Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hello, I'm the Guy Who Your Daughter's Sleeping With

Yoyo's mom is visiting her sister in Xian (where the terracotta army is). She invited me and Yoyo out for a visit, so i was like, sure why not? Might as well. Isn't sooner better than later?

Yoyo's nervous. i feel pretty normal. i think her mom's excited. Yoyo's parents thought she'd never get married. Yoyo herself figured that if she was still single by the time she reached 30, she'd just marry any ol' random dude. Luckily she met a different random dude first.

So tonight we hop on an overnight train to Xian, where i'll meet her mom, her mom's sister, her mom's sister's husband, her cousin, her cousin's husband, and her cousin and cousin's husband's baby (whom i've seen a photo of).

This is a big deal in China, since it basically implies that yr gonna marry said daughter. Which i'm ok w/. It's all kinda impromptu, so there's bn no time to think about a gift for Y's mom, nor is one required, she thinks.

But i'm annoyed that we thought we could get something for teh baby, but Yoyo thinks we should spend 500yuan on something, since apparently the mother only dresses the 6 month old kid up in western brand names. Which i think is pretty lame.

Throwing down for New Zealand baby formula, i can understand, but imported Gap Kids stuff that'll be outgrown in 6 months? Well, maybe for the Christmas party...

Day 29: Zhuangguancun - 2 Much Comp Shit

Today i went to Zhuangguancun, a neighbourhood filled w/ massive buildings all filled w/ people selling computers, phones, cameras and all the bits and pieces thereof. It's almost entertaining being asked every 1 meter if you want to buy an iPhone.

"Hey handsome guy! [that's me] Looking for a cellphone?"
"No, i have one already."
"Want to get another one?"
"Why would i want that?"
"Cause it's cheap."

Later, i got bored and started asking people, "Can you find love here?"
"Everyday thousands of people come here. Can people find a husband or wife here? Not me. i have a girlfriend. i'm just curious."
"Probably. I'm not sure."

Also, i got a new hard drive to put into my screwy Mac and a Bluetooth mouse. Yay!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28: Movie Roundup.

Here's a bunch of movies i've seen in the past few months, and some deep analysis to accompany each one. 

Prometheus. The Aliens prequel. 3/10. Costumes and set design are awesome. Dialogue and script suck. 

Date Night. 2.7/10. Steve Carrell romantic flick, which was a lot worse than i'd expected. i actually wanted to turn it off 5 min in. i'm just not into that brand of humor. 

Kingdom of Plants 3D. 8/10. Saw this in amazing 2D! Not much else i'd rather do than smoke up and watch this sort of thing w/ my gf. 

To Live. 8.2/10. Since i'd just finished the book, some friends did movie night w/ this one. Pretty darn good rendering of the book. Interesting to see how they pumped up the drama for the screen by adding elements. But (y'aint never heard this one before) … the book was better. 

Cinema Paradiso. 4/10.  Well, i watched 1/2 of it, but then i fell asleep. When i get around to finishing it, i'll let you know if the second half is much better than the first. It's apparently a classic (!) But i was tired, so sue me. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27: Fyogur Piano

Today i had some free time to kill w/ Yoyo, so we watched some Sigur Ros vids online. Music to sigh to. And the above vid is the best thing i've seen since Double Rainbow. Not to equate the two. Derrick likes it but thinks it borders on pretentious. i disagree, though the WTF factor is likely pretty high for non-artsy types.

Also, note the lead male. It's f'ing Shia LaBeouf from Transformers! Can't blame the guy for not wanting to be pigeonholed as The Transformers guy, and wanting to do some more like... acting. He looks pretty damn good in this piece. Good one, Shia. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 26: Reasons to Hate the Communist Party

Oh, China. Sometimes you really fuck things up. Big things and small things. Ok, everyone (in the west) knows you oppress Ti bettin' peoples, minority groups, fallin' gong yadda yadda.

Yeah, you got a pickled carrot up yr ass when you throw bloggers in jail for crackin' jokes.

And yr corruption that allows thugs to do the govt's dirty work, and causes homeowners to self-immolate in a fight over property rights sickengingly churns the stomach.

But truthfully, the way that you piss me off the most is by hacking Google. Perhaps my hatred for Bing is exagerated. Google works fine: sometimes. And sometimes, it doesn't. Websites it links to refuse to open, as you (patiently?) watch the swirling Page Loading indicator.  Google Images is particularly prone to stalls.

