Sunday, August 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Work has been busy; some long days last week but a good challenge - something new and different.
Anyway, things seem slightly slower this week and I have time to make a few comments on life.
- I have crossed over to the dark side and got cable. I did not really set out to do this, but there was a Comcast guy making the rounds going door to door pushing some upgrades, and I thought it would be easier to get a question answered about my cable modem just by talking to him rather than calling up their 800 number. He answered my question, then pointed out that I could have cable TV + internet for the same price that I was paying for my internet right now (at least for the first 6 months). We’re not going too crazy with it right now, but it’s convenient so far. Annoyed that much of the “on demand” content is not in HD...In a way, I have better selection (and better pictures) with Netflix streaming than with Comcast’s stuff. So I’m not particularly inclined to keep this beyond the promotional period...(we’ll see how that goes).
- Drawback in that HGTV seems to be the thing we agree on (sorta) and I’m being programmed to know property
- Music! Got to jam a bit at a party last weekend, which was nice (and something that I was long overdue for). Was shy at first, but could not resist opportunity to try playing an electric ukulele.
- Music to listen to - lots of good releases; some really new, a lot just new to me:
- Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip (new to me)
- Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
- The Roots - How I Got Over
- Mr. Bungle - California (this came out in 1999)
- The Streets - Everything is Borrowed (this came out in 2008, but was news to me two weeks ago)
- The Orb - The Orb’s Adventures beyond the underworld (this is from 1991 or 1994...but I didn’t listen to it at all at the time)
- Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (I had one of their other records but not this one)
- M.I.A. - Maya
Monday, May 31, 2010
It’s been a weird Memorial day weekend in that the weather was decidedly not summer-like for most of the time. It was grey and rainy and 53 degrees (F, that’s 11.6 degrees C for the rest of the world).
Only as the weekend was drawing to a close, mid-monday afternoon, unexpectedly, the clouds parted and suddenly it was very pleasant to be outside; though my mole-like eyes were initially shocked and fearful of the glowing-bright object burning in the sky.
Saturday - We wanted to get away from the afore-mentioned rain & (relative) cold; but short of a 16 hour drive to southern California, there weren’t many options and we were not prepared to be overnighting it at random places on short notice. We ended up driving to the Olympic peninsula, since we had never been there before. I’ve seen the impressive mountains there on clear days from Seattle. While I believe we were in proximity to those mountains during the drive, we never saw them.
Stopped in the town of Bremerton, which seemed okay (pleasant small-town feel + Navy shipyard; if one worked in downtown Seattle a ferry commute would be possible), then continued to Port Angeles where we saw a bit of blue sky and caught a lot of strong ocean wind. Went to a restaurant that gave us a really solid appetizer (grilled shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapeños then wrapped in bacon), but really disappointing main course. Drove past some stores that had clearly come into existence to cash-in on the whole Twilight fad. I think I liked Bremerton better than Port Angeles based on my food experiences alone.
The drive home was much faster than the drive there; I guess that’s how it usually goes.
Sunday - Some nice time to try and do things at home that I always have meant to do but was distracted from. Tried making music as a project with the wife; it really came down to assembling loops in garage band. It was fun re-acquainting myself with what one could do given enough focus on music-making software; I’m suddenly interested in completing the Ableton demos that are available and seeing what kind of dope-ass beats that I can make.
Monday - Went to the mega-korean grocery store, H-Mart, in Federal Way. More diverse clientele (25% Korean, the rest = “other”) than I had seen before. Checked out some special (rare) import cell phones, but at $200 + 2-year contract for a potentially crippled dumbphone we were not moved to get anything.
Was freaked out by the rough/sorry condition of I-5 south; our car was shaking pretty violently and I was convinced that we had blown a tire - turns out that the car is fine, the road was just that bad.
I do appreciate that there is no state income tax here in Washington, but I expect that there will be more nickel & diming in the future here in terms of more tolls or other “creative” methods to cover the costs of the aging transportation infrastructure.
