Monday, October 31, 2005

As you might be able to tell from the massively scaled-down Bloglines account and ThingsIDoOnTheWeb page, I'm going through a Internet purge stage right now. I'll be off the web for a week or so, and on e-mail only sporadically during that week.

The bad thing is that my phone service got suspended, and when I called customer service line they said "That number isn't a Shanghai number, it is a Shaanxi number," which is obviously a mistake because I've been using and recharging that number in Shanghai for the past year. I hope it didn't get stolen or something.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The other day John told me that I was the inspiration for one of his "Snobs in China", specifically this one:

There are the “I am so 老百姓 snobs”. These are the opposite of the traditional snobs. They arrive in China and move right into the slums to live with their Chinese “brethren.” They get 5 rmb haircuts and eat 5-10 rmb meals, exclusively Chinese. They usually don’t show a lot of contempt for those who want normal conveniences, but neither do they recognize the absurdity of their own actions. This kind of snob is specific to big cities, but is otherwise basically the same as the “Real China” snob.

I guess I should admit that I fall into that category; I think the reason I didn't see this right away is like the reason we think the phone always rings while we're in the shower: we remember the times we failed more than the times we succeed. So the times I cringe at taking a taxi because time is too tight to wait for the bus; or when I hesitate because a friend suggests meeting for dinner at ritzy Xintiandi; or when my face goes long realizing that there are more 老外 at a rock concert than there are locals; all those times stick out in my mind more than the times when I manage to live a more "commmon" lifestyle.

But let me say a few words in defense of the 老百姓 snob. I think the reason I put forward the effort to be this kind of snob is because I reject the status boost I might get from the stereotypes that Chinese hold about Western folk: they're educated, creative, high-flying, party hard, and come to take charge. Consequently, I have to actively try to frame myself back into the same "social status" that I would have had back at home: just your average college graduate working his way into the middle class, feeling out of place in places like Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, considering his pocketbook when he dines out, and still having a warm spot in his heart for the street food and home-cooking of his youth. It's not that the 老百姓 snob is absurd, it's that he's more sensitive to taking advantage of people thinking he's something he's not.

Not that I don't realize I'm different; I will take advantage of being a foreigner abroad by taking English-teaching or translating jobs, but taking a higher salary just because I have a white face is something that weighs on my conscience. Maybe a useful metric to live by would be, if I was an immigrant from Nigeria would I have this option (of taking this higher salary, being invited to this party, being asked to take part in the filming of this commercial)?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

If you're looking for a warm-up activity tonight before Antidote III, consider coming to this month's Shanghai Webloggers Meetup. This week, we are expecting a call from Fons, and discussion of the Wikipedia blockage, podcasting and Odeo, and the upcoming Chinese Bloggercon. As always, there will be pizza, beer/wine/drinks, and friendly people.

If we were Napoleon Dynamite, this is what we'd sound like:

So, I heard that Wikipedia is blocked.
Dang, that sucks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Many years ago, Saining and I had great ambitions and formed a band. But Hong just lolled around all day, living only for love. Now she's a writer, and her writing has become a kind of trend, spontaneous and of the moment. Hong the writer and her imitators were overnight sensations—at least their bullshit images were. If you browse the black-market bookstalls, you'll see pirated versions of their books displayed all together, right next to the cheap quarzt watches. What I'm trying to say is that fame is a crock of shit! Other people pick out the most searing elements of Hong's writing and turn them into badges. Then they pin them onto their own crap, and it makes them rich and famous. The papers say this kind of writing "represents youth culture in transformation."

Representative, my ass! That's what Hong said. She said, I'm thrilled to death that I can't speak for anyone or anything. The window is open, and we can see the ocean outside, but our bodies are still here, inside. These times are witnessing the birth of many new things, people are abadoning the old rules, and everything's looser.

