Archive for the 'China' Category

The Lobster

I met this guy at my gym in those final days in Beijing. Peter ran an intl film festival. We did a huge media swap: music and film. He’s a bit burned out on the film unfortunately, but I guess when you organize a festival, you just get reams of submissions. Most of what I got from him I considered to be “obscure European stuff”, and this certainly qualifies. But when I started hearing reviews for The Lobster, I realized…”wait, I have this”, so watched. Excellent black comedy. Excellent for the happily single, or maybe the not so happily so. An examination of how society treats “the single”, taken to an absurd level.


I can’t remember when I last laughed aloud at a representation of child cruelty in a film (its not THAT dark). The end devolves into something I can’t completely absorb or explain and will need future re-viewings. Definitely a unique vision, but not for everyone…

Back in the USA

Wow, I’m so overdue for a post but am not quite feeling it. Some broken keys on my laptop and typing with the virtual keyboard is a bitch. I’ve been back for two weeks now. Tales of note include the meth-ed out buffoon who took my teaching job in Beijing, my official fear of flying since last May’s horrid return from HK but crossing he Pacific and US anyway, going to Big Ears 2016 right after getting back and my plans for the future. But I’m not properly motivated to get it all down. Maybe if you’re a regular reader shoot me some encouraging feedback. Talking to you, Mountain View, CA…

pondering with baijiu

Six months into latest contract

I temporarily have a Freegate VPN, which sort of works, and when Irma, my girlfriend, came to visit from Indonesia, she set up some sort of portal which other wise allows me around The Great Firewall. Neither are ideal. Meanwhile one of shift keys, in addition to my “t” and “y” have crapped out on my keyboard. So updates are difficult at best. But nevertheless… Despite only being halfway through my contract, and as they love to state on GoT “Winter is coming”, I’m doing OK in China. Had some more health freakouts, but when hospital tests didn’t reveal much, I’ve settled on the old culprit excess weight making my bp climb. But my boss has bought me a membership to a fairly fancy gym, and I got this French anti-snoring mouthpiece, I’m generally sleeping and feeling better.

What to mention? Sadly, it seems not so many important things have happened apart from Irma’s awesome month long visit. I’ve had the apartment mainly to myself after taking over the big room with Marc’s departure. Some folks have come through, I guess technically five, but none have stayed more than 5 nights and most far fewer. So the place mostly to myself since June. Classes and work are OK, but I’m loving 6 days off right now and don’t exactly see how I’ll do six more months but I don’t want to waste time with work bitching.

When Irma was here I did some classic Beijing things I hadn’t since m first visit here in ’06. M god, how will that be 10 ears this coming January? The Chaoyang Acrobat show is still choice, if not expensive. Had BJ duck again, saw the Summer Palace, and out to The Wall, though she did the Forbidden City on her own. I was great to experiment with living together, if only for the month. It’ll be a hard road for us mostly based on other sides of the Earth and neither having much money, but life is long and we’ll see how the next steps go. I’ve all but quit drinking, maybe only 4 or 5 times a month for a while now and will keep it so until I’m thinner and healthier. I mus say: China without the whores, grass and booze isn’t nearly as appealing. But thus is the path on which I find myself. Nose to the grindstone, get thinner, in better shape, keep paying off debts and save some money for the future.
Watching lots of series (Hannibal, Narcos, The Knick, Fortitude, Mr. Robot, Shameless (US and UK), Fargo etc etc) as China is still a torrenting worry free haven.

Heading out of HK

So I’m at the airport early as they have air con and free wifi. What to post before heading back behind the Great Firewall. I guess some talk about HK…

view from 21st fest Western

I need to come back here with more time, money and better acclimation to the insane humidity. Got my Z visa, which was bit more than my agent said, but it’s all good. A flickr contact gave me some info on the Red Light scene in HK which he often shoots. I did go down and check it out, but didn’t spend much, wasn’t buying beer for the Filipinas who chatted me up and they were talking much after that. No some portraits. One aged Thai chatted me up on my walk home, and I was able to amuse her with some Thai phrases, but as I wasn’t spending, she was all “I change now, Da Ling” as they do. I got a laugh out of her though with my parting “good luck to you” spoken as they all do.

Dragon Club

I’m so spoiled on the mainland…HK seems expensive. There are some extra taxes and such and if you’re earning here I’m sure it isn’t bad. Oh, and a bit of bad luck: a Gary Baseman show opens tomorrow… It was set up, and I would have bought some merch, but couldn’t get in! So only pics of inflatable Toby outside.

Uuugh, Gary Baseman Hong Kong show starts two days after I leave...

Hong Kong, we shall meet again. Skipping the hotel room for the all nighter at the airport and visa office stress, plus %6000 humidity, threw me off my game. Live and learn. Got another free VPN, but we’ll see if it works…

Hong Kong visa run

I’m coming up on 2 months back in Beijing and it’s time to come down to HK to get my Z visa. It’s been fairly painless. One South African buddy of mine got screwed over by our nefarious agent, but so far my luck has held. I’m pleased by my employers and like most of the students. There aren’t that many really. We are a fairly young company and I hope we make it…

Meanwhile the govt. has done some serious closing of factories and I’m stunned by the number of blue sky days I’ve seen so far compared to when I lived here in the Summer of 2013. Serious, based on this year, you’d be like : what Beijing pollution problem? But there is still the Great Firewall to contend with and I need to see if I can sort of some free VPN while I’m down here. For the net junky I usually am, it’s strange how easily I’ve adapted to the limitations.

My flight got into HK after midnight and I have a hotel booked for tonight, so I’m doing some sleepless hours waiting for dawn, then I’ll ride into Wan Chai/Cuaseway Bay and the Chinese embassy, get my papers started, check into the room ASAP, sleep a bit, wake up, have an evening, get back to sleep, pick up my Z and back to the airport and BJ. But I’ll try to get some other posts in too.

Lame but crucial update

I’m coming up on a month back in China. But no VPN (working on it…), gmail blocked, Flickr still blocked, not good for my usual blog routine.

But in brief: I did two weeks in a kindergarten until a gig with adults came through. I’m there now and happy, still a few kid students. Won’t make full pay until May 25th, right when I’ll have to do a visa run, and my shared housing is WAY East. But I’m in the groove for now, caught up with Shorty and other old friends, made some new ones. Sorry no pics for now. Add me on wechat ID Chilly Savagemelon. I’ll try to get a proper post up with visuals soon. I guess from HK in a month at the latest.

Back to BJ

I’m waiting on a visa to return to Beijing in mid-March. It sounds like a good school, but you never know until you get there and things get rolling. It means missing Big Ears 2015, which is a drag, but that’s the way it unfolded. Meanwhile I left the hellish job and am enjoying sleeping in. The final straw came when I did everything in my power to avoid paying union dues, as I won’t be around long enough to enjoy the insurance they provide at 8 months, but dues were taken anyway. As sadly small as the amount was, it was half a days wages nevertheless. So onward and upward.

Meanwhile, back in ATL

It took a little longer to get a job than I thought it would, but I’ve hired on through an friend with Restaurant Depot, a food wholesaler. Long early hours and I’ll be on my feet a ton. It’s gonna take a week or more to get in shape physically. But it’s $, despite time clocks and taxes and things I’ve been spoiled by not being exposed to since about 2006. Well, of course I have paid taxes, but not in such a way you see the cut right there on the check. And guess I’ll need another bank account.

Meanwhile waiting to hear back on a job in Myanmar and keeping some leads on China, if it turns out to be time to go back there…

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