Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Flickr user siwuxie has some pretty neat pictures of the Shanghai on his flickr account right now. It's been overcast/raining for the past couple of days, so neat sky views.

And on a less serious note, I like the phrase 浪费表情. It's what people say when you have them pose for a picture, and then don't take it for some reason. It literally means something like "waste of an expression".

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

So I just finished a long session on the web. During this time, I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about theology. Sometimes, the people who care for me the most freak out when I share my thoughts on this subject, but I think it's better that they freak out slowly and in small bursts than all at once when they are older and have weakened circulatory systems.

John'ed a link to a quiz that tells you what ethnicity of Christianity you are. Thank goodness for the Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia, or I wouldn't have been able to confidently answer several of the questions. Here are my results:

A representative of your worldview is pastor/writer Brian McLaren

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern 82%
Classical Liberal 79%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 68%
Modern Liberal 54%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43%
Neo orthodox 36%
Reformed Evangelical 29%
Fundamentalist 21%
Roman Catholic 11%

But of course, when I'm on the web a small detail will cascade into several more hours of browsing. In this case, I noticed that the image above is named "1118092834mclaren_nkoc.jpg" and had to know who this "mclaren" person is, and what "nkoc" means. A Google search showed that McLaren is an influential writer who has heavily inspired a movement known as the emergent church, a movement that is trying to make Christianity as it is practiced relevant to people who grow up in an age dominated by the values like postmodernism. NKOC stands for "New Kind Of Christian", his controversial new book.

Of course, nothing is so simple as that in the crazy world of religion, and I am far from an eloquent enough writer (or maybe just refuse to buy into the nomenclature of any one school) to explain their purpose fully, so here are a bunch of links that can generate more thought and, perhaps, understanding:

My own verdict? That the emergent church doesn't go far enough in rejecting literal interpretation of the Bible, or even strict interpretation of the Bible, although they do this in practice by emphasizing personal revelation and having most of their literature free of Biblical citations. One thing I do like is that their language is much closer to mine, that they stand free of the cultural crutch of Christian jargon; investing in a movement's language always has a calcifying, constricting, obfuscating effect.

Tonight the old posse was reunited as Lisa, Jodi and I went dancing at Shanghai's biggest club, Rojam. As usual on Monday Ladies' Night, the place was packed. As usual, we danced up on the front stage for a while. Unusually, DJ Yan spun a bunch of trance, which was great. As usual, we spent most of the time in the back hip-hop room, where the tempo is a little slower and the crowd a little more dance-saavy.

The last song we danced to before leaving at 12:30am was the Beatnuts' Watch Out Now.

Afterwards, we walked down to Yonghe Doujiang and had ice-cold soy milk and xiaolong dumplings.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Soon I'm going to be looking for new housing for the next year. (Yes, I'm staying in Shanghai. Was that ever in doubt?) I hope writing about it can help motivate me to action. I've got two goals for this project.

  1. Pay less rent.

  2. Speak more Chinese.

Location within the city is not that important: as long as I'm relatively central and near a bus stop or subway line, my handle on public transport will be good enough to get me anywhere. Facilities are also not that important to me: I'm not looking to host any big parties or get hitched in the near future, so as long as I have a roof over my head I'll be fine.

Minor factors are: good, cheap places to eat, and dryness (I've got a lot of books). Electricity is sorta important. A private bathroom is not. Proximity to Hongkou would be nice. Plants would be cool.

Based on the major goals, I'm basically looking at two options:

  • Move into older housing. John just posted about the old neighborhood in trendy Zhongshan Park that is being torn down, and how it's a good thing. I found my own views echoed more in the comment posted by trevelyan, which talks about buy[ing] and fix[ing]-up an urban hutong for a very reasonable price. I've had my eye on a couple of traditional Shanghai-style 里弄 alley neighborhoods. I'd especially like to live along the Suzhou Creek. If I take this course of action, I would have to start by looking for real estate offices around these neighborhoods, or asking local shopkeepers how to rent a room.

