Archive for June, 2010

July Fourth Suggestion

Friday, June 25th, 2010

About a month ago, on a night when Gabi was in Los Angeles with friends and wondering what to do with myself, I stumbled upon Ken Burns’ PBS biography of Thomas Jefferson on Netflix Watch Instantly. It’s a three hour masterpiece of time and place, the man and his era. How young he was when when he wrote the Declaration of Independence (32). How he and his enemy and friend, John Adams, both died on July 4, 1826 — the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration they both wrote. Details on Jefferson’s children by one of his slaves (though the documentary pre-dates the genetic analysis that comes close to proving the link).

Do yourself a favor. Before this July 4th, make yourself some time and watch it before the holiday. It puts things in perspective.

Contact Number in China

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Those buildings behind me? Farmland when I was here before. Wow. Ed in China.

Just a quick note to let folks know that my phone number on this trip is +86 1-86-xxx-xx-xxx. If calling from the United States, dial 011 then the number.

From Shanghai

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Just a quick note to say that I made it. Long flight …

Additional Letters to Dad

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Below the fold are the other letters to Dad that I have from his memory book on his 75th birthday. These are not all the letters, but all of those that I have.


Blogging While Traveling

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Some notes on what to expect here over the coming weeks. Unlike my sister, Helen, who is starting on her epic bicycle trip across the US, I don’t intend to blog my trip to China.

“Why not?”, you ask. “It’s so easy, and you have all the equipment. Server, laptop, smartphone … it would be really, really great.”

The reason lies in the primary purpose of the first part of my trip: re-establishing my ability to use the spoken language. This means avoiding English as much as possible, placing myself in the here-and-now of China for ten days. Running back on the internet, with English language websites and contacts, puts me back in my comfort zone—not where I want to be. I need to be uncomfortable; forced to use some long-dormant language skills. The second part of the trip will be multiple meetings, speeches and my chance to see Shanghai as a tourist—I’m going to be busy!

The one place I may allow myself to cheat is with Twitter updates. You can follow me here, or come back to the Steussy Ranch and check out the column on the right (“Twittering Steussy”). There is a minor technical issue – surmounting the Great Firewall of China – which I will have to solve to Twitter. Blogging should pop up again after July 4, when I’m back with lots of photos and reports.

I won’t be a hermit, however. The business phone number (+1 323 963 3270) will always reach me, as will email. I can’t run a business and ignore these, after all.

Seaworld #2

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Shamu at Seaworld. Very big.

We went to Seaworld again this Sunday. Yes, that’s two weekends in a row, but it’s great fun and I am out of the country for the next two and a half weeks, followed by July 4 and a week for Dad’s Memorial in Wisconsin. Time to go now.

Steussy's Watching Shamu from the Soak Zone

After two visits, we know we’re still missing three shows, two major rides and innumerable other smaller exhibits. We tried to make it a short trip (9:30am to 2pm), but even that short visit exhausted all of us — particularly the two smallest Steussy’s.

Shipwreck Rapids

Thanks again, Aunt Helen and Uncle Tom!

Packed for a day in the park.

Studying Chinese

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I have three Chinese textbooks with CD’s that I am listening to before heading to China. For the most part, the sounds and cadences come back to me naturally. There are a series of words, however, that simply don’t register for me. They sound like more-or-less random noise. In English, they are the words for: email, web site, web page, computer crash, computer virus, download, software, cellphone, ringtone and the like.

Just a hint that things have changed rather a lot since 1990. I’m working on getting myself up-to-date.

Primary Elections

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Two teeth on bottom; one more coming in.

We voted. Did you?


Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Electronic Traveling

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Most of today was spent getting my electronics ready to travel. Since I need to be continually in contact with my business, this takes some forethought.

I’ve mentioned before that the need for voice communication is far less today than it was even five years ago. Almost everything happens by email. So, one key is to ensure cellphone email access. That can be done easily (international data roaming through AT&T) or I can work through a Chinese SIM card. I think I will opt for the later.

I’ve relearned how to SSH tunnel into my server. I last did this while traveling in Budapest two years ago. It allows me to email, surf the web and download files over a secure, encrypted line at all times. It’s rather like a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but with less overhead.

I’ve also ordered plug adapters and laptop locks. I think I may be about ready to go …