From the bowels of the eunuch

“No eunuch flatters his own noise more shamefully nor seeks by more infamous means to stimulate his jaded appetite, in order to gain some favor, than does the eunuch of industry”… Karl Marx (although I stand to be corrected on the source of this quote….)

It is noted in my ‘Lonely Planet: Shanghai’ travel guide that Shanghai is both the economic engine of China and, vis a vis, is also the most spiritually polluted city on Earth… Since the industrial engine of Shanghai (and thus all of China) is situated a mere 8 floors below Tomasz’s living room (where I ‘attempt’ to sleep on the floor), the noise from this eunuch is becoming rather poisonously unbearable. The persistent shrieking of metal grinding against metal begins at about 5 am, is quickly accompanied by the high-pitched whistle that begins the work day for the train yard workers immediately situated below my abode, is soon joined by the symphony of sound (out of key, I should note) produced by a combination of welders, mechanics, machinists, bull-horn mouthpieces, crane operators, jack-hammerists, junk collectors, commercial bus operators, and of course, the thousands of train operators that man-oeuvre the train cars into the work-yard. The trains, mainly decrepit junkers on their last legs, roll into the station shrieking for mercy, and on numerous occasions I have yelled at the train operator to shoot the god-damn beast, to mercifully put it out of its’ (and all those residing within a 3 mile radius’) misery… My cries of desperation ultimately go unheard, and so the eunach of industrial (dis)euphoria continue until the work-day is over, which lasts until sometime just before midnight.

And I roll back and forth, in and out of sleep, waiting for daylight. Today I woke up at 4am with a sore throat, no doubt the result of a weekend spent with Tomasz and his cronies in Wuxi… I’ll spare you the details, but as the weather proved to be unfavourable we were forced to spend our time consuming the gifts our gracious host provided. For the official record, although I was held the entire time against my own free will, temptation was not entirely futile :)  But a severe lack of vitamins, hydration, sunlight, nature, fresh air and solitude (and pretty women in outrageously high heels) are wrecking havoc upon my vibrations, both of the body and spirit.

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Wuxi round 2

At this precise moment, Tomasz is yelling at me, “DREW, NO DRUNKEN POSTS!!!!”…. I’ll admit, I’ve had a few (immitation) Stoly’s and orange juices, and one TSING TAO STOUT, which I nicknamed TSING TAOUT (and I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy)…. Tomasz is currently on the phone with Michael #1 (Wuxi Michael), who informs us that he’s just picked up 6 litres of wine and 2 litres of vodka and is asking us if this is going to be enough for our trip to Wuxi tomorrow. Since it’s a one day trip, I will be quite frank and hope to Gawd that we don’t consume half of it…..

I can productively announce that I finished the scaffolding of my short children’s story…. and I think she’s a winner!!! Obviously it’ll take some time to fill in the details, but the overall story has been written… I spent all day in a coffee shop finishing it off. There’s lots of obscure references that the keen eye will (hopefully) recognize… They include, in no particular order:

- Tommy-Cat, the 6’7 Dog that wishes he was a cat

- The Tin-Can, who meditates and does yoga

- Dr. S “The Shark Hunter”

etc. etc…. I’ll have to conclude this post tomorrow as the Tom-Cat is being a complete bitch….. he wants to take me to some upscale bar and I don’t possess the gonads to mess with a 6’7 dawg (that wishes he was a cat!!)… lol

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Stay the hell outta Spunworg!!!

I’ve been asked to do some writing for Tommy’s Alice in Wonderland game… he’s got an idea of creating a side business that could benefit from the hype of the video game release, and I’ve just spent some time poking around the internet doing some research on Alice and its’ origins, its’ various existential interpretations and themes, its’ hidden nuances, etc. etc….  and it seems like a lot of it was based on the author’s own experience… the names of characters are based very creatively on the names of his friends; many of the various scene locations are creatively based on actual locations around his hometown of Oxford; lots of the metaphoric imagery seems to have been based on his own real life experiences; some of the delicate intricacies were based on cutting edge mathematics and linguistic studies of his time.

So I got to thinking…. maybe i could put some time and effort into writing a short children’s story based on the themes of the amazing personalities of my friends, the magical trips that always spawned stomach-muscle-pull-laughter and incredible coincidences, our philosophical understandings of nature and energy and the law of attraction, a child-like belief in magic  (throwing in some references to quantum mechanics), the importance of dreams and companionship and love, and a general ability to vibe through anything….

