Gramps died last night.

My great-grandfather died last week. He was just shy of 100 years old. Gramps lived up in Otis Maine — a few miles from Acadia National Park. When I was growing up, Gramps would often stay a few days with my family on trips to visit his sister. We’d walk down into the creek near my house and while my brother and I fished, Gramps would tell us stories about growing up in not-so-rural anymore Connecticut and carve us bows and arrows from saplings.

I wrote a piece back in high school that I planned to share on Gramps’ 100th birthday. He didn’t quite make it but he was ready to go.


Japan - So Many Nuggets

I spent a bit of the holiday season in Japan visiting friends and riding the Shinkansen (bullet train). There is a lot to like. From clean, sprawling, dense, and affordable cites, to strangers offering to help an oftentimes extremely lost Gaijin (foreigner).

Yet, I leave the Land of the Rising Sun with more conflicted thoughts than I have for my own home. Things are so familiar and so different. There is so much peace and so much chaos. There is so much hope and so much despair.

I am also accumulating quotes about things far faster than I am writing about them so I thought I’d grab ones about Japan and smoosh them all together in the hope I can simulate the same conflict I feel as I depart.


My Blog - Now Blocked in China ://

Is the censorship even effective? Everyone seems to have a vpn and most Chinese of means seem to have spent time outside the country.

- a friend the other day

I just finished a half semester class where we focused on Tiananmen Square as a focal point of protest and social movements in China over the last 100 years. One of the largest plazas in the world, Tiananmen sits adjacent to the former imperial palace and in the last hundred years has hosted the May 4th Movement of 1919, Mao’s proclamation of the PRC in 1949, a massive rally of Red Guards in 1966 that began the implementation of the Cultural Revolution, protests after the death of the PRC’s first Premier Zhou Enlai in 1976, further protests in 1989 after the death of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang, and countless PLA demonstrations.


Delta - Be Better

“While the usual suspects ended up buying a handful of A380s due to national pressure (Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways), delusions of grandeur (Malaysia, Thai), or me-too syndrome (Asiana, Etihad, Qatar), there was really only one airline that truly loved the airplane. That was Emirates.”

- A cool airplane blog I like to read

Emirates A380

Airlines and their routes are fun because the decision to fly a plane from one city to another can be made from more than just an immediate profit seeking perspective.


Sukuk - No Interest Here

How did all this get financed? Islam doesn’t seem so big on charging interest so bonds wouldn’t be an option.

- me wondering about all the nifty architechture and skyscrapers in (relatively) oil poor Dubai

I just arrived back in Pittsburgh after spending a week at Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Doha, Qatar. My time on Doha was incredible and something I’ll very much be digesting over the coming weeks and may write about soon on this blog. I wanted to thank all of the students at CMU-Q for their hospitality (I had heard much about Arab hospitality and was still blown away by the generosity and kindness I was afforded) and for the administrators at CMU (Kevn D’Arco, Elizabeth Coder, Lenny Chan, and especially Renee Camerlengo) for all the work they did in to make this trip possible. They enabled our two groups and all the others who we interacted with to see the world as a smaller, more similar, place. I also wanted to thank my CMU-Q partner Rameez who got excited when I told him I had a blog and has definitely read more of these posts than my mother :p