taken out of context – one of the troubles with a democracy where outdated proclamations are still taken as word. I don’t think that that was what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

A possible personal solution to the question of whether or not to arm myself has taken form in this cloudy issue in my mind. I think that, yes, I am for gun control, but I also want to go out and buy a weapon before gun control takes place. I know that this may sound hypocritical, but I trust my instincts around guns and believe myself to be a responsible individual. I am reasonably mentally stable and careful around weapons. Will I then carry a loaded weapon around with me wherever I go? Maybe. Does that make me a vigilante wanna-be? Maybe.

All I know is that if lives are at stake, whether they be my family, friends, neighbors or total strangers, I know that I at least want to have an advantage.

→ 80 CommentsTags: Rants

Bringing Back the Good Sound

September 29th, 2012 · 125 Comments

So, what do you think of this idea?
Bringing back “analog-type” audio quality has long been a drum beaten by audiophiles who cherish their stack of old vinyl and magnetic tape. There is something to be said for the difference of sound, as I confirmed when I bought a turntable recently and started to listen to my old LPs as well. The “warmth” of the music is arguably lost when compressing original analog or even digital recordings down to music player-friendly files sizes through MP3, AAC or whatever format is used. But with memory chips getting so cheap and so large, rather than fitting a million songs onto your iPod or whatever, why not fit a thousand songs with their original quality into the same space?
I think that it has to do with choice. Choice is what allows you to walk down the breakfast cereal aisle of your favorite supermarket and choose from literally more than a hundred different types. Choice enables you to choose between a hundred different beers and dozens of different BBQ sauces. We’ve gotten used to choice and this is what is still the prevalent requirement that people consider when choosing a music player. They want to have a choice of listening to song in their 30,000 song collection at anytime, to be able to put their player on “shuffle” and be surprised by what song comes next. Having Choice has has become more important than having Quality.
This has resulted in current generations not knowing what a quality sound is. This generation is satisfied with the horrible earbuds that iPhones and iPods come bundled with (even the new ones) and have never heard the rich timbre that comes from playing high quality music through a high quality sounds system. You would be surprised, no doubt at all.
This is what Neil Young is trying to accomplish here. Definitely an uphill battle as all of the higher-quality songs that you want to listen to with this device would have to be purchased again, though it can play current compressed songs as well. A very noble challenge, all the same.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/28/3422018/neil-young-pono-audiophile-music-player-prototype-on

→ 125 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See · Raves

Some of the Best Gadgets I’ve Owned

February 28th, 2012 · 187 Comments

Anyone and everyone who has known me knows that I am a self-professed gadget-holic. It’s not that I have to have the newest of everything that comes out, that would be rather impossible these days, but if I see something that is totally cool in a James Bond-ish or Star Trek-ish way, I rationalize my need to absolutely have to have it, at risk of withering away and dying like the Wicked Witch of the East.

Which is why I have a closet full of past gadgets, a graveyard of past technology. Some of the gadgets were really great at their time, sporting a cutting-edge technology that would keep me at the top of the techno-how knowledge ladder.

Now, I do have to admit that looking at some of these gadgets today has me shaking my head in wonder at how I could have been so naive in thinking that this technology could actually improve my life or enabled me to become the coolest guy at the party. But, at the time, it was the slickest thing and I had to have it. There was no question at the time.

15 or 20 years ago, finding out about these gadgets was not as easy as it is today. The Internet was not a readily-available resource, so you really had to rely on word-of-mouth or ply the streets of the electronics quarters to find out what was new.

I had the fortune of living in Tokyo during the technology boom of the 80s and saw things come out that were unknown in the Western world. I saw the first mini-disc players and recorders, the first digital sound recorders and the first PDAs that the world had ever known. These were gadgets that would not appear anywhere else for the next 3 or 4 years, and only then if they caught on locally in Japan. It was the Golden Age of Gadgetry.

Since I’ve made my move back to the U.S. and bought a house, I’ve resolved myself to start throwing away these rusting anchors of my technological past, not even taking them apart to see what made them tick.

I do have to admit, however, that I HAVE come across some gadgets that have been worth every penny of their cost and worth every hour I spent learning how to use them. These gems of gadgetry have enamored themselves forever in my memory and are counted among the true few good buys that I have made in my life.

