02July2000 #0026.html

Chinese Grandson

. . .

Dear Paul and Kate, Melanie and Jared Wright, Bridget, Rob, Ben and Sarah, Sara, Heather and Nate Pace, Audrey, Rachel, and Matt via hardcopy,

cc: file, Tony Hafen, Pauline Nelson via mail, Sara and Des Penny, Claude and Katherine Warner, Lloyd and Luana Warner, Diane Cluff, Maxine Shirts via mail.

Welcome to "Thoughtlets." This is a weekly review of an idea, belief, thought, or words that will hopefully be of some benefit to you, my children, with an electronic copy to on-line extended family members. Any of you can ask me not to clutter your mail box at any time.

"I received the following e-mail Thursday, 22 June 2000:

`Roice, William is your first grandchild. He apears to be very alert and observing. I am very glad that we have him. I learned a lot from him, things like to be patient and persistent now matter what because that is how life supposed to be. I often get confused by many situations, but when facing him, his simple life style and behavior taught me that there is nothing can stop him, and life goes on and on no matter what. Yes. Life is the greatest thing God has ever created. I do not have religion, but just for having William, I thank God for His great creation. I suddenly understand something bigger than this crazy world exists. Cheers, Wei'

When I did a word search through past Thoughtlets, it is hard to believe there was only one hit on Wei He (../9821.html). And right know I do not remember the names of his two compatriots. So I will just write about Wei and his two companions. First, a little context.

I made my first trip to China in 1983, just after we had started Landmark. I have already described my experience with the big German Shepard and the Chinese in Mao uniforms (../9727.html). Over the years I made about 20 trips to China. Many of those were in relation to a seismic interpretation project we did for the Ren Chu field, part of the Bohi Oil Field (the third largest oil company in China, each of which are geographically bounded). This was the first onshore seismic interpretation peformed by anyone from outside of China at the invitation of the Chinese Government. The Ren Chu Oil Field can be described as a large limestone subterranian mountain. There is a major fault, like along the Wasatch Front, which creates what is geologically referred to as a half graben. You non-geologists could think of it as a pie slice turned on it's side. The thicker part of the pie slice was built up with alluvial fans coming out of the canyons, like the big fan you can see up against the mountain down at Santiquin, south of Provo. Our team of Chinese and American geophysicists and geologists did an outstanding job of doing this interpretation. Against my better judgement, because of my bad experience with working with church members in Dallas with Computer Genealogical Services, I hired a member of the Nottingham Country Ward who was a geophysicist and had been out of work for several months to be a member of the team. This turned out to be one of the best professional decisions I ever made. Gary became the key member of the 4 man team we put in China. Maybe someday I will spend a Thoughtlet or two writing about all of the things that happened as part of this big project. Right now I will only write about one of the assignments I gave Gary to do for me.

As most of you are aware, there was a student uprising at about this time, which culminated in the massacre at Tianiman Square in Beijing. I had been negotiating for a couple of years with some of the Chinese Universities to send students to the states to apprenticeship with Landmark. We had made arrangements for me to meet the students and interview them on one of my trips to check on the interpretation team. The students did not show up, and so I delegated the interviews to Gary. When I got home, I watched the student crowds grow bigger and bigger on Tianiman Square. Then the tanks came in, and thousands of students and supporters were shot and cremated. I was on the phone with our team, along with 5 other Landmark support people, hourly from the time of the massacre, until the Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting took them by special armed escort around the edge of Beijing to the airport and we were able to get them evacuated to Japan. One of the trainers had a Texas flag with her, and they put that on the antenna of the lead jeep as she helped the foreigners get out of China. Gary was safe, and I think Roetta has forgiven me for those days of extended separation.

As a side point, I was the first Landmark employee to go back into China after the massacre. The scaryist part of the trip was going to the Li Do Holiday Inn Hotel by the airport, where I had stayed many times, and finding it completely empty except for Frenchmen and Russians. They all looked like spys. I went in to make sure it was safe for Dr. Pete Vail to go and teach a course on Sequence Stratigraphy. It was and he did and this is another story for another time. When the Bureau sent me back the 100 km from Zhuo Zhou to the Beijing airport, they used a driver who spoke no English. He took me a back way, many miles from Tianiman Square, and showed me tank tracks on the pavement and lots and lots of bullet holes in the wall. He could only point, and it was obvious he wanted me to get the message out of China about the extent of the massacre.

It turned out that Wei He had not gone from his university to Zhuo Zhou for the interview with Gary as he was supposed to. He stopped at Tianiman Square and spend several days. When he finally left the square, it turned out to be on the day before the army came in. He went to Zhuo Zhou and interviewed with Gary on the day of the massacre. I do not remember the timing of the interviews with Wei's two companions. I do know that because we had started the process prior to the event on the square, these three kids were about the first students to be able to leave China after the massacre.

When the three of them got to Houston, Landmark was completely unprepared to handle them. We had just bought a company specializing in seismic velocities in Dallas called Energy Analysts. We ended up sending the three Chinese students to to Dallas to apprenticeship with Jack Krupenbach and Mel Carter. There was not enough for them to do, they were bored, and it had all of the trappings of a disaster. Then I got a call that Wei had been taken to Parkland Hospital Emergency Room, where John Kennedy was taken when he was shot, with a racoon bite, and was being treated for possible infection with rabies. We had put them up in an apartment over in Irving, overlooking downtown Dallas. They had become friends with a neighbor, and he was secretely taking them to the local Safeways parking lot at night to teach them how to drive. One night they saw a racoon in the garbage bin, and the neighbor said `catch it.' As an obedient Chinese soldier, Wei caught the racoon and was bit.

