Monday, November 23, 2015

红白蓝之餐

红白蓝之餐
-致捍卫自由平等博爱的法兰西人民

千里远行奥尔良,
寒风急摧密河长,
夜寻法餐只为情,
笑映红蓝一品香。





 



Thursday, November 12, 2015

神奇的航班


2015年11月12日18点10分,在圣地亚哥飞往凤凰城的航班中拍到飞机刺破夕阳天空的一翼。


正当我开始赞赏人类征服天空而飞翔的壮举时,天边那落日余晖 悠悠地提醒:人算得了什么?神造的航天器在以100倍更快的速度飞行,既不用降落和加油,也不用驾驶和导航,已经分秒不误地在浩瀚宇宙中飞行了46亿年, 除了一年一次的绕日公转外,它每天自转带来的灿烂旭日和美丽晚霞,更提醒我们这些乘客来感恩这神奇的航班--地球。

初稿于2015年11月12日

”定格的方位”系列







Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cheering


“Go Eight” - we would scream at the top of our lungs when Jon took the base as number 8 on the Gamers Blue youth baseball team. This USSSA Major 10U (10-year-old and under) team played 60-plus games this season, not losing a single one in the league and won seven championships out of ten tournaments.

We usually sat on a stepped-up bench, behind the diamond-shaped field surrounded by metal fence. The occasional foul balls were bounced off the fence or flew over then dropped into the crowds while many yelled “heads-up!!”

But mostly we’d yell and scream to cheer up Jon and his teammates, no matter the situation.


When batting:
  • “Nice cut (or swing)!” - on a swing that missed or fouled off the ball
  • “Fight!” - when batter falling behind on pitch count like 0:2
  • “Good try!” - when batter got struck out
  • “It’s not on you!” - when umpire called a strike to the batter
  • “Have Fun!” - when facing a tough pitcher
When pitching:
  • “Beautiful pitch!” - cheering a pitcher who just threw a ball
  • “Nobody’s hurt!” - calming a pitcher who faces a dire situation (base loaded nobody out)
To spectators, the cheering seems symbolic or even superficial. And that was what I felt first. But as the season ground on and the boys learned how to bat, pitch, field, catch and coming home like after a mud bath; and more importantly, as they learned how to deal with adversity and failure, we parents also acclimated into the cyclical rhythm of the sports and the cheering became our own experience of participating in the game.

In a July evening, Gamers 10U had its last league game in Kirkwood Athletic Association park. The night was long as there were two games to play, the weather was steamy and the mosquito was brutal. However, all the parents were cheering excitedly, wholeheartedly, and faithfully.

And we were having great fun!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bad Days

 It was a bad day in New York LaGuardia Airport today. The snow was falling down hard then blowing side way fast. Every canceled flight drove panic passengers from gate to gate and in my case one concourse to another. The despair descended into desperation as a Delta plane skidded out of runway and closed down the airport. I made many calls to American Airlines service desk for rebooking and it took longer for every call to go through. It was clear that the surge of calls was overwhelming the airline computer systems and service resources.

While on hold for the call, I suddenly recalled a meeting I had few days ago with a healthcare researcher. He told me about the frustration of getting sufficient and timely computing resources to run cancer genomics analytical pipelines. The problem was more pronoun when there were real patients whose genomic data needed to be analyzed in clinical grade (high-depth) and with fast turnaround (hours vs days).

Looking through the window at the snow plow and truck struggling to flight the blizzard, I asked myself: as a information technologist, can you do more to help this battle?  This is a battle waging in every hospital around the world, against a much worse natural enemy that inflicts pain on millions of families including my own.

What if we can build a much capable, faster and smarter computer to aid the battles against cancer? With that, maybe we will be able to turn many bad days of a suffering family into good days. To get there, I won't mind suffering a bad day like today along the journey to frontier.




#NoMoreBadDays

#J2F_PowerGene

#abw4_et1509


Written 12:30AM in a hotel in New York while waiting for another flight home in 12 hours. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life is Like Flying

Life is like flying,
There is good seat,
There is bad seat,
But as soon as our plane leaves the gate,
We all share the same fate. 

