Web-log archive: 2007

December
2007-12-10

hip•ster

hip • ster noun informal One who takes offense at being called a “hipster.”

November
2007-11-29

Western Journey

When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was a genre show called Western Journey. Set in 1870, the show followed the...

October
2007-10-03

Warning Signs

If the documentation/HOWTO/helpfile/hint uses the word “simply” (as in: “mod_proxy should simply send the raw directory list up the filter stack to mod_autoindex, which in...

September
2007-09-29

Ya Don’t Know What Ya Got...

In the span of a week we went from Summer to Autumn, both astronomically and climatically. Weather crisp and wettish but not rainy. Leaves in...

2007-09-19

Simple Solutions to Stupid Problems

The Mercy Corps office is terrifically overcrowded. I share a 100 square foot room with two other people, for example. This office opens directly into...

2007-09-11

Tender Nethers

So the major point of friction, no pun intended, on my recent epic rides (91 miles this past Sunday) is a certain lack of rock...

2007-09-06

Working at Home

When you take a day off from the office to get work done you ask yourself a few questions. Questions like:Why is my home —...

August
2007-08-28

A Nice Long Bike Ride

Sunday I had my first “long” bike ride since our return. I rode to Iowa Hill, a total round-trip of 58.8 miles, which I finished...

2007-08-24

Overcompensating

Almost daily on my commute I have a brush that, a few years ago, would have outraged me. Right-hand-turners in the bike lane. Cut off...

2007-08-09

A Year Ago

Jenny hates this pictureSo was it only a year ago we arrived in Xiamen? (Was it only a month ago [+4 days] that we arrived...

July
2007-07-17

Because I Can

3 am, suffering the usual insomnia. Out of idle boredom I’m browsing Wikipedia, entirely because I can. Although, as Wikipedia itself helpfully notes, as of...

2007-07-11

What It’s Like To Be Back

Pretty much the first thing anyone says when we see them for the first time is “are you glad to be back?” This is surprisingly...

2007-07-06

Oregon Again

We’ve been back in Oregon for 24 hours now, most of them occupied by sleeping or running errands like crazy people. I’m too wiped to...

2007-07-03

再见

In the last 24 hours the feeling finally hit us: OK, we're actually leaving.

June
2007-06-30

A Cowboy Never Says Goodbye

I hate saying “goodbye.” I don’t mean that I never want to leave places I know I should leave, or part from friends I don’t...

2007-06-25

Seven Days

We’re entering the pre-move period, familiar from a year ago, when we are no longer excited about leaving but rather just want the whole damn...

2007-06-14

Shit

In the last year I generated a hypothesis about global attitudes toward shit:“A person’s aversion to fecal matter is inversely proportional to their cultural distance...

2007-06-10

Beijing, Briefly

My brother and mother have been visiting this past week. I took them to the usual Xiamen tourist sites: Gulangyu Island, Nanputuo Temple, Zhongshan Road....

2007-06-01

Blogger; Protests; Skies and Cars

In probable anticipation of the anniversary of the 1989 student protests, the gummint has clamped down tight on Blogger. For most of the year we’ve...

May
2007-05-30

Choose Two

Someone recently asked me for some businessy advice about working in China. Specifically, about team dynamics and the decision-making process. All four regular readers of...

2007-05-30

Senioritis

For most of my tenure in high school, I didn’t “get” high school. I didn’t get the cliques, the sports, the clothes, how to manage...

2007-05-29

The Guy I Used to Be

When I was in college, I used to have long hair. Not quite shoulder-length, but maybe 6 inches. It hung over my eyes in a...

2007-05-25

GNEFGNOD

Today at lunch I spotted a minivan with GNEFGNOD written on the side. You see some funny car names in China (“Freeca,” “Houda,” “BWM”) but...

2007-05-24

Xiamen Love

The weather has turned warm and damp and it’s hard not be a little in love with Xiamen. The plants are greener, the sky is...

2007-05-21

The China Fantasy

I’ve been struggling for a while to formulate a series of vague thoughts I’ve had about China. This is usually in response to a question...

