All posts by hunt8831

Recent graduate of Kettering University with a BS in Applied Physics. My interests lie within Sports Engineering, more specifically hockey sticks and hockey protective equipment. On my blog you will find many bits about sports and science with a little of my life mixed in. Feel free to contribute. My teams: Michigan Wolverines Detroit Red Wings Detroit Tigers Atlanta Braves New England Patriots Detroit Lions

China/Taiwan Day 8

They saved the best factory for last, that is for sure!

Spoiler alert, I am home, slept and am sitting on the couch watching Sports Center.  Life is good!

Our last morning started later than usual as we did not need to leave until 9:00.  The fancy hotel lived up to the hype.  It was comfortable and the AC actually got the room cold enough to make me happy.

The first stop we made was a new (to us) injection mold vendor.  It was alright.  My initial impression of them was negative because we walked into the building and it was overwhelmingly smelling of cigarettes!  At some point in all of the talking (none in English of course), I had time to think – I like factories much more than these vendor trips.  The prior evening, we visited a graphics vendor and it was much of the same.  Not my idea of fun.

After that one, we trekked 2 hours to the very southern end of Taiwan to visit the factory where our bat factory gets our extruded aluminum to make bats.  Like I said in the opening, they saved the best for last!  This factory is owned by the same people who own our bat factories so we got a pretty VIP tour.  About a year and a half ago, this extrusion factory was 1 building large.  In essentially 10 months, they bought more land and built 2 more buildings bringing the total to 3.  Now, yes Easton makes a boatload of bats, but the increase in capacity was not for us.  They make the aluminum on the iphone 6 and apple watch!  You are welcome, Apple!  It was cool to see the insanity that Apple requires of them in terms of QC.  There are some processes that they require 100% inspection.  But, that was not the cool part of the factory.  We got to see how aluminum is made.  Basically it is this molten concoction that they “poor” into long rods that are 8″-12″ in diameter.  Each long rod is cut down to about 18″ long.  These billets, while looking manageable, cannot be picked up by people as they are still really heavy.  Each billet is then essentially smushed against a die and extruded into like 25′ length parts.  For bats, they are just cylinders.  For phones, they are flat plates with some features.  But it was wild.  This giant billet goes through something that is about 4″ x 1/2″.  The amount of force behind the ram is giant.  I forget if they told us if it was 2,500 tons or 25,000 tons, but either way, woah!  If you are interested in learning more about aluminum extrusion, definitely hit up google.  No pics were permitted so I have nothing to share there.  The only negative about this place was the heat!  Imagine a giant factory where there is molten aluminum and the heat generated buy the hydrollic presses to extrude the aluminum.  It gave a whole new meaning to sweating your ass off!

After that we boarded the high speed train and two hours later, we were at the Taipei airport, ready to come home.  Next stop America!  For those keeping track at home, we began the day in Taiching, went to Tainan and then headed up Taipei to fly out.  Talk about the tour of Taiwan, right?  Have a look at a map of Taiwan to see what we did.

I accidentally slept most of the flight, but I blame it on Ian for not waking me up.  I intended to just sleep through dinner then wake up and stay awake for the rest of it.  Instead, I slept the first 8 hours, woke up for 2.5 and then slept again for the last bit.  I was tired I guess.  When we got to LA, LAX did not disappoint.  There was no gate so they shuttled us for 20 minutes to the terminal.  Good job!  Clearing customs was a breeze and we headed out and home.

Tuesday was 27 hours long (we landed in LA 3 hours before we left Taiwan) and without the extra time, there is no way we would have gotten all that done.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the China adventure.  It seems like so long ago the trip began.  It was an interesting experience seeing how the factory works and everything but I am glad to live in America.

China/Taiwan Day 7

THIS IS LITERALLY THE FANCIEST HOTEL I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!

