25 February 2011

I'm off on the road to India....

Cue Hope and Crosby with the rest, well, substitute India for Morocco.

So now within 18 hours of take-off for an 18 hour set of flights to Hyderabad, India.

Lots of stuff running through my head, none more important than the instability in the Middle East and the fact that I'll be half a world away from my loved ones.

Freedom is a wacky thing, innit?  To get it, you have to fight like hell and it's never easy, lives are lost and there is a lot of pain.  Then when you have it, you fight like hell about what kind of version of freedom is best (see Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, etc. etc. etc.)

So I'm trying to pack lightly and think I won't have a problem with that.  Most of my days are in business-type meetings and for the few days I have to my own I can pretty much wear the same pants, just change shirts.  Although I'm gone for 8 calendar days, you basically spend 2 in the air, so it's not a difficult pack to do.

I also bought something on the advice of my friend Thomas who is also on this trip with me.  It's called a SteriPen and it's a rather small device that uses Ultra-Violet light to sterilize quantities of drinking water.  The link is the version I bought (Dick's Sporting Goods only had 2 choices) and it can take care of 0.5L and 1.0L quantities in something like 24 seconds.

I've started downing my malaria pills as well.  One a day for two days before being in-country and then one each day there and then one a day for 7 days after returning home.  I also have some Ciprofloxacin in case I get a case of Montezuma's revenge.  Although since I'll be in India what would it be called?  Ghandi's revenge? But he was a pacifist so that doesn't work.

I also had to quickly find some adapters for electronic devices.  Because India was long-held a British territory their outlets are UK-like, however, it's not the modern-day UK plug, it's the "old world" kind which most places do not sell.  Thank the Lord that we have a decent sized Indian population in Chicago as I was able to find no less than 20 electronic stores, most on Devon Ave. (Little India) but I did find one out near O'Hare airport.  They couldn't have been nicer people and frankly at $1.79 a piece, I bought 3!

For my last "dinner", we took a somewhat cranky Aidan to Buffalo Wild Wings and they had a new limited time sauce called Thai Curry.  I tried it and it was pretty good.  Might as well get my body ready for the curry (yes, I know Thai is not Indian, that's not the point).

Just synchronizing up my laptop so that all my files are backed up on the corporate network and then I'll finish packing.  Oh hey, and for all my metal-head friends, I'm downloading the Lemmy documentary which would be something only I would watch in my household so better to enjoy it on a long flight.  Here's a 5-minute movie trailer for those who want to enjoy!!  (and you know who you are!)

Until later.......Namaste!

19 February 2011

CSI: Biebs goes down

Kudos to CSI last night who closed out the story of the young Bieber and his bomb making family (last year was first arc I believe) with him going down Bonnie & Clyde style.

Funny take at Funny or Die here:

and a single screen shot of the end here:
Yay to Bruckheimer (even though he's likely not much involved anymore) and Zuicker who after 10+ years on the air crushed teen girls hearts!!

Always a fan of the CSI, you've won me forever, in spite of recent pictures suggesting otherwise, O-M-G!!!

10 February 2011

When is a vacation, not a vacation?

When you bring THREE laptops along.

Yes, sadly, we lugged three laptops on our vacation.  Our normal/family one, my work one, my wife's work one (yes, working vacations, vacations working).

Add to this of course, an iPad, iPod, Blackberry, HTC Evo and two sets of Bose noise-reduction headphones.  Further add in a 35mm digital camera, a pocket-sized digital camera and a Flip Video.

I needed a damn carry-on for just all the cords, wires and chargers!!

We're sad people........ but we're still having fun and by the time we get on the Disney Cruise ship on Sunday we'll be divorced from technology for at least a couple days.

03 February 2011

Snowprah 2011 - an editorial

The more I keep watching the City of Chicago come under fire (mostly from the press, not anyone else) the more irritated I get.

I think we can fault the City for many many things in history but what happened on Lake Shore Drive (LSD) seems to me to lie more with those who were driving on it than the city.