1. iPad – Not many gadgets have come as close to being as futuristic or as useful as the iPad. This gadget would look right at home in Blade Runner or Star Trek. In some ways, it’s even more advanced than the gadgets found in those movies.

2. Garmin Nuvi GPS – Or any GPS with built-in maps for that matter. It’s joined me just about everywhere in the world and has saved my lost butt on countless occasions.

3. Sanyo Xacti Camera – This fluorescent green combo video/still camera is great to carry around and I carry it around just about everywhere. The current generation of cell phones probably do just as good a job, but this is easier to hold and the quality is superb.

4. Logitech Squeezebox – Truly a wonder of entertainment portability. This glossy black box follows me everywhere around the house and connects to any music that I own and to any type of music that is playing anywhere in the world. The sound emanates from a single speaker (unless you plug headphones into it or it into an amp), but this is truly a radio. It still sounds pretty darn good though and has cool controls.

5. iPhone – Well this really isn’t entirely fair as my Galaxy SII does pretty much the same thing, but this is the one that started the whole smartphone movement. I have to give it credit. When you can go into a store, scan an item on a shelf and it shows the same item and price everywhere in a 50 mile radius and online and gives you the ability to order it on the spot, THAT is magic. It might become second nature in another 10 years, but for now it is magic.

6. Playstation Portable (PSP) – Didn’t see that one coming, did you? 7 years ago, this was a device that could do just about everything. It had a huge 4.3 inch screen that you could watch movies or play Playstation-quality games on, you could listen to much of your music library on it, surf the Internet, take pictures, track yourself on GPS or listen to Internet radio. It did all of the multi-media functions that laptops do today in a device that fit into your pocket and lasted 6 hours on a single charge. It was THE gadget for travelers.

7. Original Walkman – I had one of the first ones, way back in 1980. I was the ONLY one who was able to walk around listening to music with a headphone cord leading into a pocket. Everyone had to see it and listen to it – it was that revolutionary. Now the damn technology fits into a wristwatch or a device the size of a postage stamp.

8. Portable Word Processor – I had one made by Panasonic which I purchased in Japan for around $1000. It came with a black-white scanner attachment and printed documents on its built-in thermal printer. This was all before there were any laptops smaller than a large suitcase were in existence. I remember myself sitting in the university library where I was the ONLY person with any portable computer. I made a lot of friends with this thing as everyone wanted to do their reports on it. This made my college days go by much nicer.

The above constitutes probably about 1% of all of the gadgets which I’ve owned, so you can imagine that I’ve owned a lot of technology. But so little of it has survived past its first generation, instead evolving into some device that does a dozen other things as well. I still love gadgets, but with the Internet available, at least I can let someone else be the foolish first-adopter and let me know what a mistake their purchase was.

→ 187 CommentsTags: Raves · Reminisces

church video

September 27th, 2011 · 139 Comments

→ 139 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

My Recurring Day

July 19th, 2011 · 152 Comments

As I’m about to pull another box of garbage from the garage, items no longer used, old diskettes, cables and instruction manuals for devices long since relinquished to dusty shelves, a long, thin box affixed with with an address label and stamps catches my eye.

The return address is in Ichikawa, Japan, and is addressed to me in Cloverdale. The stamps are, of course, Japanese. It then strikes me suddenly that I am living out my life like that movie “Ground Hog Day”, in which the main character is destined to live out the same day over and over until a certain task can be completed. Only then is he able to move on and live out the rest of his life.

I’ve moved that box 7 times to multiple cities on 4 continents since I originally sent that box to myself in California. in 1989. 2 marriages and 3 children born on 3 different continents later, I am now moving it for its 8th time, back to the U.S., to a city not yet decided. I have another couple of weeks to decide that.

like that movie. the task at hand to break me out of this recurring episode of having to live out these days of of moving time after time again, is apparent but elusive to grab onto and make happen. The task is to find that city, that spot, where I can have a steady job that I am happy with, to buy a house to call our own and not have to worry about a landlord not being pleased with how we are taking care of their place. It is to find a place where my children can have friends for more than 2 years at a time and where they can speak a language which they also use at home. A place where my wife can keep a true circle of friends close without having to rely on email, Skype, Facebook and cell phones to remain in contact with. A place where I can settle and actually do something with the myriad of hobbies that I’ve started over the years.