Life is like flying,
There is up,
There is down,
We will hit dark clouds,
Only to be greeted by the sun. 

Life is like flying,
There is beginning,
There is ending,
We long for our loved ones,
Who are also there waiting ...


(To my dear Elaine, Jon and Tiff, who spent way too much time waiting while I am on the roads. I miss you all. Written 5am at Vegas Airport, edited 12:15pm in Dallas airport  2/24/2015)



#abw4_fm  #abw4_et1508

Monday, February 16, 2015

Working Snow Day

Jon was out clearing snow this morning, working hard against the freezing, blowing and drifting elements. It wasn't quite the Snow Day kids wished as today is President's Day. Regardlessly, Jon was eager to put his free time to work. After the driveway and sidewalk were cleaned, we walked towards home. I told Jon that he did a great job and deserved "the top award a dad can give to a son". "What's that?" Jon asked. I put my left arm on his left shoulder and said: "A pat on the shoulder!"

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cheers Mate!

Hyde Park in drizzle on 2/5/2015
(This is a travel story from my 5th trip of 2015, to London, UK)

After leaving Shanghai and living in St Louis for 25 years, I thought I had grasped all the English to carry the day. But that perception eventually changed when I rediscovered the British English, plus some more. Couple years ago, a client from Vancouver got me to say "cheers" in place of "bye". Last summer, I was first a bit startled then got used to being called "mate" during a visit to Sydney. The pleasant surprises kept coming in this week's visit to London. 

I arrived in London Wednesday for a two-day workshop at Imperial College with some of the most brilliant scientists and engineers in UK to discuss information technologies for genomic medicine. During the meetings, I was able to connect with Imperial's lead scientist in English and Shanghainese. We compared and contrasted the adopted hometown with our shared birth city. I could felt his pride and fondness of London. And I could relate in my own feeling towards the city of Gateway Arch. 

Sun broke out in Hyde Park
Friday early afternoon, I took a cab outside Imperial heading to Paddington for the Heathrow Express and then flight to Chicago. As the car was zigzagging through Hyde Park where I was drenched by freezing drizzle the day before, the sun finally broke through the cloud and started shining on the greens and trails dotted with cyclists and runners. This city of vast space and history suddenly sprung into real life and lit up a couple of my childhood memories that connected me to the English world: the thrills of watching Richard Hannay dangling on Big Ben to stop the German bomb in the movie "The Thirty Nine Steps", and the amazement of learning "How do you do" and "I am fine, and you?" by following "Follow Me" and "New Concept". But why wasn't "cheers" or "mate" taught in these two popular British English programs?

Burger King at Paddington Station
The cab pulled to a stop at Paddington station, a transportation hub surrounded with American fast food eateries. As I was hopping off the car and having my attention almost grabbed away by a familiar sign of Burger King, I heard a cheerful voice from the cab driver, an old gentleman with wavy white hair:

"Cheers! Mate!"
... ...
After landing in Chicago, I googled to learn that the expression simply means "thank you".

Yes, cheers mate! And thank you my friend for taking me on a ride through your beautiful and historical city. Even it was only 1.9 miles.

Also cheers to a world that is ever more linked by planes, wired by machines and connected by language, expression and good will among people, something that is not to be taught but experienced.

Thank you God, this world is bloody brilliant!

First written: 2015.02.06 on flight from Chicago to St Louis
Edited: 2015.02.07 at home

Omitag: #abw4_et1505, #abw4_story

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Round-trip Journey

I was thrusted into the air,
traveling high speed out of town,
flying over a field lit by light,
I could only feel the weight of fun.

But inches away from destiny,
everything turned upside down,
bang! I was hit hard head on,
and away from target I was gone. 

As the twist of fate carried on,
my return flight did not last long,
puff! I crash landed very hard,
returning to where I started from. 

