Tuesday, March 22, 2011

February and March: Good Riddance

They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.

Compared, calender page against calender page, it looks to be the shortest month, all right. Spread between January and March, like lard on bread, it fails to reach the crust on either side. In its galoshes - and you'll never catch February in stocking feet - it's a full head shorter than December, although in leap years, when it has growth spurts, it comes up to April's nose.

However more abbreviated than its cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off its mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows qickly old.

February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page add up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine's Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine's day on February's shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frgid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.
-Tom Robbins
Jitterbug Perfume
Re-reading Jitterbug Perfume, one of my top 5 desert island books (along with 100 Years and Life of Pi), was possibly the best part of February.

It was a rough month, even with the weeklong holiday of Chinese New Year and the unseasonably beautiful weather. February also brought several days of the worst pollution i've witnessed in Beijing, possibly due to the unfathomable volume of fireworks incinerated in the Beijing skies. We watched the fireworks from Steph and Ken's Apartment on the 15th floor of our building, which was mostly not noteworthy.

Work was full-on stressful for the end of January and into February. I was tense. I had begun searching for a new place to live, which is a yearly event now. I think Landlords and young Chinese professionals think the same way: both believe by changing tenants/jobs frequently, they can increase rent/salary each time. The result for me is either pay more each year, or move into less awesome apartments.

For all of March, I had my sights set on this amazing hutong courtyard with Chris and another friend... 250sqm, 7 bedrooms, rooftop access, perfect location... but we just couldn't negotiate an agreement. I ended up signing a new lease on a place in dongzhimen, nearish to my current place. I'll post pictures of that soon. Sadly, I think i'm destined to go through this process every year.

Anyway, i'm optimistic that everything will work out and this year will be as exciting as the last. I'm ready for the new year now.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Failure of Pants

February was rough, but I'll rant about that a little later. The good news is, March is starting off great, sprinting out of the gate with a quick pants-related win. So i bought these Kühl pants over Christmas and wore them twice. The third time i wore them was at dinner with friends in Beijing. From normal wear and tear of three wearings, they fell apart, at the ass. Let the jokes begin.

I wrote the following letter to Kühl on January 24th.

I bought a pair of Kühl’s at the Boulder REI store on Dec 30th, and wore them three times. Not sure what model they were, it says “Crag Series” on the inside. I never had an opportunity to wash them, because upon the third wearing, they literally fell apart at the butt. While at dinner, my girlfriend pointed out to me a small hole in the back. I figured i’d just have them fixed the next day. It hadn’t been caught on anything, and i wasn’t doing anything active that evening. By the end of the night, there were two massive holes. Never before have i seen such a catastrophic failure of PANTS. They seemed to be just disintegrating. The worst thing is, i really like them. I got all kinds of compliments about them, etc.

Anyway, this could be easily resolved if i were living in the states, but i reside in Beijing. Shipping these pants anywhere outside of China will easily cost $20, and the funny thing is it says they are Made in China. How do you suggest we handle this?

Etc. Etc.

So they totally hooked me up with a brand new pair, and they arrived today, March 1st. Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Keep this up, and we're gonna get along just fine, March.