Came home in the sun. Had a beer, let the cats out, did some writing. Maybe I’ll publish something someday. Or, perhaps I’ll just produce a body of work and horde it until my death, Emily Dickinson style.
Mapo Tofu for dinner.
Monday, May 10, 2010
(Though apparently I’m in the minority when it comes to actually getting full albums) - I like trying to see the larger themes/ideas that the artists are pushing through, and I often disagree with whatever songs are being pushed as singles are truly the strongest tracks that the artist has to offer.
Upon reflection, I guess I’m getting old in that these are mostly follow-up efforts from artists I already know. But I can work on that if I get out to see some new bands once in a while.
Here’s the mini-reviews in reverse chronological order:
Mike Patton - Mondo Cane
While I have respected Mike Patton’s vocal talents for a while, I haven’t actually picked up a full album from him.
He has done great work as a singer with Faith No More, as well as doing some voice work in the gaming industry (including Portal). His work with the band Mr. Bungle is also fairly well-recieved, but I really struggle to listen through any of the songs on that record.
I do respect that Mike and Faith No More do random covers fairly frequently.
This album is a collection of covers of Italian-pop crooner music from the 1960s and 1970s, backed with a full band and orchestra as needed. No real references to Mike’s days in the hard-rock / metal / avant-garde scene (unless you count that an American putting a lot of effort into covering Italian pop from the 60s and 70s is a bit unusual for the musical landscape in the US in 2010).
I really like it; it’s refreshing compared to a lot of the other music I have in my collection. The production is good as well, there are distorted guitars added in occasionally, along with some effects, but it’s not overly gimmicky - the songs themselves with Mike’s singing are really what carry the album.
In short - I’m liking this one a lot, and I can find something that I like in most of the songs regardless of my mood.
The New Pornographers - Together
This band has grown on me; I really liked some the work on their earlier efforts but never quite fully enjoyed their full albums; some songs ended up just annoying me (I think it was something with the singers).
This album is not annoying me; I think that their mix of guitars, strings, vocals is working really well.
Maybe not a stand-out masterpiece single like “Sing Me Spanish Techno”, but there’s 4 - 5 really good songs and 4-5 decent ones.
There’s something timeless about their music, so I think that this will have some staying power in my attention-span.
Hole - Nobody’s Daughter
Wasn’t sure if I really wanted this one, but after listening through all the previews, I went for it.
Pretty good, though if you were never really into Hole to begin with, this probably will not change your mind.
Courtney’s voice sounds as if her hard living is catching up with her, but for the most part it’s used to good effect.
There’s a couple acoustic and whiny songs that I probably won’t listen to by choice again, but the rocking songs (where the distortion and drums are noticeable) are pretty good.
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love
Kind of like a disco Evita. I haven’t given this one as much attention as the rest. It’s not terrible or anything, but I prefer it as something to vary up my playlists on shuffle rather than just listening all the way through.
(For some reason, I usually don’t get into listening to showtunes recordings unless I’ve actually seen the show...I have that feeling with this one).
Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
Rick Rubin is producing this one. Not sure that I’d have noticed if it wasn’t in the description of the album. However, after having seen that bit of info, I keep drawing parallels between this record and System of a Down’s Toxicity....there’s the first song that sets the tone, there’s a slower song that builds in intensity, there’s a screamer, there’s a soft ballad, there’s a few other songs that fit with the general sound, and that’s the album.
Not that much else to say - the album sounds like Gogol Bordello. If you liked their earlier work, you’ll probably like this. If you didn’t, this is probably not going to change your mind.
I would love to see them in concert again sooner than later - I saw them back in October 2008 and it was a very fun show.
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
I liked some of Gorillaz’ previous efforts, but they were mostly single-driven - I quickly got tired of much of the other material on that album.
I was pleasantly surprised with this one, in that the first 8-9 songs are fairly varied and decent.
After that point, I usually have to stop listening and/or end up changing to a different album.
