Heartache Songs 1 – The Naked and Famous “The Mess”

Time for new content, time to share music!

So. In my more emotional states, music has indeed been a great comfort to me. I’ve decided to share some of the music that comforts me when those dramatic feelings of heartache creep around the edges of existene~

I shall be focusing on contemporary music, although classic rock favorites and 90s childhood nostalgia can be very comforting as well.

(No disrespect meant, for example, to the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes”…)

First up, “The Mess” from the Naked and Famous:

I’ve been a fan of the New Zealand indietronica set the Naked and Famous ever since I came across the song “Young Blood”, from their first album Passive Me, Aggressive You in 2008. I particularly enjoyed the lyrics to “Girls Like You”.

Don’t you know they make songs about girls like you…


Suffice to say, I was excited last year when the latest album In Rolling Waves was released. But I had no idea it would blow me away that much.

A brilliant, most perfect album. I challenge anyone to suggest better music out right now.

Especially this song. “The Mess”. And what messes we find ourselves in. The falling down, the learning to get up again. The something that’s never enough. The male and female voice interplay. This song says it all like no other.

One time I jogged for several hours listening to this song again and again on repeat. I don’t do that kind of thing very often, but it was a very intense day.

Please have a listen, and check out the lyrics

-There’s nothing here but the distance
-There’s nothing here but the mess
-If you’d have shut up you’d have heard it
-You could have put it to rest
-I am swelling and eager
-I am the raging sea
-I have had it up to here now
-I’m so tired of your needs

And how does it feel to be on the fault line?
And how do we heal now we’re on the decline?
‘Cause it’s a hell of a long way to fall just to learn to get up
And I’m not gonna forgive you for all of the things that you’ve done

-There’s nothing here but indifference
-There’s nothing here but the stress
-These walls are stained with your moments
-Something you wanna confess
-You’re at the point of attachment
-And all the things you believe
There’s nothing left in this place
But a reason to leave

And how does it feel to be on the fault line?
And how do we heal now we’re on the decline?
‘Cause it’s a hell of a long way to fall just to learn to get up
And I’m not gonna forgive you for all of the things that you’ve done
And how does it feel to be on the fault line?
And how do we heal now we’re on the decline?
‘Cause it’s a hell of a long way to fall just to learn to get up

And I just can’t forgive you
I just can’t forgive you
I know that you feel it
And I know you believe that it’s true
So help me to prove it
And all that it means to get through
‘Cause it’s a hell of a long way to fall just to learn to get up
Because this love, this love, this love was never enough






(Table of Contents)

Firstly, from 2008 on:

Prologue: How I came to China

Part 1: Burning Man
I go to a big trippy festival

Part 2: Doing LSD at Burning Man
I expand my mind and receive an invite abroad


Intro to Dating in China
First things first, let me explain how this thing will work

I arrive in China
The story officially begins, I get here


My first China-based girlfriend, and how that didn’t work out

The next level… Sigh, was it love?

A summer romance, a brief flight, all too innocent

Annie – Sky – Lulu – more
Singlehood, bachelor life, the learning process, playing the field…


The Beginning
Long-term relationship begins, a defining point in my life

An American intermission
You can’t go ‘home’, and I try and I fail and I drift

The End
Finally, and sadly, nothing lasts forever


In the city… the city of Canton…

And now, 2011 to early 2012:

My Guangzhou Year 1
An intro to the new status quo, as I pack up move to the ancient land of Canton/
the modern megacity of Guangzhou

Dating GZ Edition – Kendra
First story, I meet a crazed American abroad and adventured therein
Public nudity and disrespect, among other themes

China to Thailand to Cambodia
I travel, I bring a certain Cynthia, I make mistakes
But hey, that’s life and at least I got to see a new place

Dating – visitors and friends, others
Some characters from previous entries reappear, old friends reunite, a funny story happened one day
This time it’s not just about me

Rejected in Guangzhou
The stories everyone seems to want to know. Rejected!
Featuring Josephine, Seline, and more

The End – my humble successes
On a final positive note, sometimes life works out rather fine
It was a good year, I experienced a lot
I really shouldn’t complain



Back to Shenzhen
In which I return to this town that somehow suits me

I begin the online game~

I have a girlfriend! I really did!

I must admit, things got a tad gross.
Hope this wasn’t the beginning of a certain pattern…


2013: Epic Clusterfuck Year

Not Dating in America (and Hong Kong, and Canada)
2012 comes and goes and the world doesn’t end,
Meanwhile a bad start as I embark upon a year of drama bullshit

The Stalker
In which I make a foul choice which ends up following me around all year.
Dark times. No fun.

I meet someone cool and travel to the Philippines
A brief positive note, albeit all too brief

Sonia – Jing – Amelia
POF, a site, met some peoples from differing lands, times are had,
and then I quit online dating forever more

The Very End
And I do mean it, the very very end.
I reflect and I consider and now it is time to move forward–

Burning Man, announcement



Over the past week, I happened to notice these ‘Top Searches’ in my dashboard of this blog:

burning man naked, lsd at burning man, burning man 2014 art, is there lsd at burning man

If you look to the right, under ‘Top Posts,’ you can see my old Burning Man blogs are trending at the moment:

(And do feel free to read up)

How I Came to China: Burning Man

Part 2: Doing LSD at Burning Man


Why now? Well, this year’s famed anarchic music & arts festival in the desert has just concluded and everyone is interested again .

