Monday, March 27, 2006

West Coast Choppers..Cares

Denver International Airport, catching a SooperShuttle to the office. A SooperShuttle, by the way, is a subsidiary of Jimbo's Driving School ("I'm not a licensed driver, but I play one on TV") and is a very economical way to get from the airport to many popular destinations. Like into another car's bumper or the local hospital, whatever suits your fancy.

It's about a 45 minute drive from DIA to the meeting venue, so i just sat back and took in the sights. The looming Rocky mountain panorama was impressive, but there really was nothing distinctive nor compelling about the immediate landscape -- strip malls and cinderblock office buildings galore. I guess it didn't help that this huge slab of man was blocking my view. This guy was straight outta the show American Choppers; buzz cut, square diamond studs, and dark, dark shades. Then I saw the tattoo. I strained to make out the Japanese characters -- hard to get a clear view as his bulldog-like neck rolls distorted the words. I think it may have spelled out "Kichi-gai," which means "Crazy." However, that tattooist seemed to have made a small error on the second character. Instead of "Kichi-gai" the word read "Kizu-kai," which is more about caring for one's guests and hospitality. I didn't have the courage to ask.

But as I write this, I'm thinking, perhaps I have been too quick to judge. Maybe, just maybe, Caring and Hospitality is what bikers are about these days. Just as New York City changed its slogan from "Up Yours" to "Your City," who's to say that scary biker types aren't doing a PR makeover?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Will Work for Food

We had a going away lunch for two folks on my team. It was at an Italian joint, so it was almost mandatory that someone order a pizza as an appetizer. I scarfed through my portion, and left a graveyard of crusts piled three deep. I dunno why I do that. After all, I usually end up eating the crusts too at some point.

Upon introspection, I realized that this neurosis stems from my penniless college days. I would spend many a weeknight hovering around my rich friends' rooms and peppering them with "Ya gonna finish that crust? Huh are ya? Are ya?" until they gave in and threw me a bone. Deep in my psyche, I had vowed that one, day it would be *I* who would be dispensing crusts. It is *I* who would be savoring the marrow of mozzarella and basil -- I would then grant the rest to the financially challenged around me! So to me, the fact that I don't have to eat my crusts is a manifestation of a dream, many years in the making. I have arrived. I am Big Time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Great (eye)Balls of Fire

Periodic eye exam time. Got Lasik a little over a year ago, and it was time for my checkup. Incidentally, if you haven't had this done, let me tell you that it is a fairly inncoulous procedure and no more threatening than accidentally shaving one's eyeball in the morning.

At any rate, Intern Bob came in to do some preliminary tests on my eye before the Doc came around to my examination room. Intern Bob (only using his first name, and not the full Bob Goodward name as to protect his identity) was clearly nervous.

me: "Hi there Bob"

Bob: (glancing down at my file) "um, hello...Hadoo"

me: "Hideo. Pronounced He-day-oh. No biggie, people screw it up all the time."

Bob: "oh sorry! Let me see, you're here for Lasik surgery. Let me explain the procedure, Hadoo..."

me: "It's He-day-oh. And I had that last year. This is just my annual checkup"

Bob: "..right. Did you remember to take your contacts out?"

me: "NO! Look, I don't need surgery!"

Bob: (stunned silence, then starts flipping madly through my file) "...wha? Yes. Yes, of course....only a checkup."

We proceed to the next room where all the test equipment is located. Intern Bob's nerves were in full flare now. His forehead had a shiny sheen of sweat and his fingers seemed to tremble. Which of course, is comforting when that person is jiggery-pokering around in one's eye orbits. All said and done, the tests themselves went off without a hitch.

Or so I thought.

The first thing the Doc said upon reading Intern Bob's scribbled notes was, "Hideo, are you sure you're feeling all right? Any pain? Anything blood spurting in random intervals from your sockets?" Turns out that Intern Bob aimed a bit too high with the eye pressure machine and took readings of my forehead...

Words of Wisdom

Annoying forms and templates are less annoying if you're the one to define and impose that annoyance on others.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Inspector, we have a motive

Not enuf time to eat a lunch today. I expected as much, so I had the foresight to pack a lunch. Nothing special really, just one of those canned soup deals where you open up in a container, heat up, and you're good to go. As long as you don't accidentally pick up the Alpo dog food can, you're golden. Although the canned Cattle Drive Chili with Beans is awfully hard to tell the diff just by looking at the label , or even by opening the can for that matter .

At any rate, there I was , 12:45pm. I'm in the breakroom, can of soup in hand and plastic container to heat it up in. But. I forgot to bring a damned can opener. And there's none in the breakroom. Not on the fourth, not on the third, not on the second. I will not eat them Sam I am. Desperate, I jammed a metal scissor into the top of the can. At first, only a dent. Then eventually, a small puncture. I got the metal hole a bit wider, to maybe the width of a pencil. End result was I got all the watery crud in the Ziplok EZheat container, but all the meat and veggies were still stuck in the can. I noticed that my technique added some extra minerals to the mix -- there were metal scrapings, either from the can or my cheap industrial scissors ($2.95 at OfficeMax) floating on top...

It was already almost 1pm and time for my next meeting; no time to even raid the candy machine.

So for all those in my afternoon meetings, sorry! It wasn't you or your comments that I was ranting at, it was at the Fates themselves!! But you happen to be easier to reach.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Deep Thoughts at 4 in the morning

New species or French hoax.

You decide:

(and no, I can't fall back to sleep. Thanks for asking)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why I Love Travel: Pt Two

Dialogue with stony-faced receptionist, Johan, of the Holiday Inn Ijmuiden Seaport Beach.

me: "pardon me but may I have an English room service menu?"
Johan (annoyed at this egregious intrusion on his time): "The menus are written in both Dutch and English"
me: "no they're not"
Johan: "Oh yes they are"
me: "hmm..let me check again. Let's see...nope. Can't read it. Therefore not English."
Johan: (huffs thru his nose disdainfully that I cannot make out the menu items, then gives me the English one from behind his desk) "so you are right"

one hour later...

me: "may I borrow a power adapter for my US plugs?"
Johan: (reaches behind counter and dumps a box of cords and miscellaneous adapters and plugs in front on him.) "here"
me: "um...which one?"
Johan: "I don't know. Try some."
me: (grabbing a handful) "okay"

15 minutes later...

me: "none of these fit your power sockets."
Johan: "yes, that's correct"
me:" why on earth do you keep them then?"
Johan" "someone may need one"
me: "where can I get one to power my laptop???"
Johan: "I don't know. Good day."

5am, seat 30A

On my way to Amsterdam. I've been avoiding long road trips like the plague, but this one caught up to me. It's not the destination, as these trips are usually intense and productive. It's simply because I always seem to pick up a cold on the airplane.

This time, however, I am prepared. I already have bronchitis - my germs will eat the common cold bug for lunch! Bring it on! Apologies in advance to those unfortunate enuf to share a row with me though.

Reminds me of the most unpleasant ad hoc travel companion I ever had. A couple of years ago, I was on a layover in Dallas. I sat next to a big Texan guy munching on a Valu-pak extra-large bag of peanuts. Upon settling down, putting my trays in the upright position and stowing my carry-ons under the seat in front of me, the gentleman drawls,"Ever notice how these give ya gas?"

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