Mian, Mian. Candy, Andrea Lingnfelter, Trans. New York: Back Bay Books, 2003. (1st pub Zhongguo Xiju Chubanshe, 2000)

Yesterday the podcasting website Odeo, built by a Blogger founder and his friends, released the podcast creation tools for use by beta users. It's a simple Flash app that records from your computer's microphone—or in my case, my headphones plugged into the microphone jack. I put up a first experimental podcast today. Be nice; don't laugh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A few days ago I wrote on here that I had asked the visa lady how to change my citizenship. Several people reacted to that sentence, so I figure I'll clear that up now.

I'm not going to change my citizenship, at least not in the conceivable future. I was just angry with the lady for denying me a visa longer than 30 days and making me sign my "reason for visit" as "tourist", when I'm clearly not a tourist. So I set out to ask her a question that would ① make her understand my seriousness about staying in China long-term, and ② frustrate her because she would not know the answer.

As for the reasoning behind a theoretical changing my citizenship, well, here are some reasons that I might think differently and arrive at a different conclusion from you on the need for a change:

  • I have a more fluid view of citizenship, statehood and culture: I grew up abroad and travelled alot, and I'm young. I'm not so attached to a patria as blue-blooded patriots might be.
  • I don't think the US is da bomb: Yeah, representative democracy is cool and all, but if you look at the reality of it the US is sorta on a downhill slide. And since I don't see myself going into politics for many reasons, I could see changing as a way of following my personal convictions.
  • I think Jesus would have been a socialist: self-sacrificing, forgiving, commanding. Doesn't sound like an every-man-for-himself, Republican democracy to me. So if I ever get crackin' about religion, the USA doesn't look so good anymore.

Considerations like convenience of travel or tax load just don't seem material to me in comparison to the arguments I made above. Maybe I'm just an idealist.

I mean, the ideal would be to be stateless so that I don't have the crimes of any government weighing on my back, and I would only be responsible for the actions of myself and my family. But that's not practicable, really.

Or maybe I'll be Italian; I always did like pasta...

Hooray, I got another post on Shanghaiist. Odd, now that I find myself going to less and less concerts.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's here! The long rumored China Blog List 2.0, now with its own simple URL, hit the streets this morning to much acclaim:

As I read through John P's introductory post, I couldn't help but marvel at the load of features that he and John B packed into this single site: tagging (somewhat), hierarchical geographical location, top ten lists, and a sophisticated sorting tool that lets me check up on the last ten weblogs from Shanghai added to the List.

I only have two small suggestions. First, the server is not sending a Content-Type header, and my zh-cn localized version of Firefox is thinking that the site is encoded in gb2312 instead of utf-8 so that some characters (like the "é" in Andrés Gentry) get displayed as han zi. Second, the filtering conditions get sent to the server as a POST request, while the HTML spec says that GET requests are ideal for things like database searches. More importantly, if the search was GET'ed, I could bookmark my favorite filters (like the "recent Shanghai weblogs" one above). Maybe this was a design decision, but I'm hoping it was just an oversight.

(I'm also a bit curious about the choice to go with numbers instead of strings for form values, but that's more of a question of technical style and isn't really a pressing issue.)

(I just got word from John B that the two issues I listed above have been taken care of. Sweet!)

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm back in Shanghai. I'll be hitting up the No Beijing! concert on Saturday evening with Asa. If you're interested, give me a ring or drop me an email.

A while ago I got tagged to post five weird habits of mine on this weblog. I usually stay away from these web memes, but I was bored the other day sitting at McDonalds waiting for the train back to Shanghai so I wrote out a few. Maybe they're not habits but you can deal, I'm sure:

  1. I have an erratic sweet-tooth.
  2. I prefer strong women.
  3. I don't trust medicine.
  4. I spend a lot of money on/with friends, but I'm miserly with family.
  5. I tie my shoelaces too tight.

I'm not gonna tag anybody, but if you are inspired to do something similar then do me the favor of linking back to this post or this webpage. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I caught another movie last night (长恨歌, Everylasting Regret) at the Broadway Cinemateque in Yaumatei. The second preview was for a really fun-looking movie. It's called 如果 爱, Perhaps Love, and it reminded me of Moulin Rouge in that it's a love story musical, but it's set in the Paris of the East, not of the West. It stars cute but dangerous Zhou Xun and polyglot heart–throb Takeshi Kaneshiro. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival to good reviews, and should be opening in December across Asia.

