Friday, February 26, 2010

Games for the Unemployed

So I came to the realization that in July when the semester is over in China... I will more than likely be out of a job. Well, here's something for you and me to enjoy. UNEMPLOYMENT BINGO! Pull out your shot glasses and put on the Maury Povich and start pounding. I've been looking into post-China jobs, seeing as how the job pays less than minimum wage a month. In August I'll be able to apply to Teach For America, and I'm thinking about taking a GRE study book with me to China... Hey, maybe a Master's Degree is in my future (of course that would mean me diving deeper into debt or what I like to the ninth circle of student loan debt hell.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chinese Survival Guide: Music

So here is something that is so important when surviving in China, music. I'm the kind of person who cannot go without music sometimes. The is nothing worse than being stuck somewhere without a source of music. As a matter of fact, when I was still in college I listened to music so much that I actually apologized to people on my facebook profile because I would wear my headphones so much that nobody could ever get my attention. So in preparation for my return to China I have been making some playlists.

I didn't realize how many British bands I listen to. So here's what I'll be listening to on my iPod, the theme is the British Emipre...

Life In Technicolor - Coldplay
Dream Awake - The Frames

Songs For Clay (Disappear Here) - Bloc Party
Gone Up In Flames - Morning Runner

You Don't Get It - Look See Proof
Thoughts of a Dying Atheist - Muse
It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry - Glasvegas

X-Ray - The Maccabees
With A Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You) - Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Revolution - The Beatles
Skeleton Boy - Friendly Fires

*Cosmic Egg - Wolfmother
*Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
*In One Ear - Cage The Elephant

*Songs from bands not from the British Isles, but hey, they're from places that were once part of the British Empire (Australia and USA.) So I guess that counts for something.

Seriously like 45% of my music library are British Artists - Bloc Party; Does It Offend You, Yeah?; Sting and the Police; Keane; Friendly Fires; The Frames (If you count Ireland); Muse; Bombay Bicycle Club; Morning Runner; Look See Proof; The Who; The Beatles; The Maccabees; Radiohead; Pull Tiger Tail; Coldplay; Glasvegas... and those are only the ones I can think of off-top.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What I Want For My 23rd Birthday

So like I've said in previous posts I missed 3 major. holidays while I was i teaching in China. Well, as a result of moving back to China I will be celebrating my 23rd birthday alone [well, not technically alone, it will be the first birthday I haven't in some way celebrated with family.] My parents before Christmas asked me what I wanted so they could have presents waiting for me when I came home...
I asked for two things. Lost Season 5 on DVD and Glee Season 1 Part 1 on DVD... I didn't need that much, I also ended up buying a Nintendo DSi with money I got for Christmas and an Acekard 2i for the DS to play homebrew games and fun applications. So I've been thinking, what would I want to have waiting for me as birthday presents so I've been looking at things coming out from now till the end of June... Sure my birthday is March 20th, but hey, all of my gift will be incredibly belated anyways. Here's some of the things that have made the shortlist:

  • Pokemon SoulSilver or HeartGold for the Nintendo DS... Hey, there is no other series that is still so fun and entertaining to play over and over like a Pokemon game, plus it comes with a pedometer... how awesome is that?
  • A Blu-Ray Player or A PS3... There are specific games for the Playstation 3 that I want to play eventhough I love the 36o, plus it's a blu-ray player. I want Star Trek in blu-ray, Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete, Battlestar Galatica The complete series, Watchmen the Ultimate Cut and stuff like that.
  • Tickets to see Iron-Man 2... I know it comes out in May and I'll still be in China but I must see it in an American theater.
  • I love comic books and I cant wait to complete my Trade paperback collection of Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern, his mini-series Flash:Rebirth and his current epic crossover event Blackest Night when they come out.

Here's the Iron Man 2 Trailer... Just for those of you who haven't seen it yet. Enjoy

I'm so pissed that I'll be in China when Kick-Ass is released in April. China Movie-Going Tip: Only 20 foreign movies are released in China a year, that includes stuff like 2012 and AVATAR.

Up in the Air

It's getting very close to that time. I'm heading back to China, for what would be my sixth trip there. To give you an idea of the scale of traveling to and from China six times here is a little info:
  • On March 20th I will be 23,23 years = 12,096,821.6 minutes.
  • Average speed of a passenger plane flying internationally is around 875 mph.
  • The flight distance from Chicago to Shanghai is about 7,088 miles.
  • Depending on the weather and currents the flight time is around 13 to 14 hours (Chicago to Hong Kong - 16 hours.)
  • Four Flights to Shanghai/Beijing(Same flight length) + One flight to Hong Kong= 36,150 miles/72 hours in the air (3 days)
  • The distance from Oregon to Maine is 3191 miles or 1 day and 23 hours
  • The circumference of the earth is 24,901.55 miles
  • In the five flights traveled I circled the globe 1.45 times.
Hold the phone... I almost forgot one crucial thing. This only applies to the travel to China this doesn't include return flights. So when you double everything you get 72,300 miles traveled for a total of 144 hours in the air. When you do that math I have circled the globe 2.9 times over the course of 6 days.

If you also add the next flight to and from China I will in total have flown around 86476 miles, traveled around the globe 3.47 times and been up in the air 170 hours.

So out of those 12,096,821.6 minutes I will have lived on this earth by my 23rd birthday I will have spent more than 10,200 minutes of them Up in the air.

7 days = 0.0191653649 years

It’s quite extraordinary when you do the math.

Shameless Movie Plug: I loved the movie Up in the Air.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lost Valentines & Dick in a Box

It wouldn't be Valentines Day without some sweet love-making music... So here's something special for you from SNL.

Thanks to the people at Adventuring this Valentines Day we are finally able to give that special someone something that comes from the heart and satisfies our nerdy tendencies... LOST Valentines... What's missing from the set is a card about the unresolved sexual tension between Shannon and Boone. [Nothing like step-sibling love]

My favorite is definitely the Hurley one... short, simple and to the point [not to mention cute as a button.]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Bund Tunnel

So I mentioned that I took a tunnel trip from the Bund to Pudong when I was in China. Here are some of the cool pictures from the shuttle car. The tunnel was like an acid trip of flashing lights and wacky neon light displays. So I augmented my camera's shutter and aperture to take in as much light as I could for 8 seconds and it made these very cool long exposure shots. Some look really good, others looked bad because of my shaky hands. Enjoy the artsyness.

I could only imagine what that tunnel would be like stoned...

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Tuesdays

So this is the story of how I got home. I left my apartment on Tuesday morning which meant being packed and having the apartment clean by Monday or it would never get done. I caught a taxi to the airport around 7am, a ride that took about 25 minutes. [It sounds crazy, taking a taxi for that long of a trip, but it only cost 15 yuan, or around $3.20.] The flight from Hefei to Shanghai was a breeze and took about an hour.

I got to Shanghai and then decided to take the Maglev train from the airport into the city proper. The train takes about 7 minutes and travels around a top speed of 443kmph. Pretty Darn fast... I to the subway around for a bit and then got out on Nanjing road. I stopped at a MickeyD's and had lunch. I walked around the city for a bit until i got to the Bund. The bund is an area of Shanghai where foreign architecture is very common. In the Bund you can also take an underground tunnel to the Pudong side of the Huangpu river. I met a couple guys from Australia and we went around the city, past some of the famous buildings like the TV tower the Oriental Pearl.
We went through the city trying to get to the Shanghai World Financial Center... The building is shaped like a giant bottle opener and holds the Guinness World Record for the highest observatory on the 101st floor. So we went up to the 93rd floor and hit the bar for a pin.

After we parted way I made my way back to the airport. I was able to get to the check in station with enough time to spare. I was so late that they had accidentally oversold my seat in economy class and put me in business class... Nothing like a free upgrade. Say what you want about the luxuriousness of first-class... but business class is just fine to me. Of course, my shoulders kept me from getting any sleep on the plane. So I watched five in flight movies and a couple episodes of The Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock (I only like the scenes with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.)

