Life

Home in the Hutongs

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing, China

The twenty-minute tirade of cursing, every filthy syllable of which passed with sparkling clarity through the shuttered windows of the second-story balcony, started in the hutong moments after the empty moving truck pulled away, leaving the last load of our boxes stacked on the living room floor. (more…)

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Artsy Weekend Debauchery at 798 and Sexily Inappropriate Machinery

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

I’d like to be the kind of person who buys art, I really would. Less in a “hmnah, one more Monet and my collection will be complete,” kind of way and more in a “A fractal forged from rhinestones, dried egg yolk and meticulously-harvested Aboriginal virgin’s tears, you say? Name your price, sir,” kind of way. I’m most particularly in the market for artwork that makes my office floor feel more like an intentional re-enactment of poverty in France circa 1522 and less like a pile of dirty clothes interspersed with USB drives. (more…)

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Crackdown Smackdown: Snow White and the Three-Have-Nots

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

Teh Facebookz blew up a few days ago with the news that the Beijing PSB, in response to a viral video of a British man sexually assaulting a Chinese woman, is cracking down on foreigners illegally living or working in China. Non-Chinese and locals alike are urged to report on any laowai who violate the “Three Have Nots” – in other words, those who have no visa, no work permit or no residence permit.

Thanks a lot, gross British guy. Now Chinese women can only be raped by foreigners with tidy paperwork. (more…)

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The Beijing Drunken Masters Supper Club: Expedition to Heroic Mountain

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

It’s not that I don’t like being a vegetarian. It’s just that like most limp-wristed liberals, when I’m watching Pride and Prejudice, sometimes I get one of those midnight cravings for a steaming plate of endangered animal genitalia (number 6 FTW!), and I just wish my stomach was still bubbling with the enzymes capable of processing animal proteins. I could could be enjoying a rubbery mouthful of seal penis right now, I often think to myself, doubting the validity of my life choices. (more…)

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Adventures in Prostitution, or: I’m definitely going back for those dumplings

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

Javi and I got medicinal foot massages from the prostitutes at the bargain brothel down the street from my house. I first noticed the brothel on a walk one day; the sign outside says “24 hour foot massage”, and there’s a dumpling restaurant in the basement. Man, I thought, massage and dumplings at 3:00a.m.! Beijing has everything. (more…)

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Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

This is my fourth lunar new years in China, and I really did try not to get so swept up in the revelry that photos fall by the wayside. I did manage a few pictures and some video, but along the way what I’ve found is that our camera is woefully inadequate to capture the Bladerunner dystopia that Beijing becomes during New Years week. Some choice selections: (more…)

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Spicy Duck Tablets and the Blue-Headed Man

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

During the last three days of 2011, my sole purpose in life was to wait for my furniture to arrive, while intermittently darting downstairs to buy basketfuls of vegetables and jian bing (chewy flatbread).

Yes, I was wildly excited about defeating the TaoBao ordering process by actually buying something, but it turns out that checkout is only half the fun. Now that I’ve got the hang of it, ordering is easy. Delivery, on the other hand, can apparently only happen when you’re at least two blocks away, slathered in massage oil, with two young spa attendants waving aromatic orange peels in your face, and it involves twelve successive phone calls from the freight driver, four calls from the property management office, two red stamps, three signatures, six lords a’leaping, and the personal heavenly blessing of the Jade Emperor himself. (more…)

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Artifacts of the Excavation: Exhibits from a Minimalist Lifestyle

Written by Life

This post is dedicated to Rusty Farrell, CEO at Truematter, who told me several months ago that he “appreciates my minimalist lifestyle”.

I thought about that comment far longer than I’m sure Rusty intended. I examined everything I own with a new eye, wondering “Being a minimalist and all, do I really need this?”.  But when, during the early stages of packing up the house for my upcoming move, I found my plastic silver cat amputee ashtray with inbuilt fan (more on that exciting development below), I decided that, no, minimalism is probably not an ism I have any claim to. (more…)

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Ritz Fresh Stacks: A Crispy, Buttery Love Letter

Written by Life

Posted from: South Carolina

Dear Nabisco / whichever multi-tentacled overlord conglomerate company owns your delicious Ritz cracker brand at the moment:

It’s rare that I get so excited about cracker packaging, but your new Ritz Fresh Stacks (tee em) have given me a new lease on consumption.

Everyone has their little quirks when it comes to food.  Some people hate pecans. Some people are sexually attracted to breaded chicken wings. And I have a tumultuous relationship with snack boxes.
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Dance Dance Robotlution

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

Look, I hate to be the one to burst your tiny ethnocentric, Sinopheliac bubble, but after the first three months of requisite ooh-ing and ah-ing at all the Culture™, you’ve had your fill of berry-faced beggar children and all you want is a cup of hot chocolate and some Battlestar Galactica, please.

All Chinese temples look the same. There are tiled roofs, which are mostly yellow, with grass growing out of them, which is mostly green. There are old stones with moss on them, which are all sort of square. Occasionally, if you’re lucky, there are monks. In identical robes, with kindred haircuts. Sorry boys, I brake for wii access. (more…)

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