As for Everlasting Regret, it was an interesting movie but I thought it was trying too hard to make a point and didn't handle very well having to span so many years of history. But by far the most annoying thing was the main actress's Taiwanese accent; why do so many Taiwanese pop and movie stars sound like they went to the US for college and then had to relearn their mother tongue when they came back, picking up horrible American accent in the process?

The Broadway Cinemateque, by the way, is possibly the best place to watch movies in town and I highly recommend it. It has always had enough interesting movies to keep me amused on two or three nights of my stays in Hong Kong, this time Everlasting Regret and the new Wallace and Grommit. And you know that a movie store flanked by a bookstore/cafe called "Kubrick" must be at least a little classy. (From the Yaumatei metro station, take exit B2 and walk straight down Waterloo, making a left on Reclamation St. The shopping center containing the theater is three blocks down on your right, or just turn left when Reclamation St ends.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Can I write a critical post here since I'm in a bad mood about my forced visa status? "Tourist"??? I'm not a friggin' tourist!!!

First off, this "Shanghai Living" exhibit by Shanghainese artist Hu Yang that everybody is going ga-ga over, judging by the number of times it's getting linked to on If the photos in this exhibit are news to you, you're not getting out enough. You live in Shanghai, this should be old news. Get out and meet your neighbors, for goodness' sake!

Second... Dan, I know the money is good, but what are you thinking? I think you said it best yourself:

I’m very proud of this.

Actually, no I’m not.

I'll be rolling into Shanghai on Friday Thursday. I yelled at the visa lady. She admitted that she didn't know the procedure for changing my citizenship to Chinese, and recommended I ask the authorities back in Shanghai.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I just came back from an amusement-park 12-hour day in Macau. Macau is like a small town blown up into a city, comapared to Hong Kong. With casinos. And more casinos under construction. Here follows the approximate highlights of my day, plus some facts and a hilarious observation from the border with Zhuhai.

  • Bus #3 to central square.
  • Step inside Se Cathedral.
  • Circumnavigate Fortaleza do Monte walls looking for an entrance.
  • See ruins of St Paul's church, Macau's landmark site.
  • Visit the impressive Macau Museum.
  • Bask in the tropical coolness of Luis de Camoes Garden & Grotto.
  • Bus to Kun Iam (Guanyin) Temple.
  • Lunch at a local eatery, MOP 12 for a big plate of rice, chicken, and veggies.
  • Climb to the top of Colina de Mong Ha.
  • Walk up to the border with the PRC at the north end of the city.
  • Bus to Taipa town, overshoot my stop.
  • Try out local snacks at Rua Do Cunha.
  • Back in Macau, nap in front of A-Ma Temple (A-Ma = goddess of fisherman, A-Ma-Gao = A-Ma's harbor)
  • Eat egg tarts.
  • Dinner at A Lorcha.

...where these are all connected by walking through the narrow residential alleys of Macau, accompanied by the city's minibuses, aunties and uncles, elderly folk, schoolkids: girls in sailor suits, boys in Havana-white plantation outfits. Or taking the bus.

I took lots of pictures. I had a theme: I'm in every single picture I took during my time in Macau.

I still hate touristing in places where I can't speak the language.

The funny observation happened just before, and also at, the border crossing facility the PRC built at the border of Macau and the mainland city of Zhuhai (which, by the way, is very modern, clean and huge). As I was walking up Estrada dos Cavaleiros, I started noticing more and more people pulling little trolleys toward the border. A little closer, I started seeing these people stop by the side of the road and negotiate, some with individuals and others with people operating out of trucks, to load boxes—of Red Bull, pastry snacks, toothpaste—onto their trolleys. The trolley pushers then proceed to cross the border and, I assume, deposit their loads on the other side and come directly back. I say come directly back because the stream of returnees had a steady flow of empty-troller pushers in it. A cheap way to skirt customs for the Macanese, who have special privileges regarding border crossing frequency? I hope they're getting something out of it! I'll post pictures I took of this when I can.

