Thursday, October 30, 2003

Zhen qiao! I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that my classmate, Gil, from Chinese class worked at Chindex when he waa in Beijing!! I worked there for 3-4 months and got some 'interesting' exposure to upper-end Chinese healthcare. Usually, no one but no one knows what Chindex is, so it was a total shock to hear that he worked there in 99 and after I left in 00. Turns out he's Roberta's cousin! Man, I was so low on the food chain that I didn't even really ever talk to Roberta... Crazy, teensy, tiny this world is.

Anna is here for the weekend and we're going to check out the School of Public Health info day for prospective students. I wonder if it's possible to get a joint MA in public health and chinese studies. That would rock. Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to hanging out with her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I have to write an essay for Chinese class about someone I know who is "strange or funny" so I'm writing about Kemin. Kemin's the guy who gave me my prized WDTSF shirt. What is WDTSF? Ahh, find out for yourself. Too bad the old version of the site is gone --I liked it better and it had more complete pages. Oh well. ;)

There's something about whiteboards and dry erase markers that brings out the graffiti artist in me. Oh, wait, spray paint does it too.

Woo-Cummings said something interesting about the etymology of the word, "governance" today. She claims that it was coined after the UN Charter declared individual state sovereignty so that people could talke about state politics in terms of management without reference to power (The European Commission has its own etymology for the word 'governance', citing increased use in the English language in the 1990's, with a different connotation than what W-C implied). She claims that, without reference to state power, it's an eviscerated term devoid of any real meaning. Of course because it was meaningless in its inception does not necessarily mean it hasn't picked up any connotations in the last 50 years. The issue of nomenclature is significant to how we define things (ahem, the debate over the definition/use of "guanxi" to describe social relations in China--maybe everywhere?). Well guanxi is different becuase ithe term was already there; it was just lacking a definition. But other words like "genocide" and Walder's "neo-traditionalism" were consciously constructed to overcome the dilemma of what their creator(s) believe to be a definition (concept) without a term. A cool etymology site, but beware, I've wasted hours upon hours here...

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Eeww. Fat free soy milk is a no go. Blech.
Max passed his wushu test at Wushu Central yesterday. Woohoo! Tony and Bo-wen are in town checking out the Bay. They're moving to PA in February! It'll be so awesome to have most of my cousins in such close proximity--oh, wait, I'm in Ann Arbor! =)

Max finally created his ramen shirt. The underwear is pretty funny too. Tempted to be scandalous and buy a pair...

I watched Hero last night with Dan. As with the first time, I love that movie. Jet Li was cool as a cucumber. Would it be sacrilegious to name my kid after Jet Li? =) Of course Maggie Cheung rocked. What I didn't know, but Dan enlightened me, was that Canjian (Broken Sword) is played by Tony Leung. The very same guy who played opposite Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love. *Swoon*

Later played three rounds of cut-throat with Dan and John G. at Full Moon. We all got progressively worse, but I have no excuse since I wasn't drinking. ;)

Checked out the new Whole Foods on Washtenaw. I was in Heaven. It's like a little slice of PA in Ann Arbor. At least this time I had better self-control and only bought what would fit in my backpack. I have to remember to go over to the bike shop this week and get a basket on my bike. Currently grooving to a little Martin Medeski & Wood...

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Up late again, as usual. I think I'm getting over this funk. Just needed to talk to some of my buds and of course knowing that I'll see Andy and the rest of my cousins in Minnesota over Thanksgiving gives me something to look forward to. Funny how my room always reflects what's going on inside. Things are slowly getting tidier, put shoes and some laundry away.

Talked to Jamie this evening--His boat won the Head of the Charles last weekend! So cool. It was great to hear his voice though since we both love extremes, okay so he's more extreme than I am (I'm not headed for the 2004 Olympics for one). But he's keeping himself busy with training, auditing classes at Princeton, socializing, and singing with the Princeton Univ's church choir.

