Tag Archives: China

You’ve got to watch this great documentary

I had this thought earlier today, like I could be a great documentarian if I wanted to, that if only I had the equipment, and the knowledge of how to use that equipment, I’d make some of the best documentaries in the history of film. Like these headphones that I’m holding in my hand right now. Where were they made, in China? Where? That’s where I’d start. I’d take my crew, my top-of-the-line cameras and lights and unobtrusive microphone packs.


If only I had the time, and the money to be able to commit to supporting myself while I figured out which Chinese factory these headphones came from, and then even more money to book a flight, to gain access to the assembly line. I’m sure I’d have to talk to some sort of a party official. I guess I’d have to learn how to speak Chinese.

If only I could speak Chinese, I’d make one of the most gripping documentaries about Chinese people making mass-consumed cheap throwaway products, stuff that we get for free over here, like when we buy a cellphone, or when we fly on a plane. I’d follow around just one guy, like his story would embody my story, the story being, look at this man, he’s just a cog in the machine. But he’s a person.

I’d probably have to either bribe my way through whichever party officials would be in charge of allowing an American to just waltz in and paint this cinematographic representation of how bleak factory life must be for the average Chinese laborer, “Bleak, but tinged with hope!” again, my Chinese would have to be spot on, or I’d have to pay a lot of money for a translator clever enough to understand exactly what I’m trying to say, in English, while at the same time being able to deceive the party officials into making it like I’m trying to capture all of the positive aspects of China’s industrial workforce.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be as simple of pointing and shooting, like, there would probably have to be planned out questions, all of the filming employing multiple cameras, so that while he’d be pondering the answer to some existential question, something like, “What does it all mean?” I’d be able to switch between the two cameras, one of them aimed just off of the center of his face, his pensive stare positioned just behind where I’d be if you could see me standing behind the camera, and then the other camera would be a profile shot, and it would have some grainy filter, and it would be in black and white.

I hadn’t considered subtitles. I’d have to use subtitles, right? Yeah, definitely, if even just for my own sake, you know, assuming that I hadn’t learned Chinese. No way I’d be able to learn Chinese. I mean, I’m not saying that it’s impossible. I’m sure that if I absolutely had to … what I mean is, I think that my brain is physically capable of learning Chinese … but subtitles, definitely subtitles. What font would I use? Do documentarians have to outsource the font work, like they do in comic books? Couldn’t I just pick out something myself?

If only I was well versed in documentaries. I think I’ve only ever seen like maybe six or seven documentaries, total. That’s not a lot of real-life documentary experience to then use as the basis for my very own documentary. Or maybe that’s what I’d need, a complete outsider’s perspective. I’d show up at the documentary film awards and everybody would be like, “Who is this nobody?” and I’d win every category hands-down, even the judges wouldn’t be able to close their mouths, hanging wide open in shock, like, he did it, this guy just completely changed the genre forever, for the better.

I remember when I was in college I saw that documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. There’s this opening scene where George W. Bush is making some broad generalization about something, you know, I don’t even remember what he was talking about really, but the camera zooms out and it turns out that he’s golfing, he says something like, “Now watch this drive.” I remember thinking, man, fucking George W. Bush. If that guy spent less time golfing and more time governing, well, whatever, fucking Bush.

But now it’s like, every once in a while I’ll see something on right-wing news, when it’s a slow news day they’ll point the finger at Obama, taking a vacation, or playing golf. They throw out barbs like, “This president has spent more time on the golf course than any other president in history!” And I get so mad, I’m just like, back off, all right? He’s the president. That’s a tough job. Everybody’s got to unwind, right?

Thoughts on the new iPhone

Are they going keep naming new iPhones based on the numerical order in which they’re released? Right now everything’s fine because we’re only up to iPhone 5. But what about years from now? Are consumers really going to be as excited for the iPhone 36? Hopefully I’m still alive by then. Also, hopefully scientists will have figured out a way to keep everyone looking young and healthy indefinitely, kind of like in that movie In Time with Justin Timberlake, just minus all of the massive inequality and social injustice, not to mention the terrible storytelling and horribly overdone time puns, “Time’s up,” stuff like that.


What am I talking about? Nobody saw that movie. But back to the iPhone. We’re all ignoring the fact that it went right from iPhone to iPhone 3G. What happened to the iPhone 2? And then after that it was 4 and then 4G and then 5 and now 5G and 5C. Talk about a horrible naming strategy. I’ve heard all sorts of theories, how the C is supposed to be for China, because they’re trying to get Chinese people to not only manufacture iPhones, but to buy them as well. But when I hear 5C, all I think of is the word cheap.

Like, “Oh, I see you bought the cheap one.” Why would you want a plastic phone? Why would you want a neon pink iPhone? Although, that’s a pretty stupid thing to say on my part. I shouldn’t be in the business of judging people’s preference in colors. I am a little disappointed by the fact that there really isn’t much of a selection. Not that I’m interested in buying the cheapo model anyway. It’s just that, what if you’re not into really bright colors? I guess for me it never really mattered anyway, seeing as how I never take it out of its plastic protective case.

While I’m on numbers, isn’t anybody else going to point out the obvious incompatibilities with model number and operating system? I’m talking about how when they released the 5S/C, they simultaneously made available the new operating system, IOS 7. Can’t the boys in marketing figure out a way to synchronize the numbers? I’m being petty here.

