Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Rebel Girl! Riot Grrl nostalgia show

This is coming up tomorrow and you’re all welcome to come! I’ll be reading some fun, fiery rants and giving away a few zines and vintage “riot grrl outer space” buttons.
I believe there will be accordion-playing as well!
riot grrl nostalgia reading
The National Queer Arts Festival & San Francisco in Exile Present:
REBEL GIRL: a riot grrl nostalgia show
Thursday, June 11th
The Garage
975 Howard, San Francisco
Show at 7:30; Doors at 7pm
Tickets: $10-20
Buy Tickets on-line!!: www.brownpapertickets.com
More details about the performance and the performers are at:
http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest09/Rebel.html
All Star, All Grrrl Cast!:
Gina de Vries
Chan Dynasty
Melissa Gira Grant
Liz Henry
Nomy Lamm
Zuleikha Mahmood
Melodie Younce
Join the National Queer Arts Festival and San Francisco in Exile for a
Riot Grrrl Revival — where you can once again dress in your leopard
print thrift store finery, scrawl SLUT across your midriff, toss that
Huggy Bear 7″ on the turntable, and make a fanzine extolling the
virtues of veganism + vibrators. It’s Revolution Grrrl-Style, Now! –
with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Past and present zinestars and
grrrl revolutionaries will tell wax nostalgic about the old days, and
let you know what they’ve been up to recently. Zines and cupcakes will
be available for purchase.

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Riot grrl zine nostalgia

Hey! I nearly forgot to blog about it. I’m reading tomorrow night for SFinX for the Rebel Girl event. I like how there will be cupcakes. Come on by and I’ll give you a VINTAGE RIOT GRRL ZINE and a hot pink riot grrrlz outer space pin if I can find them.

Also, check out this link. ahahah! cover: hot pink

dude zomg also my illustrated reprint of SCUM Manifesto was in a special exhibit at Duke:
Word of a Woman: 40 Years of Feminist Publishing.

“S.C.U.M. Manifesto, reprinted by Lizzard Amazon, Riot Grrrlz Outerspace, 1993. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. Valerie Solanas’ Society for Cutting Up Men (S.C.U.M.) Manifesto is the most famous of the late 1960′s radical feminist manifestos. Third wave feminists republished this and other seminal second wave manifestos in order to spread the message to a new generation of women.”

yayyy!

Anyway here’s the event details for tomorrow night.

Saturday, 8/23, 7:30
San Francisco in eXile presents
REBEL GIRL: a riot grrrl nostalgia show

Saturday, August 23rd
7pm doors, 7:30 show
Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10-20 sliding scale (nobody turned away)
[CSC can accept VISA, Mastercard, and Discover]

Featuring:
CELESTE CHAN
GINA DE VRIES
MELISSA GIRA
….errrrrr LIZZARD AMAZON
LEAH LAKSHMI PIEPZNA-SAMARASINHA
NOMY LAMM
ZULEIKA MAHMOOD

Curated by Gina de Vries.

It’s Revolution Grrrl-Style, Now! — with tongue firmly planted in
cheek. Past and present zinestars and grrrl revolutionaries will tell
stories of old, and let you know what they’ve been up to recently.
Zines and cupcakes will be available for purchase.

Also, see the adorable press we got in the Guardian here!:

http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=6963&catid=85&volume_id=317&issue_id=392&volume_num=42&issue_num=47&l=1#SATURDAY_23

Also, if you’re broke, you can get in for free by helping folks with
disabilities get in the elevator, or handling the door. You will also
get free cupcakes for doing this. Email me at queershoulder@gmail.com
for details.

Also, these are some of the fabulous zines that will be available:
*Stick and Stones, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*Letters from the war years: some notes on love and struggle in times
of war, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist
Communities, edited by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*Slut Utopia, by Lizzard Henry
*Riot Grrrlz Outer Space, by Lizzard Henry
*The Illustrated SCUM Manifesto, by Lizzard Henry
*the wombs and the browns, by Zuleikha Mahmoud
*letters forged by the daughter putting on her scarf in the masjid
parking lot, by Zuleikha Mahmoud
*… AND MORE!!

