Seasonal Photo Journal
A photo journal born out of desperation to capture


August 30th, 2008 by


As to what I have been doing since last Valentine’s Day there Have been big changes!
First of all I purchased a drum kit back in mid-March. I have always been interested in playing music and the idea of the drum kit was finally too seductive to let it go one more time.
When I was a little somehow I took unsuccessful violin lessons. I was not born to play that instrument. I was a fan of the Beatles and watched “HELP” more than once… I really wanted to play the drums just like Ringo Starr, but my little dream never cam to fruition.
Fast forward twenty years…
Perhaps it was the moody onset of Spring combined with the remaining self confidence from my now infamous Beijing trip with a heavy dose of listening to “the Strokes” album “This Is It”. It was like the vitamin I needed after two trips to the ICU and one near death/comma experience. I was ready to make changes in my life, change my direction, and hopefully give me a reason or two to stay out of the hospital. While loaded up on “the Strokes” and a twist of older and a little wiser “Morrisey,” it only took me a week to find the perfect kit. I walked past it at first but after sleeping on it I decided that was the one, love on second blush. My Mapex kit is white glitter, sounds garish but is actually subtle.
After banging around on my new kit I quickly decided to invest in lessons, a wise investment. So I have been taking lessons since early April.
I am still taking lessons and enjoying it. I try to play as much as possible but I have a rather unforgiving work schedule so I mostly play on the weekends.
In other news I graduated from Portland State University cum laude in Chinese Language and Literature. I attended Summer Commencement which was nice. It was small and casual so I did not have to wear the regalia. I’ll post the pictures when I get them. I will be taking Japanese starting this Fall at Portland Community College, I will also be taking a fundamentals of music class to compliment my drum lessons. I also hope that the course will touch on the basic elements of song writing. I have already tried my hand at songwriting but I think that I should stick with the odd Chinese Poem.
Well I am sorry for not having any pictures to post but I hope that I can update more often that I have something going on…

Bumblebee Project

February 14th, 2008 by

Hello there!!
So I spent some time this Valentine’s Day morning and finally finished up putting my China photos on my website. It is comprehensive. If you like the pictures that you have seen on the site so far navigate over to my site for more pictures. Soon I will put up more of my flower pictures and local garden pictures. Also the flowers are starting to bloom here so that means better picture time. I hope everyone is doing well and I hope to have more entries coming soon!!
Thanks for reading,


October 27th, 2007 by

So I finally checked my email after not touching my computer for a while to find an e-mail from the Sanrio team that I had made the list for the month of October. I am so honored! Thank you so much for the recognition, I’ll have to start posting to my blog again!!

Thank you


fall 206


September 14th, 2007 by

So I should note that I am back in Portland, for now. But I am still working on some posts from Beijing, so please keep checking back,

Gigi 吉吉

August 16th, 2007 by

While I have been in china I have had more than one conversation about Gigi, my beloved dog. So I have decided to dedicate an entry to him, bon appetite!

baby gigi

baby gigi

These are photos from when we purchased Gigi at the pet store. He was irresistible, the best dog there for sure!

gigi taking a nap

gigi looking regal

gigi watching the street

gigi napping

gigi awake

bryce and gigi

gigi in a sweater


July 28th, 2007 by

I went to the Great Wall on July 14, I took around 200 photos, it has taken me this long to go through them in addition to going many other places and taking hundreds of other pictures. I then further confused the whole process but editing these photos out of order, I’m sorry, next time I will do better!!

stairway leading to the Great Wall

So the title Great or Long Wall is no exaggeration, perhaps a small understatement. When you think Great Wall you think of a slim winding brick structure that follows and tops a series of connected mountains, and you would be right; then you get there… and it is so much more. I was told by someone who actually read the signs on the way up that we had essentially climbed two kilometers of stairs, straight up. At one point I actually thought, “why could I not climb to the top of the Vatican, it has an end.” I was convinced that there was in fact no end to these stairs, and that they continued into infinitum. I was not the only person who believed this.

other people wanting to die on the Great Wall

I think it is clear to see from everyone’s posture that it was a grueling crawl. At one point I told one of the teachers that together we would crawl up the wall, I think she was too wiped out to laugh. I decided the best method was to go slow and steady, not stopping and not speeding up. I think it was a good plan, I actually made it up before some others who had started before me.