Not sure if I’d really want to see these guys live though; even if they have Mick Jones and other luminaries playing along, I can’t imagine that this would be a super fun show (based on the clip of their performance on the Colbert Report).
But hey, if someone has free tickets and would like to share in order to prove me wrong, please do.
The Apples in Stereo - Travellers in Space and Time
Fun pop music, Apples-style, with a bit more of a dance/disco feel than their previous efforts. Pretty easy to take, pretty upbeat - they’re really good at what they do.
Lyrics are not mind-blowing, but I was not expecting them to be.
I’m not really a fan of the 20 - 40 second random sample or song throwaway tracks that seem to occur as filler, but that is pretty easily resolved with a few smacks of the delete key (deleting from playlist, not my master copies). Aside from those, this holds up well as an album that can be enjoyed all the way through.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I Learned the Hard Way
As I said in an a Tweet / Facebook status update, this record reminds me that I will never have the sultry voice of a middle-aged woman singing (mostly) about lovers who have done her wrong.
Regardless of not being able to sing along (well), it’s a satisfying listen. The Dap-Kings do a fantastic job of sounding like a superstar session band from the 60s, and that really adds to the character of this album.
While I do like this, I do not often listen through all the way; I like the songs to provide contrast to what I have on shuffle.
Again, would love to see this band live; I think that they would put on one hell of a show.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday - lengthy happy hour, then food @ home; watched some TV.
Saturday - Beautiful, sunny day; went hiking with some friends to Big Si. Had some ambition for going out further, but we were pretty wiped out. Have been working through DVDs brought back from China. The Hangover and All About Steve were what we watched. I had seen the former in the theater; the latter was not as bad as I had heard, though I cannot say it was really a good movie. (I did appreciate the numerous jabs at how fake the media is, however).
Sunday - Lazy morning, hit the gym for a run. Ran errands; picking up the week’s food & wine @ Costco. Came home, planted something (hopefully hearty and hard to kill) in the pots long sitting empty on our porch. Then made Ukrainian-Style cabbage rolls...though likely none of my ancestors used lean turkey and half a bottle of Habanero Tabasco sauce when doing so.
Watched “The Road” - which was intense, but pretty good. I guess a lot of metaphors there for life, the fragility of existence; then need to keep keeping on no matter what adversity is in your way, the need to keep one’s humanity even when surrounded by
Then “The Rebound”; I’m not sure how old Catherine Zeta-Jones is, but she looks fantastic. Not really fitting the mould of a typical rom-com; slightly deeper characters. Not the best DVD experience; the DVD stopped working 50 minutes into the filme. Extra comedy in the subtitles; since this was not a perfect rip of an existing DVD, the English subtitles were translated from Chinese (rather than from the movie itself). It was funny suddenly seeing “I buxing le” (我不行了) and “refuel, refuel” (from the Chinese “Jia you - 加油).
Thursday, March 25, 2010
considered healthy, washed down with a few too many beers as part of a
balanced dinner, I gotta note that it's way easier to screw something
up rather than build/create something amazing.
1. Diets - can be crushed with a night or two of indulgence.
2. Relationships - can be broken with a few stray or thoughtless words.
3. Careers - a few moments of carelessness can set you back years.
4. Cars - a few inches the wrong way is thousands of dollars to fix.
Anyway, I suppose that the positive thing to note is that setbacks
caused by a few stray moments of stupidity are rarely as lasting as
they seem at first; if one does not give up then what was once
catastrophic can seem tame given enough time.
(Then again, if you hurt your car through your own carelessness or
stupidity, usually money is the only fix...)
