Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jeju Dirty Dozens and Hulkamania

Note: all pictures in this post were taken by someone else, usually tao, or at least with tao's camera and my memory card, which is why i have them.

Last weekend i attended the annual tournament hosted in Jeju, South Korea. I went in 2008 as well, when it was Gnarly Nines (meaning only nine players to a team). This year they changed it to Dirty Dozens. Tao, Alicia, Joel and I joined up with Lincoln's Hong Kong team. Check out my beautiful mustache... but i'll explain that later.

Despite having never played together as a team, we played exceptionally well. We finished in 5th place out of 16 teams, but we also only lost our games to the 3rd and 4th place teams by 1 point. In fact, the top 8 teams were all close in skill level and had great games. The eventual winner, Iku from Japan, narrowly won their games against the #8 (Shiok from Singapore) and the #4 (Kim Jong Illin' from Korea). The finals between Iku and Taiwan was close as well, with a final score of 15-13. All in all, it was an incredible weekend of ultimate. One which almost didn't happen.

On friday, our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was uneventful. We met up with all the Shanghai kids at the airport and boarded the flight. Ten minutes from landing in Jeju, as we begin our decent, the pilot abruptly pulls out of the landing maneuver and returns us to Shanghai. They said the cause was thick fog. However, there was no turbulence and no wind to make the landing particularly difficult. It was never explained to us why the pilot couldn't just use instruments to navigate the final decent. We suspect the pilot was either:

a) incompetent.
b) about to hit a mountain when he narrowly pulled us back up, avoiding certain catastrophe.

Either way, there were many on that flight who, in retrospect, believe the pilot somehow saved our lives that day, but we'll never know. Upon returning to Shanghai, we learned that many flights from Seoul were cancelled completely, but the direct flights from Hong Kong and Beijing both landed no problem. We ended up boarding the same plane about 90 minutes later and successfully landed on attempt #2. Everyone else eventually landed as well, and the tournament happened as scheduled.

As usual, the party was a highlight of the tournament. This years theme was "Mustache". Our team decided to go as Hulk Hogan. I used to watch a fair amount of WWF when i was a kid, but outgrew it around age 10. Paying tribute to an old hero of mine felt good. And i was only person on our team with an actual beard at the time, so i felt compelled to go all out for my costume. Here's what i was going for:

Here's what i became:

Which required bleaching of my mustache.

... and posing in my I Heart Beijing shirt with the whole team, who also went as vaguely Hulk Hogan themed wrestlers and wrestlerettes (?), plus lincoln, who was Nacho from Nacho Libre.

...and posing for the fans, of which there were many.

...and doing a beer bong, because let's face it, The Hulk would totally do that. (Kids, stay in school.)

...and, of course, wrestling. I totally defended my title against that guy.

Also, i managed to get an honorable mention for the award of "Best Natural Mustache", but was bested by this guy, my new arch-nemesis. You know what his costume was? "Guy sitting at a table with a hideous and creepy mustache."

Kevin <----- Not impressed!

Besides the obvious rigging of the "Best Natural Mustache" award and the lack of "Best Individual Costume" award, i'd say the whole tournament was an awesome success, and Jeju still has the best fields in Asia.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Tianjin Open

My first Ultimate Frisbee tournament of the season was this past weekend, the annual Tianjin Open. Last year, the competition was pretty fierce and Big Brother lost to Tianjin Speed on day one, before winning the whole tournament (and party) on day two, beating Shanghai in the semi's and Tianjin Speed in the finals.

This year, Shanghai didn't make it, and Speed didn't seem as strong. Big Brother even split itself into two equal strength teams: Sexy and Ugly. Team Ugly won it's first three games on day one with a combined score of 33-2. Team Sexy (my team of course) won all three games as well, although by narrower margins. Sexy and Ugly played the fourth game against each other that day in the first real challenging game either team had all day. We traded points early, before Ugly took a break and the lead. They held it for most of the game until time cap went on at 5-4. Sexy, down by one in a game to 6, managed to pull out two straight breaks for the win, including the final score upwind.

The saturday night party was, by most accounts, a good time. The theme was Rainbow, which, given Dalian's tendency to pick themes like "Sunglasses", and "Hats", was not so bad. As it was, we were the only team to even attempt a costume, and we went as... wait for it... a rainbow.

Not our most creative moment, but it was Michael "Doc" Tobin's idea, so we didn't expect much.

Each person dressed up as one solid color from the rainbow, and we substituted Pink for Indigo, leaving us with ROYGBPV and sometimes white. Also, Tao was a prism.

I brought all my pink gear and outfitted Joe, Matt, and myself as a beautiful trio of pink awesomeness. Those familiar with my Ya Show obsession (and pink in general) can imagine how thrilled i am with the shirt i bought for the occasion. Yes, i bought that off the back of a female employee. I also have one in blue.

Day two was windy. All day. Right up until when the Final game (Ugly vs. Sexy again) was supposed to happen. Instead it was cancelled due to a massive sandstorm blowing in from Beijing. People bundled up or left completely, while Big Brother did our best to cope. This is when i discovered a new use for Five Ultimate jersey's. It turns out you can actually see through them well enough to catch and throw a disc. Amazing!

