Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dave's travel blog

There are just two reasons for this post:

1.) I'm kinda drunk, and I wanted at least drunk-post. Tonight is night 4 of the Scary Movie Week-a-thon, we watched Army of Darkness and Shaun of the Dead. Two of the funniest horror movies out there. And fun to drink to while watching.

2.) To link to Dave' Reidy's travel blog in India. It's a fantastically written and informative blog about life about working in India. Dave and Laura are awesome, and I'm not just saying that because I've drunken too many whiskey smoothies. But it helps.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scare-a-thon 2007


Lookie, a new e-chron postage. Who knows, maybe this will rebecome a regular thing for me.

The past weekend we went to a park to help make things pretty. I know I do a super job at that, personally, for the crusty pizza boxes and filthy socks that I'll probably wear tomorrow are organized in a very feng sh-way... heheh, get it?

It was a fun time, although it wasn't nearly as involved as last year's excursion to the outskirts of Beijing, or Jingy-town as it likes to be called. Nevertheless, it was still a joyous romp. I attended to see my Alaska class hard at work doing good for the environment. They really put their backs into it. In fact, I have some grossly outrageous photos to highlight some of the best samples of child-labor one is likely to see.

Our plan that day was to do some good for the world (clean parks, help old ladies cross streets, reunite puppy orphans with their families, etc.) and then go take some spooky pictures at an abandoned theme park that I read about in that's beijing. Unfortunately it became more of a recon mission, as we weren't actually able to find any of the buses that were supposed to deliver us. All the better though, we spent the rest of the day playing a 20-questions-ish game until said game erupted into a fiery religious debate. Too bad it seems like it's almost impossible to say the words "religious debate" without being preempted with the word "fiery".

I've made it a goal of mine to try to watch at least one scary movie per night after the October break leading up to Halloween. Of course, I keep to that oath more-so than I keep to more productive oaths like promises to visit friends on weekends or trying to workout or eat healthy on a regular basis. The result has been some weird dreams that tie most genres together, such as vampire werewolf zombies fighting ax-wielding maniacs. In essence, this means it's working.

This week, we're having a spooky movie scare-a-thon. Every night leading up to Saturday will and has been one scary movie party. God I love Halloween.

In other news, as some of you may or may not know, Dan Hubball will be visiting Beijing very soon. The date is rapidly approaching, and I'm trying my best to prepare lots of China things to do. I hope he brings Ribena though. I mean, I like him and all, but I'll be danged if I don't also like sugar-flavored black currant juice a whole crapload as well.

More to come. By the way, all the photos from the day can be located here.

PS: I just read Dave Reidy's blog. He's in India now. Mumbai. He got malaria. He's sick, but it sounds like he'll pull through. So... Mom? Dad? Wanna meet in Mumbai over February break instead of Canada?

PPS: I wanted to try the video uploader through blogger. If you can see it, this video is a 3d-itized version of the Great Wall photo from a year ago. Can't link to the original, because blogger is blocked AGAIN!
video

Friday, October 19, 2007

Something wicked this way comes.

First of all, I want to thank you guys for keeping with the blog and checking it from time to time and all. I can't read or comment on my own blog, but I can still post on it. I want to say things to you guys and respond and all, but I can't. I'm considering moving the old e-chron to a site that can be viewed in China, but most major blogging sites are blocked in China (Which is what this update is all about). I'd be endlessly appreciative if some of you guys could e-mail me sometime just a short e-mail so that I have ways of contacting you. Especially Maile and all the guys who still check this site from time to time from the old WoW days. It's drewlink@gmail.com.

Anyway, on to business. Things are going fine here in Beijing. Work keeps getting more interesting and has been adding up quite a bit. It's good work though. Interesting, with lots of variety. Variety is good. I remember working at some other jobs that shan't be named that basically involved 30 minutes of work supplemented with 7 and a half hours of watching Homestar Runner cartoons and reading every bit of trivia about Star Wars from imdb.com, all while trying to dodge the boss as he walked by the office. That got old, quick. I finally feel like I'm doing something that I can actually enjoy, and that might actually look good on a resume. I might even be able to qualify for the 2 years of HR work needed to certify as a PHR guy, which would make me glad that if I choose to continue working in the field, I won't have to take that godforsaken test any time soon.

Life here continues to be interesting as well. As the Olympics draws nearer, hilarious new commercials keep popping up on Chinese TV that show Beijing as a happy place with cars stopping for pedestrians and friendly shopkeepers smiling, utterly delighted by being graced with the presence of neighborhood friendlies. The sky is always blue, with rainbows shining down upon God's green earth, with unicorns frolicking in the streets! Oh what a magical place!

Now, what's weird is that anyone who lives in Beijing knows that this just ain't the case. Cars often *speed up* when they see a pedestrian crossing, even if you have the green light. And shopkeepers tend to scowl at the presence of foreigners (unless you live here, then they think everything you say in Chinese is side-splittingly hilarious). So... these ads don't work for locals.

Ah yes! It must be targeted at people interested in coming to visit! Of course! Except... huh. Well I guess anyone who would be shelling out the dough to come see glorious Beijing would be of the right mind to investigate the place. They might check blogs of people who post about Beijing or whatnot, as I did. When I looked up information back many months ago, guess what I found? Lots of people... *lots*... complaining about traffic, pollution, etc. etc. So, I guess the informed potential visitor might more readily see these posts rather than buy in to the pink-bordered, disneyland advertisements sponsored by Beijing 2008. Hmm...

Well, I guess it would be all fine and dandy, but NOW I wouldn't be able to really show you what I mean! Recently, there has been an all-out cyberwar declared apparently! Youtube is now blocked, so I can't find the commercials so that you may bask in its absurdity, and major search sites are now redirected to the highly censored Baidu website! That in combination with other actual *world-wide* reports on environmental issues (sorry, the link for this site no longer works for me, figures!) and every blog on the internet being blocked, it's very apparent that China will do anything to convince you that Beijing is Candyland. And by the way, the health report I mentioned says that 750,000 premature deaths in China can be linked to the pollution of it's cities. Granted, the report was mainly talking about other cities in China that are *far* worse than Beijing. But the *reason* this report was censored was either because: a) Chinese officials thought the report was already too wordy and bulky, and/or b) these reports would do nothing to inform the populace, it would just cause social unrest. Darn. I didn't look at it that way!

Alright, so maybe I'm peeved that I can no longer watch Star Wars spoofs or video game instructional videos, but all the news about this internet campaign has happened in the *last week*. And it just further validates my conspiracy inspired belief that the repairing of the cables in Taiwan after last year's earthquake was stifled because there was a huge flurry of activity on Baidu and other Chinese sites as a result. GrrrAAH!!

I'm all for Beijing trying to make a good name for itself before the Olympics. I *want* them to do well. I *like* China (mainly the people). Sure, they can be rude. Everything about China is expanding rapidly... almost too rapidly. But why do they have to execute executives almost immediately after being convicted for turning a blind eye on what paints they use for toys? Sure this was bad, but this was a harsh move that makes them look almost barbaric. Why do they have to feel like they need to lie to get people to come here? Why do they have to censor *everything* on the internet and keep people in the dark? Why do they have to block all other websites in order to improve the traffic of their own? The way to compete in business shouldn't be about blocking access to other alternatives. It should be about making *your* alternative the best one! Oh! Guess what else is blocked here? WebMD! W...T...F?!?

Like I said, I do like it here. I like living here. It's neat! The people here are good people! But they have a long way to come to impress the world, I think. And I hate to break it to them, but it won't happen by the time 08/08/08 comes around.