Entries Tagged 'Listen' ↓

New Kids on the ‘Hai Block

Meet my students… (about 100 of them, under my English watch this year)….

Disclaimer: These pics were taken at the top of the school year in Sept. I’ve just been way too lazy to post..So don’t be fooled by the shorts and skirts, it’s turning brick city here now… :-(

New School: (I have no idea why they decided to use money re-paint the school building from beige to pepto pink. Obviously, I was not consulted on in that decision.) But anyway, this is a super small school as the Primary Level – International Division on the Puxi side of the ‘Hai; roughly 250-300 students; They’ve got two larger/main campuses in Pudong to house Primary, Middle and High School sections.
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Grade 1, Class 1:

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Grade 1, Class 2:

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The lil boy in the front, middle, left, with sticker on his arm is such a cutie!!… and soooooooooooooo adorable when he spoke. I wish I had recorded video of him talking…. but sadly, his parents moved him to Rochester, NY in early October. :-(

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Grade 1, Class 3:

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Grade 3, Class 1:

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Grade 3, Class 2:

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Flag Raising Ceremony (every Monday):

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‘Hai Cuisine Festival Flop

…gets a MAJOR THUMBS DOWN!! Such a disappointment!

Last month, my friend Josh had told me about the Shanghai Cuisine Festival, and I thought, “ooh la la, I love food and wine and tastings… sure! why the hell not?!” I then told my roomie and some peeps about it, and then, not knowing ‘exactly’ what this exposition was going to be comprised of aside from the obvious: various “fanciful” restaurants + tastings, we went ahead and purchased our pre-sale tickets anyway, figuring it can’t be too bad with food involved.

Well, we were wrong. While this two-day expo was very well-advertised in various city guide/publications, in-taxi tv’s, restaurants, spas, gyms – basically any place appealing to the foreign/affluent crowd, it was really such a joke upon attendance.
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First, the directional tips on their website were confusing and inaccurate to the actual address of the exposition site. (Josh had gone on Saturday but had been having phone issues, thus not being able to give me my requested full report and pointers on the event.) On Sunday, Nate and I eventually arrived with our pre-purchased ticket receipts in hand. We approached the entrance and were told that we had to walk all the way around to opposite side of the building for entrance, because that current entrance was for on-site purchases. (Temps also happened to have risen on Sunday too, and we were both over-dressed and uncomfy.) Puzzled and a little annoyed at the fact that the outside signs had noted “ticket holders,” we grinned and walked out, hoping that it was an easy find. But, my friend Karen wanted to join on the last minute tip and she phoned me being 2 minutes away. While we waited for her, Nate saw some friends that he knew walk out of the expo, stating, “we want our money back.” I’m thinking, UGH, GREAAAAAT! Nate and I had a mini pow-wow and agreed that we had come this far, already having paid the pre-sale, so we might as well stroll in and out. Two minutes later, Karen showed up; we told of her our plan and advised her to stay outside and wait, so as to save her money. Now, we all tried to find this “other” entrance.. but it was ridiculously hard to find with crazy construction and landscape underway… having to walk over busted concrete with no signage assistance, we got a little pissy, and decided to return to that first entrance — with Karen, ABC from SF/NYC who speaks a bit of Mandarin to help figure out this separate entrance mess — meanwhile THIS is the side that the invite and receipt said to enter through. We head up there, and again were directed to this “other entrance.” But, I wasn’t about to have it. It was hot. I was over-dressed. I was told it was a bust, and I wasn’t about to go on a scavenger hunt for another entrance. We had pre-purchased a ticket, NOT to be inconvened. I made my stance to them and they eventually got some other chic to take Nate and I in. She walked us in and THROUGH the exhibition to the “other” entrance, where workers were at the counter with clipboards of pre-purchased ticket holders’ names. The chic found Nate’s. We waited for her to find mine. We waited some more, and then some more. Finally she asks ME to find it. I flipped the page and pointed to my name. (*shaking my head again, just thinking about it* — Sorry to sound all snobby, but I just wasn’t in the mood at that point.) She gives us each an envelope with our name. Inside each envelope is a plastic card with our name/bar code. I thought, “wow, they really spent money on this! printing names on plastic cards as invite; at least this is kinda cool.” We walked in, and the dude takes our card and never gives it back. OMG. That is sooo stupid. No swipe, no “souvenir.” Nada. What a waste of production money, seriously. (me thinking, I shoulda ran this event!!) Finally, Nate and I made our quick little round. We were lucky to find some restaurants with bite size tastings; the majority were selling small portion samples at a discounted price from their regular menu. Can we say, rip-off? Anyhoots, N and I managed to get a slice of pizza, cheese, this other “eh” thing and a lil sip of some French wine. I had texted Karen that we were going to be out in 20min. We made it out in 10.

