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Monday, July 14th, 2008

Brevity Remix

I was visiting my brother’s family in LA last weekend, and they were hosting some old family friends from Australia, and I really enjoyed the company. We paid a visit to the Getty Villa in Malibu and I surprised myself by really enjoying it.

Rodd, on my request, presented me with a signed copy of his latest book, Brevity Remix:

Brevity Remix cover

Click on the image to buy!

As an expression of his fraternal sentimentality, his inscription asked why I wanted a copy when I’d seen all the included cartoons at least three times. Well, duh, dummy! So I can show it off to other people! Start thinking of me less as a brother and more a minor cog in your marketing engine, if you must.

Also, this book has comments written by Guy and Rodd about some of the cartoons. I thought the commentary was great, and would have loved to have seen even more. Plus, the cartoons are all in color. It’s like Brevity has been Ted-Turnerized!

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, Travel at 18:56 PST

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Monday, June 16th, 2008

Ruminations

I’m very, very excited about the business opportunities in the Pacific areas – Hawai’i, Guam, Micronesia, and maybe more.

OK, I haven’t written in a while. The big reason is personal – I keep getting a lot of crap whenever I write anything that reveals what I think about what’s going on in my life. So I just shut up. It was easier that way.

I also felt that, minus the personal ponderings, this blog was just turning into a travelogue. So I haven’t written about my trips to Japan, Guam, and Hawai’i. And also, I’ve just been too overloaded with new responsibilities to have much time to write about anything. It’s an ongoing debate in my mind – keep writing honestly and suffer the consequences, keep writing blandly for no real purpose, or quit writing. I’ve really thought hard about announcing that this blog is going to end.

But here I am, writing again. I guess I just want to write.

I gave up on the corrosionengineer.net website because I just wasn’t putting anything up on the site, but I still keep tabs on what’s going on out there. It’s a small world, so it doesn’t take much to have an impact.

So maybe I can keep this thing alive by mixing in the things I care about – they’re listing in my blog’s subtitle. I can’t rant and rave about the things that are wrong about my employer, because they’ve fixed a lot of them. I’m back to actually liking working for them again – I feel that team spirit, and see opportunities by playing along. Real opportunities – like heading a new, or renewed, Pacific office based out of Hawai’i. I’m not even sure about announcing this, because it’s still unofficial, but I think it’s going to happen.

I would like to have a real impact on young engineers who are mildly interested in the field, and internet-savvy enough to find this site. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love my work. I love the travel, I love the variety, and most of all I love the challenge. I’ve been doing this for eighteen years, but every morning I wake up knowing that I’m going to have to think hard about what I’m doing this day.

So what am I doing? I’m writing about it.

Posted by Greg as Corrosion Control, Posts About Me, Travel at 22:45 PST

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Monday, December 10th, 2007

Left My Cell Phone Behind

After a couple of weeks back in the San Diego office, it was time to go do my Road Warrior bit again. The company Christmas party was Saturday night, and early the next morning I drove the borrowed pool vehicle back to the office to drop it off. I might have been a little hung over (and no, I didn’t drive home from the party), and certainly I hadn’t had much sleep, so when my cell phone rang on the way, I took it off my belt, then put it in the truck’s console. And when I went to turn it off on the plane, it wasn’t there. Yep! it was still in the console!

So yesterday I flew from San Diego back to Kansas City, missing yet another Chargers game. The Bolts were down 3-10 at the start of the fourth quarter when I got on my connection at DFW, so I was mystified when the pilot announced the scores before landing. I didn’t believe it until I was able to verify it myself later. I missed a come-from-behind and OT win!

Breaking through the clouds at KC, I was amazed to see everything covered in white. It had snowed. And, off course, my car was just a big mound of ice and crusty snow in the long term parking lot, and my scrapper was in the garage. Oh well.

Today I drove about 1 080 km (670 miles) from Kansas City, Missouri, to Clovis, New Mexico. In between was Oklahoma, which was busy having one of the worst ice storms it has had in a long time. The whole state was in a declared state of emergency with more than a dozen dead in road accidents and hundreds of thousands without power. I navigated west, along Highway 54, passed through at the Panhandle, and managed to miss the worst of the storm before it headed north. I counted myself lucky making the trip in twelve hours, but there was a point in western Kansas were I had to pull over and knock more than a centimeter of ice off my windshield wipers, hood and lights. It was freezing rain, but it wasn’t sticking to the road.

It was also my first long trip with my new toy, a Garmin Nüvi 660 GPS navigation device. It seems to be designed more for local work – it started recalculating every time I pulled off the road for gas or something to eat. And although I had checked the route earlier (after putting in a waypoint to keep it from plotting a route through the iced-in areas), after one of those recalculations it decided it was faster to take me on a shortcut through backwater Texas roads just when I was looking forward to hitting the next town for dinner. I ended up with a chicken fried steak sandwich from a gas station off the I-40. I wish the find restaurant function had an option for selecting along the planned route. But hopefully it will come in handy here in town.

