Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things have been crazy lately, and I'm sitting at home enjoying the first day of being at home in awhile.

Andy & Holly were married this weekend - the ceremony & party went off really well. The reception was @ Delafield Brewhaus, so we had plenty of good food & drinks. It was a very convivial evening (convivial is one of my new words). A few of the better photos are posted @

Last week I was working in Switzerland; I didn't have much time for leisure, but I managed to spend a few hours in the central portion of the country. It wasn't exactly the heart of the alps, but the scenery was fantastic. I learned a few german words, that I'm certain to forget. I can now ask for the bill (recnung bitte), so I'm basically on the path to speaking as well as a native...

On the weekend of 11/3, Corey & Leanne were married as well. Standing up in two weddings within three weeks has kept my weekends extremely short. Congrats to you lovebirds - the wedding was fantastic!

Two weeks prior to their wedding, I was working in the Netherlands for a week. I posted some photos onto my Flickr account, but (once again) I didn't have a lot of time for leisure activities, as I was busy bringing home the bread.

James & I are headed to Myanmar on Thanksgiving, assuming that his visa arrives before Thursday. If things don't work out, I figured that we could head to northeastern India for a bit, visit Athith & Phouvieng in Laos, be awed by Angkor Wat, and spend a few days in Thailand. My mission for the next several days will be to get all of my things in order, and my bag packed so that we can head out on 11/22. I'll be back on Dec. 23, just in time to do some last minute Christmas shopping & spend some quality time with my family & friends. I'll be sending a few emails once I'm in SE Asia, but I expect internet access to be fairly non-existent inside of Myanmar, so I'll have to post when in Thailand & Cambodia.

For everyone that I haven't seen in awhile - I hope that your holiday season is filled with happy times & contentment. It's one of the only times of the year when I think that everyone around me is in good spirits, and happy to be alive.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Many of my friends & family have contacted me the past couple of days in regards to the situation in Myanmar. I'm happy to see that there is some interest in what is happening in that country, even if my upcoming trip is the only reason why people are choosing to care. I'm eager to see the resistance & pro-democracy demonstrations gain some momentum. There have always been pockets of resistance to the military government, but it's been mostly comprised of small militias of 'rebels' who are fighting with weapons. I've read several articles/posts on message boards that warn against taking the Yangon --> Mandalay night train due to potential ambushes by the rebels. (There are a large majority of Burmese military officers that commute on the night train from Rangon.) There are many parts of Myanmar that are closed to foreigners, and I expect that many of the areas either contain fighting or the forced labor that I've read about so often.

It's great to see the monks leading the charge for peaceful demonstrations. If there is one factor that can unite the country made up of so many different ethic groups, it's Buddhism.

I've been keeping tabs on the events daily, quietly hoping that progress will be made towards freedom. I fear that the violence of 1988 will be repeated if the international community doesn't step in - especially China & India. While the US & most of Europe has economic sanctions against Myanmar, the country has been able to operate mostly due to its neighbors who have overlooked the atrocities.

Aung San Suu Kyi (the Nobel Prize laureate currently under house arrest in Rangon) wrote a great essay about how fear is the reason for corruption, and I see today's events as an example. The government is backed into a corner; every day that the marches are allowed to continue, they will gain more people and more press. With the imposition of the curfew, maybe the government is obviously trying to quarantine the people, as well as limit the exposure of the happenings to the media.

Only time will tell - I'll be anxiously watching the reports. I hope everyone reading this appreciates what we call freedom, because there are tens of thousands of people in Myanmar risking their lives for what we take for granted.

Here's a small selection of the news articles:

Monday, August 06, 2007

MS 150 Bike Tour

This past weekend I rode my bicycle from Waukesha > Whitewater > Madison to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. My grandmother, my uncle, and an aunt have MS so I have a very compelling reason to ride. For those of you who aren't familiar with MS, here's a good explanation: There currently is not a cure for MS. Some drugs that have been able to stop the disease from disabling the person, and they also help them to recover after an attack.

We started on Saturday morning at 7:30; there were 19 riders on our team. I joined my FIB friends from Illinois - Amil, Greg, and Jim. All of us wanted to ride 100 miles both days, so we stayed together with the goal of reaching 200 miles. All of them are experienced cyclists, which is great because everyone can ride at the same pace in a draft line.

On Saturday, we had beautiful weather. The sun didn't shine for more than 15 minutes all day long, but the clouds kept us cool and the humidity was low. We were lucky to escape the onslaught of rain that occured in the afternoon - we reached our team tent at the same time that the rain started. We ate, checked into the Whitewater dorms, showered, and headed to the Saturday night party. Cyclists were honored on stage for years of participation, as well as how much money was raised. In total, all of the 1689 riders raised an incredible $1.65M for the continued research to cure MS.

