Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This is awesome.

DJ STONNIE backing up DJ VIRMAN of the Far East Movement at the Henry Fonda Theater on May 2 in LA.

"DJ Stonnie" slept through a statistically significant number of my AP Stats classes last year. I went to see him at Bling over the summer, and now he's breaking into the big time in SoCal. Great guy, I wish him the best of luck.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Actually, this is 盖浇面.

Looked up the word 盖浇饭 this afternoon. Turns out that, like 麻辣烫, 盖浇饭 means something different in Shanghai than it does in other parts of China. According to Baidu-pedia:


In Shanghai it's called gaijiaofan, up north it's called huifan, in Guangdong it's called dietoufan, and in some places it's simply "curry potato on rice", "curry chicken on rice", "mapo tofu on rice", "tomato and egg on rice", "tomato and beef on rice", and so on. Actually, it's all just rice and another dish eaten off of a single plate.

So means to cover, means to drip, and is the rice. And to think that, growing up, my entire concept of Chinese food for all those years was just 盖浇饭-style Chinese take-out. Not until I came to China did I learn that the rice was supposed to be separate, if eaten at all.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


More pictures from the picnic on Flickr.

Maria Trombly's Nostalgic for My Shanghai post captures an expat subculture:

Bill says that the longer people stay in China, the less they work. Finally, they're just coasting along, moving around from one wifi-equipped cafe to another, blogging and twittering, pretending that they're doing something, until finally they're living on no money at all.

You can do that in Shanghai.

I know at least a couple people like this. Read the whole thing for the full picture.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In the spirit of Chris's posts, I present:

张江有轨电车08年底通车 将可换乘2号线(图)

Zhangjiang Tram Line To Open Late 2008, Will Connect With Metro Line 2 (Photo)


A total of 15 stops will be built down the center of the road. Illustration may not reflect reality.


Top-speed will reach 70 km/hr


★ December 23, 2007: The opening ceremony of the construction of Shanghai's first modern tram line is held on Zhangjiang Road. Construction starts on Phase 1.


★ October 2008 (anticipated): Civil engineering is finished, track laid and equipment installed. By October, train cars arrive and begin testing.


★ Goal for end of 2008: The full line enters trial operation with a top speed of 70 km/hr and a cruising speed of 30 km/hr, connecting bus and metro stops.


On this 100th anniversary of the appearance of electric trams in Shanghai, a new tram will be making an appearance in Pudong's Zhangjiang area. Currently, a quarter of the civil engineering phase is complete.


The Zhangjiang tram line calls to mind memories of Old Shanghai's "clang-clang" streetcars. As the first phase of Pudong's planned tramway, the Zhangjiang line has taken into consideration the need to provide an interchange with the Metro Line 2 at Zhangjiang High-Tech station and to the future Metro Line 2 Eastern Extension at the future Guanglan Road station.

We live a 20 minute walk from the Guanglan Rd location.

I doubly like the translation of 当当 (should be 铛铛) as "clang-clang" both because American streetcars traditionally make the clang sound (♪"clang, clang, clang goes the trolley"♪) and because clang's lowercase "c" and "l" together combine visually to make a d, which is the sound used in the chinese 铛铛. A visual pun, hoho!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Park bench family



Saturday, April 19, 2008

On Friday night I made it out to the Tudou offices for their 3rd anniversary party, thanks to an invitation from Marc van der Chijs. The place was packed and going crazy when I arrived at 9:30, with a DJ (Missile Myles), dancers, black lights, drinks, wall painting... The party wound down by 11:00, at which point Joon and I realized that there was a secret party happening on the Tudou roof. We passed a bucketful of used 羊肉串 skewers and empty drink cans on our way up, where I chatted with Aether for a while before heading back home. It was a great night to be at Tudou, and it's always a pleasure to be walking the streets of Puxi at midnight. A few pictures:

A view of the party.

Glow in the dark Tudou stickers.

Gary and Marc cut the birthday cake.

Missile Myles at work.



