As the title of this entry says...what happened to me? Well, a variety of things...
Let's start at the bottom of that list; laziness. Yeah...I've just gotten lazy in sitting down and jotting some things down. I've had a hard time coming up with something to write, since most of the past year, things that I would like to write about generally pertain to work and I don't want to bore anyone with that.
At times, I would log into my blog account and just stare at the screen for a while. What to write? Honestly, there hasn't been too many new things going on recently, so I've just stayed silent.
But, that laziness was factored in by the next up in the list...GFW. Yes, the great firewall has been playing all sorts of games with us and to date, I'm locked out of my Typepad account, Twitter, You Tube and any other social network site that isn't Chinese. I've got the VPN service, but it doesn't seem to work with Ubuntu very well (works great on the Tai-Tai's machine, tho). I've fumbled around with it...getting it to work for less than a minute (enough time to post a Twitter message that says I think I got it to work) before it crashes and I have to reboot my machine. As a result of all this, I've just sort of ignored all those sites. Instead, just reading the news and sports.
Then there has been work...not the best of years on the job. The economy sucks and as a result, people don't buy as much shit as they did...and the company decides to examine every position and deem whether it is worthy or not. That sort of went on for 3 months before they told us whether we were worthy or not...fortunately, I was worthy. I was worthy to stick around, double my workload and receive a 0% pay raise for my troubles. But...I have a job. And, I have a job in China that I really like...so, I'm good with that.
After all that was said and done, it was time to get out of country for a month. Some bizarre tax law has us exiting the country for a full month upon our fifth year in country...so back to Oregon we went for a little work and pleasure.
We spent the better part of 2 weeks visiting family, eating in our favorite restaurants, visiting doctors, and shopping. The home leave to 'home' is generally stress filled days of going here and going there...so after those work weeks were fulfilled, we headed off on a grand adventure; Disneyland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, beaches, shopping, Grand Canyon and a week of baking in the Arizona desert sun.
The trip was fantastic. Lots of great weather (no allergies)...car driving...great food (had my first In N Out experience)...baseball...and some great down time to just chill and recharge the batteries before heading back to China. Here are some highlites off the top of my head...
- There is no better place for lunch or dinner than the Blue Bayou restaurant. While it may explode your wallet...the food and service are unlike anything else in the park.
- To the woman that insisted on telling us everything about the Pirates of the Carribean ride (did you know, this ride is about piiiirates?)...shut the f* up.
- Celebrating a birthday at the park is pretty cool...expat son loved the attention.
- Why was the longest queue we waited in for the Nemo ride?
- Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is still a favorite.
- We discovered Tai-Tai has some serious neck tendons from the photo on Splash Mountain!
- To the two girls in the photo of Flyrice and Expat Son on the California Screamin' ride...did you get in the line that goes upside down, or the one that did the loop. Cuz, I know you didn't want to go upside down.
- Angels Baseball
- Heineken beers was the most 'premium' of the beers in the stadium. Yawn.
- The ballpark is kinda boring...reminded me of Oakland.
- Sea World
- I couldn't help but think...what if they put an injured sea lion in with Shamoo...Om Nom!
- Next time I go...I'm wearing board shorts and flip flops...ya get wet there.
- San Diego
- Visited my Mom's old home...well, the street corner she lived on. Pretty cool.
- Taco Surf fish tacos. Om Nom
- We should have spent more time in this awesome city...next time we get a hotel on the beach.
- The drive to Arizona
- Thankfully, the long, boring drive was broken up by three Border Patrol roadblocks.
- Toilets in the desert for illegals...government gone mad.
- One night in Phoenix...
- Hyatt Place hotel...one of the best business suite hotels I have ever stayed in. Very good.
- What do you say when the car thermometer says is 119F outside...holy sh*t its hot!
- But, its a dry heat.
- Grand Canyon
- It's still a big hole...and its still majestic
- Wild Horse Pass Resort
- Good pools...but the water was too warm. Beer was too expensive, but it was cold.
- Restaurants were incredible...although expensive, it was well worth it.
- Lobster Tail Corn Dog...yeah...go there and try it. Om Nom.
- In N Out
- We all know what the hype is all about.
- Cracker Barrel
- Cheapest meals we had during the entire trip (save In N Out)
- Alaska Airlines - Phoenix
- When checking in customers, you really should have one of the 5 people at the counter 'log in' to the First Class check in line...you really shouldn't ignore your highest paying customers.
- Get a lounge share agreement with United, for chrissake.
- Air Canada
- Thanks for the shower upon arrival at YVR...great service.
- Happiness is walking through an airport and seeing Luongo sweaters for sale.
- Thanks for the speedy and happy check in.
- There is something to be said about going to a restaurant and not understanding what anyone is saying around you.
- To the waiter at McMeniman's that I tore into for slow service...sorry, but it did get me my check. Did you enjoy your tip?
- Two rounds of 9 holes and I shot under 50 both times. Gotta like that.
Now that the summer is over, its back to work...trying to figure out a new role with some new faces. Up in the morning...off to work, back home in the afternoon...dinner...bed...repeat. I really should try and inspire myself to write more in the coming year.