The number of volunteers is amazing - these folks contribute their entire weekend to the cause. They support us by directing traffic, taking care of first aid issues, fixing bikes, distributing food, information, and liquids. I don't think that I met one volunteer who was in a bad mood! It was great to see that most of the volunteers & riders were there to show their support for cure for MS. Most people either have MS themselves, or they have friends/family that they ride/volunteer for.

I had a good weekend - I didn't fall, nor did I have any flats. However, Emil was very unlucky. He had two flats & a punctured tire on Saturday. On Sunday, he had another flat tire. Luckily most of these were near rest stops, but we had to repair one rim on the side of the road. Replacing the tube wasn't an issue, but keeping the mosquitos at bay was like trying to convince sharks to go home during a feeding frenzy.

I want to thank everyone who supported me - I appreciate your generosity.

Ryan Kari
Sanjay Venkateswarulu
Dan & Melissa Trittin
Lynn & Craig Mules
Claudia & Darryl Immel
Jason Shimko
John Byrne

I'll be posting photos on Flickr soon enough - Emil is mailing me a CD.

I'm headed to northern Wisconsin tonight for a weekend kayaking & camping. I should have something decent to share next week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Since I'm a fan of irony, I'm sharing something that I ran across on the net. I am currently doing some research for a potential trip to Tibet. I was on the Weather Underground website, trying to figure out the climate in Tibet in November/December. I found this ad to be very amusing - I can meet 20-something blondes in Tingri, Tibet!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I haven't posted in a while; I haven't felt much like writing for whatever reason. Two weeks ago Pete, James, and I got together for a kayaking excursion near home. We dropped our kayaks into the Fox River outside of Mukwonago, and paddled to my parent's backyard in Waterford. It took us about 6.5 hours in total, and we covered 19 miles. In hindsight, it was a bad idea trying to paddle that far for our first time out, but we had fun nevertheless.

Here was our route:

Here are some photos:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I got back from Whistler, British Columbia last night. I spent a few days snowboarding at Whistler resort I had a great weekend - it was the first time that I was truly snowboarding on a mountain, as opposed to the hills around Wisconsin & Michigan.

The trip didn't start off too well - Continental was telling me that I would have to wait a day because my flight was delayed, I would miss my connection, & there wasn't an alternative route to Vancouver. After lots of frustration, one of the Continental employees at the ticket counter found Northwest flights from Milwaukee -> Minneapolis -> San Francisco -> Vancouver. Needless to say, I arrived in Vancouver a few hours later than I had planned. After that fiasco, the bus ride to Whistler was enjoyable (the views along the highway are gorgeous).

I spent a total of three days snowboarding - the first & the last day were the best, as it was raining on the 2nd day. Once you were above 3,000 ft, the rain turned into wet snow. My snowboard wasn't moving quickly in the wet snow, which acted as a catalyst to several spills. After a few cartwheels, I was generally back on my feet. The difference was that I was more wet, and picked up some bruises along the way.

On the third day, I decided to hike to top of one of the bowls - the hike took about 30 minutes, but was totally worth it. The view from the top was incredible, and there weren't many people around since it wasn't serviced by a chairlift. Most importantly, I found a path down the mountain where I was able to make the first tracks. Snowboarding in a couple feet of powder is incredible - the feeling can be described as floating on air. When I went skydiving, I felt like I was moving in one direction - down. On the snow, it was a feeling of gliding over a surface without any imperfections.

From the top of the bowl:

What I just rode down:

En route, I also read a few books: Einstein's Dreams & The Tipping Point. I would recommend both of them to any interested parties. Einstein's Dreams is a serious of vignettes that have to do with the passage of time. The short stories are unrelated to one another, but I could relate to almost all of the stories through my own experiences. I've never thought about time being so three dimensional, and this book made me think about all of the different facets of time. Tipping Point argues that small, relatively minor changes lead to large effects, often in the context of epidemics (medical, as well as social & economic). It was an interesting take on explaining some phenomena (such as teen smoking, reduction of crime in NYC during the mid-nineties, etc).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm back to civilization! I was in Ladysmith, WI for the week due to work - I couldn't be happier to be home. Ladysmith has about 3000 residents, and little else. The vegetarian diet consisted of the following (in order of lunches/dinners):
  1. carrots, broccoli, and tortilla chips the first day
  2. Subway
  3. the 'best Cesar's salad in town' (I think it was the only one in town)
  4. subway
  5. veggie pizza
  6. veggie pizza
  7. salad

I didn't have any mobile service either. As a co-worker put it 'our third world countries have wireless, but we don't have it in northern Wisconsin!? Is there something wrong with this picture?'.

