New phone, who dis?

I bought a Google Pixel 2 off Taobao, for around 2500 CNY (divide by 6.7 to get the current USD). That’s around 370 USD. Suspiciously cheaper than the US price, which is always the cheapest. I’m thinking these fell off the back of a truck.

Here’s the display case at a nearby FamilyMart.

NYE with Star Wars

Alright, the first time I watched Star Wars was Episode I and II, sometime in 2005 or something like that.

Episode I

I’m now watching Episode I. It’s like watching a new movie. I barely remember it. Also, why do they spend so much time podracing? Why on earth is Liam Neeson’s communication device, of all things, so obviously a repainted version of the pastel green Gillette womens razor I used throughout high school? I love Ewan McGregor and he’s totally on my celebrity free pass list, but damn there’s only two people doing any decent acting in this movie, and that’s Liam Neeson and whoever Darth Maul’s actor is.

End of Episode I: That’s it? That’s your ending?

Episode II

Episode II: Thank fuck, Ewan McGregor’s acting ability has been restored! A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

Are you serious, Amidala? Anakin Skywalker is a creepy dude who is strangely fixated on her, Amidala keeps saying no, and then!! One day, he woos her by saying he hates sand because it’s coarse and rough and it gets everywhere, and believe it or not she totally swoons and kisses him. I literally yelled “WHAT!? WHY!?” at my screen, and at George Lucas too.

The only way I can explain it is that it was some sort of Jedi hallucination planted in her mind, because the next scene of frolicking in the meadows next to impossible waterfalls and frisky rhinos can’t possibly be anything but some sort of Jedi fever dream.

Ending of Episode II:

This seems to be a reoccuring theme

Supposedly if I start watching Episode III at 10:39 pm, the timing of “Execute Order 66” will be right at midnight.

Episode III:

The Gillette womens razor is back!

I’m happy to report that everyone’s acting has improved. Hayden Christensen’s acting FINALLY got better after he went evil. That said, in my non-actor opinion, it is also much, much easier to ham it up and be 100% angrybad. The “Power! Unlimited power!” Palpatine scene was hilariously bad though. However, any weakness in a scene that has an actor yelling “UNLIMITED POWAHHHHHH!!” is totally the script’s fault.

I didn’t realize how easily Obi-wan Kenobi sliced at Anakin from the higher ground. I guess that is the advantage of having the higher ground…

Anakin trying to crawl upwards: The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed

me

On living abroad

I moved away from the US in April 2014, and I have been back inside the US for 20 days since. If I made enough money for this to be a tax issue, the 20 days would totally help. But as it is, I don’t have to worry about that because I don’t make six figures.

I was chatting with a friend from back in the day, another life, another industry. Friend mentioned the stuffing being the best part of Christmas dinner, and I was briefly confused — isn’t stuffing a Thanksgiving thing? It took me a moment to remember that yes, Christmas dinner is a thing, and there is stuffing at Christmas dinners. You’d think that in the age of the Internet, I’d remember.

I’ve had a 4 day Christmas vacation – weekend plus two days. Everyone else in the office flew off to Southeast Asian beaches and whatnot. I enjoyed staying at home. I discovered Travelers on Netflix and bingewatched all 3 seasons in about 2 days, so good. And then I briefly wondered if I was like the agoraphobic character. And then I decided that no, agoraphobia means being afraid of the outside, and I’m not afraid of the outside world. I just like being at home with all my favorite things. It’s cold and windy outside, too.

The Bund, and psycho behavior

I went for a stroll at The Bund with a work colleague. The weather was either misty or foggy or simply polluted, and some of the buildings on the other side of the Huangpu River were obscured by it. At 10 pm, the main lights on the buildings around the Bund shut off in sync, which was really fascinating to see! I also want to check out what seems to be a rooftop bar with flamethrowers for lighting. I don’t even know which one it was. “rooftop bar shanghai bund” doesn’t really help. I guess I’ll just have to go there in person and find it again.

