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Browsing Posts published in April, 2006

Blame Canada

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So this whole Canada thing has been pretty interesting. I work the registration desk for the CS Mantech conference with my parents, and am getting paid by the hour for sitting there and handing out nametags, every so often printing out something or running a credit card. I had wireless until yesterday, which was great because I just sat and did e-mail and stuff that I would normally be doing, just not getting paid. Sometime around 5PM last night they cut if off though, so that was annoying.

I don’t really have that much time to write a blog, since I just popped into the “internet cafe” area to sync up Outlook and send an e-mail. Two nights ago I went to the peak of Mt. Grouse with the conference group for a big international reception. The party wasn’t all that great, but we rode a tram (kind of like a giant ski lift) to the top of the mountain and back; that was kind of cool. Last night we got invites to the Sumitomo Electrical party, whcih was probably the best food I’ve ever eaten. Lamb chops, risotto with truffle oil, shrimp, suckling pig. Oh man.

I’ll write more later on; I should get back to work now.

ビバ・ロック

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I’m writing this blog entry from an airplane. I just finished up my first ever (and too short) stint in Las Vegas. To wrap up this scheme in general, since Pat and I are doing an independent study through the Journalism school, part of it was that it would be beneficial to go to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Conference, which just so happens to be held in Las Vegas. Sounds like an educational experience to me! J-school decided to support us, and sent us out there expenses paid. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace, which is the biggest hotel I’ve ever been in (mainly because it has like a mall, casinos, restaurants, and a bunch of nightclubs inside of it. We both flew out on Thursday night, and unfortunately I could only stay until this evening (Saturday) before commitments in Canada called me away. However, here is a post summarizing my trip to Vegas and all that fun stuff. Unfortunately, my original plans of waiting until Pat was so drunk he would willingly marry a hooker didn’t work out, which is a shame because that would have been the greatest story ever told.

First night in Vegas, go from the airport to the hotel/Palace. When you first get the Vegas, the airport seems the same as any other place, a bit ghetto even. As soon as our shuttle approached Las Vegas Boulevard (“The Strip”), it was Neon City. And you thought Tokyo was ridiculous. I think everything that could be made of lights and neon was done just that way, and they have giant video screens everywhere and every building has a theme pretty much. Think of it as a Japanese Love Hotel district on crack. On The Strip alone, and just of the ones I walked to/by/in, I saw a pyramid, the Arc d’Triumph, the Eifel Tower, a pirate ship, the rainforest, an Arabian castle, and of course Caesar’s Palace has its own Colosseum in which you can try and fight Sephiroth and then not win. Also of note is the hotel “Wynn,” named after rich-as-balls-and-not-shy-about-it Steve Wynn, who didn’t seem to have a specific theme to his new massive hotel, instead just trying to go with the theme “I have more money than your entire state does.” The Wynn is an enormous metallic black building with video screen surrounding it, the word “Wynn” written in giant gold letters on the side of it (seriously dude, we know you’re rich, you don’t have to put your name on everything), and also the backyard of the place is the famous 18-hole Sands golf course. Pretty much every decently-expensive hotel/casino on The Strip had a ridiculous theme, which was carried out moderately throughout the rest of the place.

We met up with Pat’s friends Neil and Josh when we were in line to check in, and also there was some Korean TV show taping a scene in the lobby of Caesar’s. I don’t know what show it was, but thank god Pe Yonjun wasn’t in it or I would probably be in jail for attempted murder right now. Anyway, I think the star of the show (or at least of this scene) was the only Korean guy in the shots, with a bunch of American extras and other minor characters. The crew had 3 huge and tall lights, a nice camera (possibly a HD), and 1 shotgun mic for the whole thing. The Korean guy might be some kind of famous man-idol, but he was definitely not a good actor. I think they only shot 2 scenes in the lobby; one of people walking through a gateway, and the other of the Korean guy coming up and confronting some white chick. It was supposed to be a serious scene or something, but the guy kept cracking up every time. I seriously think it took them like 10 takes to actually get the guy to make it through without breaking character. After what seemed to be a very long check in process, I went up to my room in the Roman Tower. Wow. This room was amazing (I’ll post some pics later). It had a HUGE bathroom with 2 sinks, a shower area, a toilet area, and frosted glass doors for each of these sections. Then the actual sleeping area of the room had a giant king sized bed with a mirror above it (OK this was kind of sketch), 2 easy chairs, a nice wardrobe that had the TV in it, and a freaking Jacuzzi about 6 feet from the bed. It was in the bedroom. Who the heck does that? I seriously felt like I was in a love hotel at that point. I also had a huge window view with a non-accessible patio that had a nice view of the Strip, and a direct view at the Flamingo casino. I was so paranoid about how awesome the room was, that I called the front desk to make sure they were charging me what they said there were. Sure enough, it was right. Pat says that his room (that him and his 2 friends used) was pretty close, but they didn’t have the Jacuzzi in the bedroom. Hoo-ah!