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Ask Alessandro - Apparently some of the english language editors at the Global Times are “taking the piss” and putting this stuff up as a quasi-advice column. Not sure if this is a “planned” controversy or not. I don’t know how much longer such “advice” columns will exist as a feature, but the prankster in me sees this as something very awesome. The content could be offensive to some, but to me it’s satire and much, much more noteworthy in that it was even published.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
- The Insider
- Jerry McGuire
- American Pie
- She’s All That
- Muppets Take Manhattan
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
- Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune - it’s amazing how many post-humous releases Jimi has. Not that much brand new material here, 75% of it has existed in other versions on other releases. But the quality of the recordings is top notch, and I appreciate alternative versions of his hits.
- Air - Pocket Symphony - I seem to have misplaced my copies of “Moon Safari” and “The Virgin Suicides”. This is a newer album that seems to deliver on Air’s unique atmospheric sound. I approve...haven’t listened to it that much.
- Roxy Music - Country Life - I was never into this band, but the album was on sale for $3.60 on Amazon. Worth a try (and the wonderfully skanky scandalous cover caught my attention). Had heard good things about the band, most of their cds were available in the music shop back when I was in Beijing as a student but I never picked them up then. Anyway, I like the music here - it reminds me of David Bowie from the same era; it is pretty solidly rocking 70s-style Brit rock. No complaints.
- The Love Me Nots - Upsidedown Insideout - It was a toss-up among this album and their others...their sound seems pretty consistent. It’s a good sound - garage-surf-rock. Less of an album experience but rather much needed flavor to mix into the ipod when it’s on shuffle. While it does rock the lyrics are a little too girly.
- Afghan Whigs - Creep - Their excellent cover of the song by TLC.
- Beyond - I wasn’t really into their work that much during my time living in China, but I’ve grown to love some of their songs...somehow definitely a cut above the usual cheesy ballad crap that passes for pop music. At least these guys wrote their own stuff. Some of their better-known hits are: 光辉岁月, 海闊天空, 真的爱你。
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Picked this up from a guy selling left-over (factory surplus?) books on a cart in Shenzhen back in 2006.
The book seems to be out of print in the US now, but it's worth a look. Highly recommended if you're willing to attempt making authentic Southeast Asian style curries and Chinese food.
Still enjoying it now - really good introduction to making a wide variety of Asian dishes; the recipes have been very solid so far.
Monday, March 08, 2010
I guess I don’t know the project/story he was working on that prompted him to ask this question in a public setting, but his point seems very fair to me; certainly if there is any day of the year to ask such questions and provoke discussion on the topic of women’s role in Korean society, this day (international women’s day) would be it.
It’s interesting that this (the practice of going to hostess bars for business) is defensible publicly; yet the way they’re going about this by playing the “national outrage” card.
On the other hand (thinking from my most basic male instincts) since the “old school” system in Korea is so beneficial to men, why rush to change it?
Also, if hostess bars & business are so offensive to some, how much better/worse are business meetings at strip clubs in the US? (On one hand, there’s the morality of the issue, and then there’s also there’s the issue of how widespread of a required business practice there is)
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Happy to report that Firefox 3.6 is much improved and is working better than Safari at present.
In unrelated news, picked up the MacHeist bundle. Not a bad deal; I guess maybe half as much software compared with years past, but also half the price.
Perhaps the software will inspire me to write more. Perhaps not. We’ll see.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
So, here are some (purposely?) terrible/melodramatic haikus created in an attempt to keep brain active.
Meeting boring me
Office crushes my spirit
Heavy drinking later
Lots of discussion
Nothing said of interest
Bash head on hard desk
Here's a diet-related Haiku, inspired by the ingredients of the Girl Scout Cookies served:
Glucose trans-fats corn syrup
lifetime big stomach
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
was late in getting to shanghai, and by the time I made it to Seoul
the flight to Seattle was already long gone.
Luckily, there was an option to go to Hawaii and then transfer to
So I did.
Not enough time to run to the beach; just got to see the airport. Was
not dressed for the weather; air conditioning was not turned on in the
terminals in the morning.
Had burger king. Then starbucks. Ended up chatting for a long time
with some of the people who were also on the way to Seattle from
Random stories, different china perspectives.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
That's not expected to last - it will get back to normal (38 - 48 degrees F; 3 - 9 degrees C) at the end of the week.
