vlog

Sep 14, 2018

A summer shorn

The new back-to-school hair

School has started up again, and we’re all trying to look our best. At every age.

Sep 13, 2018

Time keeps on slipping

Uncle Foreigner gets existential

China can be a really chaotic place. Forget about plans changing last minute; sometimes plans aren’t even made until the last minute. Just today, I was part of another surprise photo shoot at school. It’s a difficult way to get things done.

But you can wail against the flow, or gracefully bob along on the tide. One way is a heck of a lot more likely to be a pleasant journey. One way is also a lot more honest about how much control we actually have over our lives…

Sep 5, 2018

What’s kindergarten for, anyway?

Book Report: Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu

I read a book! Here’s what I thought of it.

Aug 26, 2018

Focus on yourself: Gym noises and a birthmark

Uncle’s Shorts #29

Uncle’s Shorts has been promoted to our flagship series, and as such will be the Thursday video until further notice. In this one, a pair of stories in which I consider my aging body and how weird it is, as well as the noises we all make at the gym and how liberating that is! Enjoy.

Aug 21, 2018

Dinner with Oldhand

Hold your chopsticks tight

These are just a few of our favorite dishes. With a side serving of creepiness, because that’s just how life is sometimes.

Aug 10, 2018

What gender is your Dragon Fruit

Uncle’s Shorts mega-compendium: Nos. 20-27

This week, after a brief hiatus, we welcome back Uncle’s Shorts with a vengeance! Or, at least a compendium. There’s a lot of ground to cover, a little complaining, a little explaining … you know, the vlog basics. Just remember, your suspicions are correct: All foreigners know each other. Noodles to you!

Aug 8, 2018

Get away to an island that’s beyond the everyday

Lamma Island, Hong Kong

This was a fun one to make … Peter and I really let our imaginations fly as we virtually revisited our favorite place on earth. Lamma Island is one of the big-small islands of Hong Kong, I guess. We love it, and we gave it the green screen treatment here, because we aren’t traveling much these days.

It’s a double-edged sword (moreso, I’m sure for the people who actually live there), in that I think people should know about this magical place, but I don’t want to be a part of ruining the small-town charm with too much exposure, or badly behaving tourists. So, just promise me this: If you go, you’ll be cool.

Aug 1, 2018

Beat the heat of the Luzhou summer

Babies must be blow dried

This one’s a lighthearted exploration of what happens during the Luzhou summer. (SPOILER: It’s hot. People deal with it.) But on a more serious note, one of the most unsettling things for me to deal with in the chasm between my native culture and the one I live in, is the tendency — that I perceive, anyway — to dismiss one’s own self-reported feelings in favor of an authority’s judgement on the situation. Which for me, mostly manifests around temperature control. I’ve been in many situations over the years where someone has told me, “It’s not cold, you can’t turn the heater on.” Or, “The parents don’t want the windows open. We don’t believe in ‘stuffy’.” Or, “We have to have the windows open even though it’s freezing, because the parents don’t like the smell inside. Just wear your coat.”

We can do what we want at home, so at least there’s that. But it’s a little frustrating the degree to which other people have strong control over my environment. Like, I’m not allowed to decide for myself how I feel. Maybe I’ve just worked with jerks. But I’ve seen it happen to the children, too. It’s me and the babies, everywhere and always.

Jul 22, 2018

A peanut butter taste of home

Who is the winner in the battle of the crunchies?

I ordered some peanut butter on Taobao, like you do. And then I ordered some more, and some more. And then what we had was a good old fashioned taste test!

If you’re interested in figuring out the relative nutritional information of each peanut butter — what a good math problem! — then you can find the stats below. (For the points, go comment on the video with your results!)


Skippy (per 2 Tbsp)

  • Source: America
  • Energy: 190 American Calories
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sugars: 3g


Whole Earth (per 100g)

  • Source: UK for Hong Kong Park N Shop
  • Energy: 643 kCal
  • Protein: 27.7g
  • Sugar: 3.8 g


Mother Earth (per 20g)

  • Source: New Zealand for Singapore
  • Energy: 518 kJ
  • Protein: 5.4g
  • Sugar: 1g

Jul 16, 2018

Field Notes

Traipsing around the Chinese countryside

We posted a music video using footage from this trip out into the countryside shortly after we took this hike. But recently we were thinking more about rural China, so we revisited the raw material and edited together a new set of thoughts on China city and country. Enjoy!