Friday, May 25, 2007

Frank Caliendo on Letterman

Noel's site reminded me that Frank Caliendo's name came up with the JCI Holland guys last week. So, here's a tribute. Noel's got a different routine posted on his site. FYI. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thanks for "pummeling" my kids

A few posts back, I asked two things of you:
1. If you are with my kids, wrestle them. Their favorite thing to do when I arrive home from work is to quickly hug, then proclaim, "Fight me!" Then an old-fashioned beat down ensues. I mean, this is the stuff that typically happens out behind the woodshed. Of course, I'm always on the receiving end.
2. Give Aimee a hug for me.

Thanks to you who are delivering on these requests. I don't have pictures of all you but I do have a couple. There's some here of Uncle Ryan Krauss dishing it out. I also happened across an old picture of him doing the same thing with Anna when she was 1. I think Anna, with some help from her younger sidekick, got the upper hand this time.

The next picture is of my "distraught" kids. Can you tell they are depressed that Daddy's been gone for over 2 weeks? I think it's been a nonstop party since I left where the mac&cheese flows freely.

And the final picture....what can we say? I think she had just seen Anna body slam Ryan followed by Elijah leaping from the corner buckle, ie, couch armrest onto his defenseless ribcage.

Hope all is well in your neck of these woods.

Monday, May 21, 2007

An inspiration

A good friend of mine's family was dealt a MAJOR "faith exercise" in January. Completely unexpected, Brian's wife Kristi was diagnosed with stage 3/4 ovarian cancer. It is an impossible situation to comprehend and so, we pray. Would you pray for Kristi's healing? Would you pray for their 3 young kids, Ashley, Nathan and Emily? Would you pray for Brian as he balances the most important things of life with the necessary things that require time and energy? Also, if you are near a phone after praying, page them at 616-772-0110 so they know you've prayed.

Kristi is as courageous as they come. They now have a blog that chronicles their walk through this trial from day 1. More importantly, there are 2 other things it does. It (1) Gives detail on specific prayer requests and (2) encourages the rest of us to recognize our place in this world and what we're doing with it.

A favorite quote of mine from Kristi is, "You know, I wasn't really living until now. I was gliding through life. Look out world cuz here I come."

Kristi has a tremendous story to share. If you're able, join her team by praying. But also, take "inventory" of your own life and make sure you are keeping the most important thing the most important thing.

I've linked up their blog to this one.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Less distracted

In China, the leading cause of death among people younger than 35 is suicide.

Hearing that renewed my focus on investing in people's lives here in China. Sure, I teach them how to do engineeering on some car parts. But I know that success in a profession is not going to deliver the self-worth and value that we all crave. It may provide a "warm fuzzy" for some period of time, but we know it fades. And in China, there are not a lot of distractions that prevent people from thinking about how tough life really is.

Let me explain. In the US, we are so rich, that it blinds us from seeing our own need for something more in this life and beyond. Jesus said that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. I think he was hitting on this truth in our temporal life on Earth. We avoid confronting the truth about eternity by saturating our short-term perspective with "stuff".

We've got the new plasma television to look forward to. We enjoy watching our 401k grow and dreaming about retirement. Or season tickets to Michigan football in the fall. Perhaps it's looking forward to the next hunting season and a new bow. Maybe your career is taking off and everyone is telling you how great you are. There are thousands of distractions in the US that are not present in China. Distractions that keep us from thinking about how short life really is. Here in China, the lack of distractions leaves young people with less to live for and depressed. In the lives of some young people here, it becomes unbearable.

So, today, I'm reconsidering the "distractions" in my life. The things that keep me from living with eternity in mind.

There's a new employee at work. She's just 22. It's a 12 hour train ride to her hometown. She's in a new job, in a new city, far away from family. I can't imagine the challenges she faces emotionally. So, with renewed perspective this week, I noticed that she was sitting alone at lunch. Needless to say, she now sits with us at lunch. She must be told, through my actions, that she matters. That she is loved. My actions are motivated by my perspective on eternity. I know that she is valuable to God in heaven.

Jesus also said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." If you pray, would you pray that the suicide rate in China would drop because they come to know full life in Jesus Christ? The thought of young people taking their own life because they have nothing left to live for should should stoke each of our fires.

