I realized as I sat next to it with a bowl of reganmian that I’d never actually seen the Yangzi. It’s muddy. We were down in Wuhan for the 10th Anniversary of punk scene mainstay VOX Livehouse, co-founded by a close friend of mine who’s since moved on to greater things. We spent a day confirming that East Lake is, in fact, very large, and two nights holed up on VOX’s second floor balcony with a crew of Beijing music diehards and ne’er-do-wells. (more…)
Posted from: Beijing
I’ve never really been able to capture Chinese New Year on camera. I’ve tried. But silly little SLRs don’t do continuity well, and it really is the continuity that’s so beautifully overwhelming. Imagine putting a hundred bags of popcorn in microwave, and imagine that some of the popcorn was actually thunder, and then imagine the explosions lasting for a week, until the noise became almost comforting, a low-level thread in the static that makes up your earspace. (more…)
It’s been all digital with me for 18 years. Since I was 13, digital digital digital HTML internet, and then one day I’ve got InDesign open and I have this from-the-gut need to make things I can touch. I want someone to show me paper samples. I want to understand bindings. I want data sets to call the cops and complain, breathlessly, that I visualized them in ways they never dreamed. (more…)
“Local XiongXian Man Marries Beautiful Swedish Bride, an International Romance is Consummated”. I didn’t notice any reporters in the ravening fracas of 400 wedding guests, but there was the headline, writ large. And pictures of all fifteen of us, overdressed in the plaza. (more…)
Turtle Guy is finally gone. Every day for two weeks, he stood near the exit on Dongsishitiao, holding a dead snapping turtle in the air and fixing passing cars with an accusing, dead-eyed stare. I guess someone got wise and bought the thing off him, because he’s gone, and he didn’t look like a quitter. (more…)
I still don’t know who killed Pamela Werner. There’s two more chapters until that big reveal.
Midnight in Peking, by Paul French, is one of those quintessential China reads. It follows the true story of a 1937 investigation into the murder of a young expat girl, Pamela Werner, daughter of British envoy E.T.C. Werner, who was butchered, mutilated, and dumped at the base of the Fox Tower (now Dongbianmen) on her way home from the French Legation ice skating rink just a few months before the Japanese occupation of Beijing. Most of the streets, buildings and monuments from that time still stand in one form or another, and Kyle picked up some champagne and the official walking tour map for a gruesome grey Saturday following in Pamela’s last steps.
Pingyao Old City, Shanxi Province
I got married at 25. Speaking globally, I guess that’s an acceptable average, but for a commitment-phobic white girl who spent as much time as I did listening to Kathleen Hannah, being the early adopter felt, on some distant level, like selling out. You lose your ‘men are all turds’ card because you have to end those sentences with ‘except my husband’. Surprise: none of your single girlfriends appreciate the prologue. On the other hand I was, and still am, kinda too busy being obnoxiously blissful to care so, satisfied sellouts unite. (more…)
Posted from: Beijing
Sunday morning, just barely 6:30. Kyle and I sat bolt upright in bed as the room was invaded by ultraviolets. All the hotel rooms at East are fronted with a floor-to-ceiling window looking out over the suburbs of Hebei and are positioned to catch the sunrise. And what a sunrise. I don’t need to be an astronaut anymore: I’ve already seen the intensity of the turning earth reveal the sun ray by ray as it pours over the edge of the planet. Which is good, since between you and I, I wasn’t looking forward to peeing in my space suit. (more…)
People keep asking me what it feels like to be 30. It feels like 29, except that no one asks you what it feels like to be 29. Birthdays, shmirthdays. I only hope that as time goes on, I’m able to muster the grace necessary to embrace the aging process without breaking down and boo-hooing into a botox clinic. Let the Me of then remember what the Myself of now already knows: buy a giant pair of sunglasses and a huge turquoise brooch, and leave the defeat of physics to physicists. (more…)
Posted from: Chengdu, China
The Year of the Snake kicked off this February 10th, sparking widespread depression amongst product designers tasked with making grotesque cold-blooded reptiles look like warmly adorable harbingers of prosperity. (more…)