July 9, 2009
chillin in the middle kingdom
I was invited by a weekly magazine to have a gourmet meal with this lovely TV hostess and the staff of the magazine. The master chef owner is a national level judge of Chinese cooking. Once a month they invite “celebrities” to enjoy a fantastic meal and then critique it, and the magazine writes an article. I agreed to go if I could bring my “interpreter” 🙂 Hong of course accompanied me, and she enjoyed herself greatly – the owner is a great storyteller, and the view is very nice. The food was magnificent – 21st Century nouveau cuisine – Chinese with Western style. DAMN it was GREAT!!! And needless to say, the article made me a little more renowned here in Hangzhou – a city of 6 million plus.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We just had a total eclipse of the sun – completely dark for five and a half minutes – damn it was mystical and cool. The clouds rolled in as the sun slipped into the moon’s dark sphere – such a feeling of the overwhelming power of the universe – awestruck would be a good way to describe it. We went to a giant 1000 year old Baugua field (the eight sided diagram of the I-Ching) which was created by an emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty.
We lit incense all around the outline and along each axis of the Bagua – in the center is the Yin/Yang symbol we all know (the Taiji). And we stood there, along the east-west axis as the sun became a dark circle overhead surrounded by a halo of white fire.
I wrote this morning at 5:00 am. in anticipation of the eclipse, as the moon’s shadow was over India.
Driving from shadows into light.
We must attune our minds to the vibrations – the music of the spheres.
Feel the deep rumble of cosmic perfection approaching over the distant horizon.
The shadow of the moon slips in purity over the Axis Mundi
Words are insufficient to describe the feeling of anticipation.
A wall of divine potentiality approaches
Dancing across the shorthairs it awakens primordial senses
Middle eye hums while unfathomable intelligence awakens
Blood responds to the irresistible pull of wonder
The closed door opens wide
And the separation dissolves
Unification – mortality and immortal
Unbounded instant – forever expanding
I was asked to be an extra in a TV show. The talent agent is a goofy older Chinese woman whose English is atrocious, so Hong called her for me. She is a local legend. Every English speaking foreigners meets her sooner or later.
We had to travel a long way – to China’s Hollywood – worlds largest movie studio (about 3 hours from here). The role we would play kept changing – but finally when we got to the town we were told we would be Russian Army personnel celebrating a victory with our Chinese army friends.
The agent said I may not be young enough – so, Hong called her, I amped it up and threaten to walk etc… At my suggestion, they made me an officer – the director seemed cool. We had to put on Russian shirt, jump suit, boots (fake rubber ones – too small and hotter than hell), and an overcoat. IN THE SUMMER. We filmed in a fake church half way up a mountain.
It was cool because Hong’s family friend, a 15 year old girl went with me to act as interpreter – which was very helpful, as she is a top English student (later went to Peking University – top university in China, and Harvard); She helped us all, including translating Chinese into English for the 5 Russians. 2 Americans, 1 German, 1 Swede, two Mexicans and a Brazilian. It was a very strange mini-UN.
She also ended up interpreting for the director. So he let her sit in his director’s chair and watch the monitors. Earlier, when we were arguing with the agent and director, she was so pissed we went for a walk, followed by several foreigner looking to by booze and cigarettes.
Well, while we were filming, Russians singing, dancing, we clapping. I slowly edged my way closer to the stars – not surrendering my seat when others went to the toilet. Finally I was sitting next to the three stars of the show (on these little wooden benches). So, I started talking to the guy near me, turns out he is a famous actor – acted in US for two years, and nominated for international Emmy. We talked off and on for a couple hours, while I am sweating my ass off in Russian clothes, hat, boots, etc. in about 90 degree heat.
The actor and I exchanged emails and phone #s. And the show wrapped about midnight. I appropriated the hat and one of the shirts. The long bus ride home was interrupted by 30 minutes waiting at crappy hotel while the Russians all got free rooms, they were partying – the Russian national anthem playing over and over, while one huge Russian demonstrated nun-chuks outside the hotel. They should have filmed that for the TV show. I gave my pay, 600 RMB, to my great, super-smart interpreter.
So I am going to be on TV in about one year.
My daughter arrives as a student in three weeks. The process is arduous, doubly so because of her bringing along her fluffy cat. The cat now has two microchips, numerous vaccinations, and a space reserved on her flight.
A WTF sign far out in the countryside. I don’t even want to know what they are advertising.
September 10 2009
Well, I was contacted by the agent of the actor I met, and I spent days writing/editing/ a 30 page movie treatment. It is for a romantic comedy (this actors strong suit) – which are one of biggest grossing movie genres. I watched – or speed watched about 50 of those kind of movies while Hong was away. And I found common themes, plot elements, and gave them my own brand of magic. So I have sent it to them, they were thrilled. It is another karmic nightcrawler I have tossed into the great unknown universal lake – let’s see what bites.
My daughter will be here for a year. I have paid her tuition. The Chinese classes are very difficult, and she, like me, has a one hour bus commute. She really does not want to learn Chinese, but wants to be here with me, and this is the only way she can stay long term. Things are going well with her overall and her cat. The cat adapted quickly and is enjoying our apartment. We are spending a lot of time together, so I like that.
From the other side of the looking glass, in Underland