Sunday, June 29, 2008


H's friend suggested i actually go so far as to call the Vipass cntr in India to find out why they're giving me the silent treatment. (application: sent in months ago, email enquiry asking what was up recieved zero respone: sent weeks ago).

So after several botched phone call i got thru today, and was informed that i'm registered and they're expecting me, July 30. Apparently the confirmation email nvr reached me.

That's life. Anyhow, that's good, since i really feel like a could use a good equanimous kick in the pants. People say i'm pretty balanced, but really not 1/2 as balanced as i'd like to be.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Walk This Lonely Road

So close, so close. Friday was the end of yr awards ceremony for students, which i helped organize. It was kind of a pain in the arse, but it went off well in the end.

I had my gr 1's and gr 7's sing a choreographed Hello Goodbye together, which was very cute. My other gr7 class sang Leaving on a Jetplane w/ a bunch of props which was reasonably cute. And also my int'l gr7 class played Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which consensus says was quite entertaining.i'd spent the last few wks having the boys work on the song, and on their "rockandrollmanship" where they had to jump up and dn, throw their hair around, pump fists in the air, and do the spread legs guitar stance. Oh for sure, it was all cheezy rock cliche, but who the hell cares when it's only about entertainment, plus yr in gr7, and playing for Chinese parents who can't be expected to be rock and roll connoisseurs. Anyhow, those boys were pretty rad, and i'd say they rocked the house.

Now i've just got one morning left to teach. So, some games, skip to the action scenes to finish Of Mice and Men, do some colouring, and then it's vacationsville.

More on that soon.

BTW, the blog title is from that Green Day song. A song which i admit i'd never heard of 'til my kids said they wanted to play it. It's not bad!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And the Drums the Drums the Drums

Last Saturday i headed out to see NYC's Larry Tee playing at a restaurant/club here in BJ. I admit i never heard of the dude before i read that he was coming, but he's the dude who helped launch acts like Peaches, Fischer Spooner, the Scissor Sisters... um, even Ru Paul is on his roster. Apparently he coined the word "electroclash" for the genre of grungy electro dance music which is one of the few brands of dance music i can still dig.

H wasn't up for a night out so i headed out solo. I was also pretty stoked that it was in a joint which we'd read about called Song, designed by some famous Japanese architect, and the place is very slick yet warm.

I thought the place could also likely be pretentious, but then again: how pretentious could it be if
they playing a music genre which practically expects people to wear ripped t-shirts and pantyhose?

Anyhow, it was a pretty hot show, even if the moderate dance floor was only moderately packed. Mr Tee played a killer couple of remixes/mash ups of the Ting Tings which had H almost regretting that she stayed in.

Ok, BJ isn't always 100% on it, but if they can pull in the occasional noteworthy electroclash artists, it could do worse!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Recent Omissions

Don't know why, but even though things are sorta happening, i haven't felt much compulsion to write lately.

But just for you hardcores, here's a few udpates.

H and i got caught in a torrential downpour, huddled under a tiny awning, smoking a cigarette. Then we made a 200 m dash to a very chic fusion restaurant where we had a lovely dinner after i wrung out my shirt in the toilet.

We went off for a wkend retreat at Mountain Yoga, which we'd read about in a couple mags. i thought it would be kinda commercial but so so wasn't. For the 2nd day we were the only ones there. We did yoga, hiked, did tai chi and calligraphy, and missed scheduled activities due to excessive napping.

School is heading into its last wk. A bunch of work to do this wkend for report cards, but nxt wk should be pretty caj. Prepping some songs and props for the awards ceremony, watching movies and playing some games.

My small class of Int'l boys will play a Green Day song at the ceremony. Yesterday we got the keyboard hooked up to play bass, and it sounded super phat. I've got them jumping around a bit, and when the singer thrusts his fist up in the air when he sings, it looks pretty awesome. i think we can rock the house nxt Fri.

A coworker asked me if i'm busy prepping for India. "India? Um, i don't have any time to think about India, i'm so busy w/ school stuffs." But maybe soon i'll look into it more. Because i haven't had time to pick up an India guide book, i think i'll try to do India w/out one. Keep me on my toes.

In contrast w/ H: she's been counting dn for almost a month now, which i don't think has helped her patience much.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Mascot Diaries. Part 5

My name is Jyngjyng. I am an Ailuropoda melanoleuca melanoleuca, or "panda" for common purposes. My kinsfolk and I number roughly 1590, which is 1528 more than I personally know, but as you know, this number is tragically small.

Some family members get shipped off to zoos in America or Japan because China uses us as political pawns. Travel may sound exciting to you, but us pandas generally just want to be left alone, away from the prying eyes and cooings of humans who think we are "cute".

Would you appreciate it if your sexual fumblings were broadcast on Youtube to entertain adults and minors alike? i thought not.

