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April Snowers

So far, 2018 has been one of those years. Terrible weather that caused the cancellation of several events, lack of motivation following the effort demanded by the Dirty Dozen, a pulled calf muscle, and a two-week trip to Asia that blew a big gaping hole in my training. So there hasn’t been much progress to report thus far this year.

Last year, by May 1st I had 708 miles under my belt, and 937 the year before. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2014 to find a year with as slow a start as the 519 miles I accrued by the end of April 2018.

On the other hand, I got out for several very short cold-weather rides, overcoming my lethargy to claim no less than 10 more tags in the local Tag-o-Rama game, which combines bicycling, photography, and local landmarks.

How’s the future look? Very mixed. T »more


Family Portrait

My second and final weekend in Southeast Asia, Inna and I flew up to Phuket, Thailand for sightseeing and tigers!

While this blogpost only covers our weekend in Thailand, you can read about the rest of my two weeks in Malaysia here, and our other weekend side-trip to Singapore here.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saturday morning Inna and I were up early and caught another Grab car to KLIA. While there, we both picked up some chocolate, then got brunch at a place called Secret Recipe. I got a tasty “cheesy fire chicken wrap”.

Family Portrait

Share the Road

Main Street, Thailand

Git the Belly!

Give Skull

Motivating the Predator

Good Rubs

Eye of the Tiger

Want Some Tongue?

I Can Has Belly?

Tiger Ham

Buddhist Flags

Temple Shrines



Singapore at Night from Dragonfly Bridge

Just twenty-four hours after I landed in Kuala Lumpur, Inna turned me around and we flew out of KL for a weekend expedition to Singapore.

This blogpost covers just that weekend side-trip. You can read about the rest of my two weeks in Malaysia here, and our other weekend side-trip to Thailand in another separate post, here.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

We got up early Saturday morning for an hour-long cab ride back to the airport. After being dropped at KLIA’s main terminal, we discovered that our airline, Scoot, flew out of the separate KLIA2 terminal. We had some stress and confusion finding the train between terminals, but eventually got there and passed through customs, where I added a Malaysian exit stamp to my passport. Along the way, we passed a saffron-robed Buddhist monk, which deli »more


With Inna at Suria & Petronas Towers

Visiting Southeast Asia has always been on my bucket list. Fanatsizing about going maybe someday was easy; but I’ve never had the courage and initiative to start making it happen. So when Inna agreed to a (minimum) six-month work assignment in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), I had to make the most of the opportunity and visit her there. And so the trip was planned.

In the end, I wound up going for two weeks in the middle of March, spending four days in Malaysia, three days in Singapore, three more days in Thailand, and the equivalent of four full days flying there and back.

This post covers those travel days and my time in Malaysia. It’s the wrapper story that surrounds followup posts about the weekends we spent in Singapore (here) and Thailand here, which warranted their own separate writeups. »more

Taiko Chudaiko

Taiko Beginners Workshop

Four days after returning from Asia via Tokyo, I undertook a new adventure: Japanese ritual drumming—or taiko—in the form of a four-week beginner’s workshop offered by local group Pittsburgh Taiko.

Big drums have been used in Japan for centuries in religious rituals and to inspire troops in battle. However, kumi-daiko—the current style and form of performing in ensembles—wasn’t established until 1951 by an inventive Japanese jazz drummer.

Taiko Beginners Workshop

My first exposure was seeing the local group Pittsburgh Taiko perform at the local lunar new year celebration back in 2016. A month later, Inna and I went to see them perform alongside Japanese-American taiko master Kenny Endo.

I’ve always been a fan of percussion (except for vibraphone, which hardly qualifies). I’ve don »more