For a work project, I've ended up searching for common names and words. Long story that I can't tell you about. But rather fascinating. For instance, the top 25 nouns in English:
Continue reading "pondering langues" »
Stepped back under the lights for the first time in about nine years. SK Field in Culver City and softball. I'm a late entry to the team (didn't know about it early on) which is made up of people at work. As a toddy-come-lately, I only made one practice last weekend, and tonight was the first game. I acquited myself well enough at practice (after a rather weak ground ball the first at bat, the next two were home run and line drive single), so I was in the starting lineup, albeit batting 10th and playing right field.
Continue reading "mercy" »
Well, after an ausipcious start, I'm back in Beijing. Never quite sure when to post this...Beijing time or LA time? Eh...who know...where I am is when I am. Ohh, deep. Anywho, the festivities at first involved me misreading my flight from LAX to SFO. I swore it was 8:55am departure, but turns out it was 7:55am. Luckily I have a tendency to show up early for flights, so I arrived a bit before 7am. Thankfully the lines were short (no line at security...how did that happen?), so I made my flight to SFO. Then a short layover, and onto the upper deck of a 747-400 (god bless business class). A long sit on the ground due to the SFO baggage system being down (?!?!?), but finally we were in the air. Uneventful flight, and actually got a few hours of sleep, and was able to work a bit and read a bit about warriorship. I need to work on that. A lot.
Continue reading "ni hao again" »
Well, things never quite go the way they are "supposed to." Could it be....expectations?!?!? I was told that I'd be booked into a room on the executive level floor at the Presidential Plaza Hotel. When I checked in, I they said no, normal room. I went up, and it was on a smoking floor (uggh) and was a small hovel with a double bed. Double uggh. I'm sorry, but I'm too old for this. I went back down to see what I could renegotiate. Found out that a few of the people on this trip are staying in those rooms, but others are in suites up on the executive floors. Uh huh. I get it. Well, at some point money is made to be spent, and knowing that I often don't travel so well, I sorted out an upgrade. My room expense of 750RMB was being covered. A suite was 1500RMB. Too much to come out of pocke. But a "deluxe room" on the executive floor was 1100RMB. Hmm, that's about $50 a night. Screw it...life is short. Much more vicivilized...large king size bed, a work table, sofa, chair, and access to the executive lounge. That is the key...got spoiled by S back in Shanghai. But at least now I know it exists and is pretty much worth the extra cash. Next time I'll get S to work her travel connection magic and find a cheap upgrade, but I was told before the trip I'd be in a decent room. And I assumed I'd be flying biz. So I'll have some arguing/sorting to do with the organizers. At any rate, my stipend will at least cover the hotel expenses but that isn't the point. *sigh* I'm tired.
Going up...7 blew
Continue reading "uggh" »
Ventured out to do some shopping this afternoon after finally getting to feeling somewhat en route to normal. I went down the street to one of the typical multifloor shopping "malls" with tons of little cubicles selling stuff. I was looking for more mala bracelets for Calvin, as he said he wanted some with his friends. I knew exactly where to go in Shanghai (and what to pay thanks to S), but this took some hunting. I finally found some but the language difficulties proved...umm...difficult. The guy did run and get someone who spoke English so we were able to figure out what I wanted (smaller beads). And thankfully, the almight calculator is the universal deal maker. He typed out 80. I sighed loudly and punched in 20. He said each. I said for all for. He said no. The guy who spoke English said just a little more. So I punched in 30. Deal. Paid a bit too much but whatever...they guy was nice enough.
Continue reading "insulted?" »
Just a short dash before heading off to dinner. Another site visit today, took plenty of video and some photos. More of the same story...some things are universal, other things aren't. At this point I'm just tired from travel and hashing through what this thing is going to look like. So many bodies in the room coming from different angles, and in the end, it isn't my call. Another life lesson. Been getting plenty of those lately.
Continue reading "quick one" »
Well, last night in Beijing. Today was a long and tough day of work, but we actually hit it out of the park in the afternoon session, with our breakout group (nicknamed "happy group") taking an episode and actually creating the game play. With a user interface even. I was in storyboard mode from last night (another project I can't talk about), so once we picked an episode, I blurted out "space invaders" and I was off to the board and markers to start drawing. And it is good. Everyone in the group was happy (hence our group name), even the edu-types.
After that it was Peking Duck for dinner. Then packing. Now blogging. Next sleep (hopefully). Then the long flight back to LA. Catch you on the other side...of the Pacific that is. Hai, tai gui le!
Continue reading "last night" »
When I got into town I was pretty stressed. When I got to the hotel, I changed some more money into RMB, leaving about $150 or so in US currency. At some point in the haze of the first day or two, I remember thinking that my wallet was thick and uncomfortable, and that I should take out the US $ and put it somewhere safe. Now if only I could remember where that was...
Continue reading "easy come" »
That's what the trip home was...uneventful. Some time slacking in the lounge at the Peking Airport, then a rather smooth flight from PEK to SFO, with about 4 or so hours sleep to be had. Then clearing customs in SF, a short (but completely full) flight down to LAX. Sat next to a United pilot who works out of SFO but lives in Thousand Oaks. Now *that's* a commute. Then a ridiculously long wait for my bag, then a cab home.
Continue reading "uneventful" »
I hate computers. No, really. Well, ok...not all the time...but often when I'm dealing with digital video. In this case, trying to create a standalone talk, but the godz are not cooperating. Tried a workflow that I've used parts of but never in this order. Lots of ways to try to do this, none of them particularly efficient. Ended up creating graphics in Omnigraffle (great program), taking that into Keynote to sequence and do crude animation, writing a script in Word, recording the narration using Logic, laying in the soundtrack, then going back into Keynote to manually adjust the timings. At this point in the past I've gone into iMovie but for some reason the export/import between Keynote and iMovie was not happening. Tried it a zillion ways. Still working on it. Arrggh...
Continue reading "production hell" »
Now I know how my dad felt about 35 or so years ago. When I was 10 and he was in his mid 40's. For those who don't follow at home, my dad was an amazing softball player (baseball too, but that was before I was born). I grew up on the softball diamond, watching him pitch fast pitch. I got pretty good too, playing 5 years of little league, then switching to softball. I played intramural and city league during college and grad school, either pitching (both slow and fast pitch) or playing shortstop. I won a lot, lost a lot, but in general was a very good player. But like many, when the family came, something had to give. My last gasp of organized softball was a city league in Claremont back in late 1997 when Calvin was less than a year old. Haven't picked up the glove since.
Continue reading "old and slow" »
Another track day, and my second "proper" race in the orange group. The tire issues were sorted and the car felt pretty good. First session of the morning I was not really fired up so I just took it easy trying to relearn the course (CA Speedway Roval which includes the front straight and turn 1 and 2 of the banked oval, then into the infield course). There are a couple of tricky sections, especially turn 3 (coming off the banked oval flat in 5th gear down to 2nd gear) and the buttonhook (turn 9).
Continue reading "not dfl" »
Well, a few test drives today. The Mazdaspeed 3 has gotten rave reviews, so I figured I should give it a shot. Did not like it. 260hp is great, but not with front wheel drive. Handling was very odd. There's no hiding from physics. Next it was a quick tip in a Subie WRX wagon. Soooo much nicer. Almost like being home.
Continue reading "style or substance" »