A spinoff in proper "Rhoda" style of my patented e-mail blastograms, this blog was created with the intention of keeping friends and family updated on and amused by my life.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I went and saw Babel (the British have had too much influence on me, I keep calling it bay-bul in my head instead of baa-bul like it should be) tonight after much waiting. I’ve been desperate to see it since it first came out in London during the London Film Festival in October or November but hadn’t had the chance until now. I enjoyed it so very much, though it left me in a mood.

One of the main criticisms I’ve heard of the movie was that the apparently disparate stories that it tries to weave together into one overarching tale had tenuous links at best. And while I agree that the stories could have happened unrelated to each other, it made me appreciate the connections even more. That’s what our globalizing world is all about after all, innit? The small ways in which we are inextricably linked to each other.

I also thought that it made an important point about how people (in this case the Americans were the evil perpetuators, though they are not alone in this I assure you) approach the Other and how that affects those relationships at a fundamental level. ‘We did something wrong because they think we did something wrong’, explained one of the main characters, for example.

Which was possibly why the guy next to me made me so angry. I’m not sure where he’s ‘from’, but he was speaking a mixture of Spanish and English throughout the film. And as if the fact that he was talking throughout the film wasn’t annoying enough, when it came to a part where an older gentleman in the film was freaking out about all the ‘terrorists’ in a Moroccan village, the guy turned to his girlfriend (or whatever), whose hand he kept slurpily kissing throughout the film, and said something like, ‘oh those stupid Americans, they’re always like that, worried about terrorists’. Which I suppose was more or less what I was thinking too, but I was frustrated a) with the fact that he didn’t recognize that he had an American sitting right next to him in the theatre (I was decked out in jeans and a Yale hoodie and everything), but more importantly b) that the guy in the film to whom he was referring had a markedly British accent. I just fumed, thinking, ‘fine, generalize about Americans, but at least do it based on actual Americans, not characters in movies, and especially not British ones!’

The story of the ‘lead’ Japanese character probably attracted me most, and I particularly enjoyed the cuts between her perspective that had no sound and the raucous club around her. And the end really tied it up for me, though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. You’ll just have to go see it to know what I’m talking about.

I know I don’t usually do film reviews here on my blog, but all in all, I would highly recommend this one, and thanks for indulging me this once.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Soilent Green?

I have to admit, that when I saw this article, Why is Chinese Mountain Painted Green?, I was baffled by Chinese logic. In Fumin, a county in the Yunnan Province (read, one of my homes away from home) a local leader decided that an old rock quarry on a mountain behind his village was unsightly and messing with his fengshui (this part I understand). His solution was less explicable: he decided to hire workers to paint the old quarry green (please see the pictures of the newly re-decorated mountain for your viewing pleasure/horror below).

When asked in a Chinese news website why he decided to do this, Du said:

Which in English would be: "Originally, I contracted for the stone quarry and earned some money. Then I decided to build a house and settle here, the entrance looking out onto the barren red rock. Later, my life and career were really unlucky. The fengshui master (geomancer?) said that the barrenness of the quarry's red rock was interrupting my fengshui, so I hired some workers to paint the red rock green right away."

Right, obvious answer. Let's forget about the huge environmental impact that covering a mountain in synthetic paint has, and paint it an iridescent color that looks horribly unnatural. That makes things better. In the IHT article, they claim that over 470,000RMB was spent on the painting, though the man in the Chinese article says he only paid about 10,000RMB (about UD$1,250). In either case, for that amount of money, this guy could have made a real postive impact on the environment by working to reclaim the area with plants etc.

No, I'm just not following the logic there. But then, I don't think the Chinese are either, which is why it's in the news there. The international press has taken it up as some kind of a look-how-weird-the-Chinese-are kind of an article, which I can't say I approve of either.

Well, happy Valentine's Day anyway. Anybody want to paint something red to profess their love for me?

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Blogging Backlog

Oh my my my, I've been a bad blogger these past couple of weeks. I suppose it's partly because I've recently gained two new outlets for my world wide webbing pleasure: Facebook, and an online discussion forum for one of my classes.

Facebook is simply one of my new sins, and I'm probably on it much too much. I can update my 'current status', which is a great way to share little thoughts without bothering the blogosphere. I can share random music videos of some of my favorite artists from around the world so that everybody can share in the fun, and I can do all this while keeping tabs on what other people are up to. How fun is that?! So, if you're on Facebook and you haven't already, you should friend me!

As for all of my global frustrations, I'm taking them out on the online discussion forum for my Media and Globalisation class. I'm sure they don't really appreciate my rants either, and I noticed that as one person in a class of at least 50, I had about 10% of the content posts on the forum, so I've decided to try to curtail that for a while. We'll see how long I last.

But in the honour of the good ole' blog, I thought I'd share some randomness with all you non-Facebook folk.

First, I must mention this article that I just saw on the IHT. Apparently Harvard researchers have linked an afternoon nap to lower risk of heart disease. I think I'm going to have to move back to Kunming so I can take me a siesta every lunch, it makes so much more sense than the American system!!

Though speaking of heart disease, I did finally get up the nerve to register with the National Health Service (NHS, the nationalised healthcare system over here in Britain) yesterday. Yes, I made an appointment last week to register (that's how bureaucratic the system is), and finally had an appointment after months of a terribly hurting foot. I went in, and they told me I had excellent blood pressure, and that I had Morton's neuroma on my foot. In other words, my nerve has been pinched between two bones at the joint that connects my middle toe to the rest of my foot. This has caused the nerve ending to become irritated and inflamed, and thus painful. The solution in the US is a simple surgery to cut out the nerve ending, but the doctor here suggested that by the time I got done with all my paperwork etc., that the swelling would probably go down. The doctor instead suggested I try new shoes with an air cushion and not walk as much. Thank you doc, that's very helpful.

And in other health related news, I've now gone 8 days since last ingesting or in any way consuming a chocolate digestive biscuit (cookie). I knew I had a problem when I realised I was spending roughly US$20 a week on the biscuits. More than a week, it's a step in the right direction, innit!

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