finall at the entrace to the great wall

Before you get to the stairs that actually take you onto the wall proper (see above) there is a series of landings that are rather deceiving, you think that you are coming to the end only to be greeted my more stairs. Finally I thought I saw a glimpse of the wall its self, I yelled down to my compatriots, “there is an end.” There was an echo down the mountain, “there’s an end!!” We only thought it was the end… at least it was a ramp.
When we came out the other side this is one of the many wonders we saw…

mist on the great wall

 more mist on the great wall

one of the views from the great wall

As soon as we walked through the archways there was a sense of triumph and levity. That faded as we realized that the Great Wall is actually a series of ramps connect by a series of stairs. I think that this photo captures that mood.

on the great wall

stairs and mist

We made our way across the wall, passing though the crenelated towers, watching the tiny distant mountains change and stay the same. That seems to be a theme, it was timeless, the only key to the outside world was the people on the wall; even then some of the people who had made the Wall their home had become like the Wall its self encapsulated in timelessness. Like they where some how removed from the time and space that we inhabited and that we could only interact through tears in time.

passing on the wall

more passing on the wall

crenelated tower

I think a better translation of 長城 would be “Eternal Wall.” Perhaps I am too interested in the metaphysical but looking back I feel that while it is true that it is a great wall but to walk on it is as if time ceased. When you look out time is not counted in the linear seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, millennia, but time is counted in how you react to it, what you personally take away from your personal experience. “Eternal Wall” captures the wall, the environment, the individual and the lack there of.
All of that said, after we had passed through a couple of towers we decided that they where all more or less the same and no matter where you looked the mist was the same, we took a break on the tower.

mark playing around on the great wall

me being mary poppins on the great wall

After playing around for a while and having a bit of a rest we decided that it was time to head back to the bus. I had the great idea of wanting to see some different scenery, another student seconded my motion. There is this idea that the wall is an impenetrable obstacle however it is pierced in many places but only on the “China side” by stairs that lead down and then out onto a stone path that runs parallel to it. This is where we decided to exit the Wall.

where we exiteed the wall

the path that runs along the wall

We followed the path until it became yet another set of stairs, we had our doubts but decided to press on. Again it was as if time had been robbed from us. We walked and walked but the scenery stayed the same.

leaving the wall

leaving the wall and there where more stairs

We discovered a wonderful place on out decent, the curious rock collection. It was a free museum that was at one point must have been someone’s residence. It was amazing, the house hugged the side of the mountain and descended along with it. Level room where connected by descending corridors. Each new room was filled with all variety of rock.

rock collection at the great wall

There where was a small collection of different bamboo species, scholars’ rocks, and a small cave that was oddly lit with red and green light. There was also a small creek with a pond, and a small pavilion that was being renovated.

pond at the rock museum at the great wall

I have to say that with out the Peculiar Rock Museum the trip would have been incomplete. The museum added a delicate human touch to the Wall experience. The two places seemed removed from each other in time and place but they still manages to function harmoniously together yet separate. It was to see wonder after wonder.

The wall was to be removed from the human world in a meditative state, seeing the eternal wall and landscape stretch out before you and suddenly come to enlightenment. The you must come out the other side and return to the human world, this rock garden is the place that you come back to, timeless in it’s own way and bridges the gap between the finite and the infinite. If one had the opportunity one could draw many parallels between the quest for enlightenment and the journey from the bottom of the mountain where you know nothing of the journey that lies before you but willing to undertake the challenge. As you start to climb the stairs at first it is difficult but manageable then slowly becomes almost unbearably difficult cause you to want to give up. However you persist (or die on the side of the mountain) and when you get to the top most of the difficulties of getting there drip away, leaving calm and satisfaction. When it is time to return you take a different way back because nothing will ever be the same, and hopefully what you just learned can mix harmoniously with all the other experiences of your life and allow you to live simultaneously in both.
Moving right along, I had a great time at said wall, it was grueling but phenomenal. I wanted to take a nap afterward but was unable to, I was too occupied with my journey to sleep.

