Getting to Know the Gusset

Michigan is referred to lovingly as “The Mitten” for the way its shape resembles one of those cold-weather accessories the state’s residents normally wear from October through April (at least). In the four years since I moved here, I’ve traveled almost the width of the mitten’s cuff, from Detroit in the east to Kalamazoo inContinue reading “Getting to Know the Gusset”

Sweet Home Chicago

I spent the first weekend of 2019 in Chicago, attending the American Historical Association annual conference. Chicago is, relatively speaking, not that far from Ann Arbor—about four and a half hours by train or bus, somewhat less if you can bear the drive, which I can’t—but I have not been there once since moving toContinue reading “Sweet Home Chicago”

The Happiest Place in Shanghai

Well, sort of. If standing in line—a lot of lines—makes you happy, then a visit to the two-year-old Shanghai Disney park will be an unbeatable experience. In eight hours at the park on a Monday earlier this month, I spent roughly two-thirds of my time in one line or another and read an entire novelContinue reading “The Happiest Place in Shanghai”

Speaking Events in Shanghai and Hong Kong

  Early morning jet-lagged greetings to all from Shanghai, where I landed last night. This is my first time in China since the summer of 2016, and I’m very curious to see what has changed in the intervening two years. So far all I can say is that they now take your fingerprints when youContinue reading “Speaking Events in Shanghai and Hong Kong”

Weekly Wanderings: Away We Go Edition

• The “Weekend” alarm clock on my phone is set to go off at 7:00am (usually an ideal, not reality), but today my brain saw fit to nudge me awake at 5:30 in the morning. “Come on, get up, we have so much to do,” it whispered, bringing to the surface of my consciousness aContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Away We Go Edition”

Finding My Way in Seoul

That Old Familiar Feeling I am not, I admit, all that good with maps—the old-fashioned, non-digital kind, that is. I’m generally okay with directions and excellent at using landmarks to re-trace a route I’ve already traveled, but maps and I have never clicked. Before the blessed arrival of smartphones, I spent enormous amounts of timeContinue reading “Finding My Way in Seoul”

Weekly Wanderings: Roadblocks, Detours, and Roundabouts Edition

▪ How many times this spring did I tell myself, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll get up and start writing again. Tomorrow for sure”? Pretty much every day. But as the near-silence around these parts indicates, I never followed through. The #1 reason for this is that for the past several months I’ve found it nearly impossibleContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Roadblocks, Detours, and Roundabouts Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Out with the Old, In with the New Edition

Slightly delayed due to an epic cold (now better)/holiday laziness … ▪ Happy New Year! Like nearly everyone else I know, I am glad to see 2016 disappearing in the rearview mirror; as it was for so many other people, for me it was a year of change and disruption, expectation and disappointment. Not everythingContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Out with the Old, In with the New Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Nittany Lions Edition

▪ I spent last Tuesday and Wednesday visiting Penn State, where history professors David Atwill and Kate Merkel-Hess (a fellow UCI History graduate) had invited me to talk with their grad students about getting a PhD and then going into a non-academic career. I also gave a presentation on the Zhang Leping biography that I’veContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Nittany Lions Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: September 30, 2016

▪ As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge Ghostbusters fan; were it not for the condo regulations in my development, I’d definitely have a 13-foot-high inflatable Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man on my front lawn for the next month. My brother assures me that my still furniture-free living room is large enough to accommodate him, but IContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: September 30, 2016”