Sunday, September 5, 2021

Japan Trip (six years later)

Since the world is insane and there's no such thing as enjoying travel any longer...


Ahhhh, rainy day.  I'm all gamed out, took a nap, spent some time with my favorite person in the universe (Paulina) and now just relaxing.  Decided to plumb the depths of some of my mini projects researching what causes inversion loss (DC/AC) and... it's hopeless.  There are waaaaaaay smarter people that me that can't figure it out so I'm just going to pause that.

I ran across pics of my 50th birthday trip to Japan and Vietnam and figured it might be nice to put those up along with some of the more salient points about Japan that I discovered.  Like everyone there is super polite (least those that I met), it's astonishingly clean and petty crime is seemingly just totally absent.  And Dirty Harry the Grumpy Tour Bus Guy is out of control!  Anyway, here's some more of the story.


Dirty Harry.  He called himself Harry.  

Dirty Harry the grumpy tour bus guy
Then proceeded to tell us that he can't stand his wife and complain about everything interspersing Japanese, English and an Arabic tongue (not sure which, but there were a bunch of folks from the middle east there).  What a tour guide, it was hilarious.  We universally agreed he would be known henceforth as "Dirty Harry" and he loved it.  

I think I was responsible for his diatribe because I stopped to help P get on the bus and was just courteous and polite (like I normally try to be).  Set him off.  He couldn't figure out why anyone would do that.

The pic of Dirty Harry above is absent (you can see his reflection in the mirror, which is probably best as I don't want to get him in trouble and we can plainly see that he isn't a Vampire) because I forgot that the driver is on the other side of the vehicle in Japan...  Really messed me up thinking about how I would drive there.  Sure it would be rather ugly, but I digress.  There's a book that could likely be written about Dirty Harry but we only had a couple of days with him.  

First time in Japan, we did the touristy thing and visited as many of the sights as we could. The Golden Temple is in Kyoto and it's gorgeous.  It's made of freaking GOLD.  

The Golden Temple
Seems like there's only Buddhist Temples left.  I read somewhere that Shintoism was largely responsible for the warlike behavior, or something.  I'm not a historian, maybe someone can correct me.  Otherwise I'm probably right.  As usual.  Look! Squirrel!!!

We went to see the deer in Nara.  These guys bow to you and you're supposed to give them a treat.  And they are like little Japanese treat terrorists... if you do NOT give them a treat, they will sometimes stalk you, and we saw some poor lady running for her life, deer in pursuit.  I managed to avoid being deer food and protected, nay..., BRAVELY PROTECTED the Sweet Girl.  So we survived in the end.

The temple shown behind us is astonishingly large.  

There are statues in there of Buddha and other deities.  Every one of them is gigantic.  Like imagine the height of that building with a giant Buddha inside.  That big.  

Keep in mind this stuff was built in like 500BC or something.  Don't quote me on that.  But it wasn't made with modern tools.



Here's a picture of the giant Buddha.  I had to back up all the way to the door to get it in frame.  It's funny, a lot of people ('Mercan's especially) find some romantic version of Buddhism that they then "claim" and try to become enlightened.  Without actually becoming anything remotely close to enlightened.  They don't even know what that means.  Those people really kinda suck in a way because Buddha was a teacher.  Unless you take the time to try and understand the teachings, you're just like a cliquey schoolkid. 
The first trip we made to Vietnam (this trip) we met a monk that told me about Ajahn Chah a Buddhist Monk in Thailand.  Ajahn wrote several books.  The most notable was Food for the Heart.  It's a pretty great read.  If you have any interest in learning about the Buddha and his teachings, it's a very good place to start.  Simple, direct and to the point, it makes a sometimes inscrutable subject very understandable and down to earth.  Which is as it should be.




I know that the Sweet Girl is the cliquey-est of them all.  LOL, kidding.  Here she is in front of a model of the temple.  The detail is incredible.  Down to the last little thing.  It's pretty amazing.  If I could read any of the Japanese writing there I'd have more to tell you about it.  All three people that still stumble across my irreverent ramblings that is...

