Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I may not have to go to New York for Mexican Chinese fusion cuisine after all: courtesy of Nerdtech, a menu for Chino's, Ypsilanti's own Chinese & Mexican carry out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I was listening to Butter 08 and John Spencer Blues Explosion, and ran across these photos. Made me want to be a New York hipster all over again.

Least I'm closer to New York than I was last year at this time.

Monday, March 29, 2004

I'm back on track, had a very productive day today. This morning I stuck around after church, snacked on cucumbers and potato in peanut sauce, chatted with Josh and John, lunched with a few Impact guys and watched a presentation by the summer mission teams, going to Peru and southeast Asia this year. I'm so jealous of them, they talked about the strict regime of physical and spiritual discipline they're putting themselves through to prepare for the trip. It seems like a grueling schedule; after all, they're still full-time students too. But it's something I'd like to have, such strict discipline; I would feel so much better about myself as a person.

Anyhow, after that I dinked around in the computer lab for a while and e-mailed back Katie Beth, got my act together and read in the law library for a while. It's a beautiful place to study, like a cathedral. Back in the computer lab, I submitted my questions for history discussion tomorrow, and biked home. Now, I'm back from a trip to the grocery store with ingredients for orange almond cookies, should be done in an hour or so, and off to bed.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

I see from the logs that some folks from Impact are probably reading this. The reason I didn't make it to Wednesday night is because I got some really bad news that morning and felt really bad all day, and especially unsociable come 7 PM. Last night, I didn't make to ACCESS for the same reason that I didn't go to the men's breakfast this morning, which is that I'm recovering from a cold and possibly some kind of infection. I figured it would be the opposite of a blessing to pass them on, so I'm staying at home today. I am anticipating an upgrade in my condition by tomorrow morning, and I being able to make the morning service. I'm really bummed that I wasn't up to the breakfast, I was really looking forward to it. I expect a full report.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

There's too many cool things about this article:

  • It talks intelligently about freeters.
  • It gives an example of a successful alternative to the public school system.
  • It gives a glimpse into the writing process.

And more.

This, folks, is why everyone under 25 at one point or another dreams of living in New York.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Sometimes I just drop photos into the photo directory without posting them to the photo weblog and announcing it here, and sometimes I don't post all of the photos that I upload. So if you want to stay al corriente with what I'm writing and snapping, it's best to bookmark my homepage, which keeps a record of everything, rather than this weblog.

Ahh, back when the Web was young, innocent and fragile: Chain Mail—don't break the system (printed in 1997).

Instead of reading the intro to his book, I spent the last 20 minutes translating Li Bozhong's biography. From the original Chinese:

Li Bozhong
PhD. Born in Kunming, Yunnan on October 10, 1949. Graduate of the history department at Xiamen University. In 1985, appointed a research assistant and assistant director of the Zhejiang Social Sciences Institute History Department. In 1993, appointed researcher at the China Social Sciences Institute. In late 1998, came to Qinghua University, where he was made a professor, and a member of the Qinghua Humanities and Social Sciences Institute Academics Committee, a member of the Qinghua 21st Century Academic Research Development Committee, and as a joint professor with Nankai University, the China People's University, and Yunnan University. In addition, he was China Historical Economics Institute operational overseer, as well as vice-president. He has held positions at UCLA (1988), the French National Institute for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences (1989), Tokyo University (1990), the University of Michigan (1991), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1993), Cambridge University (1996), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997), Keio University (2000), and other professorships at noted institutions abroad. His publications include "Agricultural Development in Jiangnan during the Tang Dynasty", "Development and Regression: Research on the Production Capabilities of Ming-Qing Jiangnan", "Agricultural Development in the Yangzi Delta, 1620-1850", "The Early Industrialization of Jiangnan, 1550-1850"; besides these, he has published, domestically and abroad, many academic papers on questions relating to China's economic history.