First night out, we all were playing in the casinos downstairs. Mainly (and for the entire trip), I played video poker and some video slot machines. Didn’t really want to get ambitious, and didn’t want to lose a lot of money. Beginner’s luck must have been present though, since playing those video games the first night I won about $80. That helped fund pretty much the rest of the Vegas trip. We also walked all over the place that night, in fact way too much. We walked at least a few miles I’d say, although it was really cool to see what Vegas is all about. I felt either too young or too old to be there, but it’s a cool city regardless. The next morning, we woke up and checked out NAB. I unfortunately am already leaving before the conference exhibits start on Monday, which I’m really disappointed in (even more than missing out on gambling more), since everything looks pretty amazing. I did get to attend 2 days of the Post Production Conference, which was awesome because the first day I got to learn the basics to Flash and After Effects, 2 programs I’ve been meaning to get to. These were the “Boot Camp’ classes they provided; pretty much 3 hour lectures to teach you all the basics of certain programs. Really cool. I wish school were like that, actually teaching something interesting and practical. I went to a session this morning that was just talking about field shoot gadgets, which was really awesome also. I’m a huge nerd, but still a lot of the people there (professionals, I guess you would call most of them) are even bigger dorks, so I don’t feel that bad.

We went to “Dishes” the giant buffet at Treasure Island casino. I do have to admit, at first when I saw the $26 price, I was a little daunted, but it was well worth the cost. This was probably the biggest and best buffet I have ever seen, up there to compete with the Yakiniku buffet in Chicago (which I will write about sometime soon, in my Nova post). They had stations that each were like a mini-buffet in themselves. There was a sushi one, a pizza one, a BBQ one (with prime rib), a seafood (shrimp and crab legs) one, a made-to-order pasta one, salad one, and one that I think just had awesome side dishes. The food was all amazing, and I ate way too much. What was the killer, though, was the dessert section. These were gourmet desserts for sure. I had a chocolate mousse that was about 10000 times too sweet to eat on a regular basis. They also had cotton candy, crème brulee, ice cream, cupcakes, mini donuts, and a few other specialty cakes and stuff. Definitely the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. I think with those desserts, the 4 of us were all admittedly defeated. It was a long hike back to the Palace, but well worth it.

I really wish that NAB and the Mantech Conference that I’m going to work in Vancouver weren’t during the same week, since I would have been able to spend a few more days in Vegas. But I’m at least getting paid in Vancouver. Overall though, Vegas wasn’t too bad at all. With my casino winnings the first night, I was able to gamble, eat, and travel for a lot cheaper than my per diem payment that the J-school is going to be giving me. So overall, a net gain for Vegas! I’ll bet not everyone can say that, haha.

出発

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Heading to the airport now; going to Vegas. Thus begins the ANTHONY LEONG WORLD TOUR!

プライド

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It’s been a pretty good past few days. Thursday I woke up at the crack of dawn (which is 7:30AM for me), to prepare for the IUSTV Advisory Board meeting. Got that all taken care of, and we have a bunch of Panera bagels for the meeting as well. Getting together all this stuff to present to the faculty and staff advisors, including an “annual summary” of goals and accomplishments, really made me realize how much has gotten done this year. Having all the current and incoming execs there, and a lot of the staff, it was good. I’m pretty proud. Also, Panera asiago cheese bagels taste like gourmet Cheez-Its.

