On and off

It’s been a whirlwind tour of Asia-Pac via Cathay Pacific.  Last Thursday and Friday was in HongKong.  Seeing the office move to North Point while also in for some key meetings with my direct report.

Then came back Saturday evening, then Sunday evening fly to Sydney for a Regional meeting.  It’s been great so far with BAT.  Learning lots, excellent and smart people, and having a great time on the company expenses.  I flew business class on Cathay and I do believe I will have hit my AA Gold/Plat Challenge with this trip… and I’ve got 2, maybe there more trips left next month to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and HK again.  It’s quite nice.

Interesting thing at the airport though… waking up at 3:30am for a 6:25am flight and luckily I did because I found out that Australia requires US citizens to apply for visas to enter!!! So why are the Americans requiring Aussies to get visas?  So much for being friends and part of the “coalition of the willing”.  Crazy I tell you.  :O.  At least they make it easy and there’s an electronic visa application.  Cathay did it for me at the check-in counter and got it sorted out in 20 mins.  Whew.

I never thought that I’d be back here in Sydney again since after 1994 I was here with my buddy Coops….. and here I am.  Just had dinner at Biondi beach at a place called Nicks.  Fantastic.  The BAT Aussie guys really taking care of us.

So for now, enjoying it after a couple of lean years…. Life is an adventure. God is certainly giving me this.


Flashdance, What a Feeling

Saturday was an event-packed APA fest, and probably would have been a logistical nightmare if it were anywhere other than New York. Bright and early that morning I was helping out a moot court workshop for law students in midtown. P- was doing errands, and I met her at the Pathmark in Chinatown with the Zipcar.

After a flurry of SMS’s, voicemails and phone exchanges, we met up with champion blogger MJ visiting from San Francisco. While on a personal hiatus, she’s been travelling across North America and hooking up with bloggers across the country. I told her she should really be writing a book about her trip.

After navigating back from Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge up the FDR Drive really quickly, it took a silly amount of time to get across Houston because of construction. MJ was handed off to us from Uberchick and we navigated towards Flushing. After missing the Queensboro Bridge exit, we came back down from 96th street. Then we went along Northern Boulevard over the hills, through the curves, and into Flushing and the muni lot.

Dinner was at Mimi’s Shabu-Shabu, which is a uniquely American way of having hot pot – instead of the entire group sharing the same pot of simmering broth, each diner gets their own mini-hotpot to operate as they want. Individuality triumphs! For the protein, MJ went all American beef, P- went for the lamb, and I went for the surf & turf shrimps and beef.
Because of the late start and missing the exit to the bridge, we had to hussle through gale force winds to get to Flushing Town Hall for a performance of Slant, an Asian American performance group. They reprised their original production from 1995, which explored Asian men and masculinity/emasculinity. The group has had a long connection with NYU, so I’ve seen many of their productions, but never saw their first one, so I was happy to see this reprise. I also bumped into a guy, P, who I knew from law school, but I was just having a senior moment and couldn’t remember his name for about 15 minutes. He turned out to be the brother in law of one of the group’s members.

After that, we ran through the cold back to the car, and zoomed back to CBGB’s, the famed club that’s due to close in the next year after arranging a temporary reprive from escalating rents. I probably hadn’t been there in like 15 years, back in my club promoting era.

MJ’s frend’s band Dogs of Winter was performing at 11:30 PM. We got there a good 1 1/2 hours early, but spent the next 45 minutes trying to find parking. I finally found a spot in front of the Blue Man Group theater.

We suffered through a really pathetic warmup act (you kind of take competent drumming and split jumps for granted, but when the guy can’t keep time, and the lead guitar had to do everything in his power to avoid crashing into the bass or the drum set when landing, you know they need help). We were much relieved when Dogs of Winter showed up. DoW’s set had a variety of unrequited alt-punk and a Roy Orbison cover. Frontman Brian is a tall lanky guy with big guns for arms and good chops with his axes. P- got his autograph after the performance.
After leaving MJ to the whims of the Dogs of Winter (and we are having a dog of a winter this weekend), we went to Oh Taisho! on St. Mark’s Place for a quick midnight bite, which included ramen, some skewers, and roasted rice balls (yum!!). Afterwards, we found the car (cold and still in one piece) and rode off into Brooklyn, being the youngest and oldest we have been in a long time.

Cold February Weekend

The passing of Don Knotts. I’m of the generation that knew him best as Mr. Furley of “Three’s Company” (particularly since I probably watched far too much of that show when I was young). Man, is it sad that both John Ritter (the ex-Jack Tripper) and Don Knotts are gone.

The passing of Darren McGavin, who – among other things – was known for his cult fave role of Kolchak, of the old 1970’s show, “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” ABC tried a re-make this fall of the show, with a tiny McGavin appearance, but the re-make series was cancelled (I never got a chance to try it).

More notably (and why I take notice of McGavin), Kolchak inspired Fox Mulder of “The X-Files” – the FBI agent who investigates the paranormal/supernatural/unidentified space phenomenon, and takes a more official course that Kolchak, a reporter who investigated the same stuff, probably lacked – but they probably had the same frustration (i.e., being thwarted from investigating very much). (okay, so I did watch too much X-Files during its original run). Anyway, I’d salute McGavin.
This week’s Entertainment Weekly reviewed the Oscars. These special issues — well, I guess it’s what EW is known for having these days. But, what I really liked – the article on Mark Harmon! His NCIS is getting big ratings, so who’s to ignore the All-American guy? Notably, NICS creator/producer, Don Bellisario (the man behind such shows as “Magnum, PI,” “Quantum Leap,” and “JAG”) apparently liked Harmon in West Wing as the ill-fated Secret Service agent – and, I agree – that role was a good role for Harmon. I have my quibbles about his NCIS charater Agent Gibbs (he’s much too tough, making it too obvious that he has a soft heart – I mean, really, Mark Harmon!), but Harmon’s a good actor, who has longevity. Goodness, EW even got Harmon to reminisce about his role on “Chicago Hope” (I lost hope on that show when Mandy Pantinkin and Peter MacNicol left; it was a typical David E. Kelley show that too often didn’t put enough respect for the characters, I long felt) and his work in… “Battle of the Network Stars”! (I was far too young to really appreciate the old “Battle of the Network Stars,” but I think it’s funny how EW notes that NBC did strangely well in it – with Mark Harmon on the NBC team – in what was really an early “reality show”; and I’ve always been convinced that – until recent years – NBC did a good job having network identity and unity, via their old promos in the 1980’s and 1990’s).

Been behind on “House” – but I’m pretty sure that Dr. House is going to self-destruct and it ain’t going to be pretty. Dr. Wilson, if you’re really his best friend, please, do something. Or maybe, Dr. Wilson’s marital problems will be the next storyline to tackle. I mean, really, how much longer will the current Mrs. Wilson be off-screen?

And, a bit behind on “Grey’s Anatomy” – looks like I wasn’t far off the the mark on Meredith Grey’s issues about her dad. Hmm…

And, the Olympics will soon come to an end (the closing ceremonies are on tv tonight). Ah, but it’s been fun, Turin!  (despite the controversies and the like).