... not gonna say where he is, but, yes, he's alive and well. He's just burned out. He'd rather not go back to his old life.
I can understand that.
I finally got in touch with an old friend after he'd vanished in August last year. Turns out, he'd left the country and a lot of hassle. He'd come back and I chatted with him for the first time in six months. It was good to know he was alive and well and he's got a better direction in his life. He's going to be happier where he's going and doing what he'll do. The crazy stuff will come to an end, if he's lucky, and I think he is lucky this time.
Best of luck to ya, buddy, and I'm glad you quit what wasn't fun and started to do fun stuff again. Fun is good for the soul.
We, the BHS AcDec team, competed at the Texas Region X competition over the weekend. Here's some images from the festive occasion...
That's DemiDec Dan, aka Daniel Berdichevsky, the guy who sent me on to China. Great guy. If I'm Mao Zedong, he's my Lin Biao. Well, my pre-1971 Lin Biao. I don't think he'll try and launch a coup against me, seeing as how he doesn't really work for me. But his eyebrows are much more Lin Biao-y than mine. He's not up to the Zhou Enlai level of eyebrows, but, well, let's get back to my team... here's shots of the next day...
Another group of teams came by to visit and I found someone else who was into Bollywood... see if you can pick her out...
OK, that is Albert, our only individual medal winner - a silver in Math. After him, NOTHING. Usually, our team picks up a few more awards, but not this year. Our total score was 2000 points lower than it was from last year's and my other coach, Mrs. Gregson, and I both were worried if our team would make the cut to go on to state in February. As the awards ceremony marched on, our hopes sank lower as we saw more and more other schools tromp across the stage and we had... nothing.
After Plano Senior High School took first place, the MC congratulated everyone and then mentioned the 4th and 5th place winners. Mrs. Gregson and I remembered how, two years ago, Berkner took fifth place and we had no idea we were getting that award. We flipped out then. During the awards, we reminisced how much fun that was and thought there wasn't any chance of that this year.
"... and in fifth place, Berkner High School. W-"
I really don't know what the MC said after that. We went ape. It was totally unexpected, especially after not getting any awards, but we don't care. It looks quite likely we're going on to state in five weeks, and while first place is nice, I really love fifth place. It's a great feeling.
It's interesting how some things now remind me so much of being in China. The other night, for instance, I had some leg pains as I slept: I dreamt I was taking my son through the Forbidden City. I think that's pretty cool. Instead of complaining about that, I now get a free trip back to an amazing place - for free!
This morning, I was sent back in a different way. We had an ice storm here in Dallas, so I expected my shower this morning to be pretty chilly at the start. That was OK. I cried, "Blossoming Brilliant and Calgary!" as I jumped into the shower. I closed my eyes and could see the circus-like pattern of orange, red, yellow, and brown tile from the Tang Yue bathroom as the ice water coursed over my face.
I'm not crazy, though. I did turn on the hot water.
For some reason, I didn't get any...
I thought I'd paid the gas bill this month... and then I heard the telltale noise of a dishwasher running - and sucking up all the available hot water.
I chilled out in more ways than one and closed my eyes. If I'm gonna freeze, I'm gonna freeze in Beijing.
I tried this fruit today in the form of an ice-cream popsicle. While not as intense an experience as the fruit itself, I survived and may one day have a go at the fruit itself.
For those unfamiliar with durian, it is the only fruit explicitly forbidden on Singapore's mass rapid transit system. Its smell has been described in a variety of ways by Westerners, all of the descriptions focusing on how bad it is. When I opened the popsicle wrapper, I took a good, deep whiff for the full experience.
While it didn't knock me over, I must confess it had a definite stink to it. There was a very heavy onion-y odor along with a general impression of decayed biomass best described as revolting. I did not need to suppress a gag reflex, though, so I took a chomp out of the durian popsicle.
It tasted like a very fruity onion. But once I ate it, the stankiness went away. I smelled it again and the onion odor persisted, but the decay had dissipated. That was pretty cool. I kept eating it and by the time I'd finished it, I felt rather satisfied. It wasn't the best thing I'd ever had, and the onion flavor never went away, but the fruity notes were a real treat.
I might try the real thing one day. When I do, I plan to be in a place where the smell won't be with me on a long-term basis. I don't want that stuff in my trashcan... the smell tends to attract large mammals who are nuts for it.
The DMA is free on Tuesdays and we had the day off. Sounds like a plan! We packed a lunch and headed down to the museum. My favorite part was the DMA Sculpture Garden out back. Malia's favorite place was the kids' center in the middle of the museum. Raina loved the interiors displays. Calvin and Yvette took it all pretty much in stride. A good time was had by all. Here's some pics from the day:
http://www.zzzptm.com/Chinablog-Beijing-3.pdf - 3.8 MB
Over 10,000 words and 60 pictures of my foggy third day. Read all about how I got to be a street performer and how I almost got killed by a bowl of noodles.
No Words portraits and romantic illustrations.
What's there to say?
I got words and pictures.
I got a message board.
Like I said, what's there to say?