Monday, October 30, 2006

What? No porn?

From the U.S. State Department's Guide to traveling in China:

Chinese laws prohibit public demonstrations without a valid permit obtained from the Chinese Public Security Bureau in the city where the demonstration is planned.

Chinese authorities have seized documents, literature, and letters which they deem to be pornographic or political in nature or those which are intended for religious proselytizing. If you seek to enter China with religious materials in a quantity greater than what is considered needed for personal use, you could be detained and fined.

Religious proselytizing or passing out of religious materials is strictly forbidden. Americans suspected of engaging in such activities have been fined, arrested or deported.

Magazines with photographs considered commonplace in Western countries, including some advertisements, may be regarded as pornography. Books, films, records, tapes, etc., which are “detrimental to China’s politics, economy, culture, and ethics” will be seized by Chinese Customs to determine that they do not violate these prohibitions.

Foreign visitors and residents in China have sometimes been detained and heavily fined for having improper sexual relations with Chinese citizens. In most of these cases, the foreigners involved had invited Chinese citizens to their hotel rooms. Any U.S. citizen who is detained by Chinese authorities for questioning regarding this or any other violation of Chinese law or regulations should notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible.

Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in China are strict. Convicted offenders may receive severe jail sentences and fines. ...Tourist travel in China can be extremely strenuous...Do not to drink tap water in China...Visitors to China should be aware that Chinese regulations strictly prohibit travel in “closed” areas without special permission...

Although I don't leave for another four months, the Chinese government has already squashed my fantasies of porn, spreading religious doctrine, having affairs with Chinese sailors and opium. I just don't know how I'm going to make it...

Thursday, October 19, 2006


This week is doing a really good job of chipping away at my soul.

And as if my urban neurosis couldn't get any worse, look what the New York Times had in store for me.

Look, I love Halloween like any red-blooded 20-something girl. But allow me to caution my ho-ish peers on the inaccuracy of this quote:

It's a night when even a nice girl can dress like a dominatrix and still hold her head up the next morning,' said Linda M. Scott, the author of 'Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism' (Palgrave Macmillan) and a professor of marketing at the University of Oxford in England.

LIES! Although my costumes through the years have been disappointingly wholesome (an elephant, a pirate, a witch, pretty standard...) I'm confident that today's facebook snapshots are tomorrow's political campaign destroyers. Sexual empowerment is fantastic, but does it really take a 100 clams worth of pleather from Ricky's? Does everyone need photographic evidence of their sexual exploits? What happened to those awesome baked potato aluminum foil costumes?

Maybe when I'm crusty, wrinkly and writhered, I will want a photo of my youthful flesh to prove to my grandchildren that I wasn't always nursing home material. But for the time being, I will assemble my highly unflattering Ms. Pacman costume with pride. Does anyone know the best way to construct a large yellow orb that will cover me from neck to knees?

Recently Gawked: Anderson Cooper's "hotness" demystified.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 begins

So I've officially decided that I'm going to China for four months (This Feb 25-June 15). I will be studying in Shanghai with NYU's new program and don't know where I'm going to be this summer...

No worries, I'll be blogging and taking hi-res photos along the way. I've never traveled to Asia at all, so this should be an adventure. Visiting Russia made me realize that I take an odd sense of comfort in having no clue what's going on around me.

Some quick answers to frequently asked questions:

Do I speak Chinese? No.
Will I graduate on time? Hell yes.
Is it dangerous there? Not that I'm aware of. Look, just because it's near North Korea...
Am I a Communist? No. I'm a Maryist.
Will I ever be seen again? Of course. Aside from wrapping up school next year, I am drawn to New York City like a moth to a flame.

I think I'm going to lobby for Chinese food tonight to get myself psyched. Holla.

"I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown."
- Woody Allen (1935 - )

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's pretty damn awful

So a plane ran into a building in New York's Upper East Side. I had a B.D. Wong sighting at the exact moment the plane crashed, adding another level of ominousness to the afternoon.

And of course, because this is New York and no news is "normal," the plane was piloted by Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle. Sometimes the surrealness of events boggles my mind.

Check out my latest politcal rantings for Unity08. This week, scandals, holy Foley and why tabloids might be important in the November election. If you're looking for my previous post on partisanship, it's been taken down temporarily as it might appear in print sometime...more to follow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Blinded by Science: Meow

I don't like cats. There I said it. I've never lived without a dog (until relocating to my Manhattan shoebox) but take comfort in the fact that there's one on the other side of the country who eagerly anticipates my bi-annual visits home. If cats were people, they'd be the pretentious hobags who cut in front of you in the Starbucks line, smacking you with aPrada bag, jabbering on a cell phone and glaring at you for existing.

You don't own cats, they own you. If they stayed kittens forever, I think I could deal with that. But attitude aside, if I'm around them for more than a few hours, my nose runs like a faucet and my eyes begin to resemble those of a crack addict.

NY Times science section (geeky pleasure) shows that for anti-kittenmetics like me, there might be hope. Scientists in California (where else?) have engineered a hypo-allergenic cat that doesn't create the proteins that trigger allergies like mine. Cool, but like most new advancements, kind of creepy. I'm still weirded out by Japanese square watermelon.