Saturday, December 30, 2006

more information on my bathroom--scalding hot apocalypse--i like saunas, not naked men

One important piece of information which I failed to include in my last update on Chinese bathrooms was the interesting phenomenon of the Drain Spawning Fly Bugs. These little critters (about 1/10th the size of a normal fly) somehow find their way into the shower drain. I don't know where they come from. The rest of my apartment is bug free. My cat makes sure of that (lacking mice, he likes to hunt and eat bugs). So these little guys must climb up into the drain from their secret Drain Spawning Fly Bug Megalopolis, which is perhaps in the sewers somewhere deep below the city of Chengdu.

Although at first they appear almost cute, eventually various aspects of their existence start to grate on you. For instance, you may be sitting on the toilet and then look down and see a bug and think: this is gross. Or, you may be taking a shower and then look down and see a bug and think: this is gross. Or, you may have guests over, and decide that you would rather not have them nauseated by the dozens of minuscule little creatures climbing out of your shower drain.

So, obviously, one cannot abide the existence of these creatures in one's apartment. But how does one deal with Drain Spawning Fly Bugs? They are so tiny, and difficult to catch. Plus, they hide in a place that is difficult to swat at; that is, the drain. Have you ever tried swatting the inside of a drain? You cannot. Essentially you can only pat the inside of it, which is gross, because you're touching the inside of a drain. I don't recommend it.

Of course, if you were a genius with an IQ of 170, you would think of some really clever and also humane way to get rid of the little bastards. However, if you are like me, with a recorded IQ of x^{Y*7.2} , you will not really think at all, and instead just decide to deliver a scalding hot apocalypse unto their innocent and relatively moist world.

How does one do this, you may be wondering? How exactly does one deliver a dose of fatally hot water onto these little creatures? Well, the answer is complicated, and involves a deep understanding of gas stoves. I won't go into it here. But when it's all done I have a tea kettle filled to the brim with boiling hot water, which I then dump down the drain.

This madness, this eerily silent slaughter of countless bugs and their poor, innocent offspring, ensues behind a swirling veil of steam, which rises up from the drain and makes me feel quite refreshed and even sleepy, as if I am in a sauna. I like saunas, but not when other naked men are in them. Thankfully, at these times, there are no naked men in my bathroom. Just dead bugs. It usually makes we want to take a nap.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

draggers of coal

Everyday in Chengdu you can see men dragging coal. They move expressionless through the city, quiet and resolute and seemingly unaware of the happenings around them. The coal is piled up high on wooden sleds that rest by two bamboo poles on the men's shoulders. Each sled visibly sags with the weight it bears, while the bamboo quivers and bends.

All these men, all these draggers of coal, look strikingly similar, as if born of their profession and nothing else. Powerfully built and yet usually no taller than five feet, they have dark skin that has been covered by the black dust of their load and the lighter dust tossed up from the road. Their clothes hang off in tatters from their shoulders, exposing the tired, taught muscles beneath.

I’m not sure if they are delivering the coal to individual buyers or just transporting it from one place to another and I’m not sure where it has come from. In fact, I’ve never seen them pick up the coal, or deliver it. I’ve only ever seen them plodding through the streets with that giant weight strapped onto their shoulders and their eyes fixed firmly on the beaten ground below.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

today is christmas--infants look like leaky sacks of lard--i am out of milk

On this Christmas day I am all alone, except for my cat, who is licking himself and not paying any attention to me. I don't mind being alone on Christmas. What bothers me is that my family misses me. They have communicated this through numerous threats of excommunication and emailed, photoshopped images of my head on a spike.

Actually, they have not done any of these things, but I am certain that's what's going through their heads.

I don't like it when anyone's upset by this separation (me/real-world), especially my family members.

Here is a creepy picture of baby Jesus, to remind you that not all things about Christmas are so great and that I, too, was once a fat, ugly baby. Nobody likes fat, ugly babies. You should have kicked me out of the house back then.


Anyway, I also miss you all very much, and my friends back in Boston/New York, too. Sorry I can't be there.

