Friday, November 21, 2014

The Feast

It was our annual Thanksgiving feast at the office...
The results were, as always, tasty.

I've been cooking the whole pig in the La Caja China for the last few years, leaving the turkey frying to others...

After the trial run last week at the range, today's prep was a piece of cake, or rather, pork...
I had a young padawan with me, learning The Way Of The Box, since she and her husband are borrowing it tomorrow to cook their own pig for a Saturday football shindig...

One thing I've started doing differently- we are doing the whole pig serving presentation, rather than picking all the meat and hiding the carcass from the delicate snowflakes...
This year we just deployed the critter whole... But we did try to take the edge off the sight of the grinning porcine skull by doing the traditional apple-in-the-mouth, then the ultimate comic relief-
Googly eyes.

The phrase "morbid and creepifying" was used. Repeatedly.

Found Items - Oakland CA

Whilst rummaging about in the server room/IDF closet on the event level of the Oakland Arena, I found these...


Man... That's a trip down the memory hole...


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

I Did Nazi That One Coming

They're going to have to rethink this entire line of products...



(the text of the review is priceless...)

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Old One, But a Good One...

...especially for these times.

A Message to Garcia
By Elbert Hubbard - 1899
In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain & the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.
What to do!
Some one said to the President, "There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can."
Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How "the fellow by the name of Rowan" took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, & in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- "Carry a message to Garcia!"

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.
No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, & half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, & sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are within call.
Summon any one and make this request: "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio".
Will the clerk quietly say, "Yes, sir," and go do the task?
On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:
Who was he?
Which encyclopedia?
Where is the encyclopedia?
Was I hired for that?
Don’t you mean Bismarck?
What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?
Is he dead?
Is there any hurry?
Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
What do you want to know for?
And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.
Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your "assistant" that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, "Never mind," and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting "the bounce" Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.
Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate- and do not think it necessary to.
Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

"You see that bookkeeper," said the foreman to me in a large factory.
"Yes, what about him?"
"Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for."
Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the "downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop" and the "homeless wanderer searching for honest employment," & with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with "help" that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away "help" that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.
It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best- those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, "Take it yourself."
Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry & homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner pail & worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; & all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the "boss" is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets "laid off," nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village- in every office, shop, store and factory.
The world cries out for such: he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Options



Well... I guess that is one option...

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Signs of the Apocalypse - Mexico Edition

(From the concession stand at the Arena de la Cuidad in Mexico City.)

Let me run this by the safety / security folks:

Who thinks it's a good idea to offer:
BOTTLES of tequila to fans at a basketball game...? (click pic to embiggify)

Granted- it IS $110 USD a bottle for the Herrandura, but if someone is dumb enough to buy it, they're probably too dumb to exercise restraint and good sense after drinking it.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Mexico - Último Día

The last day in Mexico kinda sucked.

I had the early shift for the day- I arrived at the Arena de la Cuidad at 9:00am.
Columna del la Independencia on Paseo de Reforma


At that time it was just me, security, and 8 firemen/paramedics...
Staff started trickling in around 10:30 or so... Even that was kind of early for the hoi polloi since the game had a scheduled start time of 9:30 PM.

I killed most of the day doing basic IT support, and a little pre-strike prep- moving cases to locations handy for breakdown but out of the way, etc.

The bulk of staff were in the house by 5:00pm and we didn't have any major issues.
(Thankfully. Last year at 45 minutes before tip-off there was an electrical short that filled the arena with smoke and the game was cancelled.)


So the game went well- no issues, no fires, no problems. Yay.

Strike started at 11:45pm, and at 2:15am (Thursday) we loaded the last equipment case in truck that was headed back to the good ol' Estados Unidos...
We were back at the hotel by 2:45am and were in need of sustenance so we headed to a taco joint around the corner from the hotel - Tacos Don Güero  (at 65 Rio Nilo) ...

My man & partner in grime Kui, posing with the Giant Cone of Pork - Oh My.


Some of our guys deciding on how we would divide and devour the existing stock.


The Master carving up the al pastor... We put a hurtin' on that thing...


Mmmm. Look at that strata of pork, spices, trichinella and spirochetes. Yum.


El Maestro de la Plancha - he kept the tacos and gringas coming for a good hour.

Everyone had two or three items, drinks, etc- the bill was about $34...
I paid the tab and tipped the guys and we headed back to the hotel.

My shuttle to the airport was at 4:30, just enough time to shower and pack my bags and head downstairs...