We did eventually play the finals when the storm blew over, but so many people had left, that we just practiced against each other in the wind. A good end to a decent tourney, where Big Brother one both the tournament and the party.

I'm off to Jeju tomorrow for my second tournament in two weeks. Hurrah!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dim Summary Statistics

I've recently noticed a stats feature in Blogger. It's pretty cool, and being a closet nerd/scientist, i think statistics are interesting. Here are some things i learned. As always, you can click on the images for a larger view.

This was quite a surprise. A few of those in the top ten are expected, namely, the Komodo Liveaboard, Cleatus and Trixie, and the Philippines stuff. But out of no where, we've got the Fraggle Rock/Doozers Costume post from the Shanghai 2009 Tournament taking a commanding first place finish over Five Boracay Sunsets.

PEOPLE OF THE INTERNETS: Why is that post so interesting? Oddly enough, if i sort by most popular post of the past month, it's still the Doozers, with Cleatus and my Five Year Plan finishing 2nd and 3rd. Curious! Why The Face!

This one isn't so surprising. Obviously USA will be #1, but i wasn't expecting it to be so lopsided. The other 9 countries listed combined make up about half of my USA readership. A shout out to my Filipino friends for edging out Germany for the #2 spot!

Actually, those numbers aren't completely true, as China's numbers are in reality much higher. My blog is blocked by the Great Firewall, as are Facebook, Youtube, and any other blog hosted by Blogspot. Therefore, they need to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to see it. VPN's create a fake location for you, so the government censorship system thinks your computer is located in the USA. Thus, you can view blocked sites, and Blogger records these visitors as coming from the USA.

The truth is, there hasn't been a visitor "from China" since before the Olympics.

The last intriguing one is the source page information. This one tells me how people found my blog, whether they googled the words kevin reitz beijing, kevin's dim summary, or doozer costume, it tells me how people are arriving here.

It also tells me the actual URL people came from. Some of these were obvious, such as google,, and Tao's blogs found here and here. However, the #1 spot was a revelation.

Here is that first link, an unedited reprinting of my comparison between the Philippines and Indonesia, complete with my ~Kev tagline. They added some stock photos as well, because my original post was text only. After searching a while, it turns out this website probably doesn't produce any original material; they just steal whatever they can find on the internets.

Tao said i should demand money from them, but at least they linked to my blog, and i got a few dozen hits from there.

I decided instead to send some samples of my work to and asked for a job as a freelance travel writer. Still no response from them, but hey, it never hurts to try.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Five Year Plan

My awesome friends Mike and Helen Shyu (Emma too) made a five year plan, like, six years ago. Then last year, they made another. I've never given much thought to my future. The future generally happens to me, and when it does, i adapt. The move to China certainly happened to me. Not more than 3 months before, i was plugging along, working at Trimble, living in Colorado, blissfully unaware that my life would soon drastically change.

But i finally see some opportunities to define my future and outline some goals. Thus, i present to the world, in the hopes that putting it out there will make it happen, my Five Year Plan.

Year One: 2011
  • Remain in Beijing for a fourth year, continue working for US/Grant 80% time.
  • Enjoy a few vacations to SE Asia to keep my wanderlust at bay.
  • Continue studying Chinese.
Year Two: 2012
  • Finish up my stay in Beijing for the foreseeable future. If i can extend my current lease 6 months, i'd stay through fall, making it 4 1/2 years total. I had originally planned on 2-3.
Year Three: 2013

Sabbatical. I'm fascinated by the Kiwi's, Aussie's, and (maybe less frequently) Europeans i meet who are on a year-long, post-college trek around the world. This is normal to them, and they are doing it right. They must feel sorry for all the United Statesians who settle for a measly month of backpacking Europe. And they must feel downright saddened for the millions who have never left the USA, and millions more if Cancun/Canada don't count. I intend to travel while i am young(-ish) and have the energy to do so.

Highlights/Rough itinerary-
  • 3 months working my way from China, south through Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. No planes allowed.
  • 1 month in Thailand
  • 2 months in Philippines
  • Instead of Thailand/Philippines, work my way west through Nepal and Tibet, into India.
  • 3-4 months in Indonesia
  • 3 weeks of divemaster training and 1+ month of working in a dive shop. Location probably Indonesia, maybe Komodo?
That plan is about 8 months, leaving me an ample 4 more to settle down in places i really like.

Year Four: 2014 (and, really, year Five too)

Who am I kidding? At this point, my future will have happened to me, again. I can't possibly plan that far ahead. But during my travels, i'll be thinking about my career, and where i want to be. Maybe i'll return to Beijing and resume work at US/G. Maybe i'll settle in Indonesia and work as a contractor for off-shore manufacturing quality control in SE Asia. Maybe i'll settle in a Spanish speaking country to relearn my second mother-tongue. Maybe i'll open a dive shop.

Of course, maybe i'll return to the States. But, right now, i feel those 29 years were probably long enough to say "USA? Check. I figured that one out, and it's pretty ok. Let's see what else is out there, shall we?"