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news from the wire--by pablo--"the glorious association for foreigner halloing"

WANG JUNMU AND THE FUNNIEST THING ON EARTH

BY PABLO

CHENGDU, CHINA—Wang Junmu, a motorcycle repairman in this city of ten million, begins everyday with a tall glass of green tea and a quick survey of documents prepared by his friends the night before.

“These documents,” Mr. Wang begins, “are probably our organization's most valuable asset. Without these we’d be wandering around aimlessly, blind, like a chicken, a chicken that is also blind, and maybe doesn’t have a head.”

Leafing through the pages of photographs and writing, Mr. Wang discards more than he keeps. “Useless,” he says after looking at one meticulously prepared paper, “Xinjiang people just don’t count. I don’t care how white they are or how big their noses are. Xinjiang people are not foreigners.”

Finally, Wang pulls out a piece of paper and a photograph. “Perfect,” he says, “Grade-A foreigner. Look, you can tell by their appearance. See? They don’t look Chinese at all. Chinese people don’t have blond hair. Also, this person doesn’t have a funny hat on, so we know they’re not a Xinjiang person. This one will do.”

So begins another day for Mr. Wang and his now famous social organization, The Glorious Association for Foreigner Halloing--a group that was formed in 1999 by Mr. Wang and a few of his closest friends and has since spun off into hundreds of sister organizations throughout China.

As Mr. Wang describes it, the group was formed almost by accident. “Well, we were standing around on a street corner one day, watching some old heads play a game of chess, when we suddenly started thinking: this is not funny. What is funny? In fact, what is The Funniest Thing on Earth?”

At first his friend suggested watching cows chew, but that idea was quickly discarded. That was when Mr. Wang came up with the statement that would change their lives, and a lot of other people’s lives, forever. “The Funniest Thing on Earth,” he said, “is saying ‘ni hao’ to a foreigner, in their own language.” According to legend, a fit of laughter burst out from all the men on the street corner, with some falling down from the force of the laughter, and one even running into the street, flailing his arms, and screaming.

“That guy was hit by a car and he died. But that was when we knew we were on to something,” Mr. Wang continued, “that was when we thought of a way to improve our daily lives. A system. A stratagem for humor fulfillment that would be good for our livers, our kidneys, and our kleptoks.”

It took them just a short amount of time to find their first foreigner. “Sichuan University is packed with foreigners, so we just went down their and wandered around the gate a few times. When we saw our first foreigner, a tall guy with red hair, I let out a long, high pitched ‘hallo.’ It was a great time. We all laughed really hard. Plus, my kidney felt great afterwards.”

Since then much has changed in the association. What was once an unorganized and motley collection of friends looking for a laugh has turned into a highly organized, semi-professional band of serious humor seekers. Since most of them have full time jobs, they usually gather together just after dinner at the vestibule of Mr. Wang’s housing complex, then wander off to various parts of the city. “We rotate through parts of the city—let certain districts lie fallow, if you will. We don’t like hitting up the same foreigners twice.”

Since the beginning the group members have been organized into three types. Generally about four men are the "laughers," whose main job is to laugh as hard as possible (“Their job’s not difficult,” says Wang, “considering the humor of what they’re experiencing").

The other three men have more important functions. One is the "spotter," who points out the foreigner. Sometimes he also shouts “Laowai” as loud as possible, so that the entire group knows that one is coming and can prepare themselves mentally.

The next is the “starer,” who chooses the kind of stare group will use. “Foreigners are weird,” Mr. Wang explains, “so we need to stare at them as much as possible. The starer needs to choose the type of stare we’re going to use. There are a number of different kinds, for example: the bovine, the hateful, the stupidly happy, the constipated, and so on. My favorite is the bovine.” Once the men have spotted the foreigner and chosen the correct stare, it’s then up to the “yeller” to finish the job, and shout “hallo.”

