Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Wrinkle in Time


This past weekend, I went with Lauren, Cory, Katie, Laura Kavazanjian, and Seth to a bluegrass show. In friggin' Beijing. Of course, it wasn't so Beijingy inside the club. It was mainly other whiteys, although its doubtful that they were redneck whiteys. But by golly, they were redneck for the night. It was the Sparrow Quartet, with Abigail Washburn (pictured here in a hilarious juxtaposition with some Chinese military guys).

It was interesting though; listening to bluegrass in Beijing and what not. What made it especially disorienting was the fact that Bela Fleck was playing with them. For a brief moment, it seemed that the fabric of the universe opened up and the bizarreness of the situation was fully realized: I have seen Bela Fleck play 15 minutes from my home in the country and seen them in the capital of China, the farthest I've ever been from my home. The bizarre situation created what Katie described as being "A Wrinkle in Time", her theory being based on some obscure book that I'm sure no one has ever read.

Watching the performance, I couldn't help but be thrust into nerd-think again. These thoughts always creep in when I least expect it. I'd like to think that I let these emotional moments impact me in a way that I can't put into words, but I couldn't help but thinking that the music would have been awesome in this sci-fi show called Firefly that I'm in love with. The show is supposed to be a "Western-style sci fi", in which the future implies that the predominating two cultures on Earth were the Chinese and American/English. So... the fact that Abigail Washburn was singing bluegrass songs in Chinese seemed to scream to me that it would have been awesome in the show. Oh well, too late.

Speaking of nerd-think though, although I couldn't be more happy about some news back home regarding certain political parties and a certain Secretary of Defense, I can't help but be pissed off vicariously through Nicole. I am astounded by video games and the industry today. Nowadays, it seems so... tainted. I'm not talking about tainted in the sense that Grand Theft Auto is turning today's children into carjacking, prostitute killing, drug dealing, gang banging, misogynist, volatile sociopaths. I'm talking about how greedy and bizarre the game-makers of today are. Its just so weird to think of the new ways companies are cheating their customers by exploiting the features of online service and the addictive nature of the customer base. I mean, it sounds like EA games are going to start charging people 10 to 15 dollars for offering things that have already been available to gamers for free since there ever were games. Not only that, but game systems are so freaking expensive nowadays. The PS3 is 600 dollars I think, and that's if you don't want to shell out the moolah for the "cheap" system (500 dollars). This is getting way out of hand. Not to mention the fact that when you "reserve" the systems, you aren't even guaranteed to get them after they're released! That's the whole freaking point of a reservation! It blows my mind. These absurdities of American ways of life -despite the fact that some are avoidable- are the types of things I really don't miss about the place, and are the types of things I really, really don't look forward to when I come back. What a strange place. What strange ideas. And to think of how they try to spin the things they do to put themselves in a positive light. Or at least in a slightly less sinister light.

Ok, I've pissed myself off. I'm going to go and think of something positive for a bit.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Me: 1 China: 0

So with the help of Cami et al., I think I've beaten the system. I have a temporary non-Chinese IP address, and with such, I can post this message. We'll see if it works. I'm hopeful though.

Finally, a chance for an update. Alot has happened since I was slapped in the face with the Great Firewall of China, so it will be difficult to post much. So I'll just go with what I was just thinking about.

First of all, I'm totally stoked. It isn't because of anything major. In fact, that I'm stoked at all about what I'm stoked about is a testament of how easy it is to stoke me. I have live bookmarks on my browser, which allows me to browse my addiction-satisfaction sites much more quickly, leaving room for doing more valuable things with my time. Like glancing around my room and deciding not to clean. I have the most important stuff up there, such as video-game based comics, pointless news stories, short low-quality animations, and a real news source (just so I can kid myself). In addition (whoa, I almost accidentally wrote "addiction", which is probably more applicable), I have a site that tells me what words to say to stay hip with today's fly youngsters. I think the definition of "kthxbye" is extremely funny though, which is what this paragraph was getting to in a very circuitous fashion.

This past weekend, all the teachers banded together and went on an adventure in an agrestic area just outside of Beijing. We all had a chance to bond surviving the elements as we climbed up a gradually sloping, yet vicious, mountain and braved the unforgiving, placid waters of a giant lake in our duck boats. Later, we all bonded in the only way we know possible: By drinking, playing pool, bowling, and "singing" songs on karaoke. These poor songs never knew what was coming. It would be nice to say we(I) butchered them. Yes... less butchering, more torturing. I tortured Simon and Garfunkle's "The Sound of Silence".

The next day, Xiao Gao (Only the most awesome driver/repairman/organizer/partyplanner/sage/mentor/genius that's ever existed) put together a game for us to play. Since it was difficult to explain the rules of this totally made up game in both Chinese and English, it resulted in alot of us just running around bumping into other people. Which, to be honest, was a lot of fun anyway. I've never played a game and felt so incredibly out of touch with reality at the same time.

More updates. My camera... she is still broken. I was trying to find some way of fixing it for cheaper than 1600 yuan, but its not possible. So I don't know what to do. I have to do something though, I need more pictures.

Ok enough for now. Eating time.