Fuck it, if i have to i can use Bing, even though i'm well versed in anti-Microsoft rhetoric.

More frustratingly, Gmail simply can't be opened (occasionally). This is enough to make you punch walls, depending on what simple task you're trying to accomplish. Other times, it opens, but excruciatingly slowly.

Yoyo says (almost reasonably), "That's why you shouldn't use Gmail in China." Sorry Yoyo, but simple logic like that can't be easily applied on a guy who sadly enjoys getting all riled up about social and digital injustice.

img courtesy of

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 25: Marathon Not

A dream ago, i'd planned to run 3 marathons this year. i registered for this last one but ended up doing zero preparation for it. i figured, ok, i can still do a 1/2, even though my fever 2 days ago had me struggling to stay on my feet after an hour.

But the final blow came this morning when the BJ Air Quality Index came in reading 340: Hazardous.

My limit for exercising outside is 250 (over 200 is already "Very Unhealthy". A  couple weeks ago, the AQI was 240, and i really wanted to do the one hr bike ride to work, so i figured i risk it. Plus i have a mask. But 40 min in, i realized i need to recalibrate my limit. My lungs were feeling tight, my breath was raspy and my throat felt like i'd been drinking something too acidic. i slowed down. i felt like my effort to be healthy was in fact poisoning me.

Today, the five people in my running group who were registered to run all decided to forgo the event.

But i had already eaten a carb-heavy breakfast, and Yoyo and i had downed our coffees. So we went down anyways just to have a peek. Also i had some coworkers who were there.

We got there 5 min before staring time. At my insistence, my coworker had left my race package outside subway exit B for me, but it had shockingly disappeared by the time i got there.

Then me and Yoyo went to see the race, and we ended up joining the whole 4km event, along w/ a thousand or so peeps, many in funny costumes. Somebody from Greenpeace saw our masks and interviewed us about air quality. Anyhow, being super disorganized worked out amazingly well, as it allowed me and Yoyo to stick together. Lucky, 'cause if we just wasted time looking for my race package and missing the race, it woulda been a bummer.

Yoyo tries on a shoe.

Day 24: Art and About

Last night Derrick had a video installation exhibited in an exhibition. Interesting event: 22 artists had work spread out through a few hutongs (old Beijing alleyways), and a decent crowd arrived to view them. What resulted was a great deal of questioning about What Is Art, as a number of works were often overlooked, blending right into the scenery (like the series of hardened white clothes hanging from a clothes line), and also a number of found objects were all recognized for their arty properties. 

Derrick's piece was a vid about our great aunt, talking about stuff like death and the afterlife. It was shown a mini screen, somewhat bigger than a smartphone, tucked into a dark doorway's mailbox. 

Fun night and crowd, despite the chilly subzero temperature. though it was weird to see a number of people being rather disrespectful towards the art. i guess that's the risk you take when you take art out of a snooty gallery and put it into the public domain. Even Derrick's piece was transformed into mediocrity by an interactive viewer. Somebody turned off his video loop and turned on the standard issue mp3 track. Coincidentally, the track was also Canadian: Celine Dion!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23: The Beijing Zoo Market

Today (despite being kinda sick) i went out to the Zoo Market to do some research and interview some folks about this massive 8 story market that has some of the cheapest clothes in Beijing, but also is considered pretty fashionable.

The work was a bit hard since the goods are pretty much all of questionable origin, so most people were shying away from interviews and pix, and def wouldn't give me a name.

But anyhow, I rather dig the place. Lots of young people, girls who apply mascara and eyeliner for people who forgot their glasses, and tons of clothing that's not exactly what you or i call "fashionable."  Lots of loud colours, buttons, frills, and bad English. Pretentious it's not.

Xidan Market used to be more like this place, but Xidan caught up with contemporary fashion annoyingly fast. It was a lot more interesting before Uniqlo and H&M influenced everything over there.   Places like the Zoo Market are from a slightly different frame of reality, which is great. To me it's quintessential China.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22: The Popular Kids

The CRI English department had a vote for best team players in its 3 offices. i thought i stood good chances 'cause i'm 95% friendly to 95% of the people, and because i work a decent amount with both Chinese and Int'l teams, i was strategically positioned.