You better come see us!

xox,
g.

– queershoulder.livejournal.com /// sfinx.org

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Parties, and Eddie Izzard show

I showed up at the hotel early this afternoon and then realized there wasn’t a central place (yet) for me to camp and work. I had been somewhat frustrated at driving in traffic downtown, got lost & overtired. So I fled the hotel with cramps & no lunch; nearly got run over by a cab driver at the parking garage, screamed fuck you at the cab driver and then felt super embarrassed (Lindsay was in the cab and claimed she had feared for her life on the ride from the airport) and went to Zond-7′s where I laid down to work and was able to complain neurotically, ate a tuna sandwich with the new super nice organic produce delivery, chocolate, pecked at more work, nursed my cramps, and calmed the hell down. Back to the hotel this time in a cab (since it is a 10 dollar cab ride but like 50 bucks a microsecond to park in the hotel garage.) Hotel = superswank.

The parties rocked – I saw SJ – Squid – Skud – Jenijen – Jenny – Maria – Beth Kanter – omg everyone – there was a lot of hugging – we had our photos taken for new hi res pix on the site – I committed “bloggerface” – I felt mildly bewildered that everyone else was going off to special invite-only parties and I had not been asked to any – And yet not really that jealous at all – Just in the minor way that I would like to say no instead of feeling left out. Got over it. Felt a little like Nathan Barley myself for a few minutes there… I imagined myself shoving my computer into someone’s face and going look – “TRASHBAT.COCK”. this image kept me giggling – and kept me going. Hugged 20 million more people… met lovebabz and Lauren and Adrienne from Black Woman in Europe – gossiped some more with Beth – talked with Claudia who writes for El Tiempo – had a rum and coke – videoed erin and laurie and some others on the wii boxing. I picked up some emily’s list swag and also those free wine charms (oops! ones). I then hauled ass out of there to get another cab to just a few blocks away to see Eddie Izzard. I started out mildly hostile from the somewhat clumsy attempts at “local san francisco ” humor and because the callbacks (bits where he’d go back and reference an earlier bit) were also sort of klutzy and I felt un-trusting that they would not be dumb. But, then they weren’t, and they all built up and became really good. My other main criticism is that slapping creationism is kind of a cheap shot. It worked and it was funny but a combination of things meant that I could see the show as being a reach for a particular profundity by Izzard and it didn’t quite get there. But, close. If he had said the word “stromatolite” i might have forgiven a bit more. Go a little deeper please, on all of it… it would be funnier… even if not everyone gets it… I wondered if it was dumbed down on purpose to be accessible. I did like the sparta bits and hannibal bits… Did his god moments get near cosby’s god and noah? Or are my memories of cosby’s god and noah a bit rusty – because I thought they got near to it. So on the great side, Izzard swayed me around to his side and I was laughing my ass off by the last half of the show. He was doing like 5 levels of the “callbacks” at once until they were layered up very ridiculously and the traumatized squirrel survivor of the ark was helping feed skittles to the plague frogs and half the 10 commandments ended up from the squirrel. (10. when someone comes, run up a tree ) and giraffes were playing charades and then a velociraptor in a derby hat (who was really god) has a conversation with jesus about spiders having sex, and bjorn borg/boromir does a whole tennis match with new coached inter-thwock grunting sound effects and you can see all of it perfectly well though it’s imaginary, that’s really impressive!

Rook liked it but I think was reserved about the cheap shots. Zond-7 had the comedian’s critique which I will not attempt to explain. I liked it very much though I wanted more or better, somehow. More depth to outweigh the jokes.