No issues at the airport in Mexico, and United was only an hour late departing from Houston with one gate change during my layover, so I'll count that as a minor victory.
Back to Jax by 5:30pm and home at 6:30...
One long damn day.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

About Damned Time - Trader Joe's

We (the Northeast Florida Beaches Communities) finally have a Trader Joe's!


I love me some TJ's! Too many cool snacks and sauces...
And they actually have some unique (and tasty) breads and vegetables.

For my local Constant Readers (both of you), it's down in the Sandcastle Shopping Center where JTB meets A1A.
Time for another appearance of the Trader Joe's Song...


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Good Old Days


This (supposedly) a vintage shot of the economy cabin in a '60's PanAm 747...

Look at the legroom!

*sigh*

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Global Warmenings -STFU

I did it again-
Over lunch I was eavesdropping overheard the two idjits next to me at the bar discussing the ZOMG Global Warming, Anthropological Climate Change, Radiative forcing, Greenhouse effects, and /or Global dimming (no shit), and listening to their precautionary plans ("After all, we live in Florida; We'll be first and hardest hit!")
I finally couldn't take it any more...
(discussion recreated from memory)
Yours Truly: "Hey. Knock it off.... The science ISN'T settled. And even it all the worst case scenarios were true, it's not going to be a Hollywood epic water rise like 'The Day After Tomorrow'... The change will be so creeping you'll never notice it."

Clueless Pabst Blue Ribbon Drinker: "But there are plenty of places going under now, Smart Guy."

YT:"For instance?"
CPBRD: "Venice Italy."

YT:"Good example. Ever been there?"

CPBRD: "No."

YT: "Didn't think so... I have. The water isn't rising anymore than normal. The city is sinking by erosion and compression of underlying strata. Go there and see. Lots of public data on display.
2 or 3mm per year, documented a hell of a blot better than the 'predicted' 2 cm over 100+ years according to the IPCC and Algore."

CPBRD: "What about all the islands in the Pacific?"

YT: "You mean most of those islands that are just glorified sandbars to begin with? They are always in a state of near-disaster anyway; Historically there are always spring floods, tidal waves, tsunamis (completely different than tidal waves regardless of what movies/stories/Algore might tell you), and storm surges that overrun those islands. Always has been, always will be.
I would tell them, just as I would tell you- as a resident of a low-lying location: If you're worried about it, move."
CPBRD: "But they..."
YT: "Quite worrying about 'They'. That's the big problem with you Social Justice Warriors - you don't have a dog in the fight, but you want to be involved anyway.
Knock it off.
Mind your own business. If you think Florida is going under- Move. Now.
I'll give you $.06 on the dollar for your house right now so you can GTFO."
CPBRD: "But we all have to..."
YT: "No, we don't. Look- if you want to go to war about a cause, pick one that has actual victims and a solution. Malaria; Teen-aged drunk driving. Toddlers drowning in 5-gallon buckets. But don't spend my money (via Government proxy) on bullshit-but-oh-so-sexy causes like Climate Change that has no bonafides or provable end-games."

By now the restaurant manager and the barmaid are giving reproving glances to me and I guess I have overstayed my welcome...

Fucking morons.


I'm going to start wearing earplugs when out in public so the siren song of Progressive Hysteria will just pass me by. Because I'm just getting wayyy too get-off-my-lawn-angry at the stupidity around me.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Could Someone 'Splain to me...

... Back when there was the big "Sell Obamacare to the unsuspecting public" drive, the Left was promoting the "40 Million without Healthcare"...
(Regardless that whatever the number was, they had access to Healthcare, it just wasn't free, subsidized paid for by someone else.)

Looking at current enrollments, the Administration is ecstatic that they have 7.3 million...
(according to Politico.com - go figure) although the real figure is more likely far, far below that.
I'd love to see the real figure of truly "covered" enrollees- people that actually paid their initial premium, and continued to pay for their coverage...
(And I mean people that paid for THEIR OWN... Not the ones with subsidized premiums. After a little judicious checking, it seems that we denizens of the Estrogen Palace would qualify quite easily for premium subsidies if we chose to burden others with our needs.)

So... the 'splainin' part- "ZOMG 48 million people dying because no healthcare!" howcum the lapdog media isn't all "ZOMG 40 Million still not covered?- That Obamacare shit is FUBAR. Fix the FUCK outta it, MFers."