Of course, just like with the stares, there are a lot of options for "hallos." The most common is the Roaring Dragon Style. But there’s also a sharper, higher pitched “hallo,” called the Angry Monkey Style, which sometimes startles the foreigner . “That one can be fun if you’re in the mood for a little excitement along with your humor,” Mr. Wang says. His own favorite style, however, is the Bothersome Flying Buzzing Thing Style. “Well, what you do is, you start with a soft, almost whispered ‘h’ sound and then, as the foreigner walks by, you progress with the rest of the word, until your right next to him, and then you finish with a long ‘ooooooooooooo’ sound. It’s difficult to perform properly, and takes a real pro to handle it.”

Overall, the organization has been well received among Chinese, and it has even produced leaflets and handouts intended to educate the greater population on how to say “hallo” to foreigners. There have been some detractors, however. Some argue that “hallo” is not even the correct form of greeting in English, and others argue that, in actuality, not all foreigners speak the same language. As Mr. Wang explains: “One time somebody said to me: ‘do you know that not all foreigners say ‘hello’ in their language?’ To which of course, I replied: ‘no, but then again, I’m not uneducated.’ These people think they know something about foreigners. But how many have they seen? How many have they said ‘hallo’ to?”

Criticisms aside, Mr. Wang feels deeply satisfied with the progress his organization has made in just seven years. “We’ve got a few new branches starting up in Xi’an and Guiyang and we’d even like to expand to America. I have some friends in Chinatown in New York, and we’d like to see if they’d be willing to shout ‘hallo’ at all the non-Chinese there.”

When he’s done choosing his targets for the day, Mr. Wang stands up and walks to his window, where he can look out onto the bustling street below. “So many people,” he says, taking a sip from his tea, “and so many new foreigners. I think we can look forward to many, many more years of foreigner halloing. At least, I hope so.”

We all hope so, too Mr. Wang. We all hope so, too.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

perversion in domestic animals--LOBO--i don't know, go away

Many of you have written me emails with questions such as: "Is your cat perverted?" or "Hey, what kind of perverted animal do you have in your apartment?" and also "What is your favorite shower position?"

The answer to all of these questions is deeply personal. Let me respond to them to the best of my ability.

As everyone knows, Chinese architects have difficulty distinguishing between "showers," "bathroom floors," and "toilets," meaning that in many bathrooms throughout China these three things are either combined together or not partitioned as definitively as they are in the rest of the world. So, in my bathroom, I stand on the floor right next to the toilet when I take a shower, and there is no separate shower door or curtain. It also just so happens that the designers of my apartment constructed a square hole in the wall of the bathroom, about seven feet off the ground, that provides a perfect vantage point for watching whatever is happening on the toilet or in the shower.

Now, whenever anyone enters the bathroom, my cat, who is actually a small, Chinese demon that I need to neuter as soon possible, charges into the room adjacent to my bathroom, leaps up onto my washing machine, and then leaps up four feet vertically into the hole. People visiting my apartment for the first time and expecting to have some innocent, private pee-time, invariably get startled when he lauches himself up above them, especially if they don't know I have a cat. Anyway, once there, the cat watches you with an absorbed and deeply fascinated expression as you pee, shit, take a shower, or do whatever else you like to do when in the bathroom. Sometimes he even licks himself while watching you. It's gross. I feel completley violated and I'm sure many of my guests do, too, but there is little I can do to stop him.

I asked LOBO, who is an expert on all things related to perverted cats, why my cat is so perverted. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Why is my cat so perverted?
LOBO: My name is LOBO
Me: Why is my cat so perverted?
LOBO: I like wearing pants. Pants.

LOBO, as always, was a great deal of help on this matter, however, I still am no closer to finding an answer. Does my cat just like seeing people naked and watching them pee? Or is there some deeper reason? I don't know and for Christ's sake, Chris, stop emailing me about perverted animals.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

great chinese inventions--giants let fly students--bozons and kleptoks

As everyone knows, the modern game of soccer was invented in China sometime during the Spring and Autumn period (770 BC - 476 BC), except the Chinese version of the game was called 蹴鞠 (cuju), and did not resemble modern soccer at all. It was created at around the same time the Chinese were busy inventing other things, such as: computers, trees, food, and the Irish.

