Archive | March, 2012

China Post

30 Mar

Or, why I never got that box/letter/postcard you sent: an essay in three pictures.


This is actually how post gets delivered to a majority of the students living on campus. Hell if I know how it works. But every Monday, a dude will unload his motorbike full of boxes at the corner of the ping pong tables and hang around. Sometimes there’s someone to keep an eye on things, but mostly the boxes are left there for anyone to paw through them.


Explains a lot about why that box never arrived, doesn’t it?


Historically Hardcore

28 Mar

These aren’t real ads for the Smithsonian, but by god they’re awesome. History nerds are the best.

Apparently, the Smithsonian wasn’t too happy about these (from a branding perspective) but frankly, anything that gets people interested in history is a good thing.

Images from the Historically Hardcore imagr.

Keep Calm and Carry On

26 Mar

Here’s the story behind the meme. It’s fascinating, and I never knew how the whole thing started until now.

I’m a big fan of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters. And the parodies. It’s almost hard to believe that it was never officially used.


h/t to Anibundel.

Great Wall

23 Mar

You guys have seen this, right? I mean, it combines dubstep, awesome dancing, and the GREAT WALL OF CHINA. It’s like the Internet knows me or something.



H/t to Kasia von von, of Atlantic fame.

Handmaid’s Tale

21 Mar

I don’t really know what the hells is going on with the Republicans. I really don’t. Better minds than mine have taken a stab at what the hell they’re doing. Listening to Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, Blunt, etc is scary, like they read Atwood and decided her dystopian epic was an excellent road-map for political victory. Of course, this is a fertile breeding ground (pun intended?) for fiction and non-fiction. Here are some of my favorites, in the sense that they freaked me out and inspired me to action

ILU-486, by Amanda Ching

This is long, but totally worth it. It works under the premise that contraception and abortion are outlawed and it is completely and utterly terrifying in its plausibility. “In the not-so-distant future of Virginia, the Personhood Act has outlawed abortion and chemical birth control. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though.”  Read it.

Reproductive Parts, by s.e. smith

This is series of shorts that interconnect to a horrific end. Great writing with a chilling message.

“Dear GOP: You do know how pregnancy works, right?”, by Emily L. Hauser

Emily is awesome and tells it like it is. She looks at the Republican’s emphasis on the women and how they forget that it takes two to tango.



Planned Parenthood.

Donate. Please. (Also, have you heard of Women’s Strike Force? Kickass, I say.)

Gender Inequality

19 Mar

Back in January, my minor project at the time was a translation for China Development Brief, a non-profit that brings Chinese journals and science articles to a wider audience by translating them into English. My article was on sexual harassment in the workplace, and how gender inequality is a social and economic problem in modern China. It went live over the weekend and can be found here.

I have to say, it is incredibly gratifying to see my name in print. Webprint. Whatever. What’s even more gratifying is the portions that I translated and were more or less left intact. I look at it and think smugly to myself, “uh huh, I still got it”. There might have even been a minor Snoopy Dance of Joy. Maybe.

So, if you’re interested at all in feminism, gender inequality in China, or seeing how my Chinese translations look, click click click away.




Food Friday: Hospital

16 Mar

Hospital is the name we have for the tiny, hole-in-the-wall dive that is located next to (in?) Sichuan University’s terrifying local hospital. The hospital itself is pretty ganky; god forbid I ever have to go there for treatment of any kind. The restaurant is a total dive and if “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” came to Chengdu, I’d point them in Hospital’s direction. It’s a family run place, and since it’s cheap and right next to the old dorms, it’s a particular favorite. Ann, Katia, and I had our order down to a science. We come in, sit down, ask if they had kong qing cai (a stir fried veggie, spinach maybe?) and when they said no, we’d order the same damn thing every single time.

Tang su lian bai. Sweet soy cabbage for Katia.

Fen qie ji dan. Scrambled egg and tomatoes for moi.

Hui guo tu dou. Spicy pork and potato for Ann.

Sometimes we’d mix it up on our fourth dish with a soup or another veggie (wan dou cai, pea plant), maybe with a fried potato concoction that looked like a plate sized hash brown doused liberally with red pepper spice, but for the most part, we got those three dishes and a bowl of rice each. And oh my god, they are so amazing, you need to find your own hospital to go to.

Let me be the first to say that if any of these dishes had any nutritional value to start with, they lost them in the cooking process. Salt, fat, bad cholesterol, whatever poisons live in Chinese wok oils*, all added to make each dish particularly delicious. I personally blame hui guo tu dou for any extra pounds I might be carrying and you can’t convince me otherwise. (No exercise and too much chocolate, you say? Blasphemy.)

The orders usually come out lightning fast, unless it’s super busy. This is normal for Chinese diners, in the sense that most dishes take about three minutes to stir-fry tops. Mostly, it’s a question of timing and whether or not another table ordered the same dish.

Sweet soy cabbage is technically a vegetable dish, but is sort of sweet, like getting a really sugary carrot. The cabbage is cooked, but not mushy, and the sauce is light and not stew-like. It’s nothing like Panda Express.

My personal favorite is fried eggs and tomatoes. I have no idea why. It’s basically scrambled eggs. But there’s something in the eggs – crack, probably – that makes me devour it like there’s no tomorrow. I’m betting it has something to do with the flavors of the wok itself. Then again, I also go like crazy for egg and tomato noodles, so it might just be me.

Ann managed to get the rest of us hooked on hui guo tu dou, which is potato slices with pork and awesome. It’s a spicy dish. The potatoes are soft on the inside and deliciously crisp on the outside. The pork is like 95% fat, like all cuts of meat here in China, but still yummy. Basically, hui guo tu dou is bacon and french fries with soy sauce and chili pepper. Enough said.


*Supposedly, something like 3 out of 10 woks are using recycled oil. This is not a good thing or being green. This means it’s oil that was thrown out, and then scooped up by some enterprising soul from the gutter.