Monday, February 23, 2009


Konban wa from Bowling Green, Kentucky. I drove in last night from St. Louis (it's about five hours), and I can now say that I have proven that my GPS system works and will get me where I need to go even crossing state lines. I even figured out how to properly mount it to my windshield, which took some trial and error. I could have avoided said trial and error by reading the instruction manual, but I'm pretty sure it's in the American Male Handbook that reading instruction manuals makes you a sissy boy. And I ain't no sissy boy.

So, I'm here in Bowling Green to help with an internal audit at Kiriu USA. This is a company that makes brake components for Nissan, Subaru, and Hummer; but mainly Nissan. As you might have guessed by the name, it is a Japanese company. And it is run by real life Japanese people. This has given me lots of opportunities to look foolish as I botch my Japanese greetings, forgot to call Mr. Ikeuchi "Ikeuchi-san," botch the greeting card exchange ritual, and pretty much look like an idiot. Which they don't mind, because as far as they know there is no reason for me to know how to do all that stuff properly, even though by this point I should be able to at least exchange greeting cards properly. And, yes, there is a right way to do it. I couldn't even get the bow right.

Also, the internal audit team consists of myself, a Nigerian gentlemen who works out of the PwC office in Detroit, a Japanese gentlemen who works out of the PwC office in Tokyo, and a Japanese gentlemen who works for Sumitomo, which owns Kiriu. We make an eclectic group, tooling around Kentucky in the rented mini-van we have. However, Akira Ikeuchi, the gentlemen from Sumitomo, is a really nice guy. Granted, most Japanese people are because that culture beats it into your head from birth to be nice to people, but he bought my domestic colleague and I these nice coasters with Japanese ukiyo-e art prints on them. I noticed that all of the ones I got have Mt. Fuji in there somewhere, which is pretty cool. So, yeah, this is going to be an interesting week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good and Bad

I have come down with a cold. Being out of town on business and sick at the same time is not a good way to live your life, but I'm dealing with it. Being the thoughtful pre-planner that I am, I had some cold-medicine in my overnight bag so I had something I could take when the symptoms started, which at least keeps me working. But, you know, it's still not fun.

But, the St. Louis Blues just keep on finding ways to win games, which is pretty awesome. They have even moved out of last place in the Western Conference. I still don't think they will make the play-offs this year, but at least they are playing like they want to be there, which is a nice change from previous years.

Lastly, that sales project I was working on right after Christmas has come to fruition, and we won the project! This greatly increases my chances of actually getting to work on projects in St. Louis this year, which will be nice.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So, I'm finally doing it. I'm reading Dune, the famous sci-fi book by Frank Herbert. I bought it almost a year ago with some leftover value on a B&N gift card I had, figuring I would get to it at some point. Well, today is the day. It's always interesting reading books like this when you've had lots of people tell you how wonderful the book is, as sometimes the books aren't as super awesome great as people led you to believe. However, I haven't heard anything about Dune in quite a while, so I figure now is a good time to read it, since I've forgotten all the specifics of why people think the book is awesome, so I can just experience it for myself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Candy Land as a Markov Chain

Wow. Knowing who wrote this, I'm pretty sure that this is intended as a bit of a joke, but this analysis of Candy Land is certainly a well-wrtten piece and thought provoking. (Note: includes a random cheap shot at Christianity, which is not uncommon for the author)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I'm Cracked

Well, according to my dentist, anyway. I had my six-month cleaning on Friday and I learned that a tooth that has been bothering me off-and-on for a while has a crack in it. I guess it's always good to get confirmation that I'm not imagining things, but there are better ways to prove I'm not crazy. Ah, well, pretty soon I get to spend lots of money to get that fixed.

In other news, you may or may not have heard about ESPN360, the sports channel's online video service. I was goofing around on this morning setting the lineup for my fantasy hockey team, and decided to click on an ad link about the service, just for fun. Upon doing that, I learned that I get full access to ESPN360 for FREE! All because I have AT&T as my DSL provider. Man, I wish people would tell me about these things, rather than having me just randomly stumble across it. I'm currently watching the Catania v. Juventus Serie A match right now, and it's pretty cool, even if the video stream isn't as consistent as I would like.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

You Know You Are On the Road Too Much When... feel no qualms about brining extra stuff to the hotel with you. For this week, and the next two weeks, I'm bringing a humidifier with me to the Hampton Inn and Suites off Stadium Blvd. in Columbia. Seriously, those hotel rooms get so dry when the heater runs all day, and I need a way to keep all of the skin from drying and peeling off my body. It's been so cold I was having flashback to 3 years ago when I was in Fargo, ND and it was about 5% humidity and I couldn't keep my skin from peeling.

This is, of course, the benefit to working someplace close enough to home that I can drive there, as I would not want to deal with the hassle of trying to get a humidifier through airport security. There's probaby a Saturday Night Live skit in there somewhere, though.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blues Win!

So I went to the Blues/Flyers game last night, and it was fantastic. Mason pitched a shut-out, the Blues scored right after killing off a 5-on-3 power play for two full minutes, and then we proceeded to shellac those poor saps from Philly, 4-0. The game had everything: really drunk people making way too much noise before the game even started, loud and obnoxious Flyers fans (really, is there any other kind?), two fights, lots of goals, having my section picked for the MIssouri Lottery competition, getting a free scratchers card, winning $1.00 with my free scratchers card, our goalie shutting out the other side, it was just stellar. Much fun was had by all, except for those obnoxious Flyers fans, but they deserved it, the jerks.