Junk mail experiment has begun!

I’ve registered for three different catalogs with an online company with three different names: once as Ms., with my full name; once as Sir, with just my initials and last name, and once as Dr., with just my first initial and my last name. Now I’m going to wait and see if I get junk mail and what kind I’ll get with each name.

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“Recent Findings you are going To Kick out the Breakfast from Your Table due to Recent Findings”

Want to read a whole Web site full of uncorrected machine-translated Chinese science and technology articles? Well here you go! Why not start with “Recent Findings you are going To Kick out the Breakfast from Your Table due to Recent Findings” and then move on to “The Day with a “Made In China” Stamp On Your Backs You Walk Home Made By 3D Printed Vertebra”? Thanks to Mr. G for alerting me to this great resource!

Upstart Magazine

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Looking for omens

The deer get their closeup.

After all the things that happened in China I have to admit I started looking for omens when I got ready to leave, and when I just arrived in Ohio. One of the last days I was at home when I turned on the TV I found a broadcast of Ute Lemper signing Kurt Weill’s “Surabaya Johnny.” It’s one of my favorite songs, and I wondered if it was a good omen for the future (although it did also turn out I had missed an Ute Lemper performance in Shanghai). Then I got here, and on the first day walking around, I saw four deer just walking around, crossing the road in front of me. I wondered if that was a good omen too, because they were deer (Animals! Exciting!) and there were four of them (four is my favorite number).

Today I saw a deer again by my apartment building. It was doe, and was eating leaves. Then I noticed there was another animal nearby. I wondered if it was a groundhog or something. Used the zoom lens on my camera to take a picture, and then made that as big as I could to see it. It turns out it was just a cat, hanging out in the meadow with a deer nearby. I would have liked to stay and watch if they interacted, but I was afraid of making the deer nervous and driving it away, so I went back to my apartment.

(P.S. The deer at the picture at the top are ones I saw in East Lansing when I helped Kimi move to her new apartment.)

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Congratulations?

From a piece of spam sent to this blog:

Do you possess an hourglass composition? Congratulations, you can wear every little thing you want and still look huge.

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Greetings!

To my visitor from Teresina, Brasil!

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IKEA bounty

I a ton of stuff today, for about 200 dollars total. If I can remember correctly, I got: 2 lamps, 5 light bulbs, a filing cabinet, a bedside table, a coffee table, a TV table (not that I have a TV yet), a letter tray, a package of double A batteries, a wheeled shopping bag thing, a set of sheets and a book about IKEA.

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Church of the black eye

On the way back from a trip to IKEA (Yay!) we passed a church that was having a WWF-style wrestling match in a ring in front of it. On one hand, I was curious, and wanted to take pictures. On the other hand, it freaked me out and I thought we should stay away. A church where members see pile drivers and smashing somebody’s head against a turnbuckle as good worship activity … well, I don’t even know what to say about that.

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My new home

I’d like to say more about where I am and what I’m doing, but since the time I got snitched on for complaining about work I think I should be more discreet.

I will say I’m at one of the many, many small schools in Ohio. So far I’m surprised and impressed by some things here. I’ve found people really courteous and conscientious. People are also much more physically fit here than I have seen anywhere in the US since I left New York. I’m not sure why that is. Are Americans getting healthier, or is this peculiar to the town where I am? I guess most of the students are from within state, from pretty well-off families. However, that doesn’t make them radically different than lots of the students in Michigan, who were much less in shape.

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R.I.P. to another classmate

R.I.P. to a fine fellow and fellow Chinese student I knew as Bahb. From time to time I think of his story of how as his grandmother got older sometimes she’d revert back to speaking German.

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Escaping the ladies’ movie!

Today while I was at a departmental party UPS delivered my mattress and put it in my apartment building’s office, which was closed for the weekend by the time I got back. I called the emergency maintenance number and the worker agreed to come open it up for me. He helped me take the package to my apartment and I thanked him sincerely for coming all the way from home to help me. He said, “Actually, it’s all right, because it got me out of having to watch a ladies’ movie with my wife.”

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In Ohio

I’m in Ohio now. I got here on Saturday night. I’ve actually gotten an apartment already, set up a phone and home Internet, etc.

The actual trip here went surprisingly well. I got my whole security deposit back (despite not completely emptying out and cleaning my apartment :/) and then Curtis helped me get my bags to the airport. Unfortunately, Mao peed in the cat carrier, but even that did not smell as bad as I expected. She was quiet in the airport and did not yowl on the flight at all. The people in the Pudong airport were really nice and took us to a private room immediately so they could search the carrier. The security in Chicago did it too, but I had to wait at least fifteen minutes for a supervisor, and when that person never showed up two ladies from the normal security people came and did it. Mao was good and didn’t scratch me or try to escape. She was just too freaked out, I think. Despite the delay at security, and despite having to wait a long time for my luggage, I was still able to get my connecting flight because it just happened to be delayed. Even when I arrived at 11:30 p.m., the vet where I was going to board her came and opened up the place to let me drop her off there.

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Quote about libraries

I’ve been throwing out a lot of stuff, and today I came across this quote from a professor at my old school, ECNU (East China Normal University):

“You should learn to read with many kinds of people. You may feel they are dirty and poor, but if you stay with them, you will find it is not so. This is the spirit that libraries bring to people.”

I heard this on a news broadcast, but unfortunately did not get the professor’s name.