But I'm headed back stateside on Thursday.
It's been a pretty good trip. Here's a list of the things I'll miss, things I won't miss, and stuff that I'm really looking forward to when I'm back in the US.
1. The food - I love Chinese food, and I also love that (even in Shanghai) it's possible to go out to eat every day on a modest budget. Being in such a big city, there's lots of new things to try, and a diverse range of Chinese food (from all regions of the country) are available...I'm not really into a lot of Shanghai-specific cuisine yet, but everything else that I like (Hunan food, Sichuan food, Dongbei food, Xinjiang food, Guangdong food, Japanese food, and Korean food) is all readily available. You can get Chinese food in the US (or Canada), but it just takes more effort, and it's rarely priced as well as it is here.
1.5 - food portions - While there's a ton of good food here, it's also portioned reasonably..while I get full, I'm rarely urged to stuff myself. So in this way, it's probably healthier.
2. Pace of life - things change fast here; it's exciting and people are on the whole fairly optimistic (despite some grumblings about the government and not making enough money).
3. Work - I get to be a training expert/manager while I'm here. When I go back home I'm back to being Joe Schmo at the bottom of the totem pole. I knew that this position/role was temporary from the get-go, but it will still be a come down of sorts.
4. Conversations with new people in China - I guess during this trip I've spent more time hanging out with Chinese people than I often did when I was living in Shenzhen (that was probably due to the pace of life in Shenzhen and that I worked in a foreign company where my foreign peers and I would frequently get together after work too). Anyway, it's been fascinating getting the Chinese perspective on things we talk about now...it's also easier to communicate as it seems like I have a lot in common with Chinese people working here too. The foreigners I've met this trip have been pretty interesting for the most part as well...have been meeting a lot of the "career-expat over achiever" types, a few "FOBs", and then some of the dregs of humanity (see my last post). Chatting with friends in the US is okay too, but it's often different - without the unifying pull of being in China & trying to figure things out, then one has to come up with other topics of conversation (mundane topics like sports & what was on TV seem so trivial).
Will not miss:
1. The shredding of my immune system - back in Seattle/Bellevue my social circles are fairly restricted and probably the worst things (health-wise) that I'm regularly subject to are cat hair and dust. Here, I'm dealing with: jet-lag/sleep, touching things that are on public transit (touched by thousands of people daily), being around thousands of strangers daily on public transit, constantly sharing food at lunch dinners, maybe a modest uptick in the amount of drinking I do, the smog/pollution, and the damp/cold weather + often unheated workspace - it feels like I've been sick a lot this trip; way more than ever when I was living in China before and way more than when
2. Scooters & bicyclists - Due to the high price of obtaining & maintaining a car here, scooters are more prevalent than in other large Chinese cities. Shanghai is by no means a "scooter city" like I hear that Taipei is or like you might see in Thailand However, there are enough of them to be an annoyance - most scooter drivers couldn't give a rat's ass about following traffic rules/guidelines, and so they often drive in the middle of the sidewalk and are loose & fast with any inhibitions related to traffic lights. I'm usually listening to my ipod so I don't hear them coming behind me, and at night most don't ever bother to turn their lights on (this apparently could be related to the fact that the headlights are reportedly one of the first parts on the scooter to break, usually within a few months of purchase).
3. Lack of privacy / quiet - While my friend's living space is pretty nice, the walls must be made out of paper or something, as every sound from outside and upstairs carries in. Likewise, I assume that if one was super noisy inside, the sound would carry out.
4. Big city can be tiring - The flip side of living in such a dynamic environment is that it can be exhausting. Commute to work (in my case) is fairly long. I cannot say I've ever felt really full rested this trip. It feels that my life in the US is comparatively much more relaxed.
5. blocked internet - not that internet access is the only thing that matters in life, it's still jarring & irritating to have a wide swath of the internet simply not function. While broadband access is pretty well distributed here, a high-speed quality connection is really hit or miss.