On the positive side, it was an enjoyable car ride home today. The people were wonderful (as they always are in small towns), and I saw the northern lights! I wish I would have taken a photo, but I wasn't thinking about it at the time. (After a few hours of sleep & 14 hours at work, my brain wasn't functioning optimally.)

When I got home I realized my last food review had been published! Check it out if you're interested:

OK - I need to start going through my stack of mail...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Environmentally unfriendly meat eaters?

I've been seeing more of these types of studies pop up. This one is from the U of Chicago. Anyone that is hardcore about being environmentally friendly should read this. It's been a fact (since I converted to a vegetarian diet) that 13 lbs. of grain will only result in 1 lb. of beef, but this study analyzes the carbon emissions given off by a 'normal' American diet vs. an ovo-lacto (one that consumes dairy projects & eggs) vegetarian diet.

There is a lot of data in here, but the findings are rather remarkable. As with any study, they make a few assumptions, but they seem to take an unbiased view of results.

WARNING: Before reading this article, get your pocket protector & tape for your glasses. It takes a bit of stamina to get through this.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Swimming in the Amazon

I was reading BBC online this morning and ran across this article. I don't think I've swam for 20 minutes at once, let alone a couple of months. His writing isn't all that evocative, but I found the story intriguing nevertheless.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I'm a celebrity!

At some point in time, I must have provided the international education office at UWM with some of my photos from Tokyo. Kristen texted me on Thursday to let me know that I'm in one of their brochures. Between being in (, having my photo taken at work (in a suit), and this UWM material, I think that I may be experiencing my 15 minutes of fame!
I was hoping that it would be something more 'First Cheesehead to Walk on the Moon' or 'Wisconsin Man Sails Around the World' or even a National Geographic article written by me. Alas....I'll have to settle for these moments of glory.

Goodbye to Christmas

I took my Christmas tree down yesterday, as it was starting to lose the majority of its needles. I remember Syd, Jason, Pam, and Hans telling me that a teaspon of honey & a pre-1982 penny would keep my tree alive until late spring. Well, that might have worked if I kept the tree watered. After I moved the tree out to my front lawn, I picked up about two bags worth of pine needles.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dog Killers

There's a short article about some teenage boys putting a live puppy into an oven to kill it. Both of them will be sentenced to 10 years in jail.

While this post may not make everyone happy, several things occured to me. When I was in Vietnam (especially in the North), dog is served like any other animal. On the bus ride to Halong Bay, I saw sign after sign advertising dog for dinner. What makes Fido so special in the US that someone cannot kill him? Is it because we think of some animals as extensions of our family & ourselves? I can't think of any other reason why people can brutally kill thousands of cows, pigs, chicken, and calves each day to feed the American consumer, but be deeply troubled by the death of a pet. In any type of factory farm, these animals are subjected to similar horrific treatment that the dog experienced. Yet no one seems to care...maybe it's because that last burger didn't feel, taste, or look like a cow. Maybe it's because it came in a colorful wrapper or sterilized plastic wrap. Our society & culture contributes to the disassociation of eating & death. People no longer need to hunt/gather their own food - it comes in packages from all over the world.

I'm not disagreeing that those two boys did something wrong. Nothing should be tortured, be it animals or humans. However, punishment isn't being doled out to people who commit these vile acts everyday.

Ok - my rant is over. ; )

EDIT: This is strange...while I was going to go check some stock prices, I saw an article linked from CNN that caught my attention. It goes well with the theme of eating animals that people love - this one is about horses & I couldn't agree more:,9171,1587279,00.html

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


One month has passed since I decided to set my cycling goal - a goal that was not meant to live in infamy (doesn't that sound like a movie intro?). My goal for 2007 is to ride 2,500 miles on my bicycle, as calculated by my CatEye cyclometer.

Let's first talk about the catalyst: my reason had nothing to do with a new year's resolution - resolutions are for losers. People that make them never keep them - Webster ought to change the definition of resolution to 'a state of living in disbelief'. (Congrats to anyone who has kept a new year's resolution for more than 3 months.) I digress...I wanted to challenge myself physically this year. In the past few years, I've become quite fond of cycling so I thought that I'd combine something that I enjoy along with a physical challenge. I have no reason to do this other than to see how my body handles the workout. I'm amazed by the severe environments that a human body can weather, and while this isn't all at once I probably need to get in shape to climb Kilimanjaro (assuming that I decide to go to Africa this year).

