October 2016
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Stand of aspens turning at Fremont Peak Park


One of these days this smug and sanctimonious sandwich board, which I have to pass on my way to Vivace, is going to end up lying dead in a ditch.


Thursday update

After a very long journey to get here, the days fly by lightning-quick, particularly the work days in the office.

My Indian team lead impressed me with a very prompt, direct, and candid appraisal of his team’s collective readiness and its members’ respective strengths and weaknesses.  He and several other guys have also generously fed us home cooking from their wives and mothers.  They’re also insisting on leading us on a tour of Hyderabad’s attractions this weekend.   Bringing them M&Ms and technical documentation feels embarrassingly insufficient.  The office is furnished–and littered with corporate propaganda–much the same as one in the USA.  The biggest difference I’ve noticed?  The snack rooms here are staffed with people and stocked with hot prepared food.  No mute and lonely self-service vending machines as in the States.

Our work schedule hasn’t afforded much time for exploration.  Sleep, eat, work.  As we habituate to the time and culture changes, we’ll begin to venture out during our afternoon free time.

Favorite travel health anecdote of the day

From “How to Shit Around the World: The Art of Staying Clean and Healthy While Traveling” by Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth.


Calvin Dorion - diarrhea


First 24 hours in Hyderabad

So far so good.  Two decent sleeps and a cold that’s stabilized at worst and diminished at best.  I’ve unintentionally followed advice to eat simply and lightly at first: only Perrier, papadum, peanuts, and a Kingfisher thus far.

My first long-haul journey in Economy class in a while went fine.  Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  Then Inception, The Bourne Legacy, singleton episodes of Doctor Who and The Thick of It.  Didn’t touch a laptop or smartphone during either flight.

The most unpleasant surprise of the trip thus far is colleague B’s apparent booze-fueled Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.  He drove me to exasperation after we met in Heathrow.  I assume that intemperate airplane drinking and some unidentified meds interacted in such a way that he became unbearably loud and garrulous, first turning heads in the airport lounge, and subsequently prompting the LHR-HYD cabin crew to cut him off after serving him two drinks.  He resumed drinking immediately upon checking into the hotel, consuming two beers to my bottle of sparkling water.  Then, as I retired for a nap, he had two more sent to his room.  When I met him and colleague R after my nap and their lunch and post-prandial paan, he had two more Kingfishers to my one.

When he joined me afterward on a walk to a nearby shopping mall, he could not remember where he had eaten lunch or gone afterward.  Security staff reprimanded him twice for lighting cigarettes too close to the entrances of buildings.  When we finally made it inside a shopping center, he lurched into one store after another asking the proprietors where he could obtain “420 paan.”  The closest he came was an apothecary where he was offered “paan tablets” which he declined.  I followed, more amused than annoyed, as he corkscrewed shambolically through the mall, top to bottom, like a crackhead in the Guggenheim.  Along the way I kept an eye out for interesting shops but the Food Court was discouragingly deserted, and Erica had specifically warned me against the only textile shop I found.  When B accosted one of the janitorial staff for directions, who pointed us fruitlessly and absurdly into the Beauty and Fragrance section of a department store, I said, “OK.  Bedtime for Bonzo.  Let’s go,” and marched him back to the hotel.  I’m hoping that resting and drying out will leave him in better stead this morning.

In another absurdity of globalization, the hotel receives the Big Ten Network.  I’m going to doze while listening to the Michigan-Illinois basketball game until it’s time for breakfast.


On the recent Facebook changes

A quick search reveals that 13,291 people list “Facebook Sucks” as an interest, whereas 378 people have joined a thusly-named Community. 119 users like Facebook Sucks University. 140 nostalgic people list an interest in “When Facebook Didn’t Suck.”

On the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind


“It’s our forebears,” said Malia Alexander, 24, interviewed on a recent night at the Black Lodge, an all-ages club next to Interstate 5. “It’s kind of my dad’s music.”

From The New York Times.

Marsh madness

Seeking an alternative to running this afternoon, I bicycled first around Miller Park, then to Madison Valley and through the Arboretum, continuing on to the Foster Island loop.

When I saw the sign warning of high water levels and muddy conditions due to unusual dam releases on the Cedar River I thought, “Come on.  It’s almost July. How inundated or muddy could this trail be?”

Yep, you guessed it: Very.

Long story short: consequently I also became wet and muddy, as did my bike (fun) and phone (not fun). Phone seems OK after two hours on the stereo receiver drying rack.  Sneakers could go either way.  Time will tell; the first 24 hours are the most critical.

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