Here is the update you are all waiting for

So yeah, there are a couple of articles drafted, but that is hard to see for the world, when you are not logged into my wordpress account.

Currently it is the best time, I mean weather wise in Shanghai. The temperature hovers around 23 degrees, the sun is shining and the AQI is in the green zone. Here is the information directly from the US Consulate in Shanghai which is located 50m from where I work. The thing is: last year December and January of this year, the level was over 9000, no, but yes, it basically exceeded the 500.

So I have been outside, I’ve been eating a lot of good food recently and we decided to start cooking after moving into an apartment with kitchen. Things are good!

Today was Gotham and Blacklist day. Monday is Walking Dead and Homeland Day, there is one Day with the Flash and Thursday is Arrow and American Horror Story Day, sometimes with Modern Family mixed in, but sometimes I leave that for the weekend. Agents of Shield I watch when I am in the mood, but I will not be bothered much if I miss an epsiode.

There is a couple of shows that I follow religiously as you can see and I am not religious.

Gotham is still leads the way and is probably the show I look forward to the most every week. It has a great charme, a bit TIm Burton Batman, a good cop duo, a really good child actor (who is basically already the greatest detective in the world – but I am not too bothered with that) and a hint of the Adam West campiness – it’s very enjoyable and a bit silly – perfect to escape to Gotham for an hour, not perfect but good.

Blacklist is okay but has brilliant music all the way through and of course James Spader who will be the evil A.I. Ultron in the upcoming Marvel madness Avengers: Age of Ultron, if you haven’t seen the leaked trailer yet, then do it:

The trailer got leaked in shite quality and Marvel used that opportunity to upload the HD version and thank Hydra for the reveal 😉 Love how they handled that. It looks sick and the music is insane, probably the best thing in the trailer. The Pinocchio theme (that was easy for Disney Marvel and fits like an ass on a bucket – that is what Germans say). The only teaser/trailer that gripped me in the same way was this.

The Walking Dead started with a pretty much flawless string of episodes so far. It’s fast paced, things change, people are on the run, the team functions, there is character development and the cliffhangers make me excited for the next episode. They also seem to got rid of the Hyundai that remained always clean…  Maybe long before, but who kept track during all those filler episodes. Anyhow, we are looking at the best Season since the beginning of Season 1 it seems.

Homeland is somehow a guilty pleasure and I can hardly explain why I keep watching it. It’s probably Claire Danes superb acting and there is some tension, though I’d like to facepalm myself a couple of times *SPOILER WARNING* Quinn loves Carrie? Carrie gets romantically involved with a key person again? We saw what that lead to last time. Still something keeps me watching and I can’t quiet put my finger on it.

Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield and American Horror Story I keep for another day.

In terms of movies I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy and it was brilliant. Probably the best Marvel movie so far. Last weekend was The Rock as Hercules and I went into the cinema expecting not much and was actually positive surprised with that take on the story. Brett Ratner can do better than ruin comic franchises – I am proud. I don’t want to give away too much but it is a movie that is fun and kind of clever for a normal action flick with charismatic actors.

On the small screen I saw Lucy and I will spoil it right away and tell you all about it, it is the prequel to Her (partially filmed in Shanghai!) – it makes perfect sense. Trust me, I am out and watch my dreams for now. And nobody believes that we on only use 10% of our brain anymore and if you do, fact check it here on Snopes – generally a great site to debunk myths like that.

 

 

 

A quick rant

This is going to be a quick one. At the moment my mind revolves around the things that are going on in Hong Kong.

It is a war with love as a weapon and I hope it does not turn violent.

I bought a new phone this weekend and yeah, in China it is almost a brick: no google services, no yahoo, no youtube, no facebook and now no dropbox – it has worked before but since my favorite email app and it honestly should be everyone’s favorite email app is linked to dropbox – that is only accessible via a VPN here from inside China.

It’s crazy, when you try to access websites like yahoo it doesn’t show it’s blocked or anything, it loads forever just to show you a warning that the server is currently down and that the site might steal your credit card information and whatever. Same with facebook – it times out, so as somebody trying to access it you mistake it for an actual server outtake. This is what they want from you, they want you to think that those websites are unreliable or unstable and to use the Chinese government backed equivalent. Fuck that!

