Category Archives: Uncategorized

Workplace wellness tip #1:  Release live tigers at random


Nothing helps someone pop up out of their workstation and make time for that elusive jog than the announcement that a live tiger or two has just been released somewhere in their office.

You wouldn’t believe how hungry tigers can get, and you definitely wouldn’t believe how scary they are in person. I mean, those things are huge. And they’re like, really, really fast.

We recommend releasing them just as a couple of people get up to go to the restroom at once, because there’s nothing tigers love more than a bit of ‘who’ll gets there first’. Plus, for humans, racing a coworker while being pursued by a hungry predator is class-A exercise.

It’s not only hilarious, it’s healthy.

Healthy, healthy fun, for humans AND tigers!





The stunning, final Brexit conversation finally revealed

Transcripts recovered from an anonymous source last week have allowed us to finally discover what happened in that fateful breakfast meeting several weeks ago.

While most of us thought the UK and EU made a slightly awkward, if charming pair, no one ever expected the fledgling romance to end in such dramatic fashion.

The conversation can be found below, without commentary. We hope that you will find it as illuminating as we have; in a time so momentous, there is no need for us to colour the events – we will allow you to experience them as they happened.


UK: “I thought, when you said you were cool with us keeping our bank accounts separate, that it meant you really were cool with us being like that, you know? Like, we were going to be together, but still be ourselves, right?”

EU: “I was cool with it, I am, but… I mean… I don’t want to be just ourselves.

UK: “What do you mean?”

EU: “I just… sometimes… it feels like you don’t even want to be with me at all.”

*loud sigh*

UK: “It’s not… It’s not that I don’t want to be with you, it’s just… I want to still be myself, you know? It’s like people look at our relationship, and they just see EU, EU, what’s going on with the EU, Euro-this, Euro-that… and then there’s Angela – ”

EU: “You like Angela!”

UK: “I do. I do. It’s not about her. You’re right. I just… I think we need to… What do you say we, just for a bit, now… that we…

*charged silence*

EU: “Just say it, Ukie! Stop being a coward! Do you want to be with me or no?!”

UK: “I do! But… I don’t! I feel torn, okay?! It’s like half of me wants to stay, and the other half wants to go…”

EU: “Sounds like you need to decide which half of you is the real you. Which half do you want to be, Ukie?”

UK: “I… want to…”

EU: “Yes..?”

UK: “I… want to be on my own for awhile. I just want to try things out! I’ll stay on Boris’ couch for awhile, I already checked with him, it’s cool, he’s… I just… I need to do this. For me. I’m leaving, EU.”

*choked sobs*

UK: “No.. please don’t… cry…”

EU: “No! You know what? You’re not leaving me, you’re – I don’t want you! Get outta here! See how well you do Out There!”

UK: “It’s not – we don’t need to be like that – I mean, we have all the same friends, it’s going to be really awkward if we – ”



The transcript then ends with a few minutes of breaking dishes and shouting.

Thus, what was meant to be a run-of-the-mill, delightful brunch date highlighted by simply scrumptious eggs benedict became the calamity we now refer to alternatively as Brexit, Breakxit, or Breggsxit. We will keep you up to date with any further news.

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The Bookhouse Tour: PARIS #2, San Francisco Book Co

PARIS, July 2014

Without a lot of time left to spare in the city, I made my way to San Francisco Book Co, hoping for the best. It was along a road called Monsieur le Prince, and the architecture was wonderful. That small circle of town where I briefly wandered, looking for the shop, will be what I remember as ‘default’ Paris.

Two simple bookcases outside told me I was on the right track. A glance inside the door confirmed it – this was exactly the place I’d hoped to find! Shelves stacked ten-high and lined double-deep awaited me. Everything was impeccably organized, and I swear the shelves were beamingly-grinning. (That may have been just me. I probably bleached the first few rows of books I browsed through.)

I rambled through the shelves and stacks for a satisfyingly unknown length of time. In the Country section, I found a huge selection of Louis L’Amour books, including Jubal Sackett, one of the books I’d absolutely loved as a kid. In a rare lucid memory, I recall reading it in my favorite oak tree behind my grandparent’s house in Tomball. Whenever I’d walk by their bookshelf and see Jubal, I’d always feel that we recognized each other, somehow, the book and I, as if it would be fitting for us to give each other a wink, or a nod. I never took it home, because it belonged in Nana & Grandad’s bookshelf, and I liked seeing it each time I visited, that old friend.

Connection set. I picked up the book and didn’t put it down. I considered getting a second copy of Fair Blows The Wind as well, another I’d connected with when I was younger, but I had a well-worn copy back in Texas. I passed on several Paul Auster titles as well, content with the fact that I had an unread Brooklyn Follies at home in Hong Kong. However, to make good on a promise, I picked up a copy of The New York Trilogy. It’s a good one to give to writers and artists, one of the best accounts I’ve ever read about the struggle.