2007-05-19

I Learned a Lot from my Parents

The Australian crawl The backstroke The Four-in-Hand The half-Windsor The non-necessity of training wheels If you’re bored, read a book Shake hands firmly and make...

2007-05-16

Boredom and Solitude

On today’s Dilbert Blog, Scott Adams hypothesizes that: “A person’s need for social interaction is inversely related to the quality of his or her imagination....

2007-05-14

Enervating

Working with a Chinese team (OK, my particular Chinese team) makes me long for a collaborative work environment like you wouldn’t believe. All my attempts...

2007-05-10

And now...LINKS!

AKA The Lazy Man’s Blog Post17 Hates 10 Commandments for Westerners in China American IPR hawks, remember the little people Welcome to Boomtown, PRC Beijing...

2007-05-09

Brain Hack

Reading over some posts from before our move to China I was reminded of how frequently I used to dream of being underwater. I’ve had...

2007-05-04

Back from Taiwan

We got back from Taiwan yesterday after utterly uneventful flights. Although the 777 (Cathay Pacific) we took from Taipei to Hong Kong had the coolest...

2007-05-03

Afternoon with the Spidermans

Today we saw Spiderman 3, the first movie we've seen in an actual theater since last August. Hell, it was the first non-pirated visual entertainment...

2007-05-02

Taroko Gorge

Jenny and I took the train (not, unfortunately, the High Speed Rail, although it was plenty fast) out to Taroko Gorge, Taiwan's world-famous National Park....

April
2007-04-29

Bizarro-China

We arrived in Taipei two nights ago after a 50 minute delay out of Xiamen, and a switched flight through Hong Kong. Even that switched...

2007-04-24

Māma mà má mǎ ma?

My mother asked me the other day, how exactly do you say “Did Mother scold the hemp horse?” Well, you say it like this:Māma mà...

2007-04-23

Ersatz

Much of what passes for “Western” in Xiamen would more accurately be called “Sinicized.” A good example is the local version of “coffee shops.” These...

2007-04-17

Seven Irritations

OK, so: here’s what made this past Sunday so damned irritating.First, taxes. This was actually not any more irritating than usual, and actually turned out...

2007-04-12

Kurt Vonnegut Dead at 84

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies,...

2007-04-11

3 Scenes, As Metaphors

Exhibit A: A New Privacy Wall Commentary:(Pre-existing rebar-reinforced concrete railing) = (nearly forgotten yet deeply sublimated Confucian/Taoist/Buddhist patriarchical tradition) + (3000 year history)(Hastily piled, poorly...

2007-04-11

“Dark and Dirty”

The weather today has cleared, the first break of warm weather since the Marathon, almost two weeks ago. This after a couple days of heavy...

2007-04-04

The Shire

During a conversation I had a week ago with a coworker contemplating a move to the US, and wondering what city would suit him best...

2007-04-03

Working Here

...is occasionally a challenge. The Chinese have not made cults of efficiency, quality, or service as in other countries (like Germany, Japan, and America, respectively)....

March
2007-03-31

Xiamen International Marathon

Jenny and I ran in the Xiamen International Marathon yesterday. I ran 10K and Jenny ran the half marathon. Altogether it was a good day....

2007-03-30

Blogspot Blocked (Again)

I can almost pinpoint the exact time this happened...I was updating the site before lunch (about two-three hours ago).At least they could make up their...

2007-03-29

Big Ideas

I resist talking too much on the blog about Big Ideas in regards to China vs. America (or anywhere else), in part because my thoughts...

2007-03-28

Blogspot Back Up in China

...well, for the time being, at least. The same thing happened with Wikipedia last fall: it was unblocked for about one month then blammo! NO...

2007-03-26

The Homesick-o-Meter

Think you might be homesick? Unfortunately, expatriate life in China means living with constant homesickness, so gauging the severity of this emotion is essential to...