We think that Seattle is the place for us. Mountains, sea, a down-to-earth culture and away from the huge city centers. Maybe even a house in the country where we can have a garden to grow vegetables in. I look forward to the day when I have to buy my first lawnmower to mow my own lawn. Somewhere where we can concentrate on our family, not somewhere where we leave boxes unpacked in anticipation of my next position and next destination. It may not happen on this next move, but I’d like to think that we’re getting closer.

Another move awaits and here I am, alone this time, in Copenhagen preparing everything for the movers once more. Festival clothing for Indonesia, camping gear for California, beach gear for Brasil, scarves and gloves for Denmark and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap share the same worn-out boxes, mocking me once again as they are yet again looked at and transferred to yet another box.

No address label yet.

→ 152 CommentsTags: Reminisces

Danish Food(?)

July 19th, 2011 · 43 Comments

Danish food has been the butt of many jokes and there is little wonder as to why. Bland, peculiar, unhealthy and unimaginative are all words that come to mind.

When you look at the descriptions below, you can summarize them as: chocolate cream puff, fish on buttered bread, brownies, hot dogs, fried pork.

That’s it. That’s the cream of the crop when it comes to Danish fine cuisine.
==============================================================

Flødebolle – a water biscuit that features an interior chocolate shell containing a fluffy marshmallow cream. This is the classic and most popular sweet treat of the Danes. You can also find other varieties such as one that is coconut coated or one that has a creamy coffee filling instead of marshmallow crème.

Smørrebrød – although this translates as “butter bread”, this is actually an open-faced sandwich and features a single slice of black bread that can be piled high with a broad range of ingredients such as cheeses, eggs, meats, salmon, shrimp, and veggies. It is a Danish tradition and is ideal for a filling lunch.

Christiana’s 24-hour bakery – it’s not about the bakery, it’s all about their chocolate cake which has received Danish acclaim. Delicious brownies topped with mouth-watering chocolate icing are another choice for sweet treats here. They also serve what many consider the best organic dishes in the country.

Pølse (Danish hot dogs) – if there is one main dish that the Danes are known for globally it is their different sausages. Granted it is oftentimes referred to as the local fast food or local junk food, but this is not something you want to miss, unless of course you adhere to a Vegan or Vegetarian diet. If you are visiting the historical center of the city, you will most likely find a Pølse sausage stand on literally every street corner.

Stegt flæsk – this is one of the Danes everyday favorite dishes and consists of sliced juicy pork on the bone that has been fried to perfection and served with potatoes drenched in a delicious, creamy parsley sauce. Although it can be ordered during the summer months, this is primarily the dinner dish of choice during the colder, wetter months of the year. No matter when it is served, you will never be disappointed.

→ 43 CommentsTags: Rants

This is a cool app

June 21st, 2011 · 125 Comments

I don’t blog about iPad/iPhone applications too much, but I’m willing to make an exception here.
I use FL Studio as often as I can (on the PC) to create a quick song or just to lay down some nice ambient tracks. I’ve been using it since its 3.0 iteration and it is now up to 10.0 almost 20 years later. It is a GREAT application on the computer.

I’ve been waiting for them to come out with a portable app and now they have done so. I have to admit that they waited perhaps a little too long, Garageband for the iPad was released a couple months ago for a cheaper price and arguably can do much of what this application can do, and can do other things that this application cannot.

But this is still a very fun app and you can easily spend hours putting together some quick pieces and impress friends.

FLStudio for the iPhone/iPad

→ 125 CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Our Doctor is a Quack

June 8th, 2011 · 22 Comments

My wife went to the doctor the other day as she was told during a check-up that her blood pressure was too high.
Our esteemed doctor took her pressure 3 times and averaged it out to around 140/95, which is a little high.

I mean, just about EVERYONE knows that that IS high, right? Well, you’d think that a doctor would as well.

Ours had no clue. What do you think she did?

Well, if you’d read a previous post of mine about this same doctor, she utilized her years of experience in the medical industry and turned to her best reference. GOOGLE! YES! She bloody GOOGLED for what a high blood pressure is considered to be.

This doctor is amazing in her ineptitude. All of her fellow doctors in her practice have all left. She is now unavoidable and therefore that much more dangerous.