I admit, a few of us enjoy the attention, but most of us do not. Personally, I have always felt cheapened by people who do not care to look past my fuzzy exterior.

So think about how I feel having been assigned the "opportunity" (ahem?) of being an Olympic mascot, as if my (so-called) life weren't under enough of scrutiny as it was. I can now add in work where humans will not only look at me, but worse yet i have to smile at them, and (shudder) hug them.

Yes, i am forced to hug the very creatures who murdered my brethren and now graciously rescue us from extinction.

Thank-you, humans! Thanks a whole bunch! Us pandas are so fucking lucky that we have you to protect us. Pardon my language.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Mascot Diaries. Part 4

Hey, I'm Yingyin.

People ask me all the time, so I'll just tell you that yes, I am a T1betan antelope. People are all like "Shit man, whaddaya think about the T1bet sitch?"

But i'm just like, whatever, 'cause i was born there, and i guess i'm T1betan, but i went to Chinese school with Chinese kids and teachers, so i don't really follow what the big deal is.
Sure, it bugs my parents, but mostly they want me to have a good life so they were pretty stoked when I got offered this mascot job.

The job itself is awful. All day i smile and wave at the kids, do somersaults, act like i've got an f'ing mental handicap. It's a painful existence. Faking it, as if it meant something. All day I count the seconds to nighttime. At night the other mascots sleep, but not me. I hit the clubs. I'm a dancing machine. Luckily i get to meet some pretty hot women through my hell-job.

And when the dj throws down some 50 Cent, everybody moves, everybody sweats, everybody gets it on. The girls see me on the floor and they know they want me. On the floor, the only thing that matters is that sexy moment. Chicks and I move in unison to grinding basslines and beats. I can forget everything else.

Then after a hot night, i have to put on the weary smile again and wave. Pretend i'm happy. Pretend the Olympics matter. Count the hours. Count the seconds.

Then come night I dance.
Come day, I die.
Night, I dance.
Day, I die, I die, I die.

What the Fengtai is Happening to this Place?

i found out that i was misreported something in my last post. In fact the new mall that they're developing just 10 min away from my 'hood will be the biggest shopping centre in all of Beijing. This, in a city where the malls are colossal to start with. I mean since when is 6+ stories of retailers normal?

So that, and the incoming subway indicates big changes for the Fengtai district.

Ok, change happens. While i'm not complaining, i would like to note what makes life way out at the 4th Ring Road "charming", if you will. Here's a short list.

  1. People here sell you stuff without trying to rip you off, or even haggling
  2. Looking for an expensive restaurant? Good luck.
  3. A short bike ride will get you out to farmer fields
  4. Horses in the streets pulling fruit and vegetables
  5. You can still catch sight of chickens running in the streets

And in the interests of objectivity, here's what's not so good about Fengtai.
  1. Not much international flavour around here. Except for KFC and MacDonalds.
  2. Zero entertainment, except for karaoke i guess
  3. Heza always noted as the one laowai in the crowd
  4. Out here, the pollution ain't any betta
In case you didn't knowL: i like Fengtai. It's kinda like the Surrey of Beijing, but when you're here you can't fool yourself into forgetting that you're living in China.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Indian Summer

Oops, i forgot to mention my itinerary earlier, but here it is, for those interested.

July 7 - train to HK, then flight to Mumbai.

Relinquish the reins in India for a while and see what comes my way. i was hoping to get into a Vipassana course at the big bongo Dhamma Giri centre, but since i'm still waiting to hear bk from them, i'm not so optimisitic. Maybe i'll visit holy man Sathya Sai Baba again.

Then bk to BJ for Aug 14. Meet up w/ my sweet gf.

Then off we go bk thru HK en route to Taipei for a bit of beach and sun for 10 days before school kicks in again.

"Shit, what's with all the flying, statusq?"
what, y'think i wanna do all this flying? i was prepared to spend a wk on the train to get to India, but i read some travel sites, and one actually said "do not do it." (quotes mine). Border and visa issues in eastern China i guess. So instead i paid some extra for carbon offsets.

Also, i would've been happy to have stayed in BJ and taken mandarin classes and done some volunteer work all summer. Until i remembered that i have to get the hell out of town before the Olympics hit town. Stupid Olympics!

The Mascot Diaries. Part 3.

Hello, my name is Niyniy.

I have been meticulously designed by top of the payscale teams of specialists, focus groups and market researchers to appeal to as many consumers as possible. I will smile at you warmly from keychains, t-shirts, and toilet seat covers. I will etch my smile into your psyche regardless of your defenses or tastes; and your wallets and purses shall heed my siren song.

And you will happily spend millions of yuan and dollars on products bearing my image and form to help make urgently required record profits for a few wealthy white men.