Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years 2008

New Years 2008 was less eventful than I would have hoped. The video that James showed me from last year made the dense crowds Roman Candle fire was coordinated - after the bell rang that only occurs on the New Year; it looked like AA gunfire from Desert Storm. Then there were "real" (Class A) fireworks overhead. This year there were a lot of candles, but people were lighting them off for well over an hour straight. I'm told the bell (right) rang once at 11:40 and no fireworks. There was an absurd amount of building and tree lighting, an ice skating rink, several bands, and more police officers than I've seen in my life combined. It was cold, but we still ran around and had a good time.

This has little relevance, but I'll mention it anyways. So I bought a computer at the Electronics Mart, a local nice, high end retail building housing many small vendors. After spec'ing out a computer and negotiating the price they were very nice. They gave me an Internet terminal and a cup of coffee to occupy myself while I waited the hour and half for them to build it. Upon completion I was shown that everything worked - the Internet connection, audio, etc, etc. The first thing I did at home was try to boot to a CD. Big problem, though - pushing the button just made a grinding sound. As you can see in the picture, Adashi shoved the DVD drive in behind the cables that connect my sound and USB ports (above) to the motherboard. He apparently installed my English version of XP from a hard drive image. It took longer to decide if I wanted to fix it than actually do so. Then I realize that he DeWalted the nice anodized thumbscrews on the back. Nothing a screwdriver couldn't handle, but disconcerting nonetheless.

An update for close friends and family: I've been busy throughout the holidays. Went to several coworkers places for parties, had a work holiday party, and several other festivities. Guess I've been too lazy to post lately. Been spending too many geeky hours watching The Office, My Name is Earl, and Star Trek.

Seoul Skiing

Seoul skiing is no Colorado. It's more like Boreal - except that Boreal's man made snow doesn't thaw during the day and freeze at night to create a downhill iceskating rink. It is convenient, though. An hour drive from the city and you're off snowboarding. The first trip was an evening run after work on a Friday. I think it was around 8-12 or so. What I found baffling was the price. $45 for the lift ticket and equipment rental including: board, boots, pants, a jacket, a helmet, and goggles. The guy drove to the resort in a suit at midnight to pick up our gear. The strange thing is that the lift ticket was more than $45 at the resort. I wonder if anyone actually pays that. The rental at the second trip charged $10 to rent a board and boots - then provided us with 25% off coupons for lift tickets that were slightly more than $40...ugh...?

The skiing wasn't great but I had a good time. I was able to trade in my skis for a board so the second trip felt like two. A few weird things worth mentioning:

1. They had "magic carpet" conveyor belts that took beginners up the bunny slopes. Similar ones behind automated gates would help you onto the lift. Especially silly considering that many Korean snowboarders completely remove their boards before getting on the lift. Skiers with poles shouldn't care less.

2. My friend Max skiing on one foot. See the video on youtube here.

3. Food prices - just like at airports, they don't get the whole monopoly thing.

4. Rental places - there must have been literally 10-20 on the way to each resort all providing the exact same service. What are they thinking?

5. Compressed air stations - they have nozzles hooked up to compressed air to blow the snow off your equipment when you finish. Not a bad idea to remove the bulk of the ice from your board. For some reason the Koreans would take forever blowing their equipment until there wasn't any snow left, but it would still be pretty wet.

More pictures here