This morning we headed on our long adventure to Taiwan.  We were picked up at the normal time, headed to the factory to let Kelsen and Robin off and pick up Book and Lynn.  Then we sat in the car for an hour to Makau.  Apparently it is a resort town and apparently it looks exactly like Vegas.  So, if you have been to Vegas, no need to go to China! JKJK.  The name of the game today was customs!  You cannot cross provinces in China technically if you are a Chinese national without a permit.  So when we left the part we were in and got to Macau, we had to “Leave China” and get out passport stamped.  Then a 5 minute shuttle ride to do customs to get into Macau.  Then we had lunch at the Venetian (yes, it is Vegas 2.0) and headed to the airport.  We had to show passports to prove we were leaving Macau.  For those at home keeping track, that is 3 times so far.  The flight was uneventful as I slept the entire duration.  When we arrived in Taiwan, we had to clear customs once again.  Hopefully the next time I have to deal with customs officials is in the US, though I fear we will need to “check out” of Taiwan.

So funny story from all the bus rides today.  One the first one, Jason told me to get up (Asians are always in a rush and I was still sitting as there were people in front of me).  When we got back on the bus, Jason was already sitting but I told him to sit as I was sliding into the row where I would be sitting.  As I instructed him to sit, I whacked my head and instantly sat down.  Darn Asian buses are NOT intended for people of American height!  Jason and I are still laughing hours later about it.

But as promised… the Taiwan hotel is fancy!  And that is an understatement!  Of course all lights, etc are controlled by a touch screen panel – I got used to this in China.  But there is a TV in the bathroom!  Why?  Just cuz?  Also, there is a printer in the room!  WHAT!?  Also, the room has surround sound so I am currently jamming to Pandora while typing this.  The room is a tad smaller than the one we had in China, but that is OK.  Also, there is a floor to ceiling, wall to wall window in the shower looking outside.  Ummmmm can you say creepy!?  I think the shower tonight is going to be interesting as I cannot exactly figure out how it works.  The one large negative is there is a large door sill to step over to go into the bathroom.  Bets on how many times I trip on that?  I think definitely when I wake up and am still not conscious.  Another odd fact about this hotel is that there is a Bauer Hockey office on the 7th floor.

Well tomorrow is a long but very exciting day.  We are visiting an injection molding vendor in the morning and an aluminum extrusion (among other things) company in the afternoon.  Story says this aluminum factory does a ton for Apple and Apple got a design of one of their products from seeing a process that Easton does to bats.  So all you Apple fans out there, you better thank Easton!!  The exciting bit is what happens at the end of the day… WE ARE GOING HOME!  We leave at about midnight local time and return to LA about 3 hours earlier.  That’s how that works, right? :-p

China Day 6

Sorry for the tad bit late post but we got back to the hotel a tad late to do much of anything.

Today was our off day in China and it was much needed.  I spent much of the morning sleeping, reading and catching up with people on the computer.  The afternoon we went to a really tall tower called the Canton Tower.  It was cool to be above everything and thankfully it was a clear day so we could see things.  It did blow my mind, however, that they would build this giant tower that served no purpose other than be a tower with an observation tower.  Also, I was excited to see 2 other westerners!

Following that, we went to a circus!  I had never been to one, nor was it on my list of things to do in life, but we went.  I think the most entertaining things for me were figuring out the physics of the ropes, circular ball thing, etc.  I did not enjoy the animal acts at all.  I am no animal rights lover, but animals should not be in circuses! I also found it amusing how genuinely excited and shocked the Chinese people were!  It is like, of course they are going to complete the stunt!  Maybe Americans are less amused?

All in all, it was an acceptable day.  We did not have to go to the factory so I guess we did not have to work!  We head over to Taiwan today… One step closer!!!

China Day 5

Today was the best day ever.  And let me tell you why!

I slept all the way til 6:30.  I think it was mostly because we were up so late working on specs, but it was nice to “sleep in”.  Breakfast was ordinary and we began the day at the factory with a bang.  It was our last day and we had lots to cover.  Some how we crossed the finish line with time to spare.  Boring ya da ya da details.