He is co-teaching History 669 (Ming-Qing, late-imperial) with James Lee this semester. The book that was assigned this week, mainly for the native Chinese speakers/readers, is 《江南的早期工业化,1550-1850》, "The Early Industrialization of Jiangnan, 1550-1850". The iconoclastic idea seems to be that industrialization happened in China to a limited degree during the late Ming/early Qing, even before it was imported from the West.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

This is ultra cool: Ann Arbor now has a car cooperative. Basically, you pay 100 dollars down and 3 dollars per hour of usage; the insurance is taken care of. This is loads better than choosing between having a car that you drive a few times a month, and having no car at all. Tomo mentioned being interested in something like this, and I think I would be too when my plans for next year clear up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I found this recently randomly rooting through the file system at UGCS. Users who log in when over their quota are presented with a limited shell, which is actually a short script (/ug/adm/scripts/quota-shell) that I will selectively quote here. First, the user is faced with a menu to choose from:

echo " You are in excess of your quota by $exceed KB. Your choices are: 1) Endure a mandated delay of \c" [ $hours != 0 ] && echo "$hours hours and \c" echo "$mins minutes, then log in as normal. 2) Start a restricted shell which allows you to clean up your directory. 3) Send an email message to the UGCS system administrators. 4) Log out and come back some other time to deal with your problem. 5) Play UGCS Quota Roulette. (Select the option for more information.) You currently have `mailcheck` Not that you can read your mail or anything.... What is your choice (number 1 - 5)? \c" read choice || exit

Hmm, the "UGCS Quota Roulette" sounds intriguing...

5) echo " Okay, the deal, should you be stupid enough to accept it, is a nine in ten chance that you will be given your normal login with no delay, and a one in ten chance that your home directory will be completely deleted. Do you agree to these conditions? \c" read agree case "$agree" in y*) word=`fortune dict` echo " Are you absolutely, positively certain? Remember, you are agreeing to a TEN-PERCENT CHANCE that your ENTIRE HOME DIR will be COMPLETELY ERASED. The system administrators will not be liable for this, nor will they restore your data from backup. You can still back out, just press control-C right now. Otherwise, please type \"$word\" (with no quotes) to prove your stupidity: \c" read confirm if [ "$confirm" != "$word" ]; then echo " You didn't enter the correct word -- either you can't type, or you were struck by a fit of sanity. Try one of the other options available to you." else echo " Okay, here goes ... " echo "To: sysadmin From: $USER Subject: I am a stupid user! This is the quota script, notifying you that user \"$USER\" has chosen to play UGCS Quota Roulette. The outcome had not yet been computed when this mail was sent, but it should be obvious from the size of the user's home directory. Snickering, UGCS" | /usr/lib/sendmail sysadmin case `ksh -c 'let a=$RANDOM%6 ; echo $a'` in 3) find $HOME/. -user $USER -print0 | xargs -0 /bin/rm -rf > /dev/null 2>&1 & echo " oooooo oooo ooooo .o. \`888. .8' \`888' 888 \`888. .8' .ooooo. oooo oooo 888 .ooooo. .oooo.o .ooooo. 888 \`888.8' d88' \`88b \`888 \`888 888 d88' \`88b d88( \"8 d88' \`88b Y8P \`888' 888 888 888 888 888 888 888 \`\"Y88b. 888ooo888 \`8' 888 888 888 888 888 888 o 888 888 o. )88b 888 .o .o. o888o \`Y8bod8P' \`V88V\"V8P' o888ooooood8 \`Y8bod8P' 8\"\"888P' \`Y8bod 8P' Y8P Don't even bother trying to stop the script -- your home directory is being erased in the background, and only cutting the power cable could stop it now. On the bright side, the next time you log in you will probably be under quota, and you'll get a login shell right away." byebye ;; *) echo " Well, you got lucky this time."

As you can see, the Roulette is for real! Notice, however, that the advertised chance of an account purge is one in ten, and that the actual chances are 1 in 6. Those UGCS admins, they have a great sense of humor.

Monday, March 22, 2004

To the Taco Bell drive-thru girl:

You could be hot. If your hair was out from under that baseball cap, the one you pulled down over your dark eyes. If you lost the over-sized sports jacket and company polo shirt; don't hide your figure like that. If showed off those dimples and smiled a little more... yeah, you would be hot.

Shoot, I almost biked the long way around the building just to get one more look.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Ann Arbor Trader Joe's opened its doors yesterday. It's big, clean, has the usual wide selection of wines, cheeses and gourmet frozen foods.


TOTAL 13.96

We also swung by the new-complete Chinese supermarket.


TOTAL 3.41

Thanks for the ride, Ed!

The guys hung out after ACCESS tonight. We went to Pancheros, ate warm tortillas, and talked about video games and basketball. HMCChurch is going to start a men's ministry with a breakfast next Saturday; I think that's great, because a lot of "men's" issues have been on my mind lately.

Digging DJ XII's Pantyraid 3 mix heavily (in the media folder for a limited time).

Also, more on his weblog.