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Somewhere in the air over Greenland in the middle of the night

As we took off and flew over San Francisco Bay, Oakland, the sharp line of yellow hills and maze of rivers, I felt a sort of agony that we can’t just leap up in the air and fly around. From above the world seems quick & beautiful and it’s simple to be first in one place, then in another. We’d remember all the possibilities around us. Why don’t we have anti-gravity! It’s so sad.

Somewhere over Colorado I was in agony again that we don’t have cities in the clouds and in space. Cathedral anvils! We should be zipping around them! Floating cities in layers, all over the place, with hanging gardens and impossible crystal palaces!

I had secret chocolate stashed away as a surprise and Zond-7 had downloaded the latest Dr. Who episode and brought a y-connector for our headphones so we could both hear it!

I messed around with eeebuntu some more on my eeepc. It’s been a while that I’ve been itching to play around with Hardy Heron. I like it and am looking forward to customizing it and really merging with my little machine so that I work smoothly on it.

I’m listening to “Disco” by The Butchies, a little delirious!

Now going back in time to this morning, I was too scattered still to be that ideal mom and partner I had thought I would have time to be but have not been for a while. I miss Rook and Moomin already. Moomin was so awesome with his friend Dragonboy . They both had really big stuffed animal snakes and were running around with them, and were playing Godzillas.

A new song… “Rocketship” by Shiny Toy Guns fits my mood, with its countdowns, gay dance club energy, and cheesy sentimental lyrics.

I came back from the bathroom at the airport gate to find Zond-7 lying on his back with his head on a heap of bags, laptop propped up on his chest, industrious and casual looking, surrounded by stuff like a funny little pack rat, in torn jeans and a tshirt and a suit jacket. It was so exactly what I do in an airport that I burst out laughing. As I joined him he remarked that we would look as if we both fell out of the wheelchair. It was very cosy there in the middle of all the airport people in our little world on the floor with computers and conversation. I told him about the totally insane blogs that I had seen all about packing one’s suitcase and travel, and the woman who declared exactly what one should and should not wear on an airplane with amazing snootiness as if there were some reason to all dress like bank tellers while riding in a damned airborne cattle car. As far as I could tell it boiled down to a whole lot of outrage over flip-flops. Who knew? I have never in my life thought of flip-flops as actively OFFENSIVE. We looked around at a crowd getting off a plane from Dallas. About 2/3 of those people were wearing flip flops. Horrors? Ahahahah! We tried to spot someone, anyone, dressed with the philosophy of this one blogger (who I’ll link to when I have net again, but she’s linked off Rose’s comment in an entry on Badgermama), and saw maybe one woman but then realized she worked at the airport, and then a bit later one guy who was so overdressed in casually draped scarf and white sunglasses that he was clearly a gay supermodel. Everyone else was in sweatpants, and jeans and regular-person clothes.

Our flight was delayed, we missed the connection, but lucked out and got onto the next flight to Heathrow which was boarding immediately. I had been rebooked magically I guess from special cripple-fu. They put Zond-7 first on standby when it got to our turn in line I think also from travelling-with-a-cripple-fu. The flight attendants got us seats together with a bit of embarrassing fuss… It wasn’t even really that stressful. I was in pain by that time but popped a vicodin as soon as I was sure we were staying on the plane.

The book I have to read, “Out” by Natsuo Kirino, is so annoying I’m not going to finish it! It seemed gruesome yet promising but I really don’t like where it’s going with the positioning of the rapist-murderer guy as the detective hero. I realize none of the characters are supposed to be likeable or ethical, and was able to read about the group of women chopping up the one dude’s body which was quite perturbing but, I could deal. But the internal monologue of the rapist & torturer was too much for me to handle. I also was very annoyed at the normalization of rape — the rapist at the factory is described by the women as a “pervert” and the narrator shows us that they are sort of turned on by the whole idea and were flattered or felt lucky to be harassed or in fear. So, that was beyond annoying to me. I could see it was heading towards a climactic rape-torture scene of the main female character. It is just the sort of incredibly annoying book they would make a big action movie out of.

