Thursday, May 27, 2010

stuffing ourselves with donkey meat

last weekend we took a trip out to distant chegongzhuangwai to sample some highly recommended donkey meat. the meat was cold and came on these big plates mixed with slightly hot green peppers. you then poured a mixture of vinegar and garlic over the meat, and put them in these flaky pastry things. it was good, and we ate a lot.

shanji and durrell enjoying the donkey meat

a chart explaining why donkey meat is better than beef, lamb and pork in terms of water, protein, fat and ash (?) content

Thursday, May 20, 2010

brewing beer: my career advantage

as some of you may or may not know, i've returned stateside, replaced by new clark. you may also know that i'm a significantly better blogger from outside china.

this move means trying to kick-start a job search in the worst economy we'll see for generations. nice work, old clark. but i'm doing my darnedest to put my best foot forward, which includes tinkering with the old resume.

i've always struggled with the "additional" line at the bottom of the resume (reading, jogging, harry potter, etc.) what is its real purpose? what should you include? what shouldn't you include? what does the decision to include this line, at all, say about you, the job seeker? does your career ever reach a point where you outgrow the "additional" line? does your career ever reach a point where you outgrow the resume? (sec. treas. here i come!)

once in a previous job, a resume came across my desk that listed the job-seeker as a "van morrison enthusiast." this caught my eye, no doubt, and i thankfully had the chance to interview the candidate. the guy got the job and turned out to be really cool -- deserving of his self-ascribed epithet -- but i think it could have gone either way, honestly. i was simply intrigued. i also interpreted this to be a potentially cautionary tale: if you claim to be a "van morrison enthusiast," you better be a van morrison enthusiast. i would not, for example, want to sit across the table from an interviewer who thinks they are, in fact, more van morrison enthusiast than i. so how far can you actually push the "additional" line?

another problem i constantly fear is that i'm hobby-less. i'm a very interesting guy, don't get me wrong -- i just don't lend well to established "hobbies" (e.g. blogging or rooting for professional sports teams.) there's nothing wrong with this, i swear!

so after much deliberation (clearly) i left several of the painfully generic elements in my additional line untouched ("traveling, snowboarding"), but decided to spice it up some with... beer brewing.

it has been an enormous hit. after months of wondering if people actually even made it that far on my resume, i've received comment after comment about my experiences in brewing. and the fact that i did this in china makes it even that much more noteworthy -- which is standard for pretty much any ex-pat activity and/or activities performed by ex-pats.

why is this?

are there more closet brewers out there than i originally assumed? is beer brewing still a form of connoisseurship that you can discuss in broad daylight without pretension? (...tentative use of connoisseur there... which is a pretentious word in itself.)

do i care? not really -- just so long as the positive comments about my resume's "additional" line keep coming. so for all the unemployed out there, i highly recommend making a mash this weekend. you'll thank me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Worstest Word You Can Say in a Movie in China

Recently, New Clark, Golze, my roommate, and I went to see Iron Man 2, taking advantage of half price Tuesdays. And for some reason, they kept censoring a word. At first I could not tell what the word was, I just assumed it might be a certain word. But I was like, why the hell would they censor that word, the Cold War ended at least 10 years ago, who is going to care about that word. But it kept happening, they kept censoring the word. I mean why would Russia care that they are the bad guys in the movie and is it really that hard to tell that Mickey Rourke is using a bad Russian accent. Do you need to keep censoring the word Russia/Russian. There are enough Russians in Beijing to know that Russians are super villains. I mean Chocolate is infamous in Beijing. I could understand censoring Swaziland or even Nauru, but why Russia. Come on! China and Russia broke up like 20 years ago, it's okay to say her name again. Get over it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

asian baseball tour 2009/2010: japan!

last weekend i took a quick trip back to japan to see my friends steve and caitlyn before they move back to states and also complete a quad-fecta of baseball in asia. as fans of the blog know, i've seen professional games in china, korea and taiwan, and so i wanted to tick off japan while i still had a free place to stay there. durrell was originally going to join but visa issues grounded him in beijing.

fukuoka's yahoo! japan dome

the game was great, and felt the most like a professional, big league game of the four countries. the soft bank hawks (fukuoka, the home team, yay!) beat the chiba marines (hiss!) in a very exciting game that included a number of home runs and one spectacular collision about five meters in front of home plate. the hawks' runner clobbered the catcher, who had only just caught the ball, sending the ball flying. the runner lay on the ground for a second, climbed up and stumbled a few steps to home before collapsing on the plate. the catcher stayed down for a while.

one interesting tradition took place in lieu of the seventh inning stretch. in the middle of the seventh inning (or after the seventh inning, i don't remember) everybody in the crowd blew up these rather phallic-shaped balloons, sang a song together, then released them into the air. a little plastic whistle was attached to the end of each balloon so that they all buzzed terrifically when let go. they also all fell on everybody's heads after. this was repeated after the end of the game as well, but with white balloons instead of yellow. i guess white stands for victory.

getting ready to blow!


all in all a good time. i think of all the games i saw, the korean game was the most fun, because it had the best balance between major league professionalism and local quirkiness in the form of gimbop, giant beers and dried squid. japan felt a bit too clean and professional (the stadium was called the Yahoo! Japan Dome, for instance). the two chinese games were a blast but the enjoyment was mostly fuelled by friends and alcohol, as opposed to the quality of the game itself. taiwan was quiet and peaceful but not very exciting. now that i think about it, each of these games are pretty representative of my experiences in their host countries. maybe i should write a story about it. i'm sure i could get the nytimes to publish that crap.