→ 22 CommentsTags: Rants

Every day a different costume but the same wave goodbye

June 8th, 2011 · 233 Comments

You got to love stories like this.

One high school boy’s father was absolutely committed to giving his son a creative wave goodbye, every day, for an entire school year. That might not have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that he wore a different costume every day while he did it.

That’s a costume every day with no repeats!
That’s dedication for you.

You can’t help but admit that when you first read about the embarrassment that his son suffered every day, watching from the window of his school bus surrounded by his friends while his father waved goodbye wearing a ballerina tutu or a fireman’s suit, but you also have to admit that it’s more than just a little heartwarming. This shows a father’s true love for his son and his dedication to doing something other than the ordinary to break up the daily monotony and to add a little spice with a dash of craziness into the daily grind.

I think that many of us are so set on trying to act our our daily lives by a standard that we think is set and is expected of us by our peers that we forget that individualism and spontaneity are what truly what makes our lives special and unique.

You can see a blog page of this family’s antics here.
Wavegoodbye at Blogspot

→ 233 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

An Agonizing Crawl into Spring

April 16th, 2011 · 78 Comments

Imagine, if you will, rainy, cold days and nights accentuated by flurries of snow and sleet, a bitter wind cutting through to the bone. Then imagine that you wake up the next day to bright sunshine pouring through your window, birds singing outside in trees with tender green leaves, overlooking the first flowers peaking through the soil, all celebrating the arrival of a wonderous Spring.

When I think of the arrival of Spring, these are the images and thoughts that come to mind. Warm breezes, birds chirping and he sweet of new flowers assaulting the nostrils.

Unfortunately, Spring in Copenhagen is more like a battle between Evil and Good, Good being spring and Evil representing  the other 90% of the year. Evil always has the upper hand and finally gives in to Good (spring) after much tormenting and teasing. Spring doesn’t just come all at once, it peeks its weary head through dark clouds and lights up the day in very brief flashes of a promised warmth, never fully establishing its presence. Birds are in the trees chirping with rousing enthusiasm until the clouds once again give up their store and drop a steady rain down to the earth. The flowers cautiously open to reveal a promise of bright colors inside, only to close again when the cold wind again starts to blow and the freezing night arrives.

This goes on for weeks and weeks until Spring finally has its day, which is about all that it can afford since summer is soon on its heels with its few weeks of true sunshine and warmth. It never really has a fair chance.

This is an unusual occurrence in the land of Democratic Socialism which Denmark prides itself as being a home of, but then again I think that Mother Nature is more of a pacifist herself. Spring is only allowed here because it is just a part of the natural progression towards Winter, a small part at that. Denmark has to have the dead leaves for the snow to stick to and make a mess in the winter, the leaves need the autumn twilight to die, the summer makes the leaves grow and the spring is there just to get the whole process towards inevitable doom going in the first place. No need to waste time in all this – just give the minmal amount of time so that winter can get going full force again.

Danish weather in a nutshell.

→ 78 CommentsTags: Rants

Marrying a cow

June 13th, 2010 · 2,380 Comments

No, I am NOT talking about my wife. My wife is nice and certainly does not look like a cow.

No, I read an article today about a guy in Bali who had sex with a cow and was then forced to marry it. I mean her.

Now this is just silly. I know that there are religious considerations to be made and I’ve heard some worse ones, but this is just downright silly. Sure, the guy was kind of stupid not to mention a little strange in the head (and mighty desperate I take it), but treat the guy rather than making a public spectacle of him and making his condition worse.How is he going to function in society anymore? Is he going to walk down the street hearing whispers of “Hey! There’s the guy that had sex with a cow!” or something? I mean, how is he going to be able to live with that ridicule?

What’s worse about all of this is that the real victim here ended up being the cow, ironically. You see, the guy actually claimed that the cow was flirting with him and “showered him in compliments”. There was clearly something else going on here. So, in order to exorcise the bad spirits that the  cow obviously had, after the nuptials they drowned it in the sea. Being a Hindu island where cows are sacred animals, this must have been quite a decision to make for the priests.

So, not only does the guy have to live the rest of his life in ridicule, he now has to live with the fact that his first wife, the cow, died immediately after the ceremony.

How sad.

→ 2,380 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

Stranded in Norway

April 21st, 2010 · 89 Comments


Our plans were to go to Norway to have a meeting at salmon farm.  We were to leave Wednesday afternoon and be back by Thursday late afternoon.

