Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bags Arrived

An hour after I went to bed, my phone rang, alerting me that my bags had arrived.  I anxiously opened the bags, not sure if the twenty-one packs of sliced non-dairy cheese would be preserved or spoiled.  To my delight, there was still ice in the freezer bag.  It didn't all melt and refreeze in the plane (although the high altitude part of the flight might have helped preserve it), because one of the bags was crushed ice, and they were still in individual pieces.

All my things appear to be there so I am happy.  The bad news is that I'm awake now. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back in Kreung Tape

Well, I made it back to Bangkok tonight, but my checked luggage did not.  I'm guessing that they didn't get it on the plane from Detroit to Tokyo.  When I arrived in Detroit, I went straight to the gate, and within five minutes they called the final boarding call for my flight.  I'd like to give a big one finger salute to the ground crew in Detroit who let our flight from Cincinnati sit on the runway for fifteen minutes waiting for them to get the gate ready. 

The problem with not having my luggage is that I had cheese for the girls in it.  It was frozen and packed with ice in a container that boasted to keep things frozen for at least 30 hours.  We'll see what state it is in when it arrives tomorrow.  

In Transit

In Norita (Tokyo) waiting for my flight to Bangkok.  A few minutes ago one of my countrymen was walking through the airport screaming out curses (mom, don't read this part, including fuck, god damn, assholes).  Apparently he was unhappy with something.  Totally uncool. I've said those things before, and sometimes in response to people I deal with.  However, only someone right next to me would actually hear me say something like that.  This guy was turning heads from more than fifty feet away. 

I was seated in the middle seat of exit row (51) for the flight.  Row 51 is a great row in that it has a lot of leg room.  The wall to the restroom is the only thing in front of you, and that's probably 8 or so feet away.  Its one of the few rows where the middle and window seat passengers can get up without requiring the person on the aisle to move.

One of the gentleman sitting next to me was somehow affiliated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  I think he was a donor.  The orchestra is touring in Japan, and he was going to see them.  He knew John Russel, the former assistant conductor who's wife Thea was a friend of Tim's. 

Only another nine or so hours left before I'm back in Thailand. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Recently, my iTouch developed a few little lines of dead pixels across the screen.  I took it into the Apple shop today and within twenty minutes walked out with a new (probably refurbished) iTouch. 

I'm happy with the way Apple handles these things, quickly and largely hassle free.  The only downsides were two.  First, I lost everything on my iTouch. Normally, this wouldn't be as big of a deal, because I would just sync with my desktop.  Unfortunately, my desktop is on another continent at the moment. 

Secondly, I had upgraded the software on my iTouch.  I have a first generation, and upgraded it to version 2.2.  The new iTouch is on version 1.1.  In order to use the games I want, I need at least version 2.2.  Unfortunately, I could not find that software, so I had to spend $4.95 to upgrade to version 3.1.  Overall I'm pretty happy with things though.

In less fortunate iProduct related news, Tim took her iPhone swimming with her.  She has a case she uses for working out that wraps around the arm.  She forgot that she was wearing it and got into the water.  Not good.  Not good at all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heading Back Home

I'm in Atlanta waiting for my flight back from Cincinnati. 

I thought I had booked my flight back from Austin for today, the 19th.  When I checked the morning, apparently I had booked it for tomorrow the 20th.  When I called Delta to try to change it, the first agent told me that there were no seats available today.  The guy was a bit of an ass.  They have the suffix ESQ behind my name from my days as an attorney.  He kept calling me Vogelesq even after I politely corrected him several times.  I would say "Vogel, V O G E L" and he would say, "right, Vogelesq".  He didn't even attempt to rebook.  When I told him that I was having trouble accessing my itinerary online, he told me that I shouldn't be having trouble.  Oh, really, I thought?  You guys don't design it to not work?  At my request, he was able to transfer me to someone who could find their butt with both hands, although even this person might have needed a few minutes.

