written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Monday, November 27, 2006


I went to the fancy supermarket, Parkson's, to find some apple cider vinegar (for my ill tummy), apparently a western speciality not easily found in Shijingshan. Parkson's supermarket is loacted in the Fuxingmen area, around the city's largest subway interchange station. It's a characterless high-end, business and financial district. It's mirrored skyscrappers and manicured sculpture gardens (apart from the odd preserved temple) are found in any big city, in any country. It would never occur to me to take photos of any of this, but today, it occured to me. Though its as plain as day, "World Class Amenities" is to true urban development as Starbucks is to the local cafe.The reproduction of this "bigcityness" in city after city is ultimately the reduction of a city to its lowest common (commercial) denominators.
The vinegar is working, and I enjoyed the rare coffee, so I can't be too ungrateful. Thank you, global market accessibility.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Gini Coefficient"

Gini Coefficient?

Barbers in the Field.

Final cut from this SCENE.

In 30 minutes.

Small Change

Just look at these! They are colorful, delectable and nutritious; and they are purchased with the loose change in my pocket. They are impaled on long skewers, which are then poked through a Styrofoam cylinder, which is mounted on a bike. Which is presumably riden on dusty streets, behind exhaust pipes, etc. Here they are in an alley next to a dumpster. Does the yuck air stick to them? I used to care, but now I don’t. Behind the crabapples is a barrel selling roasted sweet potatoes. I buy these almost everyday. The sweet potatoes are crowded on the lid of the blackened industrial barrel. People usually pick them up, squeeze them and heft them up and down before they decide to buy. Despite all this, I eat the skin. I used to care, but now I don’t. And this is the gauge by which I measure all personal change.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Merry Thanksmas!

Well, though there is a big Thanksgiving get-together tonight at our teacher-fav restaurant "Big Windows", but ironically as pretty-much the only full-blooded American, I will miss the eating portion since I'm teaching class until 9:30pm. But I will make it for the later boozing portion at the 'bar' (formerly a tea house-but the teachers have convinced the managers to turn it into a bar just for us, because no bars really exist around here, and they play our music so...) But, surprisingly, I received many a 'Happy Thanksgiving' from some chinese people; and there were even special articles in the Chinese News about it, which, I guess, I find a little surprising as it is probably the only non-secular, non-commercial major All-American holiday. (which happens to be my fave!)

I am missing the family at Grandma's house this year. I love you all! But the holiday spirit's not lost in the East, it found me this morning on a heap of garbage outside my apartment. Right on time! My dumpster'd christmas tree was already kind of decorated with some shappy, dusty bows and a dangly star. Here I am giving it a shower. I think I will make my Glitter Mange pony the Angel.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

All this week, you can find me here!

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The family that stayed.

About a 200 meters from this garbage-strewn rubbled field is a manicured main-thoroughfare, the China Radio International Building, a flank of glittering apartment towers, a new "hyper" supermarket chain, a subway station, an enormous well-kept scultpture park, and some carnival fairgrounds. Its an area being redeveloped as the Central Recreation District. Its about 30-40 minutes from Tiananmen Square. However, as far as I have seen, this is the only parcel of land that looks like this for miles. And this family lives there.
Article about Beijing's rapid redevelopment/gentrification and the consequences for regular people forced to re-settle: "Old Beijing worries about the 2008"

"So they can watch TV in Heaven"


A Gathering Around a Double Parked Car. 5 30 AM.


For some reason in the middle I turned the camera, stupid.

Small Solicitations.

Crab apples on a stick on a bike.
A rare performer on the typically stoic Beijing subway.
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Technical Machine

Though even peasants have cell phones and many people walk around with little mp3 players dangling around their necks, self-service/vending machines are not apart of the gizmo/gadget landscape here in Beijing as much as they are in Japan, or at home-- with our profusion of drink and snack machines and spinny sandwich/pudding dispensers in most anyplace where a person could possibly be caught 1 minute without a food/beverage option.

Actually, ATMs are everywhere, but, here, I have only seen two vending machines, ever. First: a pespi machine in a home appliance store up the street; and the other, a canned coffee/tea machine in the airport terminal. That's all. But it makes sense. In the most populous country on earth, what's the need for labor-saving devices all over the place. There are plenty of people to employ and plenty of them would take any job, even if its just wiping pay phone hoods.

As of 2 days ago I can say that the THIRD VM is directly under my apartment! I noticed it the other night when I came upon a mass of old people huddled around a disquieting white glow outside the police workstation. Its just a water refill machine, quite commonplace the states, but this is fact extremely rare here. I have my 5 gallon jug of "mountain" water delivered on a bike trolley and then hauled up the stairs and then flipped upside down for me. But this "TECHNICAL MACHINE" delivers unto you FRESH OXYGEN CLEAN POWER HEALTH (in the form of water) 24 hours a day, without having to pay a percentage to the woman answering the phone to take the order, or the man that cleans the bottles, or the bike delivery guy. Just ease, quickness, and self-service. And right in our neighborhood, a place devoid of any such flashy technoligical modernity, apart from the jungle gym.

So coming home today, I noticed (because who wouldn't) the big inflatable bottle and the young color-coordinated 6 person marketing crew. They were handing out water samples (!), showing the people how to operate it, and generally making sure that people do use it rather than just walk past it staring curiously. I took a refreshing water sample from one of the smiling crew members and thought, Well at least they're saving no labor today.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sanlunche Race

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Mild Oats.

About a week ago I bought some oatmeal. This was kind of a big decision considering that I have been eating mung beans for breakfast everyday for the past several months, with energetic results. But also, since I've been carbo-rationing, apart from fruit, sweet potatoes, and the one bag of Guoba (my favorite soybean rice crackers) a day. So its not really a ration, but I don't eat much big carbohydrates (oats, rice, noodles, bread, etc) with meals. So, well, yuck. I have felt aweful since the return to oatmeal (I ate oatmeal everymoring for years) and there were a few days of mild depression. I've been sluggish during my running and kind of impatient (not really, but noticable to me). Digestion is weird. It makes no medical sense, as oats are good for all the opposite reasons, energy, fiber, etc.
Yesterday, I fell when stepping off the bus and was trampled a bit by the people behind me. I landed in the arms of an advertisement kiosk and my borrowed comicbook "Critical Theory" went flying into a pile of dirt. It was silly and I was a little hurt but no one paid any mind. Then I suddenly realized, straightening out my skirt, that this oatmeal was a mistake, and was the source of all my more recent moans and woes.
I've gone back to Mung. Routine is a faith in practice. I've even started drinking apple vinegar. I believe all of these things will set me straight again. Who knows what the week will hold. I will not be a whinger (J's word, its irish for whinner).

Friday, November 17, 2006


Mission: Make it to the far end of the schoolyard UNSCATHED. Destination TARGET: that circle door way way way in the background.

First, I walked from the building right into their Multiplication Lair. Then I thought "Whoa" and I pulled out my camera as a deflector shield, thinking also that maybe they'd be on good behaviour for the Press. Then they were all "AHHHHHHH! WE'VE GOT BLUE SCUDS AND SOME OF US HAVE CLUNKYBUG GOLDENRACERS. ahhhh! TAKE A PICTURE OF MINE!!!!!"

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Too my advantage, many were crushed in the PANIC!!!!
I successfully grounded a few into the bushes (...just kidding they fell over by themselves) and then I darted triumphantly for the Circular Portal to the Base Camp in SatelliteMissile City! Wheewww!

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson