Maria in NYC Music Project – Day 10, et. al.

So we’re to the first big round number of the project; I’m proud of myself for keeping it up. Aside from just posting the song and my particular reactions to it, I figured I’d update on my life in China with my parents and relatives, sadly sans my Maria.

We went to IKEA today, to get some things for the house since they’re living here now with me. It was my first time, and Maria and I had decided at one point that it may not be a good idea to go. And IKEA was definitely a mad house! I think we had decided that we may not want to go because of the mentality surrounding it as some kind of hanging out place and that’s quite right; there were people literally asleep on the fixtures. My mother recorded this pretty funny video of one of them; so you see this woman, asleep on a bed with a baby in a stroller in front of her, and then we start zooming out slowly until a random person walks across the video screen and then we zoom out some more and you realize it’s an IKEA display with hundreds of people around it and this completely oblivious woman with a baby no less! Pretty crazy stuff. But we bought some things the apartment needed, I built some small pieces of furniture; I’m glad I still have my IKEA building skills.

This morning I also dropped off my grandparents at the Beijing South Train Station. My grandmother’s pretty ill and wanted to go home. I think I may have said some of this stuff already now that I write it, but it may just be deja vu, but is more likely the fact that I’m dead exhausted from running around all day and keeping a silly jet lagged schedule even though I’m not the one who’s jet lagged! So my grandmother had insisted on using this random pseudo-taxi guy who gave us a ride back from dinner last night. In Beijing, they have these not-a-taxi taxis roaming around offering rides for pre-negotiated flat rates. I don’t personally trust them, but my grandmother for some reason does, and not only took that ride last night but before getting out yesterday arranged to have this total, random stranger come pick her up this morning for the train station. So no matter what I was going with her. Doug decided to come too, so all four of us crammed into this tiny little car with exhaust problems and no air conditioning at 6:30 in the morning.

Beijing South is a beautiful station! It’s quite new, probably built and designed by Europeans, and stands out amidst the crappy looking Chinese style apartments around it. There’s even concept renderings of the building superimposed upon existing photographs of the skyline that have this random grey block that covers up the drab surroundings. But from above, it looks like a disc! Doug said it looks like a transformer and it actually quite does. Did I mention who Doug is? He’s my stepfather, the sane one out of the family, with the sanity responsibility now falling on he and I. We walked around the station, I bought my train tickets to Hong Kong, and failed to buy tickets for them to go visit an aunt down south because all were sold out. The Chinese really do take a lot of train rides!

But my visit to Hong Kong will be on the 13th. The plan is for this to be the last time I leave and come back on my multiple entry tourist visa which expires at the end of August. I will wait until a week before it expires or so then at that point switch in country to a 90 day single entry tourist visa. This will allow me to stay here until the end of November, by which time one of three things will have happened: I’ll have gotten a job that gives me a working visa, my father’s company will finally exist in some reasonable fashion where it can reasonably “hire” me and give me a working visa, or I’d have paid some guy 1000 dollars for the privilege. Man the complications one never expects.

Some whole bunch of other things happened today:

I’m doing a good bit of freelance work developing the new version of my PHP framework and the database admin. system.

I’m going to be doing more work for the IFC on web related projects since it’ll be good to have someone in country who can help handle things.

And I really worry about what my mother and sister plans to do for the rest of their trip in China, of which there are still 3 weeks, and it’s dreadfully hot to go outside, and I worry that they’ll get bored and be in a bad mood.

My father gets back in town this Friday; I intend to talk shop with him and maybe get paid for it.

Otherwise I’m having a reasonably good time. I’m eating far better than I’d like since my mother’s in town. I’m spending far more time with them than I thought I would have to also, but I’m getting in some good chats with Doug about nothing in specific and mostly how silly this country is sometimes. It’s nice to be the sane one for a change also. I’m generically stressed out about their visit, and I feel a bit powerless to control some aspects of the future right now, like, I need a job so that I can stop having to leave the country so that I can afford to get us a new apartment that we need. It’s all so interdependent and not-quite-set-in-stone that it’s, stressful. But I abide! Is that the right usage of that term?

Either way, let’s get to the heart and soul of this post now, and that would be the new song!

It’s If I Fell, by the Beatles. I remember first hearing this song while I was in high school at Harvard Westlake. We had a women’s chorus at the time, and for one concert they sang a beautiful arrangement of this song for four part women’s voices, and since then I’ve enjoyed it immensely. So, for you, my dear whom I miss, my humble rendition.

Another interesting bit of programming for those of you who are interested:

So these MP3 players are embedded using an included javascript library object function call, a pretty efficient way of doing it as it’s smart enough then to handle cross-browser embed specifications so that your flash always shows up properly. I’ve used one version or another of it a whole bunch of times in the past. What’s interesting though is that they need to reference an HTML element by ID to know where to do the embed, and that’s where we run into a little bit of problems actually with having more than one embed on a page, the way we’re doing it now that is. There’s no PHP floating in this blog post, it’s just HTML, so I don’t have a unique identifier to tag to an HTML element then reference using the Javascript embed code. So I’m typing gibberish! There’s so much gibberish floating around on this page right now! For instance, today’s ID is:

9834759837985734yaogfails7ae

How’s that for makin’ it work eh?

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