I called back a bit later and talked to someone else.  The lady tried to help me, and even put me on hold and sought help.  She finally came back and said that since the flight was booked through Continental (it was actually through Expedia), that I had to call Continental. 

While I was on hold with Continental, I checked the price to book a brand new one way flight.  I'm glad I did, because when I called Continental, they quoted a price to change it that was almost twice the price of booking a new ticket.  Um, no thanks...

I went to book a new flight online with Delta, but they didn't show seats available for the flight.  I didn't want to pay more money only to fly standby and not actually make it home, so I called.  When I explained I wanted to book a new flight, the CSR told me that she could change my reservation.  When I explained what the other two numb-skulls had told me, she said that they must have been having a bad day.  A subtle shot, I liked it.  In any case I rebooked the flight for today. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

In the Air Again

Less than twenty-four hours after arriving in Cincinnati, I am heading out for a side trip today.  I'm actually feeling pretty good.  I went to bed last night around 11:30, and woke up at 8:00 am.  Its quite possible that I could crash hard on the plane or when I arrive at my destination. 


Made it back to Cincinnati last night.  I didn't realize that I was actually on stand-by for my flight from LAX.  The agent in BKK said they couldn't assign a seat because it was a Delta flight on a Northwest itinerary.  I wouldn't normally have believed that, but I had some weird problems with mixing them before. 

Turns out that I got the last seat available.  I was looking at the cleared list (those on standby assigned to a seat) and the standby list.  My name wasn't on either, and there were only one or 2 seats listed available.  I went to the counter and the agent told me she was just issuing my seat.  I ended up sitting in a a middle seat, but fortunately, I was in between two normal sized women.  That was a lot more comfortable than in the same row as two large men.

I've really noticed how fat Americans have become.  Well, maybe they have always been that way.  In fact, I still am fat, just not as fat as I was a year ago. I saw more fat people yesterday traveling than I have in the last year on Thailand (not counting foreigners). 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waiting in LAX

I'm sitting at the El Cholo Catina in LAX.  Sounds a lot better than it is.

The flight from Japan was 9 hours, long by most standards, but at least shorter than the 13 hour from Japan to Detroit. Of course, now I have a 5 hour flight ahead of me. 

I had an excellent seat on the flight from Japan, at least theoretically.  I was in the exit row by the window.  The leg room for one leg was a little cramped, but the other longer than my leg.  Its one of the window seats where you can actually get up and walk around without disturbing the people next to you.

The people sharing the row with me were why the seat was theoretically great.  In the middle seat was a thin guy who had to be over 6'5. While he was thin, he had fairly wide shoulders.  He ended up leaning in my seat fairly frequently thanks to the guy sitting on the aisle, who was just plain big.   My guess is that he tipped the scales at close to 300 lbs. 

Immigration, customs and luggage re-check were a breeze.  I saw some minor TV star in the airport, but I can't place him for sure. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Transit

I'm on my way back to the U.S.  Currently in Japan waiting for my flight to L.A.

Interesting thing on the flight over.  I sat in 16C, which does not have an overhead storage available (a life raft in it), nor does it have a seat in front.  So I had to go find a spot somewhere else.  I went a few rows back, and some old guy said "No, you can't put that there."  I just looked at him and started to move the 2 tiny bags that were occupying a lot of space.  "No No No you can't"  he continued.

I explained that my seat didn't have any storage and I could put it here.  "I don't care if you have a place or not" he said in a raised voice, and then actually grabbed my arms in an attempt to stop me.  The guy was old and wasn't very successful, which was good for him, since if I dropped the bag due to his antics, I would probably have broken his hip.

I told him that if he kept it up they would throw him off the plane.  He then said that he need to be able to get to his bag quickly (I assume for a medicine) and he couldn't move my bag.  I nicely said "asshole, if you had nicely asked and told me that before I would have gladly found another spot", which I then did.  I did say asshole, but I'm not sure where it was in the sentence. 

