万圣节(前夕)快乐

Well, we’ve got our little Jieke ‘o’ Denglong lit and The Sixth Sense (which Maggie’s never seen) in the DVD player, but I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Halloween. Here are some vintage Daily Show episodes to help you all celebrate – does it get better than Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and …

Burger King in Suzhou?

After a night out at the Shamrock, Suzhou’s defacto Irish pub, surrounded by fellow non-Asian faces most of which are rattling on in English, it’s sometimes easy to forget where you are. This is likely why, while sipping some post-closing brew at a little canal-side gazebo (Suzhou’s cool that way) around the corner that a …

Guess who’s coming to Christmas dinner?

Hint: It’s not Sidney Poitier. We made our third and final visa trip to Shanghai yesterday. After about 45 minutes of watching a muted DVD of Canada’s more scenic side, Maggie got called in for her interview. Neither of us knew really what to expect, but to calm her nerves about the whole thing we …

Gettin’ Smashed

As some might remember, I bought an e-bike a few months back. It’s pretty much replaced taxis as my primary mode of transportation (taxis having replaced buses shortly after I got caught in the rear door pushing my way on an overstuffed bus). For a city like Suzhou I would even go so far as …

Hao Hao Report Update

Hey all, in sticking with my best attempts at not cross-posting here and at Lost Laowai, but in the interests of still wanting you all to know about it – I’ve redesigned Hao Hao Report. Or, if you don’t want to go read about it – by all means, just check out the newly re-designed …

The dreaded Canadian visa process

After a failed start last Thursday*, Maggie’s application for a visa to go to Canada with me this Christmas has finally been submitted. Why is it that governmental bodies, no matter of what nation or for what purpose, always have the ability to make even the most innocent person feel like a criminal? For something …

Right Brain Vs. Left Brain: Cage Match

I get far too much amusement out of optical illusions, little puzzles, those 3D pictures of sailboats that you have to cross your eyes to see. So, it’s little surprise that when I ran across the picture below, I spent a good 20 minutes staring at it – and not (just) because if you look …

Wipha Sucked But Krosa Blew

Back a couple weeks I wrote about Typhoon Wipha coming to wipe Suzhou and the rest of China’s eastern seaboard off the map. It failed to do so. The other day all the reports seemed to indicate Krosa was coming to do the same. Nada. However, what it did do was give Suzhou that long-needed …

Suzhou’s Surging Wave Pavilion (沧浪亭)

To say Suzhou has a lot of gardens is an understatement somewhat akin to saying China’s got a lot of people. It’s the fact that there are so many of them that I’ve only slowly crept out to visit them. Much like temples in China, Suzhou’s gardens do tend to blend together. Generally speaking, they …

Practice writing Chinese on your computer

Over the past couple years of half-heartedly studying Chinese I’ve come across a good number of computer-based tools to help in my studies. ChinesePod, Google’s IME, Adsotrans and Google Translator, Wenlin and a bunch of great freeware and Firefox plugins – just to name a few. However, about two months ago I was casually browsing …