Friday, March 19, 2004

I was thinking about feminism last night, since it's so closely tied to the new theories about identity, and because the supplementary essay in my Chinese textbook this week is something along the lines of "Is the return of women to the kitchen progress or regression?"; and also because I read one Ann Arbor blogger's post on incorporating feminist ideas into her daily life.

The aim of the feminist movement of the mid 20th century was to give women a choice between the household and the workplace, with the popularly held (but I'm guessing not necessarily theoretically intended) notion that there would be a mass and almost complete movement of women into the world of the workplace. The growing reliance of families on two incomes to maintain their former standard of living aside, there is more talk in the last decade of a movement of women "back to the kitchen," which could probably be related to the new feminism which describes the role of the gender rather than prescribing it. That's just headed in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned. So let's think about the progress made in repositioning men within the "traditional" power structures.


That's right, there hasn't been much done on this. Besides Susan Faludi's "Stiffed", which is more of an examination of the backlack against men by the women's empowerment movement, I can't think of any books that directly discuss the role of men in healthy societies and households. So I tried to walk down this road of inquiry for a few minutes, and this is what I came up with, at least in regards to men in the family.

Popular sentiment, which may find its root in the women's lib era, regarding the male role in the household is that the man should do his fair share of housework. In fact, this is now one of the items on the list of qualities possesed by the desirable male. But the movement of women back into traditional roles suggests that the home domain is not ideally a 50-50 project, but that women have a more dominant role (point of discussion: to what degree is this culture-dependent?) to play. If this is the case, then men are expected to help out only as a sign of sympathy and support, but not as managers within the home. The "classical" (pardon my view of the mid 20th century as the classic era) role of men has thus been to make a salary and bring it home to support home-making activities. I see several conflicts here that necessitate a re(de)fining of the man's role in the home. First, should the acting of a husband of a primary breadwinner be different from the more typical wife in the same situation? In other words, should a stay-at-home dad be exactly the same as a stay-at-home mom? Second, if the classical male role implies a husband who is distant from the home and his family members, and this role is unhealthy for the development of the family--which I would posit as being true--then how should a greater role for the husband in the family be constructed? Can we look back to history beyond the "classical" period for models? Has there been a time when the man played a bigger role in raising children, home upkeep, etc, and was this conducive to stronger families?

I forgot to include the three possible conclusions:

  1. Men's primarily role is outside the home.
  2. Men need to return to the home, and take back some household duties.
  3. Men need to return to the home, and rediscover their own unique duties.

I'm sure there are other possibilities.

These are questions that either everybody knows the answer to and hasn't clued me in yet, or need serious consideration because they are fundamental to building solid families. Granted, as I've asked them here they only apply to heterosexual unions, but I think that's a whole 'nother issue.

Hmm, why don't I think of asking these questions when I go out to dinner with John Yim? Wouldn't that be a good person to ask? Impact is getting big; maybe, as John suggested, a men's group is the way to go.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ever thought you looked silly when you bent over to take that picture? Well, you did!

What does it take for a city to be "cool"? The Cool Cities idea is that a city should attract a young, creative population. The Michigan governor's office is pushing for Michigan cities to think this over. On Tuesday night, the Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force held a Town Hall meeting. Several webloggers went, including AAIO (you know it's going to be an uphill battle) and Brandon (I left feeling a little disillusioned). Ann Arbor may have a ways to go to get back its coolness, but Detroit has even further to go. The Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force has a weblog.

The one thing I would say on this topic is that living in Ann Arbor has changed my way of thinking on what kind of city I would like to live in, if I stay in the United States after graduation. Back when I lived just below Los Angeles (which I do miss sometimes), I was convinced that I would like to live in the downtown of a cosmopolitan city like New York, where I could eat at fancy restaurants, hang out at underground clubs and catch the artsy movie premieres. Since then, the things I'm looking for in a city haven't changed, but they may have come more into focus and I've reconsidered the possibility of living in a more "heartland" city, a not to booming town but one with a better sense of community and a focus—whether intentional or not—on making connections between people. Which, ultimately, is what really matters; right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Desperately (Not Really) Seeking Stiglitz:

What appointment is guaranteed not to slip off the calendar? You got it: the trip to/from the airport. It may happen late. But it will happen. (I learned this method of operation from Nancy Zimmerman, Andrei Shleifer's wife: schedule your meetings with those who are important and whose time is finely sliced during their trips to/from the airport.)

Micah and Xingmei

Friday, March 12, 2004

The news from Spain hit me like a brick.  God help us.

Hoy todos somos madrileños.

