Friday, July 8, 2011

Grouper's New Shades

"I'm not the kind of guy who dresses like a king/And a really fine pair of shades means everything." -- Iggy Pop

P.S. If, dear Reader, you would like get to know Sri Guru Grouper better, send him a friend request on FACEBOOK, where he posts stuff daily.

P.P.S. "Fish don't carry guns." -- Philip K. Dick

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Evan Dando Poster


"I like Evan Dando's music, & I like this poster." -- The Grouper

Saturday, June 18, 2011

R.I.P. Gil Scott Heron


The late Gil Scott Heron speaks the truth about Grouper's former hometown. R.I.P. brutha.

P.S. The Grouper still resides in Shenzhen, South China. The PRC govt. continues to block access to this blog from inside China. Fascists.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Whole Lotta Sex Machine


"This video mash-up slays me." -- DJ Grouper

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Princess Yuki


Princess Yuki was mine for several years until things got desperate & ugly within the realm & I had to flee in the cold October rain with only the clothes on my back in order to save my life. I begged her to come with me for I loved her so, but she refused. Filial piety was her religion. She owed her parents everything, she said, & their ghosts would follow her no matter how far away from the palace she ran. It was her duty, she insisted, to burn incense & put tangerines & fresh flowers each morning inside the shrine which contained her mother's & her father's ashes even if this meant that we would never see each other again. As I shuffled aimlessly around the world in the lonely years that followed, the sound of her wail of sorrow about the way things had to be never ceased to echo within my mind...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Zhuangzhi (Master Chuang), Taoist Philosopher/Chinese Epistemologist (circa 369-286 BCE) on the Death of His Wife


When Zhuangzi's wife died and Hui Shi came to convey his condolences, he found Zhuangzi squatting with his knees out, drumming on a pan and singing ''You lived with her she raised your children, and you grew old together, Hui Shi said "Not weeping when she died would have been bad enough. Aren't you going too far by drurnming on a pan and singing ?'


"No," Zhuangzi said, "when she first died how could I have escaped feeling the loss? Then I looked back to the beginning before she had life Not only before she had life but before she had form. Not only before she had form, but before she had vital energy. In this confused amorphous realm, something changed and vital energy appeared,- when the vital energy was changed, form appeared; with changes in form, life began. Now there is another change bringing death This is like the progression of the four seasons of spring and fall, winter and summer. Here she was lying down to sleep in a huge room and I followed her sobbing and wailing. When I realized my actions showed I hadn't understood destiny, I stopped."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Strong Economy Produces Big, Inflatable Children

The Grouper is alive & well & still living in Nanshan district, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. He took this photo in his neighborhood yesterday.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sinister, isn't it?


Q: What do the following people all have in common?

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Pablo Picasso, Babe Ruth, Arnold Palmer, Mark Spitz, Jimmy Conors, Martina Navratilova, Diego Maradona, Pele, Cary Grant, W.C. Fields, Steve McQueen, Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jim Carrey, Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sting, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Emimen, Celine Dion, Bill Gates, J. Edgar Hoover, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Robert Redford, Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill (disputed), Napoleon Bonaparte, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, Mark Crawford.

A: They were/are all left-handed.

Sinister, isn't it?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Grouper on "Crazy Heart" (2009)


You’ve probably heard/read a lot about this 2009 film & what a great performance Jeff Bridges gives as Bad Blake, a 57-year-old, alcoholic, former C&W music star who drives around the southwestern USA by himself playing his old hits with pick-up bands in bowling alleys & small bars. Bridges is, indeed, very convincing as this character, & the music – mainly composed by T-Bone Burnett – is pretty good. It’s also nice to see Robert Duvall step in & play his avuncular self. And who knew that Colin Farrell, an Irishman, could sing C&W tunes so well? But, in the end, this film just seems like a promo for putting the plug in the jug & joining AA. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the film’s basic message of “adapt, yield to change, save yourself, or die” – I’m working on this my own life -- but Crazy Heart just doesn’t compete against The Wrestler, a similar tale (but with a different ending), for dramatic impact. I mean, I’ve watched The Wrestler 3-4 times now, but I doubt that I will watch Crazy Heart again.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spicy Chinese Seafood Under Banyan Tree


This restaurant in Nanshan district, Shenzhen is flanked left & right by similar restaurants


Spicy clams


Spicy eggplant


Barbecued oysters Shenzhen-style


Deep-fried shrimp on a stick covered with peanuts & chilis


Many streets in Shenzhen are lined with banyan trees

Last night, a local friend & I had a spicy Chinese seafood dinner under a banyan tree. This foodporn got some good feedback on FACEBOOK, so I thought that I would post the photos here as well. Be careful not to salivate too much on your keyboard...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grouper Buys New T-Shirt


Sawadee khap from 9 degrees 30 mins. N, 100 degrees 0 mins. E

The Grouper has not only been photographing t-shirts in Thailand; he actually broke down & bought one. Cheers.