His reply was "I did, I said no." 

"That is your idea of nicely"

I went back to my seat.  A few minutes later I heard him request someone else not put their bag there, this time in a much nicer voice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Basketball is over now and soccer is starting up.  Jacob's team finished tied for first in the regular season (6-1) and lost in the second round of the tournament.  Of the 9 games, I think 4 were decided by two points. 

The last game was really exciting and close.  The other team won by two points on a shot in the final ten seconds.  Initially, the kids took it pretty hard.  Most of the team was actually crying.  They really wanted to win.  It was nice to see that.   


As some of you already know, I'll be stateside from October 15th through the 29th.  I had to cancel the trip to Japan again.  Its a long story, but not really a bad one.  We are rescheduled to go back in April. 

To the dismay of my parents and family, I will be returning home alone again. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Singapore Vacation

IMG_0247-Edit, originally uploaded by eBv iMAGES.

I thought I had uploaded this photo back in April, and maybe I did, but I couldn't find it on Flickr.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More on the Photoshoot

In addition to the heat and bright sun, we had a few other challenges.  On Friday, my car wouldn't start, so Tim had it taken to the shop.  I took Tim's car, which was fine, except my tripod, reflectors and knee pads were in the other car.  (Despite what you hear, the knee pads are not so that I can beg my subjects to smile or pose, they just make kneeling a lot easier).  I had my old tripod, but it isn't as sturdy, particularly with my camera, battery pack, and a heavier lens.

At one point I was setting up the camera, and Sine was about ten feet away leaning against the wall for a shot.  There was a Thai man and his son speaking.  I heard the son say something, but really didn't pay attention.  Then I heard the father say in Thai that "he's taking a photo of his girlfriend."  I just laughed, as did Sine when I told her.  I am seriously thinking of getting her and I matching tee-shirts that read in Thai "Mai Fan ----> " (not my girlfriend/boyfriend). 

Lightroom Crashed

Lightroom, the software I use to organize my photos, crashed while I was moving a lot of photos from the old drive to the new one.  The problem is that the photos were moved in Windows, but not Lightroom.  That means I may have to reimport a bunch of folder.  I am really hoping not.


Girls first soccer practice canceled due to storms.


Bought a new external one terabyte drive for my photos today.  At one point, I think I had over 200 gigs worth of photos.  I've been paring things down quite a bit, but there are still more than 21,000 in Lightroom.  Still quite a bit of organizing and deleting left.


Soccer practice starts today for all three kids.  This is Aleena's first year playing.  Nalin played for two years before taking last year off. 

Jacob has played consistently since he was 4 or 5.  Today he will only make it to part of the soccer practice, as he also has basketball practice.  After losing their first game, they ended up winning the final 6 or 7 games of the season.  The tournament starts on Friday.  

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tim & Aleena

091003.Tim.Aleena-1011, originally uploaded by eBv iMAGES.

Aleena & Amelia

091003.Tim.Aleena-1013, originally uploaded by eBv iMAGES.

Octoberfest in Nichada

On Saturday, Tim and I attended an Octoberfest party hosted by Sam and Bettina DiVergilio.   The party was for the adults and not children, however, Aleena received a special invitation since she and Amelia (Sam and Bettina's daughter) are classmates and very good friends. 

The party was fun.  They served traditional German fare like roasted chicken, potato salad, and soft pretzels.  They also had lotti, which is a Thai desert. 

Amelia and Aleena didn't like the noise of the party, so we walked them to our house to play.  Jacob was there with his friend John, who was sleeping over.  Nalin was sleeping over at a friends house. 

I ended up drinking a beer for the first time in a very long time.  It was a special Weihenstephan Octoberfest brew.  It was a dark deer, and I actually enjoyed it a bit.  It didn't make me want to go and join a beer of the month club, but it was pretty decent.