DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,
DailyAfirmation
dailyafirmation

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Working on my day off, P2P update, exercising, a luau, Edge Office fun, 120 Minutes...

I was up at 9:00 this morning, and for breakfast had a whole wheat bagel with one half of it ladened with butter and the other half with cream cheese and jelly, along with some most excellently ripe cantaloupe and some RainForest-flavored coffee.



I took minutes for our one-hour Tivoli Editing Council meeting, and then spent about two hours making them fit to publish.


I haven't reported much on my People to People Technical Communication Professional Delegation to the People's Republic of China, but activity has picked up. Here are some of the things that have taken place:

TopicDiscussion

Flights

People have begun picking their flights. We have a choice of a one-stop (in Shanghai) flight out of Los Angeles or a direct flight (to Beijing) out of Chicago. So far, three people (actually one person, and one couple) have indicated that they'll be flying out of L.A. I'm the only person flying out of Chicago so far.

Who's in? Who's out?

As our final payments come due on August 20th, the last chance to bail is quickly approaching. One person dropped out yesterday saying, "After sitting on the fence for a long time, I've notified P2P that I won't be going on the trip. I really have been wanting to get another China fix, but have had trouble justifying the $6000 cost. I don't think I'm really classy enough for a $500-a-day vacation." I guess that means the rest of us are that classy.

Foodies

One person who's coming as a guest (Val's husband, Greg), has come out as a bona fide foodie, and asks, "I am coming on this trip as a guest—in addition to the planned activities, as a registered "FOODY" I am extremely interested in exploring the culture through the cuisine. NOT the "cuisine" for Americans at the hotels, but the real food. Are there other participants that would be interested in some serious food exploration while we are there?"

Learning the Language

Several people in the delegation are diving into language and culture books. Some noted so far include:
  • Language
    • Chinese for Dummies
    • I’ve ordered Mandarin from Rosetta Stone, and should have it this week – my son and I will try to learn the basics by the time we go away (numbers, please, thank you, how do I get to..., etc.)
    • Hello, fellow delegates. Paula here. I am using Rosetta Stone to learn Mandarin and cannot say enough good things about it. It is easy-to-use and includes speech-recognition graphs to help you pronounce words correctly. Throughout each lesson, you hear native speakers, which helps tremendously. Only photographs are given to help you understand the context of what is being said. This really helps you learn. I highly recommend it. That being said, I have one caveat. To really learn a language, you need to use Rosetta Stone as recommended—30 minutes a day, five times a week. I did this for the first month, and it really works. Lately, I have been doing a lesson here and there. This method does not work for me.
    • There are also some free podcasts on the web you can download to your iPod. I figure if I master some rudimentary courtesy things, I’ll be very happy.
    • Although I greatly admire those of you who have bought Rosetta Stone and other comparable Chinese language programs, I just don't think I'll have the time or desire to learn that much! But, I do want to know some phrases and understand more than what I know now. So, I found an inexpensive CD set especially made for listening to in the car. It's called "Learn in Your Car Chinese: Mandarin." I bought Level 1 for about $15 US. You can get 3 levels for about $35. I also bought these three books (all inexpensive paperbacks): 1. I Can Read That! A traveler's introduction to Chinese characters, by Julie Mazel Sussman (looks fascinating...I've already begun to identify certain common characters) 2. Chinese Phrases for Dummies by Dr. Wendy Abraham. I know the Dummies books can be awful or great...this one impresses me as the latter. 3. Speak E-Z Chinese in Phonetic English by Zhao Fang and Timothy Green; when I started to see Chinese written in the English alphabet, I was often confused in how to actually pronounce the sounds. Between the tips in this book and the Dummies book, I think there's hope for me. It was so interesting to learn that "ma" could mean mother, hemp, horse, or to scold, all depending on the tone! No wonder we need to have some AUDIO to help.
  • Culture
    • People have sent links to articles and upcoming TV fare dealing with China's people and culture.
    • Another good book is the “Culture Smart China” book on customs and etiquette. I’m phobic about doing taboo things out of ignorance, so I found this book reassuring! :)

Visas

We've been asked to hold off on applying for our visas, as there evidently is a back-up in processing them with everyone trying to get there for the Olympics. Since our trip isn't until October 20th, it makes sense for us to hold off. Personally, I'm happy to earn interest for another month or two on the $200+ it's going to cost to get it.

Suitcase Limitations

We've been informed that we need to plan on one checked suitcase weighing no more than 44 pounds. I'm not too thrilled about that, as we're talking about 12 days and needing both business clothes and sightseeing/tourism clothes. And I'm not one to pay a hotel $2.95 per shirt to do wash.

Electronic Gadgets

This, perhaps, has been my favorite question to date: "Does anybody have any experience regarding bringing electronics such as laptops, iPods and phones into China? Since we are gone for so long, being able to keep in touch with work, having a place to store photos and communicate with the world is essential. Will the hotels we'll be staying at have Internet connectivity? Cost doesn't matter, it's the connectivity that counts! I am assuming that bringing iPods and other small electronics would not be an issue. [Two things in here that I do not relate to are: (1) That being able to keep in touch with work is important, and (2) that cost doesn't matter when it comes to connectivity. I would add that it is essential to be able to update my blog while gone. :-)]"

Toilet Paper and Bathrooms

The subject of toilet paper and using the bathroom has come up a couple of times now. The first person said, "Also, word to the wise, although the hotels will be just fine, I’m told by Asian travelers to be sure to pack a roll of toilet paper. You take the cardboard tube out. There are sights to see, and the hygiene amenities range from wonderful to beyond description, and it is wise to be prepared," and another person said, "By all means take TP. And do expect to encounter some unpleasant bathrooms. But the Asian squat toilets are not all bad, just different. If you're accustomed to squatting over toilets anyway, as I was taught to as a child, they're easier. (Start your exercises now.)" At first I thought she meant Kegels as the exercises, but now I think she means just squats in general.

I hope that if the "grandmother" who was reading my blog still is, that you'll comment on all of this rumination that we are doing about this trip, since you've already done it once. Are we worrying about nonsensical things? :-) Do tell!



Kevin (av8rdude) and I worked out today. It was an upper body day for me, and I chose to do cardio instead of crunches today. Stats were:

Exercise Type
Minute Duration

Resistance (Lower Body)

45

Exercise Type
Minute Duration
Calories Burned

Cardio (Elliptical)

30

616




Tonight I attended a "Luau" at Rum Runners in City Market (my second night in a row out in that area), and with nothing at all against my friend who won it, it was kind of lame. When you win, you can invite as many of your friends along as you want, who are all invited to a complimentary buffet, followed by live music and party-type games with the piano players and other "partiers" in the place.

What's lame about it is that this "buffet" consists of some tortilla chips with a choice of salsa, sour cream, and some jalepenos, some Swedish-type (Sweet and Sour?) meatballs, and some slices of ham and pineapple that you can put on a roll if you want to. Okay, that's not really a buffet. Appetizers or hors d'oeuvres maybe, but not a buffet.

I mean, I do appreciate the free food, but just call it what it is: appetizers to entice you to buy drinks and more drinks and more drinks.

That aside, it was also interesting to see such a large group of gay people at one of these obviously straight events. Of course, all of the guys, of which there were about 7 of us, sat together, and all of the, about 25, Lesbians sat together. At one point, one of the piano players was singing some sing-along song about being horny, and he made a gesture, looking at the huge sea of Lesbians, sticking his pointer finger into a round circle made by his thumb and pointer finger of the other hand, as if indicating fornication.

This is what I mean by the round circle made by the thumb and pointer finger:


I was so tempted to yell, "I think maybe two of those ring gestures rubbing up against each other might be a better choice for this crowd." Then again, there are strap-ons, I suppose. But I digress...



My next stop was at Edge Office, which is always a good time on First Fridays in downtown Raleigh. I had—I think it was—four beers there, and I don't drink beer. Hmmm, that's what I said about wine last night.

I said hello to the owner, Michael (a.k.a. @mdherr on Twitter), and had great conversation, as usual, with Jason (@dimambro) and Jess (@jessmartin). Jason introduced me to a very nice couple, Matt & Cynthia, who are spending a few months down here from New York, working on a project.

I had a really nice chat with them, and encouraged Cynthia to join us for some co-working at Edge Office sometime. I gave her one of my Moo cards, which doesn't have my official Twitter ID (@nematome) on it, but does have that sniglet noted in the first part of my e-mail. :-)

I sure hope I have your name right. It was Cynthia right? (If you're reading.) :-) [Update: Yay! Just got a Facebook friend request from you, so I know it's right.] :-)



After about an hour-and-a-half stop at home, Kevin and I headed out to Flex for 120 Minutes.

It was quite festive out tonight. Kevin knew about 100% of the songs for the first hour or so, and then things took a serious turn to the dark side. He recognized one song, by Nine Inch Nails, during the next hour or so.

We left at about a quarter-to-one accepting the fact that birthday boy, @kitch, was not going to make a surprise visit. Totally understood, though. Hope you got laid, my friend. :-)
Tags: bar talk, exercise, ibm, people-to-people
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