Archive – August 2006
August 31 2006 (05:27:00) US/Pacific
Another reason why this world and its people are so hard to fathom or admire:
Really, there’s nothing hard to understand about this. The world is superficial, commercialistic, materialistic, and agressively racing toward emptiness.
There’s no way around it. The US is even worse. This is all we’re left with.
A pretty face will allow you to stare at a screen, sing karaoke with businessmen, drive a compact vehicle, shop at the mall, have an expensive wedding, etc.
Saw your link on Brett’s blog. What’s most interesting is the way race is the purple elephant in this article. Most of these procedures, double eye-lid, higher nose, etc. are based on Western (or rather White)standards of beauty. Are these women really saying that to get married and earn more money at a better job in China it’s important to look more Western? What does this say about Chinese nationalism? Just a thought or two.
Posted by J from the Granite Studio on 09/01/2006 10:11:06 AM
absolutely. Of course they wouldn’t mention that. The world is still trying to be Western in so many ways.
Posted by stylites on 09/11/2006 05:25:16 AM
August 28 2006 (01:26:00) US/Pacific
This business is finally moving forward, it seems.
August 24 2006 (05:48:00) US/Pacific
Here is a piece on the inspirational life of Mr. Xu Liangying:
I recommend a read. I would love to meet a version of this fellow who is my own age.
August 24 2006 (01:45:00) US/Pacific
I want to work for MSN Today. After China Daily, it is my favorite online newsource.
August 21 2006 (10:12:00) US/Pacific
Dudes and Babes…
You must mark the following dates in your planners:
NMNF will be home between September 23rd and October 15. Apparently, we don’t have quarters in the city. Quite a long time to be in Brimfield. Maybe I’ll do an outing to Sturbridge or Palmer to buy pliers or a windbreaker.
August 20 2006 (13:11:00) US/Pacific
Check out Pingguoyuan!
First, put on Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, because it starts playing the instant you get off the subway at the Pingguoyuan stop on Beijing Subway. Then open a bottle of wine, because it flows eternally in the apple orchard.
It is the furthest west stop on Line One. If you want to enter a world of relaxation, cool winds, and lovely apple blossoms, you must make the trek out there. I had traveled in the direction of Pingguoyuan on line one so many times, but never suspected that it was more than just a name. I never knew that it offered an idyllic retreat from the gray city. A pastoral landscape replete with prancing fawns, babbling brooks, and complementary goblets of imported wine is a short subway ride away for all those tired of the crowds of the city and the headaches of corporate life. Stop pushing paper and email around and leave your cellphone at home for the day.
You will be surprised, shocked into a hallucinatory state. The subway doors open, the sweat of the day evaporates from your armpits, the old women, beggars, men in polyester who pressed their chests to you in the subway vanish, the air cools. Grass and weeds grow in the corners of the subway platform. There are no advertisements. The procession of perfect models and enrapturing grins stops. There is no litter. Food does not come in plastic in Pingguoyuan. Outside the station, the pollution has cleared and the sky is blue. The skyscrapers and sickly purple/gray haze are in the distance. Viewed from the one spot in Beijing municipality liberated from smog, the city looks like it is continuously under a storm, reminiscent of the headquarters of the evil side in some fantasy story.
The local government in Pingguoyuan implemented progressive policies banning skyscrapers, automobiles, and even concrete. Residents live in tents made of ox hide or little outdoor pavilions. There are no water shortages in Pingguoyuan. Water comes from the streams flowing between so many of the apple trees. The water is fresh and pure. There are no steel and chemicals factories upstream. There is no aftertaste of heavy metals or phosphates. Unlimited fish and other seafood swim in these streams, which pleases Chinese visitors to no end. They are all there for the taking. There is also a no-fly zone over Pingguoyuan, which cuts down on noise.