I've decided to give Hung Gar a try. It's not the same as wushu, but I'm really looking forward to some structured training. If it doesn't work out then I'll try Great Lakes Wushu (misleading because the instructor is only teaching Bagua and Taiji). I have to remember to call Max tomorrow morning and wish him luck on his Wushu test. There's no doubt that he'll pass since he's been training hard, but it's still a big deal. I'm not sure at what point he should make the switch over to Zhang laoshi and Wong Laoshi. I suppose as long as he's still getting solid basics training, there's no need to change. Lucky boy, he's getting Mantis and nine-section instruction. It is a little early but as long as he realizes his limits and Coach David thinks he's ready, who am I to question? ;P

Remember how I was talking about renaissance men/women? I think right now I know a handful who could be considered modern renaissance people: Micah Sittig, Jamie Schroeder, Qi Zhai, Becca Price, Ewen Wang, Andy Huang, Ben Ling, and Asia Mei. These are people who I admire for excelling in multiple fields, which may or may not include: techiness, humanities, arts, dance, singing, cooking, athleticism, etc. What they seem to share in common is that their lives are works of art in progress. They constantly seem to strive toward something higher. This manifests itself in different ways with different people. I'm equating that passion/fire/thirst with being a renaissance person. Hmmm, anyhoo, it's getting late so I should stop typing before I completely stop making sense. ;)

I have yet to get back to my Americanization ponderings...

Friday, October 24, 2003

One more poem:

Maya Angelou
(from Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well)

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I know it's late, but with my talk about life plans and dreams lately, I was reminded of a W.B. Yeats poem.

Cloths of Heaven
William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

This also reminded me of directing "Dreaming of the Bones" with Joy so many years ago. I remember best the beautiful bolt of silk that transformed itself into so many props in that little black box theater and mostly in our minds. i reminisce now, but it was a ton of work then... Trying to find actors with convincing irish accents who could also sing, dance, and play an instrument was no easy task. ;) Okay back to work.

Why are the yellow pages yellow?

My cousin, Andy, said once that girls who wear lip gloss look like they just ate oily Chinese food. =) Today's a lip gloss day.

Americanization. I know this is old news but it still irks me a little bit. First of all, I don't have a definition for this so what I'm referring to is really an amorphous, vague idea that some other cultures are, consciously or not, adopting American (whatever this may be-another undefined term!) ideas and concepts. Li and I talked about this a couple weeks ago. For Chna it seems that tireless propaganda, fear, and 'making continuous revolution' has burned out millenia of Chinese philosophy about morality, righteousness, and one's place in society. This emptiness was only to be replaced by materialism and consumerism, or at least that's what some say--but actually, the desire for 'stuff' is in all of us and it's probably not anything 'new'. So let's say the void allowed consumerism and materialism to well up for lack of anything else to believe in. American papers love to say that the underground church is alive and thriving in China, occasionally checked by local crackdowns but the 'burning desire' to know love and God is strong. So they imply. While I don't really have any facts or numbers to back myself up, the few Christian Chinese that I met in China had their own Chinese version of the faith. In some ways it looked more like Chinese ancestor worship than Christianity. You pay your respects to the Father and he will bless your life in return. For some Chinese it seems like religion is just another form of the lottery. Why not buy a couple more lotto tickets and increase your overall chances in the draw? Or, in other words, throw in a couple more religions: pray too your Christian God, leave offerings to your ancestors, and ask for blessing from Guanyin and ONE of those is bound to work.

Oh, right, back to Americanization. So my friends and I developed our own taxi cab survey in Beijing. Anytime we jumped in a cab, we'd ask if the driver was happy or not. ("Ni gaoxin bu gaoxin?") By leaving the question intentially open-ended, I got all sorts of answers. Some talked about that days work, others about their tragic dead-end lives, others about rosy futures for their 3 year old son, others of politics (which I could not really follow at the time), and so on. But there was an underlying theme that sounded so American to me. Most connected happiness to material gain. I didn't ask how much they made or what they wanted. I asked a very simple question about happiness. (The sad part about this is that you don't realize how little happiness that bmw is going to give you until AFTER you get it. See Harvard psych study that came out recently, Gilbert et al.) I wanted to tell these guys that they were barking up the wrong tree if they thought that material gain was going to make them happy. Of course I don't find much wrong with materialism in of itself, as long as it is not pursued at the exclusion of the other things that really matter (what those are, I don't know). We're genetically programmed to want. And of course, I'm a spoiled brat from the Silicon Valley--what do I know of working 14 hour shifts to send my only child to primary school? I still maintain that real happiness and satisfaction in life cannot be derived from bmw's, but how much "ku" (bitterness) can one take in life and still be happy? Is "ku" just perspective? It's so easy for me to optimistic about life and happiness because I've experienced so little "ku". I keep getting off topic: Americanization.

I'm not done but I have to go do some work. I have more thinking to do about this. It's really easy to diverge on tangents on this subject. It's like I have thought-ADD or something. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Weather has suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Someone told me that poorly timed rain can put a damper on the fall leaves. The trees surrounding the field at Nichols Arboretum should be turning soon. I hope it won't be affected by this rain. Caught more of those Japanese beetles last night. They have cool under bellies--kinda what I imagined when I read Metamorphasis.