And of course a signature.

The view from the Tudou roof.

Leaving the office.

*I was going to Rickroll everybody with graffitied Rick Astley lyrics, but the party music was so loud I could barely hear myself think. I went with a simpler "Kilroy was here" theme.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vanity Fair on Beijing’s Olympic Makeover, via Shanghai Eye:

Much is made of Beijing’s rising arts scene and the existence of an unofficial counterculture here—as if such departures from uniformity amount to significant openings for personal expression and creativity. It’s nonsense. The arts are impotent by definition, the counterculture is pretend, and creativity is allowed to flourish only in measure of its irrelevance to power.

I'm sure the real situation is a bit more nuanced than that, but from my POV I wouldn't dispute this.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Of course you have to take these lyrics with a grain of salt, but there are some valuable guiding principles in the Dead Kennedys' "Well-Paid Scientist":

You're a well paid scientist
You only talk in facts
You know you're always right
'cause you know how to prove it
Step by step

A phd to show you're smart
With textbook formulas
But you're used up
Just like a factory hand

Something is wrong here
You won't find in on a shelf
You're well paid
You're well trained
You're tied to a rack

Company cocktails, gotta go
Say the right thing
Don't fidget, jockey for position
Be polite
In the pyramid you hate
Sip that scotch
Get that raise
This ain't no party at all


Cringe and tense up
Grind your teeth
And wipe your sweaty palms
Close your windows driving past
The low-life company bar
They're making fun of you

Even you
You've gotta punch the clock
Too scared to punch your boss
When will you crack
When will you crack
When will you crack
When will you open your eyes

Pull up to your sterile home
You're drained
Bite the heads off of your kids
Chew them well, they taste like you
Just slam the door

Assigned here 'cause your company owns the land
All your colleagues live there too
Private guards in golf carts
Keep you safe at home?


When will you crack
When will you crack
When will you crack
When will you crack

The dark shattered underbelly
Of the american dream
Avoid it like the plague
It stares you from your bathroom mirror

It's meant to be provocative in a positive way so if it offends you, you might want to do some self-examination to make sure you not in the negative.

It's because articles like this (via Howard French):

Since the unrest in Tibet began, everything Beijing has done and said has reinforced its critics’ case. The foreign press is accused, in strident terms, of lying, while its capacity to report directly is cut off by Beijing.

...and this (via Aether):


...don't get translated that the conversation takes so long.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Charlotte and I went on a walk today. This is about 15 minutes from our house:

Zhangjiang water village

Regarding the last post, Jodi went back to the hospital where Charlotte was born and asked our old doctor for a second opinion. She said that the test results had been calculated incorrectly (both the baby's age and Jodi's weight had been recorded wrong) and that Jodi could do another blood test. So now we're waiting on the results of the second test. I think we're going to switch back to Peace Maternity for the the rest of the pregnancy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jodi had a routine test for Down Syndrome (唐氏综合征) and it came back "at increased risk", 1/160.

So, for every 1000 women tested, about 50 will be told they have increased risk, and of the 50, about 45 or more will in fact have normal pregnancies. Some people feel that the high level of 'false-positive' readings make the test not worth the risk.

The hospital was late in getting the test results back so no time for another blood test, it looks like a amniocentesis may be unavoidable.

In China people are much more pragmatic about abortion (and arguably about eugenics, free of all the nightmare scenarios that the practice connotes in the Western mind) so Jodi and I are still talking this through.

The DSChina BBS is an active forum for Chinese parents of kids with Down Syndrome. Here's the introduction text to the main sub-forum:


Mother: my poor child, why? Why did you have to be a Down Syndrome child? You have one more chromosome than others so you'll never be a normal person! Child: mother, don't you know? I'm an angel sent by God, and that extra chromosome are the wings on my back. God said, the wings of an angel must grow through hardship and represent the best of the human spirit: love, perseverance, bravery, optimism. These wings will help us to overcome the greatest of obstacles. Mother, do you see it? It's heaven, just up ahead!

