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Archive for April, 2007

Hotlanta!

So here we are in A-town…home of the the dirrrrty-south! We should be home in couple of days so I’m trying to soak up as much of the trip as I can before the dream ends…..It’s been an amazing 2 1/2 months on the road with SammyB! I can’t wait to get home and have the real computing power I need to edit videos and really get you guys some great video of our entire wacky trip…so be sure to keep checking back for updates (I’ll be back on the couch in Dallas, posting as much as I can, promise, cross-my-heart)

I don’t think the enormity of the trip or the video project has hit me completely but it’s already pretty overwhelming…definitely once-in-a-lifetime and possibly life/mind-altering (not in an LSD-bad way, but in an affirming, good way).

Probably won’t wanna see SammyB for at least two weeks after we get back home (24/7 for almost 3 months is a lot!)…but we’ll both be there on Friday night for the Welcome Home party!!! So e-mail us for the info (unless you’re already on the list)…everyone is welcome to come out and buy us drinks…we’ll have a few remaining T-shirts to give away (you’ll have to earn them) and we’ll be filming, so be ready for a rollicking-good time!

just a few highlights of a trip that was a 3-month highlight reel (que ESPN music da-na-na….da-na-na):

Shanghai and Rupert
Me and Rupert (from that Letterman show)

coeur-dalene-003.jpg
Best T-shirt Ever….period.

portland-001.jpg
It’s a really, really long trip….

See ya’ll soon back in the Big D!!!

The Sams are Coming Home

Yes, the rumors are true. Over 10 weeks and 16,000 miles later, the SS Road Trip is coming to a quick close. We’ve been on a fast track through the East Coast and Southeast, spending time in all the major cities. Special thanks to our hosts in Camden, Maine (Elaine & Chance), NYC (Jae-Ling & Ed), Philly (Sandra, aka Pure Evil), DC (Austin), and Miami/Keys (Ngan)!! We also had the unexpected pleasure of running into our old college friends, Seurien & Kathy, who just moved to Providence. While I don’t plan on moving to the East Coast, we had a blast along the way as you may be able to tell from some of the Flickr photos…

For those of you who are in or planning to be in the Dallas area on Friday, May 4th, our InterWeb Master, Justin, is organizing a little “welcome home” get-together (see previous post). Keep checking this site over the next week for details.

We’re in Tampa/Clearwater, Florida right now and will be heading up to check out the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium in HOTlanta tomorrow. Can’t wait! After that comes a visit to post-Katrina N’awlins, then back to Big D! Sorry we haven’t been able to update as much as we originally hoped but try doing one of these and hopefully you’ll understand why. But we’ll be working on more video edits including a huge post-trip edit. No telling how long that will take with all the footage we have… Speaking of video editing, check out our producer friend, Tammy’s, inspiring work-in-progress, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, at http://www.thebabylift.com/

I want to get at least one more post in before we get back to Dallas. This is related to some of the stuff I may be doing for a career down the road and is part of the bigger picture that spawned the SS Road Trip.

While we were in Seattle hanging with Shanghai’s old high school friend, Erik, our old college buddy, Winston (aka Winyo) and post-college friend, Adam, I made a day trip up to Bellingham, Washington to visit the American Alpine Institute (AAI). AAI is widely regarded as the top mountaineering school in the nation and I’m signed up to do their new 30-day mountaineering course that develops & certifies outdoor instructors in both technical & non-technical skills across the diverse terrain of the Northern Cascades (Glacier Peak to Mount Baker). One of the new careers I’m considering is full-time mountain guiding or seasonal mountain guiding paired with something like ski patrolling or working as a SCUBA Divemaster. So I’m obviously pumped about doing this course. The problem is only three people have officially signed up for the course so far and a minimum of six is needed by April 30th for the course to happen. So if you know anyone (friends, coworkers, etc.) who might be interested in this kind of thing please let them know aboot it! More info at: http://www.aai.cc/ProgramDetail.asp?program=93

AAI
SammyB & Big John, one of the guys at AAI

Well, I’ve spent way too much time at Panera trying to get caught up and not enough time enjoying Clearwater/Tampa so see you cats later!

-SammyB

Nearing the End of the Odyssey

The SS Road Trip is coming home! I just got word that the Sams are planning to be back in Dallas by mid-next week. 2 months on the road with each other is soon to end. If you haven’t gotten your official IMWITHSAM t-shirts, you better get moving fast before the trip ends!

And in other news, we’ll be planning a big ol’homecoming party for the SS Road Trip. If you’re in Dallas, plan to be there! Stay tuned for more info once we hammer out a time and location.

-Justin

Nor’easter….blowing your way!

So the Sams were up in New England during the last Nor’easter storm that basically blasted through the area to screw up our trip.