I splurged and bought a Kill Bill poster today. It has Uma wielding her samurai sword laterally across the the poster. Kinda funny that it's now that I start to buy posters. I always saw this as the pointless "college dorm thang", but I have to admit that I'm deriving much joy from papering my walls with Bruce Lee, Ansel Adams prints, origami paper, rothko, Hokusai, and, now, Uma Thurman. Perhaps I am regressing...

I need to get back into training. Just because I'm all the way over here with no one to fight and no coach doesn't mean that I can't at least keep it up. Maybe training plus a little meditation will help me find my bearings. You know set some small, easy to attain goals. My life goals are weighing me down a bit. I guess sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't be happy just going to b-school getting a real j-o-b in SF and settling into a little apartment with a view (I would have to forego the evo cuz there's no way I'd be able to handle those hills). Nah, I don't think I'd be too satisfied with that. I need the evo. Just kidding. =) Really, I'm lucky to have seen this played out too many times and I know the house on the hill can be a dark and lonely place. I want to fulfill my dreams (you know, the ones that will take me a lifetime) and keep my material life simple enough. Not ascetic by any means. I'm too much of a princess for that, I admit it. But simple. I want to know in my heart that all of it could crumble to dust at any moment and I would hardly bat an eyelid. Job lost his family too though. I'm not at the point where I have so much faith in God that I could give up my friends and family. (MCI is so sneaky--everytime I hear "friends and family" i think MCI. Can we consider ourselves 'free'?!) I suppose in a sense, I should be able to give up my dreams also. This I would have to work on. There's something in my brain that keeps telling me that things can always be better. The perfectionist in me? No, it's not that things must be perfect either. Just a gut feeling that to be a human being I have to serve other human beings... Okay, this is why I have to start training again. Accomplish some little milestones... Like more pushups, more miles, more strength, more speed, more power, higher, faster... less slob. Get the world off my shoulders for a little while. =P

One final thought: My friends and family are always a great reminder how truly lucky/blessed I am. I have great friends and a loving family (despite any asian american stereotypes). Although I hardly see them these days, it's one of those feelings, like you all just know that you'll be together through it all.

Monday, October 20, 2003

What a weekend. Too much stuff going on. Rough recap: Met with Professor Park about the Gansu survey and there's a lot to look forward to. Stoked about this. Finally met up with Rich's little sister, Lauren, at Pizza House on Friday night. Despite the age gap, we have a lot in common, at least in that she did wushu and has a similar attitude about things like girly drama and boys. ;P Did little work on Saturday. Saw July Rhapsody, starring Jackie Cheung. Didn't think it was anything to write home about, but this may be due to the fact that I just saw Lost in Translation when I was in LA with Jean and Bill Murray's character in that movie is pretty hard to beat. Afterward went to the Arena with Dan and Elisa, where we ate the biggest side of fries I've ever seen plus other midwest grease-laden junkfood. Then, headed over to Necto (the only club in A2) to meet up with Lauren, her roommate (??), Nick, and Alfonzo to get my dancing fix. Later on, I swung by Bubble Island for a drink and bumped into Andrew, KJ, and that German guy, whose name I could never pronounce correctly (given that I've only heard his name twice at Necto garbled with thumping west coast rap and techno beats). Was ready to go to bed, then I found out Evo got jumped by a bunch of kids at MSU. Broken bottles, ripped shirts, black eyes, stitches and the whole shebang. Drama, man. I don't deal with drama. Sunday, I didn't wake up until 2pm when I went out to get some food with Dan at Rendez-vous. Talked about relationships and stuff. Had a nice long coversation with Shelley last night about her pending engagement to a Korean guy I've never met. I have to meet this guy before she can get engaged to him--that's just the way it is. What kind of best friend would I be if it happened otherwise???! Se-yung (I'm probably not spelling his name right, but it's phonetically something like that) has kind eyes, whidh gives me a good impression, but I guess we'll see if he passes the test when I meet him in December.

Anyway all this on top of an underlying feeling of "blah" for bad emotional timing in my life. On this matter, I have no one to blame but myself. I accept it though because emotions are just like that. You can control them to some extent but sometimes you have to wait for them to grow or blossom on their own. Not to take the "flowering emotion" analogy too far, but I suppose you can do stuff to help or hinder, you know, like fertilizing, watering, ignoring. Used to think you could be in full control. I don't know if I still agree with that or not, but I have to ask myself how boring would life be if I were in full control of my emotions? Anyhoo, I'm hoping that from this point on, I can just settle into my readings and be a little more studious for the rest of the week.

