Friday, September 29, 2006

Playing Basketball - Haidian Foreign Language Experimental SchoolThe weather continues to please us Beijingers. My new Tuesday routine, at least for as long as the weather remains relatively cooperative, includes playing basketball after work with some of my coworkers. Here's a picture of Cory and Umberto shooting around before the rest of the gang arrives. We've also been picking up a couple of high school kids to round out teams and then play for about an hour together. I never played so much basketball before, but it's great exercise.

There are about 30 hoops on the playground at the Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School and, lately, they've been operating at capacity. Last week, we were bumped from a nice shady place to make way for a school-wide rope-jumping contest. They take jumping rope seriously here, boys and girls. Unfortunately, the only open court was near the trash. The air was a little ripe, but we got used to it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

OK. It's ready! My first show back after my own personal summer of love. You can get into the new show now, tentatively called: The Countdown, by clicking on the ODEO PLAY button above. We'll either have or have not a newer name than this when the next show rolls out in a few weeks. Can't be too hasty about these things. Stick around, though, and I'll let you know when I can. As you can see from the picture on the right, this edition has something to do with Allen Ginsberg. A taste of things to come!

Despite my lackluster efforts, everyone else has worked quite hard to make this thing come together. Thanks, Angela, for supreme advice, confidence and patience, and Julie Carter and Luc Simonic, who always read brilliantly. I can't thank you two enough for your wonderful recordings. Also, welcome to Josh Hinck who fashioned the audio collages with his own music, mixing it up with samples taken from: Tombstone Canyon, 1932, directed by Alan James and The Outlaw, 1943, directed by Howard Hughes. Finally, none of this would happen without the might and magic of Didi Menendez who puts everything together in any weather. How can we lose?

Lastly, but not leastly, thanks to all y'all out there in e-listening land. If no one listened to the show, well, I guess we'd still be doing it, and, actually, since it has gone live I don't think anyone's downloaded it, so that means, I suppose, we're just lost in the cyberwastes...
The weather in Beijing continues to cool down ever so slowly. It's still comfortable enough in the evenings to go around in a t-shirt, though. Hopefully, the weather will be nice next week while we're on vacation for National Day. It rained last night so it's a little humid today. The sky is shady patches of white and grey and the horizon on all sides fades into misty white nothingness. Everything is wet, but it's not raining now. For whatever reason, I'm glad it's Monday.

Making this from the office at school. I have to arrive too early on Mondays and end up sitting around until lunch time. There's a meeting with all of the Chinese teachers, seventeen of them, going on behind me and it's a little noisy. Grace (these are the English names by which they are called) is using the phone and Estee is talking about something with the rest of them. Every now and then I recognize someone else's name or an English word. Otherwise, I have no idea what they're talking about. I'm watching the Sunday night game on NFL Football GameCenter and reading news with the sounds of construction ringing out from the site across from the school.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spent a large part of the weekend working on the new poetry podcast and fighting with the new computer, which still has a few kinks in it. The poetry show is still called The Goodnight Show, although I think the name, among other things, will change. Anyhow, we're working through it. Assuming all goes well, I expect the new show to be available tomorrow or, at the latest, in two days. After this show, I'm not sure what's in store. So with that said, it wasn't a particularly exciting weekend.

We went out for some Japanese food yesterday, which has recently been our thing to do on Saturday night. Hoping to pick up the pace next weekend as it's the start of a week-long holiday here in China!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

podcastJust beginning to filter through all of the audio I've recorded since June. In Italy, this is what you might hear when an accordion meets a subway train. Click the little POD thingy on the right side of this text. An acquaintance told me it had been done before, remarking, possibly, about my lack of originality in recording. Is that a reason not to do it again? I suppose I won't be the last one. It's fun and that's about as good a reason as any!

Had a nice little review of the International Open Mic at eChron (in the post dated September 13th), Drew Link's new blog, which, as his commentary suggests, seems to reach people who otherwise aren't poetry geeks like some of you. Not me. No, not at all.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Enjoying rampant BLOGSPOT (typoed BLOGSOT which I thought was nice) access for the past five days. Maybe it hasn't quite been that long, but it seems like forever. The internet gorillas must have fallen asleep on the job. I'll probably jinx the privilege by writing about it, but it's very nice not having to circumnavigate Chinese restrictions all the time. Most of my clicks have been toward poetry blogs and, perhaps, they've simply lifted restrictions on those destinations. Us Chinese-embedded e-commoners can only wonder.