Mad props to Helena for dinner tonight, it was a veritable feast: rice with tomato and eggs, Chinese veggies with fish and black beans, green beans, tangerines, and candy rasberries for dessert. I think I'm in the mood for cooking! (more later)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

For CCS 502 we read (or were supposed to read... it was on the next page of the syllabus, so I didn't see it; nevertheless, managed to contribute a diatribe against getting too abstract in defining "materiality"... social scientists, reprezent) a chapter by Sophie Volpp on the literary consumption of actors in 17th century Ming China, an article that (so I hear) makes use of the terms homoerotic and homosocial. Some people noted that even though a homosocial relationship does not imply a sexual desire, it does carry that connotation. A more explicit criticism of the article was that it did not consider other factors that may have launched homosocial friendships, like inclusion in a powerful social group, the opportunity for occupational advancement, or just plain literary aspirations. So it got me to thinking, what is the true nature or purpose of guy-guy friendship, "brotherhood" so to speak? I know that networks of girls/women friends provide emotional support as a main benefit. Are guys different? Should they be different?

Haha, this almost reads like a Gwailo post without the extended quote.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004


Monday, March 08, 2004

Spotted Chinese 7331 speak:

The blogger problem is serious, crickies! (Source)

Aaaaaaaah, kill me know... (Source)

Also, in the book I'm reading, another example of the eery similarities between Chinese and English: 鼓起勇气, literally to "drum up courage"!

Exciting news: Today I walked down to the organic market at Stadium and Liberty and found a newly opened Asian supermarket, 行运超市. And when I say newly opened, I mean newly. The front half of the store was completely empty, just carpet and pieces of cardboard. When I reached the back of the store, I found four men unpacking boxes of noodles, oils, crackers onto half-empty shelves. After a tentative hello they waved me in and handed me a basket. For its half-finished state, the store still offered some good pickings: freezers full of mantou/馒头, shuijiao/水饺, and all sorts of fish, spinach ramen, shrimp crackers, fresh Chinese vegetables like 油菜,i青菜,番茄... I picked up a bag of dumplings and a box of almond gelatin mix. I'm looking forward to dropping by more often in the next few weeks.

Oh, and youtiao, they had youtiao in the fridge!

One of the simple pleasures I've discovered here in Ann Arbor is college radio. Of course I'd heard of college radio as an institution, that herald of indie music, plumbed by the big labels for the next break-through musical act. But at Caltech, the student-run radion station was more known for its technical innovation (web-requested mp3s broadcast over the air) and being a platform for interhouse mockery (Lloyd sucks!) than for playing new and exotic music.

So I come to Ann Arbor, and discover true college radio. At 88.3 on my Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE, WCBN broadcasts a mix of programming ranging from hip hop to jazz, to big band, to classical. By far my favorite programming happens on Sunday afternoons. From 2 to 3 PM, Radiozilla plays a mix of eclectic modern pieces (Shonen Knife, stuff I've never heard of) and popular oldies (tracks to the tune of the In The Mood For Love soundtrack, but different) from all over East and Southeast Asia. There are old playlists online that give a feel for what they play: if you feel totally lost reading through them, you've discovered what makes the show so great—it's an experience in sharing and discovering new music. I've been disappointed that I can't seem to find current playlists, but I guess that's a reason to stay glued to the radio on Sunday afternoons. Not that it's a pain: the hosts are great people. In fact, one of my earliest memories of looking into UMich was poring over Cindy's Asian record collection and being utterfly dumbfounded by such an extensive and eclectic mix. I was not the least bit surprised to find out that she was also an Exotica list subscriber (I wonder if the list is still around...).

After Radiozilla is Sounds of the Subcontinent, a two hour long show featuring music of Southeastern Asia: mostly India, Sri Lanka. Ann Arbor has a sizable Indian student population, it's too bad there's no Naz8 Cinemas in the area; at least the music is getting some popular exposure.

Of course, you don't have to listen to WCBN just for the Asian music. Just yesterday, they played one of DJ Dangermouse's cuts from the controversial Grey Album. WCBN is not just available in Ann Arbor, but also streams over the internet.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Internet can seem large and daunting, but in actually it's still quite small. And that's what makes it cool. Here's an example.

On February 4th, I was reading Brainysmurf's weblog, specifically the entry where he points to the China Study Group. I go and surf their site for a while, and eventually follow a link to The Mao of Pooh, a parody of socialim through Winnie the Pooh stories. I think it's not serious enough for China, Michigan, Books, but definitely worth mentioning, so I jot it down here at Blogspot.

