Web-log

Web-log entries from 2006

2006-12-24

圣诞快乐!

...Means Merry Christmas! In Pinyin it’s written Shengdan kuaile, pronouncing the es as short “uh” sounds. It’s fine weather for it: about 20C (70° F?)... more

2006-12-20

Murse

Evidence that I am gradually becoming a different person: I have started to carry a murse. Or a man-purse, if you prefer.I’ve taken to hauling... more

2006-12-19

Foreigners

Lately it seems foreigners are everywhere in Xiamen. We’ve only been here four (five?) months; how is it possible we missed all these foreigners already?Maybe... more

2006-12-18

Weather Report

Cool and clear, mid-50s F, windy. Pollution levels are near zero, especially after the heavy rains last week. Altogether it feels very much like a... more

2006-12-16

我们没有煤气

One of our British friends generated an algorithm for determining the time to complete any given task in China:“Imagine the longest possible time you think... more

2006-12-14

“You’re the First Foreigner I Ever Met”

This past weekend, while walking Bismarck through Huweishan Park, I met my first Chinese who was meeting her first foreigner. Other expatriates had similar stories,... more

2006-12-05

What’s to Like

Learning the language Discovering that the Chinese name for most James Bond movies uses the phrase “Brave Escape” The food, duh Take-no-prisoners kitchen appliances, like... more

2006-12-04

Like Oregon, But Not

Hey Transplants to the Pacific Northwest! Remember your first winter in [Oregon | Washington | British Columbia | SE Alaska]? Remember how, after about 60... more

2006-12-03

Unremitting

Was it only three weeks ago that Jenny twisted her ankle? Because today she went for her second run since the accident. My wife could... more

2006-11-26

Black as Midnight on a Moonless Night

Jenny’s mom is visiting from Oregon for about 10 days...and while the highlight of her visit is the, y’sknow, visiting, part, we’re sorely glad for... more

2006-11-13

中山医院

Minutes out of the shower yesterday our house phone rang. Jenny and Bismarck were out for an early morning jog, and I was a little... more

2006-11-11

Welcome Back

I’m given to understand culture shock comes in stages. I don’t know what those stages are and I’m kind of loathe to find out. But... more

2006-10-29

Unexpectedly Homesick

Jenny was out of town this weekend for a swim meet in Beijing. (She coaches the XIS HS swim team, such as it is. And... more

2006-10-23

Dust and Construction

Life is slow and frustrating in Xiamen lately. Warm and dusty. I’ve about had it with nothing working right, shoddy design, and everyone basically being... more

2006-10-14

Home

We’ve been back in Xiamen for a week now. This set me to thinking about my own peculiar notions of what constitutes “home.”First (and this... more

2006-10-09

Don in Tha House

Jenny’s dad was in town for the weekend. He arrived about two hours after we got in from Singapore, so we just waited at the... more

2006-10-07

Back in Xiamen

Jenny and I returned to Xiamen yesterday on remarkably uneventful flights. The meal they served (at 9am) was actually (gee I hate to say it)... more

2006-10-06

Singapore Insomnia

So I was lying awake in Singapore, thinking about a post-to-be-created that ran something along the lines of “why the summer of 1988 was so... more

2006-10-04

Malaysia Dispatch

We're back in Singapore after a couple of days in Malaysia, specifically Tioman Island. I have only the vaguest sense of where Tioman Island is... more

2006-10-01

Sentosa Island, Original Sin, Night Safari

A lazy day yesterday but also, perhaps, the most touristy. I slept late and in the afternoon Vicky took me (and Nima) to Sentosa Island,... more

2006-10-01

Black and White

We are staying in Singapore with Jenny’s friend Vicky (and her dog Nima), who grew up here, in a family typical for this environment: her... more

2006-09-30

Singapore Dispatch

Singapore is the anti-Xiamen. Leaving China necessitated two forms, two passport reviews (and stamps) four lines, and more than an hour of waiting and paperwork.... more

2006-09-24

Damn that last post was long

Wasn’t it?Today was just like that, except last night we were up all night crazy itching because of mosquitos. I foolishly left the windows open... more

2006-09-22

Typical

I think I’m entering the phase of culture shock where daily life has become mundane. It is no longer surprising or fun to ride with... more

2006-09-16

East-West (东西)