When we recovered from all of the insurance and the other complications associated with all of this, we were able to place the three students. Liu went to Colorado School of Mines, where he got a Ph.D. Zhou went to Louisiana State University, where he got a Masters Degree. And Wei went to Columbia University, where he became the right hand man of Roger Anderson. Wei eventually brought his wife, I did not originally realize he had a wife, out of China. He got his Ph.D. at Columbia, and has been an absolutely stellar performer since then. Every time I talk to Wei he sounds more and more American. In a since, I am his American Dad, and so it is only logical to be informed by e-mail I have a chinese grandson. Here is the picture of William He:


So Ben and Sarah, I want you to know between two Isreali grandkids, Jordan and Amir Kessler, and now one Chinese grandson, William He, I am prepared and ready for Ethan Evans Nelson (0011.html).

And what happend this week? We were told we might not be able to use the 3-D model of the Hibernia oil field offshore Nova Scotia, Canada for the SEG convention the first week of August in Calgary. I was able to get Wei He, Roger Anderson, and Albert Boulanger to let us use one of the projects they worked up a few years ago at Lamont. Now if I can just get permission from the oil company who provided them the data. Because we only have a month, and there is not an interpretation on the data, I ended up spending most of the week building a fault interpretation framework, and interpreting several (eleven) horizons on every 25th line and trace through the 3-D survey.

Monday night we went to see Titan A.E. I thought it was really good, and expect it is a movie I would like to see 4 or 5 times to pick up on all of the subtlies woven into the animation. Don Bluth is very good, and if I recall right he is a member of the church and used to work for Disney. There is a fair amount of the doctrine Joseph Smith taught woven through the tale. Maybe that is why I liked it. Rachel had left for girls camp earlier in the day. Andrea left for girls camp early Tuesday morning. At lunch on Tuesday Austin Beckstrom arranged for Jerry Kovaly of Houston Habitat for Humanity to come over to Continuum, have lunch with us, see an example of virtual reality, and talk about our summer project. We talked about putting Houston Habitat for Humanity homes in virtual reality, about what is involved in building houses, and about Habitat for Humanity purchase of Maudeen Mark's property for a Habitat subdivision. Maybe something will come of all the work Ray Gardner and I did way back in 1989 afterall (http://www.walden3d.com/w3d/design/W3D89A). It was a neat lunch meeting, although I spilled lunch on my tie. There was a meeting with vPatch from 4-5:30 PM over at the Motel 6 on the Tollroad and at Westheimer. I stopped and saw Rob and Sara and got home about 6:30. Audrey, Matt, and I ate hamburger helper.

Wednesday was more interpretation work, with e-mails flowing back and forth to Wei He at Lamont about the data set. It includes a 3-D seismic survey, 70 Inventor files, 30 wells, 20 logs per well, and two results from reservoir simulation. It is a nice data set to show in demos, and it would be a lot better if it was Canadian. Oh well! Matt and I went to Wendy's for dinner. Jerry Kovaly came and talked to my Venturing Crew about working for Habitat for Humanities. We committed to have about 20 folks help build houses on the 8th and 29th of July. Hot days in Houston. Matt went and stayed with a new friend Tom. I have been praying for Matt to have a new friend move into the ward, and I told Tom, who is not a member, is here visiting for a month, and is going to go to scout camp with us, he is the answer to that prayer. I stayed after for a Young Men's Presidency Meeting. Thursday morning I went in for the Sales Forecast Meeting. Magic Earth has closed a deal with Marathon, and we are close with several big deals. I went from this meeting to Katy to get a physical for scout camp, and back to the office where I worked on the interpretation until 8:30 PM. Then Matt called and said he changed his mind and wanted to come home, so I went and got him and ate some pork and beans for dinner. Friday I worked on the interpretation until about 11:30 PM. Audrey, thanks for the pasta salad. It was a nice midnight snack, watching the last of the latest `007' movie with Matt.

Saturday I spent the day at the office after reading the paper. I had been so busy with the interpretation, I did not get to read Wei's e-mail until about 11:00. As I read it, the tears welled up, and I thought how wonderful it is to have been able to watch his progress over the last decade. I worked until 4:00 PM, then got a haircut, and Andrea and I took Gary and Roetta Jones out to eat at Benihana. Since Andrea and Gary both served missions in Japan, and since they had both been at girls camp all week, Roetta and I didn't need to say much. It was a fun evening. It was fun to be able to catch Gary up with Wei He's latest activities, and to explain how I came to have a Chinese grandson."

I'm interested in sharing weekly a "thoughtlet" (little statements of big thoughts which mean a lot to me) with you because I know how important the written word can be. I am concerned about how easy it is to drift and forget our roots and our potential among all of distractions of daily life. To download any of these thoughtlets go to http://www.walden3d.com/thoughtlets or e-mail me at rnelson@walden3d.com.

With all my love,
(H. Roice Nelson, Jr.)

. . .

Copyright © 2000 H. Roice Nelson, Jr.