Greetings from Lamai Beach, Koh Samui



The Grouper has been on a holiday in the sun @ The Aloha Resort on Lamai Beach on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand since Feb. 12. He has been posting lots of photos on FACEBOOK as well as a lot of cool links + some half-baked writing. He shot the above video from the Moana seaside restaurant of The Aloha on Feb. 18. Peace out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Grouper on Super Bowl 44


What's left of The Who @ Super Bowl 44

Getting a free live video stream of Super Bowl 44 here in China yesterday morning was a bitch. In fact, after Justin.tv's stream got shut down, it was impossible. So, I missed the game.

I did, however, watch The Who's half-time performance on YouTube as soon as it got posted there. Pete Townshend looked ridiculous. Roger Daltry was hoarse. I guess Moon & Entwhistle are still dead. The 5-song medley was just a promo for The Who's latest greatest hits 2-CD set.

Now, I'm not saying that I want the Super Bowl Half-Time Show to go back to university marching bands or Up With Shiny, Happy People 'cause I don't. I thought that the Rolling Stones were terrific back in 2006. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were even better back in 2008. However, The Who were lame, embarrassingly over-the-hill Brits singin' about pinball wizards in the middle of the biggest American football game of the year, which is stupid, so stop it!

During next year's Super Bowl Half-Time Show, I want to see LCD Soundsystem doing "North American Scum," or, if we must have a British band, I vote for Motorhead or The Fall!


P.S. I'm glad that I didn't bet on The Colts.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shekou Sea World Gets Dressed Up for Chinese New Year



Like the rest of China
, Shekou Sea World is getting dressed up for Chinese New Year & is now festooned with red lanterns. A Dunkin' Donuts shop has recently opened for business there, too.

Homeless Man Calls Grouper a Dog Fart


Sichuan beef w/ onions


Kong bao ji ding (diced chicken w/ peanuts)


Chi Duo Duo (soft Chips Ahoy), relatively new in China

On the way home from dinner last night (see photos above), I passed a homeless man lying on the sidewalk, hopelessly drunk. He said something incomprehensible to me in Chinese, so I responded by smiling & saying, "Cheers!" He then sat up & shouted "GOU PI! (DOG FART!)" at me. It was the highlight of my day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yokozuna Asashoryu Retires from Grand Sumo


Yokozuna (grand champion) Asashoryu waves goodbye

Out of gratitude for his retirement from grand sumo, the Japan Sumo Association has given yokozuna (grand champion) & "troublemaker" Asashoryu a new Toyota Prius. "Thanks for the Toyota," Asashoryu responded, "But I'm going back to Mongolia to my harem & my horse."

Toyota Renames the Camry


Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda announced today that the automaker will rename its top-selling model the Camry "the Kevorkian" in an attempt to diffuse the public relations disaster stemming from having to recall over 7 million vehicles worldwide because they have accelerators which stick & turn them into suicide machines. "Suicide popular in Japan," said Toyoda. " Many Japanese do. Great American doctor Jack Kevorkian understand. But many American cannot. They want to drive with caution. So, we change model name. We are very sorry. We want to increase the product." So far, only the Hemlock Society has voiced approval of Toyota's move.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Panda of the Month


Grouperism's Panda of the Month for Feb. 2010: Like a lot of us, young Yun Zi is out on a limb trying hard to hang on.

New SUBWAY Sandwich Shop in Grouper's Neighborhood


Kempinski Hotel, Nanshan district, Shenzhen.


New SUBWAY Sandwich Shop, 2F, Area A (Shenzhen Bay Street), Poly Cultural Centre, Wen Xin 5 Road, Nanshan district, Shenzhen



Those fresh-baked cookies are hard to resist.


