I originally started this site as a travel blog but it has since taken on a life of its own and I write about whatever comes to mind. Politics, culture, my experiences around the world and in my own country. Feel free to follow me and leave comments!

Friday, June 17, 2011

New WordPress blog

I've moved over to WordPress. I've looked at this blog as sort of a practice run and now I'm making a real effort on the new site. Thanks to everyone who has stayed with me over the last year or so and kept stopping by to check my stuff out. Everything that hasn't been finished here will be carried over so the Modern Monsters and Mad Mad Mad World will keep going. If you're still down for hearing what I have to say then click here. Peace, I'm out!

Travel in China,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Looking for an English Teaching Job in China

If you’re looking for an English teaching job then you’re in luck because I have some tips you might find helpful. Let me start towards the beginning. I’m taking a 100 hour TEFL course and have been looking for English teaching jobs in Guangzhou. Lately I’ve been looking around on echinacities.com which seems like a pretty good website. They update their listings everyday and they usually have a variety of jobs available for foreigners.

Anyway, following some advice from an experienced English teacher, I looked up some foreigner-owned teacher placement companies to help me out. The first one I went to seemed okay. It’s called Reach to Teach. Let me tell you about these sons-of-bitches. First, I had to spend 5 hours writing a professional résumé and cover letter to send to them. They emailed me a week later and said that they couldn’t find me a job in China so they tried to hustle me into going to Georgia. Like, Former Soviet Republic Georgia. I told them I really had my heart set on China and that I was in the TEFL program. The lady took her sweet time getting back to me and made me this shit offer:

“1. A 5 day, Monday through Friday work week. This will consist of up to 25 teaching hours per week. Please note that most teachers generally average 18 hours a week, which leaves you plenty of time to explore Chine and other interests.
2. A monthly salary of between 3,000RMB and 5,000RMB (varies depending on location/ qualification)
3. Flight stipend
4. Your apartment is fully paid for (Note: You will of course have to pay for your electric bills, internet, etc!)
5. Free Chinese lessons.”

They tried to give me $460-770 a month. Even with a paid for apartment and airfare that is miniscule. I could make more than that working for minimum wage 3 days a week. I sent them another email asking for a better deal a week and a half ago. Haven’t heard back from them and don’t expect to. This is the conclusion I reached. Reach to Teach is a scam and should be avoided. Don’t even waste your time applying with them.

I applied at another place called Teach Abroad. Unless you live in the UK or some of the big cities in China, they’re useless. They don’t do phone interviews at all. So don’t waste your time on them either. It’s probably best to look for a job on your own and just make sure you check your contract and read the fine print. When they offer you a number that sounds good make sure you convert it into your own currency to see what it really looks like. If any of my readers have some advice for me I’d be glad to hear it.

Travel in China,

China's South China Sea Claims

China’s claims in the South China Sea are completely unfounded and every country in the world knows it. The only reason China is making such a big deal out of it is that it believes there’s hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas in the area. According to international law, a country’s territorial waters extend only a few hundred miles off its shoreline. They call this an “exclusive economic zone”. Take a look at this map.

China is trying to claim everyone else’s territory and when they complain about it China says that they should “not start trouble.” China’s arrogance in this issue is astounding. Last year, Hillary Clinton gave China a big slap in the face, and rightly so, by saying that solving the territorial disputes in the region were in the US national interest. Not sure if I buy that but that certainly gave China pause, at least for a few months.

The CCP has made it a point to settle it’s disputes one on one. They claim the reason for this is to avoid outside pressure. But anyone with half a brain knows it’s to use their size and strength to intimidate the smaller countries that have competing claims. Today Vietnam staged a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea in retaliation to their spat with China over oil exploration earlier in the week. That’s the right approach. China needs to see that these other countries won’t just lie down and take it.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? Vietnam and China used to be BFFs but after a major war and several border skirmishes it looks like it’s all over. Now Vietnam is cozying up to the US as a counterweight to China’s growing ambitions. China dreams of being the ruler/leader of Asia but its heavy-handed tactics are driving more and more of Asia away. Pretty soon they won't have many friends left if they keep it up.

Travel in China,

Sunday, June 12, 2011


OMG. Jen is hot. How did I manage that????? Things are going well with us. I talk to her on the phone at least 5 times a week and then we message a lot through weibo.com, email, and texting. Every time I call her she's so excited to talk to me, like she was waiting by the phone all day. It's good for my ego. ;) Last Friday we IMed with webcams and she got all dressed up for me. So it's all good.

Stay tuned for the next update in the Modern Monsters series. We'll be looking at Gavrilo Princip.

Travel in China,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

I've been listening to this group a lot lately. They have a very distinct style. Here's 2 of their more popular songs. The first is "Dead Flag Blues."

The car is on fire, and there's no driver at the wheel
And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
And a dark wind blows

The government is corrupt
And we're on so many drugs
With the radio on and the curtains drawn

We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death

The sun has fallen down
And the billboards are all leering
And the flags are all dead at the top of their poles

It went like this:

The buildings tumbled in on themselves
Mothers clutching babies
Picked through the rubble
And pulled out their hair

The skyline was beautiful on fire
All twisted metal stretching upwards
Everything washed in a thin orange haze

I said, "Kiss me, you're beautiful -
These are truly the last days"

You grabbed my hand
And we fell into it
Like a daydream
Or a fever

We woke up one morning and fell a little further down
For sure it's the valley of death

I open up my wallet
And it's full of blood

Kind of chilling, huh? The next song is "East Hastings."

I've picked up a few albums and they're pretty rad. Give them a listen.

Travel in China,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Guy Again...

I thought this guy was done but he’s started showing up in the news again. I’m talking about Muqtada al-Sadr. If you haven’t heard of him then good for you. He’s a filthy snake and doesn’t deserve one second of airtime but he’s been on all the stations I watch lately. He’s a fiercely anti-American Shia “cleric” in Iraq who fights to overthrow the imperialist Westerners and their puppet government blah blah blah. Whatever. It’s my personal philosophy to disregard anyone trying to preach jihad when they can’t even take proper care of their own teeth. It’s clear to me his only goal is to prolong the chaos so that he might somehow rise to some form of political office. That’s usually the deal. These guys start trouble and fan the flames with claims that they’re fighting imperialists or infidels or another sect of Islam or something else. He’s been in the news for saying what he’s always been saying pretty much. Let me give you a little backstory on this guy.

Before the invasion in 2003, no one knew who this guy was. He was a nobody. Afterwords, by spewing his hateful rhetoric that was critical of everything not Shia Islam he managed to gather a militia together called the Mahdi Army. You may have heard of it. It ended up growing to nearly 10,000 guys. After the Coalition Government banned his newspaper for inciting violence he led an uprising which was resoundingly crushed. That’s putting it mildly. His militia was completely fucking annihilated. He ran like a little bitch to Iran to hide for a few years instead of dying in battle like he preached to his soldiers. And now he’s back stirring up trouble. Someone should arrange a little “accident” if you catch my drift.

Travel in China,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Personal Update

Hey guys. Sorry I haven't been able to update as usual lately. I just finished that college class and have been working on getting my TEFL certification. I'm doing it online and it's kind of hard to work up the motivation to do the assignments when you don't have a teacher telling you to do it. Anyway, I'm going on an epic journey to the northeast next month. Me and some friends will be hiking in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina for 2 days, then head to New York City to hang with KaiWen for 3 days and then down to Washington DC on the way home. I'm pretty excited about it! I'll try to update again with something interesting soon. Stay cool.

Travel in China,