China General


I’ve got voicemail now. Not that I want an answering service or anything. Mobile phone and SMS are just fine for communication within China. (Answering machines and voicemail don’t exist here because mobile phones took off ahead of the laying of land lines.) The voicemail is just a way for my friends and family to communicate with me in a way convenient for them.

So, if you call the number below, you can leave me a 5 minute message. It then gets emailed to me as an audio attachment. Very cool. And free. The number is out of Seattle, so it’ll cost you some change for the long distance charges, but then again, your call will be short. This is a free service from Wanna give it a try? You know the drill… Leave me a message at the beep!

  • (206) 888-4743
  • (206) 888-grif
Astro Audio China General Tech

Cool Websites – Random Links

Here’s a list of some cool websites I’ve come across lately:

  • ctrip. com — A very comprehensive site on booking hotels and tickets for travelling in China. I’m using this for my upcoming Shanghai trip.
  • — A subscription-based online telescope. For $50 US a year, you can have unlimited access to their group missions, plus 15 minutes of solo time, where you get to direct the telescope to your object of choice. Cool!
  • Article: How to get the best sound out of your PC — A technical prescription on how to optimize your Windows audio chain. For audio geeks only.
  • madphilosopher bookmarks — An online bookmark storage and sharing service. This link is my account, but you can get one too. The cool thing about shared bookmarks is that you can see how many other people around the world are bookmarking the same sites. And since it’s online, I can access my bookmarks from any machine. Check it out!

Canada Tax Time help

[Maple Leaf]My brother-in-law, Wayne Hoover, is helping people process and submit their Canada Income Tax. He’s an accountant by day, super tax-fighting hero by night. If you want him to do your taxes, give him a call. He’s charging $25 for a basic return, and a higher rate for more complex returns. He’s based in Edmonton, but you don’t need to live there for him to work with you. (Hell, I’m in China and he’s doing my taxes.) Call him: (780) 444-8669.


The Wedding

[Edie and Aron]
Edie and Aron May. March 10, 2005.

[Flower girls]
Terra and Trinity were the flower girls. This was a surprise for my Mom—she didn’t plan it, but Darcia did.

[Edie and Darren]
Me and my Mom.

[The ceremony]
Our pastor, Wayne Key, led the small ceremony at the chapel of the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton.

[Edie and Aron signing]
“Look at the camera!”

[Darcia signing]
Darcia signing the registry.

[Susan, Darcia, Wayne]
Susan (Aron’s daughter), and Darcia and Wayne, at the dinner.

[Edie and Aron with their cake]
The happy couple with their cake.

Copyright General Swing

About my vacation

Well, I’ve got a day and a half left here in Edmonton before I return home, so perhaps I’m a little late with a blog entry about my vacation. It’s been great with only a few glitches. I spent my first week here being sicker than I’ve ever been in my life. Then week two saw me very unproductive with a severe case of fatigue. Fortunately, it went away, so I’ve been able to get things done and to see a few people during this last week without any health problems holding me back.

My mom and Aron got married last week and it was fun and beautiful. They’re now in Spain and I’ve got the house and my mom’s car to myself.

I had a great conversation with my friend Dave Ballantyne about all things copyright and capitalism. I learned some surprising things about how the idea of intellectual property is actually anti-capitalist, and so is 100% of all discussion on either side of the copyright war. But the world has to wait until Dave finishes his Master’s thesis this summer before we can read his ideas on the subject in essay form.

And last night I had a great conversation with my friend Bruce Dean about his life right now, his adventures being the official driver for Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft during the election campaign, and how he got wrongfully fired three weeks ago and is now fighting to get his job back on two fronts. And yes, as he said, he seems more at peace about his life now than he’s ever been before. I wish him well.

Tonight I’ll have dinner at my sister’s. And then tomorrow I’ve got a dance with Swing-Out Edmonton. Sunday morning I fly outta here, in time to catch the dance class in Beijing on Monday night. See y’all there.


Two dishwashers are better than one

Here’s a cool idea for the truly lazy. Buy two dishwashers. Put your dirty dishes in one and keep the clean dishes in the other. When the dirty one gets full, run it. Then the dishwashers switch roles. This way, you never have to put the dishes in the cupboard. (I picked this up from Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code for March 14, 2005.)


My brain is full

My brain is full. Where can I go and empty it?


Let’s play ball, eh?

My friend Chris had this posted on his blog. I think he earns his title, Mad Sports Man! Thanks Chris, you made me laugh.

[Chris' need for baseball]

China General

Easy going at work this week

I got a pretty sweet deal at work this week. Basically, they had run out of work for me to do during this publishing cycle. So I got an unexpected vacation. I still went in to the office every morning to work on other projects, but I was able to take the afternoon off. This worked out well this week because of all the preparations for Christmas and for seeing Eydie off in the days to come. So one day, I was even able to take her to the Forbidden City.

So it’s been a great week. It’s Christmas Eve and I’m in a taxi on the third ring road, listening to Swing, and blogging while traffic moves along slowly. I’m on my way to Alpha Bakery to buy some dessert for tonight’s party at Ilse’s.

Astro General

Blame it on the stars

My website has been down for about a week. [I am writing this post offline without being able to publish it for now.] This is really frustrating since there is not much I can do except wait for Bruce, the server’s administrator, to discover and respond to my messages. He must be out of town on a long trip or something. In addition, for about a week before the server outage, file transfers were extremely slow. And, for the last five days, my broadband connection at home was AWOL too.

So it was over this weekend that I made the connection between these problems and Mercury being retrograde. This phenomenon is known to disrupt communication and, in particular, computers and computer networks. So I’m being hit in multiple ways. Mercury goes direct in the next couple of days, so hopefully things will get back to normal.