We always eat lunch in the factory and some days are better than others.  On the bad days, I stick with rice as I know I will like that no matter what.  But today was a great day… it was CHICKEN WINGS DAY!  I definitely loaded up on wings.  Then, dinner topped that.  We were taken to an authentic Italian restaurant and we had pizza and pasta!  Heaven in China, let me tell you!  This is probably the only meal I left truly full.

Tomorrow is Sunday so it is the day off.  Thankfully we have nothing planned until the afternoon so we can wake up at our leisure and also we can have personal space for at least a little bit.

China Day 4

WOHOO it is Friday!  Wait, they work Saturday’s in China.  Maybe that is why there is no such place as “TGIF”?

Today was another sweaty day.  I cannot imagine sweating this much every single day for work.  Thank you America/my education for allowing me to work in AC!  We saw the injection molding facility and I got to spend some time in our cannon room.  I like things that go boom!

Today we went to another fancy dinner.  This was a place that was previously only open to government officials and Jason shared with me that some trees cost $100,000+!  THAT IS NUTS!  And honestly, it was a tree.  Sometimes I wonder about things…

One more day in the factory.  I can see the finish line coming!

China Day 3

One day I will come up with more creative names… but American Sniper is calling my name!

Today’s post is going to be rather short since the details of the factory visit should not be discussed.  I woke up, did some emails, listened to Detroit go home (the afternoon rush on 96.3 WDVD) and ate a lot of waffles for breakfast.  Breakfasts at the hotel make your day!  You know that is the one good safe bet for your day.

Then it was off to the factory and lots of sweating.  I am glad my body remembers how to do that!  California is so dry it kind of just evaporates before you feel wet.  But I am not here to write a blog about my ability to sweat.

Dinner today was pretty great.  We had western food!  Chicken wings!  BBQ Ribs!  Etc.  I was soooo glad and that has been the first meal that I actually enjoyed here.  Hopefully only one more shady meal tomorrow night and we should be in smaller groups and more manageable.

Two more days in the factory and 5 more total days!  Almost half way through the trip!  Despite REALLY wanting to go home, I am learning a lot and am thankful for the hospitality the people here have shown.

China Day 2

Sneak peak: I did not know it was possible to sweat so much that your pants stick to you!

Today was the first full day of factory stuff.  Since this is a public sight, obviously I cannot go into details.  We started with discussions on some R&D topics.  Not terribly exciting so I just took it all in.  Lunch was pretty good and then we did the aluminum bat factory.  If I had to describe it in 5 words, it would be: loud, hot and many machines.  I had never been around aluminum production so I had to learn all the terms and such, but my boss is a fantastic teacher so it makes sense to me now.

After the aluminum factory we went to an even hotter factory to see how we make a component for a bat.  I was in for a shock when we discovered that this factory is in fact way hotter than the aluminum factory!  Like I said in the tag, I had NO IDEA jeans can literally stick to you from sweat.  It was miserably hot.  It was like running the Crim, except I was just standing, taking photos and waiting for someone to translate for us, not running 10 miles.

Then it was back to the office to guzzle some water, talk about other R&D topics.

Dinner was interesting.  It was a traditional Chinese meal – think about any movie or TV show and it is essentially that.  I will leave further comments from there.

The factories are big, but not really what I expected.  I think seeing our Mexico plant prepared me for it.

Probably the most annoying part of being here (aside the internet restrictions) is the fact that you can never go anywhere without being watched, followed and judged.  YO!  I am going to the bathroom, I do not need an escort.  Even touring the factory, we do not need 10 people to shuttle us, and then stand around.  I do not like attention and this is just over the top.  I would imagine this is how famous people feel in public.

Well guess it’s onto day 3!  Almost half way! WOOT!  I miss America.

