Friday, October 26, 2007

Everything You Need to Know About America

I promised the kids cartoons on Friday if they were 1/2 decent in the wk. Luckily i have a season of the Simpsons on my comp. i asked them, "who's this?" and drew a pic of Bart on the board. Nothing but blank faces and one suggestion of "It's you!"

Some things make it over the border and some don't.

In keeping w/ the times, we watched the Halloween special. All the explosions, killing, dead bodies, and comedy you could ask for in a language you may not understand. They really dug it, despite the fact that it's so completely tailored for american audiences.

As for Halloween itself... well i'm a touch sad to be missing some stellar Vancouver parties, but given the opportunity to create Hallowe'en here at school... i'll opt out.

Surely the kids would get a bang out of seeing statusq dressed up as Frankenstein, but really i just can't be bothered. That and the fact that i think it's great that the commercial version of Halloween hasn't really broken mainstream Chinese consciousness. The longer it takes, the better, i say.

Pic courtesy of Past Deadline.


Apparently PoMo isn't just re: Post Modernism. National Blog Posting Month starts in a few days, and Heza and i are on board. So for any of you readers who unfailingly check in on me to see if i have wonderful insightful news and updates, freqently to be disappointed...

Well be disapointed no more!

i swear by the holy spirit, on Mao's grave, and the graves of all Olympic gold medalists past and present, that I WILL NOT BE DETERRED. You're in for 30 consecutive days of updates, whereupon i will use my teeth to scrape some item of novelty, humour, or insight FOR YOU, readers!

-Just thought i'd warn you.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Underground BJ

BJ has 2 brand new subway lines, and another is gonna open soonish.

Also, to encourage public transport (and not the ubiquitous automobile), subway ticket prices have dropped to 30 cents from 45. Good initiatives.


In its 1st wk of operation the new #5 line had THREE MILLION passengers on it. And the # 1 and #2 lines had DOUBLE the rush hour passengers, as enticed by the new lines, and reduced rates.

There weren't exactly spare seats beforehand.

Like Japan, methinx BJ needs to hire peeps to shovel people into the cars to get the doors closed.

(disappointingly, the new line feels the same as the other lines).

pic from

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hack Hack Hack

Oh, have i mentioned that Heza has been out w/ bronchitis for the last few days? After hacking for a couple wks or so, the school shipped her off to a dirty hospital or 2 where she sat around w/ IVs plugged into her arm.

They like IVs around here.

It was ok at school, 'cause she had substitute teachers. Ie) Me.

statusq has been dosing regularly with the oil of oregano, and so far he's been ok.

Anyhow she's coughing a touch less than before, and is feeling better. Before long she won't require statusq to fetch her dinner or brew cups of tea.

Aside: she's also kicking her coffee habit! This is huge, everyone. Wish her luck.

Communications Update

Hey Georgie! Don't go meeting with relijus leaders like Dolly Llama! Cause it fucks up all the news lynx, and internet access behind the grate fire wol. (although i'd sure love to know whatever they were chitchatting about).

Also, ewe tube is no longer available here. That really stinks 'cause H and i were using it as an educational resource. Sesame street skits to intro topics, etc.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slightly More Than Meets The Eye

My brother's friend apparently couldn't stop raving about the new Transformers flick. And i do realize that this is the guy who waited hrs in line to watch Batman on its first TWO opening nights. But hell, i was Transformaniac when i was a wee one, and the trailer looked pretty explosive in that Hollywood way.

Anyways, onto the review.

The first half hour: pretty god awful. The set up for the robots to reveal themselves, the 2D characters, yadda yadda.

Then the robots started talking and everything became so unbelievable that the movie finally started working, know what i mean? Considering how ridiculous the premise is of cars turning into robots, i thought they did an impressive job cooking up a story behind it.

There's more human characters and interaction than i expected, so that was decent, and the characters were entertaining albeit shallow. (the "highschool" badgirl w/ the unwavering makeup, and the countless sexy poses: mrow)

Anyhow, if you have no inclination to see this movie, don't. But if you're curious, i don't think you can realistically expect anything more than this.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Birthday Weekend in Beijing

1. Heza told all the grade ones it was my bday, and they all surprised me with a card, some art, and a present or two. it was very cute. Much cuter than the staff combo bday i had 2 days earlier w/ another teacher.

2. h takes me out for south china cuisine dinner at a place we both really dig: pinapple rice served in a pinapple? Fruit juice in a big stick of bamboo? Yes.

3. Then we hit the university district to chck out a packed bar with a crappy cover band playing to a drunk and enthusiastic crowd. (shit, have you ever heard of tuning your guitar before playing in public?)

4. Then we hit a packed hiphop club, where H's blonde hair got us in for free. Again, not exactly our scene, and Heza wasn't exactly enamoured w/ the white 'ho lyrics. But who could turn down tequila shots for $0.75? Not me!!!

5. Up early to go to the Terry Fox Run w/ the school, despite the fact that i don't support the Terry Fox Run. And then it's like 3 hrs of waiting around before we get to run for 20 minutes. At least they had some sexy dancing boys for entertainment.