I've noticed that in Chinese class, since I talk too much anyway, Chen Laoshi has taken to calling on me less relative to my peers. Can't decide if this means I should shut up more or if I should stay the same and take it as a good sign that I'm filling my talking quotas for class. Okay, I'm going to go procastinate on my other work by doing Chinese homework.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I still dunno how to make this a link but here's the addy for Angus Deaton's webpage.
So I haven't gone running yet. The Angus Deaton talk went longer than expected. I'll see if I have enough energy to go after Lieberthal's class. Argh! Man, I wish Wei were here so we could go running together! Those tortuous golden hills back home...

Angus Deaton talked about growth and poverty and how the predominant "school" that economic growth is correlated to reductions in poverty in the long run is not really true. He critiques Kuznet's upside down U for inequality and growth and argues that household surveys paint a clearer picture and indicate that growth rates in poorer countries lag behind world averages. Yet without a measured increase in inequality, the implication is that there would be a respective reduction in poverty, as in theoretically we'd be well on our way toward accomplishing international goals for poverty reduction. Ha! Two problems: growth based on UN NAS numbers are overstated and poverty statistics are understated. There was more discussion about survey related problems, but those questions were less interesting to me---

Karen Hui just called and SHE's ENGAGED!! The reason I didn't Chris and Karen the other night??? Chris had just proposed to Karen on Friday and they were up in the city on Sat. I have to go to class now but this one's a good one, and it involves sushi!

I was about to go running but I'm postponing until dinner time because I'm starving! So I'm making some mie goreng (shouts out to EAST!). With food, the hard part is figuring out what you want. I never know what I want though, so often I'm stuck in this weird state of food-limbo. Of course, hanging out with Li on Sunday, we definitely knew what we wanted--Jidaya!! Mmmmm. I have so many fun times associated with shopping and eating with Li (and Dave!). In an entire lifetime, one would be damn lucky to have a trueblue friend like her. Not only is she a princess like me, but she's totally an intellectual role model for me. You can meet smart people all the time, but Li's a lot more than a book smart qutie. She's intelligent and principled, and that's just a little harder to come by. Back to food, before I left home, I had Chinese food one last time with my family, Eddy, and Christine at Rulai. Good times.

I wished I could have gone go-karting before I came back. Eddy and Will et al. went to Lemans on Tuesday night but I couldn't go since I had to catch my flight. Seriously missing driving over here. Briefly considered bringing Madame Blueberry, but did the math and I'd rather spend the money in China, plus what would Max learn on? And speaking of cars for Max, rumors about a bmw m1 have me hopping in my seat and previews of the 1-series hatchback look promising. So for increasing affordability (although we have yet to see how they perform), bmw deserves some credit, even after the lapse in aesthetic judgement for the 2004 m5. It better be more powerful than the mini and any old golf gti. I should find out what John thinks about all this...

I need to work out my understanding of the relationship between economic development and growth. Right now I see economic growth as a part of economic development. But I have this gut feeling that someone could effectively argue that a state can have economic development without economic growth, here measured by per capita GDP for now despite the fact that Professor Park made a point that there are those who feel that per capita income growth is a better measure because GDP may be exaggerated for a number a reasons. Must find more readings to work this out. Let's say we separate economic growth from economic development. Can we replace economic development with economic growth when we talk about improving public health and health care? For what countries would such a relationship matter? I guess all this would be easier to resolve if I could get a working definition for economic development.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Whew, what a long day! I'm listening to some Kid Koala's "Dinner with Yoda" as I type. I'll start with Friday late afternoon. We had our CCS picnic with profs and many people I had never met before. I got terribly shy of meeting new people--dunno why. Really quite a shame because there were awesome people to be met... Like Lenore, who's getting her Phd in Ming/Qing short fiction, and Chenxiao's advisor in women's studies, who I would have liked to chat with. On the other hand, I got to chat with Micah on our saunter back from the park. In the evening, Evo (Puchu) and I randomly decided to go watch Kill Bill, vol. 1 at a real movie theater--actually it was more like me forcing Evo to 'want' to see Kill Bill, but I don't feel too guilty cuz it turned out to be a great flick. We chatted about Lambdas, dancing, and "Azian Ave" at Ugli until my shuttle for the airport arrived at 5 am. I laughed a lot that night. =)

Got on my plane, slept to Denver, switched to another plane, and ended up sitting next to the head and assistant coaches of The Clash (y'know, the SJ men's soccer team, ASL). Also on the plane was the entire team...Did I mention that soccer players can be pretty good looking? Turned out the assistant coach went to Kennedy High (class of '85) so we chatted for quite a while about Fremont, Chinese studies, soccer, travelling. I arrived in SJ at 10:30am Cali time.

