Category Archives: Home Life

New Year’s 2015

Did you think I would forget? I am a bit spoiled now as my last two New Year’s Eve have been spent in foreign countries. Who knows where I will be in 2016..

Its my list of things I have done on NYE over the years..
1990-1995 Disneyland
1995/6 Universal CityWalk
1996/7 Disneyland
1997/8 Club Universe
1998/9 Dad’s House
1999/2000 The crazy disco Hollywood sign affair
2000/1 Santa Barbara
2001/2 Working at Disneyland
2002/3 Working at Disneyland/Horrible Club in Hollywood
2003/4- Quality Time at Home
2004/5 – Sick at Home
2005/6 – Working at Buzz
2006/7 – Quality Time at Home
2007/8 – Quality Time at Home (I’m certain I was asleep well before midnight)
2008/9 – Working at Disneyland/Long Beach Bar with Nathan and Daniel
2009/10 – I worked until 10 at Disneyland then raced home to watch CNN.
2010/11 – Got off work in plenty of time, but sat at home and watched CNN, fell asleep at 12:05
2011/12 – Attempted to see New Year’s Spectacular at Disney California Adventure, but by 10pm it was so foggy you could barely see the top of Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Headed home where I watched a History Channel show on what happens after a pandemic, and then CNN.
2012/13 – Hanging out with Eric and Arthur at Disney California Adventure. Much libation and a great time was had by all!
2013/14 – A repeat of last year, but with more people along for the ride. Eric and Arthur invited some of their friends and we were up to 10 people at the peak. Note for next year, if repeated, take the bus!
2014/2015 – Funchal, Madeira with Nathan and Mark at the Vine Hotel watching the spectacular Fireworks show.
2015/2016 – Double the countdown: Hanging out in a Shanghai Club for midnight local time and then hours later, getting to watch Anderson and Kathy on CNN.

A Busy Time Indeed

Looks like I have fallen back into my pre-2014 habits in a bad way. It’s been two months since I’ve blogged about anything and there has been a whole lot that’s happened. As you know, I am currently in China working on a project and this has thrown most of my normal life in a loop. Similar to other times in my life where I’ve been mega-focused on work, the blog tends to get a bit thin. Thankfully, my Instagram photos are mirrored here so there is at least some semi-normal content that hints at what I have been up to lately.

In travel news, My mom and Gary visited China for my birthday back in October and we headed off to Xi’An, Beijing, and the Great Wall of China. It was so nice to have them in town and we had a great time seeing some great bucket list tourists sites. Unfortunately I did not take many notes like I did for Daniel’s trip in September, so I doubt a Trip Diary will ever be written. After their week visit, they headed back to the States and I only had to wait a few weeks for my latest visitor – Nathan.

Nathan came from the UK and we spent time in Shanghai and Hangzhou before headed off to someplace I never would have imagined I’d travel – Borneo! When Nathan said he would come visit, we scoured the region to come up with a list of places to visit and landed on Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. While there, we visited Brunei as well as Survivor Island (where the first season of Survivor was filmed), and the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. We had three amazing adventures in the 5 days we were there and I am glad that I was able to see him for the second time in less than a year (I think this is the first time since the 1990s Europe trips that this happened!).

We are hoping to be able to meet up sometime next year before I head back to the USA, but there is a lot still up in the air before we can make it happen. I did take some notes for the Borneo trip so perhaps one day I will post a diary.

Now that Nathan has been gone for a week it has really hit me that I have no one planning to visit me until the end of my assignment. Part of that is the uncertainty of when I will actually return to the US, so I am hoping it is just a few weeks before I can plan on being reunited with Daniel in Japan or Nathan somewhere else.

In the meantime, I will try and catch up on my movie reviews (San Andreas, Jurassic World, and Spectre – three movies I loved!) as well as some random thoughts on what’s happening here in Shanghai. It’s starting to get cold here, so I am thinking I might have some more time indoors with nothing to do so I am hoping to write more.

Whirlwind Asian Tour

Trying to recover from Daniel’s first visit to me in China. We had a lot of fun and managed to visit Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau as well as Shanghai – all in 9 days. Along the way I took some notes, so I hope to transcribe them to a formal travel diary on one of my off days. In the meantime here are some highlights:

Beautiful weather on the Bund in Shanghai
Getting to Japan and finding a sim card and a train into Tokyo in the wee hours
Super nice hotel and matching pajamas
Rain from a typhoon in our one full day of Tokyo
Revisiting some of our favorites
Our tree
Tokyo Disney Sea
Getting caught up on all the new attractions
Fastpasses for Tower
The adventure of flying NRT-PVG-HKG with a long layover in Shanghai
Nice hotel in Hong Kong
Visiting Macau
Hong Kong Disneyland
Losing my camera
Fast walking the various street markets in Mong Kok
Two days of relaxation in Shanghai

Such a memorable trip and I hope that Daniel and I will see each other before I get home next year.

