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    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2007
    I don't get it. Why do people insist on calling me "Marc" in emails. It would be one thing if it was an isolated incident or if people didn't know my name was spelled with a "k" but you know what, if you're sending me an email, you have to spell my name right there. My email address is mark_ciocco@[my company domain] I really don't get why people would then spell it wrong in the body of the email.

    Mark this down as pet peeve #476583

    Hehehe, "Mark" this down. Hehe.

    So how's everyone else doing? Well, I hope? Been kinda dead around here lately.

    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeMay 17th 2007
    There is probably an internet explanation for it, MarK. Like the way people get their disc and disk mixed up. Maybe one day the letter K will fall out of the alphabet.

    People in Asia can't spell or pronounce my name. Its an old English toff name with weird spelling. You can have a lot of fun forcing them to get their little tongues around it. A banking friend of mine is called Cholmondeley (which is pronounced Chumley -- very old aristo English name that) and the Chinese just can't get their tongues around it no matter how much he makes them practice.

    I'm staying at Langham Place in HK at the moment and they remember everyone's name so its good morning Mr Johnson, or would you like another coffee Mr Smithers, but with me its just plain Sir because I suspect the manager has instructed all staff not to attempt my name in case I'm insulted.

    Nice hotel incidently. Amazing pool on the 42 floor. Only problem is that it bills itself as the most high tech hotel in the world, so nothing works. You have to read a 20 page manual just to ring room service on the fancy video phone. I doubt I'll ever be able to figure out how to program the shower.
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2007
    MARK THIS DOWN AHAHAHAHAHAHA I like puns. "Marc" looks incomplete. I think "Mark" is the way to go.

    I'm doing well. Most nights I'm either out with friends or working late. I don't know how I became so busy but it's a good busy. If I stop moving, the sharks and I will drown, and they have so many teeth I don't want to piss them off. If I had a supply of teeth like that, I would be a lot more liberal about what I bite.

    I bought this ambient music generator thing. Basically it's a collection of ambient sounding short pieces of music that loop, not always exactly the same each loop, but very similar so it creates relaxing background. You can change which sound it uses with a button on the side. It's too bad it doesn't mix it up on its own more. The audio quality could be a little better too but it's very effective at a quiet (but not too quiet) volume, I think. Last couple nights I've turned it on when going to bed and I relatively quickly get relaxed enough that the sound is actually keeping me awake, then shut it off and fallen asleep quickly. It's nice because I have a lot of trouble sleeping. I think my body has actually forgotten how to feel when I do get a good night's rest.

    I've plugged it into my car stereo too and sometimes it provides a bit of relaxation to balance out all the frustration from traffic. Not a lot, but a bit. It came with batteries of a brand I've never heard of that were also covered in Chinese characters, which means they'll either die before I finish this sentence or they'll outlast me. It seems like the kind of thing I could make myself if I did enough research on electrical engineering on my own. I'm actually tempted to try but I have enough Projects I'll Never Get To.

    A friend and I are driving up to San Jose this weekend to see Björk. My socks are ready to be rocked off.

    I think I've heard of the hotel grenville's staying in. Or, at least, I've heard of a Hong Kong hotel that proclaims itself the most high-tech hotel in the world.

    Saw an independent Irish film called Once about a busker and a Czech immigrant who befriend each other/record music together. Very music-oriented (the two main actors are both musicians, not actors - although one's had a bit of acting experience before in a similar way). Good if you like that. And the music. Which I do.

    I conquered my RSS feeds. I caught up on most of them, removed a couple, and marked (HAHA MARK) one I didn't feel like catching up on but did want to keep up with as all read to begin anew. I feel better.
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2007
    Ambient music generator sounds like fun.

