The last few days have been not quite a haze of jet lag, but I certainly know I've hopped time zones.

Germany was fantastic - I hope we go back!  I got to see the Victory Column (totally near the hotel - we were on that end of the Tiergarten) along with random men-killing-things statues (they used to hunt wild boar on the lands of the Tiergarten, so it really isn't a surprise). And the Deutches Technikmuseum (social event for the win with train cars!) and the Checkpoint Charlie museum - right at Checkpoint Charlie - the guardhouse is still there with taxis and buses whizzing by it.

Lots of things I didn't get a chance to see - like the Brandenburg Gates - they were on the opposite end of the Tiergarten from where we were and I just didn't have that much free time to try to go see them.  I went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum instead.

I am gearing up to go on vacation - which is my next big ADVENTUR!  Hopefully a ton of relaxation and driving around the area dorking about small history bits with friends.  Low key.  And maybe there will be enough breezes to fly a kite or two.

I find as I get older I care less and less about what "people" think.  Introvert that I am people wear me out, but it used to be paired with social anxiety where I would push to do something even knowing I would maybe have a good time doing it, but would pay for it later with exhaustion because people tend to suck my energy dry (except for when I am on stage, where, oddly, the exchange works the other way).  I have less anxiety about saying no.  Maybe it is age.
etakyma: (Technobabble SG1)
( Jul. 21st, 2013 10:35 pm)
Is all over my town.

There are two ways to exit my neighborhood to the south, and two ways to the north.  In both cases you have to get to the main road and head east or west on it before you can actually go north or south.  About six weeks ago, one of the routes to the south (westerly) was closed for bridge repair - the most convenient one to my bank, to the closest Stop and Shop, to the closest Whole Foods, to the main Post Office.  Its just a CONVENIENT way to leave my neighborhood.  Closed until (at the very least) Fall.

Okay, I can still go west to go south - I just have to go alllll the way around.  About ten to fifteen minutes out of my way depending on traffic (tertiary roads, highly traveled, and looping back to where you were, just on the other side of the closed bridge). Annoying but do-able.

Leaving my neighborhood the up and around way to the west, there are traffic signs indicating a traffic pattern shift starting tomorrow.  Road crews are going to be doing a widening project, so traffic in that direction is going to be even worse - they expect heavy usage and major delays.  I go that way ALL THE TIME.  I don't want more construction happening there!

Getting out south and east is the same traffic pattern as usual, but getting IN south to the easterly direction they've put in another detour to do some sewer repair - also going to take a couple of months to complete, but totally messes with the traffic pattern in the other spot.

Going to the north east or west is still clear of construction, but getting out of the neighborhood to head towards civilization (Mass Pike and Route 9 are both *just* south of my neighborhood) is getting annoying and time consuming.

I am super happy my town is doing much-needed repairs to its roads and infrastructure (water mains, sewers, etc.) but having it all happen at the same time is a little... weird!  There are like four bridges closed in my town for repair.  Orange DETOUR signs are up everywhere.

On the plus side, a bunch of pot-holey roads have been repaved lately, so there is that.

On the minus side we've had two weeks of plus90 degree weather, I do not envy the construction crews working outside in this weather.  This week should be marginally cooler (mid eighties instead of mid-to-high nineties).  But I'm off ADVENTURING to Europe mid-week anyway.
And still recovering! Vacation this year was the western shore of Chesapeake Bay in a beach house in Maryland. It is so awesome to get together with good friends and not have to worry about personality conflicts.

We are also way way WAY interested in history - so our day trips in the area are focused on things like state and national parks, historical sites, lighthouse tours and museums. My mother teased me about our "wild ways." I supposed five thirty and forty-something women don't usually do this sort of "lets go somewhere and take in as much history as we can" kind of vacation. We got asked if we were all teachers! None of us are - KM is the closest as she is employed by a school - just not as a traditional teacher.

Some highlights of what can be found in southern Maryland include (when asked, ALWAYS WATCH THE VIDEO!):

The Belair Mansion, and Belair Stables (both take donations but do not cost $ to tour). Belair had been a working plantation, and the Stables had produced many many many fine thoroughbred horses. Two which won the triple crown - Gallant Fox in 1930, and Gallant Fox's son Omaha in 1935 (the only father-son triple crown winners ever).