So it's math time kiddies... I left Shanghai on a Sunday at 6pm and arrived in Chicago at 5:30pm the same day. I left Chicago around 7:15pm and arrived in Indianapolis around 9:30... I went back in time a half hour and then went an hour into the future. Thankfully this wasn't LOST and I didn't start bleeding from my nose and ears.

I lived the same day twice, who am I, Bill Murray?

Top Movie Going Experiences for 1999-2009 Part II

Here's the continuation of my top movie-going experiences of the last 10 years.

  1. Casino Royale (2006) – I loved Pierce Brosnan’s run in the Bond franchise but like most people was ready for a new Bond. What made Casino Royale such an amazing movie going experience was three-fold. Daniel Craig, blonde hair or not, was amazing and owned James Bond from the first minute. Martin Campbell, who directed Goldeneye, created a believable universe for Craig’s Bond to play in. The third thing is the stunts. Some of the earlier movies of the late 90s and early 2000s relied too much on special effects, this movie’s effects were so clean and clever that if there was an cgi used it was so seamless that you don’t notice them. I remember sitting down in an empty theater with my older brother. I snuck in two Chipotle burritos in my big pocket jeans, and my brother bought the big gulp drinks and we feasted and were stuffed on action and pulled pork.
  2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) – I loved the first two movies and decided to see the last one by myself and in a crowded theater. The movie was great… Definitely worthy of all the awards it got. The experience of every person in an audience marveled by what’s on the screen that they moved to a standing ovation is one I will never forget.
  3. 2012 (2009) – Ignoring my father’s complaints of Roland Emmerich having an anti-religious theme present throughout the movie I thought this movie was good plain fun. You forget about why the world is coming to an end when stuff starts falling apart at the seams. This movie sets the bar a few feet higher when it comes to the disaster movie genre.
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) – Now, there are some movie on here just for the quality of the movie, this movie movie is not a bad movie but what makes this sucha a good movie-going experience is the night I saw it. I ran into old friends at my old high school at the school’s musical and we decided to see the movie. It was a fun night and the moment Voldermort return little children gasp and my merry band of nerds cheered like it was Rocky Horror.
  5. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – The opinion of rereleased original trilogy and the lackluster reviews of Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones made almost every diehard Star Wars junk fear that this movie would make or break the franchise. The prospect of this movie doing irreparable harm to George Lucas and the franchise was more than enough reason for me to want to see it, but the moment the trailer was released I threw away all of those notions. It was an amazing turnaround. Amazing lightsaber duals, incredible visuals and a script that wasn’t terribly clich├ęd and it became my favorite Star Wars movie.

Dishonorable Mention

My Worst Movie-Going Experience of All Time

Good Luck Chuck (2007)

Let me set this story up for you. A group of classmate and I decided to see a movie over a weekend. At the time there were two big movies out in theaters that we were considering. One was Superbad. A few of us had seen it over the summer, one being me and I was all for seeing it again. The other movie was Good Luck Chuck. If you haven’t realized by now… I’m a bit of a movie buff, some would say movie snob [but I digress] and I knew that all of the talk about Good Luck Chuck was pretty bad. And they were right. I suggested we see Superbad but the majority ruled that we see Good Luck Chuck… what a terrible decision on their part. The premise was hackneyed, Dane Cook is cursed as a kid and every girl he sleeps with meets their true love after him so he makes a business out of it. There are multiple sex sequences, some bordering on cringe-worthy lengths. Some movies can be incredibly raunchy but still entertaining, there is nothing entertaining about Dane Cook sleeping with a big ugly fat woman, and seeing it in graphic detail. I felt so embarrassed, I was sitting next to a very cute girl from my class and next to her was one of my male friends from the class we kept looking at each other to see if we found it amusing. I almost got up and walked out. Raunchy for the sake of being raunchy is just sad. I wouldn’t wish seeing this movie on my worst enemy.