I just get annoyed whenever a new product comes out and everybody starts gushing over it, the media, everyone at work, people on the subway. And then like a week after it comes out, I start to see them everywhere, new iPhones, shiny new colors, slightly different ringtones and message alert sounds. I took out my phone the other day, and a coworker was like, “You didn’t upgrade to IOS 7 yet?” looking at me like I had just contracted leprosy.

And so I went right home and downloaded IOS 7. And it took like an hour and a half out of my day, plugging it in, waiting for it to download and install, laying on my bed going through all of the menus and settings, discovering which marginal changes had been made to my phone’s user interface. The whole thing left me very underwhelmed, and now I was holding my same old iPhone 4, only it felt less comfortable, my old bright wallpaper was no longer compatible with the white numbers used to tell me the time, but of course Apple wouldn’t give you an option to change the color of the home-screen text.

Or let you decide if you like the old interface better. And I know it’s such a tired argument, that Apple doesn’t really let you customize anything. It does bother me, like the old operating system looked a certain way, and then all of the sudden Apple decides that they’d like mine, and everybody else’s phone, to look a different way. That would be like living in an apartment and the landlord busting in every year deciding to paint all the walls an entirely different color.

But it doesn’t matter. I have this fear that the minute you stop upgrading operating systems is the moment that you decide to get left behind in terms of technology. Sure, skipping one update won’t really get in the way of how you use a phone, but there are subtle changes with every release. You let those changes pile up, and before you realize it, you’re an old man that puts his hands on the newest model only to find that he doesn’t know how to use anything, he’s too set in his old ways.

This is crazy. It’s a fucking iPhone. I can’t believe I just spent all of this time actually writing this down. Sorry if you’ve made it all the way down here. New cell phone releases cause me an unnecessary amount of anxiety.

Guest posts and obscure advertisements

Every once in a while I’ll get an email from some random Internet person asking if they might be able to write up a guest post on this blog. The first time it happened, I was pretty excited. All of these thoughts flew through my head, like, it’s happening, I’m starting to attract attention here, I can’t believe it.

That first email was from some lady in Australia. She had read this nonsense piece I had written about setting up a series of trampolines, spaced out along a route, that I could use as a bouncy form of alternative transportation. “Great post!” she complimented me. “Great compliment!” I said out loud to my computer.

A few friendly words were all it took to capture my attention. I read on. She worked for a company called Bounce Inc. From what very limited research I’ve done, mostly looking at the video from the web site, I gathered that it’s some sort of gym/amusement park hybrid. My solicitor described it as a, “massive indoor trampoline universe,” a whole giant area of interconnected trampolines.

And then I sat back in my chair and thought, huh, that’s kind of … well, it’s some bizarre trampoline business in Australia that I’ll probably never get to visit, let alone bounce around in, and some employee is asking me if they’d like to collaborate via my blog.

Huh. My sense of, “This is happening!” deflated somewhat, but I replied back, “What were you thinking? Did you want me to write something up?” Our correspondence dissolved when she informed me that she’d be writing up whatever it was that she’d be writing up, an advertisement basically, and she’d like to use my very obscure corner of the Internet to use as a wall on which to post up a cheesy flyer.

How dare she? I got all indignant and wrote some crazy email back explaining the total lack of connection between my blog and her bouncy castle business, and that was the last that I heard from her. But seriously, what kind reach did she think she’d get by having something written up here? It would be like me going into my local corner deli and asking if they might help pass out literature about Elon Musk’s Hyperlooop.

That was the first, and while my inbox isn’t inundated with random business proposals – it isn’t inundated with any email at all, really – I do get from time to time marketing companies from India hoping to use my blog as an SEO platform, whatever that is. I’ve done a little bit of research on what it would mean exactly, but basically it’s just about turning any Internet space into a garbage link generator. And then I’d have to write up blog posts like, “43 best 80s movies characters,” with number one being it’s own page, it’s own bullshit advertisements and garbage links. And then you’d read a sentence and look at some picture that I hijacked from Google images and you’d be told to click “next” to see number two, with another page of random Internet stuff you’ll never really click on, not on purpose, not really.

Just yesterday I got an email from a Mike Thomas. His message was something like, “Wow! Check out this video on man-caves in storage sheds! You should let me write up an original post about man caves for your web site. Or you can just post the video. Due to Google’s rules, we can’t pay you anything. But don’t worry, we’ll only send you original, creative material! Send me an email and I’ll get in touch with you to see where we can go from here!”

Wow, thanks Mike! You’d do that for me, provide me with all of that great content? Hooray! I can’t believe he’d insult me by assuming that I’d want money. For all of that original, creative content, I should be paying him. Man-caves in storage sheds, I have no idea what that’s all about, but I’m sure it’s going to be just the thing to ratchet my writing up to the next level.

What ever happened to good old-fashioned online scammers? I’m really missing the days when I’d get letters from long lost royal relatives that relocated to Cameroon generations ago, trying to get in touch with me because they need my help in taking back the billion dollar family inheritance. I got some email a while ago from a Chinese company telling me that another Chinese company had recently tried to set up a business named Strictly Autobiographical. What a coincidence! But I needn’t worry, all I had to do was pay them a fee, and they’d register my domain name in China, preventing other Strictly Autobiographicals from popping up overseas.

I’m telling you, it’s happening for me. My brand name is becoming international. Everybody wants a piece of this, even the Chinese. It’s just really nice to know I have random Internet people looking out for me, trying to help me out here, giving me free content and offering cheap protection. Keep those emails coming!