Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My 23rd Birthday part 2

Ryan came to Hong Kong for my birthday. It was partly for my birthday and partly because we decided we need to see each other in person more often. From now on I’ll be going to Fuzhou more and he’ll be coming to Hong Kong more.

Since I live with 2 roommates in a tiny closet apartment – and since it was my birthday – we decided to get a hotel room this time. He was only in town for 2 nights, so a hotel wasn’t going to break the bank. There are about a million hotels in Hong Kong and we might try out a new one each time he comes over. People are always asking me about hotels in Hong Kong, but since I live here I never really go to any of them. Maybe now I’ll have better recommendations.

This time we stayed at the Kowloon Hotel at Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s a reasonably priced business hotel across the street from the Peninsula – which is far more expensive. This is a great location in the southern tip of Kowloon within easy walking distance to the Harbour, Promenade and a bunch of tourist stuff. There’s shopping and plenty of tourist restaurants all over the place.

We don’t care about any of that. We picked it because it’s cheap enough and was available at the last minute. It also has 2 MTR entrances right outside the front lobby door – exits L3 & L4. You can walk from the hotel to the MTR without getting wet.

The hotel itself is nothing special. It’s old & drab, but they’ve updated most of the rooms with new TVs and bathrooms. The rooms are small, but so are most hotel rooms in Hong Kong – unless you’re willing to pay a lot more. The staff’s English is hit & miss and they seemed pretty bored to be there when we checked in. Maybe it’s not the most exciting job in the world, but you should never let your guests know that.

There are lots of shiny gold decorations in the lobby that Chinese people love. We never looked at the restaurant, so I can’t say anything about that – except that if you’re in Hong Kong there’s no reason to eat in your hotel. The city is full of food 24H.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 1963

People keep asking when America started going downhill. Republicans say it was as soon as Obama came into office – or Clinton or Carter. Democrats say it was Bush – or Reagan or Nixon. They all want to blame all of our problems on the supposed mistakes of whoever was in the White House that they didn’t like.

I don’t think it’s the temporary policies of temporary presidents that hurt us. I think it was the very permanent damage on the nation’s soul that came with the assassination of a very youthful president. Like him or hate him, Kennedy was young and could have easily been president for another 5 years. There’s no way to know what would have happened in those 5 years if he’d lived. The 1960s were a very turbulent decade for the United States and a lot of it might have been very different without the assassination.

It doesn’t really matter if Kennedy was murdered by a vast conspiracy or some lone nutjob. His murder shocked the country out of white picket fences and into the real world. Before the assassination, people wore suits and hats whenever they left the house. After the assassination, they all started dressing like slobs. People used to trust the government and believe pretty much anything they were told. Now no one trusts the government – though a lot of people still believe anything they’re told. Wars used to be about principle and doing the right thing. Now they’re about money and corporate investment. Worst of all, movie musicals used to be good. Now they’re Auto-Tune and CGI. Can you imagine Judy Garland singing with Auto-Tune or Gene Kelly needing computer graphics to dance?

The world would not be a perfect place if Kennedy had lived. But maybe without the shock of seeing a young leader so publicly executed, it would have taken us longer to become as cynical and bitter as we are today. Maybe we could have even avoided that whole disco phase.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My 23rd Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m doing something very special. I don’t want to jinx it so I’ll talk about it later.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Auditions part 2

The TV audition was first. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went. I was surprised by how professional it was. TV shows in Hong Kong are all pretty wacky & madcap. I’d pictured the people behind the scenes wearing baseball caps and throwing darts at the wall. They actually seemed like they knew what they were doing.

Everybody was pretty vague about what they wanted from me. I don’t know if that was because they don’t want too many people talking about this show before it even goes into production or if it was because this was only a first audition. As far as I can tell it’s all Chinese people and I’m up for the part of the foreigner who appears occasionally for some reason.

I went in and did my thing. Now it’s up to them to call my agent and let me know where we go from here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines on Friday. It’s supposed to be one of the largest typhoons ever. They said Usagi was going to be the largest typhoon of the year. Haiyan is a little bigger and, unlike Usagi, is actually causing damage.

Usagi was supposed to slam into Hong Kong. It didn’t. It veered north and hit a less populated area of China. Haiyan went straight into the middle of the Philippines. It’s killed about 200 people so far and left about a million homeless. They’re saying as many as 10,000 are dead, but that’s not even close to confirmed. One of the areas it hit had an earthquake 2 weeks earlier.

People talk about typhoons in Hong Kong, but they rarely hit us directly. It’s the Philippines that gets hit several times every year. They protect us from whatever the Pacific Ocean throws at us.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Three Auditions

I got an agent earlier this year. Since then he hasn’t really gotten me any work. He got me a few auditions – most of them went nowhere. One of them eventually led to a part that got canceled.

I can’t really blame him for the lack of work. Since he’s been my agent, I’ve been pretty busy with my real job, I’ve taken a lot of vacation time and I was sidelined by two different injuries. He’s trying to get me work, but there’s nothing he can do if I’m out of town or out of commission.

Now he’s got three different auditions lined up for me. Two are movies and one is a TV series. All are in Chinese. One of the movies wants someone who can speak English. I can do that. The other movie is a speaking part in Chinese, but they specifically want a foreigner who doesn’t speak Chinese very well. I can do that, too. I don’t know anything about the series. I don’t even know if I want to do a series. It’s not the lead or anything close, but it still sounds like it would take longer than a few days on a movie set.

At this point I’m not going to spend too much time worrying about it. I’ll go to all the auditions and see what happens. If I don’t get any of the parts, life will go on. If I do, I’ll deal with it then.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween 2013

This year’s Halloween party was at the house of one of Lily’s friends. I don’t know her very well, but her house is just barely big enough to host a party like this. As is almost always the case on Halloween, there were too many people in too small a space.

In honor of the World Series, Lily & I dressed as the Minnesota Twins. I know the Twins weren’t in the Series, but they have better uniforms than Boston or St. Louis and there were 2 of us. Kevin came straight from work, so he was dressed as a corporate peon. Even when he’s dressed like all the other businesspeople, he still looks like he’s in costume. They all wear the same Chinese suit while he dresses like a Canadian.

For the first time in my entire life I didn’t hear the Oingo Boingo song “Dead Man’s Party” at a Halloween party. It’s funny because Danny Elfman is more respected now than ever. Who knew when that band first came out that he’d become one of the top film composers?