The story is about the magical journey of 6 best friends (DVJ, Dream-Rod, T.A. Kid, Burger, Powers, G-Dog). The 6 best friends live in the town of Spunworg (‘grown-ups’ spelled backwards) and, after various occurences where they feel they don’t fit in (for example, dreaming in Spunworg is illegal), they decide to go on an adventure into the enchanted forest of endowment…. after coming to a sign deep in the enchanted woods that reads “Welcome to Under-Belly County (I’ll let you figure out that lil diddy lol!!), today your host is SALISH”, they are introduced to Salish, the talking owl… he briefs them on the ancient spirits residing in the woods, and reminds them of the importance of dreaming. He takes them through the woods to a dream ceremony being held at a longhouse in the Aboriginal Village of MOA (again, I’ll let you figure that one out!!)… after participating in the rhythmic drumming and chanting ceremony, each boy is led out to the giant ancestral totem pole, and after the boys touch the totem together, each has a vision of utopia…..after an overwhelming sensation of healing is felt by the boys, they are told to go off on their own, and to follow the signs and coincidences that will lead them on their path….

The smell of cherry blossoms persuades the boys to hop a fence into what appears to be an ancient Japanese garden… once inside, they are overcome with the beauty of the cherry blossoms that are in full bloom. When they attempt to cross the bridge, a troll named NITOBE will not let them pass until the boys answer a riddle that no one has ever answered correctly…. The riddle: What year will the Olympics be held in Utopia??

Dream-Rod answers, “the year 5738″…. Astonished that the boy has answered correctly, Nitobe lets them pass through the bridge onto the small island.  Dream-Rod explains to the boys afterwards that his vision of utopia was of all the boys living together in one house when they were older, and he caught a glimpse of the address: 5738 Olympic Street…

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“Head West Young Man”

I finished reading Volkswagon Blues, the only piece of Canadian literature that I brought with me from home. It was given to me by a dear friend before I left. Essentially the book’s about how importance should be placed on the process, or the journey, rather than the destination alone… Sometimes the destination isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, so in order to avoid the inevitable emptiness that comes from the loss and hurt of being let down if our expectations are not met,  we should choose to focus our intent on seeing the beauty of each and every moment along our journey. Live in the moment; try hard to see all things as an opportunity for growth and a blessing; see the glass as half full; take each day one step at a time; take comfort and joy in the little things; pay attention to the signs and coincidences and follow your own path… Not exactly cutting edge new-age philosophy, but regardless, they’re still beautiful messages and subsequently are a great refresher to reinforce my perspective whilst I await to move on to more tropical shores.

I got another dose of Canadiana culture the other night; Tomasz and I watched a great Canadian film called “One Week”. What would you do if you only had one week to live? The lead character (Ben Tyler) decides to buy a motorbike and ride west across Canada. Set to an amazing all-Canadian soundtrack, it showcases some of the finest scenery our beautiful country has to offer. Great cameos by Gord Downie (who rolls a joint while discussing the distinguishing characteristics of true love ) and Joel Plaskett (who plays a busker), combined with the majestic imagery of Banff and Tofino (two of my favourite places in the world) provided me with a healthy but nostalgic dose of home-sickness. Ben Tyler headed west when he rolled up the rim of his tim hortons’ coffee cup, and instead of winning a free donut (or “Sorry, try again”), his prize read in big, black, bold and ominous text: “Head West Young Man” … I too heard the proverbial call but having exceeded the limit of my ‘west’ after paddling out on my surfboard off the shores of Tofino, the only natural direction left for me to head was east. Far East. But the quintessential motive behind our journeys of self discovery are derived from the same desire to be completely and utterly free. Apparently we also shared the same corner booth in my favourite diner in Tofino, a small but token coincidence that I was able to take a little bit of comfort and joy from :)

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The Quest…

The weather here in Gotham City, aka Shanghai, has been in a perpetual state of low lying cloud since Tommy and I returned from our trip… But it hasn’t dampened our moods at all… Monday night, under the local over-pass, cage soccer Round 2 occurred. 3 vs. 3, without a single sub, resulted in a 2 hour sweat-fest that (hopefully) eliminated all of the alcoholic toxins still remaining in the system from our 11 day trip/bender… One of Tomasz’s colleagues even asked if I was a professional player!! Albeit the competition was quite amateur, the endorphins and feelings produced from a friendly kick-around game of footy never cease to satisfy my insatiable appetite for exhilaration.

