About a month ago I got to trek around Bangkok a little with Nikki and her father.
One of the places they took me is Wat Rakang – a fish sanctuary on the Chao Phraya River.
While it’s not a normal tourist destination, it was a cool 15-minute stop on the other side of the river.
It’s pretty amazing to see – I’m talking hundreds of fish jumping all over themselves to grab some bread that temple visitors throw into the water. I used to be amazed when I would visit Cedar Point in Ohio and see the HUGE fish that swim in the park’s pools. Those fish have NOTHING on Thailand’s sanctuary fish.
BTW, these fish are protected by the temple – so NO FISHING!
We did it! We helped change come to the world! We’ll we actually didn’t do much other than attend the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration ceremonies – swearing in Barack Obama as the 44th president.
@_samjones, @nikkicino and @shawnsmith (me) all drove through the night from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Washington, D.C. to hang out with my cousin Jessie (Sam’s sister @pandair). She has a great great great house near union station and had plenty of room for us to share.
I will highlight some of them here in the meantime.
The first day walking around D.C. we went to the inauguration concert, which kicked off the celebrations. Walking up to the concert, I noticed that the fences had been taken down that were previously guarding the Washington Monument. This was awesome! I hadn’t seen such a clear view of the monument in years. Here’s the video of the Washington Monument without fences.
We stayed for most of the concert, which was really interesting. The crowd was so happy and warm, it made you forget about the freezing temps in D.C.
Here’s one of my favorite videos from the concert, people singing “American Pie” as we tried to exit the grounds between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool.
We then went to dinner that night with some of Nikki’s old friends from AOL, and it was great seeing them again.
The city was quite crowded during the celebration, but we really didn’t have much trouble getting around D.C. We didn’t hit an overwhelming crowd until the day of the actual ceremony.
We had a great seat at the WW2 memorial, with an empty pool in front of us to break the crowd action. Some of the highlights was Obama taking the oath (video) and some girl throwing a shoe when they showed Bush on the jumbotrons.
Here’s how the crowd reacted when Obama was introduced to give his speech:
One thing I have to say that really disappointed me was that after Obama’s awesome speach for American’s taking action on things like the economy and global warming, we walked through the national mall to see trash completely cover it. check it out:
All that said, it was an awesome time in D.C. and a blessing to be able to be there to witness it.
We finished our trip to D.C. with some sake bombs from Kyoto, a sushi place near Union Station. One of the sushi chefs put on a great performance for us with the bombs, check it out.
This year, I’d say you’re extremely lucky if your office had a holiday party … and paid for it! My office canceled its annual party, and so the staff took it upon themselves to gather and have some fun.
We convened on Sticks in Ypsilanti, Michigan, during happy hour Pizzas were half off and there was a deal on beers. I was kind of shocked by how many people showed up, and it made for a good time.
Here’s what the place looks like:
I lost a couple games at pool, and then ended up just taking photos of the event. You can see more pics of the holiday party, but you’ll probably be more interested in the magician who showed up!
That’s right! There was magic in the air. In fact, the magician shows up every Friday night, so we weren’t that special. But it was cool to see him trick us. Here’s a video of one of his tricks:
For the second year in a row, I trekked to Kalamazoo, Michigan for Bell’s Eccentric Day. My co-workers Jonathan and Mike and I headed down after work and braved the snow and cold for one of the best nights of the year in Michigan.
Eccentric Day is a celebration of the beers from Bell’s Brewery, where people from around the country gather in eccentric dress and costume to dance the night away and sip great beer.
I’ve been looking forward to this night since I attended my first Eccentric Day in 2007.
To make things even better, I ran into some friends I haven’t seen in quite a while: Kevin, Liz and Corrine. I surprised them because they didn’t think I was coming.
This year, I came as a Santa pimp, similar to last year’s costume. The vibe wasn’t as wild as the 2007 Eccentric Day, and there seemed to be less food.
Here’s a video introducing Eccentric Day that ends when I run into Kevin and Liz for the first time during the night:
You can also take a look at what the main room looks like in the following video, which also features quick commentary from Mike Itchue:
Congratulations to Carl Rose, who drove all the way from St. Louis to prevail as this Thanksgiving’s winner in the turkey-eating contest. Carl pulled out all the stops by acquiring a drum stick, which he ate with his bare hands!
The contest really turned into a showmanship battle between Rose and Jordan Alvarez, who sadly couldn’t keep up with Rose.
Here’s the video of Carl getting crowned the champion:
I voted, everyone! Kyle (brother), Andrew (roommate) and I got in line at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School at about 6:30 a.m. The polls didn’t open until 7 a.m., but the line snaked through Pioneeer’s halls with about 200 people by the time we arrived.
Many people were sitting in chairs, and the guy at the front of the line got there at 5:30 a.m. because he had to work at 7:30 a.m.
The lines inside the school’s gym were a mess and I thought ‘if this is what it’s like in Ann Arbor, today’s voting is going to be a catastrophe.’ But luckily I was suprised by relatively smooth voting on Election Day.
Nikki’s company hosted its first ever company fair at the Saline fairgrounds and Nikki was kind enough to invite me along. Think of it as a fair with 1800 people, 600 kids, all the free fair foods you could get sick on, a mechanical bull, a climbing wall, carnival games, blow up climbing things and a beer tent – because that’s what it was!
Here’s some of the videos:
Get a look at the fairgrounds
The wedding was certainly very nice and the weather cooperated. Shortly after the ceremony, the newlyweds and the wedding party scooted off on golf carts for the photos. Meanwhile, we headed to the reception.
Just after dinner the dancing started. Sorry that you won’t see much of me dancing. After getting up at 5 a.m. and working the day of our 12-hour drive, followed by a day at the City Museum, I couldn’t do much to stay awake into the night’s hours. But you will see my mom cutting it up!