2007-03-22

Things I’d Bring Back from China

Post-lunch naps Palm-sized rice bowls held inches from your mouth Industrial-grade hot water dispensers (for copious quantities of loose green tea), in lieu of office...

2007-03-20

Blogspot Blocked

It appears that, some time in the last 24 hours, blogspot.com has been blocked by Chinese censors. What this means:People outside China can see blogspot-hosted...

2007-03-20

American Dreams

Long, languid, atmospheric dreams of American landscapes occupied my sleep last night. Shopping malls, brick houses on tree-lined streets, farmland under an autumn prairie sky,...

2007-03-15

Did Mother Scold the Hemp Horse?

The crazy difficult thing about learning Mandarin are those devil tones. In Mandarin, the way you pronounce a vowel is often more important than the...

2007-03-06

Hanzi Are Fun

One of the small joys of living in China is learning Chinese. In a harsh blow to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the Chinese language is simple,...

2007-03-01

New Job

Today is my fourth day at my new job as [Senior Web Architect | Senior E-Business Manager | Director of Web Services] at Ports, an...

February
2007-02-23

Some islands I have known

Vancouver 32,134 km2 Hawai’i 10,458 km2 Bali 5632 km2 Nunivak 4400 km2 Kauai 1430 km2 Singapore 683 km2 Orcas 148 km2 San Juan 143 km2...

2007-02-18

恭喜发财

On the American West Coast we say “Gung Hay Fat Choy” but that’s apparently Cantonese. In Mandarin you say “Gong Xi Fa Cai.” You write...

2007-02-11

Bali Bound

Hey just a quick note: Jenny and I are leaving today for Bali. We’ll be back in a week (literally arriving on the day of...

2007-02-06

I’m no longer above...

Starbucks KFC clothing made in China Tabasco instant coffee TV cop shows cheering for the high school basketball team lite beer soda with calories Crest...

2007-02-05

Madre de los Desaparecidos

Seen in a distant land: a middle-aged woman holding a signboard with photos of her (presumably) two adult children, a daughter and a son. Only...

January
2007-01-31

Shoulda Been Me

I, for example, am good at washing dishes. I used to do it professionally and it’s still satisfying. You clear away the wreckage and run...

2007-01-30

Pigs and Birds

We’re about two weeks away from Chinese New Year, which is the largest (by American standards, only) holiday in China. The upcoming year is Year...

2007-01-28

Where Life is Cheap

Last night, Jenny and I were in the kitchen washing dishes when we both smelled something burning. So we started looking around the kitchen: along...

2007-01-25

The Tulsa of China

Xiamen is wonderful and all but our visits to Hong Kong and Singapore make me wish we were in a larger city. We’re kind on...

2007-01-22

Bio 101

I was talking just now with a colleague about our experiences with Biology 101 when we were 18. This was 17 years ago now for...

2007-01-19

Things I Miss About 1991

Only building contractors and heart surgeons carry cell phones. My guidebook to the Pacific Northwest, in describing the burgeoning Seattle coffee culture, mentions in passing...

2007-01-17

Better Than You Might Expect

Piping hot corn smoothies Green tea toothpaste The emergency room Hocking loogies in public in front of God and everyone Sausage-filled donuts Public buses with...

2007-01-13

Down

So there are two circumstances that must obtain before I get up the energy to post to the blog:Boredom An elevated sense of well-being Funnily...

2007-01-11

日月谷

Last night (Michelle’s final night in China) we went to Riyuegu hot springs, a shwanky resort in Xiamen’s outer suburbs. They have a bazillion little...

2007-01-10

Revolution

For Michelle’s pen-penultimate day in Xiamen, we had a big ol’ Chinese-o-rama. Jenny was “sick” and stayed home with Michelle, they visited the big local...

2007-01-09

Hong Kong

We spent a few days last week in Hong Kong. HK is, without a doubt, the most vibrant , happening city I’ve ever visited. It’s...

2007-01-08

...Aaaaand We’re Back

OK, so it's been, what, two weeks now? I have excuses.The day after Christmas Axoplasm.com stopped working. In China. Everyone else on Earth can see...