What you are going to have to do, if you are here on this blog page and have five minutes that you can never, ever get back, is this: take a gander at the photography quiz below and see if you can figure out what the heck is going on. Some are obvious, and some are not.
- 0-5 questions correct: You were distracted by the Twins game that was on Fox Sports North while taking the quiz/You are clinically blind/We need to hang out more.
- 6-10 questions correct: You are probably a pretty normal individual with a pretty normal life.
- 11-15 questions correct: Are you stalking me?/Why aren't you watching the Twins game right now, on Fox Sports North?/We could still hang out more.
b. A weird high-profile wedding in modern China
c. An ancient, long-forgotten Chinese tradition in which a man and a woman make bird calls to each other on the full moon of the third month of the lunar calendar
d. Me (look carefully, on the far left side) jealously watching Ellen sing with some other guy at a dinner she hosted
b. A dream I once had while sleeping in China
c. The ultimate battlefield
d. A picture from a baseball game in Seattle at which the Minnesota Twins defeated the Mariners 8-5, taken by a friend of Ellen's who was traveling in Seattle and for whom I gleefully helped get a ticket under the condition that he cheer solely for the Twins
b. An alien movie starring a Chinese babe and a homeless, bearded man with wet hair
c. An inner nostril hospital check-up gone horribly right
d. Ellen and I after we had surgery on our mouths
b. A Wechat message from my mom informing my that, after being senselessly denied twice, my dad received a tourist visa to China, which means he and my mom can both come visit me this summer
c. Pastor Dan's luck with Mastercard ran out, so he applied for a Visa card
d. My dad has actually and secretly been living in the Dominican Republic since 1995 (recruiting set-up pitchers for the Twins)
Richard Steiff's tomb
b. Simon's Ursidaen* doppelganger
c. An optical illusion
d. A giant teddy bear ignoring my loving caresses at a hotel in west Beijing
b. A woman from Arkansas giving an international piano lecture while her international piano students listen attentively
c. The BICF worship team jamming together at someone's house
d. People seeking shelter from a huge, brutal thunderstorm that lasted all day and well into the night
b. Ranch dressing on my khakis
c. Paint on my khakis
d. Bird poop on my khakis
b. A portal to another universe where felines float in free fall
c. A space cat wearing a wild human
d. Me wearing a wild shirt my dad and pet cat sent me
b. The day when I pretended to be a statue in a park, so all the birds subsequently crapped on me
c. An ancient, long-forgotten Chinese punishment for people who get caught going onto Facebook or Youtube
d. Three students who will never have a chance to pass English 8 Language A, ever, because when they get there, I'll be waiting for them...
b. Several ex-pats adhering to the instruction, "Okay, funny picture!"
c. Several strangers I asked to take a picture with
d. Several dudes in Ireland volunteering for a picture
b. BWYA Prom 2015
c. Me on a Friday without a tie on
d. A movie set we broke onto
b. Prom's this weekend?
c. My mom trying to prevent Simon from flying
d. My mom throwing out her back
b. Two monkeys at the Shangri Hotel lunch buffet
c. Chimps on the Loose
d. Ellen and I doing impressions of you, sucker!
b. the ghost of old Tom Joad
c. me writing in my now-lost journal on a school-sanctioned camping trip
d. A caveman in a modern-day cave
a. Three guys who - with their carefully-selected shirt colors - are trying to look like a big bruise
b.Three guys who - sometimes - bite people
c. Three guys who - by the looks of it - eat pieces of peanut butter and crack toast for breakfast
d. Three guys who - after nearly a year and a half of being apart - finally just kicked out several jams for Jesus at church
1. d - Ellen hosted the annual ABB company dinner, as she did last year. This is, as far as work is concerned, a high point in the year for her, and she did a sweet job. I snuck in and sat in someone else's seat, and it was an entertaining evening.
2. d - All of "d" is accurate and true; the friend loved the game as well. Next time we will go together. And the Twins will still win.
3. a - For many years Dan Clem and I watched Wangjing SOHO rise up like alien spacecraft across the street from his home; we wondered what sort of strange buildings they would be. Now we know. Or, now I know, because Dan Clem is not here anymore.
4. b - This is exciting! Because my dad and my mom can come to China this July, which will be a joyous trip if ever there was one. My parents have not been to China; get ready, Beijing.
5. d - The bear is at the same hotel where #13 was taken.
6. c - The BICF worship team holds something called a Sandbox Session to which members bring food to a potluck-style meal and then bring songs - new, old, or self-composed - to a potluck-style jam session. It's a good time, although I usually struggle to decide on a song to bring.
7. d - The bird poop appeared later in the afternoon after #10 was taken; moments before #10 was taken, Ramon also got crapped on by a bird as well. Brutal. It came out fairly cleanly, though.
8. d - Thanks, Dad and Simon.
9. a - Months before May Fair, some students randomly asked if I'd be willing to be a candidate for this humiliating charity fundraiser. Of course I said yes and then promptly forgot about it. As soon as I arrived at May Fair, an 8th grade girl told me what time I should show up to get pied. Most of the boys in my ninth grade English class sealed their doomed by throwing whipped cream into my face, and a whole army of primary school students who I'd never seen in my life also participated. I don't know what I ever did to them...
10. a - The PGCE course that Ramon took seemed to completely dominate his life. For months on end, it dragged him down...until he defeated it a few weeks ago.
11. b - It was a nice, relaxed event in 798. Next year all of my students will be graduating (I hope), and it will be a lot more emotionally jarring.
12. a - It always happens. And I always laugh when it does.
13. b - Probably Ellen will not be super pleased to know that this picture is on the internet. We ate a lot of food here.
14. c - The camping trip was fun; I was expecting that it would be lame and that all the students would complain the whole time, but it turned out to be a fairly good experience. There was laser tag, rock climbing, team building exercises, an awesome BBQ, and a kid screaming out crazily at another kid for several minutes at 3:30 a.m. in the morning. I climbed the Great Wall alone in the dark. Where were you?
15. d - Scott. The lost drummer. He returned. We ate together. We played together. We laughed together. We were together.
*It's the scientific classification term for "bears."