A trip back through to the general Fiction section, where I determined I’d look at every title if I could (and very nearly did!), yielded an early victory – what appeared to be a very old copy of a Dickens book called Life of Our Lord. This astounded me. Dickens has been one of my mainstays this year; we’ve been near inseparable since I was been blown away by his laugh-out-loud humor in the first ten-ish chapters of Great Expectations. His humorous short stories about ghosts had long since begun to be a huge influence on my stories. Previously, I hadn’t known much about his spiritual life or views; this book promised to make that clearer. It was apparently a published record of letters he’d made for his children, then young, in which he rewrote the gospels to make the life of Jesus more clear to them. I added this one to the list.

Then, I felt lost. I’d been so consistent in my choice of authors – George MacDonald, Dickens, Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Twain, Auster, Kipling, Forster – that I honestly didn’t know where to go next. I wasn’t ready to start on my mountain of Murakami, but I was ready to move a bit away from my primary go-to of British (and even in that, mostly English) writers from late 1800s to mid 1900s (excepting Twain and Auster). Luckily, there was a Wise Man near in the form of the store owner. He gave me his recommendations, though I’m blanking on the names now; one was something like ‘Yiddish Policemen Club’, I can’t remember now. I could Google it, but… eh. I added a couple of his recommendations to the stack.

He also shared with me a curious little story about his connection to Hong Kong. A lady had once walked into his store and asked him for 1,000 books. She said that he could select them, and when ready, she would fly him and the books back to her home in Hong Kong, where he would install what was apparently to be a bookshelf for the ages. I’m not sure how many were read, as I’m guessing their main purpose was for making her friends (read: me) jealous.

Five books in hand. Dickens, L’Amour, some newbies for me, and one Auster for a friend. Mission accomplished. The official account:  The books left for me in Paris were waiting at a store called San Francisco Book Co. The Westerns and Mystery sections are particularly impressive.

I would also highly recommend going to a boulangerie immediately after you leave the bookhouse. Sweet-Lord-Jesus-of-all-things-baked, I’m going to miss those.

The Bookhouse Tour: A Bibliophile Abroad

I connect with travelling where it intersects with literature. Specifically, that would be secondhand, English literature. The desire to explore a creek or a continent begins in the desire to find one’s way to the back cover of a book, and to the ends of a bookshelf.

These Tours will describe visits to wonderful bookhouses all over the world. My list is created through recommendations from friends & family, and through online threads; perhaps these will be places you’d like to stop. After all, what better way to remember a city, and a time, and the people you were with, than through the books which accompanied you in those seasons?

There is a book waiting for us everywhere. Usually, we won’t know it till we find it.

If you have any special bookhouses to add to the list, please contribute!!

Magic. Mirrors

Black is the color of mystery and that which is not yet known, which may or may not be the same thing. You can’t really ever tell, you know, for that is how the magic happens, in the moments where you have not been told that it is magic. As soon as you tell… well, you begin to believe in trickery, not something majestic, like magic. What a tragedy, to believe in illusions at all, and what a heinous tragedy, to replace magic with illusions, as if mirrors were equal to the light which they refracted. There are many flaws in mirrors. I think we only see the flaws, however, only the flaws; these flaws sit there all judgmental, asking us what we’re going to do about them, asking us what others must think when they inevitably notice them. And we also can’t blame the mirrors for simply being honest, if they are good mirrors, solid, with integrity. 

It would be a tough gig, that, to be a mirror. You only get the extreme people who spend time with you. It would be tough to feel appreciated, to feel the warm little glow of providing some sort of boon to the world. Your companions would be the negatively self-obsessed, compulsively trying to reshape their figure into some sort of external, societal ideal, and this group would never, ever, ever be satisfied with what you showed them. On the other hand, you could have the positively self-obsessed, who do nothing other than admire themselves and all their embellishments and adorned beauty, and while they would be overly appreciative of your flattery, you would feel that odd distance that happens in a conversation when you know the other party could, quite frankly, not care less about who you are or what you care about or anything that is not directly connected to themselves. The best company, the humble ones, won’t pay you much attention at all, apart from a quick glance from time to time, as is necessary. Sometimes you get to surprise people and show them themselves; people sometimes forget what they look like, and the gradual glimpses of themselves that they are afforded each day are no match for that moment when they peer into their own eyes in a two-second stranger. 

Take a deep breath – listen – … !

You need these every now and again.

A walk up Old Peak Road to the top of the island. A thought about our dusty sunbeams pouring happily, heavy, through the leaves. A step to the beat, a nod to a note left suspended, scattering recklessly, joyfully, abandoned to the air – a joy which only spring understands, a freedom which only summer can explain.