  • Living with Chinese. The point being, simply, to speak more Chinese. I would be afraid of English-crazy housemates, but the house-hunting process could control for that. I could either ask around the office, or look through online resources for people seeking housemates. Renting is already incredibly cheap, and sharing a house just makes renting even cheaper.

I'd be grateful for suggestions as far as good neighborhoods with the characteristics I described above, and for websites (in English or Chinese) where one can find people looking for housemates. Of course, the house-hunting process will have to wait until I get back from Hangzhou, but I hope to have some time-off then to put any plans into action.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I like the logo of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai:

It's the character 沪 filled in with the American flag.

The AmCham is having a 4th of July celebration on Saturday, but...

  1. Tickets cost RMB 325 (about USD 35).
  2. A US passport is required to buy them.

And the longer I live abroad, the more reluctant I am to do anything that requires a passport, and the more I see the document as a burden than as a privilege.

Anybody planning anything for 4th of July? How about a picnic in Changfeng Park? Or Luxun Park? John could bring his Frisbee, I'll bring my UNO cards, and if you have a soccer ball, then you're invited too. I'll check into the legality of fireworks in Shanghai.

From my .procmailrc:

TRAP="$HOME/bin/procmaillog2rss > $HOME/xxx/xxx/email.rss"

The result? An RSS feed with the subjects/authors of my incoming mail.

(PS, the procmaillog2rss script is actually a decent piece of code. And it only took an hour or so to write.)

I reviewed last night's Cold Fairyland concert on the ShanghaiExpat boards. It went something like this:

As usual, Cold Fairyland rocked the house. Notes from the show:

  • Is extreme heat the standard for summer concerts in Shanghai? Thankfully, somebody opened the windows near the end of the show and a relaxing breeze cooled off the place.

  • Did anybody else see the lead singer for the Herb go absolutely insane when the band played Dengdai Gaobie? I would have joined her, but I was, ahem, wrapped up at the time.

  • The band played, like, 5 or six encores. Lindi said "As long as people are staying, we're going to keep playing."

  • Did people notice the audiovisual presentation to the left of the stage? Most of the photography was either by Lindi herself, or friends of the band. My favorites were the photos of Chinese minorities. I also liked that they flashed up the lyrics every once in a while, so I could stumble along following them.

  • I was surprised that the crowd make-up was very different from that of the usual Harley crowd, which tends to be more international.

  • There were six or seven CDs for sale.

If the Shanghai concert scene were like eBay, I would give this performance a Two Thumbs Up, AAAAA+++++, Would Go To See Again! Thanks for Playing!!

Unofficial roll call for the night: Micah, Jodi, Asa, Chris, Max, Xiao Yu, Brad, John.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

By way of Dabizi in Tianjin (keeper of the Sleeping Students moblog):

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I didn't think I'd score that high. I only have one graphing calculator, and it's a TI.

I can't decide if the winner of today's Silly T-Shirt Slogan Contest is JUICY FRUITS MEZZO PIANO, or I ♡ COLLAGEN.

Conversation paraphrase with the new English teacher (Chinese) that Xinshidai hired to teach their little kids:

Her: Hi.
Me: Hi.
<random conversation>
Me: So you are from Shanghai?
Her: Yes. Where are you from? The United States?
Me: California.
Her: Oh, I know a lot of Americans.
Me: Really?
Her: Yeah. I used to work at Hooters.
Me: ...
Her: ...
Me: Uh, cool. My friends like that place.
Her: Yeah, they're opening a new loation in Changning District, on Zunyi Lu.
Me: Oh.

The Shanghai Hooters has been open for about six months now.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Always the hipsters, it's the Finns ( who would get to my weblog through a search for "pizzicato five t-shirts".

I would love to make it to this:


Place: Gegentala Grassland, Inner Mongolia
Time: June 29-31 2005, Friday through Sunday
Tix: Single Day: RMB 160. Three Day: RMB 280.
Bands: Too many to list them all (and make sure I have their English names right...)

  • Cui Jian
  • Ruins
  • Muma
  • 2nd Hand Rose
  • Tongue
  • Cold Fairyland (Shanghai)
  • AK 47
  • Aurora
  • Glorious Pharmacy
  • Brain Failure
  • The Verse
  • IZ
  • SUBS
  • Zhaoze (Guangdong electronic rock)
  • Bu Yi Ding

And more, including 4 bands from Inner Mongolia and 3 from (Outer) Mongolia itself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's supposed to be 37 degrees on Sunday!

37℃ = 98℉
plus humidity

Monday, June 20, 2005

Out Hud - Its For You.mp3, in the media folder.

Let's electro.

Just got back from a Thursday-Sunday, Net-less business trip to 连云港.

I like travel. I like teaching. But I hate being smothered by Chinese hosts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Historic day: went out to dinner with Jodi and Asa tonight.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005



My feelings are always more than what I can put down on paper. What I'm not able to write are those precious moments that happen to us as we flow through life; those moments are simply in our bloodstream, and can't be seen or put into words. Thank goodness there's music.

Still, what she does write is pretty gosh-darn moving.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kid Koala at Pegasus on Friday was cool. It was my first time at Pegasus: nice medium size place with a lowered dance floor, lots of loungy ("you can't sit here, it's reserved") couches, and a pool table in the closed but accesible Taco Popo. Would I go there just to hang out? No. The music was impressive, but I was a little disappointed because this time I actually had a date I wanted to dance with, and Kid Koala's music isn't entirely danceable. In fact, several times during the night he apologized for trying out very experimental, new stuff.

Muma at Harley's on Sunday was OK. Harley's is getting unbearably hot, temperature-wise; the place isn't ventilated to handle masses of people and it shows. If I have to endure another sweat-bath just to sit through a concert, it may convince me not to go next time. And I wasn't even dancing.

The music was pretty good. I got there late, so I missed Lanting (meh) and Jing Gong Zhi Niao (drat), and then we left before Sonnet came on. So the main attraction for me was Muma. Musically they fell into a little mediocre lull in the middle of their set but otherwise they were all over the place, filling out their label of "emo-core" very nicely. The drummer was a manic—way too big for his drum set, and either miked or pounding the living daylights out of it. At the end, the singer and drummer crowd surfed. The the drummer and guitarist traded places, and they improvised a little. That was extra cool. Asa was telling me that they hung out last night and did some jamming at a little bar. And that he met Mian Mian.

He has her cell number.


This is a view of the Arrivals gate area at the airport, where I was waiting for Katie Beth.

One night, we went to see Cold Fairyland play at the Ark in Xintiandi with John, Brad, Eden and Chris.

Katie Beth dared me to order the fruit pizza... so we did. It had fruit jam instead of tomato sauce, but still real cheese.

This is a kid walking home from preschool in the Xinshidai Gardens apartment complex.

Somehow I imagine that even if China someday completely disavows communism, they will still give out red star stickers in school to good kids.

If your preschool class had a web site, what would it be called? This class is the First Upper class, dot com.

This is a pic of the host and the fearless leader of the Shanghai Webloggers Meetups. Maria always generously puts out quite a spread and is a warm, welcoming and disarming host. I'm really bummed that I missed her grand BBQ last Saturday.

Fudan Podcaster and Roving Laowai are another couple of Shanghai Webloggers, in name if not in action.

Yours truly is a weblogger too!

I can't help myself, if I see food laid out in front of me then I will end up snacking all night. Thanks Maria!

This was the second time that month that I went to see Cold Fairyland at the Ark. I hear they won't be playing there anymore because the owners complained they were too loud. I don't understand; isn't that the point?

Cute Kid at Changzhong Preschool.

This is a drawing by a preschool kid to celebrate the Beijing Olympics. In the middle you can see Tiananmen superimposed on the upper Olympic rings, while the lower rings turn into the heads of an African kid, an Asian kid, and a Caucasian kid.

This was the room where I had my toe surgery. I was trying to convey that it was a very modern facility, but I don't think the low-quality cellphone pic captured that feeling.

Ta-dah. June, coming soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I put up pictures of my trip to Chongming Island this weekend.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Kid Koala concert was awesome (Jodi, Chris, Michael, John (Jean?) Paul; the French guy I hung out with while I was staying at the Pujiang). And I didn't even have problems getting up the next day; thanks internal alarm clock! But here's what I'm missing for the next two days because I'm going out of town on business:

8th Shanghai International Film Festival
2:00p 冷酷仙境, 麒缨, 死罪 @ 浦东新区文化艺术指导中心
2:30p 木马 @ the Ark
8:00p Gigantic BBQ Party @ the Trombly's
10:00p shanghai Elektor-disco 2 party @ DDM warehouse

8th Shanghai International Film Festival
8:00p 木马, 惊弓之鸟, 兰亭, 14行诗 @ Harley's
9:15p The Herb @ the Ark

Durn work.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It's so much fun to read the Shanghai-ning forums. Somebody asked if people knew what a certain place was, and another poster replied:


"I haven't seen it." Haha. John, don't kill me for this post. Admit that Shanghainese is funny sounding sometimes.

The song I'm digging on right now is Timo Maas - Shifter, available for a limited time in the media folder on

No privacy! I'm sitting around chatting with the administrators at 新时代 preschool today, and the one lady asks me if I have a girlfriend. So I say that I have a very good female friend. Her response? That I'll be a...


A model husband. Haha.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

For my Spain homies, check out this pic of a little girl at the preschool I taught at this morning:

Look carefully...

Notice her shirt? That's right! It's Curro, mascot of the World Expo 1992, held in Seville.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

After my toe operation, the doctor told me to come in two days later to have my dressings changed. So that Friday I made the trip back to the Foreigner section of the Huashan hospital and had another doctor cut off the bandages, look at my toes, rebandage them, and tell me that I would have to come in every day for a week.

Well... not only was he very clumsy and caused a lot of pain in the process, he also used a razor blade to cut the bandages off of the toes instad of scissors, knicking my foot in the process. And come into the hospital every day??? That's a couple hours that I don't have to make the trip all the way out to the Huashan area. To add insult to injury—semi-literally—the visit to do a simple re-dressing cost RMB 200; that's about USD 25!

When I complained about the cost to the head nurse, she suggested I go to a local hospital. So this Wednesday I hopped on the 136 bus just outside my apartment and hit up the Putuo District hospital in the Caoyang neighborhood, about 10 minutes from my house.

Not only is the Putuo Hospital incredibly efficient, from the nice nurse who guided me through the registration process to the swipe cards used to identify patients and keep track of records, but I was only charged RMB 30 (about USD 4.25) for the whole thing: 10 for the visit, 10 for the left toe, and 10 for the right toe. Plus, the hospital building is super-modern, looks more like a bank than a hospital, with a huge multi-story marble lobby and cashier-like windows for registration, check-in, and payment.

I'll get some pictures next time I go in.

I was really anti-social and lazy in college, and I still sometimes slip into that mode, so I pleasantly surprise me when I exhaust myself with things to fill my week. For example, here are my past six days:

  • Tuesday: Off work at 3:30, went over to Jodi's preschool nearby and met her students. They call out to her as she walks through the neighborhood after school, just like Mom! We dropped off stuff at my apartment, then went out for dinner at a restaurant behind Far East Normal University. Just one spicy dish, and I was the one who ordered it! Jodi was (probably) not impressed. Ate and chatted till dark, then bought tickets to the Disney Lantern Festival at next-door Changfeng Park. We spent 45 minutes or so strolling through the giant cloth lantern dioramas of Disney movies, then watched fireworks over the lake. Afterward, we walked through the university campus, sitting on on a big grass lawn and cuddling till late.
  • Wednesday: I took the afternoon off of work so I could apply for a bank card and go to the hospital to get my toe dressings changed. Originally, we though Asa would be coming in at 6pm, but then Lindi figured out that it was 8pm so we met at Longyan metro station at 7pm and bused to the airport. Got back to my apartment by 10 or so and settled Asa in, then the three of us went out for dinner. Chatted till 1am.
  • Thursday: Came home straight from work and took a quick shower: it's getting hot in Shanghai. Met Brian and Ian at Jing'an Temple at 6pm, had dinner at Bifengtang. Ran into their parents and friends walking down East Nanjing Rd, and set them on the right course to the Bund. At the Bund, the parents split back to the hotel, and the kids went off for a stroll through Xintiandi, drinks at Delifrance, and a quick trip to Pegasus for me to pick up tickets for Kid Koala.
  • Friday: Knew I had to work both days this weekend, so I went back to work and stayed a couple hours after closing to use the internet and prepare some teaching aids. Walked down to nearby Bible study, having a pretty good RMB 5 dinner on the way. Score! I'll definitely go back there next week. Got back by 11pm, stayed up reading.
  • Saturday: Taught class in the morning with Apple, then rode with her to Xujiahui to meet friends. They went shopping and I took off to buy a bus ticket for Sunday at the bus station. Went up to People's Square to meet Asa, had lunch at the usual hole in the wall place, then spent a couple hours buying supplies for our book project on Fuzhou Road. Ran back home, then went out to dinner with Woo Jin, visiting from Ann Arbor, and his Shanghai friends at a nice place near Xintiandi. Had the best mango sha bing iced dessert I've ever eaten. Afterwards, they walked to Xintiandi and I caught a taxi back to Xujiahui for the concert at Harley's: missed Another Kind of Light, but caught Megaphone and headliners the Subs from Beijing. Said hi to Michael, John Paul, Liu Yi, the Yuyintang lady, Chris, and the Cold Fairyland people. Danced like a madman. Asa showed up at the very end on his crutches. We took a taxi back getting a post-11pm discount, my first.
  • Sunday: Took the 7:40am bus to Jiaxing, a city halfway between Shanghai and Hangzhou. Taught an hour of class, bought some famous Jiaxing zong zi (rice wrapped in pyramids of bamboo leaves and steamed), and caught the next bus back to Shanghai. Shot over to the Golden Jade Lily Theater to meet co-worker Amy for a concert of traditional Chinese yue ju singing, and got to meet her teacher backstage afterwards. Took some pictures, we'll see about putting those up. Bused back home, bought an internet card, and posted this entry. Will most likely go out to dinner with Asa and Lindi, get started on the book project, and then fall dead asleep. Work tomorrow at 8:30am!

And that doesn't count all the time I spent at work. Busy!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

If you follow web design news, then you've probably heard of Google's new Sitemap feature. From the FAQ:

We strongly recommend that you use an XML format such as Sitemap or OAI for your sitemaps, since they allow you to associate additional information with each URL. However, we can also accept sitemaps in the form of a text file containing a simple list of URLs.

Props to Google for giving us the option of avoiding XML.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I hung out Brian and Ian this evening. This is what we did:

  • Meet at Jing'an Temple at 6:15pm.
  • Have dinner at the Bifengtang across from the Portman.
  • Eat danta in the tunnel under Xizang Rd at People's Square.
  • Walk down Nanjing Dong Lu, and run into their parents.
  • Check out the Bund.
  • Walk through Xintiandi with Liz and pick up the June schedule for shows at the Ark.
  • Sip on chocolate/coffee/tea outside the Huaihai Rd Delifrance.
  • Pick up tickets for DJ Koala at Pegasus.

Then we taxied to our respective homes. It was a good night.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In 10 minutes I leave to pick up Asa at the airport.

Post in which I make no new contribution to the web, except for a couple links.

Via the Gwailo's links, Lifecycle of Bloggers:

You purge or hide archive entries and take more note to remove full names of your friends/crushes/accidentaldrunkenfondels from your site and links list. Your blog goes back to cheese sandwhiches. But this time your site validates.

I've been pretty good about staying level-headed, blogwise. I've only done numbers 1, 2, 9 (Ann Arbor, Shanghai; not SF), almost 10, and Chris has suggested the anonymous LJ and I considered it, but have been too lazy.

I cracked up at the (permalink-less) Angry Asian Man's quip on Michelle Yeoh today:

Apparently, Michelle Yeoh is a "hot property" in Hollywood right now: They Want Yeoh. Dude, whatever. She should've been a "hot property" like eight years ago.

So true.