Previous: New Millennium 2000 – 2001
2002 to 2004, featuring moving to California for a year, terrible Bush-era politics/war, then triumphant return to Cincinnati–in which we live in a party house and go to college and grow up. And I go to Japan!
Recently, an acquaintance online pointed out this old video from the year 2007. They were to delete that YouTube page, so I decided to save it on my own seldom-used channel and now post a blog in my seldom-used Vids category. (Do feel free to click on “Vids” to see a few more)
This one from back in my student film days in Southern California; I must have volunteered to act in someone’s short film. I can’t even remember the details. Anyway, here is a random blast from the past as it were. Short, cheesey music, with me as a young man.
Presenting: “The Connection”
What do you think? Should I get back into acting?! Should I at least make some new videos to share on occasion…?
I have now completed my memoirs, in eBook form.
You may be familiar with the Dating in China blogs already, but there’s more to the story…
I have decided to edit them, and put them out there as an eMemoir of sorts on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Press.
Yet, this is not just a simple copy-paste and proofread for typos. Since this version isn’t all out there online for free, I have written more to the story. Certain personal, more graphic details. Certain things left unsaid that would be unbecoming on a public forum.
Not to mention further chapter continuing where the blog left off, and an epilogue.
If you’ve enjoyed my writings this past year, you may enjoy taking a look. And if you’d like to write a review on Amazon yourself, I will happily forward you a copy!
Even if you only have fond memories of reading the previously-blogged edition and prefer to leave it at that, it would be very considerate if you shared some thoughts. Positive or negative, tell the world what you think. Link above.
Thanks very much to all you readers out there!
When one nerdy, young American moved from California to China in the autumn of 2008, he had no idea what was coming. He knew there would be an adventure and it would have its challenges, but he didn’t know it could get that bad.
From the deserts of Black Rock City, Nevada, to the towering metropolis of Hong Kong, this memoir takes our humble writer all across the globe in search of love. Well, maybe not always searching for love, but in search for something.
It starts on a psychedelic trip in Burning Man, and continues in the “overnight city” of Shenzhen. That’s in the Pearl River Delta, among the densest megacities on Earth. In breakup after breakup, one lonely expat struggles to understand the Chinese mystique. Featuring an ensemble cast of international girls, he had many experiences and leaned a few lessons along the way. The story continues to further exotic locations: Beijing, Canton, Bangkok, Manila, Ohio, the ruins of Cambodia, and Seattle.
Once or twice, he may have even found love. And lost it. Hearts were broken. Minds were mended. All in a haze of romance encounters, online dating, and travel.
This is his story. Complete with travel photos, and quotations from “Seinfeld” and Mo Yan.
with the pretty hair and pretty eyes and ugly mouth
You always had to spare us
from the bitter truth that mouth would always shout
And when we forgot
you never held it against us
no matter how we deserved, such
or is it Californian Cantonese?
can’t say I was ever too good with adjectives
It’s like a one-way street in in Hong Kong
who knows which way to, in all that dramatic midst of shit?
The California household
and the Cantonese air
mix together with a twist
Sunglasses, and slanted-white-eyes
It’s you we swore we’d never miss
And as the sun sets–
or is it the reverse?
Never was too good at directions
it’s that ancient curse . . .
And I’d never even known the wiser
Cuz I never studied that charter
Too busy getting over my first!
Can’t cure a disease
when you won’t admit if it hurts
And that’s enough
Because we trust
That you couldn’t make it any worse . . .
We are definitely not at a loss for talent today, folks! A while back when I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them, I was elated with the responses I received. (And if you would like to participate, please feel free to contact me.) I asked thirty-five questions and gave the interviewee the freedom to answer only what they wanted. My friend and fellow-blogger, Ray Hecht, had some wonderful responses which I’m sure you will find as fascinating as I did. When you’re done reading the interview, please hop on over to his blog and make sure you follow him for more pleasurable tales. And now, I present to you, Ray Hecht…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
Hi I’m Ray Hecht, I’m an American writer of…
View original post 2,098 more words
After two years in China, two years of travel and adventure and yes dating, I was ready for my triumphant return to America. Some people like to go back to the home country often; every summer, every Christmas, every Chinese New Year. But with so many places to see in the world, and only so much free time as well as funds, I prefer an every-other-year approach towards seeing old friends and family. There’s not all that much for me in the States anyhow, to be perfectly honest.
I left my burgeoning/declining relationship and flew home. It worked out so that I was in between apartments, with boxes of clothes and stuffs strewn about various friends’ apartments back in Shenzhen. I was to live out of my suitcase for the whole month of August. Best month, for sure, to get out of the South China heat.
The trip proved to be rather epic. With a chill start, my good buddy who also happened to be my old roommate picked me up from LAX, that familiar Los Angeles airport I’ve been to so many times. Funny story how we became roommates; he’s a very old friend from Cincinnati (all the way back to youthful high school days), and after I’d already been in California a while one day I was surprised with a call and told me he suddenly decided to drive over to visit and move in with me. I said sure! I’ve since been long-gone, and he still lives in Long Beach to this day.