One characteristic of Pingguoyuan makes it very similar to other places in China. I have already alluded to this. All the apple trees have speakers attached to them, playing Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. The daily routine of the human and animal residents is choreographed to the symphony. Every time the third movement comes, a fat bhoddisatva even arrives to pour wine in everyone’s goblet. Actually the speakers stop at the third movement and are replaced by a complete orchestra. Then, all of the apple picking ceases momentarily, and the visitors and locals all gather at appointed locations by the streams to exchange stories of the morning’s adventures. Conversations on grasshoppers, plum blossoms, and birds are the norm. Some more off-color topics come up frequently. Jokes center on flatulence, torpidity, and drunkenness. Two subjects are forbidden: business and money. Minds are cleared here. This is not the place for workaholic businessmen. They can go to the karaoke parlors or get a massage. This is where people who know how to enjoy the profits the businessmen generate come to create and revel in purity. Massage occurs here, but it is freely given with only the best intentions.
All guests must change clothing upon exiting the subway station. Playboy shirts, crocodile belts, plastic heels and nylon trousers are exchanged for white linen robes and Jesus-style sandals. Women wear white gowns with broaches. They go to their own area, filled with ponds. There they bath nude, they sit on rocks giving each other massages while bantering about pomegranates and frankincense. The very thin, very short, and very fat are all forbidden entry.
Men sometimes peek in from behind a tree or stone. The atmosphere is so lovely. I looked once.
This is a wonderful fantasy. I was hoodwinked until the white robes and sandals. Dreams of Shangrila..
Posted by khavurta on 09/24/2006 06:55:23 PM
August 20 2006 (10:43:00) US/Pacific
When everyone looks so weird, it is hard to do a street style website. Who do you pick to photograph? Everyhody seems to be wearing something overly lacy or with an incredibly bizarre sentiment etched across the front.
A good portion of the young girls in China lack the foggiest idea of the image their style choices project
(Hey, I know I look like a weirdo, not a sophisticate). Maybe the key is to take pictures of all the innocent girls who wear really risqué clothing and seem to not be aware of the concepts they are conveying.
On another note, I am drinking some really foul red wine right now. There were times when I fretted that I would not be able to distinguish good wine from bad wine. Well, Simatai Changcheng proves that I can at least determine what terrible wine is. I’m not sure whether this is made by the big Changcheng brand or whether they added the Simatai in order to confuse consumers, and they are an entirely different brand. It’s actually not as foul as the real Changcheng. For my US readers: Don’t worry, it’s not going to be exported. More on Chinese wines in a different entry.
By the way, recently I tried an inexpensive wine, which is quite drinkable. I recommend you try Marcus James, from Argenina, for value for money. The Malbec should be under ten dollars a bottle. I had heard negative things about Argentinian wine, but this seemed pretty good.
August 18 2006 (06:08:00) US/Pacific
Professor, artist, architect, travel, sculptor, media, television, writer, author, biographer, journalist, designer, actor, director (movies), columnist, tailor, script-writer, gangster, knight, king, noble, teacher, ambassador, senator, president, minister, priest, archeologist, sailor, admiral, general, pilot, biographer, historian, photographer, novelist, satirist, courtesan, nudist, farmer
Economist, environmentalist, hippy, anthropologist, prostitute, cowboy, landlord, womanizer, whore
CEO, accountant, consultant, manager, analyst, financial analyst, lawyer, auditor, clerk, secretary, executive, expert, solutions manager, researcher, director, model, project anything, producer, administrator, expert, programmer, broker, banker, agent, waitress, servant, technician, mechanic, merchant, trader, staff, editor, doctor, nurse, veterinarian, paralegal, chairman, attorney, board member, mechanic, investigator, detective, fireman, policeman, white collar, blue collar, representative, interpreter, lobbyist, stripper, slut
Media, arts, entertainment, fashion, luxury, politics, farming, internet, travel, photography, apparel, environmental, history,
Real estate, publishing, private equity, education, journalism, training, hospitality, music, animals,
