Friday, October 29, 2004

scissors and tape

went to the notary this morning to change some documents that had been notarized wrong. Basically a there was a different address on our deed than there was in the notarized docs. We get there really early in the morning around 8am, sit down at the notary's desk and explain the issue. She says no problem and proceeds to rip the offending page out of the packet of documents. Nevermind that the whole thing was held together by a couple of staples. She walks away for a few moments and comes back with a pair of scissors and starts poking a hole into the document with the sharp end of the scissors. She's going to a lot of effort to push the scissors through the paper, wrinkling the whole document and spinning it around and around to cut out the address that is written wrong. It's like we're in kindergarten and the teacher has just given an an assignment to make snowflakes. Little bits of paper are falling all over the desk. Then she attacks the signatures on the bottom ofthe page, cutting them out one by one. Her desk is a mess. Then, she takes this paper full of holes and makes 5 photocopies of it, brings it back to us and tells us to fill in by hand the right address on each of the forms and has us sign all the documents one by one.

This is how offical documents get made in Beijing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

bottomless pit

I'm organizing the art exhibition for the The Planetary Collegium. Everyday a new artist comes on board, and everyday I rearrange the floorplan, rewrite the equipment list and rethink the entire show. I suppose it will be like this until the very end. Should be a very ahem... interesting show. At least in Beijing, I should come to expect it. Luckily things can be done quickly. Undoubtedly there will be more chaos to come.

Monday, October 25, 2004

empty office

for some reason I showed up to a practically empty office this morning. Creepy as hell. The fluorescents are all buzzing; the phones are ringing... but... there... isn't... anyone... around. Feels like the opening of an urban horror flick. I can hear maybe 5 other people chatting. I can hear all of their conversations, they can hear mine. I've never noticed it before. There is something so offputting about scenarios of industry without a single human in the picture. Sort of like these photos taken by a good friend's brother Matthew Pillsbury. Scroll down to Portfolio: After Hours eeeeeeeeerie... which seems to be the theme for this rainy monday. Also now that I think about it, last night at dinner the conversation also veered towards ghost stories. 'tis the season, I suppose. eeeeuuuuuhhhhhhh. I'm sticking my fingers in my ears. LALALALALALALA.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

seeing double

I just went to a 24 hour noodle place at 2am. only a few people were there, mostly drunken men and off duty prostitutes. There were two women siting at separate tables that looked exactly alike. I couldn't stop looking at them both. same square jaw, ski jump nose, high forehead. Same biggish eyes and a way of leaning on their right hand as if talking on a cell phone. They even parted their hair on the same side. trippy. what are the chances in a counrty of 1.2 billion that there are two people who have the exact same facial features are sitting 10 feet away from each other in an all night noodle joint?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

fits of imagined violence

Daily life in Beijing has been doing wonders for my imagination. When cars cut me off as I'm riding my bike, or when the random hand thrusts across my face while I'm standing in line in front of a ticket window, my brain seems to recoil into moments of absolute fantasy. Fantasies that involve elbowing the line jumper in the face and kicking him in the stomach as he's collpsed on the ground. Fantasies of slamming my fist onto the hood of the black Audi (because black Audis are the worst, really) and getting into a shouting match with the driver. I imagine the driver getting out of the driver's seat and I envision punching him in the face repeatedly while shouting, "Learn to drive, motherfucker!" I would pick up my bike and throw it through his windshield scratching the immaculate paint job on the vehicle. I dream about jumping up and down on the roof screaming, "Stop at the red light, fuck face! Who do you think you are?!?! It's not even your car! You're just the DRIVER!"

Yes, indeed - highly evolved and civilized behavior. At least it's only a fantasy. I rationalize that it helps me let go of tension, but is there ever a good way to relieve road rage? If anyone has any ideas, I got a serious case of pedestrian self-righteousness brewing.

Friday, October 08, 2004

back to the grind

what's great on the first day of work after a national holiday is that everyone is still on vacation. chatty, friendly, relaxed people. now if only we could be like this all the time. alas, we're not. probably because we wouldn't be able to appreciate our vacation time if every day was so pleasant. sick, isn't it.

my brain is still floating around somewhere in southeast asia. at lunch i thought about a fresh papaya and avacado shake we had sitting in a little fruit stand in hanoi. instead I just stabbed away at a dish of egg and tomato. sigh.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

exotic locales

just back from vacation in Vietnam. Not just any vacation, I don't think I've had a day off since February. I think my body went into shock once we got there. Warm weather, cool breeze, freindly helpful people, and just stunning food. I kept thinking, "Daaamn, is this how normal people go on vacation?!?"

Amazingly light and crisp french bread, thick coffees, cold noodles dipped in a tangy fish sauce. Froie gras and goat cheese melted on toast over a salad dressed in vinagrette. warm deep fried chocolate balls with a coating of cinnamon and flour. hot and sour fish soup with taro stems. duck carpaccio with a sesame cracker. sesame coated squid bits. grilled tuna wrapped in rice paper wraps. I could go on...

Why didn't I get to Vietnam sooner? I'm an idiot. Stuck in China for so long. Now I have to figure out a way to get back to Hanoi. We smuggled in a bag of limes and handfulls of shiso leaves and lemon basil with no shame.