I’m a little new to the world of blogging, so I was a bit surprised to learn that I could be “tagged” and asked by other bloggers to jot down some number of thoughts or responses to celebrate the end of 2006. I’m not complaining. I want to thank Gracchi over at Westminster Wisdom (one of THE best history blogs on the web) and especially thank Richard, a blogging mentor to me, who most people know as the main chef behind The Peking Duck.
Seven achievements in 2006:
1) Passing my qualifying exams and advancing to candidacy. It took the first half of the year locked in my office, but I did it. Of course at a Christmas party last week my uncle, a (recently tenured) professor of education at Salisbury State University in Maryland, reminded me that there are far more ABDs in the world than PhDs. Looks like my work is just beginning.
2) I did find time to start this little blog of mine. It’s still a hobby but it gives me something to do when I’m not buried in the archives or the library.
3) Won both of my fantasy basketball leagues as well as the department NCAA Tournament pool for the second year in a row.
4) On a related note, I sat through my 34th summer as a Red Sox fan and didn’t once jump off the Tobin Bridge.
5) I picked a dissertation topic. Came up with a research plan and actually had the plan accepted by my advisor and my dissertation committee. This may not seem like much, but if you’ve ever gone to graduate school….well, if you did then you’re nodding your head and you understand.
6) YJ and I actually picked a date for our wedding. Okay, we didn’t pick a date, we picked a month: September. And a year: Next. We’ve also convinced her mother to narrow the guest list down to just the first 1000 names from the original invite list.
7) This last one isn’t really mine, but I thought I’d throw it out there: YJ finished her year of graduate work in public administrative law at the University of Bordeaux. This is a woman who two years ago could only say “bonjour” and “oui.” Two years later she’s doing graduate level course work in a French law school. Needless to say, to paraphrase Ben Affleck, “My girl’s wicked smaht.” It’s one hell of an accomplishment and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
Second, thanks to Richard at TPD (tagged himself by the brilliant China Law Blog) I give you five things (most) people don’t know about me.
1) I have no taste in movies. I like to effect sophistication, but the kind of movie I like hasn’t changed since I was 12. The films of Monty Python bore me to screaming, but give me Rocky IV, Con Air, or Tombstone and I’ll sit there for hours. It’s a character flaw, I know but what am I going to do? I also like watching television: “Entourage,” “The Office,” “Scrubs.” Seriously…I might as well just start jabbing syringes of liquid drain cleaner into the frontal lobe of my brain, it would probably do less damage to my intellectual capacity than the crap movies I watch when I’m bored.
2) I played rugby for 10 years in Singapore, the United States, and China. I finally “retired” after a head-to-head collision while playing for the Aardvarks (based out of BLCU) resulted in major stitches and a nasty scar over my left eye. I had played soccer in high school but later fell in love with rugby because I could hit people with impunity. Now I play soccer again, at least until I can get back in shape or my student health insurance coverage improves sufficient to cover “blunt force head trauma.” Whichever comes first.
3) I am left handed. A quirk of no small amusement to my Chinese friends who assure me that it means, “I’m clever.” Yeah, well in Indonesia it means I’m the devil. So there.
4) I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan. If life had gone the way I was sure God had planned for me, I would be the starting left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately, God is a bastard and I can’t hit a curveball.
5) I was raised Unitarian Universalist and still am active in the UU community at my university. For those who are unfamiliar with Unitarians think: “Atheists with children.”
Okay, so who do I set this upon? Well, I’ll give my victims, er, friends a chance to choose from either “7 successes in 2006″ or “5 things most people don’t know about you.” Whichever is easier for you. Play ball.
The Roll Call:
Lemur. Yes honey, you have to do it.
Leah. The quirkiest, funniest blog out of our home university and one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet. Seriously.
Wu Ming. The smartest guy I know. Just a brilliant mind for history.
Ryan. The first person to notice I had a blog and the writer of one of the most consistently entertaining and enlightening blogs on the web. A tireless promoter in the China blogosphere.
Chris. One of the best young writers out there. I hope when he’s the Beijing correspondent for the New York Times he remembers who I am and hires me to fetch his coffee for him.
Brett. Like some sort of unholy cross between “Entourage,” Swingers, and the next Tarantino movie. But all in Beijing, baby. The best blog out there about the capital city.
DB from the blog with THE best name in the China blogosphere: Crouching Tiger, Ambling Sheep.
Go to it folks and my very best wishes for 2007!
Update 12/31/06: Thanks to Leah, Ryan, and DB for following through. Chris gets an extension because he’s off the grid for the moment as does Brett who last reports indicated was still somewhere in the upper reaches of the Ganges seeking enlightenment (Read: “The Quality Ganges Home Grown”).