Since soccer was invented in China, it follows that the Chinese have the most advanced soccer programs in the world, which is why their national team has won so many World Cups. I often like to go out and play with the Chinese at my university's field, so I can get a taste of this 2500 year old game in the very place of its origin. Now, after nearly two years of soccer playing experience in China, it still remains a unique experience, and something I willingly put myself through on a weekly or even daily basis.

So, Bob, you may be wondering, what's it like playing soccer in China? Do you ever eat rubber or hurt your face? Well, let me give a short introduction to the experience, followed by some short essay questions.

As we all know, China has too much of everything, so the field is always packed with people, pick-up games, and rubber pellets (which I'll get back to later). Sometimes the games even spill over onto the track, where they get in the way of old ladies who walk around the field and hit themselves on the back (they do this because old ladies in China hate their backs). At my university there are two types of games--the ones in which the university students play, and the ones in which non-students play. Keep in mind this is a technical school so, as you may imagine, there is quite a bit of difference in the skill levels between the two groups.

Some of the players who are not university students are honestly quite, quite good. One of them, whom my friend Brandon and I nicknamed "Gigantor," is literally about two-times larger than your average technical student. Playing with Gigantor is always a special treat. He's both incredibly talented and a great passer, so having him in a game immediately improves its quality and makes it that much more fun. Plus, although he appears to be quite gentle, when he gets angry he's been known grab one or two of the students, whip them around his head, and then send them flying into the old ladies. It's always really funny and we laugh a lot, but it's also useful, as it clears the field of a few more players and saves the old ladies some work in abusing their backs.

The field itself is unique. It is composed of a concrete base covered by a thin carpet of green threads that, over time, have been beaten down by all the players, exposing patches of concrete which are then covered by thick smattering of miniscule rubber pellets. These pellets are great fun, especially when they get stuck in your shoe and on your sweaty skin. Evidently putting a rubber pellet on skin is like putting something really, really, really sticky onto something else. Sometimes I actually have to scrape them off in the shower. Fun! Plus, sometimes when you fall down on the field, they fly into your mouth. If you love eating rubber, you'll love falling down on this field.

But the best part of this whole experience is that you cannot play soccer on this field without getting hurt. The ground is too hard. The ground is too slippery. The ground has too many divets and weird ditch like things that zigzag across it. Plus, the Chinese players are very grab-happy and kick-your-shins-happy. So essentially what the Chinese have done is invent something that yet again the world can imitate--an open-air factory that produces injuries. Playing here I have injured my groin, my wrist, my left ankle, my right ankle, a number of my toes, my shins, my face, as well as other parts of my body that I didn't even know existed until I got them injured, such as my bozon and my kleptok.

Anyway, all in all, playing soccer in the place of its birth has been a truly rewarding experience. I recommend that all of you try it at least once. But if you end up not liking it, don't blame me, blame yourself, because you're likely a pessimist and depressed.


ADDENDUM: I stole the Cuju pic from another website. But I'm living in China, where it's legal to steal. .

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

monoliths and change--an industrial cityscape--concrete and green

I've always found something eerily beautiful about the concrete housing blocks that are clustered all over modern China. Together with the gray-yellow haze of pollution, the dark silhouettes of cranes against the horizon, and the muffled sounds of construction, they form this kind of solemn, industrial cityscape that is uniquely Chinese. I'm not sure if there was any particular system or method towards their construction or municipal layout, but I always imagine them being put up sometime just before the Cultural Revolution, at a time when the collective energy that carried the CCP to victory had yet to have been turned in on itself. They certainly look old enough to have been built in that era, but I think that that, in actuality, most of them were put up in the late seventies or early eighties, shortly after China's re-opening and its renewed push towards development.


