Sunday, June 05, 2005

I am not dead, just exceptionally busy. The month of May was crazy for me: I went to Shanghai; I've been unusually social, of late; I've been teaching my kids the Huki Lau and spending hours cutting out little paper flowers for leis; I got a new apartment, and I got a new job.

I hope to expound on some of these topics soon, but until then, enjoy the photos.

Rock Stars!

IMGP0034, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
Not really, but other people thought they were rock stars. The guy on the right is Benjamin, a German. I met him just before I left for Shanghai and he invited me to an art project where more than 400 foreigners got together in these blue suits to be photographed.

The suits they are wearing is what maintenance workers all over China wear. Not a single person I spoke to could explain the objective of the piece, but in the end, I guess it was just something to do. I didn't participate (not foreign-looking enough), but took lots of pictures of Benny and his friends who were willing and accomodating models. This picture is definitely one of the better ones.

Since then, I've hung out with these kids a lot.

House Party

houseparty, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
I had a house party this month. A couple dozen people, a good mix of Chinese and foreigners, crammed into my one-bedroom apartment and drank copious amounts of alcohol whilst trying to understand each other. It was a tremendous success.

Chinese people don't have house parties and more than two who came thanked me for their invitation saying "it's like a whole different world!" Go figure.

Shanghai Holiday

shanghaiboats, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
For the May 1 holiday, I went to Shanghai and stayed with my pal Tony. (We met in Dalian last summer.)

It was a short trip and all we really did was hang out, eat, buy DVDs and fight the hoardes of tourists also spending their May 1 holiday in Shanghai.

Good times, though.

Tony and I

distorted, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
The only decent picture of Tony and I from the trip came out blurry, so I doctored it up to look like this.

Tony's doing well. He's teaching in Shanghai and dating a local girl who's a journalist.

Huang Pu river water

huangpu, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

A view from the river cruise

shanghaicruise, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Oh we're going to a huki lau!

PICT0041, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
Children's Day was June 1. It was a big to do for the school and our department spent two weeks teaching the children songs and dances. There was supposed to be a performance competition and my boss made a huge effort to be sure that our routine was the most original and creative. Any ideas as to who came up with the Huki Lau?

The competition was cancelled in the end (we all suspect that the other departments caught wind of what we were up to and called the whole thing off), but the kids performed non-competitively.

Our kids made waves with their Aloha shirts, leis and skirts and for the most part, the parents were thrilled to see their little darlings steal the show against their uniform clad contemporaries in the other departments.

This is Lauren, one of my best third graders. Here is she doing an excellent job of hiding her protests of "Miss Cannon, can I go now?"

Fourth grade boys...

PICT0035, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Hang loose, brah!

PICT0033, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Cool fourth graders...

PICT0030, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.

Local kids...

PICT0039, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
Here are some third graders. They really do look like local kids...

Becoming a Young Pioneer

PICT0044, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
In China, you'll see most Chinese school students wear a red scarf around their necks. This means that the child has attained the status of "Young Pioneer," the party equivalent of having received first communion.

Up to rather recently, children had to prove themselves fit for the honor by demonstrating their academic prowess and mastery of all things Young Pioneerness, but now, especially at my school where the children come from affluent families, all of the students receive the title.

On Children's Day, all of our first graders received the stamp of Young Pioneer and in this photograph you can see the older students bequeathing the little ones with the red scarves.

The children, of course, take all of this rather seriously. If my third and fourth graders are any indication of what's to come, I'm sure the little ones will wait almost a week before they start wrapping their scarves around their heads, their waists and sucking on the ends until they're gooey and frayed.

The new job...

S1113877953_image, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
So the big news is that I have a new job. I work for this man. The one who is not the governor of California. The man is Jack Pan and he hosts a television show called 21@21. It's a half-hour interview show where Mr. Pan gently grills pretty high profile folks such as Arnold, Nicole Kidman, Yoko Ono, Madeline Albright...

My official title is PRODUCTION ASSOCIATE and what I do is help with research, offer input during question drafting and I make sure that all correspondences leaving the office are well-crafted and Chinglish free.

If you want to read something about my new boss and the show, checkout these links:

Imagine that. I'm back in the media and in China of all places.