Pollution, “Wumai,” and Beijing’s Airpocalypse


“Reception classes stay indoors when the air quality index (AQI) hits 180 – measured on an official scale of 500 by various sensors across the city. For primary kids the limit is 200, while the eldest students are allowed to brave the elements up to 250. Anything above 300 and school trips are called off. The World Health Organisation, meanwhile, recommends a safe exposure level of 25.”


Work and Whirlyball


Tonight I headed over to play Whirlyball with some folks at work, as part of a holiday celebration. Given the large size of Sears, there’s a general lunch thing that happens for the downtown folks… but smaller teams tend to go and do their own thing separately.


Working Upstairs, Working Downstairs


It’s funny – I used to be all careful coming up here, putting on a Tyvek suit and booties. Now, I just come up in jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. Where I used to be super careful moving around, I’m literally just swimming in this stuff. I’m on my hands and knees, I’m on my back, on my belly. I’m hugging the dirty shop vac as I move it around – I don’t really care anymore. It’s like I’m taking a bath in all this muck, and it’s become normal now.


New Office, Clean Office


On arriving home, I hung out with Liz downstairs for a bit (she was home with the day off). I walked upstairs some time later, and on getting to the top of the stairs… looked in and noticed the back bedroom was brand spanking clean!


The Homeless Man Who Wasn’t There


There is a homeless guy who sits on a milk crate, just outside the Chipotle at State and Madison. I see him most days, Monday through Friday, whenever I walk by. He’s an older black man, with a bit of gray in his hair. He speaks kindly to everyone who passes by, giving everyone a small salutation: “Hey there, sir. You have a good day. Hey there young couple, you be good to one another now.” His voice is cracked when he speaks, from the strain of trying to say hello to nearly everyone who walks by him.


Meg’s Holiday Party


In meeting new folks, I got to chat with some really fun people. I met Mena, who used to be part of a bar trivia team with Meg. I told her about Mystery League and learned she was really into crime and detective shows. She brought up Serial, which I’ve been listening to (and I was playing Episode 1 for Liz, on our way over).


Saturday is Attic Day


My Saturdays are fast turning into attic days. With winter here and the temperature dropping, we need to get the attic set up with new insulation. But before we can do that, there’s a lot to clean up.


First Experience with Soylent


The taste of Soylent to me had a slightly sweet note to it. Like a very light/faint vanilla, but not very strong at all. The consistency was, unfortunately, a little chalky. It tasted a bit gritty. I didn’t mind it too much, but I could see that turning some people off.


Recho: Audio Recordings Tied to Specific Places


“What inspired us to create Recho is our love of podcasts. One day when discussing our favourite episode, we both remembered exactly where we had been when listening to it. And this sparked the question: What if a story belonged to a place and you would have to be at that exact place to hear it?”