Friday, December 25, 2009

Blue Sky! Can you hear me now?

Christmas in Beijing





My cousin and I are celebrating the holiday together here in Beijing, China...last night we strolled down WangFuJing and stopped by the Catholic church only to find vendors selling Mardi Gras styled masks and devil's horns. It was a spectacle...



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Temple of Heaven - Beijing China


Today my cousin and I visited The Temple of Heaven located a bit south of Tian'anmen on line 5 of the subway (tiantandongmen).


My favorite spot was the Circular Mound Altar, which is most significant this time of year! This is a photo of my cousin Elliott looking regal as he poses.

The Circular Altar has three layered terraces with white marble. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven and hope everything would be good in the future.


Another important building in Temple of Heaven is Imperial Vault of Heaven. If you look at it from far away, you will find that the Vault is like a blue umbrella with gold head. The structure of it is like that of Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, but smaller in size. The structure was made of bricks and timber. The Vault was used to place memorial tablets of Gods. White marble railings surround the vault.


The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a big palace with round roof and three layers of eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent four seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter; the 12 posts along the middle circle represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen (Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichens). The roof is covered with black, yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of white marble and has a height of six meters.

Thanks to: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/beijing/heaven/ for the intel!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaching The People's children

This entire video was shot with an iPhone 3GS, converted to .mov files and edited in FCP.



I accompanied my BLCU classmate, Nils, to a local school for migrant children. Many of the children who live in Beijing don't have access to "proper" schools and attend schools like the one in this video, which rely on assistance from volunteers.

Video project for @therefore's Digital Video class.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Meeting the German Ambassador to China...



Today I accompanied my friend, Carolyn, and a group from Tsinghua to meet with Germany's Ambassador to China: Michael Friedrich Wilhelm Schaefer.

We were greeted by Conrad, a friendly young German, and given a short tour and Q&A session. He reminded us that November was the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall being taken down and said they had many events in celebration of the reunification of Germany.

He then took us to the Ambassador's residence where we meet with the Ambassador for two hours of Q&A. I was impressed by the hospitality and relaxed Question and Answer format - it was a truly unique experience.

It was the first time I had the opportunity to hear a German Euro-Centric perspective. So often here in China things are polarized between US and China, but the Ambassador framed the perspective of the EU as an entity that, collectively, surpasses the US in it's economic significance. He was openly able to evaluate the challenges the EU faces while clearly stating the significance of the Union, which as an American was a unique perspective to hear.

He also said that China was not only a 'responsible stakeholder,' but becoming an equal shareholder.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Armin Van Buuren, Beijing China - 2009






Need I say more?

What does a 7.7 Million dollar necklace feel like?



I agreed to accompany my classmate to a function on behalf of his family and didn't know what to expect. But, I must say that I enjoyed it throughly. A girl's true delight - the most beautiful and expensive jewelry I've ever seen. Chopard's designer has my deepest respect - she truly makes ART!

Beijing, China.

This is a video of me trying on a 52$ RMB necklace...just do the math.




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Superficial thoughts on Hong Kong and Jing...





I must start this post by saying that it is simply not fair to compare Hong Kong and Beijing.

Having said that, please indulge me and let me share a few superficial observations about Hong Kong:

Hong Kong is 21 degrees warmer than Beijing (Celsius)
People in HK were smiling...and for no apparent reason. (radiant faces)
Everyone I met in HK spoke basic English. (No surprise)
Old men dye their hair. (not so good on the root upkeep, however)
People in HK WAIT until people get off the subway before entering.
In HK got a handout for a good cause - to recycle old clothes.
In HK kids were running around, playing and being...kids.
No one spits massive phlegm on the streets of Hong Kong.
Men wear different kinds of belts in HK. (difficult to explain)
People aren't just SHOPPING in GUCCI, they are BUYING GUCCI.
and can someone tell me:
WTF IS an "Administrative" district anyways?

And yes, Beijinger's still go to Hong Kong to shop!

Though, I must admit that Hong Kong felt a bit like Las Vegas? How so? Well, you know how in Vegas it is almost impossible to find your way outside of the casino? And, if you do, there is a conveyor belt taking you to the next casino? Well, Hong Kong's subway system is pretty much designed to take you from shopping malls to more shopping plaza's. Seriously. Too much shopping!!!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Hong Kong...first evening.

Harbor Grand Hotel:



I just arrived in Hong Kong and have had such luck. So much for Friday the 13th...This has been a GREAT day!

More to follow tomorrow.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Snow in Beijing

I looked out the window this morning and was startled to see that it was snowing... Here comes winter!

Yet, I don't feel cold.






Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trashy! Beijing Art!?


One thing you quickly learn to appreciate in Beijing is the fact that EVERYTHING is recycled or put to good use. No matter where you go there are people making good of what, to some, is simply trash.

Today there was a man outside of the University loading up his bicycle with a massive heap of packaging that came from Dell boxes.

...at the end of the video he yelled at me. :( But I have no idea what he said...

His pile of trash reminded me of my 3D design class and I considered it a true example of Beijing ART! Not to mention the acrobatic feat of balance to keep all of the foam on the bike and driving that load on a Beijing street? INSANE!



