Monday, May 30, 2011

Email updates

OK one problem I had last year was updating my blog , while in China.
Most blogging sites are blocked, so after a few days I had zero access.

So testing update via email, so please be patient with any goofiness
Did manage to get a copy of a program that tunnels out to servers outside of China,
and from there access blogs etc.
It needs updates like very other day, trying to stay ahead of the internet police  

This past weekend we had Bob Seger and Kid Rock playing at the John Labatt Centre.
So city renamed one street “Michigan Ave” for the day.
Portable stage was setup and a few bands played.
Mostly Motown hits,

Did see the smallest kick drum ever.
3 piece band , guitar, keybrds and drums played Stevie Wonder , Marvin Gaye and nailed it big time.

Also ran into Eden, girl who has had pics taken with me a few times.
She was out roller blading around London with her good friend Amber.
Did manage a quick snapshot and turned out great
12 days to blast off via Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We have it good

Well folks , traveling sure lets you see how different the world is from our very comfortable lives here in Canada.

I was in Lake City, South Carolina, once a thriving city with a firm hand in the textile and manufacturing industry. Then it all happened , cost of doing business in North America, caught up with them , like it has every where else. The jobs started to move out of country, to those places that now are where my customers are located, India, China, Mexico, Brazil.

One example is the former Coleman factory located not far from our plant. One day it closed, its sleeping bag operations moving to Mexico, cheap labour, cheap operations. Lawn is maintained in hopes someone will come to town and open some sort of operation.

The people down here are great, living their lives as best they can considering the brutal level of unemployment and the struggle to survive. Unfrotunately all of that has not done much to make Lake City a place to be living (at least not for me)  Crime is expected rather high, too many people that dont have, a small number that have something and then even smaller number that have lots.
So you see it in the houses on the side of the road all within minutes of our plant.

Abandoned buildings, what look like they could have been housing of some type.

Not far down the road, someones old south style house (sorry pics while driving)
Some things surprsie you like the chain link fence and barbed-wire with sliding gate.
and just outside this area, someones place with a BMW in the driveway.

Your classic all American house including white picket fence.

Go figure there is a large asian community here (like every else in the world)  one of the largest employers in town is Nanya Plastics, a Taiwanese owned operation.  So of course chinese food was not to hard to find haha.

Favourite place to eat here is Hibachi Grill and Buffet in Florence, SC about 40 minutes north of Lake City.  Diner buffet is $9 all you can stuff in you. Including a grill where you can mix up your own and they cook and sushi.  hands down beats Mandarin any day of the week. And all Chinese staff, well expect the Mexican guy manning the grill haha.
I did go out to a local place for a burger one day , Lavelle's Diner, hole in the wall on some street corner
Was feeling awfully white that lunch hour, burgers where great, if you go ask for Cheese Burger Box - basically cheese burger with fries to go.
though not sure why they need bars on the front of the building, but might have to do with the dark murky bar that is also attached to the place,

People were nice, fast service, someones grandmother was cooking up a storm in the back.

of course found out as i was headed to the airport in Myrtle Beach that it was bike week there, so missed out on taking pics of motor bikes and of course motor bike girls haha

Did some pics this last week here in London. Friday night was experiment at local skate park, asked young guy if he would mind if we took a few pics while he was flying through the air.
Air !
Will do this again - there is a large park that will be worth a visit one evening this summer.
Also met up with Katie again for some pics out at her Grandmothers farm outside St Thomas,ON. Some old trucks and stuff dumped at the back of the property, great props

And latest update is that I am headed to Shanghai, China on June 11th for a fast 2 weeks of work and then much anticipated 2 week vaction in China before flying back July 11th. Wish it was longer but I aint complaining. 

Life is good aside from the need to win a lottery ticket or two , oh Lotto Max please land my way  sitting at $10,000,000 this morning. now that would make a difference haha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sunny South

well actually not so sunny.

Rained all the way down from London to Florence, South Carolina.
Which is to bad considering some of the great scenery driving through the mountains.

I met up with one of the guys from our manufacturing plant in South Carolina, we were driving in the company Ford Explorer.
Thankfully we had a full laod of air-freshener for the trip HAHA

Drove through the mountains of West Virginia (am guessing) too bad for the rainy weather ,because the scenery is awesome.
Am getting to see the process of a rubber belt being built form raw rubber to finsihed product.
Its all very manual, labour intensive work, methods that have not changed since the start of this business. Some of the equipment used is 50-60 years old. They dont make this anymore and maintenance is part of life in this business.

The plant is located in Lake City , South Carolina - what was once a very prosperous industrial town, with deep roots in the cotton and textile industry

Today is video day, trying out hte video capabilities of the Canon T1i. Have figured out so far that manual focus is the way to go. Focus first then start the recording , then zoom as you wish. Am documenting the steps of mixing rubber to final product packed and shipped out the door.

ok lunch time already - go figure !
great place in Florence called Hibachi Grill - supposed to be Japanese , but of course run by Chinese.
There is a large empoyer in Florence that is owned by a Taiwanese company.  Hiabchi is big buffet place kind of like Mandarin Buffet back in Ontario, but a whole lot cheaper - try $9 a head for all you can eat diner buffet.

ok back to work - oh wait lunch time

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Highway - Plans made and tickets bought

Hitting the road again !

Headed to South Carolina this weekend, to spend a week at our manufacturing plant.
Touch the product as its being made, smell the smells, learn all that is the Rubber Belt building process.

Then June 11th headed to China once again, short trade show , visit some key customers in the Shanghai area.
Then its two weeks vacation in China, on the bill is Bejing, Wuhan and then back to Shanghai to fly back July 11th

of course words and pics to follow as it all happens.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Something new

Got invited out to take pics at local bar in St Thomas, ON (about 25kms from London).

Had gone out night before to take pics of the "Hurtin Merv Band" at Pappa J's.
Hurtin Merv

Hurtin Merv

Hurtin Merv

Basically playing the standards that we all played 20 yrs ago, crowd was the same as those days at "The Rendezvous" or "Pearl Lake Hotel" back in Timmins.  Even complete with the ever present drunken bar slobs, you seem to encounter in every bar that has bands playing. Considering I had not been to one of these places in at least 20yrs, was funny to see it all.

Merv has asked if I will help them come up with some promo pics. So stay tuned for that.

Went back on Saturday to catch the afternoon "Open Jam" and encountered "Longway" , young band from St Thomas. They have their own originals and dueling guitars. Good players.



Needless to say this was challenging. Lighting was zero, so had to rely on fast lens and flash. Makes it really hard trying not to blind everyone and getting a sharp shot. Managed to get it dialed in for the afternoon matinee after some experimeting , so will go do a nother session with Merv and the boys.