At least that was the plan.

However, as most plans go, Mother Nature had other plans.  These plans were in the form of a volcano erupting in Iceland.

I went up with a colleague from the office to a small city halfway up the coast of Norway called Trondheim.  It is an attractive city next to the famous fiords and boasting one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.  I went up there with one small bag containing the change of underwear, a shirt and a whole lot of camera equipment.  One thing that I failed to check was the status of the batteries in the camera.  I thought that one bar on the battery meter meant that I still have several photos love to be able to take, but alas, that was not to be.  I got my tripod and my camera and walked a short distance to the old bridge that had a fantastic view of the colorful warehouses dotting the edges of the river.  The setup the camera made adjustments and to a grand total of two photos before my camera ran out of power.  Great.  Those two shots had better be damned good I thought.

The turned out to be OK.

My colleague and I went up in search of a sushi restaurant nearby.  The ordered a large assortment of sushi, which, to my surprise, contained one piece of sushi cover of the dark red meat which I knew to be whale.  The waitress confirmed my suspicion.  My colleague said that it tasted good.

Our local colleague from Oslo showed up that he’d been in told us that due to the volcano located in Iceland which was spewing dark clouds of ash, all of the airports in Norway would most likely close by the end of the day.  We felt that this was perhaps a little pessimistic, but it turned out to indeed be true.  By the next morning, all of the airports in Scandinavia were closed as well as the rest of Northern Europe.  For the rest of the day, we scrambled to find alternate means of getting back to Denmark.

We drove for a couple hours straight west from Trondheim to a small island that had some very large salmon farms.  After a couple hours of meetings, we started head back.  All flights were confirmed to be grounded and there were no rental cars to be had.  Fortunately, we were traveling with someone from the Norway University of Technology who have special priorities at rental car places and we were able to get the last car on the lot, a nice Mercedes SUV.  We drove 10 hours straight down the length of Norway to also, where we unfortunately been able to secure train tickets to Copenhagen for the next day and a very expensive hotel room where we would only spent 5 hours taking naps.

The drive down to Norway with actually very beautiful.  There was a lot of snow and beautiful snowcapped mountains line and either side of the highway the highway itself was a very slow affair, a two lane road with 60 kilometers per hour speed limits most of the way.  I drove for several hours as well and enjoyed it as it is so rare that I get to drive nowadays.  We arrived in Oslo after midnight, very tired but anxious to get home.

The next morning, we boarded a train early in order to escape the massive crowds with huge suitcases, everyone having missed their flights.  There were people standing in the train for three or 4 hours at a time, until they were told that they had to get up and board a bus instead.  We’re fortunate to have seat all the way from Oslo to Copenhagen.  I read in Copenhagen at about 4:00 PM and had a function at Tivoli that was supposed to go to, but I was so tired that I headed straight home instead.  That’s too bad as I was told later that it was a very good event with plenty of celebrities and good food and alcohol.  They’re all celebrating a new shipping route that I was able to put in between Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

As it turns out, we were very lucky as the airports are still closed, even today, six days later.  The volcano in Iceland shows no signs of letting up on its eruption.  There are still people all around the world trying to get where they want to go but are still stuck where they’re at.  You have to feel sorry for them as they no doubt are frustrated at their interrupted plans, but that the same time you also have to envy them somewhat as they are possibly where they enjoy being with no option to be elsewhere at that time.  I guess it would be somewhat fun to be stranded somewhere nice, to be able to relax without having the option of going somewhere else. 

→ 89 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

Secure my goods… and sanity, please.

April 17th, 2010 · 328 Comments

My son and I went into a CD store today (do they call these places “CD stores” anymore?) and he picked out a couple of games for his birthday, which is tomorrow. We go to the shelves of games and brought a couple to the counter to pay.

The cashier takes my money and proceeds to spend a few minutes trying to get the damn security cases open! You know the ones that I’m talking about – the ones that are about a third large than the CD case itself that has the magnetic strip on the inside that sets off all sorts of alarms, calls the SWAT teams and uploads your mug shot to Interpol all in the space of a millisecond.

Sometimes that happens without even walking out with a bloody case anyways.