Everyone came to pick me up and we went straight to get dimsum for brunch. If eating dimsum in the Bay Area was all I got to do during my whole time back in CA, it would be worth it! In the afternoon, we went to Good Guys to replace our faithful television. The question here was: in a tv, is it better to go for quality or quantity? For nearly the same price you could get a huge 65 inch tv versus a 40 inch HD something tv. In the end, dad dominated with the visual quality argument, but, really, how clearly do we want to see Larry King's wrinkles on CNN? =) Anyway, tv's not a big deal in the end. You can tell how much I cared by the fact that I napped in the home theater room until it was time to go.

After dinner, Christine, Sze-jun, and I went over to a house party in Mountain View. I didn't think I'd know many people because I thought it was going to be a predominantly Google party, but Stanford represented and Sumit, Filip, Stephanie (the one with the "other job"), and Dan (of Las Vegas fame) were all there, although Karen and Chris didn't show up. So now it's 1:50am CA time and I'm pooped and very satisfied with my first day back in the Bay Area. No real deep thoughts, just content.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Okay, someone told me today that the cute mongo Japanese beetles flying around my building actually bite, so watch out! In other beetle news, last night I found a clicking beetle in my room (family elatiradae). At first I thought it wasn't a beetle at all since the front part of the thorax and his first pair of legs were disjointed from the rest, but learned on that this is characteristic of clicking beetles. I ended up confining him to a plastic sandwich bag because I was too lazy to take him down four floors to freedom and I couldn't bear to kill him. I spent the morning (which is noon by my insomiac schedule) guilt-ridden because he was no longer moving, but I left him in the bag. Figured that beetles don't need THAT much oxygen so he must have died of exhaustion, struggling to get free. That was a terrible feeling. When I got home this evening, imagine my surprise when I found that he was up and running around again--turns out these buggers are nocturnal! So I got my lazy derriere up and took him outside. Lesson learned? Don't be lazy or you'll regret it.

My roommate had an awful evening so we made ice cream sundaes with hot fudge. Mmmm. She can't go on having bad days or I'm going to have to buy new jeans.

In reference to Micah's blog on Wednesday, I realize that we do have to face the reality of limited resources, but some types of infrastructure are more efficient than others. Like David Werner's Piaxtla comprehensive health programs in rural Mexico, he accomplished many of his early community health milestones through the education system. The school system, as primitive they may actually be in providing a good education, is not only good for providing equal education opportunities, but can be a structural framework for community health education. Empowerment through participation seems to be the best way to make a project sustainable, and how better to reach families and adults than through their kids? Parents as busy as they are and as little they care for education, still care about their kids (usually, anyway) and what they are up to. Bottom line, I'm suggesting that a well-implemented (even equitable) education system may be a stepping stone for community participation and then perhaps empowerment and sustainability. A three to four year education is better than nothing, but that is such a far cry from the 9 years that everyone else seems entitled to. Perhaps I wouldn't feel as jilted if the compromise were at least more than half the 9 years. Or perhaps it would be easier to swallow if a long term plan were set out from the outstart, outlining the progression from 3 to 9 years of UCE.

Prof. Chang said something cool today about being a Renaissance man. He's one of the few left in the world who believe in that anymore. I don't think I could ever be a true Renaissance woman because even though my interests are as multifarious as they are, I'm a master of none. Well thank goodness we have longer life spans now so I have more time to work on this one. I have about 57 more years. ;) No hurry, but gotta watch out for runaway buses and freak pianos falling out of the sky. Back to studying.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Ever run and run and run, then look down and find that you're on a treadmill? No wonder I wasn't getting anywhere! I'd been running the same 15 ft of rubber the whole time. Sometimes I feel that way about my opinions and views. I work through them only to come to a similar frustrating dead end. Like people not wanting to implement health policy. You can reason why it's effective and even point out examples of successes but in the end no one listens anyway. Then I think, oh yeah we've got be creative about matching disadvantaged people's needs with powerful people's incentives. THEN, I remember this was the same thing I concluded years ago. Seriously, the same 15 feet of rubber. When am I going to get off the darn treadmill?! Thank goodness I am biochemically inclined to be an optimist!