We Are the Death Star (and There Is Always an Exhaust Port)

I’ve been thinking lately that God puts certain predispositions in us as forms of divine sabotage…

What happens is simple – the world gets crazy, the days are super busy and packed with work-thoughts, and there is no room for rest or delight or a refreshing breath. Without realizing it, we don’t have time to look for God, to listen for him, and slowly and subtly, we turn into little Death Stars – fortresses bristling with walls and armaments, ramparts and shields and grey stone and concrete, impervious to the love set like land mines all around us, in nature and God’s words and community. But God, in all his wisdom, made sure we have weaknesses – the exhaust port of the Death Star, the heels of Achilles – flaws and chinks in our armor where his words will impact us and break through, usually in the most unexpected ways. Even in the best made fortress of the human heart, there can be a way for God’s love to break in.

I’m not sure what this is for everyone else; as I’ve said before, for me, I’m realizing that these chinks in my armor, these things that make me stop and marvel at God’s love (the story of Jesus, played out over and over), are in nature, and the beauty of the skyline against the mountains, and the simple miracles of people saying things which I’ve been thinking for a long time and haven’t been able to put into words, or the wonder of stumbling upon the most incredible surprises (like, for instance, yesterday, finding a field of spongy, perfect grass – lie-down, roll-around, picnic grass – right in the shadow of Hong Kong’s most iconic skyscraper).

For every Death Star, there’s a ragtag group of rebels with a rust-bucket ship.

Just Another Morning… (in pictures.)

Wan Chai District-20130116-00776

Seeing things like this make me love Hong Kong all over again.

Walking to work this morning, I went through a park with a fitness area for the elderly. These areas are pretty common in Hong Kong and China and have a bunch of colorful equipment like spinning wheels and moving steps which give older people a place to go be active in the urban outdoors. As I walked by, I saw an old woman literally sleeping on her stationary bike. Now that is the kind of exercise buddy I want, I couldn’t help but think. I regretted not taking a picture, but let’s be honest… I walk through that park every morning, and there is a fitness area for the elderly. I’m pretty sure I’ll have another chance.

Why I don’t eat meat (I’m not one of the crazy ones)

I read an article today on which out-of-the-blue spurred me into an explanation to my sister about why I stopped eating meat. ( I probably overwhelmed her (hah!), but it was the first time I’ve been able to adequately describe it so I put it here as well.

This guy explained very well what I realized I probably haven’t recently – the whole environment-as-part-of-God’s-mission thing. I took a class called Perspectives back at A&M that really made me think about this, that God’s creation is an expression of him, and that acting as good, loving caretakers of it is our original mission, and that caring for his creation remains an idea close to his heart. It’s actually why I eventually stopped eating meat… this has always been hard for me to explain, and I honestly haven’t tried much; instead, I just give random reasons – health, bad China meat, feel better – which are all true, but ancillary to the primary cause.

It really started back in Shanghai, when I would walk by animals in the store or market (turtles in bags, fish in the stands, etc) and think how amazing they were, how I shouldn’t be seeing them like this – how I wished I could be out scuba diving, and stumble upon one of them and be filled with wonder seeing it, and know all the while that the beautiful design of the animal and the hidden placement of it in the ocean was all a secret, beautiful little gift from God to me, and to everyone. The more I thought about that, the more the idea spread, and the more I realized how much animals revealed the beautiful designs of God to me. Turtles especially, and dogs, and big fish, and crabs. And I knew he cared about them dearly too, and that I should, and that appreciating them was actually a true way of worshipping God. I stopped wanting to eat them. I know it sounds simple, but that was it. I’ve always loved creeks and forests and everything like that too, and I realized this was all from him, this love of natural beauty and creatures.

I wouldn’t ever be a crazy vegetarian, trying to convert people or going into rants about it or anything like that, but that is why I don’t eat meat now. It is a little form of worship. It’s pretty much just for me, and it’s special. A between-me-and-God kind of thing. And it made that appreciation I’ve always had for the woods and the forests and the creeks something special too, because now I know that God placed that in me from my earliest days as a way to worship him! He knows exactly the things which I dearly love, because he made and placed those loves in me, so he knows exactly where to take me or what to show me to thrill my soul – and he does so on a regular basis here in Hong Kong!

It’s almost like a good land mine, this inherent love for nature planted in me, eventually revealing itself as worship of him in one of its purest forms. He is inscrutable in this way… planting loves in us, appreciations, which, with time, reveal themselves as avenues to worship him. Loves for music, for nature, for art, for hobbies, for food, for teaching, and on and on. All good things find their source in him, and we all appreciate different things naturally; redeemed, these natural loves do not compete with God for our primary affection but rather become sources of cheery worship which exalt him even further, allowing us to love both that natural love and God even more, exponentially increasing our joy.