Cotton Club, round 2

One more go round with the Cotton Club.

Cotton Club, Shanghai

We had some JCI engineering leaders visit Shanghai this week. One of the guys spent 2 years in Shanghai at the factory where I am stationed. He knew all the hotspots including a jazz/blues club called "The Cotton Club". What a great time. This is the regular band with the exception of the drummer. He was visiting from Canada. They rocked out for 3 sets. And thanks to a new 2GB memory card, I got about plenty of video. The lighting was dim and audio muffled but you can still catch the rhythm. I've never seen so many syncronized bobbleheads. Now, who knows where I can find this in west michigan? Do we have to go all the way to Chicago?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I made the paper

It's not the Shanghai daily news but the local Johnson Controls paper. And I didn't make the front page but did manage to warrant space on page 2. And yes, there were more than 2 pages, Krauss! There are 4 pages total.

I'd rather not mention that page 4 is a full page advertisement but feel I must.

So, let me provide a rough and abridged translation of the text from the article,

"So, this really big dude works at our headliner factory. Just imagine a flagpole touting a red flag and you've got an accurate visual of this guy. He is not heavy enough to be a real American so we suspect he may be some sort of hybrid. He is the tallest red-haired person we have ever seen in southern China. There are stories of a red-haired behemoth that roamed the mountains of northern china back in the 40's. However, no evidence of the Chinese Sasquatch has been documented. Anyways, back to our JCI carrot top. He's going to be here, terrorizing our team until December of 2007. So, be on the lookout. These innocent bystanders were mauled immediately following the picture. "

Monday, May 14, 2007

Saturday's walk

I ventured out at 9am on Saturday. I got back to the house around 9:00pm. It was a very full day of seeing some of downtown. I started at People's Square, where the Shanghai museum and government building is located, and ventured down Nanjing Road which is the most famous shopping street in Shanghai. People's square was cool. I spent a couple hours at the museum checking out the largest display of American art ever in China. It was neat to see some original work of things I've seen only in books/magazines. After dodging a handful of raindrops and shoppers on Nanjing road, I moved to the river and crossed it via the ferry. The ferry is the common method for everyone to cross the river. The cost was 25 cents! It's one of the best deals in Shanghai because the boat's nice with lots of windows and cushy seats. On the other side of the river (Shanghai, east of the river, is called "Pudong". The west side is "Puxi", pronounced poo-shee). I eventually ended up at the Super Brand Mall and caught Spiderman 3 at the large theater on the top floor. Fortunately, the movie was in it's original English with chinese subtitles. Great movie, btw.

Oh, and the highlight of the day was bumping into Yao Ming. The poor guy's a wreck..... though you wouldn't know it given the smile on his face. The giveaway is the fact that he hasn't taken off his stinkin' uniform since the game 7 loss to the Jazz over a week ago. It's really sad. But at least I got a picture!

Another highlight was successfully crossing several streets. I've learned that in China, it's critical to always have at least one person between you and the vehicle's bumper.....and 3 or 4 bodies is preferred.

1. Lots of people, along with this cute girl, feed the pigeons in Renmin (People's) Square
2. Breakfast at a small street side cafe was fried noodles and 5 dumplings
3. Yao Ming is bigger than he looks on TV
4. I don't know if I've ever seen a real phone booth....until Saturday
5. The goodyear blimp was circling the Pearl Tower downtown. Still not sure what the occasion was.

I'll get some pictures of Sunday's adventure posted soon.


Friday, May 11, 2007

The Hoops Extravaganza

Hey, when the cat is away, the mice will play. Aimee leaves for a few weeks and I start having parties every weekend!

I had 7 guys and a gal join me for the festivities today. First, we played basketball for a couple of hours. They were impressed with the half-court that we've got in our neighborhood. And for you who enjoy basketball, this court has got the trapezoidal-shaped lane and an oddly placed 3-point line. It's got that european/asian thing goin' on - surprise, surprise.

Most of the guys play b-ball regularly but there were a couple that play rarely. In fact, one noted that this was the 2nd time he had played "competitive" basketball.