Generally the buildings are set up in rectagular complexes with a courtyard in the middle, although different sets of complexes seem to have been constructed at different times, so they approach each other at sharp angles and create quiet, narrow alleyways that turn on jagged corners. They are typically five or six stories high, made of unadorned concrete, both inside and out, and are composed of one or two bedroom apartments that are perhaps intended for single families but are, more often than not, filled with half a dozen people or more. When they were freshly purchased essentially none of the apartments were decorated inside, including paint, floor boards, or furnishings. While many of them have since been adorned with these amenities, some of them are still as bare as the day they were created, and some only partly finished. When I was apartment searching in Shanghai about one in three of the apartments I looked at were had bare concrete walls, and many were neither carpeted nor tiled.

Nowadays they appear to be half-crumbling, and hardly suitable for habitiation. In addition to the general pockmarcks and discolarations, their sides are invariably coated with pollution residue, which is itself streaked with water lines from air conditioners. The rooftops are messes of upturned tiles and corrosion that look fit to collapse at any moment.

Yet, in all of their dilapidation and ugliness, these buildings are a fundamental part of the landscape of modern China, a part that is little written about or spoken about. They are, essentially, the architectural foundation of the modern Chinese city. As such, these endless stretches of concrete generally give the skyline of any city here city a gray tinge, like the color of river-worn slate.

In Chengdu, however, many of the buildings have rooftop or windowsill gardens with lush vegetation that tendrils out along the walls and gives the horizon a hint of green. Moreover, here the buildings burst from their complex communities not only along major roads but also along the sand river (沙河), a tree and flower-lined waterway which twists and bends through the north-eastern district of the city. This contrast between the natural greenery and the color of old concrete grey gives the buildings in this part of the city a kind of special quality, something that speaks uniquely of the city of Chengdu.

I like to go on bike rides along this waterway and, as I make my way under the trees, observe the old monoliths along its shore, these giant remnants of a dehumanizing, mass industrialization, a kind of historical, cultural, and psychological convergence that I think most of us are incapable of completely understanding or appreciating. I certainly don't understand it, confronted as I am by these things on a daily basis.

Along the ride, as they drift past with vegetation bursting out of them (and seemingly poised to devour them), the buildings take on the appearance of ruins, rather than the living places they truly are. It always makes me think of the crumbling cities I once saw in the jungles of Belize, of a dead civilization speaking out from the cover of vegetation, quiet and mournful.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

new bike--thievery--mongolia is yet safe

I bought a new bike today. It's dark gray and shiny, just like the city of Chengdu itself (note: Chengdu is not shiny). I had to buy a new bike because my last one was stolen. Here is a list of other things that have been stolen from me since I came back to China:

1) My bike
2) My bike lock (attached to the bike, of course)
3) My backpack
4) My keys
5) My best pair of blue jeans.

Please do not ask me about the circumstances surrounding that final item. It was a tragic incident and honestly left me quite upset--far more upset, in fact, than the theft of my bike, which happened on the same day.

I think, however, it also important to emphasize the positives of life in China, so here is a list of things that have not been stolen from me since I came back:

1) My kidneys
2) My new bike
3) Socks
4) My love of cheese
5) Mongolia

If you would like to steal something from me, please do not. Thank you.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

toilets--issues in chinese modernity--dying flying birds

I have observed an important issue in modern China: male university students are incapable of taking shits anywhere other than in public buildings and, specifically, my teaching building. I'm not sure why this is. I think it must be that aspect of Chinese culture that makes everyone want to do things in groups. Eight in the morning is the "group shit time" just like how eight o'clock at night is the "group walk around aimlessly time." Naturally I prefer the latter over the former and even, at times, take part in it. Except I like to walk around aimlessly and buy lamb sticks and then also eat them.

Whether or not this group shitting is a reflection of greater conflicts or changes in Chinese society I can't be certain. First of all, the holes in this particular bathroom are porcelain. Obviously porcelain shows us just how far China has moved along since the days of pure dirt holes and the even more recent concrete holes. Therefore, does the group shitting represent a kind of flocking towards westernization and modernity? Would these kids be doing this if there wasn't something shiny and modern beneath their rears? Moreover, do peasants ever shit in porcelain? If not, how does it make them feel knowing that rich kids do? These are all hard to questions to answer, so I won't bother trying.