Next up: Mom and Gary visit for a trip to Beijing and Xi’An. Gotta start planning now!

Telecom in China

Now that I’ve gotten my resident permit in China, I finally taking care of some administrative business. First up, I am getting a China Mobile Phone account on one of the big networks in China. The good news is that I will finally be able to Periscope and Live Tweet from around town and the rest of China. The bad news is that I had to pay off my US Mobile account. It looks like I will be able to press pause on my US account with no issues for about 6 months and then resume paying my normal account fees. I might just keep the line active for now and see how this China account goes as I do not want to end up not having a working phone anywhere…

Of course there is a massive language barrier at most of the telecom places so this could end up being entertaining. When I tried to get my iPhone 4 to work on China Unicom, I spent an hour and got nowhere as it would not activate on the network. I should have better luck with my 6 and I have a few different options for carriers. I just want the one with the most data possible (especially for Periscope, Instagramming and iMessages).

Other than my rather limited social media interactions, things are going well here in China and the other day, I had a better idea of where we were going than the taxi driver. I am also looking forward to my first trip. Looks like it will either be to Macau or to Kyoto Japan. I’m leaning towards Macau since it’s technically country #32 and it’s much cheaper. Certain flights to Japan from Shanghai are just as expensive as they are from the US. That’s messed up since Japan is only about a 2.5 hour flight.

Relocating to Shanghai, China

Welcome back!

I’ve been mostly absent as I get adjusted to my temporary new life and I am just know to the point where I can sit down and write about what has happened. Earlier this year, I was selected to help work on a project for my employer that involved me being relocated for up to a year in China of all places. As you have noticed, this has completely turned my life upside down..

The last two months have really been a whirlwind. Starting with going to see my family in Arizona the first weekend of May, it was non-stop packing and stress as I put all my worldly possessions save three bags into storage. This process lasted right until the very minute – 3am the night before I was to get on a plane. I really wanted to be done before then, and I should know better by now that I needed to take the last week of work off to fully get stuff done on time.

There are regrets I have about the whole process (such as not procrastinating, but I really should know myself by now and accept it), but I am glad that I was able to see all of my friends either at a party, going to the movies, or having a family dinner. Even so, it did not make it any easier to get on the plane for the long trip to China. Even now, I look back and it seems weird that I have no car and no apartment to return home. It seems like my home is in a storage facility. Thankfully, this opportunity will allow me to see a whole new portion of the world that I would otherwise not have. Also a plus is that I know many people working on the same project so it is nice to have a bit of familiarity.

The first three weeks have been spent acclimating and getting adjusted to my new surroundings. My apartment is great and I have been actively looking for things to personalize and bring some of home to it. I am glad work is full of challenges and keeps me busy and the weeks have gone by fast. I’m currently waiting for my passport to be returned from the government as they process my resident permit. Once I get it back, let the weekend getaways commence!! In another post, I will try and do a quick summary of the fun activities I have done over the first three weeks. I’m also thinking maybe a monthly summary at the minimum, but hopefully more frequent. Ideally, I’d be able to do daily posts again. Just something I need to get back into the habit of doing.

So here is to my China adventure, and the year ahead. I hope to get through my backlog of posts – I have a notepad with a list of topics to work through when it get slow (like during laundry time).

Quick Hits May 2015

A lot has been going on here and I have had zero time to post and do anything web related.

I missed posting and talking about the Nepal Earthquake
Big Changes at home: Selling Car and Moving everything out of my apartment
New stuff at work: Being Relocated to another part of the world!!?!
San Andreas: Looks like an awesome cheese fest and I can’t wait to see it!
Club Josh at 20: It’s the 20th anniversary of the web site and I gotta do something!
Jean Michel Jarre: My favorite musician has been releasing singles and has a forthcoming album for the first time in 7 years
Twin Peaks: The show is returning in 2016 (how will I be able to see it in China?)
Periscope: My latest app obsession and some great people to follow.

That is about the last month or so in quick hits. I hope to expand on the topics in future updates over the next few weeks as I get settled in my temporary digs.

Thanks for sticking with me and see you on the other side of the world. My plan is to go back to a daily update starting with June 1. Should be a doozy!

PS – fun thought, maybe I should do a trip diary for the time I am overseas. That would be one heck of a long update!