Free soda refills are still relatively rare in China.


The Chinese charactes read: sai bai wei (better-than hundred tastes).


A new SUBWAY Sandwich Shop has just opened in Grouper's neighborhood in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen. It is located on 2F of the Poly Cultural Centre mall directly behind the outrageously expensive Kempinski Hotel & offers free soda refills, which is still a relatively rare thing in China. The Grouper's favorite sandwich is the hot Italian meatball sub, but he sometimes gets a yen for the teriyaki chicken sub. He also finds the fresh-baked cookies by the cash register "irresistible."

"Abandon McDonald's; forsake KFC -- these establishments are a cardiologist's nightmare. Get thee to SUBWAY & EAT FRESH!" -- Thus Spake Grouper.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Grouper on "The Road" (2009 film)


"I've seen the future, baby/It is murder." -- Leonard Cohen

This 2009 film directed by John Hillcoat depicting a trek by a father & son through post-apocalyptic America, where the sun no longer shines, it’s cold, the trees are all dead or dying, & practically everybody left alive has resorted to cannibalism in order to survive actually has a lot going for it artistically. It was filmed in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, & Oregon (Mt. St. Helens) in winter, so it looks very realistic. Viggo Mortensen & Charlize Theron play their parts quite convincingly. The flashback where Charlize Theron gives up on life in this ruined world, takes off her warm clothes, & then walks off into the frigid night, abandoning her husband & child in order to die of exposure and/or be eaten by cannibals is pretty disturbing. The scene where Mortensen teaches his son how to shoot himself in the mouth & blow his brains out, i.e., the Kurt Cobain maneuver, if/when necessary to avoid being cannibalized, is pretty harrowing, too.

But what I really wanted to say is that The Road is one of most depressing films that I have ever seen. Perhaps this is because with the way things are going I can actually imagine the USA turning into a nightmare like this within, say, the next 10-20 years.

You think Obama, or anybody else in Washington, D.C., is really gonna turn things around? Keep on dreaming. The USA is still flushing billions down the toilet in Iraq every day. We are getting nowhere fast in Afghanistan, too. It would seem that all we are doing is helping to breed more & more suicide bombers, &, one day, one of these sexually-frustrated nihilists will probably smuggle a nuke, or at least a “dirty bomb,” into the USA & detonate it. Then there will be no end to the fiery revenge that the USA will unleash on the world, which will trigger ecological disaster, which we are probably headed for anyway.

I mean, the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen" with its chorus of "There’s no future, no future, no future for you!” sounds like an old folk song at this point, doesn’t it? (Note: The soundtrack to The Road, however, was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, whose music for The Proposition (2005) was masterfully bleak.)

Anyway, if you are prone to depression, taking Prozac, having suicidal thoughts, etc., maybe you shouldn’t watch this film. The road these characters are on leads nowhere, & God help you if you waste the bullet you’ve been saving for yourself when the cannibals who used to be your neighbors in suburbia surround you with their unsheathed hunting knives.

Oolong Green Tea from Taiwan


Enjoying an Oolong green tea from Taiwan, which has a delightfully sweet aftertaste, before going off to do the worky-worky.

Krazy Little Kraut Remix



You have watched the original "Krazy Little Kraut" video, ja? Okay, gut. Now check out this remix -- it's brilliant.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Krazy Little Kraut



Young Tomas, a language prodigy @ my school insisted that I watch this video with him in our iLab today. It gave me a good laugh, though I suspect that the kid's rage is staged. God help his parents if it's not!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grouper's New Shades




Grouper went shopping in Shekou this afternoon &, among other things, picked up a new pair of Ray-Bans (RB4082) for the grand sum of RMB 120 (US$ 17.50). Hope you dig the new style. The woman you see wearing Grouper's new shades & smoking a Baisha cigarette in bed is Hunan Amy, a good friend, frequent dining partner, Chinese teacher, & cultural informant to our Editor-in-Chief.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Valium Skies


A lot of work & very little sleep this week, so just chillin' at home tonight with some benzos & The Verve's "Forth" (2008), what a great album. Close your eyes & rise into "Valium Skies," etc., ahhh...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grouper vs. Shark



I often feel that I am surrounded by sharks. Maybe you know the feeling. Nevertheless, a fish has to eat, & the Grouper has a big appetite. So, how do you deal with all these big-toothed bastards trying to deny you at feeding time? www.captainjon.com caught me in action, so take look & maybe you'll learn something! P.S. Have a nice day :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The BYD e6


Give it up for the BYD e6, a 100% electric car with a range of 400 kms/250 miles. It is alleged to go from 0-60 mph in less than 8 seconds & have a top speed of 100 mph. Made in China, the e6 should be on sale in the USA later this year for around US$ 40,000. BYD Auto is based in Shenzhen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eek! It's DJ Grouper!