Shortly after we'd returned to the capitol B, we'd asked to have our apartment walls painted as they were looking a little grungy. Yesterday, we waited for the painter to arrive, which was supposed to occur at 9AM. He didn't arrive until 1:30PM. We weren't too pleased. Aside from the latent attention, whenever people come to do something in our apartment, we've needed various tasks performed by our landlord over the past two years, they seem to bring an entourage with them. In comes our landlady, her husband, the painter wielding a lengthy tree limb (he later used this to stir), and another unidentified woman. Another episode of the Foreigners-in-our-Building Show. Eventually, they left the painter to do his magic.

Apparently, they don't use drop-cloths here when they paint. Newspaper was spread over our things, the tops of our things, at least, and, even with this precaution, the painter still managed to get paint on our couch, windows, TV, & CDs, among other things, aside from getting it all over the floor, which was nakedly uncovered. Anyhow, it made for a long night of cleaning after the painter left.

I just spell-checked this thing and the checker grabbed "blogspot" and "blogs" among others. Seemed silly to me...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Enjoying what's left of my Friday morning. Just got off the video chat with mom & dad. That's cool! My first time. It wasn't without errors or interference, but it was otherwise fantastic. And the price is well worth it. Free via the i-net. Still coming down from the summer travel, marriage and family high, but I'm here for you now. The show must go on...

Some of my links are outdated, but I'll be getting on that soon. I have many new ones to add, as well as some new audio from the past few months. So many little details and tedium to tackle in the next few weeks...

Angela found a part-time job working about twelve hours a week. Now we're firing on all cylinders again. Time to get ready for work...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Coal Creek, Colorado - Todd, Me & MattuxSheesh! Nearly another week has passed and I'm still not back up to full cyberpo strength. I'm doing my best and the effects of jet-lag have faded by now. Actually, over the past four days, we've only had internet access on one of those days, which has made it difficult to progress electronically. I spent that one day answering e-mail that had been sitting around in my inbox all summer, which left out fun stuff like submitting work, blogging and just reading stuff.

Noticing so many silly poetry discussions in the poetry nooks and crannies lately. I'd like to get my two cents in, but I tend to get over three quick and by then I'm starting to nickel and dime y'all and that's no good. Hoping to get The Goodnight Show up and running soon (a new show is in the making so stay tuned). Take a minute to listen to one of the old shows if you missed some of them.

Oddly enough, it's my brother's birthday today in China so I'll honor him by posting this picture of him and his son near their home in Coal Creek outside of Golden, Colorado.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Business as usual in Beijing. Seemingly mundane things for us, but I know for y'all they're uncommon. I'm glad to get back to a somewhat regular schedule now that wedding and honeymoon mayhem have ended and seem, after not even one week, alarmingly far gone.

Started teaching on Monday and the first week of school is always busy. Looking forward to the weekend, though, as I'm still feeling jet-lagged in the evenings. Finished off a little mini-literary festival at The Bookworm yesterday evening, resuming my alternate life as an open mic MC, by participating in a poetry reading featuring Scottish poet Liz Niven, which was followed by a number of Beijing Subterraneans. Last night's show was quite special as there were a number of poets reading poetry in many different languages (Chinese, English, French, Persian (?) & Scotts) and in diverse styles. I can't imagine a better poetry gig going on anywhere in the world. Come and check us out if you're planning a trip to Beijing.

As usual, I'm pumped up about the start of football season and my tenth season running my fantasy Junior Robert Football League, a twelve-team fourteen-week spectacular. That's American football, if there was any doubt. Waking up tomorrow morning to catch the Miami/Pittsburgh opener with a few Beijingers before going to work.

Returned here with a new computer and I'm still in the process of migrating data and such, but I expect to be fully operational by this weekend, after which I can get back into my poetic life, only marginally operational over the past few months, but entirely centered around a well-tuned multimedia machine.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Coal Creek Canyon, ColoradoAlmost one whole month without posting! I tried, honest, but never seemed to really have any time to spare. That's just the way the evil e-ball bounces. Seems like Angela and me have been constantly moving for the past month. For example, we've been in places like the one pictured here, near my brother's house in Colorado. Our whirlwind tour of the states took us from New York to California with stops in Denver, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon. We were excited to see many things we'd never seen before and travel through parts of seven states.

Now, we're getting ready to leave for the airport in San Francisco.

Everything went well during our vacation and I'd love to tell you about it, but it's not going to happen in detail. The only bad thing that happened was that I lost my writing journal on the plane in Las Vegas. *sigh* I guess I'll write more really great poems...

Well, that's enough for now. I need to move on to bigger and better things before departing, but I promise I'll be back with more frequency now. Looking forward to getting back to Beijing and getting back to work. I'm promising big changes in the coming year so stay tuned here to keep up with all the action.