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

The sky is falling! The sky is falling.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cookin'

Cooking a pig for the yearly turkey shoot at the range...
It was awesome...
I did get to shoot this year...

One shot, one win.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hencho en Mexico

Handy phrases to know if, like me, you are on a short trip to Mexico City...

"Un chupacabra está en mi armario de cableado."

"¿Qué tipo de carne de perro es en este taco? Prefiero terrier en lugar de chihuahua."

Learn to recognize this phrase when approached by a bribe-seeking public extortionist police officer:
"Usted tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio. Si usted renuncia a este derecho, todo lo que puede puede ser utilizado en su contra en un tribunal de justicia. Usted tiene el derecho a un abogado."*





TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
*this is actually a joke. You don't have any rights in Mexico.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Journalistic Dumbassery

Sitting at breakfast this morning reading a NYT Digest (which I guess the hotel prints out, rather than getting a stack of the International Herald Tribune to distribute) and I let out a snort of disgust and derision so loud that the waiter thought I had snorted most of my coffee...
Writing in the Opinion section (which is were the NYT prints speculation as if it were hard fact) Ross Douthat is expounding on the current Progressive unpleasntness about the GOP not having any sort of policy agenda. He then proceeds to excoriate Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

He opines here:
Rubio and Paul are not necessarily the most qualified of the Republican contenders — they are relatively young, they lack executive experience, and their legislative records are modest.
So if you are a Conservative, this is a deal-breaker...

But if you are an African American junior senator for Illinois, these are endearing qualities that make you a shoe-in for POTUS.

Double-standard much, NYT?

Don't get me wrong here - there is some meat in this article...
Conservatives need to keep in mind Obama is not going to be the next president...
but there is a possibility that the next president could be a Democrat, and possibly that Republicans will lose seats in the house and senate, and if so, we could reasonably lose control of the senate.
The Republicans have a narrow window to actually do something, and whatever they do they will either need Obama's cooperation or they will need to have enough votes in the senate to override a veto.
These are simple facts --and the Conservatives need to get their shit together and make sure that they have a track record to exemplify in 2016, otherwise all will be for naught when the Clinton machine takes possession of 1600 Pennsylvania Av.

Again.



TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Utter Bullshit

Really?
People can make demands on police responses?

Anyone up for starting a little self-sufficient compound in Belize or Honduras?
'Cause wacko shit like this is a bad sign of things to come.
TBG

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Perceptions

Too good not to post...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Questionable Activity

-or-
"Do you really want to spend the entire flight in the airplane lavatory, throwing up - or worse?"

I passed up all the open-dish-with-flies places and salmonella-on-a-stick joints and found the Roast Duck and Pork Char Siew kiosk.
3 bucks for a nice taste of duck and pork.

Now- If I can just make it to Abu Dhabi without doing the technicolor yawn on the flight...

TBG- Streetfood Gourmet

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Like a Boss

As I am taking a break from Tennis (Shanghai Rolex Masters) and the NBA (DC, Indy, Golden State) to come to Kuala Lumpur to make a tiny contribution to the SMT-IDS Golf Department, I give you a moment of Golf Zen:

From 2010 at the Senior PGA Golf Championship at Harbor Shores-
"You want me to show ya how to putt it?"

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stereotypes

And I ain't talking Marantz vs Kenwood, either.

I've had the idea for a post scurrying around in the wide open spaces found twixt my ears for a couple weeks.
Problem is, I can't put it to words and post it as it could be considered, if taken without proper context, as be quite raaaacist.

I can give you the gist- I was in Shanghai and this year the traffic, especially the large numbers of near-accidents and offensive driving incidents was markedly higher than in previous years.
It's not hard to imagine why- think of the worst stereotype about Asian drivers in the US, then imagine driving in a place that was populated by ONLY these kind of drivers.
All the time.
And if you carry the stereotype of Asian drivers to the next quantum level, segregating by gender,it is no surprise which sex gets the nod as being worst than the other.
And by obvious extrapolation, half of the total drivers in Shanghai are the stereotypically worst type.

(I hope I have been sufficiently vague-but-obvious...If not, ring me up and we'll chat.)

So I have been noodling that for a good bit...
But today/tonite's flight has been quite an eye opener, stereotype-wise.

