Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Housewarming and Birthday Party

Therese got older this weekend and we are finally feeling settled in the new pad. We decided to throw a big party Saturday night and invite everyone over to help trash the place. Ayi is out of town for a few weeks too, and the place was a mess, which meant WE needed to clean OURSELVES. The horror!

All week long, Therese reminded me that i need to help her clean the place for the party. Everyday, in fact. However, since i'm a great boyfriend, i decided to go one step further. She got to spend the afternoon at the spa while joe and i went all apeshit on the many layers of accumulated dirt and filth. Actually, the decision to clean was truly excellent when you consider to following:
  1. Joe and i like each other and have a long history of exchanging good deeds.
  2. Everyone else spent the day at Argueball 2010. We don't like argueball. (Although apparently, this year boasted 30% less arguing. Still...)
  3. I don't mind cleaning AND it was an easy but appreciated birthday present.
  4. Our house was pretty filthy.
So we did all that and prepped for the party. I whipped up an awesome batch of guacamole for the early arrivals... behold the new pad:

We had no beer available, but plenty of cocktails. We offered black and white russians, fine scotch, rum and tequila, strong and delicious mojitos, sangria, wine, and various flavors of daiquiri: strawberry, mango, strawberry-mango, and strawberry-papaya.

People got drunk and Tao/Baby Girl ridiculousness ensued. Two highlights:

The Elbow Drop.
Tao decided it would be a great idea if, while Baby Girl was resting in the middle of the floor, he climbed up on our couch and dropped an Atomic Elbow (?) on BG. BG, always eager to please, held still for Tao. Tao lept off, slipped immediately on the slick wooden floor, and missed his target completely. He's lucky he didn't hurt himself, or we would have had to kick his

The Wrestling.
The Atomic Elbow failure wasn't enough to sate Tao's desire to wrestle. He later confronted Baby Girl and wrestled him. This may look like harmless fun to the casual observer...

... but all i could see was fifty-five gallons of turtle tank water spilling into every corner of our awesome new apartment, and the endless hours of work required to clean it up. Bad Tao. No fighting Baby Girl near the turtle tank. You get a time out.
Tao does not like time-outs.

In other news:

  • Therese likes cake!
  • And music is music to muse's ears. Who's a good kitty.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tianjin Open Recap

Greetings world, it's been a little while since i've rapped at ya.  I've been ridiculously busy with moving, working, frisbeeing, etc.  I finally feel like the insanity has passed a bit, and i have a ton to catch up on, blog-wise.  It's actually overwhelming, and i don't even know where to start.  Frisbee seems like a good place.

Big Brother played it's first team tournament of the year at the Tianjin Open last weekend.  We sent a pretty small team and had many key players missing.  With Jim, Chatikin, Gareth, and Joe unable to play, it left tao and i as the main handlers.  However, we made up for that with our four unstoppable women: Sandy, Alicia, Shan, and Tina.

Day one was shaky, and saw us losing our first game to a very young and athletic Tianjin Speed.  I think we went in assuming an easy victory and underestimated them.   Really, it's awesome to see all these new, local players picking up the game and playing at a high level.  We played pretty sloppy and they capitalized on our slow start.  Although we tied it after half, they got a critical break and pulled out the upset, 11-9.

On Day two, we lost Jesse, a key handler, and picked up Baby Girl and Jehan.  Those fresh legs may have made the difference for us.  Our first game against Tianjin Five Star was a good warm-up for our semi-finals game against the #1 seed and our China nemesis, Shanghai.

They came out in fine form and jumped up 3-1, before we went on a demoralizing 5 to 1 burst, taking half 6-4.  We were pumped.  It's been a long time since Beijing beat Shangai at a competitive tournament.  Tao switched to cutting, working Alec Hutson hard in the process.  Jehan,  Caleb, and Baby Girl took turns covering Nads, a big, strong player.  Our women dominated on all parts the field.  And yours truly provided the core of the handler offense.  We ended up winning that game 11-9 in one of the most heated and intense games i've playing in Asia.