Friday, October 14, 2005

For the fam, and for friends, here's what I've been up to the the past few days:


I stay up all night, packing stuff from in my apartment. At 5:45am, I call the taxi company (96811, Dazhong Taxi, Chinese-language) to dispatch a moving truck, but they say they're busy till 7am. I flop onto the bed till 6:15am, then call again. Not surprisingly, a van is available. The downstairs auntie holds the elevator for me, the van uncle helps me load stuff, and we're off. We unload in a jiffy at Jodi's; RMB 64 (USD 8), not too bad. I lug everything up two flights of stairs, making about 8 trips, shower, and take off to the train station. Train departs at 10:24am. I sleep continuously till the next morning, waking only for a boxed dinner from the dining car.


The turtles that my bunkmate was bringing to Hong Kong—for supper, presumably—have escaped their plastic bag. I root for the turtles, but with the help of the train staff they are both recaptured half a car away. The train pulls into Hung Hom at 1:30pm or so. Hong Kong is warm and humid, on the border of uncomfortable. I get on the bus going the wrong direction, but a friendly Hong Kong dude offers to help and sets me back on the right track. I get the last empty single room at the Cosmic Guesthouse; they give me a free bottle of ice-cold water. I love this place. A few hours on the internet gets me caught up. Then I metro and walk to the Broadway Cinema to catch the new Wallace and Grommit; those guys are master storytellers, let me tell ya. Wonton in ramen soup, you tiao wrapped in rice noodle for dinner; I'd had the second at Bifengtang in Shanghai, but this was the "street" version. Stay up late sipping Grape Fanta and watching "Lice Planet" on TV. I need books.


Wake up early and catch Jodi before she leaves for school. Sleep in. Walk around to travel agencies and check out visa situation: not good, so I fall back on plan B which is to get a 30 day tourist visa on Monday and go back to Shanghai for an extension. Lunch at Pit-In is my Hong-Kong-rut Croquet Curry, and A&W root beer from the Japanese convenience store. Stop at PageOne to buy books: pick out RMB 700 of books (the amount in my wallet) then have an idea, ask if they take Lianhua network debit cards, find out that they do, leave my books at the counter and go back for more, total is ghastly but I don't care. Pick up a deck of UNO cards at Toys'R'Us for Aline. North to the China Ferry, I pick up a ticket for tomorrow's 8am to Macau. I stop off at the net cafe and write this post. Tonight I intend to hit up The Panic, and possibly Monitor Records, and shop for a Minidisc recorder.


I had originally planned to go to Macau, but I might try to switch that to Sunday so I can hit up Tookoo's concert in Aberdeen.

To be continued...

Mad props to you, Hong Kong pedestrians!

First, you walk fast. Fast enough to match my speed! And those of you who don't walk fast enough, know well enough to get out of my way. I thank you! I kiss you!

Second, you stand on the right and walk on the left! Yes, Hong Kong escalators are a delight to ride (or scale) because you know this simple escalator rule. Yesterday I even saw you lining up to get on the "ride" side while leaving the "walk" side wide open for people in a hurry, like me!

God bless you, Hong Kong pedestrians!

The bad news (for me) is that pretty much every shop in Hong Kong that accepts Visa and Mastercard now accepts cards of the Lianhua network as well, which is the network that most Chinese banks subscribe to. So my Communications Bank debit card works in Hong Kong. Baaaaaad news.

