I leave for Chonqing in 3 hours, and I’m going through the last minute routine of checking the location of all my tunes and assuring the computer software is in order. Spent last night with the Kim’s at Buddah Bar, drank too much, watched Kim spin his flaming poi in front of a huge crowd of onlookers. Saw and said goodbye to some friends who I won’t see for a long time, if ever again at all.
Tomorrow is my last full day in Chengdu.. Saturday at noon I leave for Chonqing for one final gig off-contract, then return to Chengdu on the 22nd, then leave for Guilin on the 23rd to begin three months of travelling. I’m excited to travel, although I’m enjoying where I am at the moment as well. The weather has been nearly flawless the last month; perfect temperatures, the pools are open, everyone’s in a great mood. In true Chengdu spirit, everyone is walking slowly.
I don’t know exactly where I’ll be, or when (the itenerary is in all Chinese – what the fuck), but I know that I’ll be travelling from Southwest China, as far South as Lijiang and Kunming, to the absolute Northwest in Harbin, near Mongolia. I have no idea what kind of clothes to pack, so I just won’t bring many and I’ll buy what I need when I need it.
We’ve received all of our equipment in the last week and I’ve been helping them assemble it. We’re leaving in two groups of 4 people, each group has one DJ, one VJ, and two dancers. We have some mobile DJ equipment including a new laptop, but most of the investment was in VJ equipment, including four projectors to be divided between two groups. Along with projectors are mounting brackets, 30 meter VGA cables, etc.
I just got back from the premiere of the new Star Wars in Chengdu. It took 10 days, but I found a theatre playing it in English on opening night. After a midnight showing and an hour of hanging out at Sachas, it’s now 3:30am. Tomorrow I have to get more passport photos taken for a new visa, and Tony will teach me some ins and outs of Arkaos, the VJ software which he uses. He’s going to teach me to VJ and I’m going to teach him how to DJ. Video editing has been something which I’ve always had interest in but have never pursued, but I didn’t expect to break into it with live video editing. Should be a good challenge.
I’ve been using Serato Scratch with my laptop for the last 2 weeks. It’s ridiculously great; I can’t imagine being without it or my records now. I must have one or the other; CD’s are hardly tolerable anymore unless I have the luxury of CDJ-1000′s which aren’t common enough here. Arranging tunes into crates for easy organization is a formidable task for me, though. I remember years ago when I first switched from half-assed to total organization of my records. They went from sitting in giant piles on the floor to being in labelled crates with plastic record shop dividers; everything organized by label. I hope to reach that level of organization with my digital files, and in a sense, program features make it much easier for me this time around, but the quantity of songs is also exponentially greater and more varied.
Tony has loaned me a projector for the last week which I’ve been using in my room. I project 10 foot movie images onto my wall – it’s like a movie theater at home! I don’t want to give it up.
I’ll watch some of Office Space now and fall asleep. The re-awakened Peter Gibbons is a heroic figure worthy of scrutiny.
Currently listening to: UNKLE – Psyence Fiction
Been a week already since I’ve updated the ole’ blog. I just got back from teaching two of my first classes at Shuang Liu. One was a kinder class and the other was a junior class. Both went well, had no significant problems, and even had a little bit of fun. I have favorite students already. I didn’t think it would happen that fast.
My last class was over at 3pm, but I couldn’t clock out until 6pm. I sat around with Terry, the Chinese teacher there, and Cindy (? I think that’s her name) watching the clock tick. The weather is beautiful today and I wanted to leave, so I fashioned a pair of paper clips into crude lock picking tools. I picked the lock on the timecard machine, adjusted the time forward 2 hours, and stamped my card, showing that I had clocked out at 6:08pm. Terry and Cindy stamped theirs also, and I set it for tomorrow at 8am and stamped Cindys. I think just watching me do that might’ve been one of the craziest things either of them had committed themselves to. I’d like to find a good set of proper lock picking tools, and I imagine that sort of thing wouldn’t be too hard to locate here in China.