Puzzling over what went wrong,
I was raised to a hero's welcome,
then I realized what a journey I just had,
as the last pitched ball in a no-hitter that I belong


(A story as told by a baseball commemorating the last pitch that ended a game of no-hitter. The ball was thrown around 90 MPH towards batter, hit back hard and then caught to end the game. 
A no-hitter is a very rare accomplishment in which a pitcher holds all opposing players frim getting any hits to get on base or score runs.) 

Originally written in 2015
Modified on May 25th 2016



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Human Energy

2015.01.28  Human Energy

Boarding flight AA376 at DFW. All passengers are bundled up readying for the destined cold in Indy (16F). A lady was in her pink t-shirt and when prompted by the baggage handler, she laughed and said:"I just came from Honolulu." Some time all we need is a cool (or hot) word (or sentence) to warm up!

#abw4_story

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Qualities of Friendship

On my Sunday School last week, the 5-6th grade students divided into two teams and worked out the top qualities of friendship. Then I wrote them out on the white board in two columns and matched a common set of eight.

So the eight top and common qualities of a friend are: funny, nice, happy, smart, loyal, Christian, kind-hearted, optimistic.


However, they all missed the one that the teacher was looking for, which was also the theme of the class: LOVING

The Memory Verse of the week also reflects on the teaching of Jesus on the subject.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.               (John 13:35)

Suzuki Group Concert

Jonathan performs with fellow young musicians at annual Suzuki Group Concert in Webster Community Music School today.


Violin and cello students performing "Twinkle Variations" by Shinichi Suzuki

#abw4_music

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blessings in the Air

I am used to count departure/flying time, upgrade/waiting list, boarding/priority order, etc etc at airlines' gate as they make or break a good flight. Today at St. Louis Lambert Airport Gate C8, I experienced something that will probably change my count forever.

I was waiting for my flight to Chicago and a one-hour delay put me in a heightened alert for missing another connecting flight in the last three trips (yes, yet-another count). As passengers from the arriving flight steadily streamed out of the gate, I anxiously count down each as prizes of a tournament.

Then my count paused as an older lady strenuously emerged on her crutch, a walker of some sort with wheels. She inched slowly forward, aided by a teenage girl attached to her side. I started to wonder why the pair couldn't spare us the anxiety, maybe with the girl quickly pushing grandma out on a wheelchair?

As they finally got closer to me, I couldn't help wanting to give them a look, but my glare frozen midair as if time had stopped the photons. The grandma's white hair was brushing against the girl's blonde hair as they leaned against each other so closely while moving. On the youthful and smiling face, the eyes were staring blankly forward. The blind girl's left arm was holding onto the crutch for direction while the right arm giving support to the shaky grandma. I forgot counting as they continued to inch forward and disappeared into the crowd, the white and blonde hair waving against each other in the air...

Three hours later and on board the next flight to Columbus, I started writing the encounter in hope that one day the grandma might read it as a stranger's admiring well-wish. As the plane sat at the gate being de-iced,  the delay announcement from captain prompted me to count the odds of on-time arrival and timely pickup of rental car. 

But then, as I looked outside the plane window and against the dark and cloudy sky, I saw tiny and shiny snow flakes falling and waving in the air. And I paused my count. Maybe instead of spending time counting time, my heart murmured, I should count the blessings that surround me in the air?

The blessings, I wondered, might be disguised as the bright smile from a blind girl, or shiny snowflakes in dark sky? Or simply, maybe the air itself which God lets us breath from and fly with.


First written in Westin Columbus
12:49AM 11/13/2015

#abw4_et1502
#abw4_story

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Coldest Night


As a city embraces her coldest night,
I fly home on a late flight,
Through the treachery of the cold and dark,
What a delight to see my city's warm and bright light!


Picture taken from AA flight 2212 (DFW-STL) as it flew over St. Louis downtown as the temperature plummeted to 7 degree due to a cold front. This probably will be the coldest night of this winter as the winter chill could reach minus 10 degree in the evening.

#abw4_et1501