Came back from the advisory board meeting with a bunch of leftover bagels, and took a nap for a while before my classes (yes, I am still actually taking classes). Did all that, and went to the office for a bit. Then it was the big night: the IUSTV Banquet. This year’s was a big change from last year’s; instead of a decent sized room at the Union, we went to the Mayfield’s Ballroom/MCL Cafeteria over on the west side of town. Until the day prior, when I went to go check the place out when Kaylyn and Jenny were setting things up, I had never stepped foot in the place. It was much much nicer than I would have imagined. When I heard “cafeteria,” I just thought of an old persons restaurant with some buffet lines and such, like an Old Country Buffet. Quite the contrary. The ballroom was really a nice ballroom, and it was many times nicer than the Union’s rooms. Also, you wouldn’t expect this, but pretty much every employee at the place was a hot chick. I would have expected old ladies. The actual banquet was really nice as well; the dinner was buffet style fried chicken, which was maybe a little messier than you would want for a somewhat formal event like this, but it was really good either way. Sean said there must have been a black woman cooking in the back, so I guess that means it’s not just me who thought it was good eatin. Also, I was luckily warned of the walnuts in the green beans, otherwise I would have probably taken a bite and had an allergy attack, which might have put a damper on the evening. Especially if I would have died, haha. But seriously, who puts walnuts in green beans??

People made some short speeches, and I did as well. I probably should have planned out a longer, more appropriate speech, but I don’t think anyone really would have wanted to listen to that. I did realize (and say) that if I wouldn’t have joined IUSTV, I wouldn’t have met most of the people who were at the banquet. Who knows what I would be up to if it weren’t for all of this. Brian also gave me a shout out, and I got some applause, so that was nice. This is kinda what it must feel like to retire, I guess. All in all, the banquet was awesome, and Kaylyn (my office assistant/exec director apprentice) did a good job of pulling something together that I never could have. Girls are better at party planning anyway I guess (not to be stereotypical).

Huge afterparty at Kyle’s house that night. It was probably one of the best parties all year, ranking right up there with the A-Team Halloween Reunion (a different kind of awesomeness though). Had so many IUSTV people at the party, it was great. To be honest, it might have been the last time I will see a lot of people, so that was another reason for everyone to party down. Wow I sound like an old man there. Anyway, although we didn’t make it to our goal of staying up until McDonald’s breakfast time, I was out there until around 3:30AM, when I came home and promptly fell asleep until the afternoon. The next day, I woke up and goofed around at home until a class discussion I went to. On my way back from campus, got a phone call from Rob at Aeon, and I called him back when I got home. I knew that I had the job, since I talked to him on Monday. I was just waiting on the placement information. And that’s what he was calling about.

So they found me a placement in Chiba prefecture. Ichihara City, which is not all that far away from Makuhari or Ichikawa, where I spent last summer and the fall before on my many adventures. Ichihara is a bit more suburban/industrial/smaller than what I was ideally looking for, but hey it sounds like a pretty darn good offer. It’s an Aeon school that has both adults and younger students. It’s about 40% business professionals, 30% college and high school students, 5% housewives, and 25% younger kids. The station nearest my Aeon branch school would be Goi station (五井) on the Uchibo line. Now, according to Ekitan, my handy-dandy guide to the mess that is the Japanese transit system, Goi station is about an hour train ride from Myoden (where I lived last year), and Tokyo Station itself. About 30 minutes to good old Kaihim-Makuhari. Ichihara/Goi is a little further south than the area I know and love, but I think this might be about as close as I can get with a somewhat random job placement that these companies all do. Also, Goi is about 5 stops away from Kisarazu city, the hometown of Kishidan!!!! That there might be enough reason to go. Here’s a map to help you (and me) understand where Goi station is.
Aeon offer map
There’s only 1 other foreign teacher at the branch, 2 full time Japanese, and 3 part time Japanese. Seems like a pretty small joint, but that might not be too bad. And since the school is at Goi station, I’m assuming I’d be living pretty close to there. If I lived a bit more in the Makuhari/Tokyo direction, that would be perfect. I have until about Wednesday to call them and give them my decision. Not a lot of time. But still, I think this sounds pretty good. The pay isn’t as much as the Sears job, but since pretty much everyone and their brother is telling me to avoid a cubicle job and get out and explore the world, I think Aeon sounds pretty good. I’m going up with Brian tomorrow to Chicago, since we’re interviewing with Nova on Monday morning. I’m pretty sure I’m just going to tell them straight, “if you guys can get me a placement in Tokyo and tell me by Wednesday, you can hire me. If not, I’m going with Aeon.” Sounds kind of asshole-ish, I know, but it’s the truth. I’m pretty much hoping that will give me some bargaining power. If not, then I wouldn’t be able to wait around for their answer anyway. Aeon demands my answer soon!

