Tag Archives: Whatever

The Devil’s Air Conditioner and Other Tales of Woe

Sometimes life in Beijing is like one of those Japanese game shows where they see how much torture people are willing to endure for surprisingly mediocre prizes. Picture the following and you’ve more or less got it: “Mr. Ishihara, for … Continue reading

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In defense of the fuzz

For many years I lived in Singapore, which is right on the equator and has roughly two seasons: slightly more rainy, and slightly less rainy. Otherwise, it was pretty much hot and humid throughout, which always used to freak me … Continue reading

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I can haz international funds?

After seven years and change in China it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the purpose of the Chinese banking system is to keep you from doing anything useful with your money. It is widely said that the … Continue reading

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What I learned when I shaved my head

I had a good run. I got more than forty years out of it. But I had to face the fact that my hair was in retreat and there was no going back. In fact, the front had already been … Continue reading

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I suck at Christmas trees

So I’m back in the US of A for Christmas and based on a sample size of two (my parents), I can report that the political mood here is bleak. My mom’s dog of many years died a week or … Continue reading

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Not enough radiation in your skull and other problems with retail

Modern Beijing, as distinct from the leafy, 1960s loufang neighborhoods and the hutongs, is an unlovely town at the best of times. No acreage of hanging glass curtain walls can make up for the viscerally alienating nature of the razor-edged, … Continue reading

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The last king of Guanhu

Continuing my exploration of the zaniest fixtures and furnishings in China, this weekend I looked at a lovely apartment in Greenlake Place (Guanhu) that was thoroughly trashed by this living room set: When I finally get around to overthrowing that … Continue reading

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Poorly thought out adventures in commuting

In the grip of my darkest and most bourgeois moments I actually considered buying a car and hiring a driver. So, it’s come to this… I thought, as I hovered over a digital map of Beijing. I have to get … Continue reading

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Imagethief movie minute: Wolverines, oil wells and balls of marine brass

For sheer surreality you gotta love Hollywood. And I’m not even talking about the films. Two PR-worthy Hollywood moments to remark upon today. First, the imminent arrival of the needless remake of cold war teen action flick Red Dawn has … Continue reading

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Down the rabbit hole in Kansai

So here’s how it goes. Someone inconveniently dies on your airplane just as it is about to take off. You experience an odd mix of feelings. On the one hand, you sympathize with the family and feel bad for their … Continue reading

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