Here’s a few shots nonetheless…
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Next stop, we hit up brunch on our own accord, then boogie’d our way to the Foreign Bookstore on Fuzhou Lu. (I’ve been spending alotta time there this year.. and I’m liking it! Though, book selections could be better, I’ll take what I can get. I miss B&N @ Union Square soooooooooooooo much!!)

A bit bummed over the whole “Cuisine Catastrophe,” Karen and I decided to make our first lil’ Sunday family dinner at my place. After the bookstore, while N went home for the gym, K and I hit up the store for some groceries. Gotta love City Shop! – the foreign market. I swear, I feel back at home when I walk in there. But, EVERYTHING is so super pricey as since all is imported. PS. A bag of tostitos is $8 USD!!! Anyway, we went in for some fresh salmon, veggies etc..

Got to my place and started the cooking festivities; soundtrack by Lykke Li. We went all out, topping off with a bottle of Prosecco.. Take THIS, “Cuisine Festival Flop”!!!…
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and say hi to my girl, Karen and roomie, Nate…
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..and ended our evening with a throwback viewing of Almost Famous. :-)

(Sorry, pic quality is kinda ehhhh. I gotta change my settings…)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Feeling Persepolis’ly Suppressed

UGH. A REAL BIG UGH!  Sooooo for the last 2 days and some change, Youtube has been blocked here in Comm-Country and I am barely hanging onto my sanity! (Youtube has been shotty before, but never for this long a period!!)

And to add fuel to my fury, the powers-that-be have decided to block Facebook usage at the j-o-b too. This is soooooooooo UNCOOL man!  I mean, ever since, let’s say umm last November’ish, I started to really get into the FB world after finding it best to post up photo albums up there to share with Stateside peeps…. and now it’s become a daily routine to be kept “up to date” with Statesiders in addition to all my new friends I’ve managed to rack up in my global travels.

Plus!  More importantly, it keeps me sane at work as well. I excel in multi-tasking situations; I neeeed to have the music cranking, the chats flowing and the work in front….. that’s how I AM MOST PRODUCTIVE. None of this…… only-have-your-work-in-front-you BS!!  If they think it’ll “increase productivity” at the job by blocking, I’ll either be checking into good proxies and/or will be taking more “walks outside…” and contemplate on coming back in time for the next class..

Oh! And what’s with the Persepolis connection, you may ask? Welps, right before I departed NYC last year for Shanghai, I checked this lil indie flick. And I had made a comment on my own post:

…theres is a specific scene in the film, when Marjane returns from the “free-er” world of Vienna back to Iran…and at customs desk, she is asked something along the lines of, “Do you have any illegal foreign objects, anything against the moral conduct of Iran.. culture, music, film, art, porn?” I chuckled as I prep for my way to well, ya know… land of restrictions… This flick made me that MUCH MORE excited to tell my OWN tale!!

and I can say that RIGHT NOW, I am OFFICIALLY FEELING SUPPRESSED!!! And this is NOT A FUN TALE TO TELL!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! I feel lil’ Marjane……

. . don’t burn the day. .