Definitely looking forward to:
1. Seeing the wife
2. Seeing the cats
3. Seeing USA friends
4. Being back in an apartment that is relatively quiet
5. Having space in my apartment (even while my friend's place is fairly spacious, by Chinese standards, the layout still feels cramped.
7. Having relatively quiet apartment (even considering we're on the ground floor in a high traffic area, it's way more quiet than it is where I'm staying now)
8. Clean-ish air & clear skies, at least when it's not raining (do not want to hear Seattle people whine about the pollution there...ever. Things could be so much worse. That being said, as far as pollution goes, there are worse places to be in China than Shanghai).
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Nonetheless, if you venture through the entirety of this post you may agree.
Day - This was saturday morning, and it was a decent but lazy one. My friend, who had been hosting me for this trip, had finally come back from a 2 week stint of business travel. There was much to catch up about.
I went to gym, he went to boxing training.
Afterward, he wanted to go to the gym for an additional cardio/regular workout; I wanted to go explore the city some more. Unfortunately, it was raining...so thus it seemed like it would be a good day to go to the art galleries (mostly indoors & all).
I had heard things about the area on the Sinosplice (http://www.sinosplice.com/) blog.
Got disoriented on leaving the subway station, followed my inner sense of direction and ended up going on a big loop; passing through the throngs of people already in line or attempting travel for Chinese New Year. For whatever reason, I ended up taking a street that hadn't been finished under regular construction and was as such basically a muddy puddle.
I endded up going back to where I started - studied the map further and had a further go of it...finally made it to the art area (moganshan lu).
Enjoyed it immensely - there were lots of post-modern exhibits, featuring mostly mainland China artists. I also visited a special display that prominently showed some art from Korean & Japanese artists, among others.
As I ventured further in, I found both larger display areas with sculptures in addition to paintings.
What was especially cool was that in many of the galleries, the artists themselves were there - I have not often had the opportunity to converse directly with artists (especially painters & sculptors) about the work that they have done while I am in the middle of viewing it. It is very interesting to hear their stories & interpretations toward what they have painted & how the artwork even came to exist.
Anyway, the art generally featured interpretations of modern Chinese society today, juxtaposing new and old, the traditional and imported in a variety of styles and settings.
One that really struck me was a ginormous but very crude (in quality) sculpture of Mao...everything was rough, and the proportions made him look more as a bloated, overweight giant rather than the super-heroic larger than life traditional statues so often out there.
Ended up picking up a few framed photographs and some postcards; maybe made some new friends too.
Was a little embarrassed overhearing some other visitors trying to haggle way too hard over the price of some artwork.
My opinion on this considers that:
1. The gallery itself must charge a sizable rent (considering Artists' budgets)
2. The artist needs to eat
3. The artist needs to sleep
4. The artists are mostly not rich to start with
5. These are originals, not mass-produced crap that should be aggressively haggled over.
Anyway...after that, my plan had been to have some dinner and then make my way to any bar that had live music.
Ultimately, that never happened.
(I was on my own this evening as my friend had to take a client out and said he likely was going to have to go to the "dark side"...I did not want to join - I had been there and done that enough during my previous China work engagements...)
So I found a pretty modest-looking Sichuan-style restaurant. Went in. It was so busy that I shared a table with another person who had arrived there already. She left pretty quickly.
Soon after, a pair of younger Chinese guys came in, and the only space was a the table where I briefly had been the sole occupant.
So they joined me. We didn't really acknowledge each other, as is often the custom when sharing space in tight quarters.
But then they ordered a bottle of Baijiu, and I could not help but grinning - it was clear that a night of drinking was in store.
I guess my grin broke the ice and we started chatting. I stuck to my beer and they stuck to their baijiu, but we were soon cheering every 2 minutes or so (you can't just drink/sip on your own, you need to clink glasses & include the others).