So in my perennial Hong Kong habit, I spent too much money on books. Here's the damage (for today; scary thought!):

The total was a little over HKD 1000, or about USD 140. I looked for books on the Emergent church, but the religion section was pretty weak. I may go back and get Rachel DeWoskin's Foreign Babes in Beijing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Once again, since English info is not forthcoming, I will follow up my first post on conference sign-up info with a translation of the latest post on the Chinese Blogger Conference 2005 weblog, containing the conference schedule:

Blogger Conference Daily Schedule

November 5th, day 1

8:00--9:00 Registration
9:10-9:20 Opening words
9:20-10:20 First talk, Isaac
10:20-10:30 Break
10:30-11:30 First roundtable, Rebecca moderating "Globalization and Blogging"

12:00-13:40 Lunch (joint, included in registration fee)

14:00-15:00 Second talk, Xiu Li on "Blogging in Education"
15:00-15:10 Break
15:10-16:10 Second roundtable, hopesome moderating "Podcasting"
16:10-17:10 Third talk, Wenxin on "Weblog Technology"

Evening amusement: A Night on the Huangpu River (optional attendance)

November 6th, day 2

9:00-10:00 Fourth talk, Horse on "Web 2.0"
10:00-10:10 Break
10:10-11:10 Fifth talk, Lǚ XīnXīn on "RSS"
11:10-11:40 Special blogger recommendations

12:00-13:40 Lunch Lunch (joint, included in registration fee)

14:00-15:00 Sixth talk, SayOnly on "Blogging and Media"
15:00-15:10 Break
15:10-16:10 Third roundtable, Jack moderating "Tags/Folksonomy"

16:10-16:30 Closing remarks

I'm safely in Hong Kong, the only hitch so far being that the US consulate requires appointments for citizen services like adding pages to passports, and they are booked full till Monday morning. So I'll probably be making a Macau sidetrip over the weekend, then adding pages, getting a visa and heading back. As much as I like HK, it's not fun to be away from Shanghai/Jodi/life for long.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hong Kong By The Numbers
Pre-trip Edition

Shanghai-HK hard sleeper, lower bunk RMB 583
Six month PRC visa, normal pickup time HKD 850*
Temperature today in Kowloon 26.6°C
Temperature today in Shanghai 21°C
Ticket for Hong Kong to Macau ferry HKD 140
Years Portugal held Macau 442
Years Britain held Hong Kong 156
Times I drooled reading about Macanese food online lost count
Opening bands for Tookoo on October 15th in Aberdeen 4

*doesn't apply to US citizens, call travel agency for actual quote.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Last spring, we gathered a group of architects, preservationists and historians to discuss the shape of Shanghai's urban landscape. This month, the developers weigh in: our panel includes the biggest names in Shanghai urban development: Vincent Lo of the Shui On Group, who developed Xintiandi; Christopher Choa, who has been involved in the Waitan Yuan project and the redevelopment of traditional lane housing; Shanghainese architect and author Ren Guang Yu, who has recently completed a book on Shanghai architecture and development, and Ben Wood, the "god of adaptive re-use," who was the principal architect for Xintiandi.

I'll be in Hong Kong on that date. Where will you be? That's right! And what will you bring? Correct! And don't forget to put a blank tape in before you hit record! Thanks!

(By the way, this "Ren Guang Yu" is incredibly elusive... Google, despite my massaging, turns up nothing. So don't forget to write down his name in Chinese. Ta!)

I managed to load up my weblog without using a proxy

Is Blogspot unblocked for you too?

(but then like, an hour later requests start timing out again)

OK, what's the deal? I'm in Hong Kong so I can't check, but Danwei and Keso both say Blogspot is not blocked. But notice the date on this post, and then the dates on Danwei and Keso. Chinawhite and I scooped them both :)

There's some sort of performance going on in the old-folks home just below my building, so I'm getting faint strains of traditional Chinese songs followed by applause, floating through my open balcony windows. It's like the old radios that would play in the background of In The Mood For Love. And it's made all the more surreal by the fact that my house is now half-empty, victim of the packing madness that has overtaken me as I get ready to move out and head off on my HK *cough-visarun-cough* vacation.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I just picked this up yesterday:

12A345678 上海售
上 海 ⇀ 九 龙 K99次
2005年10月12日 10:24开 xx车 xx号下铺
全价583元 新空调硬座快速卧
12340000 567890123400005987654 689546372819

Border run, baby! I'll probably be in Hong Kong for a week or so.