The Chinese name for House (the TV show with Hugh Laurie) is “Hooligan Doctor” (流氓医生, Liumang Yisheng). Alias is “Double-Faced Spy Woman” (双面女间谍, Shuangmian Nujiandie).A... more

2006-09-11

Good and Bad

Good Bad Slightly sweet popcorn Slightly sweet beer Owners of small dogs Small dogs Old guys doing inexplicable Chinese exercises like walking backwards uphill while... more

2006-09-11

Weather Report

The heat finally broke this weekend, but the humidity didn’t. Taiwan helpfully dispersed a typhoon, but Xiamen has been receiving a steady dose of light... more

2006-09-09

Doggy Play Date

Yesterday we met with Megan, the former ESL teacher at XIS, and two of her friends at a beach south of the university. (We had... more

2006-09-07

I Can’t Believe it’s Been a Month Since I’ve...

driven a car eaten a burrito bought a book listened to a radio ridden a bicycle drank a draft beer seen my family read a... more

2006-09-04

Clothes Shopping

I’ve been clothes shopping lately, trying to fill my wardrobe with school-appropriate clothes. Before we left Portland I thought myself to be “about the size... more

2006-08-24

Rain; School; Intestines

I'm delivering this post from a cybercafe, so apologies for the brevity. We've had two days of rain and the weather has cooled pretty substantially.... more

2006-08-12

I’m Surprised by Many Aspects of Xiamen

The smell of XiamenI was completely unprepared for the novelty of odors in Xiamen. I knew it might smell "bad" or "strange" but couldn't have... more

2006-08-09

Arrival: Xiamen

After about 25 hours of transit we are finally in Xiamen. Flights were all smooth, after a delayed departure from Portland. The delay actually worked... more

2006-08-05

T-Minus 48h

48 hours until the plane departs...and we're having to cancel last-minute goodbye breakfasts with old friends because every hour is now accounted for. Problems have... more

2006-07-27

Ditch Digging

In late 1998, I had a vision about energy. This was at my last archaeology job, in Southern California. I was "monitoring" a large construction... more

2006-07-12

(Financial) Success, As Portrayed in Movies

The audience knows the female lead is a Successful Person because she works in a busy, brightly-lit office in the cool part of town. The... more

2006-07-06

Stuff

We are literally hip deep in the process of deleting all our stuff in preparation for the move to Xiamen. The office is hardest hit:... more

2006-06-28

Thoughts on watching Drugstore Cowboy and its “Making-Of” featurette on DVD

Portland probably changed more in the 17 years between 1989 and 2006 than in the 18 years between 1971 and 1989. You couldn't film a... more

2006-06-16

The Meditative Properties of Commuting

I rode the bus in today early. I get a lot of thinking done on the bus, but it's languid, unfocused thinking. Conscious dreaming, but... more

2006-06-15

Anchor Babies

So the Washington State Republican Party declared its hostility to the 14th Amendment. They have gripes with the part that reads "All persons born or... more

2006-06-14

Story Problems

“Basically I took the client's email with all the requirements and turned it into a workflow diagram. It was like doing a story problem. That's... more

2006-05-17

Decades

About twenty years ago, my family took a vacation to the Pacific Northwest. This was the first time I had ever seen the ocean (age... more

2006-04-25

FREE BEER

...or rather, free ice cream. Today was "free ice cream" day at Ben and Jerry's, apparently a phenom of some sort. [sidebar: the local Ben... more

2006-04-05

Born in the Twilight

Today's Salon features an interview with William Easterly, who criticizes U.S. foreign aid as stuck in a top-down model that hasn't worked since the 1960s.... more

2006-03-29

Wires and Code

I love when a site unexpectedly shows me a little bit of code. I found this one on wired.com, of all places, in an article... more

2006-03-19

Innovation

In 1934, a swim coach at the University of Iowa speculated that breaststroke swimmers could gain a significant time advantage by bringing their arms and... more

2006-03-12

Reading about bicycles is like...

...swimming about thirst...thinking about dreaming...baking about penguins...dancing about airplanes...sitting about jumping  more

2006-03-06

Barbers ≠ Surgeons

Once upon a time, barbers were surgeons. This offends modern sensibilities but there’s a logic at work here: after all, they use approximately the same... more

2006-03-06

The Better Airline Ticketing System™

Why can’t we book airline flights the same way we route TCP/IP packets? An airplane ticket is kind of like a guarantee. You tell the... more