Sunday, June 17, 2012

Death Defying Goldfish

I sent the following email out to my colleagues this week to try to find a home for my three goldfish. The response was overwhelming. Every word of it is true - I would have spun you this tale before now, but...well, it's been a busy month.

Dear staff members,

When I first came here I purchased some goldfish, thinking these were ordinary goldfish and it wouldn't be too long before they were introduced to the porcelain god. Two years later, they have proven to be miraculous goldfish, as three of the five are not only alive but about 3 times bigger than when I got them, in spite of my somewhat neglectful care. In fact, one of them is a


Three weeks ago, this fish attempted a triple lutz in the middle of the night and ended up outside the bowl. When I found him in the morning, he had dried up and I feared the worst, but when I saw his gills move, I picked him up and plopped him back in the water, where over the course of the next few hours he made a dazzling recovery.

They should be in a hall of fame, probably, but I don't think the airlines will let me transport them, so I am looking for a good home for my wonderfish. Is there anybody who will adopt them? They come with a beautiful traditional ceramic bowl, aerator, plant, and a 4 month supply of food. Act fast, because fish like these are sure to go fast!

Thank you much-


Here's a picture of my boys...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Deja Su (zhou)

I promised this post two weeks ago, and I'm just now sitting down to write it. Sorry. Technical difficulties. I was exhausted when I got back, then I went and got REALLY exhausted putting up the art fair, and by the time I went, "I really ought to write that promised post about Suzhou," my internet had been disconnected by China Telecom's MORONIC policies (namely, that when you pay for a month's service, that service begins on the first of the month in which you even though I paid for a month's internet on May 15, it got shut off on June 1st. Bastards.)

Anyways - Suzhou. As you may recall, I visited Socrates there my first year in China, when it was getting just a little too cold. I found myself returning on a school-paid staff trip, when it was just a little too hot. And I couldn't stop myself from feeling a little nostalgic - although that weekend with Socrates wasn't exactly the best of times. The hotel we stayed in was gorgeous, and coincidentally, on the same canal where Socrates once lived, so I walked down it at one point along one of the walks we took back then. Other than the temperature, not much had changed. 
Well, Suzhou hasn't much changed. I have. Or maybe I've reverted to what I've always been. The last time I went to Suzhou, I didn't see any of the gardens - I saw the land and water gate, Panmen, and it's adjoining pagoda, and that was all of scenic Suzhou I visited, because the grouch himself didn't feel like looking at gardens and I didn't care to labor the point. This time, I was with friends, and they were pretty happy once they'd seen one garden...afterwards they wanted to go on a canal cruise, and get a massage, and the next day visit the Sex Museum in Tongli. Well, the canal cruise didn't appeal, I'm not much for massages, and I've been to Tongli, thankyouverymuch, so I said, "Cool. Have fun. I'll see you later," and went off wandering.
I saw the Blue Wave Pavilion, and a Confucian temple
  and a man fishing along the way...
I saw some great Engrish
the bustling marketplace around a Taoist Temple
and the gorgeous Lion's Grove.
Those big craggy rocks are meant to represent lions, the traditional defenders of Buddhism, which seems funny to me, since they look nothing like it and even if they did, are lions even indigenous to Asia, the stronghold of Buddhism??? Anyways, I had a great weekend and so did my friends, doing their thing, and even though I wasn't quite ready to go back to work Monday it - as always - felt good to get out of Shanghai, especially to a place with as nice a vibe as Suzhou.

And now, I have less than three weeks left here - it's hard to believe. On one hand, that seems like forever, but when I think about everything I have to do before I go, it is clearly not enough time. One way or another, I guess I'll get through it.