Another frustrating, but probably good-in-the-long-run, thing I noticed about myself today. I talk too much. Especially if it's something I'm really interested in. How am I ever supposed to learn more if I don't shut my motor mouth?! No one really needs my opinions. Mr. Blog, hold me to this, I am going to limit my participation in class from now on to only really relevant stuff and not go off on tangents about what I'm interested in. Seriously, you know it's a problem when you annoy yourself.

In all, today was still nothing to complain about. I learned more about myself, enjoyed CA-like weather, learned that the mammoth "ladybugs" are really Japanese beetles, and got to talk about public health and development issues in China. Here's a link to my oft-referenced WHO CMH report:

And the commission itself:

I'm going to top off my day with a glass of cold orange juice. I'll be back if I can't sleep. =)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

We had our first CCS discussion seminar pre-discussion today. My biggest regret: not having done more of the readings beforehand. What I love about the CCS students? Many of them showed up (Dan, Chen Xiao, Shuang, Micah, and John G.)! I hope ppl weren't discouraged that it was a little disorganized. Had to leave early to attempt to do the rest of the readings. I love it when classes go beyond stiff formality and people feel comfortable saying what's on their minds. Those half-baked ideas lead to much more interesting discussion, perhaps not as efficient, but it's all about the journey, right? Next time will be better.

I've noticed that students in Michigan libraries don't observe the "golden rule" that governs every OTHER library I've ever studied in: Silence. It's like a school cafeteria in there! My theory is that direct line of sight (and thus eye contact), four person tables, and the bright lighting converge to form a cafeteria without the food. I'm comparing against Green and Meyer back at Stanford and the Grad library at Mich so I have a limited sample size. Maybe it's just undergrad culture here. I dunno. But I couldn't imagine have a group discussion in another other library without having been in a group study room.

I went to 20 minutes of a Cai Qijiiao poetry reading in both Chinese and English at Shaman Drum today. I didn't like the poems that much. Of course, I certainly couldn't have done any better but they just didn't strike any chords with me. The translators read the poems chronologically; maybe he's famous for the pieces he wrote later in life, then it was my loss for leaving early. Oh well, got get back to reading.

Couldn't sleep again last night. Got to thinking too much. Realized that my Rothko print at the foot of my bed was really of poor quality and failed to express the real ingenuity behind his work. First time I stood in front of a real live Rothko painting (I forget what number--doesn't help that he never named any of them), I cried. Yeah, everyone has those moments but I just connected with luminous fields of color, floating there a couple inches off the canvas it seemed.

I wonder what happened to Becca Price. I miss her curly hair, her angelic singing, and mostly her laugh. She disappeared into the bowels of the education system in NY I guess. I like to think that she's just immersed herself in teaching and singing. I hope that she is happy now.

Monday, October 06, 2003

So, I take another step into my future, thrusting my simple life into the vacuum some like to call cyberspace. Who will care? Who will read this? Doesn't matter I suppose. Kinda pretentious of myself to click the public option. What it really means is that I hope that someone might notice someday that I have a blog and care that I post stuff. Dangers of blogging... It's kinda like thinking out loud. It's unnecessary white noise added to our daily intake of multimedia information ruffage. I hope I don't say anything stupid--but I've decided it's okay to not to please everyone. So no complaints if you aren't happy with what I type here, but please barrage me with critiques if I say something ignorant and/or stupid.

Really, it was in response to another blogger's comments about no one in his department having a weblog that I decided that I had to start one today. Pin it to the defiant little girl in me. Micah Sittig, thanks for inspiring me to take up another time-sucking addiction. =)

Today was just a mad rush to write my second book report for history. I'm learning /something/ but it's one of those things that doesn't seem to matter at the moment but is supposed to pay off years from now, um, when somebody cares that I can distinquish a he-qing system from a tributary system in Han period China. ;P

In other news, I had a great chat with Anna West last night when I was procastinating on the paper. How I miss public health people! She's thinking of checking out UMich's public health policy/epi program in November. Looking forward to seeing her and hearing more about Tanzania and her recent revelations. This woman is so amazing--definitely someone I would trust to do thought-out job of forming health policy. She's quick and well-versed in the int'l health canon (can I say that?). Out of the TAs in Ewen's Int'l Health, Anna was always the expert.

This all reminds me that I need to get on the ball in contacting profs in the public health dept. Well, this concludes Helena's first blog. Thank ya, thank ya very much!