But no. Didn't even make the top 10. What a blow to the ol' ego. i was particularly surprised to find that i gave a shit at all. 

Anyhow, pretty weird thing. One of my colleagues said, "i voted for you!" and i was at a bit of a loss, 'cause i hadn't voted for her. 'Cause there were criteria to be followed. 

And also, i voted for a bunch of people who i thought noone else would vote for (sympathy votes, my colleague termed it), one of whom was the clear winner. Hello?

Anyhow, just goes to show you what a sham electoral politics are. Fuck democracy. 

Also, if you want to see a totally hilarious (and possibly disturbing) view on democracy in a Chinese primary classroom, watch Please Vote for Me. All documentaries should be this entertaining. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21: Hunchback of Notre Dame

Got some free tix from work to see a musical performance of Notre Dame at a theatre just near the house. So me and Yoyo went. Arrived late, unfortunately, and stepped on some toes getting to our seats. Modern interpretation. Flashy stage. Lots of people and things swinging from the rafters. Some impressive breakdance moves. But not a chance in hell of deciphering the lyrics, so much of the story was kinda lost on me. Chinese people got subtitles and were likely better off knowing who was who than English speakers. 

 I thought it was alright. But Chinese people loved it. i couldn't believe the thunderous standing ovation it got. i was thinking more like 6.5 out of 10, but apparently not. I asked Yoyo what marked she'd give it, and she said 10/10. Really??? Really. Well she'd never seen such a full stage production before, and appreciated the international tunes. Really? Really. 

'Cause frankly i got more of a kick out of that show in Anhui that Chinese people couldn't get away from fast enough. Go figure. 

day 21: I Ching Over Matter

Went for lunch w/ an office intern today. He started talking about astrology signs. "I don't believe in it, but women like to talk about it," he said. 

i mentioned of course that i do believe in it. And other stuff. i mentioned the I-Ching, too. He reasonably answered that these things say stuff that anyone can believe in, yadda yadda. 

Back in the office he was curious enough to try out the website i mentioned. He asked a question, and got   . Which amazed him. Since he'd just been debating whether or not to forget pursuing English studies to get into uni abroad. 

It's been a pretty long time since i've asked the I-Ching a question, which is the way i prefer it, but it is reassuring to know that there's this window to a wiser perspective just there, for some strange reason. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19: How to Cover Up the Mac Logo on Your Computer

When i was in Canada the last time me and my bro got an ipad for our mom. i knew she wasn't techie when i had to show here that a computer keyboard button has a Delete/Backspace button on it. (what will they think of next!) It was a big jump to having her very own piece of modern technology. She was reluctant to make the jump, but you know how these things embed themselves into your life.

Before you knew it she got kind of addicted to online games (Scrabble and Scramble). Now she warns the neigbours about how addictive it can be. Other than that, she just uses it for Skype and email. i think.

The first time we did vid Skype, both my parents were entertainingly impressed. "That thing's worth every penny!" exclaimed my dad after finishing the call.

Sorry for all this Mac propaganda. I covered up my Mac logo a long time ago. And my comp has probs and needs to be taken into the shop. Oh well, that's the gamble you take when you buy 2nd hand.

But my Linux computer's kinda fucked too right now. Oh technology, you always keep us on our toes (LOL ^^)

Special Feature!
*Covering Up Your Mac Logo

1. glue a circle of foil to the apple. If you don't, light will shine through and it'll look like shit. If you're really minimalist, stop here: presto you're  done! Your friends will love it.

2. If yr not minimalist enough to stop after step one, you can put banana stickers or whatever you want over the Mac logo. People with half a brain will still know that you have a Mac, but at least you didn't hold a magnifying glass up to the fact!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18: Don't Follow SATAN

i wanted Yoyo and my super cool great aunt to meet each other, and today was the first opportunity. It kinda fell together last minute, so i was happy that me and Yoyo could swing by. 

But, stupid me, i forgot to warn Yoyo about certain topics. We dodged one bullet when Popo asked Yoyo where she lives (with me, for hte moment), but then sidetracked herself onto another question directly afterwards. 

But i also forgot to tell Yoyo that Popo's a hardcore Christian, and that she shouldn't mention anything about me having converted to Buddhism. 

It got mentioned. 