The Thomas Stone House National Historic Site (no fee, donations only). Manned by the National Park Service, this house was built in 1740 by Thomas Stone for his family. It was also a working plantation. Thomas Stone was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence - he was a moderate, wanting peace with England, but when push came to shove believed in breaking with England rather than surrender rights. He was not as much a hot-head radical as some of them, so he is a lesser known signer.

The Dr. Samuel Mudd House (tour costs $ - not a lot, but some). The docent and docent-in-training that conducted our tour were personable (Dr. Mudd was the doctor John Wilkes Booth went to when he broke his leg after assassinating President Lincoln - Dr. Mudd was tried and jailed for being part of the conspiracy, although evidence leans toward him not being quite that black-hearted. Not a choirboy, but not a killer, either). The house was interesting to see, and they had a lot of the ACTUALFAX stuff from the Mudd family - and quite a number of pretty wooden furniture pieces Dr. Mudd made in prison. Dr. Mudd spent nearly four years in prison before he was pardoned, and he came home and he and his wife had five more children (to join the four they already had).

Calvert Marine Museum and the Drum Point Lighthouse.

Cove Point Lighthouse.

Piney Point Lighthouse.

...Not very many Dairy Queens :(

It was awesome, and low-key. We beach combed, watched the sunrise and the blue heron fish. We puzzled - and completed three the week we were there. No kite flying - sadly the winds were not with us. We watched ships go by. We ate delicious food (possibly way too much food, but hey - it was vacation!)

It was exactly what a vacation is supposed to be... It was restful and lovely and I could have used another week! ♥
etakyma: (BandB Innocent!)
( Aug. 2nd, 2012 01:10 pm)
Holy shit, its August. When the hell did that happen?

As you were.
etakyma: (Default)
( Aug. 1st, 2012 10:13 pm)
In Vancouver. Weather is perfect. Meetings going well. Going to spend a little bit of time in Stanley Park tomorrow.
...why did no one ever tell me this game existed? It is awesome. (for those that don't know it is like apples to apples - but rated NC-17, XXX - so totally hilarious)

One of my top ten memories of Ascendio is playing this game on Friday night with a whole group of people - Mark Oshiro of "Mark Does Stuff" included. That man is a total riot (also way way WAY clever).

And I got to say incredibly wrong and dirty things out loud to a whole bunch of people. Good times.

Finally home from Ascendio. Exhausted (so exhausted I actually slept on the AUTO TRAIN). Con report:

Was awesome. Spent too much money. LOVED seeing everyone. Chalk Twins was another top ten highlight - along with Cat Tosenberger - because she is Cat Tosenberger.

Afshan Azad is a total sweetheart - and Chris Rankin can SING. Hotel was gorgeous; food was great; all the pre-con work paid off.

Bed now.
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etakyma: (Eureka Worry)
( Jul. 2nd, 2012 12:45 pm)
Not that that is a news flash to anybody.

Stress-induced insomnia has me working with about three-four hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks. Somehow the hours between 5am and 8am are the best hours I've been able to consistently sleep.

Last night I got over five hours and so am feeling a little hungover - without the usual reasons to feel hungover.

Gearing up for vacation - although it is less vacation than "time off real-life work." It is still work, just not work I get paid for. Gwen and I leave here on Saturday, car packed to the gills, and make it to just outside Baltimore Saturday night. Sunday we go the rest of the way to Virginia and catch the Autotrain to Orlando. Monday morning we'll arrive in Orlando and check in to the hotel. We'll be there until the next Monday when we retrace our steps to Boston.

Maybe then I'll be able to sleep.
...but then I realize I've just been incredibly busy. The next three months are gonna be hella busy for me. Which is good and bad - because I can only try to complete all the things on my plate in a timely manner while still remaining gainfully employed. So little things like posting in my journal may be few and far between.

