About Sean "Raptor"

Eight-time Runner-Up for the prestigious Basalt-Clavius Award which he just made up; Sean now follows in the footsteps of millions of other people. He is on a multi-part adventure that will take him, in time, around the world. He does so irresponsibly, not knowing any languages that would help him in the areas he plans to visit, nor even really having much of a plan. It should be exciting.

Is This Thing Still On?

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If you’re just finding this, I recommend starting the read in chronological order, skipping the bit about the kid’s show (from this link the “Older Posts” links means newer and vice versa, I’m sure there’s a way to fix it, but I’m lazy okay?). I’ve added notes to some of my embarrassing outbursts but I’m sure there’s more than enough unjustifiable shame that I’ll come across as a monster now and then. Remember, I’m just another entitled and privileged asshole.


Okay, yeah, I’ve utterly bungled the whole travel picture thing. It’s been nearly four years and I’ve still not processed half the pictures. Even still I have a trip to Vancouver BC in May, New Orleans coming up in late June, and then a return to Japan just before New Years. Continue reading

STS 107 T+ 10y 15d 22h 20m 32s

No one is reading this anymore, and that’s really my fault. Still I would be loathe not to take notice of the anniversary of OV-102‘s final return home.

Those who know me better, may know I’m now and then touched by the promise of humanity and our, albeit minor, endeavors into space. While I think the shuttle program had pretty much run its course by 1990; I hold those involved in the program, especially those who risk their lives every mission, in the highest esteem.

10 years ago we lost OV-102, Space Shuttle Columbia, and it’s crew to catastrophic failure during re-entry. Perhaps it was a dumb mistake leading to such regrettable loss… hind sight, as they say is 20-20, however I’m afraid Feynman would likely say, “I told you so,” as, he did (NASA link). Yet warnings and blame do nothing to absolve the loss.

From the left, Mission Specialist David Brown, Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla and Michael Anderson, Pilot William McCool and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon.
The Crew of STS 107 Left to Right: David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark,
Kalpana Chawla
, Michael Anderson, Ilan Ramon, and William McCool

In 2004 a song was written by John Roderick about the incident. He wrote it from the hypothetical prospective of mission Commander Rick Husband, and as such it is titled, “The Commander Thinks Aloud.”

This particular video was shot by a NASA engineer on his cellphone, so, apologies for the audio quality and especially the shakiness, but I think it understandable; I only helped mothball the shuttle program and I still tear up.

Post PAX Prime 2012

So that happened. Did my (thus far only just) annual volunteer gig. My feet have almost now recovered from said PAX.
(PAX main site and wiki)

Okay, so, I’ve not accomplished much since I returned State side. Well, regarding this site anyway. I did go to a wedding, ended up taking pictures on a nicer camera, which I believe are online somewhere, but I don’t know where. Probably facebook?

I should probably get copies for myself. It would require all of, walking down the hall and asking for them.

Anyway, not including those wedding pictures, I have 12,019 files to go through, and that’s just photography. I have many things I would like to scan, and more articles to write. Not that I’m setting myself up for failure or anything. I just like looking at that extremely daunting number is all. Yeah. That’s it.

I’m hoping now that I’ve relaxed a bit, and did that whole crazy PAX week thing, that I might get down to “work.”

No promises, but next up is a zoo, so at least there will eventually be animals. Everyone likes pictures of animals. Hopefully those will be worth the wait.

Tuesday July 31st: The Vacation-like Part Ends

Not that it’s any shock, since I’ve been mentioning it for the last month or so, but I’ve found myself exhausted. I’ve learned quite a lot about this whole traveling thing, taking pictures, work flow, and my likely required period of downtime.

Last night I said goodbye to my favorite soup and oyster omelet stand. The prior nights I respectively managed to communicate with them where I had been (yay being able to pronounce the cities!) and when I was leaving (with the help of a calendar on my phone). Saying goodbye was a little more elaborate and involved a grand total of 4 people assisting in translation over the course of the conversation.

I’m not sure there was a night in Taipei I didn’t at least get something from this stand, as they were really convenient, very polite, the right price, and made damned tasty food… so in as much as a person can be with 10 nights over the course of a month, I was a regular.

There are two men and a woman that work the stand, the main guy wears a red apron with the night market’s logo and name, the other guy works during some of their peak hours and when one of the other two goes on a break. Sadly last night the second guy wasn’t also there for the goodbyes, the night market wasn’t very busy due to the torrential rain.

On the 29th after communicating when it was I was leaving, the main guy indicated that the next night, he wanted to give me some of the red pepper sauce to take home. Over the course of my visits, each of the three staff members had their moment where they were both amused, and delighted seeing how much I used when spicing up my dishes. While flavor wise it isn’t notably different from most Asian red pepper chili sauces I’ve had prior there’s a great sentimental factor attached with these four baggies of hot sauce from what quickly became my favorite vendor at the Tonghua/Linjiang St. Night Market, and really the best place for soup I found on the island (when factoring quality and price).

Here without a common language between us, we bonded over food and managed to overcome the language barrier with physical communication, visual aides, and eventually when we really needed some finer bits of articulation, the kindness of others.

