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Nov 18, 2018

Cultivated progress: Making art, individuality & punks behind Chinese walls

Uncle’s Shorts #38

We tackle Art this week, in about 8 minutes. So, you know … it’s pretty thorough.

The ending animation we did with our new Adonit Pixel stylus and this nifty animation app I found for my iPad. Animation, as you may know, is pretty labor intensive, but it’s also a lot of fun, so we’re excited to start expanding our repertoire in that direction.

Dave’s interview takes place outside of Luzhou, actually, in a suburb called Naxi. He brought us to this great little BBQ place, where you cook your own meats right on the table. I love cooking my own meats right on the table!

Nov 15, 2018

Instagram always: Turkey Toons!

A Thanksharing animation

Nov 12, 2018

Happy Thanksharing, to all our fellow Foriegners

A time of year to spread existential cheer

This holiday season, we’ve declared Thanksharing! It’s a time for friends and family to get together and tell each other how awesome Hello Uncle Foreigner is! Your roommate’s brother studying Mandarin; your cousins who travel to China each Spring Festival; your ski instructor … Thankshare with all of them the glories of HUF. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch all the latest videos right when they hit the ‘net.

And happy Thanksharing to all Foreigners, wherever you are!

Foreigner

  • A person whose homeland is a country different from the one in which they are presently extant
  • A super-rocking band that you love
  • One of a tribe of wacky misfits who has always felt a little on the outside of everything, but has found a spiritual home in the works of Hello Uncle Foreigner

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

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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 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 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 21, 2018

Grow up, kid

A playlist for all you babies out there

Teaching kindergarten, a lot of my life is spent hanging out with babies. So it’s only natural that they end up as topics of vlog-versation. But we’d probably talk about them anyway, even if I wasn’t a kindergarten teacher; they make for such good people watching. And, they’re always out and about! Seriously, Luzhou babies are always on the go.

Anyway, this playlist brings together a view on baby-livin’ in Luzhou. We think they might know something …

Oct 19, 2018

Under the Jade Dragon Mountain: No murders today

Uncle’s Shorts #34

We’re upping our game this week; For the past month, we’ve been working behind-the-scenes on some new features for the Uncle’s Shorts. This week, we’re super excited to be rolling out some of those new bits: interviews and city shots … with much more to come in the future! It’s a way to move my face out of the spotlight, and put the focus more on Luzhou, and the cool and interesting people we know here. Both personally and creatively, it’s already been very fulfilling. We hope you like it, too.

But we don’t really mind if you don’t.

As for this episode: A massage and a supermarket cause and relieve anxiety for Emily this week, but not in that order. And, we talk to our old friend Jessi about her life.

The Kung Fu Boys were filmed in Black Dragon River Park, Lijiang in 2015. They wrote this movie for our English class. Filming was never completed due to attendance issues.