Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I spent a bit of time these days (summer vacation, heh) on a couple of BBSs, but I've only been making one show up on my homepage because I was introduced to the other one by Jodi and she's a more private person than I am when it comes to revealing personal information (I'm sure you can figure out which one if you've been connecting the dots, but it's not like the tabloids would care or anything). Having the threads in which I post show up involves a bit of trickery because Chinese BBSs make it hard to pull/poll public feeds of posts by user, so I end up entering each thread by hand after I post to it.

This makes me wish there was a way to centralize control over my BBS posts across multiple BBSs from one interface. Instead of having to open a separate tab for each forum, I'd like to log into a single account and see which of my threads have been replied to in all of the different forums I post in. This would require the different BBS admins to opt-in or install whatever software made this possible, and it would run against the anonymity that a lot of people like in BBSs. But if we could get past or work around both of those obstacles, it would make something like Friendfeed possible for the BBS part of the internet and that would be cool, I think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's hard to give credit for things you quote from the Chinese internet because so much of it is copy-and-pasted a million times over, so it's near impossible to know the original source. Here's one such thing that I found interesting:












Monday, July 28, 2008

Tonight on Channel Young they had a short segment where they highlighted 错别字, wrong characters on public signs. One that they singled out is the first character in Yoshinoya's name:

According to the host, the first character should have been 吉, where the top horizontal line is longer than the second one. What makes me curious is that the "wrong" character is used in graphics throughout Yoshinoya's Japanese website, but that the text in the website's copy that shows up in my Firefox on Windows XP has the "right" character:


Is this a real mistake? Is it a calligraphic thing, or a Japanese/Chinese difference?

An explanation for all the new photos I just put online: on Saturday we went to the aquarium at Changfeng Park (which we still enjoyed on our second visit, Charlotte's first) with a bunch of Jodi's online friends and then spent the afternoon at one family's house. Here's a few of pictures from our outing. More on Flickr.

Changfeng Aquarium

This is a ray

Fish family


(Tonight we went out for dinner and shopping at Carrefour, which accounts for the rest of the new photos.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're selling a stroller. This was Charlotte's first stroller. We are looking to sell it in order to prepare for the new baby. More information here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Turn it up, Daddy

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Via 张江家园, at the Dongchang Road ferry crossing:

Sitting on the boys shoulders.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Thursday, July 17, 2008

If you've been watching the skies lately, you've noticed that the Moon has been swinging closer and closer to a mysterious planet low in the sky. Now thanks to the planet is no longer a mystery! It's Jupiter! 木星!

Year: 2008  Month: 7  Day: 17  Hour: 22  Minute: 36

As you can see, the Moon and Jupiter are right next to each other tonight. Taking this prime opportunity, I whipped out my camera, set up the tripod on a stool on a chair on the balcony, and took some photos on various zoom levels at various aperture and exposure settings. Here's a photo illustrating the distance between the two objects, overexposed to get Jupiter two show up (it's very clear to the naked eye, though):


Obviously the moon is way, way overexposed, so I closed the aperture a bit and shortened the exposure time.

Moon large

Back to a longer exposure time, I zoom in on Jupiter. Originally I had thought it might be Mars, but who could mistake the deep sky-blue color for Mars' red surface???


Lengthening the exposure time even further to probe for details, I captured all four of Jupiter's Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io! Nice!


That's all for tonight. It's a pretty good capture considering the warm Shanghai atmosphere, the Zhangjiang High-Tech light pollution, and my shaky little tripod.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My parents have always told me (and books back them up) that my name, Micah, is a question asking "who is like God?". Having studied and spoken several languages, I now guess that there must be some serious implied context to be able to get that meaning out of two syllables.

The point of this post, though, is not the above. Today I'm doing some online research to pick matching "English" names for the Chinese names Jodi has chosen for our second child. I'm flirting with the idea of choosing a non-English name for the boy-name (we don't know the sex), and in the course of that train of thought I came across a website with a list of Igbo names from Nigeria, and their meanings. Lo and behold, there is an Igbo name that means "who is like God?", which would be the Igbo equivalent to Micah. The sound, however, is nothing similar: Onyedikachukwu. I should add it to my middle names.