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Continuing to get ready

I’m continuing to get ready to move. Today I’ve gotten rid of the last of the unwanted books as well as a lot of plastic stuff from the kitchen. I also had a “Oh no! What have a I done?” moment where I started questioning my decision to move. I was thinking that my favorite thing to do in the world is tool around crappy or weird places in China, taking pictures. Then why am I going back to the US? It’s partly because of feeling unwanted and depressed. I’ve had these feelings like, “Screw you all! I’m leaving!” But if people don’t care about me, who am I hurting but myself? It’s not like my leaving will have an impact on them. Still, I know I am in a really bad head space and have not been happy at my job for some time. Getting out, and getting a change, is likely to be positive.

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Shed tears in front of Eddy

I had this strange experience today where I all of a sudden got really sad and started crying. I was at the hairdresser’s, trying to explain what I wanted, couldn’t find the picture I wanted to show him, an employee who was doing nothing was standing there staring for no reason, crowding me. I just started to feel sad and overwhelmed.

I started to cry, and Eddy my hairdresser asked me what was wrong, and I told him about how I’m moving, all the stuff that’s going on, all the stuff that’s happened since I’ve come back here. He was very nice and talked about how he’s sometimes very unhappy here in Shanghai since people are so different than up in his hometown by Harbin. He said he hoped I’d feel happier after going back to the US.

I started to feel all sentimental too, like “This is the last time I will see Eddy, the last time I will get my hair cut here,” etc. Really, there are a lot of nice people I know just in passing, and I’ll feel sad about not seeing anymore. I will even miss the Amazon delivery man and the family who run the quickie-mart near my building.

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Hello to Mongolia!

Hello to whoever visited from Bayankhongor, Mongolia!

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What’s goin’ on

I’m slowly getting closer to being ready to move. Actually, I’m having trouble getting everything as done as quickly as I’d like, but hoping that since I started out early everything will be done on time. Tomorrow I plan to try to sell some books at a secondhand bookstore, although it’s not totally necessary for me to do that. I could just leave them at work. However, because some of them are hardback, I was thinking I might be able to get some money for them.

One awkward thing happened. This woman I work with wanted to organize some sort of party for me and for another colleague who is leaving. We couldn’t agree on a day or time, he lives in Minhang and I live in Xujiahui, he doesn’t like Chinese food so we had to try to find someplace not Chinese. Finally I got a bit irritated and told her I don’t actually need a party and really didn’t mind if it didn’t happen at all. She was mad, I think, and cancelled it. Then she was very cold to me today and didn’t chat.

That seems to be the way it is when people move. Last time I left China one person told me at the last minute she was having a breakfast for me one morning after I had been up late hosting a party myself. She wanted it to be at a place which would take me 1 1/2 hours to go by subway, or to take a long and expensive cab ride (if I could even get a taxi). The restaurant served food that I was not super keen on. Even though I said I could not go, that I would be too tired, and if she wanted to do something for me I would like it to be near my house, the person did not listen. In the end, I never even went. I was just too tired, and it was too far to go. I felt like the party was not for me, but for the person giving it. Parties are like that a lot, I think.

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Submitted an idea

I’ve had an idea for a submission to Arrested Westeros for a long time — at least a year. Today I finally made it. I went to submit it, and it turns out the person who does the site wants you to use her Photoshop template, and if you can’t, she’d like you to just describe your idea to her so she can make it herself. I was a little disappointed, but I’ve done it, and now I just have to wait and see what her reaction is, and if my idea will end up on the site.

Stay tuned! I’ll post a link immediately if it’s accepted!

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Quilt

quilt of melancholy

This is a quilt I was making for a baby’s crib. It was nearly done when I came to China. I was going to finish it when I came here, thinking that if things worked out well between the Dog Man and I, I would eventually use it for our baby. However, now there’s no Dog Man and no baby. I’m taking it back to the US unfinished.

The solid red parts of the quilt are a fuzzy chenille.

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Burned offerings for my friend

Burned on behalf of my friend

My friend Zhao Jian Rong, who I always called the Dog Man, believed in Pu Sa, who is a manifestation of Guanyin Buddha, so I went to burn offerings to her on his behalf last Thursday. I went to Jade Buddha Temple because online I saw they had a statue of Pu Sa. Actually, I had been to the temple a couple times before, once with my friend Joe, when he was accompanying the Rocky Mountain Ballet on their Chinese tour. That time, we burned an offering for Joe’s dad, who had just died of stomach cancer, while a Native American dancer named Shonto Pete chanted a prayer for him.

Anyhow, I went to get some of the “hell money” and paper ingots at the temple store. The lady explained to me that the ones I was originally buying were actually for another deity, so they directed me to one which were specifically for Pu Sa. I got quite a big package of them (fifty or sixty in total). I was supposed to open them up and make them be shaped like a gold ingot, and then put them into a furnace. It was not so easy, but I got the hang of shaping them after a while. A Russian family kept taking pictures of themselves at the offering cauldron while I was doing it, and they took pictures of me too, which is kind of not cool. I just ignored it and concentrated on making the offering.

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Songs, again and again and again

Last week when I was at the home for blind & visually-impaired kids, I taught one of them how to get the CD player to play the same song again and again. After we listened to “Black Cat Police Chief” like fifteen times in a row, I thought, “Man, I bet the ladies who work here are not going to be happy about this.” I think total, we listened to the song close to fifty times. I got there today, and lo and behold, that CD was nowhere to be found. Today’s song was “Hey Lolly Lolly,” which I think we listened to about twenty-five times. Will the CD be there next week? Only time will tell!

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