The first month of riding has been fairly boring. Since it is winter, I'm stuck pedaling inside on my (fluid resistance) trainer. I've watched Dave Matthews concerts several times - the Central Park concert of 2004 is my favorite. After Dave, I moved onto A Concert for George, a benefit for the late George Harrison. I still watch that concert once a week while I ride. I've now moved onto reading while pedaling. While this isn't ideal (it's hard to hold larger books while holding myself up on the handlebars), it definitely is a productive use of time. I'm thinking about using a book stand - that would probably eliminate the anti-finesse portion of reading while riding. And then there are those times when I just stare at the Winamp visualization playing on my computer and sing along. This doesn't work well all the time, as I usually have to breathe to keep up my pedaling cadence.

Anyways, let's get back to why I'm writing. Here's an update - I'm at 240.1 out of 2500 miles. For those of you who like percentages - I'm 9.604% towards my goal. The proof is below...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

One of my life goals is to get some of my writing published. In this dream utopia of publishing, I've always imagined having one of my travelogues published in a magazine (National Geographic would be the pinnacle). Since everyone has to start somewhere, I signed up with MKE online to participate in their Threeview panel. The panel consists of over a hundred people; these people will meet a writer from the newspaper every so often at new restaurants. My job is to provide my opinion of the food; they pay for it. Pretty cool - huh? That's what I said...

Anyways, I visited JavaVino a couple weekends ago. I was expecting that a snippet of my summary would be used. In the actual newspaper, I have a few lines. At the online copy, my entire review is included! I was so excited when I picked up the latest copy. Read for yourselves below:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One of my favorite bands, BoySetsFire, just released a great satirical video dedicated to our fearless leader, George Dubya Bush. Check it out at - look for Dear George (you'll need Quicktime to view the video).
I was pulling into my driveway yesterday, when my neighbor called me. 'Hi Jeremy - just calling to let you know that you have a letter in your front door.' I always enter my place via the garage, so my neighbors are kind enough to alert me when I have something at the front door. As I walked over to my front door, curiousity took over my mind. Who could it be? My mind thought through the possibilities: a campaigning politician, religious preachers, a food pantry? I was not ready for what I found. I took the paper out of the door, and examined the scrawled message. Aghast in terror, electrical pulses were racing across my synapses - who would do such a thing? On one level, it was so wrong. On another level, there's an entreprenuer at work and she happened to target me as a vital component of her supply chain.

Below is evidence of the sales pitch - personal information has been erased to protect the innocent.

First of all - this little girl must be desperate to sell cookies. Is her mother urging her to be the top seller, in order to gain favor & envy from the other girl scouts? Is she trying to break everyone's New Years resolutions to loose weight - only to laugh that them after they've eaten their cookies? Could this be Donald Trump's estranged daughter? The possibilities are endless, and I will never know....until I call the phone number that was left on the infamous letter. Who would allow their child to leave a home phone number where they can be reached? I'm curious as to whether this family has purchased a second phone line to help facilitate the selling of cookies. Perhaps the phone number is their normal phone, and they don't mind cooking-lusting psychoes calling at anytime of the day.

This selling strategy opens the doors to reach a broader audience. I instantly took this to the extreme - I was interested whether people were selling these cookies online. After all, the internet could facilitate a wide & relatively easy distribution network. The official girl scout website prohibits the selling of cookies over the internet. doesn't say anything about being an unauthorized reseller of girl scout cookies. If I was able to amass a stockpile of cookies, I could theoritically sell the cookies on eBay after the cookie-selling season is over. People would pay premium prices to get their hands on a box of their favorite mint patties or caramel delights.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Southern Georgia is not favorable to vegetarians!

I find myself in Dublin, GA for the week. I'm here for work, and I'm the minority. Everywhere I look, there is BBQ. Some of the favorites are (anything to do with) pork, ham, bacon, grits, and beef. I've managed to find a haven at Ruby Tuesdays; they serve gardenburgers! I was expecting to find some peaches, but the only great thing I've found is hospitality. It's a cliche, but the southern hospitality was wonderful.

I had just finished eating some fried rice. 'What's the big deal?' you might ask. This wasn't the end of my meal, it was the beginning of my future. As I ripped into my fortune cookie bag to crack open the cookie, my face was aghast - how could this be? Below is an excerpt from my fortune cookie...well, it's actually the entire fortune.