Turns out that they both worked in the same advertising company, making logos (among other things) for a host of local businesses. They had been at work due to the ramp-up to the chinese holiday (everyone works through the weekend before and some how the "extra" days saved apply towards the future holiday...) We ended up talking about work, government (Yet another time this trip that I heard "I love China but not the government"), business, education, culture, tradition, holidays...a fine cultural exchange, all in all, backed up with the fool-proof drunken logic that since we happened to sit at the same table that we were fated to have this discussion and as such are all brothers (Cheers!).
So how did things fall off the tracks?
Well, another person approached and asked to have a drink with us - I didn't want to be a jerk, so I said "sure". But then this dude just kind of kept staying at our table...and staying...and then randomly bursting into screaming at the top of his lungs "FUCK you CHEATING SHIT BITCH!", while looking back at the table he came from.
So things got a little weird after that. This guy was from Japan, and didn't speak much Chinese. So the conversation got split up. Then one of the other people at our table didn't really want to talk to the Japanese guy at all (taking some bullshit nationalistic stance that he'd never talk to anyone from "little Japan")..
('Little Japan' is a derogatory term towards Japan, though I still don't get exactly what it is supposed to mean)
Then Japanese guy tells me about the time he spent in the states. Then he gets all worked up that his grandfather who fought in WWII is still alive. And that the USA bombed Nagasaki & Hiroshima.
And then we all drink.
And then the bai jiu's effects start to hit second Chinese guy at the table, and he almost falls over. But he's still gamely trying to engage the Japanese guy in conversation, but due to limited English skills and severe intoxication, is having difficulty being understood by anyone.
Then the "I'm not talking to Japanese" guy strikes up conversation with the group of notherners at the next table (3 girls, one dude, good odds, right?) and so they are now best friends and sharing food and clinking glasses. Then some how the circle expands to include everyone.
All the other restaurant patrons are not there, except for one single guy who's just kind of watching it all.
And then the Japanese guy screams and curses to his girlfriend to join us. I ask nicely as this could (maybe) shut the Japanese guy up. So the girl comes over. She's Russian.
We have a toast to the new "mini-UN" drinking party that has formed.
Eventually the Chinese people in the group start leaving one by one; I trade contact info with the Chinese advertising guys but it is unlikely we'll ever see each other again.
I know that I should leave but listening to the Russian lady's story is the aural equivalent of watching a train wreck...I'm hypnotized.
Apparently she's been in China for 15 years, recently was living with a Nigerian guy, who suddenly disappeared around Christmas time. No one knows where or why. (Possibly deported...and no one has any idea what this dude had been doing for a job). Before he left, he had introduced this Japanese guy, his friend from some way. So after Nigerian guy is gone, sometime during January, the Japanese guy and the Russian girl started hooking up. And now they're kind of a thing. Aside for the dysfunctional-ness of it all. Oh yeah, did I mention that Russian girl had been carrying Nigerian dude's baby but then lost it at some point after he left?
Japanese guy had been in town studying for a while, but then just stayed & stayed - his visa is well expired. Apparently there's some Korean girl that he's affiliated with; not sure if they got married and she used him for his visa, or what.
Anyway, continued to hear their stories, then talked about China & Shanghai for a bit, and then it was super-clearly time for me to go.
So I did.
Just way too much information to take in on one night. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people will open up such intimate details of their lives to a stranger like me...it has happened before and probably will happen again. I guess I should know better and get out before it gets too weird.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Interpol - good music, mostly, that is great when I'm in the mood for
it. Not sure how much I would really want to see them live. Of course,
if money was no object, I'd be there. I do not think it would be.
"fun" show, however. Can't imagine them doing anything to engage the
Vampire Weekend - Why is this band supposed to be a big deal? Their
music is pussified shit.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
landed & keepin' it real - quickie reviews from plane - Why didn't this get posted earlier in the month????
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Decor was super modernish; lots of curvy fishtanks with orange-reddish fish, shiny lights and post-modern furniture.