Hunan trip highlights:

  1. Thursday

    • played UNO and 五十K with our train seatmates
    • FULL train (people in the aisles for a 17 hour trip), cellphone net in the bathroom
    • flat Zhejiang ⇒ hilly Jiangxi and Hunan
  2. Friday

    • picture taken in front of Changsha train station "hot pepper"
    • listened to the Beeges over the speaker system while Jodi got her haired washed at the Pretty Baby salon.
    • at Martyr's Park, rode the pirate boat, played in snowland, napped on the lake's pedal boats, and saw tons of schoolkids
    • played koosh-ball catch in the parking lot
    • dinner @ noisy hall with XF and hubby
    • pedestrian shopping street and movie (Jacky Chan's "神话/The Myth"; one thumb up)
  3. Saturday

    • sleep in
    • lunch and 刨冰 shaved ice with XF
    • roller skating! to patriotic songs and with returned soldiers home for the National Holiday
    • shadow theater while eating lunch at the 平和堂 food court
    • 1.5 hours in a dining car because we couldn't get seats on the train to Yueyang
    • late night dinner at home with the parents
  4. Sunday

    • shopping, trying on clothes on the pedestrian shopping street (does every town in China have one? as the commenter on WJS's weblog said like a lot of other cities in China that have lost their souls...)
    • nice conversation with local English teacher at yummy lunch place
    • smooching in front of Yueyang Tower
    • waiting for a taxi at South Lake
    • home early for dinner and looking at picture albums
  5. Monday

    • sleep-way-in, breakfast and lunch almost together; hooray for living with a mom
    • bough a nice leather wallet at 食草堂, "Herbal Heaven"
    • shoes, pants, and a shirt for Jodi, and dinner at KFC
    • walk home through Jodi's old middle & high school, talk with old English teacher
    • stinky tofu for midnight snack
  6. Tuesday

    • wake up late
    • 3 hour minibus to 宁乡 (Ningxiang), uncomfortable!
    • pass through Lei Feng city, I kid you not
    • 小英's house, played on the self-shuffling electric majiang table
    • Dancehall style karaoke with fake roses for delivering to singers (I do 零点乐队's 爱不爱我, and 水晶 as a duet with Jodi)
    • True Color Bar for dancing:
      • play dice, drink and smoke with the bartenders
      • a pole dancer, weird
      • bartenders give dance lessons
    • sit outdoors and chow on shellfish and frogs (my first) at midnight; ahh, the slow life
  7. Wednesday

    • 煲仔饭 rice pots at a restaurant where the 超级女生 Super Voice Girls ate, wow!
    • minibus to Changsha, and then luxury bus to Yueyang, much better this time
    • lots of free time to read Stella Dong's Shanghai
    • walk to VCD(!) rental place, back home to watch War of the Worlds
  8. Thursday

    • LAZY DAY!
    • watch Bewitched movie
    • pack, argue, walk, make-up
    • watch the sunset from a charming little bridge
    • self-BBQ dinner in a little tent-hut
    • supposed to sleep by 11, but stay up to watch Titanic, heh2
  9. Friday

    • breakfast with 姑妈 aunt
    • 2 window seats on the morning train to Changsha
    • video games at the 平和堂 mall arcade
    • simple but excellent lunch with HF
    • fight
    • buy dinner at KFC, to eat on the train
    • make-up, tell stories and jokes
    • fall asleep watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on the portable DVD player
  10. Saturday

    • play more UNO, and then arrive in Shanghai!
    • nap at Jodi's
    • 小肥羊 quality hotpot with friends, and then Dairy Queen dessert

I also have several general memories. First off, I ate hot food continuously. As a result, I've built up a small resistance to eating really spicy food; it's almost exactly like training yourself to endure pain: you just gotta let it flow through you, and not crash up against your pain receptors.

