Last week during my spring break I found myself in my hometown of Canisteo, NY and a chance to see the world's biggest living sign. If the photo does not make you want to start planning your summer road trip around a stop by the majestic sign that makes the town into the tourist hot spot that it is (as seen in the following photo).
That is a shot of the busiest street in town and you can see why I needed to get away from the never ending bustle that is life in Canisteo. While I was home I did manage to get my photo's for my visa, which I just learned will cost me $137. The visa only cost $130, but I needed to spend $7 on two photos slightly larger than a postage stamp that some random photo tech at Walmart took with a crappy digital camera. It is now 30 days, 1 hour and 19 minutes until I start eating meat again to help me prepare for China and boy is meat delicious.
I took Korean class at SUNY Albany for 2 semester before I went to Seoul. From what i gather the Japanese program there was serious but not Korean. I was 20, i think none of us were serious, thusly I learned nothing and arrived in Korea like a newborn baby.......a hideous newborn baby. I literally couldn't say anything upon arrival. This time around I'm trying to make a better effort. The dialect spoken in Beijing and the north is Mandarin which is also the national language. I recently completed Pimsleur's Mandarin I and II!!! that means 60 audio lessons completed! Now i just have to complete level III which means 30 more lessons. My goal was to complete all 90 lessons by the time I leave but that is not possible now because i only have 7 weeks left at this point and I also am retarded. Now in reality it looks like these first 60 lessons are the equivalent of 4 chapters in a beginners Chinese book so that means i'm at a toddler's level now. I'm taking a "chinese conversation" class at FIT now and at least all of this audio has helped my listening and pronunciation. I guess i would recommend pimsleur to people. I have it on my ipod and listen to it on the subway, i probably look crazy whispering to myself all the time
this is the current state of my room after some attempts at organizing/packing/throwing away for my move to Beijing. this is basically what my computer desktop looks like which i always say you can tell a lot about someone from their computer desktop.
So this is the first actually travelling done on this blog. I went upstate to my parents house in Canisteo, NY for my grandmother's funeral this weekend. In spite of the glum circumstances of the visit I was still able to take some photos. This post is pretty much all about bob and why shouldn't it be? i mean look at the guy's swagger.
I took the bus to albany and drove further upstate with bob in his mercury sable(a high performance vehicle for those that don't know). This is basically what all of upstate NY looks like, this is also pretty much the color pallette you can look forward to. Below is a shot of some local which you will see a lot of this even on the edge of the highway. Now if you are feeling a little skeptical to as if there is in fact an infant in that stroller or just garbage your skepticism is not unfounded. It's about a 50/50 chance. Pretty inspirational.
here is a shot of one of my parents new puppies, they were born on "Planet Cute". They are newfoundlands.
Now here is a "money shot" if i ever saw one. Just look at the majestic stature of bob and beast. Both at full attention milliseconds away from bounding down into the valley to wrastle with a bear that has challenged their territory. long ebony hair flowing against a perfect crisp blue sky. He is also very fashion forward. The overall muted colors of his ensemble are divinely complimented and not overpowered by grey ear muffs and mud slogging boots, both of which are enough to drive man and woman alike into a heated frenzy.
it's kind of embarrassing but we live next to a sheep farm.
these two were butting heads for a while, probably fighting over who would win the age old battle to mate with Bob.
and as if Bob couldn't get any sexier he went and got a haircut.
a shot of the valley we live in and some deer
I've been an occasional ping pong player (more serious player would beg of you to please call it Table Tennis) ever since i lived in korea 7 yrs ago. I have managed to work up a semi-decent basement style game and am anticipating the spanking i will get in China. My old roomate from SUNY Albany, Jeff came back from Shanghai after a 2 yr stint there and said that little dudes like the ones below will destroy me. I can't wait to become the little baby big man who is the laughing stock of all the kids in the neighborhood after each one of them humiliates me. After each one of them dispenses with me they will probably all gang up on me and pull down my super shorts and sweat bands that i think will make me play better. I don't care i'm still going to wear them! **UPDATE** much to my dismay people were not playing ping pong all over the place in the streets, parking lots, sewers, bathtubs, etc.... Very few people played and none of my friends played. I played ping pong probably 5 times in china, twice with yoon when he came to visit in Tianjin and Beijing, twice with Angel, and a few times with some random old guys at the park.
