Pretty good tapas, although not cheap. Nice atmosphere, and it wasn't that noisy.

Wire, Season 4

Another season of the Wire: this one focusing on the educational system. It's too bad this drama isn't still ongoing: it would be worth it to get cable and HBO just for this series.

Lars and the Real Girl

I loved this movie! It's a beautiful reflection on the human need for love and companionship. The cast was excellent, and the writing was exquisite.

Be Kind Rewind

Jack Black and Mos Def in a fable about making movies. Entertaining, but not that good.

Measuring the World

I seem to be on a mild kick reading modern German literature. This historical novel about Gauss and von Humboldt is a beautiful reflection on identity and fighting/discovering it through battling the world. Gauss does it through his math (and escaping the world), and von Humboldt does it by exploring South America (and escaping Europe).

The Best Man

Predictable romantic comedy that has echoes of Cyrano de Bergerac. Funny at times, but overall just good enough to keep me awake on a long airplane flight.

Get Smart

This Get Smart wasn't quite as funny as the original TV show, but it was passable. Maxwell Smart as played by Steve Carell wasn't an incompetent boob, just a nerdy fool.


I didn't think that I would like Hancock, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was fun, and well-positioned for a sequel.

The Reader

A beautiful book that captures the impact of desire and regret on a life. The complex interweaving of modern German history into the story is brilliantly done.

Taming of the Shrew

We saw a British theater troupe's production of Taming of the Shrew in Beijing, which verged on excellent. A few minor flaws, but overall it was funny, easy to understand, and a creative production. The troupe of about 6 was highly talented: they acted, sang, and danced.

Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love

A nice collection of short stories about food and love. Some are touching, some are ironic, some are funny. The funniest one is where two women compete for a man by cooking for him, and he winds up choking on their food.


We watched this movie on HBO while traveling in China. Mark Wahlberg is always entertaining. Very violent and predictable, but that's the genre!



This is a photo of West Lake in Hangzhou. It's a beautiful place to visit!
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Little girl eating a persimmon. She looked so happy with her fruit that I had to takek her picture.
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wau

A wondrous, poetic novel about a geeky kid who is into sci-fi and comics. A tragic story, although it wasn't sad, for some reason.

Amusingly, the author is a professor at MIT. Pretty cool!

Bridge of Sighs

Another brilliant novel by Richard Russo. I love his writing, and his ability to capture the emotional rhythms of life. This novel did not seem to get reviews as good as Empire Falls did, but I really enjoyed reading it. Highly recommended!

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

What a weird Indiana Jones movie: it turned into weird sci-fi reminiscent of ET! Boy, and Indy sure looked old...

Land of the Dead

Gotta love George Romero and zombies! Brains...this one was quite entertaining --- it is always fun to see Dennis Hopper play the bad guy.

Forbidden Kingdom

A mildly entertaining time-travel/fantasy/martial-arts movie. Jet Li and Jackie Chan together, which was fun.

Matrix 3

I watched a bunch of movies on the flight to China: this was the first. I'm glad I didn't pay to watch Matrix 3 in the theatre: it was crazily nonsensical. But as in-flight entertainment it wasn't that bad.

Sarah Palin

Wow, what an awful performance at the debate. They might as well have just used the random text generator I linked to to generate her answers. She avoided substantive answers, or just dodged the questions. Amusingly, she kept saying that Biden kept focusing on the past, but then said that she and McCain had learned from the blunders of the past. Gwen Ifill should have asked her, "What Bush-administration blunders have you learned from?"