Second, this was the first time the adult me has actually experienced real, honest-to-goodness multi-generational households, where the main wage earner was in the second generation of the household's members. First, Jodi's classmate outside Changsha who lived with her husband (with the manpurse and car) and her husband's parents. And then Jodi's classmate in Ningxiang who came back to visit home and lived with her mom, grandmother, and her sister's husband (again, manpurse and car) and sister. No wonder people prefer to live in out-of-the-way places with big, multiple-bedroom houses.

Overall, I'm happy with the way this trip went. For one, it helped me a little more to get over my nervousness about "Bible belt" China and how it would compare to living in fast-lane Shanghai; not that there's much of a chance of that happening: I think Jodi and I are decided to set up shop here for the forseeable future. Also, there were no major faux paus committed in front of her parents or neighbors, and I think they were a little more comfortable interacting with me on their home territory, naturally. So we got along fine, and good impressions were made all around. Finally, even though I'd been out of work-mode for a couple weeks by then, this was a very good chance to just relax and do some leisure activities like sight-seeing, eating home-cooked meals, and polishing off a couple of the volumes I picked up at the Shanghai Book Swap. So, like I said, overall I was very happy with the way this trip went.

(Photos may not come for a while, as I forgot to bring the cord to my camera back from Jodi's apartment.)

Photo are online.

A little late again, but I have an excuse because I was in Hunan over the start of the month. Here you have it, September's cellphone photo round-up:

September got off to bang with a big metal show at the Ark, where the locals showed up the guests.

Jodi and I've been trying to keep things neighborly around here by taking people out to eat every once in a while. So when Chris's sig-oth arrived in town, we had to swing in to action.

It was quite an action.

Copyright is not on the syllabus at Shanghai preschools.

Kids who bring up copyright are sent here.

But seriously, September was my last month working with preschoolers for Melody. There are some things that I will miss about that job. See above.

I continue to spend a lot of time on public transportation. This is a view of the Shanghai southern railway station, which has been under (re)construction every since I got here. It will eventually serve Shanghai's southbound trains, as well as being the terminal station of the already operating light rail line 3 (the pearl line).

My next to last day at work, we had a company dinner to celebrate Teacher's Day. This holiday is actually a big deal in China, where lots of kids bring cards and gifts to their teachers. Melody gives out Teacher's Day gifts to the teaching staff, and we have a dinner for our department.

Things get a little crazy at company dinners.

On September 15th, prices went up for the metro and light rail. I was very disappointed, but hope that this will help to deal with the overcrowding problem that it was meant to reduce.

On a date with Jodi to a coffee shop in Xujiahui, I ordered the pork chop sandwich, only to find out after it came out that it was a peanut butter pork chop sandwich. Rock! It was delish.

There was a heated debate on John's weblog about whether shi fu was spelled 师父 or 师傅, and then the next day I ran across this sign. It doesn't prove much, but it's a data point.

Since I left Melody, I had to make a trip to the visa office to switch to a tourist visa. A trip to Hong Kong (for fun) and I should be able to pick up an even longer visa. Going to the visa office is fun because it's mostly full of hip young Japanese and Korean students.

I took Jodi clothes shopping to buy me a pair of jeans. She like the low-waisted tighties at UNIQLO, but I held out for the loose and comfortable pair at Baleno.

Jodi got a pair of turtles. One day, I got them out to play, and then we left and when we came back I realized that I had forgotten to put them back in the bowl. We found Häagen under the fridge, Dazs is still missing.

One warm September Saturday I got up early and scooted myself to Pudong for the China Europe International Business School's Investor Forum, where a bunch of high-tech CEOs and venture capitalist guys held panels on starting companies and working with VCs to fund your company's growth. It was fascinating, and in Chinese. Fun!

Afterwards, Joon and I stopped by the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum for a look around and lunch at the food court. This is a view of the big globe from the inside.

This is the same globe from the outside. The thing is incredibly huge.

Here's Joon taking a pic.

