If you’re a inconstant runner like me, you’re unlikely to even consider taking on a marathon. But the encouragement of my lovely Patty (our family’s running stalwart) and a nagging sense that it should come off my bucket list sooner rather than never, prompted me to sign up with her this year for our home marathon in Beijing. We had intended to prepare diligently, but pollution levels have been high this late summer and fall (usually the clean-air time of year) and we were not in the best shape today.
In truth, the reason I decided to begin my marathon career in Beijing was because the odds were pretty good of a lousy Air Quality Index, and Patty had agreed with me that if it was over 100 we would bail. Of course, this morning came and despite numbers in the 200s all week, a strong wind Saturday had blown all the shit off to Tianjin, leaving us with a spectacular fall morning and an AQI of 55. Damn.
So through the mosh pit of a crowded start and hey, at 8km I feel pretty good! I’m trying not to get cocky, but think I might have a chance at my goal of 4:00, as I say goodbye to Patty and stretch out for the 2nd quarter of the race. I’m high on the crowd (jia you jia you!) the friendly fellow athletes, the lovely weather, and the continuing sense that I might not screw this up too badly. Continue reading
I so wish I was in Underhill right now to see firsthand what Roy and his team are doing, but for now pictures like this one will have to do. Luckily Patty will be there around the end of October to poke around and – I’m sure – fall in love with the place.
Today for the third time, on the PRC’s National Day, I hosted a workshop at my Huan Tie studio with Qiang, who is a Chinese-American artist living in Austin, Texas. Qiang is a very unique artist, a physicist who’s done work in holography before turning his talents to oil painting full-time.
Serving as our model was the very patient and portra-genic Carl. We were six painters in addition to Qiang, and while everyone had a great time and made beautiful portraits, I have to say that the one pictured here, by our youngest member Rachel Miles, is perhaps my favorite.
Hello People! You might not believe it, but around 7% of the worlds population is gay. That means out of every fourteen people, around one of them is gay (think about your friends!). Despite that, there is still a lot of controversy concerning the right of gay people to get married to their partners of the same sex. My argument is that people should be allowed to marry the people they love, no matter what gender or sexual orientation they are, and here’s why.
Opponents of gay marriage often say that being homosexual is a mental disorder and that people should be treated for it. This is crazy. Gay people aren’t hurting anybody, so why do some people think we need to cure them? Studies have shown that it is almost impossible to “cure” someone of being gay, and if they aren’t causing anyone harm, why should we even bother? It’s a huge waste of time. In current society, we are forcing everyone to be straight and to think the same. Gay people are too scared of what might happen to them if they came out. There are millions of stories of kids that have gotten tormented and harrassed because they are gay. If we changed this law, people wouldn’t be scared to be who they really were and express themselves. It would make the world a more comfortable environment for homosexuals. Having this law wouldn’t affect anyone except the people it was benifiting, and it would definitely make a lot more people happy than unhappy. People in this world should learn to live with people who are different to everybody else.
I stopped by Underhill on the way to New York last weekend, and was able to grab a few pics of the frame in its current state. It’s just beautiful!
Here are a couple of pics from Roy on our house progress. It’s really hard to be so far away, removed from the daily developments of the project other than by photo and phone, but stuff like this helps a lot. We were last in Underhill just a month ago, but at that point the garage was just getting the sub-roof put on, and there wasn’t even a first floor deck on the house.
Now though, Roy and his guys are assembling the frame on the completed floor deck, and getting ready to raise it, which will happen this week if the schedule holds.
When you look at the frame detail here, it’s easy to see why we wanted Roy to build a timberframe home for us. While the style of the completed house will violate many established tenets of traditional Vermont home design, it’s uniquely ours, and the timber frame is a big part of that. And Roy and his team do a great job. I’ll make sure we get some pics of the erected frame up here soon!
And it seems that the gravity in the Eastern hemisphere, specifically that near the Great Wall, affects them in unusual ways. And you thought the language was the hard part.
Jesse, Tom, Kal, and Wes arrived last Sunday for 10 or so days in China. We’ve spent time on the great wall of course, but also given them many other important Beijing experiences (duck, acrobats, pollution.) Nellie and I even took them to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xian. We went to Xian on the overnight train – a first for the boys – and returned on the new 300 km/h express (高铁) of which China is so justifiably proud.
Carl and Jackie were looking pretty spiffy in their year-end party getup. The Leaver’s Ball (there exists no consensus on placement of the apostrophe) is rather like an English school system equivalent of a US Prom, for year 12 and 13 students only (well, also the year 13s’ parents.) Patty and I are very excited for next year!
Patty opened her fantastic new show, True Colors, at the Beijing American Center in the Jingguang building tonight. The BAC is the cultural and educational outreach office of the US Embassy here. Despite a nasty, rainy night, the center was packed, and Patty gave a very insightful, personal, and lovely opening address to a very appreciative crowd, and answered questions for an extra 30 minutes. Her show looked just beautiful and will be hanging until late August, so if you’re in town go have a look.
More information on the location and Patty’s show, as well as her art (both the series in this show and more generally,) can be found at her website. There you will also soon be able to get more information on her classes and upcoming shows later in the year.
Yesterday, Carl was selected as Harrow International School Beijing’s Head Boy for the 2013-14 year. For non-English School system folks, the head boy and head girl lead four other prefects who effectively form a student council and management team. It’s a big deal, and we are really proud of him. Carl’s friend Jackie was selected as head girl, and we’re really proud of her too! We know they’re going to run a tight ship and have a lot of fun along the way to graduation in July 2014.
The selection process combines voting from the students, teaching staff and administrators. So they have the whole school behind them.