Anyway, the psycho behavior. Is it the colleague? Is it China? Work Colleague called me randomly at 9 pm, said he had just gotten out of an awkward blind date, and didn’t want to go home yet, and was I available for a random stroll around the city? Sure. I peeled myself off my couch, where I had been drinking whiskey and watching Galavant.

And then. Work Colleague was just shoving into people who weren’t even in his way, and he excused it by saying “someone did that to me earlier”. A car passed us by and then he sprinted and ran up really close to it to shout “Boo!” at it, which, by the way, almost got his toes run over.

We passed by someone taking a photo and he did some stupid I’m-in-your-way gesture just as the camera clicked, which would require another photo to be taken. I got upset and told him to remember the human, and he shrugged it off by saying that he has a lot of passive-aggressiveness built up. He also mentioned failing at online dating and that someone tried to call the police on him. I WONDER WHY. I cut the night short by saying it was raining, plus he needed to get back on the subway before it closed, so that he would only pay about 3-5 RMB for the subway instead of 100 RMB for a Didi. It was only about an hour, but I’m never hanging out with him again by choice.

7 Days Out

I enjoyed watching 7 Days Out, the documentary series from Netflix that shows the seven-day lead-up to big events. I hesitated to watch the episode about Eleven Madison Park. I used to work in fancy restaurants – not in New York, but in Los Angeles. Did I really want to watch a show about hectic stress?

Obviously, I did end up watching it. It was very much a trip back down my restaurant memory lane. The perfectionist FOH guy/gal, who never misses a thing. At one point, they check on the comfort level of the couch velvet, and that was TOTALLY a thing one of my previous jobs did.

The only thing I disagree about – at the end of the episode, the FOH guy goes on about how you can close your eyes in the middle of dinner service, and hear how good the shift is going. NO!!!! There is no difference. He was spouting nonsense. The only difference is if the dining room isn’t full = less noise. Also, less problems = FOH leader not flipping out, and not taking the time to close his eyes and bask in whatever the hell he thinks he’s hearing.

New York Times

Recently, my company was in the New York Times. By “my”, I mean the company I work at, not the company I run, duh.

The joke going around the company now is that maybe one of us will contact the NYT to provide an insider comment. For the photo, it’ll be one of those anonymized silhouettes, except that the rest of the staff will look at that photo and think – oh wait, is that R’s bubble butt? that’s a chunky sweater, it must be P!

Still settling in

Good news is, as of yesterday, I no longer have an empty fridge. I had one of those sad fridges you see in movies, the kind with a single yogurt cup inside, or just one packet of mayonnaise from a fast-food store. I can’t seem to find a full supermarket anywhere near I live, and Hema doesn’t deliver to my address. Ugh. So I paid for what I assume are slightly overpriced expat groceries from Fields China. Oh well. I am making enough money; I suppose I can afford it.

After living outside of Seoul for four and a half years and commuting to the fun zones, it’s nice to be able to step outside of my apartment and find myself right in the middle of the action.

I still find myself questioning if it was wise to uproot myself from Korea and move to China. I was strolling around Xintiandi, the bougie side of my subway station, and came across a Korean restaurant. I didn’t go in, I only looked at the menu by the entrance. It was so nice being able to actually read something and understand it. I’m essentially illiterate when it comes to Chinese.

Shanghai

Three weeks in, and I’m still in the process of settling in to Shanghai. My fridge is still empty. I only recently bought a fork, spoon, and a plate. Daiso here in China sucks, and it’s not just because I went to some reject Daiso – it was the big one at South Shaanxi Road Station.

I live on the third floor of a lane house at the edge of the Former French Concession, and a bit too close to the freeway. It’s a bit noisy, and when really big trucks pass on the freeway, the apartment shakes a little. I’m used to it now.

Oh, and in the previous post, I mentioned being worried about getting fake currency in Myeongdong. No problems at all. I deposited the cash in my new ICBC account without any problems.