Saturday, May 24, 2014

Let's Get Wed

On May 17th, 2014, me and Yoyo had our wedding. We just wanted to do sth simple, but then the next thing you know there's 80 people on the invitee list, tons of "wedding stuff" that needing taking care of. However, by Chinese standards, we still kept things on the simple side and opted to forgo most of the expected/traditional parts of a Chinese wedding ceremony, save for one. Yoyo's mom couldn't accept an evening wedding, 'cause in northern China, weddings in the evening are for 2nd marriages. Our wedding ceremony officially had to be 100% concluded by 12:58 pm.

Despite a late start, the wedding went off pretty damn smooth. i made my entrance on an old Beijing bike, amazed that people could be so amazed by a gimmick like that.

The host and translator were a Dutch couple, friends of me and Yoyo. The Chinese audience seemed particularly surprised to see the tall foreigner talking perfect Chinese, and his Chinese wife translating him into perfect English.

Yoyo mad her appearance to the Grimes track "Symphonia IX," a bit unconventional, but when i heard Grimes play that track at a show last year, it struck me as the song that Yoyo should use to walk down the a

I made a brief speech which began, "I hope it's ok if i use this time to talk a bit about politics," and hope that by the speech's end a few people were misty-eyed.  Then there was a surprise dance performance by me and two mutual friends of the song Yoyo. It's a disco track and as soon as i found it months ago, i knew it had to be performed at the wedding.

Me and Yoyo did a bit of swing dance, as we've been taking some classes. And yes i'm a pretty shitty lead, but that way you can score points for being unpretentious. The last performance was a traditional Beijing "bianlian" guy who whips through a series of masks, and i still have no idea how it's done. That was for the older folks, though apparently it surprised the younger gang too.

vAnyhow, the speeches were all short and sweet and funny, Yoyo was crying, i was a bit teary myself, and the performances were all pretty fun. We wanted to throw a fun party, and did. According to one Chinese friend, we "broke all the rules." Whatever that means. People seemed to really dig the whole thing. My mom (possibly biased, who knows) said it was the funnest wedding she'd ever been to, so that's great. Happy to please. 

After the ceremony for the banquet, some tables were a bit raucous, while others were rather stilted, but what can you do. i mean hey, i can't force people to get drunk and chitchat with strangers.

Also, we screened this vid at some point in time.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Before and After

Well. Look at what a hair stylist, make up artist, costume stylist, and photo shop editor will do to you in a Chinese wedding studio.

If you like this, i can post more ridiculous pictures.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Quest to Tell the TRUTH

There was once a time when some bonehead (haha) in the Chinese media published a picture of Homer Simpson's brain, assuming the image was a medical reference. Because not all Chinese reporters are culturally savvy, or have journalistic integrity.

A couple times now i've caught CRI making similar mistakes. Like this article about how Qiang minority people have different skulls than today's modern skulls. But the texturing on the skull definitely looked odd. "Does this skull look weird to you?" I asked the web editor. "No," he answered.

But i pulled up a photo of Damian Hirst's rather acclaimed artwork, which is a platinum cast skull covered by £50m of diamonds. And bingo, that was the "skull" being used a medical reference.

Oh CRI, that's why i love working here so much!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Latest

Hey gang!
Just wanted to say hi before I run off for Chinese New Year/Spring Fest over at the in-laws! Yoyo and her parents are already over there, tapping their toes for my imminent arrival.

Should be pretty fun. You know. Drinking expensive baijiu (which still tastes less-than-pleasant), over eating, and watching the CCTV Spring Fest Gala tv show. Maybe playing basketball with Yoyo's dad. Hopefully finding time out to have a toke somewhere.

BTW, Canada was super fun. Got to see almost (but not quite) all of the folks I thought i'd get to see. Yoyo got to do a bunch of Canada winter stuff she'd never done before. Like...
drink egg nog :)
make a snowman :)
sledding :)  *what's up w/ all these f'ing old people on the hill???
eat turkey :)
X-C skiing  :(

Upon arriving in Canada she asks, "Why are all the buildings so small?"
Yoyo was also shocked at how many homeless people there were in Vancouver, in the "best city to live in" in the WORLD.
She actually liked Calgary better than Van, partly because of the above, but also 'cause in Calgary it's actually easier to shoot the breeze with random strangers than in Van. And she thinks Van and BJ aren't all that different.
Frankly, she thought Canada would be more different from CN than it actually is.
Mostly she was surprised that Canadians were so... polite! Everyone saying Hello, and How's It Going? and Thanks, and Come Again, and drivers all like stopping for pedestrians to cross the road, and letting other cars get into the lane ahead of them. That's all pretty crazy, yo.

Since getting bk to BJ, Yoyo's been feeling rather uninspired to do anything, and that's been challenging, but for now she's feeling better over at her parents. Hopefully things go well when we get bk to BJ, also planning our wedding and all that sort of fun stressy stuff. haven't got a clue how things'll pan out, but I for one plan to have some fun...

And work's been pretty lame since i got back. W/out going into details, i've been writing tons of stories for our new website (which we bought for ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS... and they can't find money for a CF card reader?) about places i've never gone, and foods i've never ate. That's pretty lameorific.

At least it shold be temporary, and admittedly hasn't been very hard.