One Month Left

Last weekend, I headed off to Phoenix for one last visit to the relatives before I depart on my big adventure. I’ve got about one month left before moving away and the trip was a combination of seeing people as well as dropping off some important items that I did not want to put into storage.

Daniel and I had a good time, despite me having to work on Friday at the last minute. I was still out of there by 11 and by the time we packed the car and had lunch we were on our way at 130. Thankfully we didn’t get caught in too much traffic on our way out of town. We made good time and pulled up in Phoenix just after 7pm. As I was driving, I was trying to think of how many times I’ve actually driven the route from LA to Phoenix and just how much it has changed. I remember one of the first times post 1999 when I moved back to LA that it seemed like forever to get to Phoenix. Now it doesn’t seem that far – partially due to the urban sprawl over the last 15 years, but also due to the fact I mentally divide the trip between 100 mile segments.

Saturday we went to Sedona, AZ – sort of a last minute field trip. It was nice to go for a 2 hour drive and see a part of Arizona I haven’t been to yet. My nephew was along for the ride and I hope he enjoyed it as well. Around dinner, we met up with my Aunt and Uncle which was a nice surprise to say goodbye before my departure.

Sunday I finally was able to set up my new laptop! The first Club Josh laptop since my Dell I purchased in 2005! Ten Years, man a lot of technology has changed since then. I got it because I could not lug my 24″ iMac overseas and I was due for an upgrade. When I was younger I updated technology at a much faster rate, but in my old age I guess I am not as prone to be an early adopter. But so far, the new computer is so much faster and I’ve got one month left to put it through the paces to make sure that I have gotten all my programs and links ready to go.

The only issue I had was that it took me a long time to figure out why my iTunes wouldn’t see where my music was on my external drive, but it turns out there are configuration files you need to migrate as well. Consider it a pro tip. Oh and Google Searches of tech problems is the best thing ever. There has yet to be something I haven’t been able to resolve thanks to the net. My 1995 self is so jealous.

That’s it for now. Unfortunately I have fallen way off the update a day wagon and with my schedule it looks like it will wait until June to re-start once I am in my new place.

Josh – where are you going??? Don’t worry I still will write up a complete saga of where I am going soon!

Travel Crazy: March 2015 edition

Tomorrow I begin my three week travel adventure – part vacation and part work. The first trip is a planned vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida. I haven’t been since 2011 and it’s about time I see all the latest offerings. This will be my first time using FASTPASS + as well as seeing the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, the revised Test Track, and many other small Entertainment changes. It will be nice for Daniel and I to get away from it all (although really I’ll be surrounded by work, I will just do my best to ignore and have fun as a Guest).

After that, it will be my first business trip since 1996! The last time I went on a paid business trip was to Denver, CO when I was working at UC Davis. I had a great time at that weekend convention. I guess working for my Mom’s work in Puerto Rico and Argentina sort of count as work as well, but this is the first one for my primary employer since Denver.

Where am I going? Well to my 31st country – China. Shanghai to be exact. I’ll be there for two weeks and it should be fun to say the least. Now, I am not sure of what the online access ability as well as my leisure vs work schedule, but I will try and do a Trip Diary for Shanghai. Now I need to stock up on my Emergen-C and make sure I do some laps up and down the aisles as it looks like it will be 5+ hours each way to Florida and 14 hours to and 11 hours back from China.

On to Florida!

Travel Update: March 2015

It’s going to get crazy around here starting next week. As much as I will try to keep updating Club Josh every day, my March travel arrangements probably will result in some gaps.

Daily readers of the site know that I usually go a few days and then retro-post when I can to catch up on my Blog a Day. This month I will be traveling to Florida and the Far East which will probably result in a longer delay than usual. I hope to make it up in some great photos and of course some Trip Diaries!

Because my Far East trip is for business, it will be similar to Puerto Rico in 2009 where there were a lot of “Working today, having dinner, and heading to bed” entries followed by a couple nice long ones for the days I get off. The good news is that research has shown that Club Josh is accessible where I am going so that is a big plus!

I won’t say much more, but you might want to follow me on Sina Weibo! (ClubJosh of course!)

The Rise of the Boxer Brief

A great article in Bloomberg that talks about how the Boxer Brief has grown from nothing in 1992 to the most popular type of underwear. Personally, I’m still waiting for the body that I am supposed to get by wearing them. What? I actually have to work out and eat right to get that body? I want a refund! To me, good underwear is about comfort, fit, and a some color. Nothing is worse than your favorite pair getting to the point where it is no longer elastic.