So, Bob, you may be wondering (however, for future reference, keep in mind that my name is not Bob), what are the local atmospheric effects of this group activity? Well, I must say, not good. The first effect is to ensure that people with weak stomachs cannot walk within twenty meters of the bathrooms without collapsing in a vomiting heap upon the ground. The second is that any small animal (generally lighter than fifteen pounds) within a ten foot radius of the rooms is killed almost instantaneously. Birds flying by the open windows of the bathrooms have been known to die instantly in mid-flight and then plummet at dangerously high speeds down to the ground, sometimes taking out the dainty Chinese girls in their path.

Clearly, this is one of those issues in modern China that needs to be considered closely and may snowball into something truly significant in the future. It touches on a number of pressing issues in Chinese society, such as: the environment, overpopulation, the gap between rich and poor, dying flying birds, and, of course, the eternal question: dainty Chinese girls--why are they so cute?

Please send me money.

Thank you.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

tree painting--LOBO--the origins of trees

The bottom quarter of any tree along any public avenue in China is usually coated by a nice splattering of white paint, which is usually applied during the fall. This has the wonderful effect of ruining the few pieces of untouched natural greenery that still exist in China's towns and cities. Since I hate nature and pretty things, I love the fact that people slobber white shit all over these ungodly weeds.

I asked LOBO, who is an expert in all things Chinese, why these trees are painted. The interview went as follows:

Me: Why are these trees painted?
LOBO: My name is LOBO.
Me: Yes. But what about the paint? The paint?
LOBO: Last night I ate a banana.

Since LOBO was of such little help on this particular matter, I consulted my own brain, which is a size 32D and is known in some circles as a world-renowned expert on things related to trees being painted in China. Indeed, it was my own brain that at last provided the answer, as follows:

"When trees were invented 2000 years ago in China, the ancient Chinese sage, 萝卜(Luo Bo), decreed that all trees must be painted white, from the last quarter down, in order to ensure that the location of all trees was known at all times, that their status as trees would be known to all who gazed upon them, and that no one would confuse trees with their close cousins, the Irish (invented in China in 1203BC). This policy was resoundingly successful, cementing the status of the tree in ancient Chinese culture as ' that thing we put paint on.' Now, the location of all trees in public spaces is known immediately, and no one must fear their sudden, unexpected appearance."

Well, that certainly helped me understand the phenomenon. I hope it helped you understand it, too. If you would like more information on this matter, please do not ask me.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

mysterious liquids--absorption of said liquids--i like tangerines

At any construction site in Chengdu you can see these ubiquitous clusters of buildings that look like giant erector-set projects. They have thin white walls with blue frames and they are always set up just before proper construction begins. On their sides is written "活动房," which, I guess, you could quite literally translate as "activity house." These buildings are, in fact, temporary homes for the migrant workers who are the grunt force in China's extraordinary development. By "China's extraordinary development" I mean the construction of lots of concrete things. There are a number of these buildings that I pass by on my way to work. Through the windows you can see dormitories with bunk beds. Hanging outside all the windows are clotheslines filled with men's clothes and, specifically, their underwear. Evidently these guys like washing their underwear. I am sure their crotches are thankful.

Anyway, I was walking by these buildings tonight when all of a sudden some mysterious liquid splashed down in front of me. The liquid just missed me except for a little bit that splashed up on my pants. It was obvious that it had been tossed out one of the activity house's windows. Of course, once I overcame the shock of the situation, I looked up at all of the windows with my ready-to-fight face. That way whoever threw the liquid would know I was ready to fight for my foreigner honor (note: I do not, in fact, have any sort of foreigner honor. Actually, if I had made eye contact with the aggressive defenestrator I probably would have pissed my pants. That, at least, would not have been a very mysterious liquid in my pants, and I could catologue it with the known things that they have absorbed.)