14 Week Damage Report:

I’ve managed to go through 3 earbuds, though I’m only claiming responsibility for the first pair, the other two clearly had poor manufacturing as they died within a few days of use, the cable for my headset degraded to nearly useless (again defect as I’ve used it maybe 30 times), I accidentally burned out the charger for my sonicare, the tripod is starting to break (have to manually pull the extension up instead of winding it and lost the square nut to tighten the rotation), one of the soles of my old sneakers I used for hiking is coming off, my fake dress shoes are scuffed beyond excuse (as I expected), my duffel bag is growing some small holes on the bottom and an outer layer hole on one of the grip straps, and the fabric near the loop patch on my camera bag is starting to come apart as it was frequently being grabbed by the hook patch instead of the whole loop patch as one would expect (I hope adding more loop space will help fix this).

We’ll find out more when I fully decompress and take a full inventory.

There’s a typhoon trying to build in the ocean, which was supposedly responsible for the torrential rain yesterday. Hopefully it won’t cause delay, though everything I’ve checked shows no delay in my flight to Korea. In fact, the only update I’ve seen is the suggestion that my flight to Seattle will land even earlier, giving me another 15 minutes of time travel, which as Jeff pointed out in and of itself, should be more than enough time to save Doc Brown from the Libyans.

Oh, sorry, now it’s up to an extra 23 minutes, for a grand total of 53 minutes. I might even make it through customs and have my bag by the time I catch up to my departure time.

I was told that I should expect traffic to be horrible this morning, so I shouldn’t leave at 10AM but rather at about 9AM. It appears the 2060 bus to the International airport runs every 20-30 minutes, though Google would have me think it only runs once ever two hours. I really hope Google is wrong. I’m probably going to be lazy and take a taxi to the bus stop, which is “only” 1km away. The sad part is that it will cost me nearly as much as the bus does… though that’s only because the bus is comparatively really cheap at about $5. It’s a 2 hour bus ride. We’ll see, there’s still the chance I might hobble it, though that means I have to leave with enough time for that, which means at 8:30 if I want to catch the bus that supposedly will be there around 9ish.

Of course I’m short on change, the bus costs $175, and I can only make $64 with exact change. Maybe I’ll see if anyone has some change upstairs. Need to go up there anyway to eat my breakfast mango, drink my yakult, and probably have one last ice cream bar that no one else seemed to want. I’ve tried sharing a few times since there were 5 bars and a maximum of 3 days. People are weird.

I guess this is going to be my last update until Seattle. Wish I had kept up with this more regularly, but I guess we’ll figure out something better later on. Probably a combination of setting aside a number of days I have to work each week so I don’t feel guilty about missing things, and doing 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off as far as moving goes, where I can decompress and catch up during those two weeks.

Either that or learn to take fewer pictures and then write and research less for the writing. Well, I got the fewer pictures down, kinda, mostly due to the exhaustion and nagging frustration of the backlog. I still have thousands more, but I took fewer on average in Taiwan than in previous months.

Realistically, I don’t see either of those two habits lasting very long though. I mean, I was back to usual taking lots and got something like 900 pictures last night.

So… I guess this is it, other than the 2 months of writing to catch up on and one month of photos that I plan to burn through in August.

As odd as it may seem to someone who has never played Homeworld, I assure you, this song makes me think of home insofar as the home you came from rather than the one you grew into. Which is thematically consistent with the narrative. Associations like that are why I love scores as much as I do.

Happy Birthday Mom! (And the rest of July I missed)

Let’s just do the list (in chronological order) off the top of my head:

Parent’s anniversary, United States, Sage, Makenzie, Dya, Grandma, ÜberBeth, Jen, and mom.

If I missed you, I’m sorry. Leave a note, and I’ll totally add you to the list and pretend to flagellate myself while enjoying my day.

Didn’t make it to the gorge nor on a scooter due to a pretty nasty headache and bout of vertigo. Continue reading

Wednesday July 25th: Water Water Everywhere

And not a potable drop at the hostel to drink. By tea and coffee making facilities, they mean you can buy it from the cafe. No hot water, no cold water, no room temperature water. No water that is safe to drink.

Amazing.

I’m going to break my streak and actually review this place, because that’s simply unacceptable, and I can’t believe no one has called them on that yet. I mean I may have complained about the place in Taichung, but at least there was occasionally water.

At least I snagged the two bottles included with hotel room (you always get two included in the room price in Taiwan). Had I known, I would have filled up my 3.5 empties too. I still have the two left from the last hotel, and part of a 1.5L bottle filled giving me about 3.4 liters on hand. Which gives me a little over a day of water.

This doesn’t become apparent until after you pay, so of course I’m stuck.

Damn it.

Well, I need to get out there soon and get pictures, the clouds against the mountains are pretty, and the ocean isn’t far either. It’s a mostly clear day, which is good for pictures, but bad for internal heat regulation. At least I’m not Sebacean (again a reference almost no one gets).

The friends I made in Taipei recommended getting a scooter to drive along the coast rather than taking a bus, they only cost about $12 to rent for a day, which is about twice the cost of a bus, but I could stop anywhere I wanted to take pictures and such.

Interestingly, scooters kind of don’t require a driver’s license in Taiwan, it’s weird; however, Taiwan recognizes Washington State driver’s licenses for 30 days, so it doesn’t matter. Also thankfully unlike Korea, traffic is pretty sane. About the strangest bits of traffic are the scooters, which act more like fast pedestrians, including jaywalking, but they also yield and are polite, unlike Korea where it’s aggressive driving on the sidewalks.

Of course the sidewalks here are typically filled with scooters, so you can’t even walk on them, so everyone is used to pedestrians on the shoulder and are appropriately cautious.

I’ll probably go look for a place that will rent one for a fair price tomorrow, though apparently some won’t rent to people without a Taiwan license, which only people staying over 6 months can get