Everyone seemed to have a great time. The gal and one of the guys chose just to watch. One thing that impressed me is that those 2 disappeared on TWO occasions only to return with a bag full of cold gatorades and waters for all of us players. It was super nice of them and really reminded me of the generosity/friendliness of the people here. They have less than 99% of Americans but I don't know 1% of Americans that would have thought to buy cold drinks for your friends.....twice!

WARNING: TANGENT. As I type this, I'm watching rugby. Until now, the "rugby" I've seen on TV is practically non-contact. It's like powder puff style. I mean, there's more contact in billiards. It surprised me because I thought rugby was big, hairy guys beatin' the snot out of each other. Well, my expectations have finally been realized. This rugby on the TV now is brutal. Guys hitting each other, grabbing jerseys, random punting of the ball in "traffic", forearm shivers to the head/neck region....this is awesome. End of tangent.

3 of the visitors had to leave after B-ball. The rest of us walked back to the house for pizza and pop. Here are some pics.
Enjoy the weekend. I will spend most of Saturday walking parts of the city that I have not seen yet. The plan is to drop off at People's square and walk my way to the famous shopping street, Nanjing road, and then continue on to crossing the river. Should be an interesting adventure. Dial back to the Bowman Blog soon for some new pictures of Shanghai.
If you see my beautiful wife this weekend, give her a hug from me. If you see my kids, exclaim "fight me!" and proceed to let them wrestle you to the ground. Just don't send me the bill for the physical trauma caused.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How could you name your kid "Chauncey"?

I don't have an answer but as long as the Pistons keep winning, I'm going to see if Aimee would consider naming our daughter Chauncey. "Rasheed" is the the only other viable choice.

That nonsense aside, I did play my favorite sport yesterday. And no, it was not soccer. (Speaking of soccer, I've yet to be invited back to display my mad "skills" on the soccer pitch.) There is a nice basketball half-court in our neighborhood. It was great to shoot hoops again. It had been at least 9 months since I last picked up a ball. The chinese people love basketball and are enthralled with the NBA because of Yao Ming. You could hear wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the city after the Jazz knocked off the Houston Rockets.

Then, today, I learn that some of the guys from work played last week during the China holiday. So, I pushed for a game sometime soon. I look forward to it because I want to see what China pickup basketball looks like and it would be a neat opportunity to spend time with the guys outside of work.

Stay tuned for an update on hoops in China.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Phil in jedi training

Somewhere on Dagobah, Yoda is laughing, "Ready you are not"

Low Cost Therapy

My nephew Alex pulls a Tony Danza on this swinging collage of paper mache, ruffle paper, and pictures of Winnie the Pooh characters..."Who's the Boss" now Mr. Pinata?

Sorry for the delayed travel update.

Hey team,

The travel back in time, literally, to Michigan went better than we imagined. The kids each got 3 - 4 hours of sleep during the 24 hour period that summed up moving from Shanghai to Holland. Their spirits were even high enough upon arrival at GR to head out to Olive Garden with Aimee's sister Heather and her husband, Dave. Aimee had been craving salad and breadsticks since mid-January.

Thanks for your prayers. If you had told me, before liftoff, that the kids would each sleep 3 or so hours, I would have assumed the worst. It worked out great because, they were able to "crash" in their old beds on Thursday night after basically pulling an "all-nighter".

Elijah has had the most difficult time. For the first 5 nights, he was getting up between 1:30 and 2:00am to eat lunch and get some playtime. Last night, he skipped "lunch" but Anna got up several times. Compared to our Shanghai experience, this has been a cakewalk.

We've had a great time seeing family and friends. It's a bummer that we can't see everyone fast enough. I leave on Saturday and will miss seeing several important people....but I'll be back in mid-June!

Our computer is being shipped back to Dell for a repair so the blog has been light on pictures lately. I did manage to get a video posted from our Aimee/Phil birthday party on Monday night. I think pinata-bashing may quickly become a new Bowman Birthday tradition. It was a riot. Perhaps it's just the boy in me that loves to hit stuff that might explode. Watching everyone take a 1" dowel rod about a yard long and beat the daylights out of a swinging target was music to my eyes.