and to SF once again

Spent a few days in Stamford with the familials. Did some Tonchan shopping at the mall, ate mama's famous meatballs, got some take out from High Ridge Deli, watched some American TV (is everything a CSI or a Law & Order?)
Tonchan seems reasonably well-adjusted, but being less than one year old she'd rather goof off and play around with her relatives than eat. She did figure out how to climb up the three stairs from the living room to the dining room, but she hasn't got the going down part yet. She continues to dive head first off of anything; stairs, couch, etc.

I'm now back in SF at the as-lovely-as-expected (closer on the spectrum to NY than Toronto) Four Seasons. Full day tomorrow so methinks this evening I'll catch up on email and get some Chinese takeout.


Went into the city to have dinner with Hibaba and granpa, and then we took a break at Uncle Lee's.

toronto airport

Lovely airport. Except for the US Immigration and customs.
Because the Canada-US flights all fly into US domestic airports which have no customs/immigration, we clear that joyous process here in Canada before checking lugging, going through security, and heading to the gate.
As soon as we lined, it was like we were in America already! They were so rude! They directed us through endless switchbacks for no apparent reason! The signs were unhelpfully confusing, and if you lined up incorrectly, they yell at you!
Even better, they don't care that your flight is about to leave. Never mind that the final flight to the US is at 9:10 pm, and it's always full. Why bother opening up all the immigration lines, or splitting US passport holders into a separate line? That would be far, far to un-nonsensical and efficient. Instead, if you even dare to ASK, you will merely be barked at with a resounding no, and told how much my feet hurt from standing here directly you cattle into the appropriate immigration interrogation. And take your time checking my name and stamping my passport. By all means attempt to make banal small talk with me with what little Japanese you picked up guarding our borders. Take your time!

15 minutes

One of the guys at the retreat this year was an AP reporter. His story is now all over the place and the photo used looks familiar.

4 season toronto is...not nyc

Well the Four Seasons in NYC has set the bar, high, and Toronto is a lovely city but the hotel is decidedly old school. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but it ain't like New York.
Actually the city of Toronto is very much like New York, if everyone was nice and polite, and everything was clean, and there were more trees everywhere.

four seasons nyc does not suck, either

OK so flying out of Logan sucked.
Firstly, we were flying US Airways but booked through United. This time we were smart enough to go check-in at US Airways. Having a first class ticket, I went to the first class check-in. However, there were only two staff serving first class, so everyone lined up behind me actually lined up over at regular check-in and get served first.
Now, in a civilized country that prides itself on service (like say, I dunno...Japan) that does not happen. What usually happens is the first open counter at the regular check-in asks the people lined up at first to come check-in. Because we're better? No, because we've got first class tickets, which cost more. Why do they cost more? Because we are paying for better service. This a concept entirely lacking at Logan Airport.
So I finally get to check-in and she tells me "This is the wrong check-in. You're on a Shuttle flight, which has its own check-in down there." Ah right, of course I was supposed to just know this somehow. So she begrudgingly checks me in, but won't check my buddy's bags. Oh and btw the flight has been cancelled so we're on the next flight, and no first class seat.
We walk down the terminal to the Shuttle check-in line (no first class check-in at all for some reason) and get told: "Ask at the gate for first class, I can't do that here?" Huh? Can you be more specific as to why you can't? Different computer system? What, they have a separate booking and seating system at the gate? What, then, is the purpose of actually having a dedicated Shuttle check-in if you can't actually assign first class seats to a first class ticket holder? This discussion ends quickly with me as the recipient of a blank stare (this is a recurring theme, btw.)
So we go through Security Theatre and to the gate. I hand over my first class ticket and my coach boarding pass and ask for a first class seat.
"There are no first class seats."
[Tickets slid back across the counter. Blank stare.]
"Uh...ok. Thank what are my options?" I ask as humbly as possible.
[Blank stare...]
"You'll have to get a refund of the difference from whomever sold you the ticket."
[Blank stare.]

Wow, service with a smile!

So we got to La Guardia without incident, lined up for a cab with everyone else, and decent in the joy that is riding a NYC cab into Manhattan on a Friday afternoon. After cutting off everyone, crossing 12 lanes to get into the EZPass tunnel entrance, tail-gating a bus, and riding expertly in the blind spot of not one but two limos, we arrived on the island to battle mid-town traffic up 3rd to 57th. Our cabbie displayed his driving prowess by weaving back and forth between lanes as if we were the only car on the road, attempting to crush pedestrians who crossed against the light, who crossed with the light, who stayed on the sidewalk...the 20 minute ride from the airport took an hour before we got to the Four Seasons.

Ah, the Four Seasons. Huge 35th floor suite looking north out of the bedroom complete with park view. Every female at the concierge desk beautiful and Euro-accented, every male chiseled handsome and gay. We attempted to get Two Boots delivered but they wouldn't come up past 51st even with a $50 tip promised, so I went for Chinese takeout and enjoyed my sweet 'n sour pork with shrimp fried rice whilst watching the SciFi Channel in the suite lounge.

Today we had a reasonable schedule of interviews; some non-useless candidates that we may see again. And now gearing up for the evening flight to Toronto.