Then i/we had to deal w/ about an hour of Christian talk. I totally respect Jesus and lots of Christian ideas, but i'm not so down with hearing about how Buddhism is lies from Satan, that the BIBLE SAYS that there's only ONE God, etc etc. 

i did have to defend myself to some degree, and discuss that different people believe different things, and different people even interpret the bible in different ways, etc. I kinda imagined both Buddha and Jesus sitting with us in the room there, watching how i'd handle myself. I felt obliged to share some of my opinions but definitely didn't argue that hard 'cause Popo's 93 years old and the less i can upset her the better. She's the first to talk about the difficulties of aging, and just in the last month she's started saying stuff like, "We should meet because you never know what might happen."

Anyhow, it was a bit stressy for an hour or so, and i really hope that Popo doesn't sit around upset about how i've already begun seriously flirting with potentially sending myself to an eternity of pain and suffering in the everlasting fire. She knows i'm good, and even admitted that people of different beliefs can lead positive, loving, helpful lives. But then SATAN will take them in the end. Which hardly seems fair. Especially considering that lots of people just CAN'T even know about Christianity. Which is (obviously) WHY Christians have to SAVE you by converting you!!! Let's not get all mathematical about this. 

img from

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17: Technology, Relationships, and the Family

One time i was visiting my parents, having a conversation about politics w/ my dad in the family room. My mom suddenly sighed heavily and said, "Can you two stop talking? I'm trying to watch Jeopardy!" So much for communicating with dad. 

i was reminded of that event today, after i was looking at the Scrabble game that i'm playing w/ my mom. (She's severely kicking my ass.) Anyhow, Yoyo turned to me and asked, "Why can't yr mom play w/ other people?"
"She does."
"So why do you have to play with her too?"
"Cause she's my mom. Obviously she wants to play Scrabble with her son!" 

Thoughts on tech usage: i refrained from getting a cell phone as long as i could, but my school forced me to buy one in 2007. After i got it, it dug its heels into my pocket and life. 

i don't have a smartphone, but know that after i get one... there'll be no going back. So i relish these last days of living without a freaking computer in my pocket. But, you ask, isn't an itouch the same as a computer? Well, it's that shifty purgatory between smartphone or not. It's not connected to the internet, usually. Here's my usage:

1) Learning Chinese apps and dictionary: slick flash cards have helped me a TON.
2) Listening to Chinese lessons when running/riding to work. 
3) Scrabble with mom and Scramble with only ONE friend. But these are often daily activities now. 
4) i use the sound recorder to interview people sometimes. Pretty darn handy. 

i spend enough time on the computer and surfing the interwebs that i oughtn't waste more time doing so away from my desk!


Yo, check out Buddha to the Future! This f'ed up Buddhist "cultural park" (NOT a religious place, since the CN govt doesn't provide funding to religious places) is basically busting at the seams with opulence and futuristic Buddhist re-envisionment. For a price.

Also, here's the 99 meter tall landmark of the joint. Other pix from yesterday are from the same place.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16: Anhui Trip

Well, i get paid to take pix, and use the company camera. And make less-professional-than-i'd-prefer radio segments. And today i talked about signing on for another year with CRI. 'Cause it's fun. And i'm still learning stuff. So you can't complain. Here's some stuff from the last trip!

Oh traditional China!!!

Trippy-ass Buddhist park in Jiuhuashan.

What dharma can't buy, money can.

Anhuiren performer

Hotboxin' the joint.
I totally want to go to the first place.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 16: Arguments!

Yoyo's just entered the between jobs phase. So she has time to do things like... make dinner for me. Yum. After dinner for some reason we talked about arguments, and i mentioned that the closest we've come to having one was about this jacket i bought that i really like that she really hates. Anyhow, that conversation was months ago, but i noticed a knot in my stomach i got from mentioning it. i let her know that i had this weird bit of knot in my stomach just from thinking about that conversation. Then she hadn't realized i was even bothered by that conversation, and then that buggered her into a bad mood. So we talked about arguments (which we haven't had yet, but someday will) and how to potentially deal w/ them.

Then i went to for a run in the rain. Yoyo opted out, when we realized it was raining. 

Yoyo's great. 

And running's fun too.

Day 14: Fuktup

Oops, i totally forgot to blog yesterday. My bad. 