    I have to go off to Australia and New Zealand and Singapore and God only knows where else. I had my eye on this nifty apartment near Mody Road, but its not to be. And I was just getting to grips with the tech here at this hotel. I figured out the TV (big plasma screen thing) and how to work the volume from the bathtub, but I'm damned if I can figure out how to get a commentary track on a DVD using the all-in-one-all-tech-in-the-room remote control. Whatever happened to simple. Some hotels go a bit over the top on gimmicks. Top-end hotelling in HK is a crowded market so each one needs a gimmick to grab attention. This hotel has technology (and the fact that it is in the middle of Mong Kok and 500 brothels within 4 blocks).
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2007
    This is like a diary. I'm back in Singapore, but only Changi airport thank God, while I wait for a flight to Melbourne. 200 free internet terminals, swimming pool, sauna, massage (no happy finish offered, though) movie theatre -- Changi is the best airport in the world by a wide margin. Its a great place to transit. I like the new Singapore Airlines biz class cabin. Its the first time in a dozen flights I've had the new Krisworld movie setup -- 700 CDs to choose from and make your own play list (I liked 3 of them) but not a great selection of movies. Air New Zealand and Emirates (the other two current class act biz class airlines) have a more challenging selection of art movies. When Singapore is involved expect bland, inoffensive entertainment. There was once a Singa movie called, if I recall, 15, about kids staying out late and not doing their homework. It played one night at the local film festival for a select audience over the age of 21 and then it was banned.

    Airplanes and airports (good ones anyway) are great places to chill and get some down time. I don't agree with this work while you fly stuff. One notes the ominous addition of usb ports and business software in the new backseat systems. Bad times. They'll expect us to work when we fly now. There is no rest.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2007
    I have not had internet access for awhile, but things are up and running at the new apartment as of yesterday.

    I also have an affinity to airports. I never travel on business and never managed to get any work done in them when I was in college. But, if anyone is traveling through the Midwest to or from the eastern seaboard and would like my recommendation on what cities have the best airports for connecting flights...I've got you covered. Avoid Kansas City and Midway like the plague, in case you were wondering. My biggest problem with airports is the major money drain. I was stuck in O'Hare once for 9 hours due to missing a connection and spent something like $150 on books and food. Having my laptop with me and being able to connect probably would have save me tons of money on that trip. But, since I hate having to wrangle it through the security checkpoint, I don't usually take it anywhere unless I absolutely have to.
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2007
    So I take it Kids wasn't shown in Singapore?

    I actually rather like the down time of flying, so long as I have a good book (preferably light reading - I tried reading Umberto Eco on a plane once, and, well, I managed, but I think I understand why books like The DaVinci Code are so popular:P)

    There are lots of hassles with airports, but still, not that bad, and I like travelling without actually driving:P

    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2007
    I've always really liked airports. I think, mostly, because I like people-watching and you get a good cross-section of people there because all different sorts of people have reasons to fly. Airports also seem to tend to be designed with large open spaces, which is simply a design I happen to prefer. If I were designing a home, there would be a lot of room in every room. I like planes too. As machines. Sometimes when I'm in one at takeoff, there's a moment when the plane first lifts off that I get this rushing sense of marvel that we've built machines that let us fly.

    In contrast, I don't really enjoying being on a plane itself. Cramp and nothing to do. Although if the flight's short enough, the Skymall catalogue is seriously the best publication ever. So much that's so random. The best is the stuff for pets because there's always a picture of a dog or cat in/wearing/being affected by whatever the item is and it's always the most awkward-looking moment.

    I saw 28 Weeks Later. It has its moments but it's, for the most part, pretty stupid. There's way way way too much happening that's just outright implausible.
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2007
    Airports. The beauty of Changi airport is that you can explore, just wander about aimlessly and find stuff you hadn't seen on ten previous visits like funny coloured goldfish in the chill out area ponds, the Masarati parked next to the noodle stand, the funny shaped garden lights on the outside smoking deck in Terminal 2. Other so-called five star airports like Hong Kong, Seoul Incheon, Amsterdam Schiphol are efficient airports that let you find your gate via the duty free section but they are not destinations in themselves like Changi. Given how old the place is it amazes me that no other airport has copied Changi's design. Even the guy's with the machine guns have uniforms that blend in with the scene. You don't see them until you bump into one and he apologises first. When I think of Singapore, I think of Changi rather than the God-awful city state.

    One to avoid is Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Its brand new, but they should close it, buldoze it and start again with a proper design and less corruption in the construction.

    As for airlines, the plane is more important than the airline in most cases, at least among the top international carriers. Always try to fly a brand new 777 200 or 777 300 ER -- Boeing almost build a perfect plane with that model. Avoid older Airbuses and 747s -- they will always be grotty. I try never to fly for more than two hours unless the plane has an AVOD with at least 50 movies to pick from.