Steve's China Blog

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bad mobo and good mojo

On Thursday night my computer started having problems. It was hanging during boot, and I got various blue screens of death when it did boot. I spent Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday tracking down the problem. It seems some of the memory slots on the mother board went bad. One slot is still ok, so I can run it with a single stick of one gig memory. Hopefully that one won't crap out on my before I can find another board. On the plus side, after all the diagnotics I did, my bios is up-to-date and tweaked real good, all of my drivers are up-to-date, and my memory modules have been thoroughly tested and work ok (even though I can only use one of them now). The difference between running with only one gig of memory and two gigs in a dual channel setup is slightly noticable.

On Sunday I met up with Cindy and Jessie for lunch, and afterwards we went shopping for some groceries. They wanted to cook dinner for me since I had cooked dinner for them before. Buying groceries was fun. Since we decided to cook it at my place they did not know which ingredients I had and which I needed. Some of the ingredients they only knew the Chinese name for and I only knew the English name for, so there was a lot of, "Oh, I already have some of that". Eventually we got all the ingredients they needed and we went back to my place. It was still kind of early, so we just relaxed and chatted for awhile before starting on dinner.

Here's Jessie enjoying the sunshine by the window in my living room...

The ladies start preparing dinner. Yum!...

For dinner we had chicken curry, stir fried string beans with pork, and rice with dates. For dessert we had strawberries and chocolate truffles. The dinner was great and the company was wonderful. Unfortunately, Cindy had to leave early so they left before it got too late. I spent the rest of the evening messing with the computer and watched a DVD.

Today I saw a bee while I was outside. A sure sign of Spring, I hope.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

In a funk

This last Satruday was nice. I met a friend named Laura for lunch and we went shopping afterwards and visited a garden park here in Dalian. The park should be very nice next month when everything starts blooming, but right now there was not a lot to see. The thing I liked about it was that it was quiet. Trying to find some place nice and quiet in this city is difficult at times. Saturday night I joined Cindy and Jessie at the Tin Whistle pub for Saint Patrick's Day. It was a lot of fun, but the pub was rather loud and smokey.

On Sunday I just hanged around the apartment... napped, watched a DVD, and played a little on the computer. A lot of the time though I spent thinking about my life here. I have really enjoyed myself here most of the time, but I have been in a funk the last few months that I can't seem to shake. I am not real happy with my current work assignment and not real happy I am still in Dalian. My friend Phyllis moved to Shenzhen, Jackie has moved to Beijing, other friends have moved to ChengDu already, and I miss them a lot. I don't really see any reason to stay.

Last night I was not feeling well, and today I am working from home since I still feel ill. I have too much to do, but hopefully I'll find the time to figure out what I want to do about my future here. Too many opportunities and not enough time to think about them all clearly. I'm sure things will work out in time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Warming up

I think winter in Dalian is finally over. It is starting to warm up some, and today I went to work without my winter coat. Here's a few pictures taken a few days after the big storm we had last week...

I wish I could have taken more, but it was too cold and I wanted to get out of the wind. Like I said earlier, it's warming up now and the other night there was no wind. I even had trouble getting to sleep the other night since it was so quiet.

Other than that I have been spending most of the time at work, and messing with a computer game called Everquest II when I'm not working. On Friday evening though I spent the evening with a lady I met awhile ago. We walked around Xinghai Square and went out to Brando's Pizza for some dinner.

It was kind of funny how we met... She works near where I live and for about a year I would see her some mornings at the bus stop when I was leaving for work and she was arriving. She would always give me a nice smile and we would exchange "Ni Hao"s (Hello). We never had time to talk, but a few days ago we ran into each other somewhere else and had time to chat. Her English is a little rusty, but we had a nice time chatting and eating pizza on Friday.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Strong winds

It started raining on Saturday night and then the wind came. By Sunday morning we were getting some sleet and the wind kept getting stronger and stronger. By mid-afternoon my broadband connection became very unstable, so I shutdown my computers and decided to have an early dinner and watch some TV. I had started watching a movie that I found after some channel surfing that had English sub-titles which wasn't that good of a movie, but just as I started to get into it the power went out. A little later the water went out too. I'm glad I had an early dinner.

While the power was out there wasn't much to do so I watched the storm some, but there wasn't much light to see it by, so most of the time I spent listening to the wind. After a few hours my power and water came back on, and I watched the movie Ghandi on my computer and then went to bed. This morning I had to go to the store to get some cigarettes before work, and got to see a lot of devastation left by the storm. Lots of debris everywhere, some broken windows (probably from flying debris), signs knocked down, walls knocked down, and even a few small buildings blown down. All of the stores near where I live were closed so they could assess the damage.

I did find this article on a Chinese news site (in English) which talks about the storm and how it effected Dalian, as well as most of the northeast coast:

Strong wind leads to large-scale power failure in NE city

Most of the snow and ice has been melted by the wind, so that isn't too much of a problem. The wind is still heavy, but not as bad as yesterday. We will have to wait and see how long it takes for everyone to recover and fix up all of the damage.