I enjoyed the Dr. Who episode, “Turn Left”…

Minor SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

I have not seen all that many episodes of Dr. Who so I don’t have a lot of context or background. I enjoy nearly every episode I’ve seen, old or new!

In this one my criticism is that Donna is set up to be all Special but her agency is undermined. (Denial of Agency!) She does something, but doesn’t know what she’s doing or why, and then doesn’t remember it. She remembers little pieces, but doesn’t know what they mean!

I liked Donna though and her bravery and attitude.

Did you notice how the monster is mostly unseen, but that makes it all the more creepy?

So, nearly passes Bechdel test, but didn’t, because if you think about it Donna talks to the fortune teller (but about the Doctor, or because of him) and then with her mother (about Donna’s hypothetical desire to meet a man) and then with Rose (about the Doctor, again).

While I noticed those things I still liked the story and it made me want to go back to see all the episodes I’d missed that it was referencing.

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Waving out the window

As I drove in heavy traffic down Embarcadero halfway around the tip of San Francisco I noticed a really bored kid in the SUV in front of me and waved. Wow, he lit up! We began waving and making faces. He was excitedly telling the grown ups about it.

At the stoplights I would make horrible faces and give myself rabbit ears and pretend to be fighting my own fist. He was totally glowing with un-boredom and surprise, which made my day.

I like to think that years from now he will remember his family’s tourist trip to SF as “that one time when the crazy stranger lady made the faces at me in the car”!

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On the road rocking out

We started out all perky yesterday morning! It’s a hazy delirium now but here it is in photos.

road trip

Then the road was long and flat or short and twisty and green and blue for a long time, like this:
cinder cone looking thing
and like this:

We partook of the dream-like BBQ near Mt. Shasta with the great view and the very delicious home-cooked-ish sandwiches, and Sarah’s tshirt of an octopus wondering about tentacle porn is funny:
sarah

I am extremely amused and so was Cindymonkey, and we played bikini kill very loud and sang, except for mostly her singing and me headbanging because my throat is sore, and except for Sarah not so much since she was massively hung over and only able to make small meeping noises from the back seat when the screaming got too loud,


at these signs, because we did not realize before that that was the name and we were already very excited that we were driving through OLYMPIA home of krs and riot grrl things,

The hotel today is super fucking swanky with parking and a fireplace and a jacuzzi in the room and a fluffy cloudlike king size bed and here I am in the jacuzzi with Sarah:

coffee and book in jacuzzi

My legs are still twitching and numb despite a short nap so I will try to sleep again before the thing tonight.

My plan is to get there super early so I can go up the stairs without people staring at me and then can recover my composure for a bit before I have to talk to anyone.

FROM BED here on the 6th floor in our hotel near Capitol Hill, I can see Mt. Rainier very faintly in the sun & distant haze.

Tonight – party in our room? We have tequila and whiskey.

Sunday – Does anyone want to drive back to San Francisco with me and my charming blog-friend bork? She can’t drive, so it is just me all the way, at a somewhat slow pace, but we can be faster if I have help. (Cindymonkey has to fly back unfortunately!)

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Nerdy polyamory

So true. Zomg. I hope no one ever gets a hold of that dot data file where we made a directed graph of several intersecting San Francisco tech geek polyblobs. If it does then we will blame its creator.

It’s like not being able to put the last piece in a puzzle. Sometimes you just get a perverse impulse to make the chart look all nice and neat.

Just kidding… I have never slept with anyone just to add another notch to my belt or line on the chart.

It’s still funny though, and is a moment where xkcd has hit my subcultural niche with scary accuracy.

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Installfest for Schools, tomorrow!

For anyone local to the Bay Area, there’s an InstallFest tomorrow in 4 locations – San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo, and Marin. They donate open source computers to Northern California schools, on recycled hardware from the Alameda County Computer Resource Center.

If you show up, you can help disassemble computers for recycling, or install Ubuntu (it is not hard!) and prepare the computers for donation to schools.