I have been on several airlines that are geared to one nationality or another over the course of my job...
US Carriers that cater to bacon-eating, gun owning, loud, fat, ugly Americans such as Yours Truly...
I was on JAL - a carrier that tailors their passenger jets in a configuration lat enables them to stuff 4 or 5 salarymen into a space that would normally fit one of the afore-mentioned bacon-eating Americans...
(And let me tell you, that was a miserable center-seat nightmare.)
And I was on the ANA flight a few weeks back in a center seat built for Taiwanese nationals. And it was pure joy, if you will recall...

But tonight... Wow. UAE-based Etihad Airlines.

I have never been looked at with such smouldering animosity for 20 hours...
Both on the plane and here in the terminal waiting for my next hop to Kuala Lumpur.
On the whole trip, in line to board, one the flight itself, getting off in Abu Dhabi, hanging out in teh terminal...

I thought I might have had one of CJ's "Pork-Eating Infidel" t-shirts on for the number of hateful looks I was getting just for being a 'Murican on a Middle East flag carrier.

Really- from the looks I'm getting you'd think I was walking around with a paintbrush and a 5 gallon bucket of pig fat, anointing all flat surfaces I come in contact with...

And that is not the worst of it- I have found an out-of-the-way spot to kill the 6.5 hour layover and do my favorite thing- people watch - and man, it's quite entertaining.

I thought I was the only one getting the looks-that-could-kill-if-I-had-a-block-of-C4-and-a-kindergartener-to-tape-it-to...
Oh no- any Westerner here gets a "fuck you infidel pig" treatment- and the worst recipients - any Western woman- and the more attractive, the nastier the looks and reactions.
You can practically read the minds of the typical Middle Eastern male:
"Western whore! How dare you dress like that to tempt and titillate me! Get out of my presence, but hey- Abdul- check out her cleavage before she goes..."

Fuck this entire place.
Cannot wait to get outta here.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Suckage Begins

12 hours to Abu Dhabi...

My knees hurt already...

Forgot How bad It Was...

Going back through TSA Checkpoint...
Since I'm booked on Etihad Airways and I don't have a profile registered with them, I had them apply my American Airlines FF number, not that I have much status, but I was hoping they'd pass my TSA Known Traveler number on and I'd get PreCheck.

No such luck.

So I'm in the cattle class line, remove all your stuff, belt, shoes, etc. Take out the laptop, turn you head and cough.

I've been spoiled with PreCheck...
Just empty pockets and go.

Now I have to go find the restroom to clean up from the full-arm rectal exam I just got...

This will be an interesting trip.

TBG

Bear With Me...

Been trying to get my head above water-
I have several Shanghai stories to share, and an item or three from the DC/ Indy/ Oakland whirlwind...

I'll never get caught up if this morning is an indicator...

Attend me:
Sept 28 - Oct 14 - Shanghai (and an extra night in Chicago)
October 17 - October 23 - Washington DC - Indianapolis - Oakland CA.

And when I walked into the office this morning my man Slaw catches me as I'm talking to Bookkeeping.
Slaw: "Hey... You got any plans for the weekend?"
YT: "No...."
S: "I need help. Can you make a quick trip to Malaysia?"

Holy crap.

So...
6:00pm - Jax - JFK
JFK to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur.

I'll give the hand-carried case of correct equipment to the tech (who took the WRONG equipment with him initially), headslap him, and get back on the plane and head home.
Back Tuesday.

FML

TBG

Thursday, October 23, 2014

4:22am SFO

I'm giving United yet another shot at screwing up my day/week/month...
I'm on the 6a flight to Chicago...
The same one that I was scheduled on a couple weeks back when they had the suicide/fire at the Aurora FAA radar facility.
Dodged the bullet (heh) that day...
Wonder what they'll throw at me today?

TBG- Travelin'

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ruh Roh, Shaggy..

5:50am
Avis bus stop @ IAD

We hear a plane landing and it sounds very off, like some kind of botched landing.

Suddenly lots and lots of sirens.

Let me guess.... My flight is going to be delayed. Again.

Film at 11

Catching Up On My Summer Reading

One of the things that I was able to accomplish with all my travel delays was to finish reading several books that have been stuck in my queue for the last few months.

I have finished Captain Ward's "Tales of the Anna Karrue" and "Into the Mystic" - the chronicles of a tugboat captain in Charleston SC.
Capt. Ward is an old friend from Key West- he and his wife kept me sane on more than a few trips to the Dry Tortugas, where he was a captain on the Yankee Freedom.
His stories give a glimpse into life on waters in and around Charleston SC, really highlighting some of the drama that surround a very colorful segment of coastal life.
Tasty stuff... Pick them up if you enjoy a good seaside tale.

