Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Crowning Achievements

   So I feel like I've accrued several separate heinous (in their own ways) bouts of transportation experience over the last half dozen years; a 3-week road trip with the family at the height of my angst-y teenage years; a cross-country marathon to Utah climaxing in on the road acrobatics that I can't even come close to doing on my snowboard; a 20-hour dirt road jaunt across Mongolia.  Now I can safely say I added another.
   After what ended being possibly my best weekend over here (the Shanghai International Ultimate Tournament, see Facebook for photos), I was faced with a daunting decision.  Due to the Expo trains in and out of Shanghai have been absolutely packed for weeks.  Generally I love taking those trains.  If you plan it right you get a nice bed, get to meet some people and make friends, you arrive at your destination nice and early in the morning, no hotel, it's cheap, if I were to get really excited I might say bliss.
   But that is if you plan it well.  And this time it was impossible to plan well.  We arrived in Shanghai on Friday and the first thing we did was book tickets back to Taiyuan, no beds, not even enough seats, Nick had to get a ticket for Tuesday.  So what ends up happening after a couple long days in the sun on Saturday and Sunday is Nick decides to fly, I will take his ticket and we'll get a new ticket for Matthias (my roommate).  That new ticket turns out to be a no-seater, they ran out of hard seats again. 
   So I decide the best bet is to give the hard seat ticket to Matthias, he doesn't speak any Chinese, and go in search of any possible empty beds (folks that didn't show up) or at least get a seat in the Dining Car.  Turns out everyone showed up, every single bed is full, and they are charging to get into the Dining Car.  I pay and sit and face the following for the next nine hours.  First, I have to pay two more times to keep my seat.  Second, there are two little kids running around the car yelling laughing and screaming.  Initially I welcomed it, two little kids being funny.  Then one of them pees on the carpet at my feet and the other throws up his dinner which sets these two both off to crying at 11pm.  Third, they never turn the lights off in the car.  Fourth, at least three older Chinese men get in arguments with the girl bartending because she won't let them smoke in the car, two just do it anyways.  Fifth we all get woken up and kicked out of the car at 5:30am so they can clean, we aren't allowed back in.
   Now I've said before, I love taking the train.  You get to see the country in a whole other way.  But if I don't have a seat next time, to hell with that,I'm flyin.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bashing or Advertising?

Finally an entire day with internet!  And so my next installment of Chinese Brand Sniping is on it's way.  We'll keep it short though, pictures always speak louder than words.

It's like the Bulls estranged cousin.

Still can't figure it out?

This one goes much better with jaeger.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stage 2

I'm skeptical that there are many folks who actually look at this blog, however I would feel remiss if I didn't send a congratulations out to the UVM graduates of 2010, they all helped make my senior year there an exceptionally special time and so I hope their years were equally wonderful.
So best of luck to you all in the future, and if you are one of the aforementioned grads and are actively reading this send me an email sometime, It's been a long time since I've talked with most of you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coming to Life

  So I think I've mentioned before that we tend to have an extraordinary amount of free-time here in Taigu; 16 hour work weeks and what not.  As a result the usual ridiculous schemes and ideas that people come up with but never actually pursue tend to get a fair amount of attention.
  Towards the beginning of this semester we started a "TV night" where the American teachers would all get together and watch a select few shows week to week, to get our American TV fix.  One of the early mainstays was Family Matters, which we naturally felt inclined to because of our extremely close knit group here.  That eventually spun off into belting out the theme song while group hugging at dance parties.  Not too long after that Dan and Gerald began getting creative and actually wrote a script for a Taigu spin-off of Family Matters.  From there each teacher was assigned a role and the following is just a taste of things to come.

It's Not Jackie Chan sitcom intro from Gerald Lee on Vimeo.

Actual footage has already been shot and we hope to have a full length pilot episode done by the end of the semester.

Anyways, what started out as a joke has now been fully fleshed out in reality

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If I could take it back...

  I definitely would!  I believe I've cursed the Red Sox this season by implying that NongDa had a better curve ball than Josh Beckett.  If I had only known the consequences...oh the shame.  Though I guess in terms of my usage of the word the Red Sox still do have a better curve ball.  I expect to be told nothing here, but under .500 after 30 games?!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm a man of my word

  So I created this blog so that all of you (4 people) could be kept up to date on my goings on in China.  Lately however I've been off the blog; for like a month at this point.  So here I am, back again!  I could chalk the absence up to having some extremely moody internet (which is half the truth) but it's really been a combination of nice weather and video games that have been keeping me away (I won't go into detail on which of those two has been more time-consuming).

  Anyways, a while back I began a segment on Chinese Brand Sniping (an homage to Brad's old "before the recession" posts, I always got a chuckle out of those) and the Riich company.  Well today I have a special treat for you.

  When looking for these kinds of labels one usually expects well..one knock off, and with this particular item we've found several.  I say "we" because this really became a group effort, scouring China from Taigu to Taiyuan to Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan.  And who would have ever thought that Oreo's would inspire such admiration (for copying is the highest form of admiration...right?).

 Everyone's favorite fatty snack, apparently popular is Spain as well.

   Anyways, enjoy the pictures:

The Original; it came to inspire a use similar to being punked: "o-copped"
Look closely, yup definitely missing an "O"

My own personal find from Wuhan

And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

  Unfortunately I have no pictures but we also stumbled across "Olino's," or James stumbled upon them in Beijing.

  Don't worry either, I've got others.  All in good time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

NingBo Hold-overs

So there were two gems from the Ningbo Hat Tournament that I forgot to add to my last post.  The first being a wonderful new song, a real pump up beat.  Enjoy...

Next time you're having an outdoor dance party crank this up and wonder about why none of us can make money writing music.

The second was an analysis of the movie Avatar.  One of the guys from Beijing had his Chinese students watch the movie and then discuss it is in class.  To anyone from America or Europe the sometimes overbearing theme of colonization and the oppression of indigenous peoples was obvious.  To one of this guys students however it was not, presumably because China does not have such an extensive history of colonial rule.  His conclusion? If you can get a big bird you'll get a girlfriend and be important and successful.  "Big bird" or 大鸟(da niao)...think about it.