Here is me triumphant on the wall.

me triumphant on the eternal wall


July 23rd, 2007 by

gardian at Lama Temple

I spent the important part of today at a Buddhist temple, Lama Temple to be exact. On my way there I bumped into the same woman, who wore an orange top, a few times. The first to ask the way out of the subway then again while I was buying water and she was buying incense. She insister that I also buy some; I tried to tell her that I didn’t know how to use incense so I was going to watch others. This didn’t come out at all, I couldn’t even think in English let alone in Chinese. She insisted but then lead me to the ticket office before I lost sight of her.

the woman in orange buring incense

Upon approaching the first shrine I found her again, I saw her there making offerings of incense; I watched. I seemed to follow her through her practice until I regretted not buying the incense at her insistence. I realized that she saw something that I didn’t. As I wandered alone through the blue clouds of smoke and tourists I ceased to be a tourist myself.

Shrine at Lama Temple

My eyes filled with tears, I was moved by others’ devotion to their practice, I longed to be one of them, to be part of what they where doing.

Eves of a shine Lama Temple

I was angry with the tourists as they snapped away regardless of what the devotees had come to do. I saw a boy take a picture of an Icon, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to ask him if he would do that at the Vatican, but I just kept walking.
Finally I reached the end of the complex, I saw Guanyin , and passed in front of her, I decided I needed to make an offering of incense on behalf of my mom, I searched, but now there was none to be found. I gave up which in turn caused me to stumble upon the Medicine Buddha. It was quiet at that shrine, only two other pilgrims making offerings and a sleeping monk. I waited until the other two had left and I was alone with the sleepy one and with the Buddha.

shrin at lama temple

Finally I was able to let go, alone I was able to make my offering, I was unsure of the correct procedure so I made up my own. I thought of my Mother’s eczema, Bryce’s pain. Images flashed through my mind like dancers under a strobe light, dark then dim and only for a moment and each time dramatically different. I stood bowed again, eyes full of tears I walked out of the shrine.

big shrine at lama temple

I was somehow deflated, not any less of a person but someone had just let the air out. I walked around still pricing incense till I walked out of the gate. I reflected on the role of the tourist and that of the practitioner, I didn’t come to any conclusions. It was a quiet ride back to Wudaokuo , I needed to write not speak. I stopped for something to eat and reflected a little more.

tree at lama temple


July 12th, 2007 by

Here are some pictures of some scenic spots on Beijing Daxue campus. The only place that I did not take pictures of that I want to is the lotus pond by the West Gate (ximer here in Beijing). However that place probably warrants its own entry.

A view of the pond near the west gate

What seems to be the grand lodge at BeiDa

A smalle bridge at the hidden Beida pond and garden

Stone stairway at Beida secret garden


July 11th, 2007 by

bronze figure at the summer palace

I was actually at the Summer Palace on the 7th of this month but I have not been able to sit down and devote any time to working on my blog. That said I am in the middle of doing homework and studying for a quiz so I must be brief. The day of the Summer Palace tour was nice and not too hot. We gathered in front of the entrance gate for a little history before entering the palace grounds.

gate at the summer palace

The grounds are huge, like any palace should be. We did not walk through the middle of the grounds but more or less skirted Kunming lake. This is the only way to reasonably do the grounds in a few short hours, which is all we had. I think we went through it so quickly to avoid the heat of the day, but that is just my opinion.

stone wall at the summer palace gateway

Once inside I kinda went on my own to take pictures. I missed all of the history lesson but I am fine with that I was more interested in the scenery. As usual I was also interested in how people react to the history, the beauty, and the custom. The guide told us about this rock and how is came to be called grandpa rock. Apparently it is the custom to touch the rock in the hope of attaining long life.

fellow student touching grandpa rock at the summer palace

This time I did not participate but I was able to get a picture of another student touching grandpa rock, therefor I touched it by proxy. It is interesting to see the polish that all the finger tips have left over the years.

gaurdian at the summer palace

The statuary at the Summer Palace is wonderful, they are so alive and have so much personality. I am sure that there was some sort of history and anecdote that would have shed some light on the life of these figures that would make them even more life like but it is unnecessary.