Take the great firewall down Anonymous and not only a few local government sites. I am waiting on the digital revolution here and you gotta do better then a few WuMaos with computers…

/rant

Old dream – new post

On the 14th of May 2011 I have posted this piece on Facebook:

A weird dream

Had a weird dream tonight. Went into a hotel foyer as waves crashed in and filled the rooms with water, then people tried to flee and the water was rising fast to the level of everyones hips. I was running out of the hotel and found myself caught on a street between to blue shining skyscrapers and the sun was shining, I saw the waves of water pressing against the glass windows of the building I came from. The windows bursted and a gigantic wave caught me and threw me against the other building, the wave reflected back and I could hardly get away. Between the waves I found the time to jump into a trapdoor the lead me to a subway station. – Weird and somehow one of the best dreams I ever had.

I want to have a section here or regular and reoccurring posts that are throwbacks to my old blog or the past. That can be great fun. BurnToBeAlive.de was good too, but all in German. If I can finally manage to install my old blog locally then I might translate and recycle the best material that was there and breathe new life into the old version of this blog.

Regarding the dream: Today I can tell that I was probably experimenting with meditation as well as lucid dreaming (WikiHow is awesome btw.) and I was watching Donnie Darko and there is a scene where Donnie finds himself in a similar landscape and that was inspired by a painting, nah, I stand corrected, I just read that in a weird forum post that I found at that time after trying to make sense of my dream. I like dreams and I like looking at my hands and also try lucid dreaming and/or meditation – there is a lot of fun to have.

So yeah, I am saving a longer post for the weekend because I want to visit dreamland now and not half ass a post…

Ohrwurm of the week 41/2014

This is the song where you really can hear your balls drop and it has possibly one of the best guitar hooks that creep up your spine and make the back of your brain tingle. I have a lot of love for that band and their album ‘The Road Journals’ they are still giving away for free.

Do yourself a favor and support this band, they are one of the hidden gems underneath all the Metalcore stuff that comes out of the machine and they do have Ohrwurm potential, but it takes some repeated listening, like in the good old days and I kid you not if I say that I bought albums before that I disliked at first and that grew on me and that are now somehow hovering in my top ten: I’m looking at you Controller.

And if you want to learn a bit more about Metalcore and my favorite band, the dig into this album review and come back with more knowledge…

Hello World! Meet The Foreigners of Shanghai

I’m not going to apologize for not posting a couple of days, that rarely makes a good read. There have been some background updates and I finished The Strain – it ended on an okay-ish note. There was some vampire slaying, a good couple of unmemorable but boggling decision and logical fallacies, but I am still looking forward to a confirmed 2nd season. The Blacklist meanwhile is going strong and so far there was no filler episode and there is humor, suspense and a fantastic James Spader, even without any of the main mysteries being closer to resolved. Gotham is continuing being fantastic – even the young Bruce Wayne grows on me and again The Penguin steals the show and I can’t wait to see how he eventually grows to be the tragic villain and gangster boss. I like how there seem to be James ‘Jim’ Gordon’s villains that give a glimpse of what is to come in the city. I can’t wait, winter is coming…

As a German here in China you meet a lot of other foreigners. What do I say? As a foreigner here in Shanghai you meet all kinds of other foreigners, maybe even as a Chinese. Chances are that if you are female and Chinese then all kinds of nationalities try to hit on you and flock around you, but let’s not go there for now and to be frank, that is not always the case – guess it’s in the numbers then.

If you mean well and you want to come to China and experience 5000 years of culture, ähem, ähem, *clears throat*, then you can have a look at a website like this and dream yourself into a parallel universe were people here solve arguments with Crane Kung Fu versus the famous Tiger Chen Style, but who am I to tell you that. I came here with Jackie Chan in mind and when I was a teenager I wanted to become a Shaolin monk. I kind of met my idol Jackie Chan in Hong Kong once, but I know that the ‘Shaolin Temples’ are more Disneyland than mythical places and no, arguments are not solved with amazing Kung Fu demonstrations, it’s more shouting and pushing, but at the end of the day that is how it is.

Tiffany Wang wrote an article in February 2013 that pretty much shows how the expat situation has changed and yeah, it pretty much happened that way. We are not the unique snowflakes anymore. But hold that for a second, I think I am, but not because I am a Batman this time:

There are I would say three types of foreigners here in Shanghai if we look at them from a time-spent-here-perspective. And this is not scientific by any means nor is it in any way a relevant sample, just my own thoughts, so without further ado…

1 – The internship or exchange student

I was part of that group. They are here for a brief stint, usually between 3 months and one year. They know they will leave after that time frame and they live life to the fullest. Every club has to be hit, it wasn’t a good night, if the location hasn’t change less than 3 times and hangovers are unreal due to fake alcohol. Whatever they do here ends and they leave no marks, but a broken heart here and there and a few furniture pieces they leave in their dormitory room or shared apartment for the next one to grab. They have a blast here, but sometimes they can’t imagine to stay here a day longer then necessary and sometimes they come back, if they come back they graduate to type 2.