DJ Grouper 01-26-2010

A local paparazzo ambushed DJ Grouper in Shekou night before last while he was mingling with Redbird, Blackbird, & other members of his fan club. Grouper has retracted his threat to send the photographer "to the ICU of Shekou People's Hospital" in exchange for this image, which he thinks is not too bad.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Grouper on "Up in the Air"


Wow, here is a film that really captures the Zeitgeist, I mean, this ubiquitous anxiety that you could lose everything you've spent your life working for tomorrow after a brief meeting with someone, maybe a supervisor, perhaps even an outsourced stranger who smiles at you & tells you that all you have to do in order to go from being a zero to being a hero is sign the severance package agreement, clear out your desk, & never come back, thank you very much. Yet Up in the Air (2009) handles this very heavy, very fearful trip with such a light &, indeed, philosophical touch. It’s full of good jokes!

The screenplay is incredibly well-written (I read it took years to polish), & George Clooney is fabulous as this incredibly suave, handsome, hyper-frequent-flier corporate downsizer & occasional “motivational” speaker, who is forced to become a mentor to a young female Ivy League grad out to optimize the world of corporate downsizing by firing people via teleconferences rather than by actual face-to-face meetings.

There’s more to it – a romantic subplot involving Clooney & Vera Farmiga, actually -- but I’ve said enough. Now, go see it.

P.S. I like the two songs (one by Graham Nash) that play while the final credits scroll a lot.

Bruxomaniac to Get His Smiley Face Back

Among other things, the stress of living in Japan for 11 years turned the Grouper into a hopeless bruxomaniac. Bruxomania (a.k.a bruxism) means "compulsive grinding of the teeth while awake &/or asleep." It is caused by anxiety, heavy smoking, &/or over- consumption of stimulants. To warp a famous line from Hemingway, "Many in Tokyo must have it."

Severe bruxism can permanently fuck up your bite & make you look prematurely old. Not having a decent smile sucks. So, the Grouper spent two hours this afternoon at Shenzhen's HuaMei Dental clinic with a great dentist from Hong Kong. The condition of his teeth is actually not as bad as he had thought, & he hopes to have a brand new smile within a few months.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Grouper on "A Dangerous Man"


Sure, Steven Seagal is totally typecast, & the plot of most of his movies is essentially the same, but I love the wounded-warrior character he always plays. His “I-really-wish-you-wouldn’t-fuck-with-me” attitude towards scumbags before dispatching them (because they ask for & deserve it) is totally cool. And he’s as good at rescuing damsels in distress as 007, yet does so with more detachment, less lechery than Mr. Bond does. I thought that
The Keeper (2009), which was set in Texas, was great. Watched it twice. No, make that three times. Last night, I got into A Dangerous Man (2009), which is set in the state of Washington.

Seagal gets out of prison after spending six years inside for a crime he didn’t commit. The state offers him $300,000 in compensation, but he tells the judge to shove the money up his ass – “I don’t want your money; I want my life back!”

As soon as Seagal is back on the streets, a huge bag of cash, a pretty, but unconscious young lady, & a heap of trouble get dumped in his lap. Fortunately, all those years he spent in USA Special Forces gave him the skills he needs to relentlessly eliminate a large gang of heavily armed Chinese smugglers plus the thoroughly bad cops in cahoots with them.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Seagal does require the assistance of heavily armed Russian gangsters. Vlad & friends are intimidating; however, they have a code of honor.

Seagal gets the girl here in the end. It would appear that he also gets the keys to Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada as well! Thus, the subtext of this particular Steven Seagal action thriller would seem to be that the USA is now so messed up that the only answer is to move to Canada
.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"I'm gonna have a good time. Why shouldn't I?" -- Jim Morrison


"The future's uncertain & the end is always near." -- Jim Morrison, Roadhouse Blues

DJ Grouper created pandemonium @ Shekou Sea World's C Bar last night when he played The Doors' Bright Midnight: Live in America album VERY LOUD. Track 10 (Roadhouse Blues live in Boston, 1970) was/is especially potent.