gutter at the summer  palace

I thought that this was just a fine treatment of an ordinary object. I like to appreciate the details in objects that could be take for granted. I was also captured by the contrast between the grey wall and the golden glaze of the tile. There is also great drama in the placement of the yellow tile to the adjoining wall, very interesting.

small house at the summer palace

I think this was a eunuch’s residence but I can’t remember now; next time I should take notes. I am always fascinated by Chinese aesthetic pairing the red door with the red and gold of the eve and how they play off each other in pushing back and bringing forward space, creating a dynamic quality in a shallow space.

kunming lake

A view of Kunming lake. I should say that this picture does not do the lake justice, it is sprawling yet elegant, slim and majestic. I really wanted to go on the dragon boats, I am sad that we did not have the opportunity to not only go out on the made made lake but also to see the palace from the lake. I should think that the view from the lake would give you the idea that the designers and architects where looking to achieve. The layout of the palace from what I could observe was laid out with the intent that it would been seen from the water. Next time… I will also climb longevity mountain and take a picture.

bridge at the summer palace

I thought that this bridge would be the perfect ending to the day at the Summer Palace. This bridge is actually almost at the North Gate of the Summer Palace where we exited. I should say that I got distracted on the way out and was almost left behind. I stopped to take this picture at the risk of having to get back to BeiDa on my own. I think it was worth it, I only wish I would have had more time to explore.

I have really appreciated everyone’s comments and questions, thanks for keeping in touch and I look forward to hearing from you all again.


July 2nd, 2007 by

First I will say that the internet has been down since late Saturday night, I tried to post when I got back from Tian’an men and the Forbidden City but no luck.
My day in the heart of Beijing was interesting, I enjoyed it more than one would think. I was still recovering from food poisoning (or whatever it was) but I was able to go out and enjoy my day without any hindrance, mind you I kept clear of food. I only had to make one mad dash to the restroom during the time that we where there so I think all in all it was a success. Poor Jordan who was also under the weather also made it through the fieldtrip without any excitement but she did crash when we made it back to the room. I felt bad, I for some strange reason had a lot of energy and wanted to go out exploring but I couldn’t leave behind a sick roommate so I did homework or something to keep myself occupied incase she needed me.

When you approach Tian’an men square from the street you have to walk under the busy street that encircles the square, when you emerge you don’t immediately grasp just how big the place is.

a view of Tianan men

You look across and it flat and almost uninteresting. Scattered with buildings it is not until you start to walk across the square that you come to realize how far you have walked. I only walked length-wise not width-wise so I still don’t full appreciate that some half a million can stand there at one time.

on of the double gates at Tiananmen

Tianan Men with Mao

The scale is truly grand, that portrait of Mao must be huge, but it doesn’t hit you how big.
I walked up to this memorial you can’t get very close to it but I was stunned at how big it is. I have seen footage of people camping on it but I thought to myself, “Wow, that really is big.” (I suppose size does matter). In retrospect I should have walked all the way around the monument so I could comment on how big it is but I didn’t want to get lost in the crowds.

tiananmen monument

To get to the Forbidden City you have to pass through a “double gate” meant to confound intruders.

Forbidden City Gate

Forbidden CIty Entrance


Once you are though the initial gates you pass through a series of courtyards that are connected by gated stairs. It seems that you can walk from the South Gate to the North Gate in more or less a straight line, through the Emperor’s bedchamber; calling it a bedroom seems rather pedestrian.

gate with stairway at the Forbidden City

Once you get past the living and administering quarters you enter what seems to be the garden area. This garden more than makes up for the total lack of flora in the lead up to it. Once you leave the garden you begin the process of exiting the grounds.

bronze turtle forbidden city

Bronze Crane in the Forbidden City

Forbidden City Arch.

A pavillion in the garden at the Forbidden City

The stone wall at the end of the garden in the Forbidden City

the gate at the end of the garden before you leave the grounds

When exiting you again pass through the “double gate” and pass over the moat. I cannot unfortunately give a good tour of what we saw or the actual lay out of the grounds more than just vague layout. However I suspect that is less important that what one actually sees when they are out exploring.

Forbidden City North Gate

moat around the forbidden city

Pink Blog
Official FAQs of Sanriotown Blog
Fashion Blog
Director's Club