summit day two

Same tasty breakfast, this time playing with various handheld toys and showing off my Japanese cell phone. Everyone (EVERYONE) has a Blackberry, but come on, is that as good as it gets? So 1999...
Interesting speeches this morning, including the CEO of, and then the panel I moderated on wireless and mobility. Animated panel and engaged crowd, so it was easy.
And then more boarding -- same crappy snow, but it was a good time and I think I actually improved considerably. Makes me wish I had my own board and boots as the rental gear was really crappy.
And then 80 minutes of stretching and massage before dinner down the street at Snake River Lodge's Gamefish. I love having an elk steak right on the edge of the Elk Reserve National Park. But then bubble was burst when I learned that the elk are raised and shipped in from Australia!

summit day one

Breakfast at 7am, meeting various CIOs and CEOs. They all seem to know each other, so I'm just keeping a low profile and stuffing my face with sausages, eggs, bagels, and good coffee.
First couple of panels are pretty interesting; IT governance and other trendy CIO topics. This is a tight crowd; they all know each other by first name, and I am easily the younger by near a decade.
But then it's time for the slopes.
Rental equipment sucks, but Brian Hackman is a ripping snowboard pro and takes us on a good tour of the mountain. Snow is unseasonably lame, though. Not much base this year, and no recent snowfall so plenty of rocks on the steeps and no powder. Still, I have a good time connecting turns and don't push too hard so don't end up falling much.
Dinner was downtown at the Snake River Grill -- damn fine eats, including the infamous monster onion rings.

to wyoming

Off to Jackson Hole I go. Ah, the joy of flying US domestic. I shall skip the post-9/11 Security Theater and suffice to say that Chicago Airport is quite lovely, Denver airport is even cooler, and there are far, far too many people wearing cowboy hats.
The Four Seasons, Jackson Hole is right on the slopes, damn big, and pretty sweet, by the way. No boarding today, thanks, I'll just have the Native Stone Massage.


9mm pistol, originally uploaded by renfield.

Officer Little took us to the police firing range and I got first-hand instruction in a 9mm pistol as well a couple of machine guns. The sten is a nice WW2-era collection of auto parts. Not much aiming involved, just spray bullets at the bad guy. The tommy gun is a piece of Chicago history and I felt like Elliot Ness squirting lead into Prohibition-era baddies. The M-14 is huge and loud and heavy and no fun. The kick is so strong I could barely keep it aimed at the target.
Guns is fun. America is a great country.

do these jeans make me look fat?

breakfast, originally uploaded by renfield.

Keith picked me up and we met Joanna for brunch at a Swedish diner that used to be funeral home. Nice stained glass. If I knew the Swedish meatballs and potato sausage were that good, I would have ordered nothing else. And DAMN the cinnamon rolls were good. Way, way too much food for any single human to consume in one day let alone one sitting.
Noticing the giant super-sized Vitamin Shoppe down the street I realized: Americans wouldn't need so many supplements and health clubs if they just didn't eat such crap in such ridiculously large quantities. Food is just too cheap in this country, it's silly.
I wanted some jeans (no I don't own a pair of jeans; never really needed them) and failed to purchase jeans in Japan because I'm not an androgynous, skinny little Japanese Boy.
So Keith and I head over to the Gap on the edge of BoyTown. And they have a wall of jeans. Light-dyed, pre-washed, boot cut, easy fit, loose fit, at waist, below waist, slightly below waist, flared, 1969-style, classic cut...can't I just some, y'know, jeans? Like, a pair of jeans? That fit?
Grabbed four different colored, different styled pair of jeans, all the same size, and tried them all on.
Found a pair that sort of fit; at waist, so when I sag them down to below waist to oh-so-fashionably show off my boxers, the crotch is properly mid-way to my knees. Pulling on those below-waist jeans reminds me too much of the wedgies my brother used to give me as a child. No need to relive such trauma in the name of fashion. For whatever reason, classic fit straight leg is baggier than loose fit boot cut. Or something like that. Anyway, $50 bucks and I got a pair of jeans. Hallejulah.
Went downtown and checked out the art museum gift shop. Got a couple of cool art neckties including a Keith Haring wolf-pattern tie, and some toys and stuff for whomever. Then went over to see Miller at his office, checked my mail, and grabbed a caffeinated bevvie before heading back to the dojo to do some cutting.

keith, originally uploaded by renfield.

Miller showed up as we were setting up, and we got to it. Keith was using the cutters Neeley left at the dojo from last time, and Miller was using his Nyosudo 'steel iaito that cuts.' And damn, that thing could cut. Great work by all. And I gotta say that kotetsu that Tony hooked up with, that thing cuts like a light saber. I wish I could take it back to Japan with me. I have a custom-forged sword coming this month, but if it doesn't cut as well as that badboy, I'm gonna have to figure out how to get that blade to Japan, because it's a beauty and I love it.
After cutting they had an aikido class, and then I ran the iai class. We went late and managed to get through the first 10 kata, pointing out the details for everyone to work on. Most folks still using too much armage to swing, not pushing through with the hips, so that's homework. Noto, too -- gotta slow down and relax, take your time and control the sword at all times.
After class we went to Matsuya to get some Japanese food. I wowed the waitresses with my Japanese, but of course the sushi chef himself was Korean. I love America. Good sashimi, though. Refrigerated shipping is the modern world's greatest invention.

keith and miller, originally uploaded by renfield.

chicago seminar

Joanna and Keith picked me up and we got some good diner breakfast before heading to the dojo. Good turnout; about 20 people for an all-day seminar. Spent the first hour or so just moving and working on the theory of hips, shoulders, centerline. Then we ran though a bunch of basic exercises, basic cuts, lots of detail on each little movement. There were a couple of total beginners who needed lots of TLC, and in general everyone was doing ok.
Took a lunch break and got a burritto, and then continued on with some kata work. Only did a few kata but got really into each one of them; partnering up and drilling through the distance, timing, targeting. The trick is to really see the imaginary enemy in front of you; visualize how he moves, where he is, what he's doing. Hard when you're just standing there by yourself, but necessary.
After the seminar we went down the street to Jeanne's Chinese Food and I got my fill of American sweet & sour pork, broccolli beef, and bbq spareribs. It must be my upbringing, but nothing beats plain old American Chinese food.

keith, originally uploaded by renfield.

After dinner we went to a cafe in an attempt to stay up a couple more hours so that I could force my system into Chicago Time. Had a damn fine latte and Keith's buddy Little showed some photos from Iraq and promised to take us shooting on the Chicago PD firing range on Tuesday. America's a great country.