I tried to see if I could get googley eyes on any part of the model but she wouldn't let me.  Which, in hindsight, is probably a good thing.  I mean, really...  Japan was a lot of fun.  I recommend it if you can go.



Sunday, May 31, 2020

My friend Miss Fluffy

Received the sad news that Ramona Horn passed away. She was my friend and we became close over the years by bonding by bacon. In addition to pretty alliteration, her friendly, loving nature just made both P and me want to hang out together.

She apparently had a heart attack and passed away.

The world is missing an Angel.

RIP my friend Mona.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Hello Dollies!

Diabeetus Alert

My Mother, if that is her real name, makes delicious tasty morsels of pure ecstasy commonly known as Hello Dollies.
Not shown actual size
These delicious little creations are routinely bequeathed to me and my siblings on special occasions such as Thanksgiving, birthdays and Christmas.

To say that the Hello Dollie is delicious is like comparing Dr. Ruth to Jessica Alba.  They are, in a word, heavenly.  Some kind of graham, buttery crust on the bottom, with chocolate and then this indescribable buttery sweet caramelized layer topped with coconut.  Oh and interspersed with chocolate kisses or some kind of chocolaty nugget things.  It just makes me want to cry not having one right now.

Lots has changed.  But there are STILL no flying cars.  Dammit.  Regardless, I have some help for JP finally so I decided to do a little housekeeping and visit my old friend.  Might write a little again.  Who knows.




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Been a while

Hi again, dear old friend

I sure did enjoy typing stuff on this blog.  Enjoyed learning and doing the one thing that I dreamed of someday pursuing, writing.

But life gets in the way and the next thing you know you're an old bastard and although you're a pretty happy guy, you realize that there's just a whole different set of priorities that come with really growing as a person and a family.

But I still thought about coming back periodically and putting my thoughts on this wonderful, fun and sometimes elucidating thing called a blog.

Well, I am one hell of a happy guy.  Found a wonderful (and really, wonderful) girl, have two little doggies and business is going well (in spite of the prevailing crap economy lol).

I did a little traveling this last year and I want to put some of the trip up.  Why not put it up here?

Sweet P at O'Hare ready to board, first leg to Japan

We flew Japan Airlines and it was simply the best flight I've ever been on.  Super polite, extra comfortable seats, we drank like fish and they didn't care!  Great flight, I highly recommend it.

Me in my underwear at 4am talking to the guys at the office.  She couldn't resist.

We visited Mt Fuji

You'd think I could figure out how to rotate this.  But apparently not...

This was the last pic because it was, I kid you not, 28 degrees and there was a 40MPH wind.  The cold was unreal.  Literally took your breath away.  I ran back to the warmth of the store thing after this.  Yes I am a wimp.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thomas Pedicini

Visited New York. Stopped by the 9/11 memorial. Found Thomas Pedici on the list of names. Took a photo. I remember you Thomas...  More later.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Axiom

If you have to call someone to determine if you've pissed them off...

You have.

The preceding was a PSA from Captain Obvious


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Delirious Happiness

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” 
- Charles M. Schulz 

I think I've lost my ability to blog with any effectiveness.  I still enjoy putting words down but it seems like I could once envision what to write and some part of my brain just took over and crafted the words needed into finger motions which produced that vision.


That doesn't happen anymore.

Now I have an idea, begin to consider ways to articulate and something happens like Ali jumping around being cute or Halle playing hide and seek or my beautiful sweet girl will do something that will just derail all thought and I end up doing everything but writing down that idea.

It's not that I don't have ideas.  It's not that I can't write or take a few minutes to do what I'm doing now, it's just that something has happened and planning seems to be going out the window in favor of some really good stuff.

So I want to just say this; if you are reading this, be happy.  It's a choice.  Trust God, because you might not have a plan but he does; for you.  I may post something or I may not, but regardless of who you are and what your situation is, I hope good things happen in your life.

And I hope you're happy.

-Stew