Sunday, January 3, 2010

happy new years

wow. I don't know why i was in a tex-mex resturant in beijing and accidentally linked to a blog and it actually opened. not sure how or why this worked but ti is.

Anyways been a big year. Left a horrible job then spent the summer improving my chinese and hanging out in north korean villages on the chinese-DPRK border.

Then took a new job making some cool outsourced 4-D ride films from the USA.

I also have a new apartment in a fancier part of town surrounded by fancy american restaurants.

Still writing my love advice column after 2.5 years can't believe thats still going. Been getting a bit of love advice column hate mail as well will include that on here.. can anyone guess where i plagiarized the anti canadian humor from?

Dear Ariel and Ben,

Last month ,28 students from one canadian university came to our college to learn chinese culture.I worked as vollunteer for a guy called Mark. After he finished his classes and homework ,we often had dinner together and he asked a lot about chinese traditions.At the weekend I showed him around our city.In KTV,he imitated my icon Miachel Jackson and performed his style of moonwalk.We did have a lot of fun.I had to admit that i was really attracted by this funny,gentle and humble guy. However,all good things come to an end.It's time for them to go back to Canada.His flight was 5am and i saw him off.He hugged me and i couldn't help crying.I love him but i never told him because i know there are many hurdles ahead. Since he left, my life has been empty and i cant repress my missing. What's worse,he seems very busy and our contacts become less and less.Sometimes i just wish i had never met him.How could i get over it?

I have heard it said that love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop. And we never know the true depth of this love until the hour of separation. Its a tough situation, you start a brief friendship with a handsome young canadian suitor and then he is abruptly whisked out of your arms right back to the great white canadian north. I know right now it hurts and you probably feel like your experience is unique. You'll come to realize it's not. You should ask yourself did you really want to spend the rest of your life living in canada? Think of your children pledging allegiance to the maple leaf. Mayonnaise on everything. Winter 11 months of the year. Not to mention the food in canada is inedible. When have you ever heard anyone say, "Honey, lets stay in tonight and order Canadian food"? Canadians are always dreaming up a lotta ways to ruin our lives. Look at Dashan for example! I think you also need to realize that this guy was
not "The One That Got Away". He was only practice. So now when you finally meet the love of your life, you'll have the experience necessary to recognize it and not let it slip through your fingers. For now I think the best thing for you to do is go out there and start dating. If life hands you a lemon, you gotta crush it into lemonade. Find some other boys that occupy your time and get your mind off of the vacuum that this young canadian mounty left in your heart. The past is the past. It was meant to be that way. Getting over him is not going to be easy but life's hard. It's supposed to be. If we didn't suffer, we'd never learn anything.

and the hate-mail than ensued...

I am an English teacher at Qiong Zhou University in Hainan province and have found that my students love to read English advice columns, especially those dealing with matters of the heart.?I often use the Love Lessons column in my teaching.?This past week, however, I found the column extremely offensive.?I have to assume that Ben Radcliffe is an American in that he shows such appalling ignorance of Canada.?Or - perhaps he was attempting to be funny.?Instead he ended up being grossly insulting.
Canada is one of the preferred destinations of Chinese immigrants.?We have a large Chinese-Canadian community and, after English and French, Canada's two official languages, Chinese is the 3rd most common language in Canada.?I'm not sure what makes pledging allegiance to a maple leaf any more offensive than saluting the stars and stripes or the various symbols of other countries.?At least people aren't burning our flag in protest.
With respect to the weather, if Ben has paid any attention to (and can actually read) the U.S. news,he will know that it is not Canada which is currently "snowed in" along the eastern seaboard.?
Ben's comments about Canadian cuisine were also off the mark.?Perhaps the reason you don't get Canadian cuisine as takeout is that it actually takes time and quality ingredients to prepare. This is,of course, unlike the constant diet of truly American junk food which has resulted in a population where more than 30 percent of the adult population is morbidly obese.
Ben - you owe an apology to Canadians.
Judith McTavish

Thursday, October 22, 2009

anybody out there...


Its been like a year since ive posted to this blog. The thing was its been a big year for social unrest in china with ethnic riots and violence and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC not to mention the 20 year aniversarry of a "massacre" that "never happened".

anywasy i am planning on heading to laos for a few months and thought i would start blogging again from there if anyone is still out there. let me know if your still there and i will start posting again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Elusive Chinese Grass Mud Horse

ah finally something post worthy! Not sure if this made the news in america but.... here is the story of the ever elusive chinese grass mud horse! For those who are un-aware chinese is a tonal language. and a different rising or falling tone can take a word that sounds relatively the same but give it an entirely different meaning. These differences are also made clear by the use of the chinese characters. Its kind of like the english language where wear or there or their. different spelling and different context.  

Anyways sometimes these subtle differences can go horribly awry. Such is the case with the gentle and majestic chinese grass mud horse. If you translate grass mud horse into chinese you literally  get cao ni ma. Which is pronounced "cao ni ma" which using different rising or falling tones is how you say "FUCK YOUR MOTHER"

grass mud horse: 草泥马 Cao3 Ni2 Ma3

fuck your mother: 操你妈 Cao4 Ni3 Ma1

for more wonderful chinese expressions and the wonderment of the ancient chinese culture please check out this wonderful page over at

Cao Ni Ma (Chinese: 草泥马), literally "Grass Mud Horse", was supposedly a species of alpaca. The name is derived from cào nǐ mā (Chinese: 肏你妈), which translates to "fuck your mother". Note that the comparison with the "animal" name is not an actual homophone, but rather the two terms have the same consonants and vowels with different tones, which are represented by different characters. According to the original article from Baidu Baike [17], they originate from an area known as "Ma Le Ge Bi" (Chinese: 马勒戈壁, English: Mahler Gobi) (resembles 妈了个屄, meaning "your mother's fucking vagina"), and some variants of the animal are known as 沃草泥马 (wò cǎo ní mǎ, resembling 我肏你妈, meaning I fuck your mother), which can only eat fertile grass (沃草 in Chinese), while other variants are known as 狂草泥马 (kuáng cǎo ní mǎ, 狂 meaning "violently" or "insanely"), which are dubbed as the "kings" of the Cao Ni Ma.
Within the vast desert of Mahler Gobi, the Grass Mud Horse are the dominant species, and thus the alternate name for the region which these animals inhabit is called 草泥马戈壁 (Pinyin: cǎo ní mǎ gē bì, Literally "Grass Mud Horse Gobi"). They are able to adapt to harsh conditions, and typically eat grass, as there is little water available in Mahler Gobi. Their greatest enemy are "river crabs" (Chinese: 河蟹, Pinyin: héxiè, resembles 和谐 héxié meaning "harmonious", referring to government censorship to create a "harmonious society", while noting that river crabs are depicted wearing three wristwatches, vaguely referring to the Three Represents, where 代表 "represent" and 戴表 "to wear a watch" are homophones), and are said to be frequently seen in combat against these crabs. Note that the initial image found in the original Baidu Baike article is a zebra, rather than an alpaca.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

another NK holga

Here is a random shot of a subway sign in beautiful downtown Pyongyang.

I am seriously lacking inspiration and hard to get blogging again but i do have a master plan for interesting content again stay tuned and spread the word that the P.M.O.L. is back!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Still Alive

Yes I am still alive. My laptop is not hence the long time without posting.
Not sure what to cram in... I went to North Korea and survived. I also moved into a traditional courtyard and survived the winter. I also survived the chinese new year which was a close one. It was like edgewater drive but with 14 million people and for a week straight there was a skyscraper that was a casualty and burned down on the last day which makes this an aspiucous year.
Right now I am in chengdu contemplating the future and drinking lots of tea. Maybe a move to durka durka stan perhaps a move back to india or maybe down to hanoi. who knows.
I would love to go back to pyongyang and live there for a year but somehow i dont see that happening.
Anyways I am gonna buy a new laptopn this month and get back to blogging. If anyone is still out there reading giveme a shout out.

Monday, October 27, 2008




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DPRK holga #2

Here is a photo of the juche tower in downtown pyong yang. This is one of the dominant landmarks in the pyongyang skyline. Even though there is a power shortage this is iluminated every night and the flame at the top is has animated lights. This monument is to the korean philosophy of juche.

The Juche Idea (주체사상, Juche Sasang) is the official state ideology of North Korea and the political system based on it. The doctrine is a component part of Kimilsungism, the North Korean term for Kim Il-sung's family regime.[1] Juche literally means "main body" or "subject"; it has also been translated in North Korean sources as "independent stand" and the "spirit of self-reliance". Other sources have revealed other interpretations.


Kim Il-sung advanced Juche as a slogan in a December 28, 1955, speech titled "On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work" in rejection of the policy of de-Stalinization (bureaucratic self-reform) in the Soviet Union. The Juche Idea itself gradually emerged as a systematic ideological doctrine under the political pressures of the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. The word "Juche" also began to appear in untranslated form in English-language North Korean works from around 1965. Kim Il-sung outlined the three fundamental principles of Juche in his April 14, 1965, speech “On Socialist Construction and the South Korean Revolution in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The principles are "independence in politics" (chaju), "self-sustenance in the economy" (charip) and "self-defense in national defense" (chawi). Current North Korean leader Kim Jong-il officially authored the definitive statement on Juche in a 1982 document titled On the Juche Idea. He has final authority over the interpretation of the state ideology and incorporated the Songun (army-first) policy into it in 1996.