And via Peijin, honey, I'm still bigger than you:

A fat husband whose tummy is bigger than his pregnant wife's.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Race past rebel base.
Lt. Rat so startles
able Bert's ape car.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This last Tuesday and Wednesday, Jodi and I took Charlotte on a small trip to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. On our first anniversary we spent the day in Hangzhou, having brunch at the Shangri La and enjoying the West Lake. This time we spent the night in Xitang, enjoying the town's bridges, canals and local cuisine. Here's a few pictures from our trip, more on Flickr:




Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today was the second time I forcefully removed somebody from a Shanghai metro train. It was funner when I was single and I could muscle my way out of the train during rush hour, releasing a little of the frustration each time. Nowadays I have a wife and kid to take care of, so it gets stored up little by little and then something like today happens. I wonder if it'll make the news.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Recently the "Shanghai Legend" shopping center next to the Zhangjiang High-Tech subway station has been seen its business expand and has been taking advantage of this growth to try some new money-making ideas: part of the grassy area in the central plaza is being replaced with a wooden deck, an unused walkway along the entrance was converted into retail space for a Coldstone Ice-Cream, and a some tents were set up just outside the shopping center selling random stuff like ice cream and toys.

Besides Gourmand Hoi Kei, one of the things that has me excited about that particular subway station is that it's the second place in Shanghai that I know of to shop for second-hand English-language reading material. One of the tents I mentioned above sells what I assume are slightly damaged or unwanted books from the Fuzhou Rd Foreign Language Bookstore (I'll ask about this next time I'm there). They have a decent supply of both children's and adult's books, enough to keep me browsing for a good 20 minutes while Jodi sits in air-conditioned Starbucks and tries their weird new drinks. The adult books are heavily weighted towards esoteric topics like cooking, history, and self-improvement, while the kid books are more all-around. The majority of the books are in English, but I also ran across some Spanish, Portuguese, German, and a couple languages I didn't recognize. All books are marked with their original price but are sold for 40% off, plus whatever you can bargain away.

On Saturday evening I got away with six English books for RMB 160: The Practical Guide to Kayaking and Canoeing, preparing for the day I get to kayak on the Suzhou Creek; Patrick Moore on Mars, for physics class; The General Knowledge Quiz Book, gearing up to start a Quiz Bowl team at our school; a recipe book from the Thomas Edison estate, a beautifully printed booklet whose pages could go up on the wall once framed; and a book of rhymes and cat story for Charlotte.

Full day today: yummy Thai food at in the Jing'an Temple 久光 basement, rounding out a gift in the department store above, visiting John B/Kexia/baby Willy at their beautiful new apartment, shopping for shoes and pastries at Zhongshan Park, Guizhou-nese dinner with a great view at the People's Square 干锅居, then home to bathe Charlotte and upload pictures to Flickr. Speaking of pictures, here's one from a tea with friends at the 御花园 Restaurant inside Zhongshan Park, which coincidentally happened to be the location of our wedding almost two years (minus 2 days) ago:

Meeting of friends

And a bonus picture of tonight's dinner:

Admire my spread

More photos on my Flickr and, with some overlap, on Jodi's Yupoo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I put up a set of photos on Flickr this evening that might require some explanation. For a few weeks now, rumors have been floating around on the Zhangjiang Jiayuan online BBS that one of the supermarket giants would be opening a store soon in the Zhangjiang area. Would it be Legou/Tesco, or Yichu Lianhua, or Carrefour...? After a while, a definite location came to light: the new, boxy two-story building on Middle Gaoke Road, a short bus ride away from our house. Not long after, people started claiming to have heard one way or the other, and a couple of dates (7/25, 8/8) were quoted as the official opening date. But nobody had any definite proof of what the store was going to be. So this afternoon Charlotte and I took the Dongchuan bus down to Yijiang Road (should have gotten off a stop later at Zhangdong Road) and scouted out the location, camera in hand. The photos in the Flickr set are pictures of the outside and inside of the building. The prize photos is this one:


It was written on the side of a box of equipment waiting to be unpacked and says 家乐福上海张江高科店, "Shanghai Zhangjiang High-Tech Carrefour". I posted the pictures back to the BBS as a public service to settle that discussion. Currently Jodi and I have to walk to the north side of the LQ and take the 909 more than 10 stops to the Jinqiao Carrefour; it will be nice having a Carrefour only 5 stops away on a bus that runs right outside the south gate.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Family portrait