Sacha is down in Guanzhou, he met with Coors executives last night. He reported that everything had gone exceptionally well, but he wouldn’t have a final answer on the resolution of the contract until Tuesday. I’m not sure what verdict I’m looking for right now, but I’m not entirely committed to either one. If the contract is signed, I’ll leave Chengdu for three months, travel a lot, and hopefully make a lot of money. If it isn’t, I have more time here which is great, but then I’d have to make the decision on whether or not to quit the teaching job. I don’t think there’s much question in my mind over what I’d rather do when it comes to teaching or DJ’ing around China, but there are minor unanswered logistical obstacles.
No matter what happens, I don’t anticipate any significant problems.
The weather is great and life is fantastic.
Exciting new developments. Tenzin is trying to get me on a contract with him and one other DJ to tour around China for three months. It’d be a three-month contract with the pay at 15,000 yuan a month, almost three times what I’m getting now at Wonderland. I leave for Xi’an tomorrow morning at 8am and I still haven’t told them that I won’t be here for three days, but I’ll give them a call when I’m in Xi’an tomorrow. I’m making 4,000 in one weekend when Wonderland pays 6,000 a month, so there’s no way that I can miss this to dance around and sing in front of four year olds. I’m looking forward to checking out Xi’an also, supposedly it’s a beautiful ancient city. Apparently it’s still surrounded by a 30 foot-high wall and is the home of the terracotta soldiers which are famous. I’ll bring my camera and hopefully get more shots in three days in Xi’an than I got in 11 days in Shanghai. I’m going with Tony, who’s a just-trained VJ. He’s an older British guy, looks to be in his late 30′s or so. I met him just a few days ago hanging out with Tenzin at his place. Tenzin is a mid-20′s half American half Tibetan muscle-bound kung fu MC, so he’s naturally drawn to hip hop. His friend Sasha is a late-20′s bearded native of Minneapolis who talks like he’s black. He routinely says shit like “I tol’ that nigga to leave me ‘lone”, and so on. Pretty hard to take any caucasian who speaks like that seriously, but the fact that he’s as old as he is further complicates it. He lives in one of the most luxurious apartments in Chengdu, though. Sascha told me his rent is 5,000 a month, which is fucking astronomically high for this area of China. Apparently he’s financed by managing an import/export company which exports tea and Chinese artifacts and imports high-end large-scale printing machines. Life is so interesting.
Sunday afternoon and one of the most excellent weekends I can ever remember having is wrapping up. I was booked by Carlberg (a beer company) a few weeks ago to play in Xi’an on Friday and Saturday. I hadn’t ever been there, but the city is famous as the home of the terracotta warriors and is one of the only remaining cities in China with an ancient 30-foot high wall surrounding the city and still intact. Played two of the best gigs I’ve ever had, Friday at a club called Kualala and Saturday at Top One. I went with Tony, a middle aged British VJ also hired by Carlberg, who happens to live in Chengdu also.
All around a classy trip. First class flight, limo to the hotel, Friday afternoon nap and sound check, and a great crowd. Played hip hop from 11:30-12:30 in the back room and mostly techno from 1:00-2:00 in the main room. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, Saturday night came up, and the club was twice as big. I didn’t even know that China had clubs this big – I never saw any in Shanghai or Hong Kong that were like this. One room, over 1,000 people. So packed that walked from one end of the room to the other takes 20 minutes. I think it would be impossible to have that place any more bumping than it was on Saturday night. Full throttle hands in the air dancing-frenzy shit for¬†120 minutes. Tony and I both took photos, but I haven’t checked them out yet. I was trying to get a good one of me in front of the huge crowd with everyones hands in the air, so I told Tony to time the shot to coincide with the tune that was playing at the time. We’ll see..
Had my first day at the remote Kid Castle school yesterday, working from 9-6pm. It actually went much better than I thought it would. The plan was to give three demos, but two of them got cancelled, so I did a total of one hour of work in the nine hours that I was there. I pretty much hung out with Petrel and Terry all day long. Learned some new Chinese, including learning to write my first Chinese character, my name. Took a small tour of the city there, it’s about 30 minutes outside of Chengdu and there are no foreigners there at all.
Walking around there or in Long Quan is really interesting, because a lot of them haven’t ever even seen someone as tall as me. When I walk down a crowded street everyone is talking about me, looking at me, pointing at me. When I was walking through the park groups of people would look and point at me, plainly staring as I walked by, even if I was looking at them. Every time I’d smile and wave, and they’re always anxious to wave back and say hello. I really get the feeling that I’m welcome here, which is fantastic. Everyone is as kind here as anywhere I’ve ever been and it’s fantastic.
I finished Sperm Wars a week or two ago and I’m about 20 pages from finishing Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, so I’ll write reviews for these two on Amazon. Recently I decided that I want to write reviews for all the new movies that I see, but I don’t know where I’ll do that yet. I’d like to dedicate a page or a portion of my website to movie/book/album reviews, if not for other people then just for myself, but unfortunately I have all kinds of connection problems from here. I’ve seen Spy Game with Brad Pitt, Crimson River with Jean Reno, and Grosse Point Blank with John Cusack in the last few days, all for the first time.
Before picking up Sperm Wars, I had eyed it as a source of answers for some of the most difficult questions I had about myself and the romantic relationships I’ve been involved in. To its credit it has, in most regards, met and even surpassed this objective. It provides an unbiased scientific look at the biological programming evolution has laid upon us; how it functions, how it malfunctions, and the biological safeguards it sets inside our physical bodies and subconscious mind.
The book is divided into broad sections covering a number of general topics, and within these are individual chapters split into two parts. The first section tells a fictional story about a sexual situation, how the parties react to the situation and to eachother, and what the outcome is. The second section explains each step of the process and why the characters made the unconscious decisions they did which resulted in the conclusion. As the book demonstrates, when reproductive success is the game, there are invariably winners and losers. Our ancestors were the winners, and their lesser contemporaries were the losers.
That said, the attempted demystification of mating and the creation of families is a controversial topic, and I don’t think that this is information that everyone wants or needs to know. A girl I’m dating read selected portions of the book for 30 minutes and became depressed after being exposed to such a cold and logical explanation of a force which in her mind has always been an intangible and not-quantifiable force of God.
Overall, this book provided the information I was looking for. The science behind attraction, dating ritual, and behavior. It wasn’t a difficult read either, with relatable scenarios to explain the concepts behind our evolutionary programming. No portions of the book felt glossed over or rushed through, which might not be a surprise when you learn that this book is just over 400 pages in length. Upon finishing Sperm Wars, you probably know more about the science behind attraction and evolutionary biology than anyone else in the room.
Some other reviews on Amazon questioned the manufacturing quality of the book, and I can’t disagree with them. Certain pages weren’t printed with full contrast and were difficult to read, others printed slightly off center in relation to the page. The book isn’t binded very well, but mine didn’t fall apart. Obviously not an issue if you’re reading the Kindle version of this book. The content of the text is the main focus of my interest and of this review.
Amazon link: Sperm Wars
Learn more: Sexology on Wikipedia
I’m at Kid Castle now, hanging out in the office area. I started working here yesterday, and waking up early today was a bitch. I’m reminded that aside from DJ’ing, this is the first time I’ve worked in six months. Unbelievable; it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but when I look back, it’s been an incredible half year of adventure and growth. I work until 6 today and then I’ll meet up with Qingwei, then probably go to sleep early because I’ve been missing sleep the last two days. Last night I met up with Edwin at 2Pac, had a few drinks, and hung out there for an hour or so. Glad he’s back from Hong Kong, super cool guy. I don’t really like hanging out in clubs unless there’s a really good DJ or I’m playing, but he’s of a like mind and prefers to chat about whatever rather than sit around in a loud club not being able to talk to anyone. This politics of this are different in China as the DJ’s, as they relate to their American counterparts, are vastly inferior. Before going to 2Pac I stopped by Babi, the place was insanely packed. Both rooms, both floors. It was a Friday night, but it’s incredible how that place can be absolutely rammed every night of the week, no matter what.
I forgot to write about the Madam Zung’s gig last Wednesday night, just before I left Shanghai. It was incredible, and was a good reminder about what DJ’ing is all about. The best in China, along with Lanzhou. Good crowd, good tunes, drum & bass, and some supreme CDJ1000 CD players which I’m now totally comfortable with. The learning curve on those, for someone who’s a turntable DJ, is unbelievably small. I was invited to come back to open for Intalex on the 29th, but they said they’d only pay for train fare there, and not plane, so I’ll have to think about it.