Speaking of employment I went out to the mothership last week and took part in some company party shenanigans. We went to a baseball game (Giants vs Marlins - Giants lost). Those who know the game I've got a question! We all know baseball is all about statistics (well, because you've gotta have something to focus on during the game because the game itself is about as exciting as watching snails move). On the jumbo screen thing under where the paste up player statistics they had the innings with the score, and next to that was "R [number] H [number] E [number] L [number]" lit up. Runs, Hits, Errors, and ??? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? There were three plays in the whole damned game that were exciting. Ah, well. We went and partied as a company! Who doesn't love baseball (other than 80% pf my ... company...)? It was fun because of the people I was with.

Ah well, by August it will all settle down!

At the end of the month I'll be dog-sitting for my folks - six days living in my parent's really really really nice house with Max. And my dad said he'd lay in food (which, um, no... I'll bring my own, thanks! mainly because I don't want to go into why I don't use milk in my cereal anymore and why I eat the cereal I do at all and actually, no I'm off pasta for numerous reasons too annoying to go into). They're going to Myrtle Beach for a reunion of my Dad's ship. He was in the Navy and age and a half ago, one of the last sailors to serve aboard the destroyer (no, I don't know which one - but it was back in the late fifties/possibly early sixties?, so really, an AGE ago - I'm not sure when exactly he got out) before it was mothballed. He expects to only recognize two or three people - one he is pretty sure won't remember him at all.

Other news is one of my friends from high school's oldest son is graduating from the same high school we went to on June 1. I am technically old enough to have a kid of legal drinking age, so one graduating from high school shouldn't feel big, but it does. He's not even the first of my HS friend's kids to graduate from high school, either. Maybe I'll go. If it is a nice day graduation will take place on the town green and since I'll be dog sitting in town anyway...

There was something else to relate here but obviously I've forgotten. So I'll go on to my last mention:

Steampunk City [http://internationalsteampunkcitywaltham.org/] this weekend! I'm *SO* looking forward to that!
etakyma: (Default)
( Mar. 27th, 2012 10:42 am)
So... Paris is pretty much how I remember it. Food is terrific even "bar food" is better than expected. I am told the "house" or "table" wine is better than the US - but since I don't drink wine I have no opinion one way or the other.

We've been extraordinarily busy and so haven't seen much of the city besides walking by the Arc de Triomphe, and seeing the Eiffel Tower, in all its sparkly glory, from a distance. I hope to at least see a museum (which one is under discussion) and maybe some of the other sights like Notre Dame and Saint-Chappel (I saw one but not the other six years ago). Maybe a couple of the gardens. But before that I have a ton of things to do for work - this getting up at 5:45am and working until 7 or 7:30pm blows. But it is "the usual" for this trip and people don't understand when you say you saw the airport the hotel and the conference center that really, THAT'S ALL YOU SEE!

Also sucks that as I am getting up most of you are in bed, and as I have a few minutes before tumbling into bed it is your evening commute... and so I am far more disconnected than I like to be.

On the plus side I am highly caffeinated this morning and shaking a little bit because of it. BUT I AM AWAKE!!!
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So this week I am headed for Paris, France for work. Periodically work sends me off somewhere in the world for about ten days. This spring's meeting location is Paris. I've been gathering up the things I am taking with and I have a couple of very... odd items that anyone who goes through my luggage might be perplexed at.

One of my co-workers is getting married in three weeks. In fact exactly seven days after she returns from Paris. We're getting together a little bar party while in Paris - a little mini bachelorette. I was tasked with proving the veil. Which I made, and is adorable (and hopefully I won't be bringing home).

The other "odd" item in my luggage will be a superhero cape, also made by me. I shit you not. The meeting was host-less until about eight days ago when we magicked up a host. So the person who magicked up his company as host (who gave $$$ to do so) is getting a dark green "superhost" cape with the superman-shaped emblem with a big ol' "H" in it instead of an "S."

Last Friday (a week ago) my boss asked me if it was possible to provide such a thing.

...Has she never met me? Of course it is POSSIBLE. The cape part is done (and fully lined, go me!), I just have to attach the emblem and the letters spelling out "Superhost" across the back and it will be done (and cutting out this lettering was SO much fun! I got to use my new toy!). This I will do in the morning.

