Well I missed my opportunity to follow-up with my explanation of the fail train youtube video from yesterday…  During one of our many trips between the levels of IBM/ISTC Shenzhen, we came face to face with a flock of ISTC’s (International Systems Technology Company) line operators wearing green and blue smocks, who promptly piled into the elevator in an eerily similar manner as the poor souls on that train in the video.  Had my arms been free to move, I would’ve whipped out my camera for a shot of the sardine-vator.  I hope to get another chance to do so before I leave on Wednesday, April 1st.  As a side note, when I leave here on April 1st it’ll still be March 31 for you because in case you forgot, I’m in the friggin’ future!

Day 2: Retribution

I awoke from a deep slumber at 6:35 a.m. and brushed the sleep from my eyes.  I had set my alarm extra early for the opportunity to check out the hotel’s gym and do a little exercise to start my day off right. As of late, I’ve been slacking on my morning exercise routine and I figure that if I start getting into the habit now while I’m away, it’ll be easier to pick up once I return to the past (a.k.a. America).  The gym was on the same level as the “Spa by Lifestyle”, and was an surprisingly satisfying area.  There were two treadmills, an elliptical and a stair master at the far end of the room that were facing windows overlooking a large patio with tennis court and basketball; however due to the rainy weather of the past two days it was soaking wet and not exactly the best scenery.  Along the left wall of the room were some standard resistance machines and a rack of free weights, while the right side of the room was stocked with additional resistance machines and two “complete gym” machines.

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Before we begin, let me say one thing about living in the future.  It’s pretty friggin’ sweet.  Yes, living 12 hours in the future doesn’t seem like much, but when I hit the ‘Publish’ button it’s Friday, and you’ll look at your clock and say… but that’s tomorrow!  And I’ll laugh because… well, I’m in the future!

Day 1: Arrival

I awoke around 8:00 a.m. to shower and prepare myself for my first day at IBM Shenzhen.  The night prior, I had arranged with Tony from IBM Taiwan (TSTL) to meet for breakfast on the third floor lounge before heading to the site.  Mi CamitaAs I took the elevator down from the 21st floor where my room was (club level baby), I noticed that at every floor, the elevator opens its doors before it has fully stopped moving.  This causes a momentary wave of vertigo that is quite unsettling at first.  The first time I noticed this behavior, I had a fleeting vision of a scene from Halflife where you step off the elevator and turn around to watch it fall into the abyss below.  This revelation also brought to light how tired I must have been the night prior, as I didn’t notice this happening on the way up to my room.

The breakfast on the third floor was buffet style.  Being as confused and unobservant as I am, I initially only saw a small table of platters from which to choose your food, and I took a little bit of each item: salted herring, mini french toast triangles, fried bread, sugar-maple ham. It was only shortly before leaving that I noticed the giant spread in the center of the room that featured the standard breakfast fare (eggs, sausage, bacon, sushi, etc.).  No matter, I thought.  Nobody ever regretted eating salted herring and french toast with syrup for breakfast before.  Right?

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Day 0:  The furthest point

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…  Just like the unforgettable opening verse to John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane.  It’s 6:00 a.m. EST Sunday March 22, 2009 and I need to be at the airport in one hour.

Domestic China FlightI’ve now been up for 20 hours hoping that by forcing my body to stay awake I can knock my internal clock off kilter and adjust to the 12 hour time difference more easily.  My gravest mistake was forgetting what it felt like to stay awake for so long.  As a child, It was common practice to stay up for three days straight, doing nothing but playing video games, pokemon and magic cards.  This caused no ill effects and was actually quite thrilling, especially after catching your second, third, fourth of fifth wind and feeling like you just woke up from a deep slumber.

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Terminal 1 - Shanghai Pudong Domestic

I’m in the Shanghai airport after a grueling 14.5 hour flight from Chicago.  I was uploading a bunch of photos to a new Picasa Web Album but the bandwidth is atrocious here (and my connection is only 36 Mbps to boot)…  Don’t worry, I’ll give a nice, full rundown of my travels to Asia tomorrow after I get some rest.  I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been awake but it’s well over 48 hours at this point (over 72 if you count the time change).  When we flew backwards over the time/date line and jumped ahead a day my brain literally exploded inside my skull.  Time travel!  I can’t wait to travel backwards in time when I leave… it’ll be JUST like Back to the Future!  Whoo!  I told you I was exhausted.



Outlawed Button, originally uploaded by jlm699.

Ever since we were unceremoniously kicked out of our office space at work, I’ve walked past this switch every single day in the hallway on the way to my dreary, gigantic, lonely cubicle. It kills me that I haven’t had a camera because I’ve wanted to vent about it’s existence to somebody so very bad! Finally, through the magic of my new Lumix I’m able to share my displeasure.

I want to press this so bad. It is simply begging to be touched. I almost expect that one day some poor soul (me) will push it, only to find that it does nothing but exude a stunning electric shock to the curious cat who couldn’t resist the urge. Perhaps it will be a joke shock like in those electric hand buzzers; on the other hand it could easily be connected to a 220 V 120 Hz AC power source and have the ability to provide the interacting party with their final moment in life. Pushing the button that begged to be pushed.

Seriously, what could it possibly do?! Why does it exist? Why can’t I touch it!!! I want to know, my mind is burning with desire to learn the secrets of the forbidden button. So ominous. So tempting.

Lonely Lamp, originally uploaded by jlm699.

Well here’s the first of many more to come. I got my camera today, and have been playing around with it a good bit. I’ve uploaded all my playing photos to my flickr photo stream. Keep on eye on that page for the majority of my new photos. I’m not sure which service I like better yet, flickr seems really nicely integrated as a community of showcasing stunning photography and interesting pictures, where as Picasa (Google’s photo hosting service) seems more like a straight-forward, well, photo hosting service. I usually upload ALL of my photos to Picasa, so if you have nothing better to do, you can check out my older photos here.

That’s it for now, please let me know what you think of my photos and don’t forget to check back here for updates!

I’m very excited!  I just ordered a camera on the internets, and hopefully it should arrive in two days, which will give me plenty of time to practice with it before I go off to China.  It will be great to finally own a digital camera so that I don’t have to rely on poop disposable cameras like when I went to Mexico.  There were so many fantastic pictures that I took that didn’t turn out and that made me a sad panda.

This is the camera on the left…. look at that friggin’ lens!!  It makes me all squirmy thinking about this baby.  It’s the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K, and it’s somewhere between a standard point-and-shoot and a DSLR … The thing that really drew me in and sold me on this camera was the ability to take extended exposure shots.  While it may not allow exposures of any time that you desire it still provides exposures longer than that of a standard point-and-shoot.  Plus, look at that lens!  It offers a full 10x Optical Zoom and then an enhanced optical zoom (not digital) that extends the zoom to 16.9X at a reduced resolution.  This feature is called extended optical zoom and is different from the digital zoom.  While the camera does feature digital zoom, that means nothing to me because pfft on digital zoom.  Oh, and did you look at that lens?!  That thing would shank you in prison if you looked at it sideways.  Simply nasty.

Other features worth mentioning: Digital Red Eye Correction, MEGA Optical Image Stabilization (using Gyros!~), Face Recognition and tracking for up to 15 faces, 1280 x 720 HD Video (@ 30 fps) WITH zoom, HD A/V Out, 28mm wide-angle setting, 9.1 Megapixels, plus have you seen the lens yet?!  OMFG I can’t wait to get my hands on this thing and start playing!  You can expect an onslaught of meaningless, empty posts containing nothing but pictures.  YAY!