Nov 28, 2008

Thanksgiving in Beijing

This Thanksgiving blog post is mainly to put my family in the US at ease -- yes, I had a great traditional Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, in terms of the taste of the food, it was the best Thanksgiving meal that I've had in Beijing so far. It seems like each year in Beijing there are more and more choices of where to go for Thanksgiving. Gone are the days when you'd think you'd be stuck with oily fried duck as a substitute for turkey (see this post).

This particular Thanksgiving dinner was catered by Culinary Capers, a Canadian catering company, and it was hosted in the dining area of the Sequoia cafe. Those Canadians may talk a little funny, and they celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day than us regular folk, but they sure do a good job with the cooking.

Here's a picture of the main part of the meal. They incorporated all the traditional stuff in a semi-artsy way. The turkey was unusual in that it didn't turn out dry and leathery, which was quite impressive.



Sequoia is quite small, probably enough seating for thirty people or so at a time. Here's a long table that was set up near to where we were seating. A few minutes after I took this picture, a gaggle of Chinese and a couple Westerners popped in and occupied the table. From the group dynamics of the people, it was clear that the Western Boss, at the head of the table, was taking his office staff out to experience an American tradition. From the way that the local employees poked and prodded at their appetizer salad, it was clear that they would have much more enjoyed a Chinese greasy spoon.




This pumpkin pie, like the main dish, looks pretty artsy. In China, it seems like the more artsy-looking the food, the worse it tastes. In this case, it wasn't the case at all. Excellent pumpkin pie, very sweet and full of nutmeg, much tastier than Sara Lee.

Nov 19, 2008

California's version of Kwame

Detroit's not the only place with corrupt officials. San Francisco has it's own version of Kwame Kilpatrick -- Ed Jew, a former city supervisor. He finally plead guilty this week.

Harris filed nine felony charges against Jew for allegedly lying about where he lived to run for office and vote in San Francisco elections. As part of Tuesday's plea to a single perjury count for lying about his address on nomination papers for the Board of Supervisors, which Harris called the most serious charge, the remaining counts were dropped.

Federal prosecutors have said they also had a video recording of Jew accepting $40,000 in $100 bills. Investigators found $10,000 of that wrapped in tin foil in the freezer of Jew's Burlingame home, officials said.

So don't feel bad, Detroit. California's got incompetent government officials lying and stealing, just like you do.

Nov 17, 2008

Shanghaiist.com plagiarizing my blog?

My crappy blog is so rad, it's being plagiarized by other crappy blogs. Compare:
I feel so flattered.

I need to point out that the scan of the packaging I put on my blog is much funnier than the one from the Shanghaiist. On my blog, the cartoon drawing of a bare-chested fat man with his garbage bulge through his tighty whities is hilarious.

Nov 13, 2008

Yo-Yo

I saw this article on CNN today, it got me thinking about this Yo-Yo Ma dude. It always got my goat that this guy is ripping off Yo-Yo the rapper and building his own celebrity on her past success in the hip-hop world. Where are the CNN articles on Yo-Yo the rapper? Why all this favoritism for the non-rapping Yo-Yo?

Up until a couple years ago, I actually thought that Yo-Yo Ma was Yo-Yo, and the rapper was just adding extra words onto her name for effect, similar to when Puff Daddy cycled through "P. Diddy", "Puffy", and "Diddy". It was a real let down to find out that Yo-Yo Ma was a name plagiarizer, like the young Chinese fellow I met once in Yangshuo, who chose "Nicolas Cage" as his English name.

If you were to meet the two Yo-Yos in person, it's easy to tell who's the real one.

The real deal:




The faker:



Look at the dude's double bass. It's clearly a miniaturized imitation of the real thing -- as fake as a three-dollar bill.

Now that we're all worked up and our blood pressures are sky high, let's chill out with the best Yo-Yo song, featured in the notable film Boyz in the Hood. You can find the song here.

Nov 9, 2008

Yogurt

Even in the midst of the melamine-milk product scandal that continues to go on in China, I still try to make a cup of yogurt part of my balanced breakfast. Check out this new flavor I found recently:





Looking at the picture of the fruit in the lower half of the packaging, you'd be correct to guess that this is strawberry-raspberry flavor yogurt -- a delicious combination indeed. The Chinese characters, 草莓 and 树莓, also indicate that it's strawberry-raspberry flavor. The English translation, however, had me quite confused.

If you went by the English wording alone, you might wonder what this bramble flavor tastes like. Until I looked the word up, I thought bramble meant "prickly weeds" or something like thistle. I have to say, they've used the word bramble completely correct in this situation. Based on my experience with yogurt flavors, though, it was really out of place and sounded very strange. For your reference:
bram·ble

1: any of a genus (Rubus) of usually prickly shrubs of the rose family including the raspberries and blackberries ; also : the fruit of a bramble
2: a rough prickly shrub or vine

Who would've thunk? You can increase your English knowledge living in China. Not to mention, I think I must be building up a good melamine tolerance -- either that, or I'm building up a good-sized kidney stone.

Nov 7, 2008

Electoral-night scenario toy: actual results

I posted a couple weeks ago about a fun on line toy to simulate different election-night scenarios. Here's a comparison of what I guessed and what actually happened:


Original guess, Oct. 23, 2008:



Actual results:





So, the states I guessed incorrectly were:
  • Florida
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
With the exception of Wisconsin, these are all southern states. I had assumed that they would vote Republican due to historical reasons and shared cultural values. (Note: Indiana and Ohio might not have been in the Confederacy, but yes, they are southern states -- they talk with some kind of southern accent down there.)

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any election result guessing-pool around the office, so I don't know how good of a guesser I am compared to my peers. Also, being in China, no one really cares too much about this particular election. It get a little more attention than the selection of a new Chinese president would get in the US, but it's not a topic that people talk about around the water cooler.