Top Movie Going Experiences for 1999-2009 Part I

So a lot of people were doing film lists of the past decade… Like Top 100 Films from 1999-2009. And the first thing that sprang to my mind was the fact that I loved more than 100 films in that ten year’s time so I decided to do a list that required more thought. People who know me know that I do not have a favorite movie or actor; this have nothing to do with talent, I just try not to limit myself. So I thought the perfect list of films for the last decade as it comes to me would have to be this:

Top Movie Going Experiences for 1999-2009 [in no particular order]

  1. The Matrix (1999) – I remember being twelve and sitting in a crowded movie theater with my older brother and father and having absolutely no idea what I was witnessing. Seriously that first sequence with Trinity hanging in midair blew away the restrictions of my tiny adolescent mind and opened it to so many other things [soon after I saw this movie was the first time I ever saw Pulp Fiction].
  2. Star Trek (2009) – I am a huge comic book and scifi fan and I went to the midnight showing of this beauty with my older brother. Every time a faint clue or easter egg was given to the original series, like Kirk’s passing the Kobayashi Maru, made me and everyone else in the theater giggle with childlike intensity. JJ Abrams really knows how to make an idea pop off the screen.
  3. Cloverfield (2008) – I remember being excited for this movie back when the incredibly cryptic trailer was shown for it before Transformers the pervious summer. Back then it was only 1-18-08, but by the time January rolled around and I finally got to see the movie I was even more impressed than I was by the trailer. The sights and sounds combined with the Blair-witch style camera work got my heart racing and didn’t let up until the credits.
  4. Inglourious Basterds (2009) – Pulp Fiction was the first real R-rated movie I saw at the age of reason, and after that I have been hooked to Quentin Tarantino and all of his movies, even his portion of Grindhouse. When I heard that Quentin wanted to do a spaghetti western set in WWII instead of the wild west I was all for it, each genre he has used he’s treated with the utmost respect and the Basterds is no different. I remember my heart racing during the opening sequence; it was the most intense conversation I have ever seen in film. And by the final scene of the movie I was ready to applaud the screen. When Aldo the Apache say “I think this might me my masterpiece,” at the end of the movie I exclaimed as loud as I could in the theater ‘Damn right you did, Quentin!’
  5. Serenity (2005) – I loved Firefly when it was on TV, even if FOX doomed it from the start by not showing the episodes in order. The idea of a space cowboys and Indians series was such an awesome idea to me. I remember the show being cancelled and being so frustrated and blasting forums praying for a movie. My prayers were answered with Serenity. I remember going to see it with a few of my most nerdcore friends and we were giddy from the start. And that scene at the end where ***** is killed, I literally screamed and threw my popcorn bucket to the ground. I loved the movie so much, and I thank you Whedon for the wild ride.

Things We Do with a New Laptop

So the first part of excursion to China has given me enough skins to get a new laptop computer. I quite like it... ergonomic, and awesome... So I hope to be blogging more, either from home or the office when I return to China at the end of February. I have a crap load of pictures to post so I'm going to be posting some every now and then. But one of the things I've been doing with the new computer is moving files over and the last few files I've been moving have been papers from college. I haven't fully decided whether or not I will be going to graduate school yet, but I've been going over my term papers to select one as a potential writing sample.

I posted my favorites on Google Docs and I'm going to share those with you all... One is from my Lifespan Developmental Psychology class and it covers Multiple Sclerosis's effect on different age ranges, One is a history of the history of human perception for my History of Psychology Seminar and is covers the study of visual perception dating back to ancient Greece. The other is a psychological profile of Dexter Morgan from the television show and book series Dexter that I did for my Psychology of Personality seminar. Constructive Criticism is encouraged.

After I find it I will be posting my Philosophy of Battlestar Galactica paper... It is one of my favorites.

Here are some more of my pictures from China... the first album are some photos of the night around my apartment... Snazzy Neon lights included.

Around 3am on New Years Day I couldn't sleep so I decided to have fun with some sparklers and long exposure shots... enjoy some artsy photos [and for your information I BURNED MYSELF TWICE DOING THIS BUT IT WAS WORTH IT]

I'm thinking about doing a Master's Degree in Cinema Studies... Whaddya Think?