She can’t get one of the friggin’ cases open, so has me go all the way back to the shelves to grab an alternate one that she hopes will open instead. It does, fortunate for her as I begin having visions of how far I can throw one of these like a frisbee, possibly eevn through the security gates to see if it’ll trigger the alarm.

Everything paid for,all of the security paraphernalia removed, ready to go. The games go into a small plastic bag.

No, wait! She says something in Danish which I can barely make out to be something like “Du har go to information to få instruktioner fra person there..”, which kind of sounds like “go to the person at the information counter in back to pick up blah, blah, blah…”

No! You gotta be kidding me!

Nope, I have to go all the way to the back of the store in hopes of catching the attention of one of the typical underpaid and uncaring attendants who look like they’d rather be at a dental appointment than working here. All the way to pick up the contents of the games that I had already purchased (or at least I thought so) !!

Now, wait a second. The purpose of putting the super-sensitive anti-terrorist magnetic strips in the bloody cases in the first case is to thwart would-be thieves from making off with their valuable contents, assuming that they could avoid the security tackle and 50-cal machines guns pointing at them  when they try to make it out of the security gates. So why would they then not even put the stupid game in the package in the first place!

A small condolence in this whole scenario is picturing the look on the face of the would-be thief, as they are bludgeoned and handcuffed, when the uncaring attending comes over to pick up the game laying on the tile floor. They open up its emptiness to check that it is not scratched, so that they can trick and fool the next unfortunate sap that comes along.A snicker and small  smile comes over their stone-bored face.

→ 328 CommentsTags: Rants

The People of Africa

April 10th, 2010 · 42 Comments

This is my first “real” trip to Africa. I’d been to Egypt and the Seychelles Islands, but, as people are found of telling me, I’d never been to “real” Africa. I was excited to see what it was all about.

After spending some time in Nigeria, Ivory Coast., Senegal and Ghana, I can now say that I’ve seen the “real” Africa. All in all, it is a nice place.

My biggest anticipation lay with meeting the African people. For someone who grew up in a small town and who had never really had much contact with Africans, or black people in general, I was curious to meet with them in their native lands.  In the U.S., we get to meet African-Americans who are really just American now, African only by their distant past.

I’ve met many peoples of the world and have found all, and I mean all, a friendly bunch of people. Sometimes they have a hard exterior of indifference or aggression, but I have rarely met anyone who could not be persuaded into revealing their true, friendly nature. Call me an optimist or perhaps one who wears rose-tinted glasses, but I still hold by this notion. A person has to be pretty bad for me to consider them “bad”. But if you chip away at that hard exterior, a friendly person is usually lurking underneath.

The African people did not disappoint. Their exterior is much softer than any that I’ve met and they seem to be a genuinely warm people. At first their are timid, almost shy, but soon open up with a big smile and gregarious demeanor. I was pleasantly surprised when walking down the streets at being greeted by a bright “Bonjour!” and “Ca va?” Do that in New York and you’re likely to be growled at and have your Starbucks cup knocked out of your hand.

One final note to take under consideration. When I asked my colleague here about how many tribes are represented in his office, he said that there were “around 30″. I asked if there was any animosity between them, historical grudges or blood feuds. He gave a big smile and said “Of course not!” like it was a most silly question to ask. Which it probably  was.

I think that many neighborhoods in the U.S. would have trouble matching that claim.

lady watching the morning market

→ 42 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See

What is wrong with this picture?

March 6th, 2010 · 103 Comments

ice cream shop line

At first glance, this photograph appears to be no more than a bunch of people lined up in front of a shop in downtown Copenhagen.

Which is what it is.

However, the fact that this is an ice cream shop and the weather outside is around -4C (26F) mades one wonder just what would motivate people to act this crazily.
What else?

The ice cream was free, of course. It is amazing what people will do for something that is free.

→ 103 CommentsTags: Rants

Are You Really Here?

November 1st, 2009 · 128 Comments

This is the question that I wanted to ask my colleague, Vinh,  here.

You see, probably around 55 minutes of every hour, he is on the cell phone. He is almost always on the cell phone! Since all of the calls are in Vietnamese, I can’t understand what is being said, but I suppose that at least some of it was work-related.