Also, i totally forgot to bring floss to Anhui. So no flossing for 4 days. Sorry, gums. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buddha to the Future

The very last stop on this trip to Anhui was a place called Dayuan Garden. Which i'd assumed would be a waste of time.
It turned out to be the most surreal destination on the itinerary. Featuring a 99 meter tall golden Buddha as its highlight, the place was a science-fiction interpretation of Buddhism, justified to the tune of 2.2 billion yuan. Special shoe covers had to be donned before entering the opulent indoor halls, which were probably as close to Mr Trump's mansion as i'll ever get. One polished white buddha sat surrounded by glowing LED lotus flowers, with a circular LCD display hovering just over his head. The place and magnitude were just oozing money, which both fascinated and disgusted me, though by the time i acutally got to the foot of Mr 99 metres, i'll admit that there was a feeling there that i didn't really expect to have.
i was the only guy who made the full trek out to the foot of the giant Buddha, and it was already a weird transition to being solo, after elbowing for room at the best photo spots. It had just turned to pitch black night, the way lit only by glowing lights along the sides of the winding staircase. The Buddha looks not unlike the giant blue Zen character from Immortal Combat, wearing a robe which revealed his muscular chest. He was epic in more ways than one, but i had to admit that despite him being brand-spanking new... it was pretty powerful to be in his presence. Not sure if that's the power that money can buy or not, but that's what i felt.
Then i had to rush down the mountain, 'cause i got  a phone call. All the other buses had left and mine was wondering where the hell i was. That's the price to pay to get in touch with your inner Bodhisattva, i guess.

I'll def post some pix soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11: Huangshan

Well, after a crappy sleep in a super swank hotel, we went out to this small town called Chengkan. Nope, i never heard of it before either. But it was pretty stellar. Really really beautiful spot, incredibly well-preserved with lots of intricate artsy detailing. Patterns which hinted at the psychedelic. Wish we could've hung out there longer. But we had other beautiful places to visit in Huangshan, so we did that.
Finally we finished up with a show which sounded like it was going to be a historical cultural performance, but it was more like 1/4 Peking Acrobats, 1/4 Cirque de Soleil, 1/4 Universal Studios and 1/4 actual Anhui culture. Actually less than 1/4 for the last part, even though that screws up my stats. The most unbelievable part was at the very end when all the performers were coming out to take their bows and  the music was soaring to an epic climax, and the Chinese crowd all jumped to their feet and... left the building. There was a good 5 minutes of performance left and by the time the performance was actually over, probably 95% of the crowd was in process of exiting the theatre. Sorry performers, i sure hope you don't take it personally after risking life and limb and sweating yr ass off for us all. i made my coworkers sitting next to me stay at least, even though they were clearly annoyed that we were like the last people leaving.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 10: cop out

I'm late, and running to the airport momentarily. Talk to you from Anhui Prov!

Day 9: National Congress MADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well i really should say something  to welcome Xi Jinping, China's new Party Secretary and President. 

Well, the climate around Beijing is totally not hype. Everyone's like whatEVerrr. 

It ain't no democrat party. 

"Yoyo, what do you think about Xijinping?"
"I don't think anything."
"Does anybody in your office care?"
"No. Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping… they're all communists."

Ok fine, that's a magazine office, even if it's one that does focus on politics. 

But i work at a govt national news agency. Even the people who are covering it are uninterested, describing it as a lot of writing about nothing. Yes it's happening, yes it's important, no it's not interesting, and no there's nothing regular Chinese folk can do about it. 

It's bigger impact on the lives of Beijingers is that taxi drivers have been refusing to go near Changan Avenue to avoid security hold ups around Tiannanmen Square.

But of course, it is still a change. Xi Jinping seems more personable and confident than Mr Blendintothewallpaper, Hu Jintao. He's kept a clean slate (purportedly) in terms of staying out of corruption, and pressing the party to fight it. He's reasonably young to become the head of state, and presumably brings modern ideas w/ him. Even his wife was a starlet herself, belting out the commie hits, before hubby started squeezing into the upper echelons of the Party. 

Even Hu Jintao talked about the need for China to reform, more transparency, etc. No, China's not about to tumble into democracy, nor should it. But it can clean up it's act and work towards a more prosperous and harmonious phuture. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8: Bloody Hell

So the rumours have gathered weight: My Bloody Valentine is coming out with a new album, more than 20 years after their momentous album Loveless was released. They helped define what shoegaze was back in the day, paring violent assaults on audience ear drums with total indifference (years before "hipster" had even entered the popular lexicon.)