So what do you people think? I could either go with Aeon and go to Japan, with a pretty sweet placement, try to find a different job, go with Sears and work in a Chicago cubicle job, or I could just be homeless and jobless (that really isn’t an option). Right now I’m leaning towards doing Aeon. Hmmm… This is a pretty big decision.

If I end up going with Aeon, I wouldn’t have to depart until September 7, so I would also need to figure out what I’d be doing between graduation on May 6 and that. I have my apartment lease in Bloomington until the end of July, so I’d likely stay here and do something, maybe work in a restaurant again while helping out IUSTV. We’ll see. This post is already obscenely long, so I’m going to end it here. I have a few other minor weekend reports to write about, like the party I went to where I made smalltalk with a girl about the Crayola Crayons 128 pack with built-in sharpener, but I’ll have to save those for another day. I’m tired, and need to sleep so I can drive to Chicago in the morning/early afternoon.

時間歪曲

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I have no idea where the last 2 weeks have gone. It seems like I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff, and even during the week I don’t know what day of the week it is or how long it’s been. Some IUSTV stuff has been stressful, but overall things have been going great. It just seems like time is going by mega fast. Maybe it’s just because the semester (and college) is pretty much over? I also keep meaning to play/beat Kingdom Hearts II, but haven’t gotten around to it. And I’ve had it before anyone else in the US, since I downloaded the Japanese version back in December. Ah well, at least I’ve been filling up my lazy time by watching Curb and Lost a lot.

I’m going to be out of town a lot during April. This coming weekend, from around Saturday to Monday, I’m going to Chicago with Brian and possibly Nick to interview with NOVA, another English school in Japan. Speaking of that, I haven’t heard from AEON yet, although I was supposed to have a response by last Friday. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. If I was to be rejected, I was supposed to get a letter in the postal mail. Haven’t gotten that yet, thank goodness. If I got in, I was supposed to hear via phone. Haven’t gotten that yet either. Ah well; I guess I’ll just wait and see. I really do hope I get in, right now that sounds like it would be my number 1 choice of what to do next year. After Chicago, I’m back in Bloomington for about 2 days, until Wednesday, when I leave with Pat for Las Vegas. We’re going to the National Association of Broadcasters Conference (NAB), which sounds like it’s going to be awesome (and also it’s in Vegas). I’m actually only going to be able to go for a few days, which is before the bulk of the conference starts. I’m excited though because I’ll at least get to go to 2 days of seminars, about how to use stuff like After Effects, Flash, and Maya. Wow I sound like a nerd. I will be in Las Vegas, and the Journalism school is paying for all of it, since it’s kind of related to the J499 Independent Study we’re doing. How do I find all these things for myself??

I fly out of Vegas on Saturday morning to go up to Vancouver, where I’m working for my parents at the GaAs Mantech International Semiconductor Conference. How in the world did this happen, you ask? My mom runs the conference management, so I was able to get in and help work the registration table. I get paid, and they also pay for all my expenses to get up there. Works for me. I’ll be there until Friday the 28th, which is the end of dead week back at IU. So all in all, I’m going to be out of town about a total of 2 weeks this whole month. Awesome. I’m missing the last week and a half of classes (I’ve already taken care of that; I’m not really missing that much), and also Little 5. But still, free trips to Vegas and Vancouver (even though it IS in Canada), is a deal that I can’t pass up. Again, how do I find these things for myself??

The IUSTV Banquet is this Thursday, and I’m pumped (but not prepared) for it. This will pretty much be the end of the semester for IUSTV, so the banquet and the huge after party are going to be a lot of fun. It will honestly probably be the last time I ever see a lot of these people. I think I’m going to give a short speech at the banquet, which will be fun I guess. The new execs are training quite nicely; we had a retreat with them this past Saturday, and I’m excited to see IUSTV a year from now after they get to work and improve on stuff. I think they’re going to do an awesome job. They won’t have to deal with moving over to a new building, which in all honesty killed about 2 months of my work this year.

No clue what I’m doing this summer yet. I guess a lot of it depends on what job I end up getting and taking. Ideally, I will go to Japan sometime in July or August and start working there (AEON?). That would mean I have May through July to stay in Bloomington, get slowly packed up and ready to move on in life, and also possibly find a part time job while I’m here. I’ll still be doing some IUSTV work (like purchasing and tweaking the studio), but I’ll have so much free time regardless, I feel like I should have 1 last fun experience of working somewhere. I’m thinking a video rental place, the mall, or back to a restaurant. We’ll see.

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