I even got to stay in my old apartment, in the center of the LBC. There wasn’t much nostalgia, no reverse-culture shock. At this age in my development, it’s quite easy to just pick up where I left off. I enjoyed relaxing for a few days. Went to the beach. Took the infamously shitty LA public transpot and met up with L.A. friends up in Echo Park and Hollywood. Went through various bureaucratic procedures at the California DMV and Chinese consulate. Nerd that I am, my favorite part was simply going to the big bookstores and sitting down and catching up on graphic novels. And, a bit of flirting with girls at bars, regaling of tales in China, and nothing at all came of that.
The high point was actually when I flew to the Midwest, believe it or not.
Begins. September, 2008, I arrive in China. Fresh after reinventing myself, neural reprogramming with lysergic acid dymethelmide, plus introspective road trips and self-improvement strategies. Was I ever ready for a new start.
Firstly, it should be noted that I’m a latebloomer as is. I hadn’t had a girlfriend in quite a while, to be honest. Didn’t really do well for myself in Southern California those previous three years.
Long before even that era, there was the main hometown girlfriend of my youth. Back in Cincinnati, Ohio, my adopted homeland. Ashley was a former opiates addict with dead eyes and a kind heart. The timing wasn’t right and she still had further healing that I could not help with, but it was valuable experience for both of us. We had fun and clubbed and talked all night and we grew. Eventually apart. Kept in touch a while, then I’d decided to seek my fortune on the West Coast. Goodbye, Ashley.
And before her, a few. One older woman punk rocker who taught me various things comes to mind. For the most part there were various crushes that usually never amounted to much. If they amounted to anything in the distant future, then I’ll write about it later if I think it’s worth mentioning.
Some other occasional learning experiences, few and far between, this and that. The early years weren’t kind, that’s all.
As of the arrival, my most recent girlfriend did happen to be Chinese-American. Oddly enough. I never planned for this kind of fever, I swear. Lila was just my type at the time, slim designer, a cutesy sweetheart, a real innocent. We met on a film set when I was living in hipster Silverlake for a few months. We held hands on camera, so cute.
I think Lila may have only liked me for my wannabe bohemian starving-artist ways. Liked it as a phase. We went to shows and talked about comics and she drove me around. Eventually she left me to go back to her ex-boyfriend, an exceedingly-square law school student. Security, right? Sell-out. While we stayed friends when I returned to Long Beach, it was more than a little awkward when she would repeatedly introduce me to her boyfriend. Perhaps she was playing games, with either one of us sap guys, who knows now. After a crazy time in San Diego (involving salvia divinorum) I confronted her and it went more sour between us. Last I heard she married recently.
A handful of flings in between as well, but can’t say I had much of a successful love life during those cold sunny years.
Part 2, the continued story of How I Came to China: Burning Man
After my amazing week of sights and sounds on the Black Rock desert scene, the amazing people I met and the beautiful visuals and even a few hookups, it all culminated in the final night – in which they Burn the Man – and then I got to take LSD.
Now, the psilocybin mushroom is my drug of choice. I have the most experience with it, I am a big fan of Terence McKenna’s spiritual theories on the subject, and I believe that the therapeutic aspects of these experiences literally saved my life during a sensitive time in my upbringing. It’s natural, healthy [aminita muscaria is the shamanic poisonous mushroom, psilocybin is completely nontoxic, I do know what I’m talking about on this subject], and extremely powerful. It’s a psychedelic and obviously non-addictive (come on, a psychedelic trip is something to do once every few months at the most), and I’ve never even come across any law enforcement official who gives a shit about mushrooms. Something I certainly recommend for everybody, and hey to each their own.
I heard there were shrooms going around the Burner community, but I wouldn’t like to do it in a party atmosphere. It’s unfortunate that entheogens tend to turn up when you’re around loud noises and crowds, better to do it in times of quiet contemplation. Set and setting, very important.
Anyway, the twilight of the event and there were parties of dancing naked people around the periphery of the immense burning statue and I wandered as much as I could to seep in each and every sensory perception. I met some nice Australian couchsurfers and they mentioned acid and we actually did the barter economy thing. I traded my indie comic for a tab—how cool is that?
This was my first and only time with LSD, at least with good LSD. I’m not opposed and would very much like to try it more often but it’s just been so elusive for me. I’m just not that cool to have the proper vibe. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. That’s okay, I’ve had plenty other.
These days, South China tends to have a lot of party drugs, the kind that are more shallowly fun and dangerous. Sadly it’s not a psychedelically-inclined place. That’s Rising China, nothing deep of substance here. But I’m not complaining, the nice economical thing about true psychedelics is you can take it once every few decades that that can be plenty.
This was a plentiful dose indeed. I found the lysergic acid diethylamide chemical to be far more euphoric than psilocybin. Not scary, no bad tripping episodes. The hallucinations were more subtle, things bending and stretching and amazing colors when I close my eyes but not quite the intense melting sensations of organics. Less nausea-inducing than my other psychedelic experiences as well, such as ayahausca.
Back to the story at hand. For the next twelve hours I was gleefully rolling around on the sandy playa. Kind passersby would ask me if I was okay, and I’d say I was fine and had no self-conscious issues at all. I looked up at the stars to see one of the most stunning sights of my life, as you can see the real sky when you’re in the desert, and suddenly I understood how the ancients conceived of constellations. I saw infinite UFOs connecting the dots of star points with streams of light dancing upon infinity…
– Shenzhen, China
– Long Beach, California
– Guangzhou, China
– Cincinnati, Ohio
– Los Angeles, California
– Indianapolis, Indiana
– Irvine, California