Category Archives: Uncategorized

Egad, a meme!

The old “Five things you don’t know about me” meme is going around again, and I’ve been tagged by the China Blog Mafia’s representative in Taiwan Province. Normally I wouldn’t deign to post something like this, but hey, it’s a meme. I’m powerless to resist. Five things that you probably don’t know about me: 1. […]

quick update

Now it can be said: I’ve been back in Philadelphia for the last few days. Those of you who read Chinese can find the details on my Chinese blog, where I have an account of how I bamboozled my parents and snuck back home; it’ll probably be a few days before I get around to […]


I went out to a midnight double-bill at the Oriental Plaza cinema with my girlfriend last night: The Curse of the Golden Flower (满城尽带黄金甲 – I assume the title is a classical reference that I’m not getting. Joel?) – Zhang Yimou’s latest indulgence – and Wounded City (伤城 – the official English name for the […]

There and back again (2)

I came home to an empty house: my parents were in Ireland visiting my brother, and wouldn’t get back for another couple of days. It had been a longer trip than usual: a six-hour layover in Narita, then a three-hour layover in Dallas that stretched out to four when the plane was delayed. By the […]

snowed under

No posts this week: I’ve got about 5 different deadlines coming due, from smaller translation and editing gigs to a fairly large, rushed script translation. Will be doing stuff for an acquaintance next week as well, so there may be nothing then either. After I finish everything, I think I’m going to take a break […]

They'd None of Them Be Missed!

A couple of friends and I were chatting about Gilbert and Sullivan over the weekend, and I thought of Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko’s song “I’ve Got A Little List” from The Mikado. The original song manages to be racist (“the banjo-serenader and the others of his race”), sexist (“the lady novelist”), and classist (“the lady […]

Lame-ass Translations 1: Dante's Inferno

A couple of years back I bought a Chinese translation of Dante’s Commedia without really reading it at the bookstore — this is what you get when books are cheap. As it turns out, I really should’ve flipped through it a bit first, because the translation sucks sucks sucks like an Electrolux. It’s literal, unbeautiful, […]


The scallions are piled high on Andingmen Nei Dajie. That’s how you know it’s fall — that, and the shortening days, where the sunlight comes in at a 20 degree angle earlier in the afternoon than it ought to. By 4:00 the buildings burn orange in it. Beijing is not what you’d call a user-friendly […]

Deutsche Welle Weblog Awards: Don't vote for the talking dog

I just found out via Technorati pingback that my Chinese blog, 在北京找不着北, has been nominated in the “Best Chinese Blog” category in the Deutsche Welle International Weblog Awards. I’m not sure who nominated me, or when — I didn’t get any notification of this — but it’s very flattering indeed. The blog is currently in […]

Reasons I'm glad not to be a farmer in late Ming-dynasty Shaanxi, #603

From Ma Maocai’s 1629 (崇祯二年) memorial report to the Chongzhen Emperor, 《备陈大饥疏》”A Narration of the Great Famine.” Translation mine; original text (courtesy of David) below the cut. Corrections/comments welcome, as my classical Chinese is rusty. (Some corrections made, thanks to the Foolish Old Man of the Granite Studio, whose recent post on Hua Guofeng filled […]