Steve's China Blog

Monday, May 17, 2010

Busy, but lazy weekend

On Friday night I met up with my friend Tina and we went over to the Shangri-La Hotel to see a band from New Zealand called Solidaz (pronounced "solid as") who were playing at Mooney's Pub there. They play a mix of old stuff and new stuff, as well as some decent blues tunes every once in awhile. After listening to some music there we went for a walk along the river and chatted until very late.

Saturday and Sunday was spent being lazy... playing on the computer, eating, napping, laundry, watching TV and DVDs. I've been watching season 3 of Battlestar Galactica. It's a good series, but each episode is rather emotionally intense, so I don't usually watch more than 1 or 2 episodes in a sitting. I also watched episode 9 of the HBO mini-series called The Pacific. It is like Band of Brothers, but takes place in the Pacific theater and is about some Marines. Good show, but some of it is rather gruesome.

I also watched some episodes of a show called The Universe which aired on the History Channel. The two episodes I watched this weekend were about comets, asteroids, and meteorites; and how do we stop a really big comet or asteroid from hitting the earth. In stopping a big comet or asteroid from hitting the earth we have to detect it, have a plan to deflect it, and then have someone decide who will do it. The show made it sound like the United Nations would get to decide the important things, so I had the feeling we were doomed.

I also watched some movies. The first was a 2D version of the new Clash of the Titans, which was pretty good although it was filmed in a theater so my copy did not have very great quality. It was much better than the 1981 version, which had Harry Hamlin as Perseus who always seemed too much of a sissy to be the son of Zeus. Sam Worthington was a much better Perseus in the new one. Of course, the special effects and combat scenes were much better in the new one too.

Along the same story line was Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Good effects, so-so acting, and a lousy story. I just can't get into all the movies about snotty high-school kids who save the world. Another teenager movie I tried to watch was Kick-Ass... a movie about a teenager who decides he wants to be a comic book-style super hero. It is an interesting idea, but the movie was so juvenile that I stopped watching after 25 minutes or so.

Although I watched this movie the weekend before last, I thought I would recommend How to Train Your Dragon. I think the people who did this film were the same people who did Lilo and Stitch, but it was much better. I'm hoping to go see it in 3D at the theater while it is still playing here. The problem is that there are a bunch of movies already out, or coming out this month, that I want to see and I am not sure I'll have the time to see them all in the theater.

I didn't stay home all weekend. On Sunday evening I went out with some friends to a XinJiang restaurant near the north gate of Sichuan University called Xin Jiang Bugba Restaurant. The story of this restaurant is that a business student at the university didn't like the food or the service at the XinJiang restaurant outside the south gate of the university, so after he graduated he opened his own place near the north gate.

The staff at the north gate restaurant are all Uygher from XinJiang province who can speak reasonable Mandarin, and the food is really good. The only complaint I have is that the pieces of lamb that they use on their kabobs is smaller than what I am use to. Anyways, the staff is friendly and the place is as clean as any nearby Chinese restaurants. The menu is in Chinese and in Pinyin... No English yet, but the guy who runs the place wants us to translate it for him. We might work something out for that later. You can get an idea of the dishes of XinJiang here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An article

A few weeks ago I read this article in the New York Times....

More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship

“What we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years,” said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. “Before, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.”

Now, first off... I am not planning on giving up my US citizenship. No worries there.

Since I first read this article a few weeks ago I have gotten to talk to a dozen or so US citizens who live and work here in Chengdu about it. I was kind of surprised that all of them had either read the article or they had heard about it. All of the people I talked to said they had no plans to renounce their citizenship, but what was interesting was that almost all of the people I talked to said they had no interest in going back to the US, and it had nothing to do with taxes or banking like the article suggests.