My Family = Awesome!

I’ve got the bestest fam’a'lam ever!! Some folks are over here for a visit, and we’re having a GRAND time!  I love em, love em, love em!!!  Stay tuned for flicks n things….

. . don’t burn the day. .

The Comeback C’s!!!!

O —– M —– G —– !!!!!

I woke up this morning, still revved up with what my boys had done last night! They had trailed by as many as 24 points, looking REALLY dicey in the first half (yeah, I was cussin’ n cursin’), but the Celtics staged an epic rally – in the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history – to win Game 4, 97-91…. now on the brink of their 17th NBA Championship as they lead the NBA Finals 3-1!!

Watch footage here, including the one-on-one showdown between Allen and Vujacic that pretty much sums up the turnaround point with 16.4 seconds left late in the 4th quater for the Comeback C’s. BRILLIANT UNTOUCHED LEFTY LAYUP by veteran, Mr. Ray Allen!! (Even I was in disbelief that NO ONE touched him!!) WHOOOOOO!! Ya’ll know what I’ll be doing after my Father’s Day activities on Sunday!!

Andddd now I think it is appropriate to include some throwback clips from Spike Lee’s 1998 film, He Got Game, starring Ray Allen and another guy named Denzel Washington, Enjoy!!!

He Got Game – Movie Trailer

He Got Game – Title track by Public Enemy music video:

“He Got Game” by Public Enemy from soundtrack, He Got Game (04.28.98)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Just In The Nick Of Time…

I was never an Edwards-hater. In fact, I even thought he would’ve been a viable Presidential candidate, however just caught himself once again in the race at the wrong place and more so, wrong time; and his bow-out was rather early. But jeez, talk about timing, huh! I’m a bit torn at the moment on that one (especially since I am typing this post now at 2:28AM) – and I’m referring to the timing of his endorsement, by the way. On the one hand, I feel like Edwards held out till the more obvious candidate to rep the Dems was clearly going to clinch the W aka Mr. Almighty O, but on the other hand, his endorsement is a nice “Up Yours” gesture to the Clinton Camp as they scrape on, by tooth and nail amidst an eh-worthy-gloating-win in West Virginia.

Now, I’m not trying to be mean, since I was in fact in the crowds a few years back hootin’ and cheerin’ when Mr. Clinton rallied alongside comedian/supporter, Chris Tucker on NYU campus (I wish I had a digital camera back then), but really, as AgainstHillary.com suggests…

The time has come
We don’t care how.
But Hillary Rodham Clinton
Will you please GO NOW!

Your campaign is becoming
An endless charade,
So get off the trail,
Burn out now, don’t just fade.

You can swim down a river
Of crocodile tears.
You can surf on a wave
Of terrorist fears.

Enough with the red phone!
Enough with the NAFTA!
If you like,
You can go now by White Water Rafta.

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
We don’t care how—
HRC,
Will you please GO NOW!

You can leave on McCain’s
Straight Talk Express.
You can leave all made up
in a Muslim headdress.

Kucinich will take you
On his UFO
But good God, dear Hillary
Just go go, GO!

You can ride home on coattails
Or in big biz’s pocket.
Or maybe you’d like to
Ride NASA’s new rocket.

You’ve raised a gazillion
From execs on Wall Street.
But when it comes to real change,
Barack’s got you beat.

You can go by limo
Or lobbyist jet.
You can ride an old donkey
Just get, Hillary, GET!

Your negative ads
Are bringing us down.
You should get off the air,
You should get outta town!

You can go to New York
Or back to The Hill,
But get yourself home
….and don’t forget Bill!

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
We don’t care how—
HRC
Will you please GO NOW!