In no way possible does it compare with what happened in New Orleans and Katrina, but the human psyche is virtually the same
  1. "It's not going to be as bad as they say it's going to be"
  2. "This is the easiest way home, I don't care what they say"
  3. "_I_ can make it, I know how to drive in the snow"
  4. "Nothing is going to happen, people are panicking but I know what to do"
For at least 24 hours before it happened, all local major news outlets were warning that there were going to be 10-20 FOOT waves off of Lake Michigan that were definitely going to come up onto the Drive creating an icy nightmare as well as difficulty for the city to clear it.  I saw two specific weather folks voice frustration via their Facebook or Twitter accounts about how people generally don't believe them.  They both recognized that it's tough to always get it right but that it is a constantly moving and changing target.  However, they said that because of the false claims in the past, they were running computer models for days and even several times an hour in the lead-up to the big storm.  As I said in a previous post, Tom Skilling tends to be the most accurate because he truly is a weather geek.  He rarely is so far off that it's ridiculous.

Anyway, the storm had been predicted to be epic enough as early as January 25th and for at least two days prior, the news, including The Weather Channel was gearing up for what was going to happen.  Look, if Jim Cantore is showing up on your streets, you better get ready for one hell of a storm and hunker down.  TWC don't just send him out to spring showers.
 I don't know, I DOUBT I was brought up in a Chicago household that was the minority but when these things start getting predicted there's a simple list of a few things we're all taught to do.
  • Keep your car's gas tank at full/nearly full and don't wait until the night before to do it
  • Always dress for the worst, but if you don't want to then bring it along (see next bullet)
  • Make sure you have the following in your trunk - heavy blanket(s), extra hat/gloves, small rations (crackers, chips), a shovel, jumper cables, extra window washer fluid, de-icer for windows/door locks
  • Keep your cell phone full charged and if you have a car charger or extra battery, keep that along
  • Have both sets of your keys in case you have to leave your car
  • If you get stuck, make sure your tailpipe remains free from the snow and lift your wiper blades up so they don't freeze to the windshield
For the most part, the people they are interviewing on tv who are picking up their cars that were stranded on the LSD most are pretty easy going and are happy that there's no fees being levied on them but there have been a few who are claiming that they thought they were going to die in their cars and that they had run out of gas and were freezing to death.

First, nice dramatic effect for the news to run continuously as A-Roll but shame on you!  A full tank of gas on a car, running while idle, can likely run for more than a day which means you wouldn't have frozen to death doofus.

I'm not sure the City could be blamed for not closing the LSD sooner but if they had I'm sure the people who were driving on it would have screamed bloody murder that they were going to get caught on Clark or wherever.  Could they be blamed for running the buses down LSD still at that hour?  Maybe, but again, people had been encouraged to take public transportation and so they were running them as quickly as they can.  There's now talk that the City should have stationed emergency vehicles near every exit on the LSD, yes, and then if they couldn't mobilize to another area of the City if there had been an emergency they would have been crucified for that as well.

Let's call it what it was:  3 nasty vehicle accidents, relatively close to each other which ended up blocking the entire four lanes of the LSD.  Even in DRY conditions people would have been stuck there for a few hours so not sure what else could have been done.

You want to blame the City, okay, DEFINITELY blame them for all my friends who STILL don't have their side streets cleared yet (2 days later!!!)  THAT is something the City should be hung out to dry for.

01 February 2011

Snowprah 2011

Well, it HAS started and continues to amaze me.

The winds are unbelievable and I just took Wrigley, our 85 lb. golden out for a walk, if that's what you could call it. First, the wind just takes your breath away. The snow felt like needles slicing through my face.

We are also having what they are calling "thundersnow" which means we're also having lightening and thunder along with all the fun.

What I can't do is estimate how many inches are down. I'm watching the news and they have totals of anywhere from 8-12" right now. What the hell are they using to measure? The sidewalk leading to our front door has zero inches thanks to 50 mph wind gusts. The end of our driveway looks like it has 8" or so.

So I still don't know what to make of this. I can definitively say that any thoughts I had about making 3-4 attempts to snowblow the driveway to keep up with the accumulation are gone. It would be an epic waste of gasoline.

So it means I can rest easily tonight and just wake up in the morning to assess the situation. Don't get me wrong, it's potentially deadly out there. No visibility at all, brutal wind gusts, and really messy roads.