But yeah, my luggage will be full of superhero cape and a bridal veil. Life is just a little weird around here at the moment.
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etakyma: (Sunset with Elephant)
( Feb. 13th, 2012 12:33 pm)
Spent the weekend in New York City. Went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in Discovery Times Square (same place I saw Pompeii (the first time) and King Tut) on Saturday. We tend to get there early - before they even open. True to form, we got there about forty minutes early (express subway for the win!), so we went and warmed ourselves with some tea/hot chocolate and conversation in the (very light) snow.

We were in the very first group let into the exhibit (which is something we prefer). It started off with a multi-media presentation with a docent doing a theatrical info-dump about the place and time of the making and finding of the scrolls.

A few minutes later we were set loose in the exhibit itself. I was the slowpoke, because I got the audio tour (sometimes they are great, and sometimes they are terrible - this one was on the "great" end of the spectrum, but it just gave more depth to what you were seeing - some "why" questions got answered, and a more in depth discussion on life and times and culture.). I LOVED the empire progression video and watched it all the way through twice - which empires reigned when and for how long and who came after. Brilliant bit of animation that really spoke for itself.

The coins were fascinating in how small they all were - how delicate and detailed. I loved the "folk religion vs. formal religion" discussion over household shrines - and that in the Jewish Folk Religion of several thousand years ago God possibly had a female counterpart.

From the gallery of seeing all the items associated with life and times when the scrolls were written, we went downstairs into a large round room that had a huge circular table where under glass were climate controlled partially lit shadowboxes that had the actual fragments of scrolls inside. Around the edge of the room were other items (carved ossuary boxes, various bits of jewelry, cooking implements and various household vessels, a wailing wall set up you could leave written prayers, etc.). Outside of this room were smaller rooms with specific focus - in one was a film on a loop talking about the scrolls and how they were found, how they were (badly) treated in the fifties by people who, while scholars, were not versed in ancient manuscript and unknowingly damaged them (sunlight and cigarettes everywhere! Scotch tape! Stamp glue! Egads and Horrors!), and how conservation effort is ongoing (both undoing the damage after they were found and continuing the piece together fragments).

I loved the various interactive bits - the "ten commandments" interaction was interesting - where the commandment was highlighted and the whole thing was set out. Some are short (forgive me as I paraphrase egregiously) "you will not kill" or "you will not steal" and some are longer "the seventh day is for resting. Not just you, but you and your family, and your slaves, both male and female, and your animals and your neighbors. all of you will rest because God rested on the seventh day and you must, too. No really. I mean it."

There was a moment in the scroll room when it kind of hit us at different points that - WOW! DEAD SEA SCROLL! RIGHT THERE!!! OH-EM-GEE!

I also snerked at the quotes from Pliny the Elder that were on the walls - because, well, we know he died on the day Vesuvius erupted and Pompeii was wiped out (August in the year 79CE (AD)). Because he was a bit of a moron and sailed TOWARD Vesuvius instead of AWAY from it.

After we exited the Dead Sea Scrolls we went back uptown and ate at a Dominican restaurant (yum) for the meal between lunch and dinner that serves for both - because that is what time it was. Then back to the apartment to watch Planet Earth and geek out together.

Such an awesome weekend! ♥
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Periodically something brings home to me that while I am able to sing... I sing in a very limited kind of way.

Had a road trip last weekend and I popped "Big River" in the CD player... My range and Huck's ... well, pretty much the same. Yup. Teenage boy. *sigh*

On the plus side Huck's music in the musical is pretty damned awesome. "Waitin' for the Light to Shine" is both an awesome ballad *and* a rockin' hard driving song. "Worlds Apart" is probably the best non-lovers love duet I've heard. And "Leavings Not the Only Way to Go" rips your heart out. And in each and every one of them the part I can sing most comfortably and reach 95% of the correct notes? Huck's.

And yes, I can growl out "Guv'ment" along with John Goodman - but there isn't a ton of musicality needed for that.

One of the things I really wish I could do - and do really well - is sing. Oh well. Maybe in my next life.
etakyma: (Default)
( Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:06 pm)
Anyone have any recommendations for restaurants/things to see/things to do in Paris, France?

Yeah. Going to Paris in two months. Will be there for ten-ish days for work. And yes, ONLY Paris. Will have neither the time nor the resources to see/do anything outside the city limits.
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etakyma: (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2012 06:51 pm)
Just got home from a road trip weekend to four inches of snow on the ground. And what looks like the tracks of a fight in the front yard.

