Aug 9, 2018

China LIVE STREAM 08: What’s your workflow?

Working with a bedsheet green screen

Due to a website error, I’ve had to type this description out five times. The video is good. Please watch it.

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 4, 2018

Live stream #7: A plug for absentee voters

Also, how hot is hot, really?

Our weekly roundup is becoming a thing! We’ve got regular segments, catch phrases, banter, and a ukulele. Also, we seem to have figured out the chipmunk effect; YouTube says to use a sample rate of 44.1kHz, but 48kHz is what works for us. So, there.

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 27, 2018

Live stream #6: Steely Dan and some other stuff

Return of the Chipmunk Voice

The live stream is starting to really take shape, with recurring segments and everything! It’s getting easier and easier to talk for a full hour — because I take notes all week of things I want to talk about.

This week, toward the end, we have a riveting discussion about Steely Dan and their presence in Barrytown and elsewhere. And, I tell the saga of our electric bill, including what it takes to run enough air conditioning during the Luzhou summer.

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 19, 2018

Live stream #5: Even more babies and cheese

not at the same time, though

Our fifth live stream! We’ve got a lot to talk about, and somehow the chipmunk voice is back.

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!

Jul 15, 2018

Ordering on Taobao, avoiding the scams

Wait ... how much is the shipping?!?!?!?!

We order all manner of things on Taobao, the online marketplace of choice in China. It’s a buyer beware situation, but mostly you’re going to get what you pay for: imitation Crocs, real Tabasco, Oscar Meyer ham, Swiss cheese. There’s a middle eastern deli — hello Voski! — that sells excellent flatbreads and hummus. And the Good Friends Store stocks a great selection of American condiments and spices. (Though I wish they’d get that dill relish back. I hate sweet relish.) We place a grocery order about once a month from various vendors on Taobao.

For big-ticket items, we usually order through 京东 — another online shopping platform that is a little more expensive but a lot more into genuine brand namery. But recently we’ve been plumbing Taobao for some pretty fun items. Peter collects Marvel Legends figures … and he doesn’t mind if the box has been opened, so he’s found some good deals on figures whose build-a-figure part has been harvested. And I’ve found some fun Korean stationery. I love stationery!

Sometimes there are hiccups, though. We talk about a clever scam we stumbled onto in the video above. So, be safe out there.

Jul 14, 2018

Live stream #4: Baby and dairy news

Also, a lot of bathroom chat

We got our sound working and no lag! But our VPN cranked out at the end, so we had an abrupt departure. But, I think that we’re getting the hang of this live streaming business.