Here's a video of his creation:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Youku.com on THIS 中国 SIDE of the Great FireWall...

So, there are advantages to the Great Fire Wall. What are they? Full length movies on Youku...

What is Youku.com? Well, it's like YouTube, but... BETTER? (that's what a girl in class told me last week)

hmm.

The catch?

If you try to load it from the USA, you get an error:



But if you load it from China? You see the the full-length feature film which looks like this:





Yeah for Intellectual Property...

Street food in Beijing and a crowded elevator at school

These are typical moments in my daily routine...

Street food in the morning for breakfast is fabulous! McDonalds
ain't got nothing on these guys!!!

Yes, and the elevator at school.
I often climb 8 flights of stairs...You'll see why!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peking Opera

Clip edited together on my iPhone with ReelDirector for iPhone...nothing fancy, just 60 seconds from the Peking Opera. Hope to get even more editing in later versions of ReelDirector.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sliding down the Great Wall of China...

Today's adventure was to the Great Wall of China...short video of us sliding down!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Anti-"Secret"


Barbara Ehrenreich recently appeared on John Stewart, and I felt it worthy of sharing.

The author shares her perspective on the American obsession with being 'positive' and also gives a critique of the New-Age hit The Secret.

John Stewart asks: If it works for someone isn't it ok? She said: "Delusion is never ok."

Does being obsessively positive, as she suggests, indicate an 'empathy deficit" in our culture?

She also attacks the industry of pink everywhere...and as for 'The Secret?' She believes that the rich boomers live in a 'bubble' completely disconnected from reality...

So, what does she suggest? Be grounded and be real. This sounds very...pragmatic, in the common use of the word, but not William James's Pragmatism. I think it would include...a bit of both?

What is an empathic deficit? And is this really part of the problem in America? In China it is almost an unspoken rule: do not mention health problems. So, what kind of empathy deficit is she talking about? She wants to be grumpy during her treatment...or at least feel the freedom not to let other's down. I wonder if other's feel this way too?


That's Chinese for Smith!

Apparently this is my last name in Chinese, which makes my name:

史密斯 肯布丽 or "金"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How (some) people roll here in Jing...

My agent took me for a ride on the back of her bike to hit up an ATM.

And in case you are wondering, no. We took a car to view the apartment.
This was a kind gesture on her part and gave me the real...
'Beijing on a Bike' experience.

No extra charge. ;-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of my favorite features on my MAC...

I just want to pause for a moment and thank whoever came up with the 'view all application windows' on MAC OSX....


This feature has changed my work flow and allowed me to be my often seemingly random-self while maintaining a productive work flow! Far from linear...it more closely imitates the way I see things in my mind's-eye - as I am - grooving a long moment-to-moment. The 'view-all' screen is a nifty tool and GREAT reminder of the objects I am juggling in my mind that allows me to re-focus...not to mention easily shift between apps.

As technology becomes more advanced and user-friendly...It is becoming more and more 'cool' to be myself...a bit ADD and a lot Dyslexic, because it slowly allows a more fluid extension of my 'consciousness' as it is. These little advancements both shape and increasingly allow more intellectually-informed intuitive expression and for that I am deeply grateful!

I can't wait for a holographic and tactile interface!!! A please, let's not forget sound!

Thanks all you sexy-smart engineers that make this possible!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beijing, China - It's SMOG-o-rrific!

Well, Just a week after National day things here in Beijing have returned to normal.

What do I mean?

You know the song by the Eurythmics...Here come's the rain again? Just imagine that song with slightly different lyrics. Yes, replace 'rain' with the word 'smog' and you will have an idea of what it is like here in Beijing...after the holiday:


On Tuesday I looked outside the window and noticed that there was a distant haze. I had already been spoiled! Fresh Air, clear sky!

Sobered, I wondered how long it would take for the city to be engulfed in the approaching darkness.

This morning I awoke to find that, unlike a thief in the night time, smog had stolen the sun and didn't even attempt to hide it's presence.

I suppose it is something like awaking and having a burglar staring you in the face - laughing - as they casually walk out with the TV. Watching, putting up no fight...only thinking: that van lingering outside was suspicious!

Okay, perhaps it isn't that dramatic. But, only sort of.

I sure hope the weather makers that cleared things up for the holidays (that is the rumor going around campus) give us a few days of clear-sky again...

Otherwise: Hainan, here I come!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

The weekend after...Walking around Tian'anmen today

National Center for the Performing Arts...

This is where I went to see the Lucerne Festival!

People, people...everywhere.

Yum Yums.

Left, right, left...

This man is sporting his 60 year sticker... Only saw about a million of those today.

Boys to the rescue...

I just like this one.

That thing I said in the previous blog about the guns? I take it back. Beijing SWAT team, in da house.



This kid was so excited to get some sugar-covered cherries! Yummy. His mom let me try one! No kidding. It was sooooo good! :)

He's such a poser...National Center for the Performing Arts.

Monument in Tian'anmen...

Mao...

Cute.

A massive official-looking building.

This is so typical in Beijing! Any space big enough to lay down is a nap spot!