We blew through Vermont to make it to Camden, Maine where we were staying with my old high-school friend Elaine and her boy, Chance…made it just in time to watch them finish the butchering of a Bambi deer that Elaine had hit with her car the night before….mmmm, venison!

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Just a quick post…

One Portland to Another

So I’m here in Portland, Maine posting the video from Portland, Oregon….talk about lag-time…but anyhow, enjoy!

The cheesesteak was fantastic, but we’re gonna be in Philly soon so I’m gearing up for the best that ever was and is….

Later Sports Fans!
-Shanghai

To Live and Drive in LA (3/3)

We’re posting from Camden, Maine. After several days in Canada (Toronto & Montreal) we made our way to Burlington, Vermont followed by Portland, Maine. I’d been to Toronto before but actually found it cooler this time around. We had the luxury of staying in the city with a local, Despina, living in the trendy Queen West area. We hit a lot of cool places including the Bovine Sex Club. I know what you’re thinking…but the name was TOTALLY misleading. No cows to be seen, anywhere! We also went to Niagara Falls and to a good Shanghainese restaurant, Skyland de Shanghai, recommended by our friend in San Fran, Maddy. Montreal was simply awesome! However, I personally don’t remember too much aboot it because I made the amateur mistake of having only one meal (an excellent Quebeqoi lunch at Maamm Bolduc) the entire day before starting a non-stop hard & fast happy hour way too early in the evening. Not only did I not remember half of the night the next morning…I lost my favorite “Hofbrauhaus Munchen 1999” pull-over hoodie. Can’t really replace that. Burlington wasn’t as cool as I was expecting. I was looking forward to it more than any other eastern town/city. It was nice but somewhat unremarkable. Even the Burton headquarters & flagship store was a bit of a letdown. A snow storm was blowing in so we escaped to Portland, Maine. Portland was more along of the lines of what I was expecting Burlington to be. It was a decent-sized town with a bustling nightlife in the Old Port area. Out of the smaller towns/cities, I’d actually place Portland in my Top 3. Camden is about an hour north of Portland and is a popular New England summer retreat. We’re staying with Shanghai’s friend, Elaine, and her boyfriend, Chance. A couple of highlights here…Elaine hit a deer with her van the day before we got to Camden. They spent most of the day yesterday butchering it and we’ve been eating venison. We even had some deer tongue. (WARNING: The Camden Flickr photos may be a bit graphic.) The perfect storm also caught up with us here and we checked out some crazy rain & winds at three different harbors in the area before they were shut down. I feel sorry for the guys who ran the Boston Marathon this year. They had to run head-on into that storm. Speaking of Bean Town, we’re heading down there tomorrow morning. Should be a good time! In the meantime, here’s the third and final segment on the SoCal catchup:

We made all too many trips back and forth between LA and OC. In LA, we met up with Dave, Ken, Steve, Postaer, Jen, Melissa and Pei Ming. We saw the movie “300” at The Grove, a very cool mall as far as malls go, on opening night with Dave & Ken. One of the reasons I don’t think I could ever live in LA/OC is the overcrowding. Everyone knows the traffic sucks but you also feel it just going out to the movies or to the gym. We tried watching “300” on an IMAX screen but all of the theaters were sold out way in advance. And one afternoon while we were gridlocked in Santa Monica, I decided to give up trying to get back to OC and just hit the nearest 24 Hour Fitness. There was a line of cars backed up just to get in and out of the gym parking lot and it was by far the busiest 24 Hour Fitness I’ve ever been in. On the other hand, many of the cool places there wouldn’t be possible without the high concentration of people. I guess you take the bad with the good if you choose to live in SoCal. Speaking of cool places, Dave and the Sams met up with Jen at a popular Cuban restaurant called Versailles. Dave & Shanghai love the place but Jen & I found it meh. I thought Pinkberrys, a popular yogurt & fruit dessert place we went to afterwards, was better. That’s not the cool place though. Later that night, we all met up with Melissa and Pei Ming at a new lounge in Downtown called Edison. I wasn’t expecting much but it was possibly the coolest bar/club I’ve ever been in. It was an old power station converted into a swanky lounge, retaining much of the old power station look. Black & white movies flickered on the distressed brick walls as jazz music wafted throughout the space. Every half hour or so the music would pause for an entertaining burlesque show. Highly recommended if you’re ever in LA! Most of my other memories of LA involve food. Actually, most of my memories of everywhere involve food. But in LA we also hit up a good Korean restaurant, Calbee?, courtesy of Dave, and an oishii Japanese restaurant, Furaibo, courtesy of Steve. Our last stop before making our way up to Monterey and San Fran was Curry House, a great Japanese curry chain, where Melissa brought us some Beard Papas cream puffs. Oh, and I think some people karaoked in there somewhere.