With a little more advance notice we could pull together some Woolfcampers or Blogheristas in force for one of these things!

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Walking is handy

What a relief as I find that going off the Lyrica means I can walk across the room a few steps with the cane. It’s hard and I need crutches really. Or a walker would be very handy. But last week there is no way I could have made it up Zond-7′s stairs or driven up here at all.

I’m so heartened that I can walk a bit more and now I really believe I’ll get back to doing better. Independence!!!!!

On the way to the party (walking/rolling) we stopped to invite hazelbroom to come out with us. Oh also I ate a very delicious chicken taco and tamale from Taqueria San Francisco on 24th, near Bryant.

Elly’s party was great. I lounged on a sort of daybed sofa thing almost the whole time, and had champagne wearing a silly hat. The movie “Hackers” was being projected on the wall. I couldn’t really go around the party talking with people because they are all so high up and it’s hard to make a whole group of people squat down so you can be in on their conversation. But for a long time Leeann and Chulita and Mr. Anonymous hung out with us and we were extremely obnoxious and giggly and maybe a bit tipsy together. Leeann showed us their new super secret amazing as fuck blog! I love it!! And we invented the Lumbar Boob. People need new places to put boob implants, and why not put them in your low back where they’ll provide excellent support? Also, if you’re having sex with someone with short arms and they can’t grab your butt, the lumbar boobs will provide convenient handles. We get to invent weird new lingerie too!

Elly sat on a throne on a loft platform, surveying the party. I read the spines of her books and am intrigued by Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, which I intend to buy and read. I still barely know her but now as I have studied her bookshelves I grok a bit more. I could certainly see that watching Hackers from a throne would be the perfect party.

I enjoyed watching the DJ guy (Matt? Chameleon?) from in back of the deck to see his mysterious computer software … random access… how planned is it and how improvisational? But the music was noticably joyous and perfectly meshing with the crowd’s mood.

Zond-7 told me about the library at his college and described the atmosphere & in return I explained to him about the jungly, loud, swoopy grackles and how the most exciting places at my college were like freeway underpasses in their aesthetic with concrete and subtly changing light.

We ate many cupcakes and continued to drink champagne.

Back at Zond-7′s I conquered the horrible stairs and then was vaguely wishing I had a book that was juicy and new. Lo… he had bought me Player of Games so I fell asleep reading it under the electric blanket.

My plan for this week is to swim at Big Old Trees hospital’s hydrotherapy pool every day!

And to lie in bed reading more and opening packages from Amazon because I’ve been ordering junk off the net a little crazily.

I’m getting a massage today, maybe!

Eduardo and his buddy built a deck in 1 day and just bolted my metal ramp to the deck. It’s so awesome and imagine my happiness at finding super competent, nice, smart contractors.

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A trip to the geek mall

Yesterday we got up intending to go to Tiananmen, but it was raining. So we thought we’d go on a geek pilgrimage to what we read was like “Beijing silicon valley” in Haidian district, a ways out of downtown past the 4th ring road. We got in a taxi and pointed to the address, bascially the intersection of Zongguocun and Zonguocun Lu streets. Zond-7 and I liked the feeling of just getting in a cab and trusting to fate and our wits to get us home again.

About 40 minutes and 7 bucks later we were dropped off at an insanely busy corner, at an “Easy Joy” gas station. With a big crowd of people we surged across the street. There was a big plaza with several buildings all covered in ads for computers and techie gadgets, mp3 players, cameras. We followed some loud pop music up to a booth that was so crowded I couldn’t see inside; it was a video game demonstration. A couple of guys tried to herd us into the building. There was a ramp… so… why not? We followed a bunch of people onto an elevator and got off at the 2nd floor which was full of glass cases of tiny shops with computer stuff, mostly mac and ipod and ps2 and wii sort of things. I could get an ipod touch for around $150 (I did not try to bargain, but I didn’t buy it either). Back on the elevator, we got off where everyone else did, at the 6th floor, adn went down a narrow hallway full of grungy small offices. People were eating noodles, talking, sleeping, building computers, unpacking boxes… and at the end of the hall we turned left into a GIANT MALL of only electronics. Booths, stalls, glass cases, everything was piled high. It felt a bit unofficial, like a flea market, and most people were very young. Every booth had a group of people just hanging around and mostly playing video games or surfing the web.