All in all this is truly exciting. How many mystery liquids do you have absorbed in your pants? I'm up to at least five. Plus, I'm living in China, so the count should at least double in the coming months.

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bikes--french leakage--a lesson in civic duty

Here is a picture of a bike:





I took this picture in Guiyang. There was a bike, and so I took a picture of it. Actually, there are many bikes in China. It seems to be a very useful tool for transportation and for getting stolen. If you are interested in getting your bike stolen in China, I recommend buying one. Any kind will do. If you attach rocket blasters on the rear wheel, like I did, that will also increase the chances of it getting stolen.

Sometimes when you're getting your bike out from a line of other bikes you will knock a bunch of them over, then smack yourself in the face and sheepishly say "je suis un imbecile!" (for some reason you always speak in French when dealing with bikes). When such an event occurs, it is of course incumbent upon you, as a visiting foreigner, to be just as polite as your Chinese compatriots, and leave the other bikes on the ground.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

editing a magazine

A couple weeks ago I agreed to edit a certain English-language magazine here. The result has been endless work from Thursday last week to Saturday this week. All in all there are twenty articles with writing like this:

"People have often settled and watched the relief. Some of them walk away soon, some stay forever. Then we’ll find the ones can’t move are statues. These statues dress the same as us. They play mobile phones while they are walking with bags. It seems like someone was executed the black magic and couldn’t move. Then they became ornaments of Chun Xi Road."

And this:

"The tone color of this film was source to the real image materials at that time. "

And this:

"These bodies or characters had been created by He Yi, some of them departed from us, some nodded silently with drifted souls, some paralyzed like a ash, some meant nothing in a corner, some turned into sign of erotic, some become abstract points and lines in state of prostration, were lack of main body or initiative. "

And finally:

"Some people call it ‘monster’ or ‘weird creature’. The specialist of this animal is it has no anus. That’s means only to put in but never take out."

If you think you need the context to understand these quotes you are wrong, as context does nothing to mollify how completely nonsensical parts of them are.

By the way, I agreed to do this job for free.

Next time I think I'll be asking for some compensation, as well as coverage for my headache medication.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

bad writing

Much of my writing when I first started this blog is quite bad. I apologize. And I freely invite everyone to read it over and mock me, as I deserve it.

Actually, wait, I don't deserve it. Let's be honest here. Pablo deserves it. He's the small Canadian guy I hired to write poorly. And, actually, he did a stellar job at that. So I guess you ought to be complimenting Pablo. Forget about mocking.

PS--Pablo is insecure about his mole, so if you are complimenting him please tell him it doesn't exist.

Thank you.

PPS--I don't have any moles, although I do have mysterious hard spots. If you would like to leave comments on their possible origin, please feel free to do so.

Thank you.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

pics pics pics

Here is a google map pic of where I live:


And here is a pic looking out into the courtyard between the two gray buildings to the east of my apartment:


You can probably notice that things are very gray. That's because Chengdu has an almost constant cloud cover and, even when the clouds do dissipate, pollution from nearby factories happily moves in and takes over the responsibility. So, indeed, things here are often gray, although sometimes also light-gray and dark-gray. Never black though. Well, except at night. At night, in fact, the whole sky turns black. Amazing.

Anyway, that being said, the endless cloudy days are mitigated by the rather mild climate and the fact that, although there aren't too many beautiful days here, there also aren't many wretched days. Well, except during the summer. The summer sucks. It's basically like having burning hot steam shot at you at all times of the day, except when you're in your nice apartment with the air conditioner turned on to "make things cold." So don't come here during the summer unless, of course, you want to go somewhere else. If you want to go somewhere else then you should definitely come here in the summer.

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i think i'll start updating again

Seven months after arriving in Chengdu it seems that I have at last reached the point where I am both bored enough and narcissistic enough to update this blog.

So, here is my update:

Today I did not eat twice cooked pork.

I mean, this is kind of a big deal. I like twice cooked pork. A lot.

Have you ever had twice cooked pork? Yes? Did you like it? Yes, yes I think you did.

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