Richard Eriksson, the man behind China Weblog, reads my page sometimes so later that day he picks up on the Mao of Pooh link and drops it into China Weblog: Asides. Richard's weblog has much traction with the China weblog community, so Wayne of the Sinosplice community picks it up four days later. Such a good link should be shared, and since Wayne is a member of Metafilter (one of the English web's top community-linkblogs), he shares it with the world on Mefi. From Metafilter, it scatters in the four cardinal directions, getting picked up by bunches of other weblogs.

So that's my "6 degrees to to the world". Ain't it great?

And a month later, the Guardian online features it in their Webwatch column.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

From a Slashdot post:

One professor of mathematics noticed that his kitchen sink at his home broke down. He called a plumber. The plumber came on the next day, sealed a few screws and everything was working as before. The professor was delighted. However, when the plumber gave him the bill a minute later, he was shocked. "This is one third of my monthly salary!" he yelled. Well, he paid and then the plumber said to him: "I understand your position as a professor. Why don't you come to our company and apply for a plumber position? You will earn three times as much as a professor. But remember, when you apply tell them that you completed only the seventh grade. They don't like educated people."

So it happened. The professor got a plumber job and his life significantly improved. He just had to seal a screw or two occasionally, and his salary went up significantly. One day, the board of the plumbing company decided that every plumber has to go to evening classes to complete the eighth grade. So, our professor had to go there too. It just happened that the first class was math. The evening teacher, to check student's knowledge, asked for a formula for the area of the circle. The person who was asked was the professor. He jumped to the board, and then he realized that he forgot the formula.

He started to reason it and soon filled the board with integrals, differentials and other advanced formulas to conclude the result that he had forgotten. As a result he got "negative pi times r squared." He didn't like the negative, so he started all over again. He got the negative sign again. No matter how many times he tried, he always got a negative. He was frustrated. He looked a bit scared at the class and saw all the plumbers whisper: "Switch the limits of the integral!!"

Friday, March 05, 2004

I've been getting better about taking photos of people.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Local blogger Goodspeedupdate has some stuff on a Michigan secret society, and announces a talk by Madeleine Albright at the Business School on March 10 ( page).

Ypsi bloggers Steve and Hillary Cherry (née Bough) just married. She explains why she changed her name to his. Old fashioned? I say the women have had the right idea all along: such a momentous occasion deserves a name change. Name changes all around!

Micah Sittig


Wu Hung's piece On Rubbings is the first chapter of a collection of articles collectively titled "Writing and Materiality in China." According to Lydia Liu, one of the book’s editors, the title was purposefully left short and vague because the relation between writing and materiality changes over time, space, and with the progress of technology. Also, writing and materiality change the very way we conceive of the passage of time, the extent of space, and the usefulness of technology. Wu Hung's piece speaks to this topic through his study of rubbings as material culture, the process by which they were made, and their value to collectors.

So the conclusion is that materiality is a conspiracy between creator and audience. And that we still don't know what art is, but that it shouldn't matter anyways.

Micah Sittig

Teachers of the Inner Chamber
by Dorothy Ko

Over the last twenty years, a new strain of feminist literature has emerged that is based on the theoretical framework of the notion of gender. The common approach to women's studies over the past century has been to examine the role of women, defined in the biological sense, in the major political upheavals and social movements of past historical eras. The new wave of feminist theory supplants the old convention of defining the sexes biologically with a new social construction, termed gender. Gender tries to define the difference between men and women through a relational approach, rather than cut and dry "biological determinism" (Scott, pg 3). By generalizing the boundary betweens men and women and connecting it to the social realm, the new discourse is able to put forward questions like "how does gender work in human social relationships? How does gender give meaning to the organization and perception of historical knowledge?" (Scott, pg 4) These new questions have opened up wide swaths of history to be reexamined through the relationships between the men and women of the time, and also encourage us to ask the same questions of the history transcurring today.

I know that "transcur" is not an English word. We have enough English infecting other languages nowadays, it's about time we get a little counter-flow going.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Good photos from CCS 502 tonight.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Liberty St Video is deceptive, because they package their DVDs in VHS tape boxes. However, they have several things going for them:

  1. Cute employees.
  2. Cat Power playing in the background.
  3. Free rentals of "local videos" (mostly film school projects?)
  4. Open till midnight, when everything else on Liberty & Main is long closed (except the Fleetwood Grill, which actually had a band playing outside. At midnight. Punk rock. Rock on, FG.)