Shekou Sea World's C Bar

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby-Making Day in South Korea


Drunk South Korean civil servant stumbles around in public fountain

Today was "baby-making day" in South Korea, but most of the government workers who got off work "early" stopped at bars on their way home, got rapidly drunk & began shouting abusive language at each other, then finally arrived home exhausted, reeking of booze, & totally impotent.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Once a Deadhead, Always a Deadhead


Have you had a "peak experience" yet today? No day is complete without one! So, if you haven't had a peak experience yet today, then self-appointed music therapist Dr. Grouper recommends that you proceed directly to this 02-17-1973 Grateful Dead concert soundboard & play the Here Comes Sunshine-->China Cat Sunflower-->I Know You Rider jam LOUD! It will make you forget all your nagging problems & insecurities for approx. 20 mins.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hey Guys, Being Circumcised May Save Your Lives!


Uganda's flag.

According to BBC World TV, human sacrifice has now become rampant in Uganda; however, if you are a circumcised male, you are probably safe from being dragged into the jungle, having your throat slit, & having your vital organs ripped out because the gods there apparently do not approve of circumcision. Please keep this in mind, guys, when making travel plans to Uganda.

P.S. The bird in the center of the Ugandan flag is not a chicken; it is a crested crane. The raised leg is supposed to symbolize that Uganda is not stationary but moving forward.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Big Ting on Chuang Ye Rd.


Behold the large ding/ting replica fountain which stands on the north side of Chuang Ye Rd. where it meets Nanhai Ave. (across from China Telecom) here in Nanshan district. The ding was not only a vessel for food; it was also a symbol of power. The Chinese have been making these things since the Shang Dynasty (circa 1600-1046 B.C.E.).

Lunch @ Ajisen Ramen


Pork w/ bamboo shoots ramen + Shenzhen Daily (Shenzhen's English language newspaper)


Facial tissues (provided without having to ask for them, which is nice)


Japanese-style dumplings (i.e., gyoza)

Ajisen Ramen, an international chain of Japanese ramen noodle shops founded in Kumamoto, Japan, is doing very well in China. According to Wikipedia, as of August 2009, it had 362 stores in China, 86 in Shanghai alone. The current president of Ajisen China Holdings is businesswoman Pan Wei. She is allegedly worth 6 billion RMB. The ramen & gyoza are totally authentic & delicious. This lunch + a can of Pepsi cost me RMB 50 (US$7.30). Menu is in English as well as Chinese. Service = excellent!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Grouper Celebrates Two Years in China!



March of the Volunteers, The People's Republic of China's national anthem

I arrived in China exactly two years ago today. Apart from the Internet censorship (e.g., Grouperism is blocked in China), I really enjoy living in this country "on the move." People here have (literally) given me back my eyesight, rescued my career from the toilet, & made me glad to be alive. Xiexie Zhongguo!

I must also thank my beloved sister Claire for her crucial support.

Love from Shenzhen,

The Grouper

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's the Grouper Reading?


When it comes to books, The Grouper enjoys reading (auto)biographies above all else. Thus, it is no surprise that he is currently reading King Hui: The Man Who Owned All the Opium in Hong Kong by Jonathan Chamberlain (Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong, 2007), which he found in a nearby used bookstore for RMB 15 (US$2.20). Description from the back cover: Scandal and
corruption, drugs and pirates, triads and flower boats; the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the Communist takeover of Canton. Peter Hui was there. He knew everybody and saw everything. This is the real story of Hong Kong, told with the rich flavours of the street. If Peter had been only a little bit different he could have been an important man. But this is a riches to rags to riches to rags story. As we follow Peter's life - his ups, his downs - we see in sharp focus what it was like to be a Chinese man in the British territory of Hong Kong through most of the years of the 20th century. And yet this book is not just one man's tale. It is the story of a time and place - colonial Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau and the South China hinterland - seen from the unique point of view of a man who was at home at all levels of society. This is the bizarre story of a man who really did, for a very short time, once own all the opium in Hong Kong. If Suzie Wong had been a real person, Peter Hui would have known her. "This is a true story but it reads like a novel. It is a cracking read." - David Tang