Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week 24 in brief

Week 24

I’ve been too busy to keep up with the blog on a daily basis, but the highlights and lowlights of this week are here:

On Wednesday I woke up to emails informing me of the death of my colleague, former boss, and former professor Jim Thistle. It was expected but it still took the wind out of me. I had a good cry and then decided to spend the day doing journalism, which is what Jim would have done. I figure any money I make today will go to the Thistle scholarship fund. I hope he and Tim Russert and Trevor Nelson are all up in news heaven having a good ol’ time working on the “Pearly Gates News at 11”.

I finished up two stories for Only A Game; my former student Jessie helped translate an interview with the editor of the largest weekly news magazine in China and we recorded sounds of Peking Duck (they don’t make much noise by the time they are served to you…) and sent those remaining elements to Boston. So I have one more story for them on protests, if/when they happen.

I’ve picked up more freelance work with The World at WGBH/BBC. I’ll do two stories for them, one on visa hassles for people trying to get into the country and the other on the legacy of the Olympics and whether this might spawn a more liberal, democratic China (as it did in Korea) or make the country more totalitarian/nationalistic if things go wrong and they lose face. For one of the stories I try to talk to some of the thousands of Olympic volunteers scattered throughout the city….under tents that say “translation services” but I find very few who speak English, including no one able to tell me where the Forbidden City is located….at a volunteer station about a block away from the most popular tourist site in Beijing….

I went into the NBC bureau for parts of a few days, logging very interesting interviews, Jasper Becker about the destruction of old Beijing, a Human Rights Watch guy talking about the Uighurs. Logging is one of the lowest stations in any news organization, but if you can’t actually go out and DO the interviews, I am more than happy to log and learn.

I also finally got a pass to enter the NBC work space next to the Bird’s Nest at the Olympic Village but I have been told “no blogging” about what goes on there.

But I have been invited to be a guest on the Today Show, LIVE today, to talk about adoption and I assume I can blog about that. Stay tuned.

For fun, um, not much. One of my interviews was with a hotel manager right next to the National Art Museum and I have never been there, so I checked it out. The first floor was this massive exhibit of contemporary Chinese art….so contemporary there were several images about the May earthquake, and tons with Olympic themes. The other two floors of the museum had displays of Ming and Qing scrolls. But for a National Museum the whole thing seemed sparse.

Wednesday my student Michael came by to bring me some gifts from Tibet and share his thousands of photos. I am so jealous that I never got there. Next time. It really looks like a beautiful untouched landscape. I took him out for his first meal of Mexican food. He fared better with knife and fork than the girls did.

On Friday, I met Mark Ma and Tingting for dinner at TGIF (they chose it!) and Mark let me buy some Olympic tickets off him for the women’s soccer final August 21. I will give those to Elizabeth as well. But no appliance or tickets can compensate for her incredible generosity and hospitality.

Saturday, I broke my tooth eating my cereal…and am debating whether to see a dentist

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