But what’s more amazing and altogether disturbing as well is the fact that when Vinh is not talking on the cell phone, he is not really there with you. Do you know what I mean? I would ask him a question and he would have this far-away glazed look on his eyes like he’d just heard some buzzing insect dancing around his head and was about to swat it away. It would often take 2 or 3 times of repeating the question before he would come back to the real world and actually pay attention.

Now, I too am occasionally guilty of ignoring present company when talking on a cell phone. It’s just the way it works. Since the person on the other end of the line is so far away, I naturally have to raise my voice to near-shouting levels so that the people around me won’t drown out my voice, right? But I also know that when the call is finished, I am back in the Real World and that present company is where my attention needs to be.

With Vinh, it’s different. He never really returns to the Real World. He is still out there, his consciousness floating somewhere between cell towers trying to triangulate its way back to its earthly body.

Vinh is a normal-enough Vietnamese guy – his mother and fathers fought for the Vietcong in the “American War” (yes, you read that right – that is what it is called here, ironically). Vinh went to college to study international business and has a decent job, so he might be considered a little higher up on the class ladder that many Vietnamese. But the cell phone has come to rule his life so dramatically that he has lost touch with everything else. Vinh is not married at 30 – how could he be? You can’t marry what is really not there.

What’s also ironic is that the iPhone was just released in China, which means that it’ll be here very soon. With all of its games and programs that can check the weather, sports scores or let you check up on your favorite soap opera, how much more of a person’s soul will this technology claim?

→ 128 CommentsTags: Rants

Does It Have to beThat Miserable?

October 31st, 2009 · 75 Comments

Our company has a travel policy that just doesn’t make much sense.Well, actually, it’s intended purpose does make sense, saving money, but its shortsightedness makes me miserable.

Our previous travel policy stated that if you travel internationally for more than 5 hours, you can travel business class. The underlying premise makes a lot of sense – if you are travelling that far for that long, you want to be able to get some rest on the way over so that you can be fresh and ready to go for meetings. I can tell you firsthand that getting rest before meetings, not to mention just some basic sleep, is extremely important. There is nothing like being seen nodding off in front of your clients.

Our current travel policy states that only directors are now allowed to travel business class. Wait, let’s put this into perspective. General managers like myself are the ones who are responsible for getting in front of the clients and are expected to say things meaningful. Directors usually travel to have internal meetings with other directors over some beer, wine and a tasty cheese platter. They are not in front of the client trying their best not to look at their navels with heavy-lidded eyes.

I respect our company regulations. I figure that those who dictate this policy would know what they are talking about, right? Well, on this trip to Asia, I had a horrible flight in Economy Class between Copenhagen and Bangkok with a women hell-bent on decimating the liquor cart literally crawling over me all through the night in her quest to continually empty her bladder. This, of course, would allow her to fill it up again with whiskey. More than a few times in the night I woke from just starting to drowse off to find a strange woman crawling over my lap. All of this in the name of saving the company a few bucks.

So, after getting through a night of fitful sleep in Ho Chi Minh City, I flew up to Nha Trang, a beachside resort a little ways up the coast of Vietnam to meet with some clients. Even after several glassfuls of strong Vietnamese iced coffee, I still found myself drifting off and fighting the urge to excuse myself to go to the toilet to get 5 minutesd of sleep. It was miserable.

We checked into a hotel on the beach (they’re all on the beach here) and decided that since I am here and arrived here in a very economical fashion that I would not also save the company more money by checking into a standard room. The rooms here are cheap, $50 for the standard room, but after passing by some of the deluxe rooms on my way to the standard room at the back of the hotel, I rode the lfit back down to the lobby and upgraded myself. For an extra $25, I’ve checked myself into a deluxe room with a wraparound balcony overlooking the vast beach here. A beautiful room!

And you know what? I think that I deserve it.

IMG_4547.jpg

→ 75 CommentsTags: Rants

Colors of Sand

October 12th, 2009 · 121 Comments

You would think that when building a city in the middle of the desert, you would want to build with a lot of color so that it would contrast the dull, beige color of sand everywhere. But, sadly, that is just not how they decided to do it here in Dubai.

dubai1.jpg

They instead realized that no matter what color you make everything, the beige dust and beige sand would quickly cover it anyway. So instead, they made everything in shades of beige – orange beige, pink beige, brown beige. It still gives you an inescapable feeling that you are in the desert and that the desert still rules this place.

→ 121 CommentsTags: Interesting Things I See