Speaking of tales- or more appropriately - tails...

If you have not secured your copy of The Book of Barkley yet, what the hell are you waiting for?


It took me a while to get mine, but I am so glad I did...

I may be a bit biased, having had the pleasure of meeting the author not once but twice, and this book has double impact on me: Knowing the author, and being the recipient of the love of a black lab at my humble abode, the tales hit home with a vengeance.
As the author shares her tales of life, love, a mischievous black lab, and ultimately, loved ones lost, she weaves thought-provoking tales of home, work, squeaky toys, and family, she makes you reflect on your life and your loved ones in a very profound manner.


If you read this book and don't smile, laugh out loud, and shed a tear or three (or like me, about 50), I will have to revoke your status as a Constant Reader. 
Listen to your Uncle Jay: Go to the site and order The Book of Barkley now.

Now.


TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shanghai Surprise

As always- Shanghai is a challenge.

Getting there is a 20 hour nightmare, and once on the ground, the CBD is hell-and-gone from the airport in PuDong.
Count on at least an hour, one-way.

But once you're in your humble abode, things get better.
Or, at least you hope they will.

I was prepared to rise to challenges this year, but there was one big change that caused me a good bit of inconvenience-
Google (and Google products) are strictly forbidden behind the Great Firewall...
There are work-arounds, but every Interweb connection goes through filtering and censorship that was pretty effective.
(VPNs are usable, but being the cheap  bastard I am, I won't spring for paid service, and since I'm on vacation I couldn't (ethically) use the company VPN)

Case in point- any website that was on the whitelist would still load slowly.
and if there was any Google APIs (like AdSense) those segments would stall the page load or just hang the process entirely.
A monumental pain in the ass, really.

This was new for this year and it was really bad. I was for all intents and purposes incommunicado for most of the trip.
I did post a few Instagram photos and did a couple tweets, but as a rule, I was too busy to do much blogging even if connectivity was good.

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

So... Where Were We?

Oh yeah-
United Airlines was bending me over the back of the couch and having it's way with me, in a very horrid and painful manner.
Again.

I made my connection in Nooowark, but just barely.

For the long flight I did have the seat next to me empty, so that was a small victory.
Not a lot of sleep though.

On the ground in Shanghai things got interesting.


 Traffic was just as bad as it always has been...
At least my driver didn't hit anyone on the way to the hotel this time.

Once ensconced in my temporary domicile, it was only 2 O'clock in the afternoon-
And after long experience I knew that getting comfortable and lounging would lead to sleep, and that was the recipe for disaster.

I needed to fill the larder.

One thing about China, you can find some familiar but different items... A veritable cornucopia of Spam varietals for instance... And no.
Didn't get any of them. But I was tempted.

Another familiar-but-not-so-familiar variation:
The tried-and-true XXX Acai Vitamin Water. Love this stuff. I grabbed a taxi and headed toward Shinesun Center, the replacement for the old CyberMart on Huaihai Road.
I got a little sidetracked and found an interesting side market near by...
I was a little puzzled by these tiny ceramic bowls.
Serving dishes for Barbie dim sum?
No... This dude was working on an additional accessory for the same sport/pastime/hobby.
He's carving out these dog-dish sized containers made from semi-soft terracotta. They are the homes and food dishes for Chinese fighting crickets.
(Sorry about the crap focus on my photos- had a hard time keeping the phone steady.)  
Seriuosly- some of these bastards are the size of your thumb.

Here's one in his natural environment. 

The place was creeping me out- I'm heading back to the tech market.
If you want to know more about the sport of Chinese Fighting Crickets, go here.


But first- wanna buy a bag of fish?

Seriously- bags of fish.

Back at the tech market I was treated to a demo of the latest must-have gadget for the Round Eye- Blue lasers.
Here the girl running this kiosk is lighting a cigarette with one. Oh yes, I gotta have me one of these.
I picked one up, along with some other sundry crap like bluetooth enabled selfie sticks and  some other goodies, then headed out for an early dinner.

There was a restaurant nearby-
Let's see what's on the menu:
 
Yeah, a great big NOPE on that.


I guess if you're looking for for some spicy ass, this would be your restaurant.

Me, not so much.
I'll take the Spam instead- I headed back to my hotel. There's a Cantonese restaurant nearby. Porkbelly and dumplings are on menu tonight.

So much for my first afternoon in Shanghai-

TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE