Beijing Youjian

Looking to the Golden Gate

One of my favorite shots from the Masonic Grand Lodge of California trip to Israel in 1999.

Taken from the Church of All Nations, it shows a priest looking to the Golden Gate.

I like the overall composition of the photo, even the man in the lower left-hand corner leaning against a tree. I’d spent most of the three-week trip carrying two Nikon N90 cameras… one loaded with black and white film and the other with color.

I’ve tried to fix it up using Adobe Lightroom, but there’s only so much that is possible.

Will probably re-post the album to Flickr in the coming month or so.

Having to shelter-in-place is a good time to reflect.

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Covid-19: Differences Between China & the US

I’ve lived in Beijing, New York City, and Silicon Valley for most of my life.

I get very concerned when I look at folks trying to somehow gauge how China dealt with Covid-19 and apply it to the US.

Here’s why:

  1. Medical masks. In China, as with other Asian countries, people wear medical masks when they’re sick in an effort to keep others from catching whatever they might have. I would often walk into restaurants and see wait staff and bartenders wearing masks. Masks are also worn when people are concerned about getting sick. There’s no social stigma involved either way.
  2. There are legions of volunteers. They were on full display during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and are heeding the call to service now.
  3. They have socialized medicine. Testing for Covid-19 is free. Treatment is free. Whatever you can think of paying a bill for in the US is, well, free.
  4. People are paid during time-off for treatment / self-isolation.
  5. There isn’t the religious fanaticism we have in the US.
  6. People aren’t anti-science (for example, anti-vaxxers).
  7. A centralized government means far less competition between levels of government.
  8. When homes and small businesses have air conditioning, it is usually on a per-room basis. That is, very little central air. So, someone can self-isolate in a room and not run as much risk in contaminating the household.
  9. Folks will largely follow orders to stay inside and not to leave a community. Indeed, many communities are cordoned off, with volunteers passing goods over barriers made of corrugated metal siding.
  10. Mass numbers of people (medical personnel, military, etc) can be deployed overnight.
  11. Temperatures have been taken en masse at airports for many years.
  12. Prefab hospitals can be setup in days.
  13. Sars. China was the hardest-hit country in the 2002-2003 Sars outbreak, with a reported 5,327 cases and 349 deaths. The general population takes talk of such outbreaks seriously.
  14. Obesity, and the underlying health conditions associated with it, is far less prevalent.
  15. Although the initial response to the outbreak seems to have been botched, they didn’t have this:
  16. “President Xi Jinping only wears an ordinary medical mask, which sends a signal that we should use masks correctly & not panic. This is in line with the rule that officials in Beijing are not allowed to use N95 masks as they are reserved for medical workers fighting at the front.”
  17. Chinese typically don’t shake hands.
  18. The robust manufacturing infrastructure enabled them to react and remedy the initial blunder. They ramped up PPE production so quickly. (from Sin-Yaw)

I’m going to stop there and revisit this post over the next few days. If you’ve lived in China, and would like to contribute, feel free to leave comments and I’ll add them to the post.

Two Masks

To heck with your puny N95 masks, we’ve got the real deal. Plus, we’ve got Okie’s American flag right behind us.

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On a serious note, an employee at one of the two Safeway stores we frequent tested positive for COVID-19.

We’ve been gloving and masking-up (regular N95 masks) for awhile when we head out to get food or supplies. And, with the shelter-in-place order, our trips have become far less frequent.

This Guy

So, I was working with a couple of other guys from NVIDIA breaking down the NVIDIA DGX servers used onstage by Jensen Huang for his keynote address at GTC 19.

I’d been hauling around my Nikon D5 camera, but put it down for this work… trying to move a 350 lbs server with a camera strapped around one’s neck is a bad thing ™.

Anyway, this guy, who I think is a lead for the union guys working at the hall, walks up, asks who left this expensive camera lying around (me) and if he could use it (yes).

Gotta say that his swagger reminded me more of someone from the Jersey docs than from San Jose.

In any event, this is one of the pictures that he took.

Note: A beer to the first person who can identify him and point him in my direction. I told him that what he shot would end-up on the web.

 
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Family and friends came together today to celebrate dad’s 80th birthday.

At the beginning of the gathering, I laid out some of his belongings, and, with help from mom and other family members, talked about the significance of each.

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I’m now officially the “keeper of dad’s stuff”, much of which includes prints of photographs that dad took. Matthew helped me sort through them last night, and Aram helped me lay them out today for people to look through today.

It was the first time that many folks had met each other.

Here’s a photo of the group.

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Clicking on this picture ( showing dad puckering-up to give Chong Chong a goodbye kiss — taken on dad’s birthday two years ago) has a link to these shots as well as some of the prints that I brought to the gathering.

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Note: the pictures from Persia are from a trip dad took there in 2010. They were on an SD card I recently found when going through dad’s belongings.

Many thanks to Stacy for making the idea of a birthday party a reality.

The three of them

Matthew came into town today for my dad’s 80th birthday party. He’ll be staying with us for two weeks. Shanshan took this picture of the three of my kids together. Thirty-five, five, and (almost) eight months.

Strange to think that Xixi’s age would easily put me in the great-grandfather range. (Chong Chong’s as well… depending upon how Southern one gets.)

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Massage by Blind Masseurs (old post)

This is the sign hanging in the establishment that Shanshan and her parents often frequent.

I’m not sure what function the Braille on the sign, which is behind a desk, serves. One would assume that a blind person working at the establishment would know their location. And, a blind patron would probably not be able to easily find the sign.

And, while we’re on the subject of things that I’m unsure about, here’s a poster of Britney Spears on a fish tank in the same establishment: