Saturday, July 30, 2005

From the Mortadelo y Filemón movie:

—Señor Super, le llama la Reina de Inglaterra.
—Digale que güeit a momente.

That's right up there with the Spanish Star Wars T-shirt.

Cool random picts.

It's time for July's cellphone snapshots round-up:

I had always been a skeptic of wontons. For the same price as a hearty bowl of noodles, I've always gotten sad little bits of meat wrapped in limp dumpling skins. Then I discovered Gill Wonton. So this is what wontons are supposed to be!

What are these Melodies so excited about?

... Somebody brought a bag of frogs in for lunch, and shared them with everybody. Yum!

Jodi has taken me twice to a little Hunanese restaurant just north of the Hongkou Stadium station. This place reminds me of restaraunts in Hangzhou: clean, professional, and serving excellent food. This time, we had chicken in a boiling pot, lotus root marinated in orange sauce with sweet red garnish, and diced pickled green beans (and another dish not pictured that I forgot). The food was medium spicy; I'm getting used to this stuff. The bathroom is the one of the cleanest I've been to in Shanghai, and it had paper towels for drying your hands.

One of the simple touches that make this restaurant a choice pick is that the rice comes steamed in little clay pots with a sweet jujube resting on top. Nice.

One Saturday night I met up with Jodi, Sandy and Jack for dancing at Shanghai's classiest seedy bar, Windows. It was fun to dance, but crickies! it's Windows!

After dancing, Jodi and I went across the street to Bifengtang for a quick dinner.

She says I have a knack for taking bad pictures of her.

One night this month, I hooked up with sjhs from SDF for a night on the town, which included a stop at Shanghai's hottest hip-hop club in 2005, Pegasus.

Hi sjhs. This picture is dark to match his heart.

One night I tagged along with the always awesome Asa to catch Lin Di and Co...

at the Ark. They came after a very cool band that I did not get the name of, which played drums, bass, sax and vocals over a recorded techno background. Good stuff, made me with there was a dance floor. So Cold Fairyland came on late, about 11:30, and managed to keep a crowd in the house all the way until a very late finish. Again, good stuff.

This month I went to my first, and hopefully not last, soccer game in Shanghai. Shanghai United played against Sevilla FC.

I sat in the expensive seats with the good view, and I was still surrounded by excited fans, lots of smokers, and a smattering of languages.

I hung out with Asa another night too. First we picked up bikes and rode over to this Macanese place for dinner. In the picture, you can see the green veggies, chicken in hot red pepper oil with peanuts, and crispy duck with sweet dipping sauce. This place was pretty delicious, if a little expensive (RMB 60 for the two of us). Afterwards, we went over to "Shanghai's best DVD shop", a couple blocks north of the Gubei Carrefour. I picked up the Mortadelo y Filemón movie, George Winston's Autumn, and a compilation of hits by 80s China rocker 迪克牛仔. Then we went back to Asa's apartment and watched a sappy Korean dance romance late into the night.

This is Jodi's hand on the night we stayed up till dawn with Lisa at the Bifengtang across from Windows, playing cards and the airplane-parchese game.

Here's one of my all-you-can drinks, a strawberry float, and one of the decks of cards we used to play all sorts of games that night.

That's it for now. Next month, expect for more pictures of kids as I get back to teaching classes and also of my business trip to Shiyan in Hubei province.

Things to do before going to a Shanghai United game at Shanghai Stadium:

  • Prepare the Fabreeze

    All the men in the stand around you will be smoking. And the people in the stands around you will mostly be men.

  • Learn how to bargain

    Scalpers will be selling tickets for half the ticket price, but they can go lower. It all depends on you!

  • Decide which side you're on

    And I don't mean for or against Shanghai. There are two groups of Shanghai supporters (in Spanish they'd be called "peñas"), one wearing solid blue shirts and the other wearing vertical stripes of blue and white. At one point, they may start chanting, calling each other "shabi" and other not-so-pleasant things. All in fun, I'm sure!

  • Pack food

    Unlike American stadiums, Shanghai Stadium is still not yet obsessive about forcing you to spend money in the park. So pack a backpack full of KFC from the location in the north side of the stadium, and chow down as you cheer.

  • Do a little research on the team

    At one point, player #17 was subbed into the game and the fans went wild. Each time he touched the ball, they went crazy chanting "c(h)ong-a-c(h)ong". Find out what this means before going to the game.

  • Practice your Wave, and your oohs and aahs

    It will be a fun, exciting game!

Shanghai lost gracefully to Seville, 0-2. A good time was had by all.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Today I slept in, then threw open the windows, put on a new George Winston CD, and made brownies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nobody likes soccer. I'm going to go by myself just to spite people.

—I don't like rude people, but I realise that sometimes I could be unintentionally rude due to my lack of social skills. That's why I'd rather keep my mouth shut when I'm among people other than Troy.

Yeah. But keeping your mouth shut doesn't really work either.

I also have this song stuck in my head from the night of karaoke: Do You Love Me by Point Zero (爱不爱我 by 零点乐队; in the media folder for a while; Baidu search it when I remove it).

I passed! (I think.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

I went out for Karaoke on Saturday with Jodi. Karaoke here is a bit different from karaoke in the USA. First of all, it's called "卡拉OK" (ka la OK), and instead of singing in front of the whole bar you instead have a little room to share with your friends, drinking coke and chips, playing tambourines while they sing, and generally acting silly. Jodi put on one song in English ("Hey Jude") because I got off to an awful start on this other awfully high song that my voice could have handled maybe, 15 years ago, but not in at its current depth. It was more comfortable to sing in English. Then after I was warmed up, we spent the rest of the night singing in Chinese, at first only current songs, and then digging into some patriotic songs and hits from the 80s and 90s.

There were five people total: Jodi, me, a couple of her co-workers, and one of their husbands. We spent a little over three hours singing. I overheard the husband paying the bill, and it came to RMB 400, which is a killing because the place is right downtown (Huaihai Rd and Chengdu Rd, the same building as DKD). We stayed out until about three in the morning.

It was my first time karaoke-ing in China. It's actually pretty fun.

Several songs caught my ear so I went and downloaded them the next day. One example is girl-group S.H.E.'s Only Lonely. I'll leave it for a while in the media folder.

(I've actually been to karaoke places before, but that was back in/after high school in the Japanese parts of Los Angeles. Back then, I went with my high school friends who, despite being hyphened Asian-Americans of several sorts, had grown up in the USA and been raised on a diet of American pop music of the 80s. I didn't have a good time; we sang only a couple songs in Japanese even though we were all taking the class, and I felt that everybody was uncomfortable when we did. I don't understand why I resent American culture, it's possibly just a case of familiarity breeds contempt.)

Posted by Dan on Upcoming, this announcement:

Shanghai United vs. FC Sevilla
Wednesday, July 27, 2005 (7:45 PM)

Shanghai Stadium
666 Tianyaoqiao Lu. Xujiahui.
Shanghai, Shanghai

2005 Shanghai International Football Tournament, featuring an all-star team from Shanghai and three teams from the Spanish professional league, La Liga: FC Sevilla, Villareal and Real Zaragoza.

I am so there.

The New York Times covers This American Life's debut on television:

Mr. [Ira] Glass still liked the radio versions better. "Part of what is a mystery to me and the rest of the staff, honestly, is that it is so much less of a writer's medium," he said in a phone conversation one evening from Chicago. "Or we haven't figured out how to be writers in the medium the way we are in radio."

I still don't understand TV or movies.

Showtime has until December to decide whether to pick up the series, which would mean commissioning 10 to 13 episodes. But Mr. Glass also has the option to walk away, and he is not sure what he will decide. "I feel like I am really going to have to think about it," he said.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

I watched the final episode, number 23, of Chinese-Style Divorce this afternoon. The lesson we should all learn from the show? From the mouth of the main character:


Junzi, take note: sometimes, responsibility needs to take precedence over romantic love.

As a quick review, I really liked watching this show. It brought up a lot of issues surrounding family and marriage that were good conversation starters for friends. I really wish I had someone with whom to watch the show together, though. Maybe that should be my next project...

(Oh, and what do you know, the main character went and said 小题大作 in one of the last couple of episodes. Creepy!

小题大作 (source) means to make a mountain out of a molehill.

According to my little "New Edition Chengyu Dictionary" (新编成语词典), the phrase first appeared in the Ming-Qing dynasties period. On the imperial examination in that period, there were straightforward questions covering the Four Books of philosophy that were called "小题" ("little questions") and more involved questions on the Five Classics of Confucian philosophy that were called "大题" ("big questions"). Examinees who used composition methods meant for the "big questions" on the "small questions" were said to have commited 小题大作; that is, to have written weighty essays on trite subjects. The example sentence given is: 这本来是件很容易解决的事,你又何必小题大作,大闹一番呢?, or "This was supposed to be an easy problem to solve; what need was there for you to raise such a ruckus making a mountain out of a mole hill?"

Thank you Selina, Hebe, and Ella (S.H.E.), for teaching us about the Chinese classics!

(Also, notice the line in the song "来一点嘻哈" and refer to my last post. Aren't we glad it's not something boring like ヒップホップ? That, my friends, is why I switched from Japanese to Chinese.)

KFC advertisement on a Shanghai metro train window:


(What is 嘻哈?)

Friday, July 22, 2005

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

From Let American Be America Again by Langston Hughes.

What is the Christian perspective on national pride? I just told somebody yesterday that I'm not going back to the US because what country I'm in doesn't really matter to me, as long as my life is going in the right direction.

Also, the poem glorifies the value of freedom. What does the author mean by freedom? We can only guess at this by stories of his life, and the time in which he lived. What is the Christian perspective on freedom? What difference is there between a Christian's freedom and a social activist's freedom? Can we really free ourselves? Can other men enslave us? Does political revolution make man free?

I was walking with Shane through Xujiahui this evening, and we saw a dude wearing a pretty snappy black T-shirt with this English and Chinese on the back:

Damn Couples

Apparently, it's not an unprecedented theme. (more)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A couple days ago my internet dial-up card ran out, so I switched to the China-only Internet card that I mistakenly bought a while ago. I ended up doing a lot of Baidu searches and lurking on message boards, and I found this:

A picture of Deng Xiaoping saying 这种贴子应该顶

In other random news, there is a KFC going into the bottom floor of the Caoxi Rd light rail station.

I wrote this as a Livejournal comment:

I'm not a native Shanghainese, and I'll vouch for the place too.

If you like New York, you'll like Shanghai. Flashy skyscrapers, crumbling shikumen, the quaint French concession; suburbs with cheap housing, housing downtown that is still cheap, and sky-high prices if you want them; a metro system that gets you pretty much anywhere you will want to go (and is still growing), polite taxi drivers; diversity out the wazoo: Muslims? yeah, we got 'em... Christians? yeah, many churches in Shanghai... foreigners? yup, and that means you won't get stared at everywhere you go, and the locals won't worship or avoid you... Shanghainese? an ambitious, forward-looking people, and a healthy (but not dominating or overwhelmingly foreign) local dialect being put to cool uses... waidiren? Chinese from all over China are flocking to Shanghai, making it a real mixing-pot; a varied nightlife that's not (necessarily) dominated by expats: definitely the best club scene in mainland China, a healthy artist community, and a decent rock/punk/metal schedule; anime expos, beijing and zhejiang and western opera, hip-hop dance competitions, Hong Kong pop stars, pro sports teams, latin-dance classes; Fudan, Tongji, Jiaotong and Far East Normal Universities among many others, the oustanding Shanghai Museum, the giant Shanghai Opera House, the Shanghai Stock Exchange...

People may poo-poo Shanghai as an a-historical "westernized China lite (TM)", but Shanghai is really about choice: if you want the ritzy expat life, you got it; if you want to live close to the earth, you can do that too, it just takes a little more discipline than in a more boondockey Chinese city.

Random Music Stuff

(Sandy telling me to take some time off) + (some Shanghai kids talking about going to Mongolia together) = Me excited and considering taking a vacation.

Word on the Shanghai streets is that people are tiring of the smallness (and hotness) of Harley's. I hope Yuyintang gets the message.

I hadn't realized that 老鼠爱大米 started on the Internet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I had dinner at Ikea this evening with Jodi, Swedish meatballs and a salad; she had coffee and rice porride before I got there. We talked about a weekend English class her principal wants her to organize, about whether I should stay on at Melody when my contract ends in a month and a half, and about her new place.

We both live near the light rail, so it's convenient to go back together.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is the world getting better, or worse, or staying the same? A Beijing weblogger's family discusses. What do you think?

Any idea why the nice lady behind the counter at Burger King corrected me explicitly that I could not 加奶酪 to my Whopper, but that I could 加芝士??

Oh my gosh, I just watched a little over four episodes of Chinese-Style Divorce in a row! Now I'm onto the third and final DVD.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Here's the review that I posted to Shanghai Expat of the SUS2 5th Anniversary Music Fest that I went to this weekend with Chris and Max (Max already wrote a review of Day 1):

The second night started off slowly (and late), and ended with an unexpected, head-banging, soul-rocking end. At 8pm—the concert was slated to start at 6pm— rock/hard-rock group Xiaomin Is A Robot started their set; nothing really special, they played a solid but technically unimpressive set. Chris and I gravitated towards the guitar magazines by the tables in the back of the Gua'er.

The second band to take the stage was Heaven's Door, repeating some of their covers from the previous night and also playing a couple "new" covers. Chris and I went out to get some lamb chuan.

When we got back, Qiyin had started their set. These guys were pretty fun melodic metal; they threw Mario Bros into the set, and the lead singer had a big grin on his face half the time. Chris and I bobbed out heads.

Finally, to our great surprise and elation, the rumor came true: Xuanwumen took the stage. Minus their vocalist, they still put on a moving performance, transporting us back to the time when black knights wielded swords instead of guitars, through green valleys and rolling storms. Chris and I were floored; after the concert was over, we went back for more chuan and all we could talk about was how great Xuanwumen are... I think they are Shanghai's most underrated band.

I uploaded more pictures into the same folder:

The actual final line-up for the festival was like this:


  • Heaven's Door

  • San Huang Ji

  • The Herb

  • The Honeys


  • Xiaomin is a Robot

  • Heaven's Door

  • Qiying

  • Xuanwumen

The highlights for me were definitely San Huang Ji and Xuanwumen. The good news is that Xuanwumen will be playing again at Harley's on August 6th at Qiying's big concert. Be there!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I read, fascinated, the review published in the University of York's Christian periodical Christis of David Tomlinson's book The Post-Evangelical, and also the chain of letters responding to the article. (by way of a comment on Simon Cozen's webog)

Are there any exploratory Christians in Shanghai who would like to discuss this kind of writing? I'm afraid of even broaching the subject at my pretty cut-in-stone evangelical church for fear of being immediately and thoughtlessly branded a heretic (or being accused, or even guilty, of trying to break up the group). And Chris is probably not informed of or interested enough in Christian theology to take up the offer.

(A quick reaction to the above review: I think everything he says is good, except for the part where he questions God's sovereignty. God should be, be definition, sovereign. cf the weakness of the clockmaker God ("build it, then let it run"), and Job chapter 1 (God allows Satan to test Job).)

Crikies, folks! From today's New York Times:

Death tally in London bombings up to 55 persons.  *Routine suicide-bombing in Iraq kills 59!*

Jeffrey Zeldman independently arrives at the same conclusion, as does Anil Dash.

I think that I have all these theories about life that fit together into a coherent and consistent picture of the way the universe works, and then somebody close to me has a personal problem and all I can think of to do is... nothing. Argh.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

And today I get spam with the subject "ごめんなさい". Why haven't I noticed this before? (maybe the GMail spam filter is fooled by 客套话?)

The lady in front of me at Carrefour today payed for her groceries with a Taipingyang Card by punching the pin number into a pad attached to the register. So I'm guessing it's a good bet that I can order stuff online with mine. Shweet.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I've been known to say that the underground mall at the Xujiahui metro stop is a kilometer long. But that was an estimation based on gut feeling. So a week ago, I counted my steps as I walked from one end to another. Given that that mall section is about 700 steps long, the mall plus the station is about 800 steps long, and the mall plus the station plus the exit to the Ganghui Guangchang (a mall) is 900 steps in all, and that my stride is about 65 centimeters long, then the lengths in meters would be 455 meters, 520 meters, and 585 meters. Heh, I was way off. (Ah, I found a confirmation. Wikipedia gives the length as 500 meters.)

It feels longer, but at my brisk pace I can walk from my house to Carrefour (or the other direction) in almost exactly 20 minutes.


I bought three apples for dinner, for RMB 3.8. A loaf of German brown bread at Carrefour was RMB 4.6, and I have peanut butter and jelly in the kitchen.

Jodi shares a 4th floor apartment with a housemate. Two bedrooms, public kitchen and bathroom. They pay RMB 1000, split in two. I pay RMB 2000. Granted, I'm closer to public rail transport and have my own kitchen/bathroom. Still, I'm looking for a cheaper place.

Jodi probably makes around RMB 3000 a month. Preschool English teachers are in demand right now. Parents nowadays are pouring a lot of money into their preschool-age kids' education.

I struck it up with the upper-middle-aged lady at the convenience stoor downstairs. She asked me my salary and I told her it was "pretty high" and that I can "live comfortably". Not really fair, but I asked her the same question. She told me makes a little over RMB 600 montly, not hourly. And knowing Chinese labor habits, she probably works long hours. But then, there are probably several salaries being pooled in her home.

Don't try to convert the above to dollars, it's really for comparison only. Well, maybe the apples. (RMB 3.8 = USD .31)


I got a Japanese spam in my Gmail account with the subject "えっとですね". Cute; they'll spam you, and still be polite about it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I was walking from the hotel out to Da Guan Rd to catch a taxi to the bus station. At one point, coming towards me were a couple of schoolgirls walking and a small boy, maybe a brother, on his bicycle. On the periphery of my field of hearing, I caught a pretty obvious "Laowai" as they passed me. Since it was loud enough that I would notice it, I glanced over and confirmed that it was the little boy. Because his companions were either too busy talking to pay attention to him or too polite to notice what he said, he virtually yelled at them "LAOWAI!". By then, it was so obvious who he was pointing out that I gave him a big Chesire-cat grin.

At that point, one of the girls stepped over to him and gave him a corrective thwap on the head. That was funny.

I'm back from Hangzhou a few days earlier than I expected because somebody rescheduled the oral English classes I was teaching to span two days instead of four. Which meant some scrambling and improvising on my part, but leaves me relieved to be back home tonight.

If I had a penny for every time over the course of my adult life that I've wanted to throw my computer away, I'd be a significantly richer man. I mean, I like the convenience of an internet connection and being able to communicate through e-mail at home, but the amount of time I spend/waste alone on this thing is amazing. Jodi really doesn't use the internet (doesn't have a computer) and so I'm wondering how I'd get by if I made the switch. These past couple of weeks I've been living in and out of a hotel where I had a TV in my room and I hardly touched the books that I brought to read thanks to Hangzhou TV's nightly James Bond flicks, and that made me realize how not having a TV in my house has been such a blessing. Also, I think back to the time between moving into my house and bringing back the computer when I visited the US over Chinese New Year, and now that the memory of the smoke-filled net cafes is growing faint I find myself getting nostalgic for the time when I used a computer at most a couple of times a week, and kept the house a lot cleaner, and found myself calling up my friends for dinner together instead of spending the evening trawling the net and going out for a quick dinner of friend rice at 2am.

Still, I'll reply to those e-mails. Just give me a little time.

Life first, filing second, Miss Lemmon!

I'm addicted to filing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Churches confine spirituality.

(Haha, does that sound pagan or what?)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Slow Day In Shanghai?

Just say no to news stories about Beijing on Shanghai community news sites.

Wubi-ist is disturbed to notice that posts on Shanghai community news site Shanghaiist (Shanghaiist is a website about Shanghai.) have taken a turn towards national news, and in particular news coming out of Our Neighbor To The North (the notorious B.E.I.J.I.N.G.). Sure, Danny Did It, but unless there are substantiated rumors that he's going to do it over the Suzhou Creek, it doesn't really affect Wubi-ist's social schedule. And yeah, the Beijing Tigers could win the Milky Way Series but Wubi-ist couldn't care less; we're rooting for the Shanghai Sharks et al.

Yeah, I know, Wubi-ist is supposed to be a contributor. And anything Wubi-ist writes will definitely be a local Shanghai story. So we'd better get moving. Especially since the official launch is coming sometime in the next 36 hours. What Wubi-ist would really like to do is bring some articles to the weblog that only a Chinese-literate contributer could write. Every time Wubi-ist buys a paper, we see an article or two that we would like to partially translate and write up for our weblog; Wubi-ist thinks those would make nice Shanghaiist posts.

I walked to the grocery store just now to get some bleach, and instead I got an earful from the cleaning products lady about how the US would just be wandering into another Vietnam if it tried to defend Taiwan from an attack by China, and about how the US brought 911 upon itself by provoking the Arab countries and terrorists, and that China, Russia and France were smart not to send troops to Iraq because they didn't want to provoke anger against themselves, and how the bombings in Britain were a result of Blair's cooperation with Bush in Iraq.

I told her I'm a simple person, and that I'm not really interested in foreign affairs.

I got the bleach too.

The ayi from downstairs came to my room to call my landlord about paying for the apartment management fee and garbage fee, and they had an argument. The ayi defended herself by saying that she was just 实事求是.

"Seeking truth from facts", a famous saying by Deng Xiaoping, Communist Party chairman who guided China into economic reform during the 1980s and 90s. When was the last time you claimed that by volunteering your time at the local library you were "asking what you could do for your country, not what your country could do for you" or that the day your neighbor lost your favorite hacksaw was a day that would "live on in infamy"?

Now that's what I call a totalitarian government.

Friday, July 08, 2005

I thought it would be interesting to go on a diet where you only eat things you can buy 1) off the street, 2) in a plastic bag.

Jodi came down with a high fever yesterday at work (a combination of stress, not eating enough, and the heat), so she's living at a friends house for a few days. They went to the hospital yesterday, and she got loaded up with over RMB 200 in medicine including, but not limited to, antibiotics, and bags of saline solution and injections that she has to go back to the hospital to get administered for the next few days. That's overkill, right?

We had dinner at her friend's house yesterday. After work I hoped on the light rail, transferred to a bus, and then they met me at the bus stop and we walked a block to her place. It's great: a single medium-sized room includes double bed built into a cove beneath some elevated cabinets, a fridge next to a wardrobe and cabinets with a TV on top, a small couch, a round card table in the middle of the room, several chairs, and a glass-topped desk. The far wall is dominated by a large window, closed, and the air conditioning was off (sick person in the room) in favor of a small electric fan. The near wall is taken up by the bed and cabinets; to the left of the bed is a small hallway under the elevated cabinets to the front door, which opens into a dirty hallway where the shared kitchen and bathrooms are. Jodi's friend kept calling it a "slum" (her English is pretty good), but I didn't think it was that bad.

I betcha it's every girl's dream to own a huge place where she can raise a big family and entertain friends. But myself, I want a place that's so small I can clean it up in two minutes and spend less than a couple hours of each day actually living there.

Dinner was fabulous: mala (sour) julienned potato and green pepper, cured pork and carrots sliced paper-thin, eggplants in brown sauce, and slightly-crisp cabbage flash-fried with hot red peppers. Each dish was a little spicy, but I'm trying to get used to that. I've decided to take the same tack with hot food that I do with mosquitos: I don't go out of my way to attract them, but I don't avoid them either. My standard response do "Can you eat spicy food?" has changed from a vacillating, eye-wandering "well..." to "sure".

Asa, are you in town? Reading my weblog? Let's do something tonight if you're not busy.

I dug up the link to a weblog called Muninn that I remembered from a while ago as being pretty cool (Harvard grad student; are we surprised?). The weblog now goes onto my list of regular reads (among No-sword and S Cozens) because on this random check-up I found two things that resonated with me.

First, the post called "Life First" pretty much sums up my theme for the next few months:

Life first, Ms. Lemon, filing second.

Second, the post called "Ring Derivatives" (yes, that Ring) makes the sententious pronouncement that mixing and matching of ideas is what creating culture is all about. I had previously explored joining the liberals in decrying the "destruction of culture" in places like Tibet (and sometimes that still comes out), but my conviction on the ultimate fairness of things makes me much more comfortable with a position like the one in the quote above.

Oops, there went my sticking to the theme.

Chavs and Chavettes seem to be related to Neds. Wikipedia confirms.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Is it a coincidence that CHINA is an anagram of MICAH? (well, almost.)

I've been "recalled", so I'm back in Shanghai for a few days. Turns out Hangzhou doesn't need me all that much.

I'm re-reading Jean Levi's The Chinese Emperor, a historical novel about three characters who brought China out of the Warring States period and into a new unity under Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), king of the Qin state. I picked this book up at a used bookstore in Ann Arbor. It was the first book to really bring Chinese history to life for me, and has shaped my thinking about historiography (along with the influence of prof James Lee). It was clearly written by an academic so it can be bland at times unless you are interested in the details, in which case it is fascinating. The Wikipedia has articles on all three of the books main characters: merchant Lü Buwei, statesman Li Si, and king-emperor Qin Shi Huang.

I went out to dinner with Lilyann and some other co-workers on Tuesday night, and they didn't pressure me to drink. That was the second time this has happened in China. It makes me infinitely happy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'm in the Hangzhou office, dripping with sweat. It's not really an office, it's an apartment, and in typical Chinese fashion they're running the A/C with the intent of cooling down the rest of Hangzhou (ie windows and door cracked open). I taught class this morning. I taught class the day I got here. I co-MCed a big production involving a bunch of preschools on Saturday. Otherwise, I've been pretty free, hanging out at the (properly air-conditioned) hotel, having dinner with Summer on Saturday night, and actually making a trip back to Shanghai on Sunday/Monday to see Jodi.

I teach class tomorrow afternoon. I've been asked to engineer a several day class on pronunciation for the teachers that work here.

I'm not real excited to be in Hangzhou, it turns out. No washing machine, a hotel that's a little out in the boonies, and the oppressive heat are putting a damper on my spirits. Still, I haven't given it much time.

And I'm hoping I can make it back to Shanghai for weekend concerts. And I hope I can get some time off for the big rock festival up in Inner Mongolia the last weekend in July.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I just found out yesterday that I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for my month in Hangzhou, helping out our company's HZ branch do demo classes and parent-student activities. I'll be living in a hotel without internet access, so if I don't post for a while don't call the police.