In the finals, we played Tianjin Speed again, the same team we lost to one Day 1.  This time we were a bit more prepared, but when they took half 6-5, we were definitely worried.  In the second half, i had four deep throws to tao, three for scores.  Our women were getting open at will, and while their guys were ferocious, our zone D was disrupting their game.  We got the critical break points we needed and won 11-9.  That was Big Brother's first major tournament win since Singapore, 2004.  And it felt good.

Oh, Big Brother (meaning Gareth, Baby Girl, and Matt) also won the party.  We got trophies for each!

Tao has a write-up and a few pictures here and here.

Needless to say, i'm really excited for this season.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beer Fris

I've received less than dozens upon hundreds* of e-mails asking for more information about Beer Fris, how it is played, where it can be played, and who are the awesomest players around.

Thanks for taking an interest, faithful readers. Here's a quick tutorial, featuring Michael "The Chait" Chaitkin and Myself, who happen to be two of Beijing's awesomest players. I think you'll find playing Beer Fris is easy, and can be played anywhere beer and frisbees are found.

  • One Frisbee
  • Plenty of Beer
  • Four players
  • Two plastic bottles- full 16 oz Gatorades work well, as do water bottles.
  • One cup
Setup and Gameplay
  • Place the two bottle 8-10 meters apart.
  • Fill a cup of beer with a few ounces and place it off to the side, an equal distance from each team.
  • Teams take turns trying to knock the other teams bottle down with the disc. Knocking it over is one point.
  • Once a player knocks the defenses bottle over, his teammate runs and picks up the frisbee and throws it back to the original thrower. He then tries to mack the disc into their own bottle, knocking it over. If they succeed, they get an extra two points.
  • WHILE the offensive teammate is running to the disc, a person from the other team runs to the beer, drinks it, and then tries to defend the mack throw from the center of the playing field.
  • Repeat until one team reaches 11 points. Switch sides at 6 points.
Photos by Omar Pandoli
[Above] Teams: Geoff Ng and Red-Head Kev VS. The Chait and Me.
[Below Left] The Chait and Me, waiting for opponents to throw.
[Below Right] The Chait just hit, i'm throwing back for the two-pointer... no defense in sight.

[Below] I've just hit, The Chait is throwing back, and Redhead Kev is about to layout for the D. I believe he gets it.

Final Score of this game: 13-6. The Chait and i hit a three-pointer at 10-6. This began our reign of dominance over the weekend, which saw us defeating Tao three times, and ending undefeated with a record of 4-0.

Um, I guess Jono and Sam Berry are the original inventors of Beer Fris. They brought it to China in 2008 when they lived in Kunming until mid 2009. They dominated the game and were unbeatable at 2009 Kunming Hat Tournament, where i first learned to play.

[Photo by Tao] Kevin being celebrated for his efforts and accomplishments in the Beer Fris Community.


*Actual e-mails received: zero. But everyone was thinking it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ningbo Pictures

Ok... so after breakfast, we set out to explore the town, blessed with excellent spring weather. We were all in t-shirts by noon. Downtown Ningbo is small enough that you can cross the city by foot in about 30 minutes, which is impressive given it's population of 2 million. With no major tourist attractions to see, we spent most of the day relaxing in two parks. The first, Moon Lake, is a vast area of well-kept paths, ponds, verandas, and old buildings, all screaming feng shui. All our worries melted away as we leisurely strolled, drinking beers and enjoying the sun.

Classic example of old meets new.

Fruit vendor.

Beggar. I gave him 5 kuai for this photo.

Therese with tiny dog.

Matt with beer and a smoke.

Therese with some sculpture.

We spent most of the afternoon in another park where we tossed the frisbee, drank beer and played Beer Fris, a beer-drinking game involving a frisbee. Basically, there was beer and frisbee. We enjoyed ourselves, but possibly not as much as the masses of onlookers who came to watch the foreigners and their strange game. We had people cheering for us, and they hadn't a clue what was going on.

As the sun was setting, we crossed the river to check out a 17th Century Portuguese Church and grab dinner in Lǎo Wàitān (老外滩), or The Old Bund. Shanghai has a famous area called The Bund, a stretch of European architechture from the 19th and 20th centuries, which is now home to some of the trendiest bars and restaurants in China. Lǎo Wàitān is Ningbo's rebuttal, and boasts nice traditional and modern architecture, restaurants and bars.

This last shot was a ten second exposure at dusk, in an alley near our restaurant.

We capped off this excellent trip with foot massages at the airport, before calling an end to a long day. We'll definitely return to Ningbo someday.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ningbo Stories

It's been a while since i've explored a new city in China, but the Frisbee season is ramping up, which means fresh asian travels. Last weekend, therese and i went to Ningbo for a Hat tournament. Nine from Beijing made the trek down to this port city, just south of Shanghai. The tournament itself was pretty good, with a good mix of veterans, intermediate, and beginners. Hat Tournaments in general are pretty sweet. For those unfamiliar, all the players are randomly divided (drawn out of hats) into teams, and then rebalanced if necessary to even the teams. It's a great opportunity to play with new people and make some new friends from different cities.

Saturday and Sunday were a little cold, a little rainy, and a little windy. Not ideal for a tournament, but we layered up and played hard. The logistics of the weekend were a little underwhelming, sometimes confusing, but spirits remained high. But through all the random annoyances, Matt has the weekend's best "worst weekend" story.

He arrived at the airport Friday night with a bunch of people on the same flight, only to find his flight departed 10 hours earlier. He managed to get standby for the last flight of the day, and arrived at the hotel on Ningbo University past 1am. The hotel had already closed (have you ever heard such a thing?) so he couldn't get in. A few passing students offered to take him to another hotel, and off they went. But! The campus was locked where they tried to leave, so they MacGyvered up some garbage cans to scale a 10ft wall. Around 4am, they arrived at a cheap hotel, which smelled and looked like it was worth every bit of the $7/night. He overslept and got lost finding the fields the next morning, and his phone died. Using what little chinese he knows, he managed to arrive at the field around noon, all smiles. He wins.

Monday was a Chinese holiday and rare post-tournament free day. After a few failed attempts at cheap lodging Sunday night, eight of us, dirty, smelly, and thoroughly unkempt, descended upon the Howard Johnson. This HoJo is probably the nicest HoJo in the universe, complete with free espresso in the lobby, a legendary breakfast buffet, rain showers, and eight (8!) pillows on the bed. Here's a handy tip for hoteliers: # of pillows is directly proportional to awesomeness of the room. That is a fact.

We all universally enjoyed the buffet, but none more than Tao. Fifteen minutes before closing time, he arrives at this luxurious buffet, with more choices than Crayola has colors. He only has time to get one plate of food, and when he returns, it is a mound, piled higher than it is wide, layers upon layers of ridiculous combinations. He blindly stabs his fork into the heaping mess, shoveling down whatever bounty it comes up with. At some point, Jeff suggests it might be easier to eat if he adds some kind of lubrication to the mix. Tao's eyes flash on his yogurt, and a brilliant idea is formed. Soon, Tao is plunging food into mixed berry yogurt by the forkful: dumpling/potato wedge/sausage; ham/spring roll/waffle; bacon/croissant/wonton. It may have been horrifying to our Chinese waitstaff and fellow patrons, but it was pure amusement to us. If Tao bothered to chew between servings, he hid it well.

Monday night dinner: matt, the chait, tao, alicia, shan, jeff, ace and me. Not pictured from beijing is jim, who unwisely chose to return to shanghai instead of tour ningbo with us.

More later, including loads of pictures.