2 – The up and down expat

This type of foreigner is here for some time from 1 year up to 4 years. This is the type of person that came back for more or decided to stay for a tad longer but is unsure about their 5 year plan (if there is any). I think this is the most common type. The sad thing here is, that if you are going to be type 3, or even if you are type 1 (not Diabetes) then or a fellow type 2 (not Diabetes again) then you will be hard pressed to be the one that stays longer and sees them leaving to never return (to China that is). Actually that happens even with type 1, but here it hurts more, because you developed a closer friendship. When this type exceeds the 4 years he will be granted the title Level 3 Expat (dips on the trademark).

3 – The longer you stare into the abyss expat

As a Level 3 Expat you are here for the long run, but most likely not forever. Staying here ‘forever’ and completely immersing yourself is rare, if you’d decide to stay and spend the rest of your days in China that might be as rare as The Black Lotus. Honestly, that rarely happens and you will never be considered Chinese. I am now part of this group or type and I can stay another year or two. Funny thing is, once you are in this group you plan from year to year, then you turn around another 3 years have passed.

It’s all good for me here at the moment and what I want to say is that sometimes it is hard to see friends leave and then you will have to find some new ones, I mean new ones that are geographically close, not that you completely lose the others.

So remember – things are good and you better enjoy the ride! Some expat friends walk the walk for a time with you and some don’t stick around that long. I guess living in a an expat city is a bit like living on steroids, you just have to cycle through it faster.

A little shred of wisdom

So there is this thing called weekend coming up and every time I am happy that next Friday is weekend again, but this is not what I am going to write about.

There is a lot of self help/life hack stuff and financial guru’s and cool lifehackers (check that one out, the guy is a badass and it’s such a fun read, I got the biking to work down, unfortunately I am not that much of a handyman) and there are books about it (inspirational) and whatnot. But today one article really caught my attention and one of the bullet points I have to share here, for or to understand me it hits the nail on the head:

You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything.  Sometimes it just means you’re strong and smart enough to accept it and make the best of it.

Read the whole article here

If you read the article there is more and yes, just try to be happy, sometimes you can’t change a situation but you definitely can change your point of view.

Sometimes it boils down to not being a dick and sometimes to just being friendly (or let’s call it common courtesy) and say ‘hello’ in the elevator, but seriously I am not getting up at 4:30am. I went to a Silent Retreat once, it was a yoga retreat in a temple in a small town not too far from Shanghai. I went with friends and to be honest, I couldn’t stay quiet, I was with friends, we had a couple of beers and subway sandwiches before we got there and had to share a couple of words. One particular girl really tried and did it, she was the only one in the group, because during meditation and yoga classes the yogi asked questions. One day she didn’t feel alright and did not show up for the I think 5am meditation, it was hard to understand from turning her head and doing the finger in the mouth gesture that she did not feel right. Also: people there gave us plain congee with a little topping of pickled veggies and then rice and a little topping of pickled veggies for lunch and dinner – I do like vegetarian or vegan food but with that diet my body did not really function. I didn’t sleep well, I felt exhausted the whole time and came back less relaxed than before I went. Next time I try the laughing yoga – maybe that is more up my alley…

P.S.: Yes, the article with the words is about to come, all of the above just spewed out of my hands and I wasn’t planning on writing so much, but please enjoy.

 

Ohrwurm of the week 40/2014

Allow me a lazy day once a week and I actually won’t let you down, I declare wednesdays the Ohrwurm day. You might ask yourself what an Ohrwurm is and that is okay, you might not be German. An Ohrwurm is, if I would translate it directly an earworm, if you would say it it sounds a bit like oreworm. It’s the song that keeps repeating in your head until you hear it completely or get thoroughly distracted to forget about it. Some of those you might not even like, but this is the place for the ones that give me goosebumps or impress me otherwise.

This is Fit For A King with a a metalcore song that progresses with a beautiful hook that changes beautifully over the course of the song. They grew as a band, matured and manage to really burn those lyrics into your cortex on a Saturday afternoon while biking. Pay attention to the clean production and the warm guitar sound – it’s a bit like Northlane with a few clean parts mixed in.

Stay tuned and find your Ohrwum.