Nov 10, 2018

True electric power

Uncle’s Shorts #37: Visiting a Chinese temple

Luzhou autumn starts cold and rainy and ends colder and rainier, but there’s always a brief window of weather that’s just, like, the Platonic ideal of a beautiful fall day. This year, my friend Michael invited me out for a hike during that time, and even though I was incubating a cold, there was no way I could say no. If the sun is out, you must go.

We took a trip out to Fawang Temple, about an hour outside Luzhou. Peter and I had been out to the temple on Fangshan Mountain a few times, but Fangshan is for tourists, Michael told me. He said that Fawang was much better. And he was right. It was gorgeous and peaceful, and a really nice day outside of the city.

This week’s Uncle’s Shorts episode also features an interview with a young man English-named Curly. He was Peter’s student back at Tianfu Middle School, and for many years now has been living in Singapore pursuing his higher education. This interview takes place before he shipped out; at the time he told us that he got travel sick on the trip from his nearby hometown to Luzhou, but it seems like he made it to Singapore OK.

Nov 9, 2018

Bits of Hits

Music from the videos of Uncle Foreigner

Enjoy a medley of some of our recent video soundtracks — all original compositions by Peter, of courses. And, for your viewing pleasure, a short animation featuring babies and bugs. If that’s too much for you, you can always just listen on Soundcloud.

Nov 2, 2018

Yield when we die: Chinese traffic comes to a stand-still

Uncle’s Shorts #36

Never miss a video. Subscribe to Hello Uncle Foreigner on YouTube.

The road to where we’re going is long, and fraught with peril. Sometimes literally. But Luzhou is doing it’s part to make traffic more “civilized.”

Our opener this week features footage from Lijiang; our drive from where we worked to the “Old Town” that was the center tourist attraction for the city. If you watch very closely, you can see the Jade Dragon Mountain in the background.

As a small city, Lijiang public transport wasn’t quite sufficient for everyday living, and taxis were infuriatingly expensive. What should have been a 6 kuai ride, according to the meter, was regularly a 20 kuai bill or more. That’s life in a tourist town for ya.

So while we lived in Lijiang, I drove Peter and I around on a little e-bike. It was … an adventure.

On the open road, driving the bike was exhilarating! The roads were flat and the distance was full of scenery. But in town, the traffic was AGGRESSIVE. And so was I. You can see in the video, we almost get hit two separate times. This was unremarkable enough to me that I didn’t even notice it until Peter pointed it out.

Here in Luzhou, I’m back to being a full-time pedestrian. Occasionally, I wish that we had a car, for inter-city trips. But most of the time, vehicle-free is the way to be. It helps that I live one block away from work.

This week, we also unveil another new feature: the Dialogues. “Wear more clothes” is our first attempt together at crafting a fictionalized piece, and we learned a lot in this first go-round. From a writing perspective, it’s an interesting challenge to relate my thoughts to an actual location; writing essays and vlogs, those are much more in my head. Even if I’m interacting with an environment while I say them, the words are just really one train of thought. Whereas an actual dialogue, of course you have two people talking with (or talking past) each other, but you’ve also got to localize the characters in the space. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a Kevin Smith movie. So the writing goal with these pieces is to incorporate the physicality of the players, and locate them in time and space. No big deal. I’ll have it perfected by next week.

Anyway, we had a lot of fun putting together this week’s episode. So, we hope you like it … although, as always, we’re not terribly concerned if you don’t.

Oct 30, 2018

Instagram always: Yield for no one

Coming Thursday!

This Thursday’s Uncle’s Short addresses Chinese traffic … it’s getting better than you’ve heard. Stay tuned, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you never miss a video.

Oct 29, 2018

The paperwork adventure of a life abroad

It’s not all discovery and excitement

Residing in a foreign country in this modern age involves a lot of appointments and a lot of filing of paperwork. With both countries. Sometimes it even involves leaving my foreign country of residence to go to a third country, for … reasons. It’s definitely way more inconvenient than staying put in America. But it’s still worth it.

Oct 28, 2018

I have a ballot and a song in my heart

The music of Uncle Foreigner

A patriotic tune to get you in the mood to vote in the midterms … if you’re American and registered. Or if you live in another country with a political contest coming up and you’re eligible. Go ahead and have your say! From Uncle’s Shorts #35, “I have a ballot: Clerical work for the future”.

Oct 28, 2018

Tweet of the week: We @’ed a celebrity

She didn’t @ back

We tweeted at Sarah Silverman this week.

Twitter is more than a decade old, so this observation maybe somewhat trivial to most of you, but it is profoundly weird to be able to broadcast your thoughts about celebrities directly to those celebrities. Weirder still, they might reply! Silverman didn’t, but I bet she’s got things to do. She seems like she works pretty hard.

Oct 27, 2018

An absentee vote for the future

Uncle’s Shorts #35

In this week’s Short, several of us are looking to the future: babies, high school students, teachers and voters. Also, there are goats. Remember, we can’t go backwards, yet.

One of my favorite theories of time travel is that, it is possible, but we will not be able to travel back in time before the mechanism for time travel was invented. This neatly dispenses with the argument that, “Well, if we invent time travel in the future, where are all the time travelers? Wouldn’t they be all over? Possibly making their past, and our present, some kind of terrible tourist exhibition?” This argument posits, “They will do that! But not yet to us.”

But, anyway … We’re so excited to continue expanding our repertoire beyond vlogging. Really, through the next few weeks — and maybe until the end of time — we will be introducing all kinds of new segments that aim to examine Luzhou — and through that, the world — more closely, and via different points of view. I’m very pleased that my friend Angel was able to join us to share a little bit of her life with us. You’ll be seeing more of her — and of Jessi — in future videos.

Oct 23, 2018

Instagram always: The friendliest Mao

Keeping your windshield clean

I saw this on a car parked near my building. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but it’s pretty great.

Oct 21, 2018

Tweet(s) of the week: Space Jam?

A question for the ages

Last week, we pondered the big questions of life …

And, our crowd-sourced answer:

It’s always Bill Murray, isn’t it?