While shoveling the driveway I think I figured out what all the tracks were about (because while my house was very quiet this weekend, apparently my yard was the happenin' place to be!).

Friday I had to shovel the driveway before I left - only about two inches but I knew we were expecting a storm on Saturday, so - drive and walks were clear when I left, and there was about an inch to two inches of snow in the yard. Friday sometime after I left I got an oil delivery - the bill was stuck in the storm door (I hate it when they put it stuck to the storm door because it isn't protected from the weather). It must have been Friday as they did not disturb any snow - and I had shoveled the path enough for them to get to the tank).

Friday night into Saturday it snowed about four-ish inches. Mail came on Saturday after most of the snow had fallen - his prints were pretty clear. Also on Saturday someone had a big old party all over my front yard - or there was a deathmatch by all the prints and trails. I am assuming, since the tracks come from the general direction of next door, that the little girls who live next door annexed my yard to theirs to expand their play. I am also guessing by what I could see by the light of the nearest streetlamp that they were either dragging each other about or perhaps making snow angels (probably the snow angels thing... my clean expanse of unmarked yard was probably too tempting to pass up).

I arrived home to shovel out the driveway. Which was neither difficult nor long to do.

The weekend, I think, was very successful. Although I am sure there will likely be at least one more weekend like this one. And whew, I am tired tired tired!
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etakyma: (Default)
( Jan. 3rd, 2012 12:11 am)
I got home from New Years in New York City (awesome time, avoided Times Square like whoa, and hung out in Central Park for fireworks at midnight. Sadly we ended up next to the Asshat Hipsters Who Were Loud and Annoying. We moved away from them finally (omg if I had to listen to one of them congratulate himself for having a passing resemblance to Eric Stoltz one more time I might have killed him. With a book. Because apparently, that is something I seem to be capable of).

Fireworks were spectacular, Central Park was wall to wall people (the night was fairly mild, so people were all over the city).

Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows were far and above the absolute best in the city. Macy's kind of were a let down and looked amaturish, and Saks Fifth Avenue's out and out sucked.

I got the bus home and arrived Just in Time to have cake with my brother's family for G's TENTH birthday. She got her ears pierced today as part of her birthday. Lovely end to a wonderful holiday weekend. Back to work tomorrow. Ugh!
I took the red-eye home last night but we were delayed two hours on the California end which means it took me an hour to get home in morning traffic and not the 25 minutes in pre-dawn traffic. It was a fairly uneventful flight - I put in my earplugs and put on my eyeshade and pretty much dozed the whole five plus hour flight. It was not restful, and it certainly was not peaceful, but it was as comfortable as an uncomfortable place could be.

Besides being uneventful, the flight home was a little stinky. Someone near me had gas. And the young man next to me needed a shower (ETA - although faint BO is far preferable to cologne of any kind - there is so much cologne out there I am allergic to. BO is just the human condition). I was a little queasy by the time we landed. "Fresh," cold, tarmac-tainted air never smelled so good.

Had a conversation with CoWorker A before I left the office on Thursday. She got engaged in October, and is getting married in April. We have a mutual work trip the last week of March. She'll get back to her home in the DC area seven days before her wedding which takes place in Texas.

She isn't really freaking out at all. She is actually remarkable sanguine about the whole thing. The venue has its own caterer so she doesn't have to vet a caterer. She is not all about the long white dress (and she isn't sure if "white" would even be part of it) - she was looking at dresses from JCrew (yes, they have a wedding and party line) - and they ship in five days. She said she did boutique shopping and hated everything she saw (plus with her timeframe they were all like - uh, possibly not possible).

To her, it is NOT "all about the dress" - to her it is more about standing up in front of friends and family and being married. And by the time our work trip to Paris happens in March she hopes to have all the details for the wedding taken care of. She was contemplating that she might fly direct to Houston from Paris, but I pointed out that Paris in March is much different weather-wise than Texas in April. And she'd need a change of wardrobe at the least.

She said both her and her mother wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they had more than six months to plan the wedding. They'd likely wonder what the hell they were doing taking so much time and energy and making it not what she wants it to be (she really wanted to do it in her parent's backyard but they nixed that idea, which made her sad).