…………….and now speaking of Going Now… and Timing and all…. It’s time for me to catch some shut-eye. It is nearing 3AM!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Hiking in NYC

Well, maybe not your typical “hike through the woods” but…

Because I am no longer a Manhattan-resident, I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. The New York Times reports: the Rent Guidelines Board recommended last night to increase rents for rent-stabilized apartments by 3.5-7% for 1-year leases and 5.5-9.5% for 2-year leases – figures that were deemed too high by tenants and of course, not high enough by landlords. This proposed increase, by the way, is higher than last year’s 3% for 1-year and 5.75% for 2-year leases, reflecting the rising costs landlords face. The somewhat good news is that these figures are not set just yet, there will be more private meetings till a final vote is taken on June 19th.

But seriously, I find myself often thinking back to the years I ran around in the city and truly don’t know how I did it. My monthly expenditures were outrageous in comparison to ANY other part of the world. Even having looked into owning a few years back was quite a treat to see how much folks were willing to put down in cash (on the spot, mind you) for a walk-in closet space. I know, I know, this is nothing new to many of ya’ll as since ya’ll are still among the many grindin’ it out in the city, day-in and day-out, and frankly “we’ve heard it all before” – NYC is an expensive way of life (and the cultural rewards are indeed abundant and some may argue its worth). But I’m here to say, the impact and understanding is truly that much more greater when you step out of the rain as I have, and see it in the clear without all the obstacles in the way.

With bills, bills, bills and still having play money to run with, I gotta give myself a pat on the back. However, I do owe a Muchas Gracias for the many complimentary rides my line of work had bestowed upon me. So, four cheers to the entertainment industry for all the promotional music, gala invitations, comped concerts and open bars!! ….. To quote Blue Eyes himself, “If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere”….. I still heart you though, New York.

“I can see clearly now” from album, I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash (1972)

“New York, New York” from album, Trilogy by Frank Sinatra (09.17.79)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Young at Heart will Fix You

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now, and have finally gotten around to it. This past weekend, CBS Morning Show brought forth a reminder to me of a segment that featured inspiring individuals of YOUNG@HEART, a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Bee Gees to Coldplay.

Though I have yet to view the full documentary, this clip is a glimpse of its touching impact. The performer here is Fred Knittle, who suffers from congestive heart failure. This song was initially intended to be a duet between Fred and another chorus member, Bob Salvini. But sadly, Bob passed away of a heart attack a few days before they day of performance and it was left to Fred to carry the song on his own. Here it is, one of my faves, “Fix You” by Coldplay.

and the Coldplay original…

“Fix You” from album, X&Y by Coldplay (06.07.05)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Bienvenido a Miami!

Some may have noticed some slight (temporary) change in blog design and lull in my blog updates… Reason being:

I’m currently in Miami taking care of some bih’ness :-)

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And secondly, right before I took flight, I had started migrating my blog to self-host. With the help of my friend Jeff, this will slowly but surely be up to speed pretty soon with some cool configurations on the backend that I’ll have a access to. I hope to have time to fiddle with the cool new stuffs soon, but not banking on it till about another month when I’m back up in the northeast… Stay tuned!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Keeping On Track

Just some words I came across to remind me… to stay on course… (right L. Rod?!)

  • You have spent two years dealing with the rigors of Saturn opposed to your Sun, so in effect, you have done all the necessary spadework to now launch your new life. That launch is due any minute.
  • The eclipses are known to enact a series of tests under the surface of things. If an eclipse deems an endeavor or relationship weak or outmoded, or one that offers no real future, the eclipse will “eclipse out” that situation quickly. Eclipses always seem to bring sudden news because outside factors come onto play, and those factors would be ones you have no control over. That’s why sometimes we feel a little helpless during eclipse time – we had no hand in what happens – truly, you have not lost all that much.
  • Only after you have swept out the cobwebs and cleared the decks of weak situations and relationship can you begin to live the life you were meant to live. If something or someone leaves, let it happen. Don’t look back, as tempting as that might be to do. You need to create empty space before the universe can fill it with something better. You don’t want to be in weak situations or unproductive relationships – the eclipses want us all to use our time on Earth well.

. . don’t burn the day. .