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Squared Sevens Blogging Corp.
Sunday, 12 September 2004
A Wise Preson Once Said
It sucks when you're gone. I couldn't agree more. My girlfriend left to go back to Japan early this morning. Saying goodbye is never fun, especially when you don't know the next time that you'll meet someone again. At least, we had the chance to have a lot of great times hanging out in North Carolina. Ayana, I'll miss your easygoing personality and sweet smile. At least there's email. I hope we can meet again soon.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 12 September 2004 10:55 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 8 September 2004
5,600,000,000
Gallons of fuel wasted, average 46 hours a year wasted in traffic jams in the United States. $829

cost per motorist per year. Man, traffic sucks. Charlotte with it's sprawl can be pretty bad, but at

least it ain't Los Angeles.

story here.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 5:08 PM EDT
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Saturday, 4 September 2004
I need to learn how to cook
A couple of quick hits:

I got to cook better. I remember one day I was eating ramen and applesauce, and Sammy was making these great bean burritos, and I was just like, "damn". Well, at least I can read the directions on stuff now, that's a start in the right direction.

Speaking of which, finally found a Japanese foodstore in Charlotte. It's called "Hatoya", near Carolina place (on 521- I think). Anyways, I saw the hiragana as I was driving by, and knew that I had to stop in. Basically, the place is pretty bare bones, but you can pick up some of your favorite stuff at a significant markup. I got some Yogurt Hichews for $1.35, which may be the best candy ever so I picked some up. They had some ramen and soba cup noodle bowls for about 2.50, as well as Natto and Amino Valu energy drinks which were 2.79. Also, they had about a thousand tapes of TV Drama programs (don't ask), and Weekly Playboy (kind of porn-like, but sold on newsstands) for 7.99. An interesting trip.

Saw the Bourne Supremacy yesterday, and I must say that it is a damn fine movie. I recommend anyone who likes action or spy movies to go see it in theaters immediately. Anyway, it was strange to see people leave right after the end of the movies, as everyone sits through the end of the credits in Japan, believe it or not. I never would have thought over a cultural difference over something like that.

We now have a giant Star Trek The Next Generation poster in our living room. It's got the Enterprise on it, and it's about 5 feet wide, no joke. It looks really great. Picard would be proud.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:39 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 4 September 2004 11:38 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 August 2004
Congrats Tribe
On beating the Yanks by TWENTY-TWO runs. Good job.

link

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:22 PM EDT
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Sunday, 29 August 2004
Carowinds Report
Went to Carowinds today, an old summer tradition, but this time with Ayana. A couple of thoughts and observations...

-Big security presence there. It was probably there last time I went in May 2003 but I don't seem to remember it. We got to do metal detectors, bags searched, the whole bit. Interesting to see at a theme part of all places.

-There's been a lot of changes there as well. Seems like everything got a fresh coat of paint, and they've taken out a lot of old stuff recently, but one bonus is that it seems to be a lot easier to walk the park. For example, it's easy to access Thunder Road now, but back in the days it was more or less stuck off in the corner of the park.

-Also, sad to see the Viacom/Paramount influence everywhere. There's the CBS Cafe(?), and of course everything in the kids park is plastered with Nickelodeon logos. They even renamed the Gauntlet to the "Rocket Power Blastoff" or something like that. And there's VH1 and commercials playing on TV while you're waiting in line. Thanks, guys, just what we need. More commercials. Smurf's island is completely gone, I mean demolished, to make way for a new ride (see below). Too bad, because I had good memories of that place then Carowinds just let it turn to sh-t.

-I just realized what a license to print money that place is. I mean, you gotta pay to get in, and then every square foot is utilized to get even more of your dough- you know the deal, photo booths, souveneirs, lemonade ice, Dippin' Dots, and overpriced food and drinks. I know it's a huge operation but I'm starting to see why Paramount opted to buy the place. However, after all the changes they've made, maybe I wish they hadn't, being the nostalgic guy that I am. You wouldn't recognize this place from 10 years ago at all hardly.

-There's a new ride in town, and it's called the Borg Assimilator. It's Star Trek-themed, which you may or may not like, but they do show some ST:TNG clips while you're waiting in line, which isn't too bad. Anyway, the ride is incredible. The short explanation goes like this: the seat you're in is laid back horizontally, then right before the big drop the track rotates over 180 degrees- and you're facing the ground, with nothing in between. It's nuts. Then you go on a pretty good steel coaster, but it's made all the better by the new ride design. I guarantee you'll experience a few things you haven't seen before, and this is coming from someone who's been on a lot of coasters. I'm glad that I live to see technology create things like this.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:01 PM EDT
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Friday, 27 August 2004
Yabai!
Major Tokyo Quake Expected Within 50 Years


TOKYO - Japan's capital has a 90 percent chance of being devastated by a major earthquake some time in the next 50 years, according to a study by a government panel.

