Man’s Meal

I had to delay my trip to LA this past weekend because of my Man’s Meal on Friday at Harris’ steakhouse. Though some regular members were missing, because they moved somewhere really cold, it was nice to have Ryan back in town and even Grady, who just landed with Amy and baby Sydney for the week. The group was diverse and included Nomaan, Caskie, Todd, John, Brett and my college buddies, Ben, Matt, Ryan, Grady, Matt, and Marty – 12 guys in all. Note to self: scheduling drinks before dinner is a bad idea. After every meal, everyone throws $5 in the pot to guess the bill before tax and tip. Marty found some slips hidden on top of the wall clock, which, according to my calculations, likely date back to May 10, 2003. He also guessed within a buck or two of the $1037 bill – nice work. Here are the pictures before things got a little rowdy in the boardroom – it’s always a wonder how they let us come back.

Jason’s Bachelor Party

Despite the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” slogan, I can at least share the highlights of my bachelor party this past weekend. I was both grateful and honored that 26 of my dearest guy friends made the trip. Sorry to Jen and Linda who wanted to come, but didn’t meet the stringent requirement of actually being a guy, not just acting like one. Thanks especially to Edwin, who organized the weekend and our lodging at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, and to Chris and Charles, who did an incredible job of organizing the golf tournament. Also thanks to Bobby, who organized the entertainment and related logistics. The full roster included friends from:

Grace’s Bridal Shower

Grace and I went to Michigan for the weekend for Grace’s wedding shower. Frances threw the shower with my mother and Auntie and Uncle Park (no relation) hosted it at their lovely home. Auntie Yoon flew all the way from North Carolina to help my mother prepare the food. It sounded like they had a lots of fun and little sleep. Grace was pleased to have her mother, aunts and cousins as well as Anna, Mary, and Jennifer in attendance. The rest of the ladies included Jen, my mother, and several of both mothers’ friends. The dads and I showed up just in time for dessert, which Frances brought. I think everyone had a wonderful time, especially Grace.

The Journey is the Destination

Daylight proved that the Shangri-La was as heavenly as I suspected. Major bummer that Grace was not with me to enjoy it. After attending to my business, Barry (who lives in Singapore) took me around to see some sights. We went to the Orchard Rd. district for lunch and ate dumplings, which were produced in their version of a clean room. The Esplanade and Sentosa Island were worth seeing, though I would have enjoyed both more if it were about 20 degrees cooler – it is freaking sweltering there and it’s only February! Back at the hotel, I took some time to finally enjoy myself and even indulged myself in a tropical beverage. It’s definitely not the Mandalay Bay pool scene, but all I really wanted was a nap. Later, the woman who brought me my bacon cheeseburger to my room redefined room service for me: commanded me to sit; placed napkin on lap; and poured my diet coke. I half-expected her to start yelling “lip, lip my stocking!” – but she was old, so I’m glad she didn’t.

After a 4:30 am start, I decided that an upgrade to busiess class was warranted, so I crossed my fingers after being denied on the way over. Normally, this sort of thing isn’t that important to me, as my ass fits fine in any seat and the free drinks do me little good. But, I was able to get some work done on the way to Narita (in-flight power is key).

I rode my first 747 on the way to Korea when I was nine. Since then, I’ve ridden quite a few. From the ground, I often marvel at how something so big can fly, but when inside, I generally loathe being crammed into a tin can (an albeit very large one) with so many people (SARS, anyone?). Then there was that very unfortunate Tower Air 747 experience – it’s no wonder they’re out of business. 25 years after my first flight, I had the silly pleasure of riding on the upper deck. Looking around, it’s like riding in half a 737 (I have no private jet experience with which to compare). The food, however, was notable: shrimp cocktail and pork tenderloin to start and a filet with bernaise as a main course. The real bonus was this trans-pacific survival kit they gave me, which included all of the essentials: socks, eyemask, ear plugs, tissues, mints, moisturizing lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, and finally, a “romance card.” Okay, the only really useful thing is the last one, because I didn’t bring anything back for Grace and I also missed Valentines Day with her. 15K miles well spent indeed.

Finally, I highly recommend “Friday Night Lights,” if you haven’t seen it already. Though it’s tough to root for any Texas football team after the Rose Bowl, it really is some high-quality drama – better than Karate Kid, really. Though Jen hasn’t seen “Rudy” because of her disdain for Notre Dame, I really think she should see this movie. My last guilty pleasure of the trip was watching “Wimbledon.” Though the whole time I’m pissed at Paul Bettany for snagging Jennifer Connelly, Kirsten Dundst in those tennis outfits more than made up for it.

Bangkok for Work

This is my first trip to Southeast Asia. Bangkok was enlightening. The people are perhaps the most gracious I’ve encountered. I really didn’t get to see much between meetings and catching up on work. Unfortunately, most of my sightseeing and pictures were from inside a taxi. My colleague, Barry, did take me out for some fine seafood last night. I think I may have been duped into eating tripe at lunch today; it didn’t dawn on me until I was on the plane. An intersting note on my time there was that I didn’t see Pad Thai on a menu once.

I just arrived in Singapore and it is certainly a different world here. After only an hour here, I’m going to highly recommend the Shangri-La – it’s the nicest hotel at which I have ever stayed (the Holiday Inn in Midland, MI, excepted). My first clue that this was a first rate joint was the assortment of cars parked out front (no less than 7 Ferraris and some other fine British automobiles). The leather remote control holder was also a nice touch. There was a snafu with my reservation and the hotel was booked solid. Not sure if I’m staying where Orbitz intended to book me, but I ended up in the “Valley Wing,” where champagne and cocktails flow freely from 11am to 10:30 pm (this could be dangerous for some people I know). I also witnessed a Singaporean drug deal – a guest tossed a large pack of Wrigleys Peppermint to the woman who was helping me (presumably for an upgrade). It’s times like that when I really wished I carried a badge. Stay tuned…

My First Post from 36,500 FT.

I’m on my way to Asia for work and somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, I was inspired to put some of my movies up on the site. I still have some wedding and vacation movies to put together. As an aside, I have a middle seat on this 747, my ass is killing me, and I have another 7 hour flight to Bangkok ahead of me. The hot towel I just received somehow made me feel better – except now it’s cold – and my ass still hurts. Watch the movies.

Superbowl in Las Vegas

Given that Grace was away in Miami for her bachelorette weekend with the girls, I decided to do my own bachelor weekend (in anticipation of the real thing). What better way than to go “watch” the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, given the huge professional football fan that I am? Okay, I don’t know McNabb from McGriddle, but it was great to meet up with Chip, Dean, Al, Jin, and Brad, especially after not seeing Chip and Dean since college! Even after all these years, some things just don’t change. Publicly available pictures below – I don’t think a site exists that is appropriate for the others.

Another Keeper: BMW M Coupe

I’ve bought 3 cars in my life. All three have been very rare, arguably ugly, and often misunderstood German coupes. The first two were Audi Coupe Quattros – the second of which I have owned for almost 11 years. Only 1740 were ever imported into the US (my first was totalled, so at most 1739 are still on the road – likely far fewer). I just can’t bring myself to part with her – though the recent medical bills do make me wonder if it is time to pull the plug.

Last month, I stumbled across this M Coupe, which has been a dream since I first saw it. It fit all the criteria:

  • very rare: only about 674 examples in the US with the S54 engine (315 HP!)
  • arguably ugly: some say it looks like a shoe or a duck
  • certainly misunderstood: it was designed with function over form – love it or hate it, it goes and sounds like few cars do

I found this one on eBay and got a killer deal from a very nice guy in Louisville, KY.