It was a long time spent in LA & OC. We were there so long because we were killing time to meet up with friends at Lake Tahoe, as I mentioned in a previous post.

-SammyB

Two Girls for Every Boy (2/3)

Bonjour from Montreal! We’re having a great time during or stint back into Canada, eh. Despina was an awesome host in Toronto and Montreal is pretty sweet so far too. Just wanted to get another SoCal flashback update in before heading back out on the town. We’ll be in Burlington, Vermont tomorrow followed by Camden & Portland, Maine. I’ll add pics to this post later as I get a chance.

While out in the OC/LA area we hit several beaches, including Laguna, Doheney and Huntington. We even took our very first surfing lessons on Huntington (aka Surf City USA). Our instructor was veteran surfer, Ted, at Zack’s Beach Resorts, located right next to the Huntington Beach Pier. To start things off right, I came out of the restroom with my wetsuit on inside-out AND backwards. Once that little snafu was corrected we were off and running and crashing into waves and falling and crashing into waves and falling and, well, you get the idea. Although the waves at Surf City USA were smaller than usual, they were still way too big, fast and crunchy for beginners like us. But it was still a blast trying. I did manage to actually stand on a wave for about two seconds toward the beginning of our lesson and body surfed several others but the crashing waves really took their toll. Before I knew it I was too tired to keep my balance anymore. Doheny Beach, recommended by Kelso, was much better suited for beginners due to its smaller and slower waves. Unfortunately, they weren’t renting wet suits so we ended up just hanging out on the beach there. Maybe we’ll subject ourselves to the punishment again in Florida.

-SammyB

This is how we do it in the OC (1/3)

Hello from freezing Chi-Town! First of all, congrats to our dear friends back in Big D, Justin & Anna, who are celebrating the first year of what we affectionately refer to as the “Big Mistake.” Just kidding, Anna! 😀 Justin & Anna have been happily married for an entire year now…how time flies. They are celebrating in Dallas in the April SNOW! Crazy… I actually have to be back in Dallas for a wedding by late May so we’ll see how the remainder of the trip schedule goes. But for now, on with the updates!

Flashback: March 5th, 2007. (The 1st of my 3-part catch-up series for SoCal.) We arrived in Orange County after a breathtaking drive up the PCH. First stop, Shanghai’s aunt’s place in Mission Viejo where we were treated to the awesome homemade food & hospitality only relatives can provide. I’d been to LA before but never the OC. It was rediculously nice though a little too suburban for my taste. We met up with Kim, Steph, and Shanghai’s friend, Kelso. Kim and her ludicrously cute shi-tzu puppy, Gizmo, put us up for a night. Kim and her coworkers, Rob & Mike, also took us out for drinks and tasty dim sum at Sam Woo’s in Irvine. Kim works for a not-to-be-named famous video game company and, despite my best efforts, neither her nor her coworkers would reveal anything about the top-secret project they are feverishly working on. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see… It was good to see Steph too. I hadn’t seen her since my trip out to Cali a couple of years ago for the Coachella Music Festival. I’ll let Shanghai tell you about Kelso but mad props to him for basically giving us his place to stay in Costa Mesa while he was whisked away on “work.”

Steph and the Sams
Steph with the Sams in the Irvine Spectrum

Blizzard & SammyB at Sharky’s
SammyB, Mike, Kim & Rob at Sharky’s in Costa Mesa

Gizmo
Gizmo, Kim’s shi-tzu puppy

Flickr Photos have been updated all the way through last night in Chicago so enjoy!

-SammyB

Hold On For One More Day…

The votes are looking a little low right now. To spice it up, I added some clips from the road trip movies we’re polling on which ones resembles the Sams the most. My favorite is the Tommy Boy clip (Fat man in a little coat!). The Harold and Kumar scene is pretty good too. How much do you want to bet that somewhere on their road trip Sam and Sam broke into a popular song together.

The only clip missing is from Sideways. I couldn’t find a good one on Youtube.

-Justin

Tommy Boy

Harold & Kumar

Thelma & Louise

Rain Man

Last of the Mohawkans….

For my Shanghai friends, this won’t be a new thing…you’ve seen it…you’ve loved it…

For all you others out there…we were recently in Vancouver, BC wandering around Chinatown (2nd only to San Francisco’s Chinatown…U-S-A…U-S-A…U-S-A!) and came across a block of hair salons offering CD$8.99 haircuts….which is the closest I’ve come to a Chinese-priced haircut in a long time (it’s still more than twice the usual price in Shanghai, but what the heck…you only live once). As an added bonus, everyone spoke Mandarin so it felt just like Shanghai…

So there it is…

Afterwards, as we walked down the streets of Chinatown, I noticed mothers grabbing their kids and pushing them away from me…so I guess it works.

Rokk!

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