The study, released earlier this week, marked the latest attempt by scientists to address one of this quake-prone country's most pressing concerns: when the next "Big One" would level one of the world's most densely populated cities.

Tokyo was last hit by a destructive quake in 1923 that toppled buildings, set the city aflame and killed at least 140,000 people ? and experts warn it's overdue for another.

From Yahoo! News

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:17 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 August 2004
Trends in the States
been putting this post off for awhile, so here goes. One thing that I wanted to see when I went away to Japan was what kind of trends would develop when I wasn't there. And while I'm still not all back in the swing of things, I have noticed a few pretty big trends (or fads, as they may be) pop up while I was gone.

The first thing that I saw was the Carb Craze has gone all out. Seriously, every other commercial on adult TV is some sort of low-carb something. There's even low-carb milk for some reason. The other thing that I saw is the rapid rise of the popularity of poker. It's on ESPN for crying out loud- I generally turn the channel when I see it on, but somebody's got to be watching it. A thing that I noticed was that both of these were around before I left and were still pretty popular- people had been doing the Atkins thing for at least a couple of months and there's always some guys up for Poker somewhere. But somehow they both reached a sort of critical mass while I was gone, and are truly mainstream. There might be an interesting study on US Society in there somewhere. Or not. I'm not getting into these, taking a wait-and-see on the carb thing (still got an iffy feeling about it), and staying away from poker- I always lose money. I'm just too nice of a guy for that game I think. Don't quite have the killer poker instinct. Dodgeball on the other hand...

The other thing that I saw pop up was this "Orange County Choppers" thing. This was completely new to me, but then I hadn't had cable for quite a while even before I left. It's the name of the company in the show "American Choppers" on one of the "learning" channels, where they make bikes. I saw it once, and I gotta say I was impressed. There's some real creativity and technique in the bikes, and the people on the show are certainly intersting enough. So I give this trend some credit, even though I can't sit through hour long TV shows for some reason without getting bored (but watching a 3-hr long movie is no problem).

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:46 PM EDT
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Monday, 23 August 2004
College Blog Entry
Hello everyone, this is Mike from college. Things are doin' fine here. Had my first day of classes today, nothing too bad. The walk isn't bad either, and even better I don't have to live on campus. Sammy went ahead and brought about half of his living room down to the Apartment, so we got surround sound, a big TV and wireless internet. I was wondering how I would fit back in the UNCC Japanese classes, but apparently some people in my class can't read Katakana (something that's pretty basic), so I think that I will be alright in there.

I'm gonna visit Ayana tomorrow, we might walk around Uptown some. Hopefully we can watch Zatouichi: The Blind Swordsman soon (it's in Japanese with English subtitles you see), and maybe a trip to Carowinds somewhere in there as well. That's it for now, I'm probably gonna talk more about sports next time. Later.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:27 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 18 August 2004
Sports Talk Radio 490AM
In this blog entry series, I'm going to talk about sports. Like any red-blooded American, I enjoy spectator sports a lot and I believe that people really care what I have to say about them. Now, even since I was a kid I've always enjoyed the Olympics. They were something big and great that I could always cheer and dream about. However, as I've grown older, as I've tried to become more cynical and less manipulated, and I tried to shut myself off from the Olympic scene this year.

It looked like it was going to be easy, with all the Drug testing scandals, the "Nightmare" Team (more on them later), terrorism concerns, TV Soap Opera Presentation, and the overt consumerization/corporatization of the games, and all of that fun stuff. But sure enough, I got sucked back in, as usual. I mean, when you get down to it, it's still a great one-of-a-kind event in the world. Where else can you see people going nuts when some 20-year-old from Bulgaria wins a bronze medal in the 800m Steeplechase? The emotion and drama are still real, even with all the added extras. What I can say, I'm still a sucker I guess.

BTW, My Aunt and Uncle survived Hurricane Charley ok. They were in Naples, FL, which is pretty close to where it made landfall, so it was... touch and go for awhile there. But everything seems alright now, and I'm sure that we will all hear about it later. Anyway, shouldn't you start your own blog by now Barb?

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:50 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 August 2004 11:54 PM EDT
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Thursday, 12 August 2004
This will be interesting
My girlfriend Ayana is coming flying into Charlotte today. I'm pretty excited, but a little but nervous too, I've never hosted anyone before and I feel an obligation to make sure she has an awesome trip. I'll try to find good activities to do in Charlotte, could be a tough search as anyone who has lived here can tell you. But, I'll try my best.

In other news, I saw my Aunt and Uncle that I hadn't seen in 2 years at Food Lion, um while I was working. That was a bit of a surprise. We got Bojangles and ate outside in the parking lot, man that was great. Then they drove down to Florida, and they're there right now, which in hindsight may have not been the best idea (hurricanes and such). Well, I'm sure they'll have fun anyway.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 5:08 PM EDT
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