Monday, October 13, 2008

D.P.R.K holga #1

Here is the first holga from the DPRK. I have lots of stuff to post like maps and newspaper articles and propaganda posters but I have been crazy busy between work chinese classes and my many social obligations.

This is some kind of propaganda poster from the DMZ. These things were all over north korea and seemed were painted on stone slabs instead of your typical poster. They are very very permanent. I have no idea what it says so if anyone knows any one who is korean and can translate it for me that would be awesome.

Friday, October 10, 2008


A uiygher woman from kashgar.

more visual amalgam post show info

my photos hung up in the visual amalgam show

here is an article online regarding the visaul amalgam show. Again I was not able to attend the event because of the fact that I was in dprk then back to beijing around the same time. If anyone of my 4-5 readers made it to the show please leave your imprression in the comments section.

The 2nd installation of the Visual Amalgam Art Show was an enormous success, with an estimated eight hundred people attending the event at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. The semi-annual event features the personal artwork of film industry and visual effects professionals.

Show organizers and artists, Patrick Finley and Evan Jacobs, were thrilled with the enthusiastic turnout for the show. “It really surpassed our expectations,” Jacobs said. “People starting trickling in during the day, even before all the art was hung on the walls! By the time the show was scheduled to start we had a packed house.”

The event lived up to its name, featuring an eclectic collection of artwork ranging from classical to contemporary, modern and abstract. Roughly one hundred and fifty paintings, photographs and sculptures adorned the walls of the James Gray Gallery for this year’s show, representing the work of twenty-five unique artists.

Patrons enjoyed the rare opportunity to meet most of the artists in person during the evening. Five-time Academy Award™ winning visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston, was on-hand, showing his still photography at the event, as was Academy Award™ winning visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack, who had several of his abstract dimensional math paintings on display. The feedback from the public was overwhelmingly positive and several artists sold pieces despite the turbulent economic climate. “Throughout the evening people kept telling me how much they enjoyed the collection,” recalls Finley. “It was an eclectic show and I think there really was something for everyone.”

The show proved to be an inspiration for the exhibiting artists as well, since many of them had not seen their fellow artist’s work before the show. Seven-time VFX Emmy Award™ winner, Dan Curry, whose paintings were featured at the event said, “It is always great to see what our respected colleagues create for themselves. It was inspiring work and a very enjoyable gathering.”

In fact, each of the exhibiting artists boasts impressive professional credentials within the film industry but in many cases their personal artwork has not been widely publicized or displayed. “It is always an effort to make time to wear the artist’s hat,” exhibiting photographer, Ash Beck relates. “Even though we are practicing artists every day, our personal art is what truly keeps our lives and professional work in perspective and balance.”

Painter and visual effects artist, Patrick Finley, conceived the Visual Amalgam Show back in 2006 as a way to help other artists get their work into the public eye. “There are some immensely talented people working behind the scenes and I knew many of them were fine artists as well,” Finley recalls. “The goal was to provide them with the opportunity to show their personal work to the public in a fine art gallery setting and with the 2008 show I think we really achieved that.”

The 2008 Visual Amalgam Show continues online at featuring artists Ken Ralston (“Forrest Gump”), Kevin Mack (“Speed Racer”), Albert Brenner (“Pretty Woman”), Dan Curry (“Star Trek”), John Swallow (“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”), Angie Jones (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), Ash Beck (commercials), Ben Rittenhouse (“Hulk”), Dainel Abramovitch (“The Brave One”), Ben Radcliffe (“Shrek 2”), Danny Dimian (“Polar Express”), Shannon Blake Gans (“Live Free or Die Hard”), Darren Lurie (“Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”), Eric Hanson (“Cast Away”), Eric Robertson (“The Da Vinci Code”), Evan Jacobs (“Resident Evil: Extinction”), Joe Strasser (“Beowulf”), Loic Zimmerman (“Hancock”), Owen Demers (“The Martix Revolutions”), Pam Hogarth (Gnomon School), Patrick Finley (“I Am Legend”), Snow Mack (“X-Men 2”), Vincent Serrittela (“Hancock”), Karen Murphy-Mundell (“Titanic”) and Richard Winn Taylor (“Tron”).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

D.P.R.K. trip

ok I will get this started with some pics and then update the story later.

I like always shot everything on film so i stole these digitals from other people in my tour group.This is the infamous american tour group B standing in front of the great leaders 60m tall bronze statue!

These are the tour guides who are definately not spies... right!

Enjoying a little dog meat Steak in DPRK!

This is me sitting at the center of the table where the cease fire armistice agreement was signed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

post visual amalgam wrap up

So I didn'y go cause I live in china but here are some photos from the show reception.

I got lots of north korea stories and photos coming soon i promise.