Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Miscellaneous Happenings

Been keeping fairly busy with my regular disarray of work and friends here in Dalian.

Last night, my brother-friend/art-exhibitor M invited me to small modern art exhibit he arranged at the newly opened and highly cool 乐活书吧 (or, LOHAS BookBar...apparently an English acronym for "Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability," which I've never heard of, but which could plausibly be a uppity art trend back West).

The event was cool; a bunch of art critics (including my other friend, the Anhui-Swedish contemporary art professor) sat around drinking red wine, eating watermelon, and discussing aesthetics. Not too shabby. I tuned in for awhile, then wandered around the bookstore part of the bar, where I found a translated Chinese copy of the immensely readable philosophy primer, Sophie's World.

While browsing I also happened to bump into 白君虹, who was the artist being exhibited and celebrated at the event. We chatted for awhile and she bought Sophie's World on my recommendation. The below is a pic of us she emailed to me afterwards. Hopefully, we'll keep in touch... I'm always looking to increase the number of cultured people around me, if only to hide my 彪 nature from society's judging eyes.

During the days, mostly, I'm working. My job at the Chinese school has gotten more and more interesting as we've started to turn the projects I design into reality: this week we did our first trial session of the 傻瓜课程 I've put together. The 傻瓜课程 (or "Idiot's Lesson") is basically a Teaching Chinese for Dummies module, a pre-fabricated lesson plan that any teacher can effectively adapt to any student. It's an interesting model, and we're relying mostly on multi-media and interactive exercises to get students away from the textbooks and really into the language.

Since most of the "multi-media" we're using is actually "stolen" from other organizations, I'm working on a parallel project to manufacture our own Chinese learning videos. Acting as writer and director, I recruited two teachers and the head of our school to act in three short lesson-videos for beginner students in Business Chinese. Here's a screen-shot of our "Meeting Mr. Manager" lesson-video.

After a long day of video post-production (adding subtitles in iMovie can be a bitch, I tell ya), I left the office at three this afternoon and met my friend V, who invited me to have dinner at her place (V's mother is an amazing cook).

But on the way back to her place, something happened...

Who would be the victim if I said I ended a long-term and (for me, at least) monogamous relationship by having an unplanned but ultimately delightful affair with my friend V?

Not my girlfriend, Chernobyl.
My brother, Hermano!

You see, for almost two and a half years now, my brother has been my sole and faithful partner in amateur barbering... that is, we take Swiss Army knives to each other's scalps and carve the hair up real good.

But not long ago I found my brother has been, uhum, seeing other people. So this afternoon I decided to be naughty and let V take a turn at the wheel. Being significantly more concerned with appearances than my brother, however, she insisted she cut my hair in an actual barbershop (instead of on a mountain where Hermano and I usually do it). So we paid a barber 10 kuai to borrow his chair and his scissors, and V went to work on what was becoming quite a thicket.

The result? See for yourself:

Not to shabby, I think. Later, as I paid the bill at a coffee shop I frequent often, the waitress said "hey, I like your new haircut!" which surprised and kind of appalled me; the reason I get my haircut by amateurs is because I like feeling ugly sometimes... it's a anonymous and humbling experience.

In any case, the haircut got topped off with a first-rate dinner; I can't resist listing the delicacies: cauliflower-and-meat, winter-melon-and-meat, Dalian mushu with egg and mu'er'dou, a heap of fried salty sliver fish, and boiled squid in garlic sauce. Fresh corn on the cob. Fresh lettuce and spring onions. Conversation was provided by V's mother, who recently returned from a tour of Yunnan's Xishuangbana and gave us a picturesque description of minority tribes on the Myanmar border that live in trees and eat leaves and have black teeth and no electricity. For dessert we ate fresh, juicy watermelon, something called 山竹 (mangosteen?), and the most absolutely scramble-your-brains delicious sweet little mangoes that V's Mom brought from the rainforest, which I will remember forever as ORGASMANGOES.

Now then, I'm back at the flat and about to finish the end of 奋斗, which I've been watching almost non-stop since writing the great blog-post about struggle that nobody cared to comment on.
Unfortunately, I'm almost done with the whole show; I'll be sad when it's over, but I can always listen to the fantastic theme song whenever I want.

Night ya'll!


La Mama said...

You make me laugh! But the picture is great -- you're a really handsome guy! (But then, I thought so already.)
And by the way, V is pretty!

I plan to show your previous blog entry about struggle and wu-wei to my class this morning because it so relates to both the Taoist principles that we're studying now and the jihad idea from Islam (jihad really means internal struggle) that we looked at last week.

China is literally front page news here and it's all very sad due to the earthquake. So your blog entries suggest that it either isn't news there or isn't front and center in people's minds as it is here.

赵晨威 said...

Interesting about the earthquake. I guess my blog's silence on the issues is because:

1) Neither I nor anyone I know has been personally affected.

2) Looking over this blog's history, it's almost never dealt with current events. With the exception of some culture observations, it's pretty much all about me. This means either
a) it's a selfish blog, or
b) it's a LENS through which to gain a greater understanding of contemporary Chinese society.

Think about it.

In any case, my heart does go out to all of those affected. I wish everyone there health, wish the area itself a quick and effective rescue and repair, and hope China can make the second half of '08 as glorious as the first half has been disastrous.

Anonymous said...

okay...have to say, the first comment is kinda disturbing for me...that is a judgement made too easily even though he/she used the word "suggest"...


thank any part of the world if they were even just a little concerned and sad about that earthquake, but remember, nobody can ever be as sad as us China and Chinese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

赵晨威 said...


in la mama's defense, she did make a personal retraction/qualification to me after the fact...