Also spoke with CoWorker S about her want of a dog. She and her intended just bought a house (as in JUST - closed at the end of October) and she wants a dog. First they need to put a gate up at the side of the house - they have a fenced yard, but it opens to the driveway, and they want to install a gate so the dog has the run of the yard. I don't think it should be difficult to do, but then I don't know how handy L, her intended, is.

CoWorker C and I spent the week in one of the small conference rooms. I enjoy the way C doesn't require conversation. We can work separately but together, and only speak when needed.

Ah well. I am going to have dinner with my folks tonight since I am working on the Nutcracker all weekend. Can you also say "not finished with holiday shopping"? Yeah. I've got a few things to pick up. But it totally does not seem like the holiday season even with the xmas music all over the place.
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:42 pm)
Seen on the elevated walkway between the 101 Tower and the shopping center in the next block.



The tuned mass wind damper inside the Taipei 101 tower. With the Gold Damper Baby in front of it.



More about the damper can be found here:
http://probyte2u.hubpages.com/hub/Taipe1-101-Tuned-Mass-Wind-Damper

Why, yes, the tuned mass wind damper was probably THE coolest thing I saw all trip. /geekery
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etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 21st, 2011 09:08 am)
Saturday lasted an age, I tell you! Actually, it only lasted about fifty hours due to the international date line and various flights.

I left Tokyo/Narita around 5:20pm on Saturday and landed in Newark, NJ at about 4:15pm also Saturday. Landing an hour earlier than I left... weird!

I finally got myself and my stuff home around 10pm and promptly crashed. Sunday started well - if early - but I was exhausted by the end of it - fell asleep just before eight, woke up around 9:30pm and went back to sleep around 11pm. Up this morning at 5:30am... Its going to be a long damned week.

I hope Thanksgiving goes more or less smoothly for me - although I may be sneaking off to my niece's bedroom to take a nap...

Ugh - I could happily go back to sleep for another couple of hours.
On my way home from Taipei, Taiwan and I fly through Tokyo/Narita - which is where I am right now. So I am in the United lounge (thanks K for getting me in!) and using the free wifi. The snacky bits are also way better than airplane food, so I've eaten a bit since I am about to board a twelve-plus hour flight.

Tie-Dye Friday came off swimmingly - I think we'll do it again in Paris.

I am coming home with the same cough I left home with - which is incredibly annoying. On the plus side one of the elderly Taiwanese men who worked janitorial at the convention center gave me cough medicine - he spoke no English, and I spoke no Mandarin, and yet...

The sun rose as we left the hotel this morning (Saturday). It is setting over Tokyo now, and it will rise and nearly set again, also Saturday before I land in New Jersey for my final layover before my final flight to Boston.

I have a couple of really loud talkers near me - which is incredibly annoying. They are four tables away, and yet it is like they are talking directly at me...

Random thoughts are random... so I think I will sign off... from Tokyo/Narita, Japan.

...I can't wait to get home!
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Nori-flavored potato chips (seaweed) are a little like sour cream and onion potato chips, but without the sour cream or the onion. I'm not sure I can narrow that down for you. Kinda vegetably?

Plum-flavored potato chips have a vaguely plummy, sweet flavor, and I don't think potato chips should ever be sweet. But they weren't gross, just off-putting because of the sweet. Zesty chicken potato chips should have never been conceived let alone produced. Totally foul.

Green tea ice cream is a little odd, but also strangely appealing. Paired with strawberry? To die for!

The heat and humidity here make me look like a chia-head by the end of the day.

It is surprising how easy it is to make a purchase when they don't speak English and you don't speak Mandarin. Money is the universal language.

Taiwan barbecue is delicious. And also very hands on as you cook your own meat.

Kissing, IMHO, should never be for mercenary gain. Said barbecue place? If you kissed anyone for ten seconds and allowed them to photograph it (to be posted on their wall), they gave you free stuff - meat, beer, etc. I was vicariously uncomfortable when some folks at my table bowed to peer pressure and kissed. Although one of our party turned the tables on one of the servers by choosing to kiss HIM instead of someone else at the table.
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