PS: I am sooooo glad that PSG/China did not block 96.3 WDVD live stream.  They are allowing me to settle down for the evening and feel less overwhelmed.

China Day 1

So Turns out China really is backwards!  But before I get to that, let’s describe the nearly 24 hour long adventure it took to get here.

We left home on Sunday night in the US around 9PM and headed to LAX.  Turns out, TSA Precheck does not exist for international flights… I had to remember all the steps required to do regular and oof there are many!!!  But we escaped and just hung out before the flight.  We boarded around midnight and made ourselves at home for the next 14 hours.  It was a meh flight and we got to Taiwan before it felt like it had been a week.  I did quickly miss AMERICA, even before the boarding door had closed.  I think it will be my mission to see how many different ways the word “gentleman” is pronounced.  It’s a crack up.

In Taiwan we only had an hour so we got connected to the outside world on cell phones and Ian cracked his laptop.  14 hours away, but sheesh I had lots of notifications!

I slept the entire way from Taiwan to Hong Kong so one could say it was uneventful.  Once in Hong Kong, we made it to the ferry and waited another hour to board.  Again I slept until the smells became awful.  I then knew we were in China.

Where to even begin… I guess with the smell.  YUCK!  Makes TJ smell wonderful!  The drivers here make LA drivers look like saints.  It’s so humid that walking around the factory, I was legitimately sweating! This is not cool!

We made it to the hotel and I have officially been up for 47 hours.  I was going to try for 48, but I am so tired it is not even funny.  Also, in addition to observing all the ways to say gentleman, I am going to see which displeases me more: the new PSG network or China’s stupid internet BS laws.  As of right now, it is a draw.  I cannot get on the VPN to do actual work nor can I use google hangouts, facebook or instagram!  WTF dudes?!

OK this kid is going to bed.  Tomorrow (and the rest of the week) is going to be LONGGGG so I need as much rest as I can afford.

East Coast, Best Coast

Last week I took a highly anticipated trip to the East Coast.  At the beginning of the year, my brother moved out to North Carolina to work for a TV station and has been bugging me to come out ever since.  Well it just so happened that my friend Justin was graduating from Navy OCS in Rhode Island.  True, North Carolina and Rhode Island are not terribly close together, but they are very close in relation to California.  So I set out on my quest.

Tuesday:
The alarm sounded at 2AM.  NOT my idea of a perfect wake up time, but I was excited to get to the other coast.  By 4:00 I was at LAX, waiting in line at security for my 5:30 flight.  At 5:00, security was still not open and people started getting restless.  It boggles my mind that LAX cannot figure out airplanes.  But we all made it and the 4h+ flight to Atlanta went well.  I put on some Sports Center and promptly fell asleep.  Atlanta was also uneventful and the southern lifestyle was certainly present when the people started gathering by the gate for the NC flight.  Once arriving in NC, my brother picked me up and off we went to dinner and a stroll through down town.  It is not a large down town, but we went past the minor league stadium and that was nice.  Once arriving at his apartment, I was exhausted so we watched a movie and then I slept for 10 hours.

Hanging out with the Greensboro Grasshopper (Miami Class A)
Hanging out with the Greensboro Grasshopper (Miami Class A)

Wednesday:
My brother planned out our whole day and  it was nice not to have to think about anything for once.  We started out with a Revolutionary War battle ground.  It was nice to see the historical markers and also just to be in the green woods.  After our about 1/2 day stroll, we went for lunch and other places around town and then I got the studio tour.  Nothing like Easton, that is for sure!  That night we had a refreshing dinner and it was early to bed as tomorrow was another early flight!

