The holiday blues

I am sort of getting tired of living abroad. Yet, at the same time, I can’t see myself moving back to America and paying for things like a car, car insurance, gasoline, health insurance, rent, renters’ insurance … the list goes on.

Chinese classes got cancelled for two weeks and I was too busy to review. My hanzi recognition went down. It was/is frustrating. I know that character; why don’t I remember what it means or how to pronounce it?

I bummed around at home all weekend, only going out once to attend my Chinese class – at the end of which my teacher moaned about her job and how she might quit to find another job. I didn’t say so, but I thought, Shit — same here, bish, while thinking about my own job.

Perhaps I need to get out more. So for Christmas Eve and Christmas itself, I’m going to head out and hit up some interesting things to do/see. Maybe those interesting things will just annoy me further. Hm. To be continued.

I heard from Ana and Douglas and Ed today, which really did help to boost my mood.

Facial recognition

Here I am, at some sort of art/tech exhibition in China, from a while ago. Now – this is surely some kind of barebones project by a student or bored intern, and not actual top-of-the-line current tech. Let’s see what the cameras got about me:

Height: 1.6 m

Gender: F

Age: 22

Hair color, black = 1

My estimated age kept fluctuating between 18-25, which was extremely flattering because I’m actually 33. It did get my height correct. It says Hair color, Black = 1. I guess its 1=yes, 0=no … coding style.

I do think it’s funny how they have Facebook in their fake code, and logos of websites and apps such as Whatsapp. (Facebook, Whatsapp, and most other non-Chinese major social networking or messaging services are blocked in China.)

She got me dreaming like a Michigan boy

After 10 years, Stainless Style is still one of my favorite albums of all time. I remember overhearing Trick for Treat at a hipster dive bar in Eagle Rock, California. To me, it was a hit. I NEEDED to know who this band was, and even interrupted the conversation to do the “WAIT. WHO IS THIS!?” thing. My metal friend, for some reason, knew: Neon Neon. (I checked Soundcloud, just in case)

Personal blogs and their relevancy in 2019 and beyond

Personally, I think there will always be a place for YOUR blog, hosted on YOUR domain.

I recently got into the most ridiculous conversation with someone who declared that if he wanted, he could report a private domain blog and get it ‘blocked’ or ‘shut down’, “just like the report button on, like, Instagram”. (insert massive eye roll from me here)

Okay, so I guess one could report it to the hosting service and claim that it was hosting malicious/copyrighted/hate etc content – but then the hosting service goes and checks for themselves. And they only find holiday snaps and someone’s random blog thoughts. So how do you shut down a private blog that, though perhaps annoying by being self-absorbed or whatever … isn’t that annoying to the hosting service? Maybe a targeted DDOS attack, giving it the Internet hug of death … no, I’m giving too much weight to this nonsense. Basically, you can’t click and report private domains in the same way as reporting an Instagram or Twitter account.

Anyway, he was dumb and two days later I threw him out of my apartment because he kept wearing his shoes inside the house – the ONLY house rule he needed to follow.

“But I was in a hurry!” he said.

I still threw him out.

How to do money

I miss’s articles on Places I’ve Lived, and things like How a ___ Does Money (professor, intern, whatever). Where’s a girl to go for eavesdropping on others talking money woes?

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


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.