On the way home, I stopped by 無印良品's Shanghai location. It's like a mini Ikea, but all their products are logo-free, and expensive. This is a potato masher. I'm going to buy one and give it as a birthday present to somebody who doesn't read my weblog.

One night, the Trombly's held a big party in the grand, time-honored tradition of Shanghai expats throughout the centuries. I dragged Jodi along, and we both had a great time. This is us walking to the party on a Huaihai Rd that had been closed off for some kind of a tourism festival parade.

This is a butterfly on the playground of Jodi's school.

One evening Jodi and stopped by the Shanghai International Studies University library because we noticed they were holding a book sale. I found this monstruosity, but picked up a Piers Anthony sci-fi disaster instead.

I don't like when people tease me. (and see the beginnings of my "unemployment goatee")

The culprit.

Two Hunanese is two too many!

In September there was this big music festival at the Theater School campus down by Lianhua Rd. It was cool; definitely the biggest audience at a show by local bands that I've been to here in Shanghai.

They put up a new KFC at the Caoxi Rd light rail station in like, 3 weeks. Like locusts. Or rabbits, I tell ya.


Goal!!! Shenhua队! Shenhua队!

On our Ma'anshan trip we did a little clothes shopping, and this shirt popped up.

We didn't try it on. This particulary outfit, Jodi said was too "schoolgirly". Pretty much.

That's it for September!

Exciting news! The Chinese Blogger Conference '05 is coming together! I have made an unofficial translation of the latest announcement, for folks who want to sign up:


Conference Fee: RMB 100 (includes hand-outs and luncheons), students half-price with student ID. Payment to be made at registration.

Attendees should make their own food and lodging arrangements (except for the included luncheons) for the duration of the conference. Conference volunteers will be responsible for contacting and recommending suitable locations for lodging; the concrete conference location and recommended lodging locations will be announced by e-mail after the sign-up process is completed.

Persons expecting to attend the Chinese Blogger Conference 2005 (Shanghai, November 5-6) are asked to sign-up by leaving the following information either in the comments to this entry, or be sending it to (recommended) with the characters 报名 somewhere in the Subject line:

-- Real name (required, as it will be checked against a valid ID at the time of registration)
-- Alias/nickname/handle (if you do not wish for your real name to be revealed, you can choose to use an alternate name)
-- Occupation (optional)
-- City of residence
-- Blog address
-- Contact e-mail
-- Telephone number (optional)
-- Topics of interest (optional)

(Notice: the hosting body reserves final right to interpret the terms stated above.)

(Important: the conference is called "Chinese" because it will take place in the Chinese language! If you go, don't expect more than minimal translation, or you may be rudely surprised. But do expect plenty of helpful people. )

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I leave Shanghai for about 10 days, and when I get back I have:

  • About 300 unread items in my Bloglines account.
  • Over 200 new messages in my GMail inbox.
  • About 200 messages in my SDF inbox.

Of course, the majority of the Google mail is spam notices from Brocco Li, where spammers seemed to have cracked the Blogspot commenting system. And all but 30 of the messages at SDF were similar notices from other blogs and just plain ol' spam e-mail.

But in my time away, I do get a couple of mentions on other weblogs in my 'hood (Shanghai). I get props from the V for helping her replace a lost cellphone, but I can't say I got addicted to Taobao (like a Chinese EBay). That's probably a good thing.

And KW tags me to reveal some strange habits. Me, strange? Heh.

And somebody thinks I'm in touch with Shanghai. Maybe, but he links to Lisa Movius, and when I check out the article in Japanese rag Concierge that was written about her house, I swoon. Great location, nice collection of furniture, etc.

In other cool Shanghai weblogger news, Mad About Shanghai is finally actually based in Shanghai. Hopefully we can meet IRL sometime.

Is there a Firefox extension that will let me one-click-delete Blogspot comment spam?

Oh yeah, and I'm back from Hunan. It was a great trip. I'll probably do a minimal webpage with photos, a la Indiana. A short report will be appearing here shortly.