Insurance, aviation, chemicals, white goods, IT, computers, logistics, communication, repairs, consulting, medicine, pharmaceuticals, heavy industry, technology, retail, wholesale, jewelry, business consulting, investment, investment bank, finance, services, luxury, automotive, machinery, construction, infrastructure, agriculture, lobbying, sports, non-profit, special materials, law,
Ebay, google, yahoo, Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, New Yorker, New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, Apple, Wild Harvest, Starbucks, Valmont
Gucci, Versace, GE, Target, Mcdonald’s, Amazon, Berluti, prada, banana republic, DHL, UPS,
Microsoft, intel, IBM, Air China, China Easter, CNOOC, Toshiba, GM, Walmart, Exxon, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, any bank, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Old Navy, stop and Shop, Haier, Frestech, ChemChina, Abercrombie,
Strange, weird, erotic, intellectual, educated, tasteful, cultivated, lovely, masochistic, idealistic, unrealistic, generous, smart, self-absorbed, kind, good, noble, charming, chic, cute, interesting, traditional, leftist, loyal, faithful, religious, spiritual, shy, timid, modest, humble, self-deprecating, disobedient, defeated, enervated, effete, effeminate, pure, complicated, dedicated, insane, compassionate, pious, sympathetic, empathetic, sensitive, unconventional, anachronistic, nostalgic, drunk, stylish, fragile, subversive,
Effortless, relaxed, beautiful, energetic, motivated, persistent, tenacious, sadistic, talented, youthful, graceful, negative, practical, magnanimous, enterprising, intelligent, selfish, virtuous, elegant, sporty, conservative, liberal, lazy, committed, outgoing, confident, ironic, optimistic, pessimistic, depraved, debauched, deranged, cruel, ostentatious, simple, glutinous, obese, established, attractive, inebriated, stuffy
Efficient, competent, go-getter, positive, greedy, stingy, ambitious, officious, fashionable, grinding, enthusiastic, hardworking, industrious, boring, laid-back, self-assured, arrogant, funny, smug, showy, valuable, emancipated, wholesome, normal, ordinary, conventional, hard-headed, driven, fanatical
August 11 2006 (06:49:00) US/Pacific
A rebellion against affluence, conscipuous consumption, brandnames, and general money-obsession will soon sweep the youth of China. Someone should be on the scene to profit off of it. Certain services and products are needed for an anti-money lifestyle, and people pay good money to buy them. We should research the West and current conditions in China to determine what those products and services are. Hemp?
August 09 2006 (14:36:00) US/Pacific
bit of a personal issue. will update again soon
August 04 2006 (03:05:00) US/Pacific
I dislike Madonna intensely.
As far as pop music goes, Madonna’s isn’t especially loathsome. It’s a strange conflict in me. While I have a strong desire to question the dominant paradigm and be iconoclastic, I also feel strongly about protecting traditions. I suppose this is contradictory, but it is a natural contradiction to feel. Everyone feels it to some degree.
It’s not so complicated. Some traditions have already been subjected to enough assaults – particularly those involving Jesus. He gave his life to bring redemption to humanity. We should be grateful, whether or not we believe he was son of God. Why doesn’t she make fun of St. Augustine or Calvin, or a well-known (and ridiculous) event like the Crusades? These are easier targets anyway – and they aren’t that unknown. I’m not proposing she make fun of a hermit or participant in the Council of Nicea.
Consider the beautiful art that Jesus’ life has inspired. Then think about the trash people create to insult him. What does that show?
And the gall of doing this in Rome itself! Do we really need to blaspheme Christ more? He led such a blameless life, devoted to healing people, forgiving prostitutes, etc. I’m sure she would make some excuse about this actually glorifying Christ and expressing her particular relationship with him. This is hogwash. She is trying to usurp his position. What about St. Paul?
I guess a concert attacking Judas or Herod would be pretty dull stuff, but there should be something better.
Of course my reaction is exactly what she craves. But when people like me, who support all kinds of bizarre expression and weirdness, condemn her, it shows something. She’s just tedious, but of course she is famous and has latched onto something which will continually make people angry. Good work. The Lord will forgive you, but humanity won’t forget your bad taste.
On March 4, 1966, this quote of John’s was printed in the London Evening Standard: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.”
Posted by dalcibiades4 on 08/04/2006 03:10:41 PM
That was John Lennon, by the way.