6. I pass out in a chair when H gets massaged by a blindman.

7-13. Lots of other nice things which aren't exciting to read about.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Heza Three-Three and the Hooded Wang

Maybe we should call Heza "Heza Three Three" 'cause she's 3x3x3 years old.
And on Friday i turn 33 years old, which is fortuitous as it's a palindrome. And 33 is 3 (a prime number) times 11 (another prime number, and also a palindrome).

The amount of 3ness coming into being is f'ing insane. H and i will be in so much alignment we'll surely go BERSERK.

And H just got this environmental Jack Johnson kids' song where he sings "THREE is the magic number." (the three R's)

And i teach a class which has THREE kids in it on my 33rd birthday. And in the bank today there were THREE women w/ long blonde hair, which like never happens in China.

i can hardly handle it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cleaning Shmeaning (Demeaning?)

There's a woman cleaning the apartment right now.

So of course you're wondering why William has a cleaning woman. And i admit it's far from my usual style. but H doesn't exactly crave dust in the corners or mold in the bathroom the way i do.

And there's no point in squabbling over $2.25/hr for someone to come in. Note that this rate is substantially more than the $1.40 that most BJ cleaning women scrape for.

Still, i admit i have to swallow some self-righteous pride to have someone else come in to clean up my shit.

And anyways our neighbours/coworkers signed up w/ the same cleaners.

But they weren't happy w/ their cleaning woman. "I won't pay $2.25 for that substandard service!"

So they got a new one in today, the same time ours comes.

I only learned of this when H asked me to be around to let in the new woman to try her out. Ok, fine.

So i let her in. And she scrubs away.

But then the old cleaning woman walks in w/ her bucket and scrubbers, only to find she's been replaced. Ha! That's what she gets for giving substandard service. Except that as far as H and i were concerned, she did a great job. And was nice. So it was completely fucking uncomfortable for me to frantically and unsuccessfully attempt communicating to her that i thought she'd been informed not to come, and that maybe she can come back next week, and maybe we can call or something or something. Fuck. i don't think she got a word of what i said but left, refusing any money from me.

[apparently her company had been informed she wasn't req'd today, but she never got the msg]

And now some other woman is now wiping behind our toilet, pbly doing a friendly, great, and underpaid job. Jesus.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Willy Got Wheels

BJ has a lot of these cool old school bikes on the streets. they could even be pre-WWII. You obviously can't get them in the stores, so i just offered some old guy 100 kwai for one, while shopping for veg in the morning market. It was a surprisingly easy deal considering i was gesticulating more than i was speaking.

My cousin thinks the ol' guy got the better end of the deal, but it was only $14, and i really dig it, and it works, and he had to walk back home to wherever he lives etc etc.

Then in the first 5 minutes of my first ride out, i almost got crunched between 2 cars. And i was informed before i arrived in China that if i wore a helmet here, everyone would think i was "special." But anyhow, so far so good. For all bikes and cars on the road, anything less than 98% attentiveness just isn't going to cut it around here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Onto and Into The Scene

Earlier on H and i had no time to consider going to the much hyped Beijing Pop Festival in Sept, which featured 9 Inch Nails and Public Enemy among other reputable bands who don't interest me much. Was that the best BJ can offer? i guess you can't expect much in the 3rd world.

But then after catching some tres hip bands in a dinky little club which coulda been in NYC, H and i learned of the 3 day Modern Sky Festival. Today was day 2 and it was killer.

i'm super happy to have gotten tossed headfirst onto the local scene, and i weirdly feel i have a decent grasp of local talent and the scene. Do check out Hedgehog and Peng Tan, 2 of my personal faves. As for the scene itself, there's lots of stuff which has quite impressed me and lots which hasn't (as in any city, many bands don't realize that i should be their target audience).

Chinese acts will often take flack for copycatting western music. But who the hell cares if they're doing it full on? If BJ's Carsick Cars are good eonugh to tour with alt-icons Sonic Youth, then something must be up. Lots of these bands sing in English, sometimes broken, sometimes not, and some sing in Mandarin, which works equally well.

Also the djs from LCD Soundsystem played, and they disproved my theory that djs can't hype me anymore. Their set was super solid, and had me and H wagging our asses full out, track after track. And H barely ever dances even! This was a very good thing, considering that all of yesterday's dj sets were numbingly repetitive, dull and sterile.

The fest headliners are NYC's Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which should be awesome, but the likelihood of H and i making it out for a 3rd day are slim to none (plans w/ my cousin to get out of BJ, plus 2 overloaded fest days already...)

Modern Sky is definitely one of the funnest music festivals i've been to. Tickets and booze, all 100% reasonably priced. 4 stages, caj crowd, lots of fun music, and tons of super hip and cute crap to buy. (a good thing, since buying shit is all H and i do around here).

Yay National Holiday. Yay bands and djs who kicked it hard. Yay Modern Sky record label and their killer festival. Yay, yay, yay.

ps. Lots of new pix on the flickr link.