Thursday, September 25, 2008

No bailout, no way

I know this isn't supposed to be a political blog, but I just have to say "No Bailout, No Way".

I like to consider myself fairly self-made. My parents gave me a good start, but they didn't hand me a set life. When I decided to marry my beautiful bride I knew I had to support her, so I joined the Navy in order to provide for my family. In that time we made some mistakes and ran up some bills. Instead of filing for Bankruptcy we put in a payment program and we become debt free next month (5 long years later).

While we were paying off this debt we knew we would be stretching ourselves to buy a home. Instead we rented for 4 1/2 years until we were able to get a Fixed Rate mortgage and live within our means.

Now people are planning to take MY money and reward those people for gambling with their money. Where is the right in this? Let the market correct, let the gamblers lose, let the failures fail, and STAY OUT OF MY WALLET.

It is not the job of the government to step in and save everybody when they make bad decisions. Small government, personal accountability, let me keep what I earn.

Thus endeth the sermon

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yellowstone 2008

Yellowstone Lake

Each year I take a trip with my Father In Law. Normally we climb a major peak, or at least try to, but this year a friend recommended we take a Canoe trip in Yellowstone National Park. Now, we live about 3 hours from the South Entrance but in the 4 years we have been back in Wyoming this is only my 2nd trip there.

An amazing statistic is that 3,000,000 people (6 times the Wyoming Population) visit YNP each year, yet only 2% of them ever leave the pavement.

For our trip we paid Xanterra an ungodly fee to ferry us over to the SouthEast Arm of Yellowstone Lake. from there we took canoes 7 miles down to the very Southern end of the lake to camp. We were there for 4 nights, and I must say it was a trip that will be in my memories forever.

Even though we were in the middle of the busiest park in the US we went a full day without seeing anybody. The only sign we weren't totally alone was flickering campfires on the distant shores.

The picture above was taken from our 2nd campsite. The weather was unbelievable, the scenery beyond compare. I will post a few more pictures in the coming days.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My weekend

So today opened the Archey hunting season here in Wyoming. Since it happened to fall on Labor Day we thought it would be great to head yup to the lake, camp for the weekend with friends and family, then head out hutning bright and early.

The weekend started great. Saturdays weather was perfect and even though we got out of town late it still was nice. Sunday was OK, little bit of rain and wind, but nice. We took the kids out fishing for a bit (no luck, but still nice).

After dinner me and a friend decided to go up to a high meadow and cold-camp so we could hopefully be in place for the early morning elk.

We positioned ourselves in the middle of a swampy meadow, sheltered by trees and some camo blankets. There were fresh elk beds all over and it seemed to be perfect.

Everything went fine until about 2:00 AM when it strted to blow and rain. It rained on and off (more on than off) for the rest of the moring. We got up at 6:00 so we could glass the meadow for elk. It was wet, cold, and empty. We stuck it out until 7:30 but realised the only dumb animals out in the rain was us. We headed back to the campers, made coffee and called it a day.

Luckily this is the first day of 2 months of Elk Season, so we live to fight another day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wishing I was Hiking

Titcomb Basin, Wyoming

I am not only about traveling to Asia. My main hobbies are fly-fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, and mountain climbing. Basically, anything outdoors.

3 years ago I decided to climb Gannet Peak, the tallest peak in Wyoming. We had studied the route, and my hiking partner had even been in to Fremont Peak (a close by neighbor) so we had a good idea of what the trip entailed. I called the Ranger station and they told us there might still be some snow up there. Since it was the 4th of July holiday we thought that it should be OK.

The first 14 miles were almost decent. We hit some deep patches of snow but were able to post-hole through. After Island Lake though, we were hosed. We post-holed for 3 more miles to Titcomb Basin, taking almost 6 hours to go that short distance.

Once we got to the Basin the winds kicked up to over 60 mph. It was literally blowing rocks. The next morning we got up early and headed for the peak, planning to bivy camp on the side of the mountain. Once we got to the top of Bonney Pass (12,000+ ft) we were confronted with more wind and a pending storm. We bailed, glissading (sliding on your butt, using an Ice Axe as a rudder/brake) back down Bonney, a 1200' run, to me this was the high point of the trip.