Posted by dalcibiades4 on 08/04/2006 03:12:07 PM
August 03 2006 (07:20:00) US/Pacific
I am like soooo totally psyched. Yesterday, I got this email from a Mr. Mai Shelong offering me a position as an editor in Huludao, Liaoning Province. I will be editing the English for the signs that describe exhibits in his factory museum. His factory makes a special kind of gas used to lubricate the machines that make the machines that make the machines that make cranes. This is a totally awesome opportunity to get into some really creative and fulfilling work. My career is going to be given a major jolt by this – and there are distinct opportunities for personal development. I’m going to learn so much and develop a real sense of how I can go beyond maximizing my value in a modern service information setting. The team is such a cool and capable group of people, like, total work hard, play hard. Mr. Mai sent along pictures and bios of everybody, and some of them attached messages saying “hey, wasup”. I just can’t wait to meet everyone there. Shelong (he said I could use his first name) said that he would be my mentor. All I need is a self-starting, can-do attitude. The networking and relationships will help me for the rest of my career. I’ve heard that Huludao also has a completely alright bar scene. That doesn’t even matter ‘cause they’re gonna be these total parties every night – possibly even karaoke.
The building I’m going to be working in has 23 stories and I’m going to be on the 22nd story. You have a view of three-thousand other buildings which are all that tall. Huludao also has the tallest smokestack in its district. I am so pumped to get a tour of that factory. It makes these bolts.
Time to go add some value!
Hey Nels, Sorry I haven’t dropped in for awhile; school keeps me hopping busy. Anyway, glad to hear things are going so well for you. Good luck with everything. I hope all works out! G.
Posted by The Horse’s Mouth on 08/22/2006 11:18:40 PM
August 01 2006 (05:30:00) US/Pacific
In addition to the first blue sky in nearly a month, please find above the disgusting fare I call lunch on most days. This meal can run as high as USD 1.80, depending on the size of the bananas. This isn’t cheap. A plate of tasty (but potentially bacteria-laden) Muslim noodles can be under one dollar. My goal is not to save money but to avoid becoming a fat guy in pleated pants when I’m forty. Since I’m too lazy to exercise, the only possible solution is what you see above. It’s easier to not do things than to do them. That’s my theory. It’s easier to not eat than exercise.
This method will fail. Eating so little lunch makes me crave more dinner. The successful days are when I somehow get the opportunity to have a small dinner without significant meat or oil.
Let me go into more detail on the parts of this meal.
1. Three bananas: Boring, but temporarily filling
2. Drinking yoghurt: Overly sweetened. If I don’t drink this I crave sweets and all afternoon. The least offensive part of the meal until I get to the last few gulps, when I feel like vomiting.
3. Green Cabbage Roll: The main course and, by far, the grossest element of my masochistic gastronomic routine. These have been sitting in the wrapping for a while and have far too much salt. I don’t know what it means when all three rolls have leaves that are white and no longer green.
After this meal, I’m ready for some instant coffee, to carry me through the mood fluctuations of the afternoon and the daily battle against drinking cans of the overly sweetened coconut milk, free for the taking in our company refrigerator.
Bananas are too caloric. Try rice crackers.
Posted by lalop on 08/02/2006 06:59:30 AM
Better still, eat some doufu gan. Multitudes of varieties and flavours. Mostly protein and will fill you more and for longer. If you don’t want to excercise – get rid of those carbs. If you prefer fruit, mix it up with peaches. Get some tea-eggs and other small protein snacks and keep them in your bottom drawer, eat small and often. Ditch the coffee and switch to room temperature bottles of green or lemon tea. Now, if only I could practice what I bloody preach.
Posted by sunnysideup on 08/02/2006 07:23:24 AM
Wow, thanks a lot for your suggestions, Sinosceptic. I do enjoy doufu gan, but I’d never thought of it as a healthy alternative. While it is hard to imagine life without coffee, I know green tea is better for you. I think I could really practice this lifestyle.
Posted by stylites on 08/02/2006 08:51:03 AM
You eat all dat? You definitely going to be fat!
Posted by dalcibiades4 on 08/02/2006 02:10:33 PM