My insatiable appetite for exhilaration was quenched on Tuesday by the internet-produced date I mustered up from Plenty of Fish.com, an international internet dating website… I figured what better way to entertain myself than to explore the city with a female companion while Tommy slaves hard at work over the computer… I had to slave hard ‘at work’ from the comfort of Tommy’s computer chair to pick an eligible bachelorette for such a mission, and I found one that happened to have Tuesdays off… not bad for a days’ work… The only shame of it was, that, upon meeting at the local Starbucks (how original, I know…) she turned out to be about 60 lbs heavier than her internet photo would suggest… I’d been duped!!! But always one to make the best of any situation, I managed to get her to reveal the name of some of the best pubs in town… including one that offers free, yes you heard correctly, free drinks to both men and women during happy hour (6pm to 9 pm)… Perhaps this particular bar will become the destination for satisfying my insatiable appetite for exhilaration tonight…

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11 days, 4 cities, 2 villages, and LOTS to share… this could be a long one!!

I am writing this from the comfort of ‘home’… to be precise, home is situated on a rotation between Tomasz’s couch and computer chair in his apartment in Shanghai. It is Monday, Tomasz is back to work after 10 days of vacation, life seems to have returned to ‘normal’, and the prospect of Monday night soccer tonight is a reminder that it has been 2 weeks since I first arrived in Asia.

“You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best, I’ve been drunk for a month, I’ve been drunk since I left. These so-called vacations will soon be my death, I’m so sick from the drink I need home for a rest…” ahhh… The night before I departed for Asia my friends and I belted this Galic drinking song alongside the live band whilst our arms and our beverages were wrapped tightly around each other in an act of brotherly companionship; after spending 11 nights with Tomasz crossing the country by train and airplane, residing in both youth hostels and 5 stars, the words have never rung more true.

I’ll try my best to recall the stand-out points from our various ventures; and trust me, there were many… the quest to spread peace, love and harmony has officially erupted with a bang and in a fashion even Hunter S. Thompson would be approvingly envious of, minus of course the drugs and the drinking and driving… read on and enjoy!! Continue reading

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Blog frustrations and Hallucinating fish straight outta Alice in Wonderland… just an ordinary day in China

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time the past two days trying to upload photos and a video to this blog… While Tomasz is away at work I’ve got access to his computer, and I figured I may as well take advantage of the computer time while it’s accessible (and free!!)… But it seems that the powers-that-be won’t allow me to upload said pictures and video… and it’s not like the photos are in violation of anything (they’re mainly goofy and funny shots that I’ve snapped thus far) but I guess it’s in keeping with the rules and regulations and therefore I must respect that… interesting though, aint it??!!… I can’t access FAICE BOOKE either, and so those of you out there that would like me to add you as friends will unfortunately have to wait until a time when I have full internet accessibility.

Tommy’s been really hard at work; he’s one of the senior team leaders in his company of 60 and the game their currently working on, Alice in Wonderland, is being showcased at some huge video game convention in San Francisco this weekend. Apparently world-wide hype about the game has been tremendous, and there are numerous bugs that need to be worked out before tonight’s deadline at 6pm, when the game gets sent to San Fran… let’s send Tommy some positive energy as a lot is riding on his wide shoulders!! I’ll be meeting him outside his office at 6:10 with a cold beverage, and we’re boarding a train for a town about an hour away called Wuxi. The whole country gets a week off for China Day(s), and Tommy’s been busy planning a little trip. After kayaking and doing some climbing in Wuxi, we’re headed for Nanjing, a city where Tommy once lived… I think he knows a good spot or two to have a good time!! After that we’re headed to….  I can’t remember…  but anyways I’m sure it’ll be an adventure… I’m not sure how much internet accessibility i’ll have for the next while, so if you don’t hear from me for a bit, I’ll send you my best telepathically… Hope you catch the vibes :)

While Tomasz has been at work, I’ve been exploring with Diana… yesterday we went to a market that was straight out of a film… congested, dirty, loud… it certainly wasn’t for the faint of heart or the claustrophobic… Table after table was overflowing with vegetables, live crabs in buckets, eels that resembled something out of Indiana Jones 2, and my favourite: a table with massive severed fish heads that are served as an entree and considered a delicacy!! Not just for feeding basement dwellers I guess!! The best part was that despite the fact they were severed (and very obviously dead), a few of the heads continued to move around on the table as if they were alive!!! One was hopping so much that it jumped off the table and fell onto the floor!! I was reminded of working at the fish canary and at the end of a long shift thinking the fish I was gutting would sometimes move their lips and blink… Maybe I wasn’t actually hallucinating… Maybe I’ll suggest dead severed fish heads that can talk and hop as a potential animated evil character in Alice in Wonderland 2.

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