Come On You Know You Love Pictures Of China

Back to the pics. So much easier than coming up with something compelling to read. I feel like an ad exec, come on and look at the shiny thing. Buy, buy, buy. Believe me I only have your best interest at heart...

Sorry it has been an exceptional long tiring day at work. It was the first time I had the dubious privilege of engaging in one of the famous MS stack ranks. 10 hours later we are halfway through. Awesome.

Anyways, pics, yeah of China. Like you haven't seen enough of those before on this little site. Well here are some more and I promise you will love them.

We went there for work for a week and got a day at the beginning and end of the trip to sightsee. I liked most of the people I went with so it ended up being a lot of fun. Got to see some coworkers come out of their shell and they turned out to be pretty cool.

The first day we wandered around Tian'enmen. This picture was taken to the south of it where there are a bunch of Hutongs. It was one of my favorite areas in Beijing but it is disappearing quickly. This barrier is where the main street used to be. If you look at the lines in the street they go into the main arch in the wall. That is Nana in the blue and red shirt. See the above note on cool coworkers.

Drink casually. The place up the street was the drink formally place but it looked like a lot less fun. (Also 35 Yuan is about $3, I miss that about China).

It was because of this photo that I am now know as Gigantor at work. These guys took a lot of pictures. A lot like 20. A whole photo study.

This was right by the scorpion and seahorse stand. Which I throw around casually now but is not that common even in China.

Where I decided to take the plunge and eat scorpion. I was hoping that it would look a lot more tough in the 1950's sort of way. Instead it tasted fried and looked less than impressive. C'est la vie.

A vending machine that says true. That's it. I love it though. It took me about 15 tries to get this picture. I could blame it on the dark hallway and the reflective surface but truth is I was wasted and could barely hold the camera straight. This vending machine has caused me to add the phrase "true dat" back into my vernacular. I thought it had gone for good in 9th grade.

On the last day we went to the Summer Palace which is not really a palace but a huge (600+ acres) park. It has a lot of lakes and brooks and trees and flowers. In said bodies of water there are fish but not much else. This sign shows what is banned; a lot of activities that make sense like swimming, fishing, pumping in raw sewage, pumping in raw chemicals, geese. Why would you not want geese?

This might be my favorite picture of the trip. Miao is so serious with the peace sign. And the food was stupendous.


The Last Poets - The Last Poets / This Is Madness - Light In The Attic

This is some real OG shit. The poetry presented here is enough to make me feel two lifetimes of white guilt. It also serves as the chorus for party and bullshit. Talk about breadth and influence. These guys are still wrecking the mic and making sure people are doing something about the situation faced by many. Everytime you listen to a hiphop record after this (If it is any good, none of that laffy taffy shit) you will hear echoes of these albums. Bonus points for a local Seattle label putting out his awesome reissue with things the geek in me loves like liner notes from record critics and the sotry of getting this reissue out.


Just Like Basting A Turkey

This is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. I have watched it three times so far and every time it just gets funnier and funnier. I wish I had been clever enough to have come up with this.

Random music review:

Johnny Cash - Live At San Quentin

This is the new release of the CD. I have not listened to it yet but the shorter version is Johnny Cash at his best. This concert has a barely bridled passion that you can hear throughout. He had the whole hall in the palm of his hand and could have sparked a riot with a gesture. Instead he put on one of the best live shows that has ever been recorded to any medium. One thing that was so great about it was that he had a great cast of people performing with him (The Statler Brothers, The Carter Family and others). A tribute to how great this concert was is Merle Haggard seeing it while in prison and deciding to straighten out his life and become another great musician.


Shots In NYC

Here are some shots from NYC that have no real narrative but I liked for whatever reason.

Big Cuba and his lawyer ride:
Ground Zero at night:

Fireworks over Ground Zero:


A pirate ship. I was a little disappointed as this is where I thought the reception was going to be. I found out it was in a much more fancy place than this though and was happy once again.

The Brooklyn Bridge which we were under for the whole night. The reception looked out at the same view but from four floors higher. It was awesome.

The table decorations:
If you want to see more look here

Random music review:

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes - Slash

Any album where you can sing along to every single song and know every word has to be good right? This is one that actually is. It was a pivotal album in my youth. It even got me through my brief emo craze which consisted of listening to please don't go on repeat after breaking up with a girlfriend. This is the perfect album to pull out now especially as it is great driving music and fun to listen to when the weather is good.


Underneath The Brooklyn Bridge

Here are the photos back from a long missed absence. As promised a while ago I have finally gotten off my lazy ass and posted some.

These are from when Yachi and I went to NYC for a friend's wedding. It was a gorgeous wedding and a lot of fun as well. I had a chance to see some people that I have not seen in 5 -6 years now. The wedding was mostly held in the south end of Manhattan. We stayed at the hotel that was directly across from Ground Zero. That in itself was interesting. Seeing the site always makes me a little sad. It is amazing how much emotion a place can have even this long after such an event has taken place.

Anyways to the photos. On the plane ride there Yachi and I managed to be seated in the second to last row. This was not so bad except for the continuous smell of urine and the fact that we were almost the very last ones off the plane (the suckers behind us were last). The wait was compounded by the fact that they had run out of jetway drivers in JFK. This led to Yachi being in a fabulous mood.

After we finally got off we went to get our luggage and saw one of my favorite signs of all time. It is just sinister enough to be scary.

After a great Cuban dinner we met up with some old friends and had a couple beers. It was just the right amount of drinking. Nobody was too drunk but we all had a good time.

The next day was the first time in over 15 times to NYC that I was able to play tourist every other time I was with a friend who had no interest in seeing the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. I did get to go on cool tours though like seeing Queensbridge (the project Nas grew up in) and the first record shop to sell Biggie singles. To remedy this Yachi and I headed down to Battery Park so that we could see the Statue of Liberty. It is the far dot in the picture below close to the pier stake. Seen from such a distance it was not as majestic as I am sure it is up close. However I feel strangely fulfilled now that I have seen it.

On the way back there was a random collection of old school cop cars that were being displayed. It was cool seeing some of the 70's and 80's style it reminded me of the Blues Brothers.

We then rushed to get ready for the wedding which was in a beautiful church. It was pretty dark so not many of the photos turned out but it was one of the more stunning cathedrals I have been to. The wedding was really pretty and it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.

Afterwards there was quite a break so we got some food and drink and then headed towards the reception. On the way I saw this bottle in the window of a wine store. It is an empty bottle of Chateau Petrus. I doubt that I will ever have the pleasure of drinking this particular wine in my life and it was cool to see someone who owned a store whom was willing to enjoy such a rare bottle. They also had a nice collection of emtpy Burgundies.

The reception started at 7:30 and the bouncer outside the restaurant was not going to bend that time by a second so I amused myself by taking many random shots of Yachi and myself.

I really enjoyed seeing all my friends and am glad that the wedding went off as well as it did.

Random music selection:

Xzibit - At The Speed Of Life - Loud

This was his second album and still had a lot of cameos with crew from Tha Alcoholiks and Defari. It shows the promise that Xzibit had when he was first coming on the scene and before he decided to take advice from Snoop. There are a lot of strong tracks but Paparazzi and Foundations are the standouts. I remember hearing Paparazzi in a skate video and going out and buying the album as soon as the video finished.


Running At The Ass Crack Of Dawn

So I ran in my first 5k yesterday. It was for a good cause and it was a lot less competitive than I imagined it would originally be. I expected lots of elbowing and shoving and I saw a little of that but was the recipient of none of it. Yachi and I even managed to finish in a respectable time for us (32.10 when we were aiming for something under 40). The main drawback was the time at which the event occurred (see title).

Afterwards though we stopped by Saley Crepes on Olive which is one of those places we have meant to eat at for a while now. I am glad we did the food was outstanding and the woman who owns the place is amazingly nice. Everyone who can should stop by and try out the crepes.

Random Music Review:

Fugazi - 13 Songs - Dischord Arguably the best Fugazi album of all. This compilation captures them at there most passionate and songs like Bad Mouth or Give Me the Cure show why this is one of the most influential bands. Waiting Room is the closest to a radio song and I wish all radio singles were as amazing as this. The entire album is strong and stands up to repeat listens even after owning it for 15 years (wow I am getting old).


Trip # 324

Yachi and I are heading to NYC this weekend for a friend's wedding. It will be fun to see a bunch of people I have not seen since college.

When I get back it will be back to the regularly scheduled programming of lots of photos.


The Dog And Pony Show

Over this weekend Yachi and I had quite an adventure and even ended up in a foreign city. First we were taking a nice walk around north Capitol Hill after getting some ice cream. We saw an extremely active dog running at full pace through the yards and back and forth through the street. Without much thought I reached out and grabbed the dog's collar when it slowed down to pee against a tree. So began a trip with the dog from hell. Once I had the collar I could not really let the dog go, somehow its death underneath the wheels of an SUV would be on my hands. After asking random passerbys if they would take the dog into their fenced in yard until the owner called back we decided we needed a slightly different approach. We got a hold of a leash and decided to go to Mud Bay Granary. They would know what to do. They fed dogs so they must know all about them, right?

This is where the really hellish part took place. The dog had according to one helpful man on the street caught "pound cough". Yachi and I thought the dog was just not so bright and decided to continuously choke himself on his collar. Either way it was the most awful loud noise I have heard come from such a small animal. I wanted to stop and make a sign that said "No I am not abusing the dog, quite the opposite I am kindly trying to reunite it with its owner who must have purposefully lost it due to the annoying behavior and loud cough you are hearing now.". Instead I just grimaced and bore it.

Finally at Mud Bay they told us to take the thing to the pound and after letting it fill up on water we were about to head it out. Unfortunately a man wanted to enter with with a puppy and the stray dog was not about to allow that. It is at this point that I should mention the dog was slightly larger than a Chihuahua itself. It attacked both the puppy and it's owner with a ferocity I have not seen recently. With many dirty looks and some cursing from the owner we beat a hasty retreat from the store.

We threw the dog in a box and drove him down to the pound. He proved to be descended from Houdini's canine cousins though and frequently escaped from his box. Actually escape is to strong a word. Basically he pushed his nose through and jumped out. I think the failing was more on the human side than any amazing talent on the dog side. At the pound we left him with the nice people who quickly told us they could see why the dogs owners had "lost" him.

After such an exciting afternoon we decided to follow it up with a relaxing dinner in Portland, OR. It was a pretty quick drive there and we got in right as a couple of friends from college flew in. We all had a quiet-ish dinner and passed out. The next day was spent walking around PDX, specifically 23rd street. This was a great little neighborhood that had a lot of shops and restaurants. After buying some clothing for this weekends wedding and having some food we headed back. Overall a nice weekend.

Random Music Review (Blatantly stolen from Casey's random photo):

U.S. Pop Life, Vol. 12: Tribute to Fort Thunder - This is a series that records live shows from a particular venue or compiles tracks from a particular style. This instance is a venue-themed disc with Fort Thunder being a venue in Providence, R.I. which was well-known for its importance in the art rock / noise scene. It clocks in at over 70 minutes and has a couple of songs that are not as stellar as the rest but overall this is an incredibly strong compilation. It has Quintron next to Pleasurehorse and Red Monkey (One of my favorite stretches of the album).

It will have at least two songs you will love and lots of music you have never heard.