So 春节快乐,everyone! Hope this Horse of a year will be one full of oats and kick, and may our manure help the crops grow sturdy and tall!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Wow, fascinating article here:
Two trucks loaded w/ mandarin oranges tip over in NW China, and the cops can't stop locals from stuffing as many oranges into their bags and pockets as they can squeeze in.

A cop fired a gun in the air to try and gain control over the crowd.

The article talks about how Chinese people still lack adequate moral standards. And that may be true, but also think... they're stealing a plastic bag's worth of ORANGES.  

Then there's similar pix of people looting sunflower seeds or chinese CABBAGE (also from tipped trucks). These ain't exactly big ticket items. So immoral behaviour is one issue, yes, but basic desperation is the unaddressed issue (perceived or not).

And of course, there's the issue of overloaded trucks. Hell, that's FOUR tipped trucks in the first 8 days of this year! And who knows how many weren't captured by new photographers...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30: Slipping

Yet again, I fail to post my blog on time. And the later we got in the month, the more often i posted late.

In addition, my daily meditations are less consistent than they used to be in the last month or 2. Maybe 30 seconds of awareness while sitting on the subway or the can is all i get in in a day.

Also, I totally don't do push ups daily any more, though i did about ten yesterday before i went to sleep.

Well, at least i still floss pretty much everyday.

I don't think that any of this is a big problem, though it's nothing to be proud about. But hey, at least I DID the 30 days of blogging, late or not.

And thanks to you, reader(s)! i really appreciate having an audience, whoever the hell you are. May we all move forwards in life in a forgiving way, taking and sharing the good we find.

Oh, and happy american thx giving.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 29: Culture

Got free tix from CRI to go see this dance performance called Heartbeat of Home. It's a modern Irish-dance piece w/ Afro and Cuban influences. And tap. Lots of tap.

I figured me and Yoyo could check it out since... The show employs high-definition, cutting-edge projection technology and has an engaging narrative structure. 

So, yeah it was a good performance, but truthfully that stuff's not really my cup of tea. I was struggling not to doze off for quite a bit of it. Mostly i just feel that Yoyo hasn't had much exposure, so of course we should chk out an int'l quality theater piece. 

But I'm a bit of a philistine, i can't deny.

Day 28: Missed It

These people gave me some wine to take home. 'Cause obviously they were all hammered.

Oops, fell of the wagon there. Busy working. Time Out magazine's bar and nightlife awards. Generally pretty boring. I was there to shoot pix and write up a short article. But there was lots to drink. So me and the CRI crew all got reasonably tanked by the end of the night, and frankly it was pretty fun.

I also had a drawn out conversation with a guy who i met once before, who wasn't in a very good place. He was being all negative about video and media and state media and Vice magazine and everything, and i was calling him out on the BS. i could see he was getting mad, and i was actually trying to steer the conversation into happier directions, but i found myself incapable of accepting his BS or letting it slide. He actually said i was bullying him. To everyone in the room but me, it was perfectly obvious that i needed to stop talking to this guy. At any rate, i knew his head wasn't in a good state, and obviously had other shit going on. And he might've been as tipsy as i was. Somehow we got separated and our mutual friend even advised me not to apologize even. And i was like, "I don't know if I can do that." And he was like, "No. Just drop it. Don't say anything. Drop it." So i did, feeling kinda awkward about it. Then the other guy made an exit and disappeared and nobody knows where he went after that.

Anyhow, i usually think i'm a bit more empathetic than that. Or at least a better judge of where someone's at. Or at least not a bully. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27: Lindy Fuckin' Hop

Me and Yoyo went to a bar to take an intro swing dance lesson today. It was the Chinese class. Pretty darn fun. Though neither one felt very talented at it. That's ok, there were other fumblers.

The format required people to switch partners every 5 min which was pretty funny. 'Cause really, everybody dances different, some really sharp, some less so. Yoyo wasn't so lucky 'cause the shortage of men required her to dance w/ a couple women posing as dudes. But Yoyo was also lucky 'cause she got to dance w/ a couple teacher dudes. So later she could criticize my 20 minutes of technique to the pros.

Pretty fun gang, though generally everybody was too busy trying to dance to do any, you know, chatting.

Also the class price included a beer. SCOOOOOORE!

There's two kinds of swing dance. Lindy Hop is looser and slower. Balboa, which is closer and has faster quick leg moves. We think we like Lindy Hop better. And it's pbly marginally easier.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26: Job stuffs

Talked  long and hard w/ my employer about why i deserve a 5% raise instead of the standard 4% raise. Yeah, petty, but it seemed like an honor thing. For a 2 yearer I'm apparently already paid more than the average worker at CRI. 

Well, i convinced him by saying stuff like, "I work for travel section. Do you know how many time CRI sent me out this year? Zero. And yes, I did go to Changchun, Guizhou, Qinghai and Gansu. All those trips were arranged by me, never cost CRI a penny, at times paid out of pocket."

Also, stood up for the misunderstood video team, who I'm only sort of a part of. Because we all work hard to produce good work, when the difference between a great video and a mediocre one isn't really understood or appreciated by our employer. 

In other news, Yoyo quit her job. Which has been the bane of her existence since she got it. I always recommended that she just do her job and do it well, or quit (even though the money was quite good). Now the plan is to do some easier or PT work and... study English!