Voting from abroad, part 2

Bernie Sanders was my choice in 2016 and still is. My absentee ballot will be mailed to Shanghai, or probably has already arrived … but because of the coronavirus, I’m staying far, far away for a while. Until February 13, anyway. Waiting for a response on my email about printing out a ballot and mailing it from Malaysia or wherever I end up waiting out The Plague. I’m a Super Tuesday voter this time around and I will have my vote!!

We will waive the change fee just once, only once

I was due to fly back to Shanghai on February 01 at 3 pm, but those plans have been axed for now. I thought (and still think) this coronavirus situation is overblown and mostly mass hysteria, but I’ve now delayed my flight due to two reasons.

Reason 1. After a series of emails about “do not travel to Wuhan + avoid unnecessary travel to the rest of China”, the American embassy’s almost-daily email has now changed its tune to DO NOT TRAVEL TO CHINA. This is something more than mass hysteria, because if shit really does hit the fan … I was warned and did not take their advice, and would be on my own.

Jan 28 email:

Jan 31 email:

Reason 2. My company has now changed the work start date to mid-February. Flying back now would mean sitting in my Shanghai apartment for two weeks, counting down the days.

I phoned Malaysia Airlines and the customer service agent said that the fee would be waived once, just once. No changing to open jaw, just the same itinerary on a different day. I picked February 13 — a few days before my start date at work (for now). The start date may change, and honestly, I am fully expecting it to. Later, I found out that I had the option to cancel for a full refund but was not told this on the phone. Fuckers.

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.