Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It has been a good month.  Outside, the weather is cold, but inside there is love in our hearts.  The city is full of smoke in the aftermath of New Year's Eve.  The trash from that night has been photographed and cataloged on my flickr page.  We live in the East end of town, and it is a pretty quiet neighbourhood this time of year.  A lot of families and students from the University have all gone back to their hometowns to celebrate the new year and to welcome each other in a  Spring Festival kind of way.

Spring Festival is a big deal here in China.  How many metric tonnes of sunflower seeds will be consumed this month?  How many hours of overtime will it take to transport everyone across the country and back?  How many drunk uncles will safely and peacefully fall asleep on the couch?  It is a crazy time.  We've just gotten through almost 24 hours of fireworks and firecrackers.  It hit a climax on New Year's eve at around 11:55pm.

As per usual, our tradition is to venture over to the Lete Youth Hostel, located on the 16th floor of a downtown building.  We partied with friends, set off some of our own fireworks, and to took in the spectacle of hundreds of faithful Chinese men and women who must spend thousands of dollars on fireworks.  For well over 30 minutes, the sky was full of light, bouncing in and out of the buildings and streets.

One rather experienced pyromaniac in our group successfully tossed a lit firecracker down onto the main road below us.  It fizzled and twirled like a tornado of sorts, and a taxi drove over it like it was an ordinary occurrence.

Miles, Jonas and a few other kids were able to stay up until midnight to take in the show, but their enthusiasm was waining.  I feel bad for keeping them up that late, but it's only once a year and I feel like it is one of those things that we can tell them about 10 years from now and they'll think of us as cooler parents for it.


On a completely different note, at the end of the great month of January there will be a new Leonard Cohen album available to us all.  At this moment, it is available for previewing at this site.

I would say that some of the songs seem to hit and others, for different reasons, seem to miss the mark.  It seems like a journey; like the album should be listened to in one straight sitting.  There is very little reason to dance to this record, so sitting is preferred and almost universally accepted.

While I'm talking about music, I would like to point out another record that is worth sitting through.  It's by a band called Gungor.  My wife has been listening to this music a lot and lately I have been "picking up what she's been putting down".  Take a look at this viddy to get an idea of how nice this music is to listen to and inspire.

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