Cannons at the battle ground
Cannons at the battle ground

Thursday:
Not sure what it is with me and early airplanes, but my flight this time was at 6:00 to NYC and then on to Boston.  When  arrived in NYC, I was hungry and I promptly looked for bagels because bagels in New York are amazing!!!!!  Airport ones are not as fantastic, but still better than anything anywhere else.  The flights into Boston were uneventful.  Once arriving in Boston, I met Justin’s aunt and mom and they were hilarious!  I could do a whole post about them.  They deemed me Californian thus making me an expert in driving so I got to get us to Newport, RI.  Alright, sleep deprived Linda on the case.  We made it and life was good.  We met up with Justin once we got on base and it was so nice to see him.  He thanked me for coming by handing me a 50+ lb sea bag and had me carry it to the hotel.  Nice to see you too!  We spent the afternoon catching up, moving him out of his Navy residence and then preparing for the reception.  That night’s event was a reception at the Officers Club.  It was fancy but nice.  We got to meet some of his peers and their families and the Staff of OCS.  After that we headed into Newport for dinner.  After we got harassed for showing up late, it was a wonderful dinner and I think we were all exhausted from a long day so sleep came easily.

This guy!!
This guy!!

Friday:
Friday morning came early too.  One of the disadvantages of sharing a room with a not quite graduated officer is they still had a grad run to do… so  got woken up by a card key of him returning because he forgot something and asked to be driven back.  Ai Candidate Officer (at 5:45AM).  We watched the grad run and his mom, aunt and I returned to the hotel for a nap while Justin signed his papers.  He returned an hour later and we went off for food.  It was nice to be the only “normal person” around a group of Navy people because the stories were awesome.  All too soon, we were back walking to graduation.  It was nice.  The formations were sharp even though i could not understand a thing they were yelling.  Justin officially became an Ensign. I do not think we did too much of anything that afternoon and we headed to the oldest restaurant in the US for dinner.  It was delicious.

They are done, congrats guys and thanks for serving!
They are done, congrats guys and thanks for serving!

Saturday:
WE SLEPT IN!  It was a perfect feeling.  Once everyone leisurely woke up, we headed up to Boston to Fenway Park.  I HAVE BEEN TO FENWAY!!!!  (Though not inside… guess I will have to go back).  After walking around that area and becoming quickly bored, we attempted to head to the Boston Commons.  I say attempted because there was a Pride parade going on… who woulda known?!  Well it was udder chaos so we bolted to Plymouth instead and that was a fantastic decision.  We saw the Founding Fathers monument, the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock (hereby renamed Plymouth pebble).  Also, little known fact, they have a 9/11 memorial there too.

Founding Fathers Monument
Founding Fathers Monument
The pebble
The pebble
9-11 memorial in Plymouth
9-11 memorial in Plymouth

Sunday:
Another 4AM wakeup call to head back to Logan to fly out.  I was mighty thankful that Justin did not mind waing up to drive me there.  Well maybe he minded, but did not express it.  Again, I put on the sports center and slept for 5.9 of the 6 hour flight and just like that, the trip was over.

It was a fantastic week away and I loved every moment of it.  I am thankful for the hospitality that everyone gave me and it is onto the next big adventure…. CHINA!

FENWAY!
FENWAY!

Ski trip day 1

Dear Diary,

I did not sleep well last night. Little known fact, the heat in my room was off. It was COLD! Then once I figured that out, it was too hot.

We trekked all around to find my ski rentals and I got them. Boy had I ever forgotten how much a pain ski boots are. It snowed all the way up until we were ready to ski so there was a touch of fresh stuff which was nice.

We started on the first time lift so that I could remember how to ride a lift and how to ski.  It came back fairly easily.

We then jumped on the Crescent lift and hit one of my former favorite runs: Homerun.  Because we only took the Crescent, we were about 1/2 way up.  2000′ decent in 2 miles.  This is what I remember.

But oof, I was exhausted by the time we got to the bottom.  We did it again, of course.  About half way, my legs were like “what on earth” and began to wobble.  We made it down and headed off for pizza lunch.

After lunch, we got on another lift I remember, the Payday and hit a few green trails down.  The afternoon was less fun because it got rather icy.

Onto the hot tub and day 2.