Saturday, February 28, 2009

i still love you, dave

I don't really know how I feel about the title for Dave Matthews Band's new CD coming out this June...Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. Really, Dave? First studio album in four years and that's how you bring it? Hmm, I'll just have to trust you on that one.

Check me out front row in Sacramento pausing in between singing along to songs and screaming "DAVE I LOVE YOU!!!!" to take a picture.

walking around the city

When the weather is nice I love to walk around Shanghai listening to my "Sleepytime" iPod mix. It's such a great juxtaposition, hearing the soothing voice of Jack Johnson sing softly about banana pancakes while dozens of taxis are honking their horns, weaving around pedestrians and bike riders and running red lights. It makes it feel like a dream when I'm strolling around with the words of Death Cab for Cutie buzzing in my ears, seeing people spit on the street and pick their noses, watching street vendors sell warm sweet potatoes steaming in the winter air. Days like this I love Shanghai.

I went by my usual massage parlor, which was closed for renovations, but luckily they opened up a brand new shop right across the street with all the same employees (I love my #31). My girl was busy for the next 1 1/2 hours so I made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon, they had me write my name and number in the appointment book, so I used to opportunity to write my Chinese name since I rarely ever get to use it. It was wonderful. All the employees began to giggle. Meow Meow? Hehe, ohhhh that is such a beautiful name! Very beautiful Chinese name! Yes.

Of course, that don't really think it's a beautiful Chinese name. They think it's a silly Chinese name and they think I'm a silly American. But that's okay, because I am a silly American. And I friggin' love my Chinese name.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6 monthiversary with shanghai

WOAH. I've been here for six months. It blows my mind to think about it. Six whole months? I could be 2/3 of my way toward giving birth to a child! Insanity.

So how do I feel now that I've lived in China for half a year?

I feel that I saw a man in the supermarket today in the bakery section pick up a cookie/baked good from each stall, put it right up against his nostrils, smell it deeply, then put it back. I also feel that immediately following that I saw another person do the exact same thing. Which is why I feel that you should try to purchase pre-packaged goods from the supermarket in Shanghai whenever possible.

Thanks for the last 180 days, China. They've been interesting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

an argument for cupcakes

I'm pretty steadfast in my No Dessert 2009 campaign, but this Atlantic article makes a pretty good argument as to why cupcakes should be considered a "not so guilty pleasure".

My favorite part? A good cupcake has all the frosting you really want at a birthday party but can’t ask for. It’s celebratory but restrained, a suitably small indulgence for tough times. And, surprisingly, a cupcake can be a smaller indulgence than a wholesome-seeming muffin: under the icing, as any baker knows, there’s practically no difference.

Mhhh, 2010 is so close I can almost TASTE IT! Which reminds me, my top five favorite desserts OF ALL TIME, in order, are:
5. Peanut butter fro yo with Reese's Pieces
4. Cake batter ice cream with brownies from Coldstone
3. Strawberry cupcake from Sprinkles
2. Banana cream pie from Rutherford grill
1. Giant chocolate chip pizookie

Yes, I will be consuming all five of those desserts in the first 24 hours of 2010. GET READY, WORLD.

goat breaks into home, eats cake

It's articles like this one that make me miss the good ol' U. S. of A.

Goat breaks into home, eats cake

Aaron Martin
Capital Newspapers
2/17/2009 9:02 am

TOWN OF WESTFORD -- What do you get when a goat follows a dog into a house?

For Sherry Shirley of Westford, the answer is a big mess.

When she opened the front door of her home on Lake Road to let her dog in Saturday morning, a full-grown goat burst into the house, jumped onto a kitchen counter and helped itself to a freshly baked chocolate cake, according to the Dodge County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies responded to a call from Shirley at 11:43 Saturday morning, but a neighbor had dragged the goat from the home by its horns before officers arrived, patrol captain Molly Soblewski said.

"The goat didn't do a lot of damage. It knocked some dishes to the floor that broke and began eating the chocolate cake she had just made," Soblewski said.

The chocolate cake caper, however, was far from a perfect crime. Deputies followed the goat's tracks to a nearby farm on Mill Road and had it behind bars by 12:35 p.m. Saturday.

Soblewski said the owners of the goat will not be cited.

"It was just an unfortunate circumstance," she said. "I feel sorry for the lady, but it is kind of funny."

LOL, that article is so hilarious. They make it seem so serious that the goat ate a cake she had just made. Here in China the article would have ended with "And then the Soblewski's ate the goat."

Do you guys remember when my family had a goat? Man, those were some good times! And by good times I mean "annoying times."

The thing pooped EVERYWHERE (and Tater Tot loved to nom on said poop), ate all of my mother's plants and flowers in the backyard, and figured out how to get into the house using the doggy door so my dad had to add a big piece of wood that made it smaller so the darn thing couldn't fit.

Though, I must say, that goat did bring my family hours of entertainment. Personally, I liked to have broom battles with Tina Bonita (MeiMei named her "Bonita" to which Twin and I added "Tina" because, duh, Napoleon Dynamite), as pictured below:

And then we ate the goat. No, just kidding, we gave her away to some family that had a farm and were much better equipped to deal with a rhinestone-collar wearing goat that thought it was a dog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

it's all about the rmb, baby

Teaching doesn't pay. I could make more per hour tutoring kids than I do teaching. However, you can't get a Chinese working visa from tutoring, you need to have an actual company employ you, thus I have a crumby teaching job.

It's actually not that crumby. I like my kids (for the most part), the administration is pretty nice, and we get a ton of holiday and vacation time. The only part of it that's crumby is the fact that I make 6,500RMB a month (about 950 dollars). For being in China, it's a pretty decent chunk of cash if you're living like a local, i.e. NOT getting 4+ items hand tailored every week/eating cereal and sandwiches every day. I tried that whole "living like a local" thing, and it just didn't work out for me. I don't like baozi enough to eat it daily, even if it is only 1RMB. I also really, really like getting things hand made at the fabric market.

But I digress. Pay day is on the 26th of every month, which is coincidentally also my Monthiversary with China, so I always have two reasons to celebrate the day. Currently, I have about 21RMB in my wallet to last me until Thursday. It definitely won't be a problem since my fridge is fully stocked, but I was sort of looking forward to buying a few new DVDs (16RMB each), which I guess I'll need to hold off on.

I don't have any real monthly expenses except for my Metro card which I need to re-charge about once a month with 100RMB, my cell phone minutes which are usually around 50RMB, and international calling cards (four for 100RMB). Everything else is just play money, for shopping or going out to eat or traveling.

Except this month. This month I want to play Survivor and try to NOT spend more than 500RMB (75 USD). I told my mom this and she seemed very distraught, Strawberry, that's no money at all! What are you going to do? to which I replied, "Mom, I'll be able to spend more money if I need to, it's not like I'll blow up into flames if I spend more than 500RMB".

So why am I doing this? Because I'm bored and it seems like a fun little game to play. My goal is to spend no more than 500RMB, but if I do go over that amount, I would like to keep my expenditures under 1000RMB. I don't plan on making any real changes to my monthly budget except maybe cut out a few restaurant dinners here and there, and definitely cut out shopping (if anything because I will have no room in my suitcases when I eventually come home if I continue buying new clothes). By no means am I going to cut out anything essential like my weekly massage or DVD store trips. I'll keep ya'll updated on my progress.

Here goes [spending] nothing!