We did return the next year, and even though it was the exact same weekend we met no snow at all until the glaciers. That trip we were succesful in climbing this very tough peak.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back in the saddle

Well, after reviewing my last post I realised it has been a long time since I bothered getting on and typing up a post. I will get back in to regular posting soon, but today I am still jet-lagged from an emergency trip I had to take last week to China.

I was there just long enough to get off my home time, but not long enough to adjust there. Needless to say, my bio-rhythm is a little off-beat.

Give me a day to purge the Baby Pigeon from my sytem and I'll catch you up on life at Hu-Flung-Poo

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Business Class...


OK, I just had to post to say that I finally (after 6 previous trips) got the chance to sit in Business Class on an international flight.

For most Global travelers this might seem mundane, but for a lifelong Economy flyer this was living the dream.

1: "Would you like some Champagne, juice or water?"
2: In your seat you find an "amenity" kit filled with eye covers, ear plugs, fresh socks, and hygiene items
3: A menu is handed out, offering your choice of entrees (3 options) desert choices, salad options, and wine pairings.

Take Off:
After launching in to the air I find that the seat reclined almost flat, with a "recliner" like leg rest as well. Individual screens allow you to watch the movie you choose, and extra large blankets help those of us that are a little wider/longer than others to cover our fat butts

Water service in continuous, sip a little, get some more refilled ASAP. Bathrooms have soap, lotion, and some other bottle, all there to make you feel clean and pretty.
Lunch is served. All on china, with metal silverware (including knives), i receive my first choice, which was a Pork Short Rib designed by Charlie Trotter. Best airline food I have ever had.
Movie snacks are put out in case you get hungry, jump up and grab a sandwich, chips, a crunch bar, whatever.

Nothing special, just more comfortable (and you do get to leave the plane earlier than most)

It is going to be hard to go back to Cattle Class, but I can't count on the free bump everytime and I am NOT paying the extra $3000 for that seat, even though it might be worth every penny...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Am I Too Cheap?

As far back as I can remember I have always been a little frugal. I compare the price per oz. when buying cereal, I drive across town to save $.03 on gas (unless I calculate that I will use more than that amount in gas to get to the station), and I always turn off a light when leaving a room (thanks Dad!)

In my job I have the opportunity to spend money that is not my own. And even though it isn't my own, I still am very careful about how I spend. I book cheaper flights, even if it costs me some time, I stay in cheaper hotels (as long as they are clean) and I eat the free breakfast instead of going out for something better.

BUT, on my last trip I realized I might be TOO cheap.

A typical travel day to Asia looks like this for me:

4:30 AM (MST) Depart house for Airport
Wyoming-Denver Flight
Denver- (SFO) San Francisco
SFO - HKG (Arrive 24 hours after leaving home)

Then somewhere on the trip I will make my way to Korea, then fly back from there, with the return trip looking roughly the same, but in reverse.

But, last trip I found out that if I booked a round-trip to Korea, then from Korea booked a roundtrip to Hong Kong it would save the company $300. So, here was what it looked like last time

4:30 AM (MST) Depart house for Airport
Wyoming-Denver Flight
Denver- (SFO) San Francisco
SFO - Seoul
Arrive Seoul, go through Customs, get luggage, check back in, go back through customs, 2 hour layover
Seoul - HKG (3 hour flight)
Arrive Hong Kong almost 30 hours after I left home.

Sitting in the Seoul airport I decided I was a fool. Nobody was mandating my trip cost X dollars, or that I would get any kind of bonus for saving the money. I wasted over 6 hours of my personal time, let alone my discomfort, for what? An extra stamp in my passport and saving the company some cash. (I even used my United Gold Card to get free meals in the Business class lounge)

I'll tell you, that's the last time I do that, unless the savings is $350, then i'll consider it...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Music to Travel By

There are a couple of things that a person who travels as much as I do cannot live without. A durable wheeled suitcase, a massive carry-on, clothes that don't wrinkle, Airborne, and of course an MP3 Player. My MP3 Player of choice is the 8 GB iPod Nano. I know there are bigger units out there, and I know that the Zune and the Zen offer other features, but the fact is the iPod is just so damn easy to use (and I got it for a gift)

Over the course of time I have found that my musical taste runs to the slightly eclectic. I really can't settle on a genre that nails down my tastes. I thought it would be fun to share my Top 25 Most Played List from my iPod as of 8:05 AM today:

1: Iesh De Lu (Chinese) by Xie Jin Yan
2: Byker Hill by The Cottars
3: Donald Where's Your Troosers by Enter the Haggis
4: Happy Little Boozer by Korpiklani
5: Back to Black by Amy Winehouse
6: The Next Episode by Snoop Dogg w/ Dr Dre
7: Snake With the Eyes of Garnet by Shane MacGowan and the Popes
8: Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg
9: Rasputin by Boiled in Lead
10: Donegal Express by Shane MacGowan and the Popes
11: Low by Flo Rida Feat T-Pain
12: Wooden Pints by Korpiklani
13: On The Radio by Regina Spektor
14: The Dirty Glass by Dropkick Murphys
15: Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean
16: Cocaine and Whiskey by Johnny Cash
17: I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco
18: Yeah by Usher
19: Rapture by Laura Veirs
20: Wolftrap and Fireflies by Carbon Leaf
21: Guilty Conscience by Eminem
22: Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
23: Cobrastyle by Teddybears
24: Corrido de Pancho Villa (Spanish) by Victor Jara
25: 10,000 Fists by Disturbed

Each song has it's own "time" when I listen to it, and they each have as many Skips as they do Plays. Feel free to share (here or on your own blog) what you are listening to.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Early Morning Walk

Flying to Asia for me is a 24-hour process from the time I leave my house in the morning until I get to the hotel in Hong Kong. As much as I try to "adjust" on the way over I still sleep poorly the first night in country.

One of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong is to get up early and walk along the harbour. Nothing in HK opens until 10 AM, so the city is still pretty quiet.

I took this picture one morning as we were heading over to the ferry terminal. I love the classic Old World style of the sampan in the foreground, very bright in color, with the hazy New World background of the Hong Kong Island side.

The large round building to the right of the boat is the Hong Kong Convention Center, where an amazing amount of the world's business gets conducted at trade fairs and conventions.


Monday, April 7, 2008

On the Road Again...

I am sitting in Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea) getting ready for my connecting flight to Hong Kong. Tomorrow I will get on a high-speed catamaran-style ferry and enter in to Mainland China.

As some of you may have read in a previous post Banned in China, once I am behind the Rice Curtain I will not be able to post, read, or view blogs. Due to their nature, blogs are an area that the Communist goverment of China has no desire to allow their people access to.

I am hoping to do a few exciting things while on this trip, including golfing at a world class golf resort in Kunming, China. Hopefully when I return to the world of uncensored bloggism I will have new stories to tell and more pictures to show. Until then, swing by Mommy Matters and tell Christine how glad we are to have her back to blogging.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tian Tan Buddha

As mentioned in my last post, I was able to take the Ngong Ping cable car to the top of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Although there is a small village for buying souvenirs, the real attraction for this ride is the impressive Tian Tan Buddha. Noted as the "world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha" it stands 24 feet tall.

I am not a religious person per-se, but standing at the foot of the 268 steps leading up to this beautiful statue leaves even the most jaded a little more humble. I watched a young lady from Singapore do a ritual she described as Three Steps, One Bow where devotees walk three steps, fall prostrate to the ground, rise, and repeat the sequence. This makes for a rather arduous route to the top.

In the following pictures I tried to capture both the size and the spirit of the place. If you have an afternoon in Hong Kong this is a must see.



Friday, March 28, 2008

Recent Trips

I feel like I have been on the road more than I have been home (Which is actually pretty true) and I leave again next week for my 3rd trip to Asia this year.

I was able to get a day off in Beautiful Hong Kong earlier this month and was able to experience something new.

The Lantau Island Cable Car (Ngong Ping 360) is one of the best things I have done in Asia. The views (on a clear day) are unbelievable, and the dizzying heights reached by the gondola is amazing. The end destination of the cable system is the Lantau Village, host to the Worlds-Largest-Sitting-Bronze Buddha (Future Post)

As you can see from the picture below we picked a great day to be there, and you probably wouldn't want to ride it during a typhoon, but if you are going to Hong Kong then I recommend you put this stop on your agenda.

Lan Tau Island

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

On The Road Again

I am having difficulty posting as I am in Korea and on my way to China. I hope to have more data for discourse upon my return. Please come back around to see what's new in the world of Hu Flung Poo