June 24, 2005
It's off again tomorrow morning, this time to the Xinjiang's magnificent Kanas Lake. (Yes, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the monster.) It's located all the way in the northern corner of Xinjiang, up where China, Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan almost touch each other. The weather should be comfortably cooler than Korla (as the region is described as "alpine") and the scenery should be lovely (crystal-clear, blue mountain water and a thick bed of wildflowers). Anyway, it means I'll be out of touch for a while... but in the end you're bound to be rewarded with some lovely photos.
June 17, 2005
Small Town, Big News
OK. It's not as if Korla's really a small town... what, with it's 200,000+ residents or so. But judging by what made yesterday's Korla Evening News - one of the city's daily newspapers - you'd think it was a town of not more than 200 lonely souls. Much to my surprise, people started telling me on Thursday that there was an article about me!
And what could be so special about me that it should be deemed newsworthy to Korlans? Well, about two or three weeks ago, the water heater in our apartment wasn't working. We got some repairmen to come over, at which point they discovered that I had put in one of the new batteries I had purchased upside-down. Stupid me. So, they flipped it over. Everything worked. They refused payment, and I thanked them profusely. End of story.
And that's it. Really! That's the whole f%&$#! story. And now everyone in Korla knows about me and my water heater. I'm just wondering how on Earth the people over at the paper were tipped off. I'm going to have to be more careful about what I tell repairmen (and the guy who brings our drinking water) in the future.
June 14, 2005
In case you haven't heard, Pink Floyd have decided to reunite for a four song set at the Live 8 benefit concert in London on July 2. Supposedly, the concert will be broadcast around the world, which makes me hold out some small hope that one of the stations here in China will pick it up. (Hey, I watched the Super Bowl, right?) It'll be the band's first concert together (that is, including Roger Waters) since 1981. The news was surprising enough that I let out a little yelp of glee when I first came across it in my TVSpy daily newsletter. Anyway, all this doesn't have much to do with China, or even with me, but it's damn good news! Can I go so far as to hope for a reunited worldwide tour sometime in the future?
June 12, 2005
Hot, hot, hot!
Somebody pass me the sweat rag... it's gettin' hot in here! I've always known that things would heat up in Korla, but until recently I was able to hold onto some small hope that maybe this summer things would be different. After an initial raise in temperature that started somewhere around the beginning of March, things have been pretty much stable for the past two-and-a-half months (hovering somewhere around 70º-75ºF... that's 20º-25ºC for you non-American guests). But over the past few days, those hopes have been dashed. As I sit here writing this in the early evening, I'm baking at 95ºF (35ºC). That's not deadly hot, but keep in mind that the start of summer is still a good two weeks away.
On the positive side of things, I've begun a fairly strict exercise regimen in order to combat the nasty weather. (It also helps that Chinese people have no qualms about - when first meeting you - saying something along the lines of, "Nice to meet you. You're very fat. You shouldn't eat so much food.") It's no secret that I've long dreamed of being lean and mean, and to achieve the desired effect I'm now swimming laps every day. I'm averaging around 1200m/day at the moment, but hopefully I'll be able to up the distance. Cross your fingers, and maybe I'll be able to keep this up. Meanwhile, pray for cooler weather.
June 09, 2005
A Few Good Men
I wanna get a good job and be real rich!
Frank Zappa, 1979
I just wanted to publicly congratulate the only good boss I've ever had, Steve Capus, on his promotion to Senior VP of NBC News. (Of course I like you, too, Barbara Duffy.) You're makin' me proud, Steve... for all that's worth.
Of course, it's no surprise that a top-quality guy like Steve Capus should get promoted. NBC Nightly News has been on top of the ratings for, oh, about 100 years now. What's more, he sucessfully steered Nightly News through 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq. He even managed to harness the awesome energy that is Michael Manning, and to prevent me from destroying all that he worked so hard to create!
John Reiss, on the other hand...but surely I jest! Congrats to you as well, John, on being named Nightly's new Executive Producer.
Alright, now that I've got all of you buttered up, who's gonna help me find a job with NBC in Beijing? My own efforts have been terribly unproductive. Send me some advice, will ya?
June 07, 2005
Well, as some of you may have read, China's Ministry of Information has decided that all websites and blogs based hered in the PRC will have to register with the government by June 30th. It's not exactly clear where I'm supposed to register, and as the Ministry of Information's website is only in Chinese, I'll have a tough time finding out. Of course, even if I did know where to register, I'm not sure that I would. They'll never find me, right?
Let me know what you think about all this, and whether or not you think I should register. It's not exactly as if my website is a hotbed of political dissent... but as a red-blooded, freedom-loving American, any sort of Big Brother-like activity seems a chance to resist the dark side.