Its a little embarrassing to confess my love for ping pong since at least in america it is not the manliest or coolest of sports. I'm not going to impress any ladies by saying i'm an avid table tennis player (but hopefully in china my luck will change! but i doubt it after they see me getting thrashed by a 5 yr old that can't even see over the table) Now with that said let me go and embarass these guys too! These are my buddies that I play with here in NYC
Name: Yoon Nam
Notes: Yoon was my roommate in Korea and then again this year in NYC for 3 months until he got a job in Korea and left! what a jerk. me and yoon were pretty neck and neck as far as skills went. He says he knows some people in Mongolia and we're tryin' to go there and ride wild horses. NOTE: I have no knowledge of Mongolia. sorry yoon i dont have a cool action shot of you diving through a wall or something, but you look pretty cool in this shot right? .....kind of just standing there like you always do, stupified, while a torrent of ping pong ball slams go whizzing by your head delivered from the unstoppable paddle of yours truly. hahahah
Name: Sonu Satchdev
Weight: 93 lbs
Notes: I met sonu the first day i went to SUNY Albany. he was carry around 1 piece of paper in a plastic bag. it was funny and ironic because of the size of the guy and then that 1 piece of paper in the flimsy plastic grocery bag blowin' in the wind. Sonu is of the Sikh religion and thusly is not supposed to cut his hair ever in his life due to his religion. Now he is a jerk and cut his hair off and is as nimble as a gazelle on the ping pong floor. Sonu has the power backhand. I bet he can really spank one somethin' fierce
Name: Jeff Lauricella
Weight: 130 lbs
Notes: Jeff was one of my roomates my sophomore year at SUNY Albany in the infamous suite 405 (i dont know if thats really the number it's been so long) Jeff has been in China too long so he has a lot of spinny moves and what not
Location: Harlem, NYC
Loaches, thats what my old japanese roomate used to say. I don't hate loaches but she did. My other roomate debbie found this guy in the bathtub all sauced out of his mind and unable to get off his back. She then tossed the bum out on his arse a few days ago into the hallway. I found him still there 2 days later. I called her at work and asked her if maybe we should give the poor guy some water or something or at least some spare change and she said "NO! don't give that bum anything." I wonder how long he will stay there. I hope to find many more of these guys of the chinese variety in Beijing hanging out where i live. That will be awesome. I love Loaches.
Technology is amazing these days. I am able to carry my 917 new york number over to vonage (VOIP internet phone company). This means i take this tiny little box anywhere in the world and plug it into the internet cable and then into the VOIP phone (looks like a regular cordless house phone) and anyone can still call my 917 new york number and I will get their call. There will be no international charges because you will still be calling the same new york number i have now. Which means you will techically be calling new york, not China/Korea/Japan/etc... I think its pretty awesome! when i'm out of the house I will have that phone forward all calls to my chinese cell phone so you will still be able to reach me even when i am out in the streets making the magic happen. They even have this tiny little USB keychain thing that you can plug into any computer and it turns it into my phone. Amazing! Also there is always AIM, MSN messenger, email, snail mail, facebook, etc... and i should probably get a skype account too. So you can always get at me! **UPDATE** that little usb keychain is no good cuz you have to buy another number to associate with that keychain. i did get skype. The VOIP phone has been working great and I wouldn't have been able to work and fund this trip if it wasn't for this phone.
Today marks the 3 month mark, the 12 week, 90 day point until I will be on that plane flying to Beijing (bob too). The excitement hasn't hit me yet because It's still 3 months out. I can't wait until that time comes when you don't care anymore and you go around doing stuff like knocking over trash cans and eating everyones food and slapping your bosses and anyone else and burning bridges and alienating yourself from everyone because you're thinking, "what do i care, I'm leaving". It will probably be the other way around and people find that it's "time to finally slap that A-hole Jason while I still have a chance".