I can’t believe I’m back in Clovis. Not that there’s anything bad about the town or the people, it’s just that twelve or so years ago I come here as a coating inspector on a lead abatement job that turned into a nightmare. One morning we found one of the paint crew had hanged himself in the garage the night before, and had left the garage door open at the house were they were staying (yeah, the job kind of dragged out) so we would notice sooner.

Posted by Greg as Football, Travel at 21:46 PST

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Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Diego Garcia, Again

Internet service from DG is very, very slow, so I’ll make this brief.

I’m in Diego Garcia.

There, that didn’t take long, huh? When I get back to civilization, I’ll revise this post with pictures and coordinates. Right now, all I can tell you is about 7 degrees south of the equator, below India, in the Chagos Archipelago.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 06:20 PST

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Monday, November 5th, 2007

Singapore

I got into Singapore last night after almost 30 hours of travel. Now I’m sitting in Peyar Lebar, waiting for a hop to Diego Garcia. I am sick as a dog. I really shouldn’t have even started on this trip, but Diego Garcia takes so much to set up, and I am not traveling alone.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 22:06 PST

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007

London Cameras

As a regular reader of Bruce Schneier’s excellent blog on security issues (which naturally examines impacts on privacy as a security trade-off), when I came to London I knew that I would probably be visible on at least one camera the whole time I was walking the streets. However, I had to chuckle when I encountered this sign in a pub in the Westminster district:

Toilet Sign in Pub in Westminster

Isn’t this taking the British fetish with cameras just a little bit too far?

On second thought, this is only funny if the sign placement was ill-considered. If it was intentionally placed as a practical warning, it is chilling.

Incidentally, for my flight over to Europe I had a long layover (eight hours) in Chicago O’Hare airport. I spent the time reading, trying to watch the Chargers game in a crowded sports bar, and ducking back and forth through security for a smoke. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, and at some point I set down the book I was reading and walked away. I realized what I had done too late to go back, and at first I was concerned that someone might see it and call the bomb squad in. Then I thought about it and hoped that they would. The name of the book? Beyond Fear, Schneier’s very practical guide to making rational security choices.

Posted by Greg as Privacy, Travel at 09:37 PST

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Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Back in Kansas City

No time-stamp editing. I got back two nights ago and have been sick as a dog. A chest cold. I just have a couple of days to get over this and catch up with work before I pick up my still-warm passport and head out to Singapore on Sunday.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 21:13 PST

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Sunday, October 28th, 2007

It’s Raining – We Must Be in England

Greg Perry at the Tower of London Bridge
Photo by Pat Raabe

Done with our work in Germany, we decided to spend a couple of days in England on the way back. I had this vague plan to check out some family historical roots that my brother turned up, but they turned out to be in Cornwall – pretty far away from London. My good friend, co-worker, and boss (in that order) had decided he wanted to hang with me, so burning up all the time we had to drive out to Cornwall to look at some old buildings (of which we had seen plenty in the last two weeks), seemed kind of lame. We decided to stick to London for our introduction to England, and were well rewarded. Maybe next time.

We bought day passes on the tube, walked around a lot, decided not to pay outrageous prices to go into the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey, and stopped frequently in pubs. We just happened to be in town for the Dolphins-Giants game at Wembley, so when we decided to hit a sports bar hoping to catch the Chargers game, we ran into a bevy of British NFL fans. We got along well, but some well-meaning guys set us on the elusive hunt for the Essex girls.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 20:47 PST

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Friday, October 26th, 2007

Last Day in Germany

My last full day in Germany was spent driving back to Wiesbaden. We had plenty of time and no map, but there was GPS in the rental car, and I figured out how to set it up so that we stayed off the Autobahn. We passed through Würzburg.

Würzburg, Germany
Photo by Greg R. Perry

I really should put a lot of time into writing about how wonderful I found Germany to be, but if I commit myself to writing what it deserves, I’ll never get anything posted. I only really got to see Bavaria, and I got out of the cities very quickly and spent most of my time in the countryside. Everything is so neat, orderly and clean. The food is wonderful – I ate local nearly all the time. The place is dripping with history – I can see how Europeans just laugh when we Americans talk about old.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 20:29 PST

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Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Munich, Germany

Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany
Photo by Greg R. Perry

Sunday. I need to do wash, but what do I end up doing? Driving down to Munich for beer and sausages at the original Hofbräuhaus. WTF, this is my first time in Europe.

Posted by Greg as Travel at 20:19 PST

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