Things like this make you think (and do lots of Google searches).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Baidu's "Wikipedia" gives us some clues on how to translate 城管:

① 名词:以暴力手段维持形象,专门欺压租不起商铺、办不起执照商贩以及其他弱势群体的黑社会组织。例词:城管上道,鸡飞狗跳。
② 形容词:形容残暴、血腥、恐怖。例句:你也太城管了!
③ 动词:等同于打、砸、抢。例句:他不老实就城管他一下!
④ 叹词:无奈之意。例句:这世道,城管!
⑤ 代名词。例句: 关门,放城管。

① noun: a mafia-type organization devoted to keeping up appearances through violence, exclusively bullying those who can't afford to rent a storefront, can't afford to register a business permit, or belong to other disadvantaged groups. ex: the chengguan are on the prowl, everybody scram!
② adjective: violent, gory, horrendous. ex: That's too chengguan, man!
③ verb: same usage as beat, smash, take by force. ex: If he misbehaves on ya, just chengguan him a bit!
④ exclamation: a feeling of helplessness. ex: What a world... *chengguan*!
⑤ pronoun. ex: Lock them out and sic the chengguan (dogs) on 'em.

Personally, though, I'm favoring "beat patrol".

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Just the other day I praised the Xinmin Evening Post on the Chinese forums, and today my words were validated by thoroughly enjoying tonight's copy of the paper. Flipping past the obligatory cover-full of Tomb Sweeping Holiday stories ("Tomb Sweeping Trash" A Measure Of Citizen Etiquette, Road And Rail Deliver 260,000 Passengers Today, Roads To Cemeteries Clog Early In The Morning, Tourism Absent On Short Long Holiday) and the daily propaganda piece (Developing Agriculture While Guaranteeing Higher Incomes For Farmers) yielded several practical, useful and amusing articles for me to enjoy on the couch while Charlotte chomped on the entertainment section:

  • Thousand-Ton Barge To Carry Century-Old Bridge: The Garden/Waibaidu Bridge has been sufficiently dismantled will be carried off on a boat this Sunday. The Xinmin Evening Post will be broadcasting the removal live on their website. This would be a fun and historic event to witness personally.
  • University Entrance Tour To Songjiang University Town: SISU Travel is offering in-depth weekend tours of the colleges at Songjiang University town targeted at graduating high school seniors and their parents, but open to interested Shanghai residents as well. This might be a fun way to visit Songjiang University Town at only RMB 80 per person.
  • Early Rising City Folk Line Up For Fresh Qingtuan: The traditional Tomb Sweeping Festival food is made by combining the juice of a rare grass with rice paste, wrapping it around a filling (typically red bean paste), and steaming it. The article gives the names of several stores famous for a long history of making qingtuan, whose addresses I could look up online.

And that's only from the first 8 pages or so. The Evening Post also has entertainment, style, sports, and international news, jokes, cross-word puzzles, home-decoration tips, an article entitled "Muscle: Forever Men's Heroic Charm" and illustrated with pictures of Stallone and the Governator, and a literary section with essays that Chen Danyan called "some of the best contemporary writing about Shanghai" at last year's Shanghai International Literary Festival in her talk with Qiu Xiaolong.

The Evening Post is also sprinkled with photos accompanied by longer captions that show funny or touching situations. Today's make me stare in disbelief. The first is a picture that is simply captioned as being an assault on a taxi driver whose passengers were not satisfied with his driving, with no follow-up whatsoever:

Taxi assault

Yeah, crazy. The second picture is deceptive. The caption is by the photographer, who teases the reader with the possibility of witnessing a foolhardy thief dipping into the police cart's trunk but then admits that the young man was a business card boy who had been wiping down the police car and was tossing the rag back into the trunk as the police took off:


Thanks, 新民晚报!

BONUS: Here's a clip of edits from the Xinmin's live coverage of the closing of the Waibaidu Bridge on February 29th:

Friday, April 04, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

(Via John.)