Sitting in a taxi on my way to the new M3 to get dinner with my former boss. She is objectively the best person I have ever worked for. She even tried to hook me up with an apartment when she heard I was coming into town, and insisted on furnishing it with new linens and offering me the key to the place even though I had told her it was totally unnecessary (since I’m staying with my girlfriend’s father). It’s been two years since I’ve seen her, and I’m really looking forward to it. Continue reading “2017-12-15”


Woke up at the crack of dawn, not that I wanted to. My body just wouldn’t let me sleep. An upset stomach and a mild hangover kept me from sleeping-in. My girlfriend’s parents were already waking up at this point and beginning to make breakfast anyway, so sleeping in probably wasn’t on the table regardless. I ate a small breakfast and drank a cup of coffee. Exhausted, but committed to being conscious now. Continue reading “2017-12-14”

Houston, Beijing

In the early morning darkness of December 11th our Boeing 777 lumbered into Beijing’s “Capital International Airport”. The sun was hours from rising and the temperature was below zero.  While the city of Beijing was lit and sprawling for all the eye could see, the massive airport sat eerily quiet, almost abandoned. No flights were scheduled to depart until later in the morning, hours after our arrival. The only aircraft alive were those arriving into the Middle Kingdom’s capital city from all far reaches of the world. Continue reading “Houston, Beijing”

A brief entry about my bag

Sitting in Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Gate A13, direct flight to Houston, Texas — KIAH. Transferring to Air China, direct Beijing, China — ZPEK. Onwards to Shenyang, China from there — ZSHE — after a difficult transfer through customs and another run through security.

This is the “lightest” I’ve ever traveled, and I have to say, it is quite liberating. 1 checked luggage under 50lbs and a carry-on backpack. “High speed, low drag.” The reprieve from stress associated with heavy packing is non-existent. I’m not juggling belongings or corralling bags. This is the way to travel. This is the way to do it. Continue reading “A brief entry about my bag”

Inspiration and stagnation.

In almost a week from writing this (12/2) I will be on an airplane on my way back to the Middle Kingdom. I’m excited to be returning to visit familiar faces and familiar places, although apprehensive about flying on a Chinese carrier. I’ve heard more than a few “horror stories” regarding the domestic maintenance standards of the People’s Republic. Oh well; Hard to beat those ticket prices ($1,100 round-trip)! In the meantime I’ve been finishing up this semester, focusing on finals, and, more important, been assembling my photographic kit. Continue reading “Inspiration and stagnation.”

The Great Firewall of China — And How to Avoid It

The internet in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is fairly heavily regulated in regards to content and networks. Almost everyone in the West is aware of this and it is often cited as a sort of damning evidence against the Chinese state in efforts to vilify the government as some sort of oppressive, totalitarian regime. Americans, especially, have a pretty warped concept of what life and government in the PRC is actually like; And, Americans, especially, enjoy vilifying foreign states that have been historical competitors or hold associations to the boogeyman that is Marxist ideology. Maybe that mentality is just a hold-over from the Cold War or maybe it’s actively fostered to maintain a sense of unease and distrust towards a major geopolitical opponent (who we might wish to be on unfriendly terms with in the future). Who knows? —None of that is what this blog post is intended to cover. Continue reading “The Great Firewall of China — And How to Avoid It”