Not to repeat myself, but I went in 2007 and 2008 and at the risk of sounding cliche I must say it; yeah it changed my life.

Much has been written about what this weeklong fest truly is, and I won’t repeat myself here but I’ll share some pictures and the above links and trust anyone new hear to look it up.

And yes I know it sold out over the years, it’s not as good as it used to be, all the evil rich people have ruined it, blah blah etc. That’s all probably true but I still believe it’s one of the best things going on in the world.

Here it comes… I’ve become one of those people making obnoxious announcements…..

Ready for it??


I’d like to take this opportunity to state that I wish to attend next year in 2015. It’s been too long. I’ve met a lot of great people in the intervening years, and I’d like to catch up with some Burners too, and I’d also like to invite old friends to go with me. Check out BurningMan.com for details, look up crazy pictures online and crazy videos on youtube, be inspired and let’s go.

Save up money, get into debt a little it’s no big deal, buy camping supplies, make costumes if you like, make a plan, and meet me on the American West Coast next August. I’m still working out whether I should make Southern California or Northern California the homebase, but plenty of time to figure that out in the coming months.

I mean, we’ve waited all our lives and it’s the Back to the Future year! 2015. Although we don’t have hoverboards, let’s celebrate making it this far!!

As soon as the next bout of tickets are on sale I’ll be reminding you all.

Who’s with me?!?!!!!

Let’s go home… …






Dating in China – GZ edition: Kendra

Dating in China continues, with my crazy Guangzhou Year.

It was a struggle at first to make friends when I moved to the suburban Panyu District. Wasn’t much of a foreigner scene in my neighborhood; I wasn’t lucky enough to immediately be introduced to cool neighbors like when I first moved to Shenzhen. I often used Guangzhoustuff.com, our local social networking portal, and knew a lot of bars and various interesting places to go. I am open to making Chinese friends, by the way, but I must be honest and admit I usually hang out with Chinese people who speak fluent English and are in the expat scene. For the Nth time, that’s why my Mandarin is passable yet not that fluent-good.

One of the first people I met wasn’t through Gzstuff.com at all, but through Pof.com. Wouldn’t you know? As far as the big free dating websites go, Okcupid seems to be more for relationships and Pof (stands for plenty of fish) seems to be more for *ahem* simply getting laid.

It’s all about the scarcity. In my experience, Okcupid has too much detail. When you fill out all those questionnaires, and endlessly list your favorite music and favorite movies and favorite books, it’s more about friendship than forging attraction. Too much in common is great, but somehow doesn’t usually work when it comes to animal attraction. Honestly I’ve become platonic friends with girls I met on Okcupid more than once, and that’s fine even if not the point.

On the other hand, the brevity of Pof makes for projection and fantasy, which are key qualities in attraction. Just tell barely enough about yourself to get people interested in more. That’s the trick. Guess I could say I had more than a bit of ‘success’ in my Pof escapades…

Anyway, I met Kendra. I met some Chinese girls too in those early days. Later I will go on and on about more people I met throughout the year. Allow me to focus on Kendra for now.

She was from Florida. She was quite curvy. She had energy. She was in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend back home, and she was in an open relationship with him (and I did not feel guilty at all in this instance). She was wild. She was the first girl I was with since I broke up with Zoey. We celebrated my birthday and got very drunk and stayed in hotels and lots of stimulating conversation.

She was ambitious with her own writing goals, and I don’t think she’s written much anything of merit lately. She was a feminist. Outspoken. Spunk. She was a sensualist. She reinforced my negative prejudices on Florida. She was crazy.


First date

Continue reading

How I came to China: Burning Man



The time has come for these posts to get autobiographical. I do have a few stories worth telling, and now’s the time to tell them.

Let us start at the relative beginning. By the beginning, I mean the beginning of my expat life. Not that it wasn’t interesting before that, but let’s have some continuity.

It’s like this: Whenever you go to a party and meet someone, after the obligatory questions of “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” are over with, one common question is to be asked is “How did you get to China?” It’s a fair query and I’ve asked it myself. My story is a bit complicated and concerns a desert rave festival. So here it is…


It was the summer of 2008 and I was a tad anxious. I’d lived in Long Beach in Southern California for three years, a cool city part of greater Los Angeles County, and I’d just finished a run at a lame office job. Before that, the proverbial server gig and college credits. Somehow my goals of becoming a famous screenwriter hadn’t come to much fruition. I was a bit in between things and trying to figure out my next step. Meanwhile, I was all set to go to Burning Man!

I had already been to Burning Man for the first time in 2007. If you don’t know it, google pictures of it immediately. There are already plenty of writings out there about this extreme music and arts festival, and now it is my turn to have a go at my own “this one time at Burning Man” story.

Firstly, one needs to know the basics. Continue reading