Ok, you can skip the first minute of the vid, which really is just all-out noise, but fuck, look at the way these alt-rock kids are totally stunned into silence by MBV's aural attack. Totally hilarious. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7: Dems de Breaks, Mitt!

Well Mayor Bloomberg was less than glowing in his support for Obama. Yes, he may have let bankers get away w/ robbery, failed to shut down Guantanamo, let life worsen for black America, gave Hope a rest, yadda yadda…

And maybe he also refrained from even mentioning the environment during the debates… 

But at least he's not a climate change denier!!!  

Woohoo! For the sake of all living beings in all countries and bodies of water, thank goodness Romney didn't take office today. 

Those who know me should know that the environment should be the top issue of any candidate, and frankly it's sad when nobody wants to even address it (publicly). Well, let's just hope that MR PRESIDENT will continue to admit that environmental problems exist, and that understand what an inconvenience they pose to all living things and corporations. 

Well, i haven't been losing any sleep over it, but i am definitely relieved that Obama took it. i think he's a pretty decent man, intelligent and w/ his heart in the right place. i suspect he's as disappointed as anyone else is about his first term, but things are surely complicated when yr trying to run a world power w/ a team of financial advisors from Wall Street. 

This song isn't totally current, but i still love it:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6: To Live

Yoyo recommended i read a book by Yu Hua. i looked for it in Canada, but could only find his new nonfiction release, China in Ten Words. Which was pretty awesome. Super readable, and it did indeed inform my understanding of the country i live in, tying pretty much everything happening today to the cultural revolution in some way. 

But that also inspired me to pick up his book To Live. Plus i wanted to read it before seeing the movie, which is also apparently great, directed by Zhang Yimou. The book was great: the kind of book that makes storytelling seem unnaturally easy. I was warned it would be a tear-jerker, and yes i was crying on the subway yesterday as i paged towards the end. But in a good way. 

Ok, i admit i couldn't get onside w/ the protagonist, Fugui, for the beginning, considering that he was a real ass at the start, but we came around, didn't we? 

Yu is skilled at telling stories without blasting you with opinion. Yes, there was horrible shit happening during the great leap forward, during the cultural revolution,  but he doesn't harp on anyone about it: just continues on about the family living through it. 

Anyhow, it's good. i haven't seen the flick yet, but you might check it out if you don't have time for the book. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5: White Lies

Work trip to Anhui province leaving next weekend. Today my editor informed me that there won't be a translator. Will i be able to understand? There will likely be a lot of formal language floating around. So will i be able to understand it? Will i be able to write the required articles and radio reports? "Of course I can do it," i said, unhesitatingly.

But in fact, getting enough info to write decent articles will be very difficult. Radio reporting could be more so.

But because i jump at any chance to break out of BJ, as i SHOULD considering that i write for the TRAVEL section, i'm still 100% game to give it a go.

Because there's only one way to know if i can actually pull this sort of thing off.

Note: yes my Mandarin improves daily, but when people speak at full speed and without dumbing it down for an CSL speaker, my comprehension can be pretty shit.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: Dental Floss and State of Mind

In my life, I've noticed a pretty direct correlation between the times I floss and the times when I'm generally content. And didn't i hear once that some people on Oprah started flossing (and other stuff) and became more youthful and positive? 

i can't promise that flossing will make you happier. But i bet that it would. i bet that committing to pretty much anything and following through would give some sense of accomplishment. Like blogging for 30 days. (btw, i've encouraged Yoyo to write/draw in her notebook everyday this month, but she's got some catching up to do.)

i first started flossing after traveling in India. i decided i needed more commitment in my life. Then you realize, hell, it takes less than a minute!  Before you know it, habit is established, and commitment is no longer required. Incredible!

i note that there's already been two chunks of time in my life when i flossed. And then i fell out  for laziness, busyness, and self-loathing. A few weeks ago i started again. There's definitely some feeling about taking better care of myself.

A while ago, a friend said on a scale of 1-100 he was like 85: very happy. Which got me to thinking. For the moment: work, very good; new apartment: good; friends and lifestyle: good; health and activities: good; girlfriend relationship: very very good. i feel happy.

