Monthly Archives: June 2010

Colourful fog at 798

A couple of weeks ago I saw an installation at 798 for which the artists had constructed a vast room filled with fog. I went back again yesterday to take some pictures. It wasn’t quite as exciting this time round – it’s essentially little more than a silent disco with overactive fog machines. And I didn’t get the sense, as the curator claimed, that it’s a ‘manifesto of a creative dialogue developed between the two (artists)’ but it was fun in an amusement park attraction sort of way.

It couldn’t beat my favourite trip to 798, when I unintentionally took my students to see some of the most grotesque sculptures imaginable.

Honesty in Advertising

The blurb on the back of this pirate DVD reads:

This was probably one of the worst films I have seen in quite a long time. Just inexcusably awful. The acting was painfully pathetic and the script was laughable. Indeed I did laugh quite a bit each time a line was delivered or every time the swiss cheese plot gave away another predictable turn for the inane. Clearly this film has been on the shelf for a reason and I can only imagine the putrid stench that shelf now has. I used to think that I’d see any film with free screening passes and I’m reminded of all the good I could have done with that 1 hr. & 46 min. that has left me. I would’ve rather watched a McConaughey romantic comedy in an endless loop than be subjected to this again much less know that anyone was subjected to this.

The review was copied and pasted from here.

Egg Whites and Tofu

If there’s one thing that my years of eating disorder counselling taught me, it’s that restrictive, obsessive dieting doesn’t work.

Anyway, I’m seven days into a restrictive, obsessive diet. It’s the French one that’s a bit like Atkins. No carbs, lots of protein (difficult for a vegetarian) and, initially, not much else. Unlike Atkins, fat is not permitted but vegetables are. According to the website’s calculations, I’m due to reach my target weight by November.

Cynics might say that such a diet is terribly unhealthy. But to the doubters I say: can it really be any less healthy than my previous diet of noodles, ice cream and Diet Coke?

On Sunday, I finished the first five protein-only days in which I ate lots of egg whites, tofu and skimmed milk. And for the past two days I’ve been eating the above plus vegetables. I had homemade tomato soup and tofu for lunch, and aubergine, tofu and green stuff for supper. So it’s not too foul, but it is a little bit dull.

The diet is resurrecting my taste buds, which had more-or-less atrophied after years of sugar, artificial flavouring and fats. And, most importantly, I’m losing weight. I have no idea how much, as I don’t have scales, but I can feel it steadily melting away.

Of course, none of this dieting stupidity would be necessary if I hadn’t put the weight on in the first place. Unfortunately, my weight is always linked to my happiness. And over the past two years I made some stupid decisions that affected both.

If I had my time again, I would’ve left Beijing after my first year here. I’d seen the city, made some friends and (to a certain extent) enjoyed my job. But I was unsure of where to go and what to do next so I took the easy option and stayed. That was when things got ugly. I met someone who shall not be named and got dragged into a whirlpool of shit, and it’s taken the best part of two years to get back up to the surface.

The lesson that I need to take from this is that when a decision needs to be made, I need to be a man and make it. I can’t just float along doing whatever is easiest. And so it comes as a relief to know that, while I have no idea what my long-term future will be like, the next 10 months or so are planned and are worth looking forward to.

Chinese Swordswoman Vs. Intergalactic Crustacean

Guangzhou Park, January 2008. I didn’t see who won.

I Quit Korean

I’m a bit angry about this. Angry with myself.

Several weeks ago, I decided to learn Korean. I’m probably going to move there, I like Korean films and I’m interested in North Korea, so it seemed like as good a language as any to try to study. I bought an expensive text-book and took classes. I spent a lot of time making ‘learning aids’ (see above and below). But like French, Spanish and Chinese before it, I seem to have quit studying Korean.

I won’t go into details (this post is really just an excuse to show off my pictures), but my Korean classes pushed me into such a deep state of misanthropy that it became impossible to continue. But maybe language learning just isn’t for me. Afterall, as an English speaker, I can already communicate with up to a billion people worldwide and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s about one billion people too many.