Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My computer is slower than a Beijing bus at rushhour in the rain

Let's see, what have I been up to.

I am getting tired of posting to a blog site which is banned in China. I thought I might try switching back to my old Livejournal account, since I saw how good the picture capability was at Jenny's blog, but I couldn't find a feature to post updates to a listserv, and I don't have a camera anyway.

Yes, I've been feeling a bit poor lately since I had to pay for six months worth of rent up front, and I have been spending money on random things that my apartment needs. I bought a wireless router so that I wouldn't have to drag this ethernet cable all the way into my bedroom, but I still can't configure my wireless card to work under Linux so it's a waste of money for now. I could go and buy a wireless card that works under Linux, but actually what I really want is a Macbook. I think my boss should buy me one, or at least buy one for the office for me to use, but I think she would find this humorous. She wishes I had a laptop which I could use for business, though, so she really should get me one. I have the impression that this is what they do in real companies. Unfortunately I have no work permit and still have the feeling that neither I nor the company actually exist.

I've been meeting all sorts of random people who do work for our company, and when I inquire about their relationship to the company, I am told that it is very complex and I would do better to not ask. The other day I was told to go represent my boss at a meeting with a President Wang. Nobody was inclined to explain to me just what company he is president of, or what the meeting was going to be about. Unfortunately I had decided to wear shorts and sandals to work that day, and as soon as I met Mr. Wang he asked me why I came to work dressed so casually. But there was nothing to be done, so I just followed him around to this meeting, which turned out to be a tour of office space for rent in the adjacent tower, which we apparently have our eyes on. He kept dropping me hints during the following hour or so that I still had a lot to learn about Chinese culture, which I take to mean that the sight of bare legs and feet is offensive, especially when they are hairy. Oh well. Today I am wearing a shirt and pants, and a pair of slimy-feeling dress socks which I bought at Carrefour, two for the price of one.

President Wang seemed to be a pretty interesting guy though, and he seemed concerned that I was living all alone in my one-bedroom apartment and offered to take me out clubbing in the future.

This goes against my better judgment, but for your gratification, I feel I ought to mention that I've been dating a girl for the past week. I only bring this up to explain that I have in fact been spending a good deal of my time in a social manner, and to assure my relatives that I am not entirely abnormal. That's all I'm going to say about this at this point, though, and please don't ask me about it, because I won't tell you.

In other news, my boss has been in Taiwan for almost two weeks now, making it nearly impossible for me to get anything done at work. There's quite a lot coming up next week, when these guys from England will be coming over to meet with us on a few projects including: our planned shopping channel on China Web TV which we will probably hook up to a 3G mobile advertising platform, some kind of profitable copyright protection association for the China music industry, and a deal on herbal facial masks. Then the LA crew for the big movie are coming over on the weekend to begin their month-long location scout, which should be very exciting, assuming I don't screw up the airline tickets for them. The cigarette thing is apparently being pushed back a week or so since Mou still isn't back from Taiwan.

In the meantime, I may decide to play a game of Go online today. After I get back from lunch. And take a nap.

Friday, July 07, 2006

You are a peasant if you don't smoke Furongwang

Well, I've been doing all sorts of stuff at work, but what I spent most of today working on was translating the storyboards for this advertisement we're doing for Furongwang cigarettes. It's amazing, I have always believed that advertisements are bullshit, but now that I am taking a hand in producing them for cigarette companies, I really see that in fact they are total bullshit. But man, do I want to start smoking Furongwang...

Mou took me to a meeting with their company on Tuesday. She said that it was for me to learn something, but I think it probably had something more to do with her liking to have handsome foreign boys accompany her on business events. We sat on one side of a conference table in a dimly lit room (we turned the lights off so we could show our presentation), and the cigarette guys sat on the other side, chainsmoking Furongwang cigarettes. It was hypnotizing. The boss kept smoking these things, kind of gazing off into the distance, and telling us about the kind of a man who smokes Furongwang. Furongwang is not just a flagrant symbol of wealth and status. It shows the successful character of a scholarly aristocrat, a man whose magnanimity and refined bearing show through his modesty.

Mou's concept presentation was that there would be one of these such men playing a game of Go against himself, and that his refinement would be shown through the inner struggle and final victory of the game. The cigarette guys didn't like the idea of Go, they thought it was too cliche. In the storyboard I translated today, he played chess.

I produced a perfectly horrible translation of the storyboard for the second concept, which Mou called a "sediment" piece. This is one of these Chinese words which does not translate well. Unfortunately it was used in all of the catch phrases and captions throughout the piece, and finally I lamely decided to translate it as "gain." I worked through my translation a few times until I finally decided that it might be passed off as something written by a native English speaker. I gave both versions to Mou, who will send it to a few directors to see what they think.

I can only hope that my efforts spawn a whole new generation of lung cancer related deaths.

And now... the weekend!!!