Thank goodness i started flossing. 

Here's more multimedia rhetoric for y'all:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 3 - The Relationship Deal

So i've been dating Yoyo now for over 4 months. And it's been pretty great. She's a talented artist/designer, super sweet, cute, and generally up to doing new stuff w/ me. "Hey do you want to go make public art?" "Sure." "Hey do you want to take swing dance lessons?" "Yes."

 But i feel it's a bit weird that a major reason things have been so great is that most everything's been so smooth and easy between us so far. (does that make us lazy?) A few wrinkles along the way, but nothing to mention here. 

But considering that my mandarin is still less than 100% adequate, our communication's pretty good. Dating at this point in time is generally gearing one up for marriage, and i'm ok w/ that. Feel good about it even, weirdly enough. 

But some of you know that for my whole life i've been pretty set against having a kid/kids of my own, mostly for environmental reasons and not wanting to have a son/daughter deal w/ impending global ecological & economic catastrophe. Unsurprisingly, Yoyo has for her whole life been pretty set to have a kid of her own. 

It's like a 17 year old boy feels the urge to stick his dick into a gorgeous woman: totally natural. And what right could I have to lock that gorgeous woman's cherry in a safety deposit box?*

A while ago, while me and Yoyo were on a hilarious holiday vacation in Zhangjiajie, i had a dream. Yoyo wasn't in it, but our baby boy was. He looked rather like a monkey. I looked at him and thought, "You are your own person w/ yr own destiny. Who was I to deny you your existence?"

And more recently Yoyo moved in to me and Derrick's apartment. A wee bit tight, but fine. It's temporary, though i'm open to her staying (housing probs at her last place). She works late hours so frankly we still don't get to see each other that much. 

Also, she quit her job at the magazine and i really hope she can find time to go traveling solo to Yunnan. I think that'd be a great experience for her, as she's never gone traveling solo before. Apparently this is a very untraditional stance for bf in China. Whenever she's done in a week or so, she'll be job-hunting/holidaying, and that might shake things up a bit. In a good way, probably.

*I know that locking up a gorgeous woman's cherry in a box may sound sexist, but it didn't sound quite right to lock up the boy's cherry. 

Day 2: Living Chinese!

Today i only had to work a 1/2 day 'cause the other 1/2 was busy shooting this video for a Chinese learning book/dvd. Basically, CRI foreign staff w/ any mandarin capabilities were obligated to write a few lessons complete w/ Chinese & Eng lines, stage directions, and descriptions for the accompanying animations that intro the segments. 

So i wrote up some 1/2 way funny stuff. The editor was worried about how much Mandarin we were speaking, and it was in fact an unnecessarily stupid amount. (You think it's hard to memorize lines in English?)

Today a crew of ten people crammed into my apartment w/ several massive light set ups, tripods, sound gear, etc. They even hired a cleaning woman from the office to waste her whole day in order to recite 2 sentences and hang out in the background. 

The director annoyingly rewrote parts of my script, bypassing major punchlines. That's life when you're a measly script writer, i guess. 

Somehow 4 hours turned into 8 hrs, but that's just how it goes shooting vid sometimes. Oh well, i had no other commitments tonight. 

If the end product is interesting at all (not likely, but you never know) i'll post it. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1 - Accidentally Thematic

Incidentally, my last post for Nat'l Blog Posting Month for 2011 was entitled "i Love My Job (For Today at Least." Today, for work i got to a) sort of sleep in and then was b) sent off to Peking University and Tsinghua University to c) take photos indicative of autumn. Having never been onto either campus before, it was pretty awesome, and there were indeed some spectacular shots to shoot. (Though if there was no yellow or red leaves in them, they were off-topic).

Think about it: this is the kind of shit i'd get up early in the morning to do on the weekend.  Just walking around beautiful places, shooting pix of whatever. So i did that for maybe 4 or 5 hours, then i went to the office where i played a bit w/ Photoshop. And got paid for it. Gosh knows how much time i'd spent before editing photos without being on the payroll.  i was kind of annoyed that i had to work an hour past official quitting time, but that's what i get for starting work an hour late. 

Anyhow, point being that 11 months after i started up w/ CRI , i still sometimes walk around thinking, "Best Job in the World."

And somebody had the nerve to ask, "Did you take that picture yourself?"