I get a nod of recognition from guys with slightly long hair (popular alternative style is much like Rain’s haircut, alternative but not too outrageous) and from ever so slightly gothy looking chicks. There are some skateboarders who definitely look me over and seem to want to talk (but I am with this big tall guy in a SUIT.)

Here is a little part of Beijing I was looking for, and found, on the 6th floor of this electronics flea market mall behind the winding hallway of grimy offices:

Geek plaza in Beijing

The next building over had a starbucks and a mcdonalds – we didn’t go into that one. Across the street there was an even bigger building with a giant “e” on it. Its first floor sold laptops of every kind, very fancy, with classical music playing way too loud and an oppressive atmosphere like a boutique department store or a car sales lot. We got out of there as fast as possible, to the elevator, and the basement which was labelled “cool comics zone”. Dance Dance Revolution! an arcade! Better music! No one bothering us! an online gaming room! and then another whole building full of mobile phones and gadgets. Clearly if we came back at 9pm this place would be hopping with teenagers. The 5th floor was all a huge food court and I liked it a lot. The booths mostly had raw food which the cooks prepared in front of you. Nothing was in English, but sometimes there were photos of the different dishes. Or, the food was laid out raw on a plate covered with plastic wrap so you could see what it was. We ended up eating in a small Korean restaurant. I had grilled eel bibimbap, which was totally delicious, and the thousand year egg out of Zond-7′s noodle soup. The 4th floor of this mall was also nice, the “DIY” floor with computer parts. I liked the section with clear shells and light-up stuff for modding your desktop computer.

There was a very big plaza or balcony on this floor, where we overlooked the small park and plaza and the Sino Steel building. Below, we realized that getting a taxi would be hard. There were tons of taxis, but they were mostly full.

The plaza was pretty and full of people strolling around or sitting on the benches. We sat to people watch and to decide on which toddlers in fancy outfits and pigtails were the cutest.

I can’t describe this well, but here are my general observations and impressions on the character of the city. I like Beijing, and I feel at home here. It has to do with how people treat each other and their expectation of how they will be treated. People aren’t snotty, but they seem to feel entitled in a way I find familiar, or pleasant, or easy to deal with. Everyone is thinking of themselves, for example in crossing the street or in a line, there is no false deferential politeness. But people aren’t rude about it either, or pushy. I like the loving respect that shows in how people treat their children; in the park and elsewhere there were many times I would see a small child choosing what to do and the parent following along and supporting them, or lifting the child to where she wanted to go, or to see a new thing. So I like the freedom and encouragement that people seem to give their children. Also, in every situation where I have *not* been in a “fancy hotel” environment, people just act like we are all human beings, and no one either acts snotty, or kisses my ass. Zond-7 says it has to do with not acknowledging class differences, or those class differences not meaning that you have to act a certain way. People don’t act blase, or indifferent, or self-important, like they do in New York and San Francisco.

That is my one-day impression! Take it for what it’s worth!

Geek plaza in Beijing

I know that we don’t know how to read people and neighborhoods. And I’m very curious… for example as we drive past a neighborhood I keep wondering “and what stereotype of people live here? What do people say about them?” Like how we talk about “Mission hipsters” or what San Franciscans think of people from Los Angeles, and vice versa. That is the local geography I would really like to know, but it only comes when you’ve lived in a place for real.

I love it that Zond-7 and I were perfectly happy going to a random destination in the suburbs. It is as if someone came to San Francisco and instead of seeing any of the tourist sights, went to Hillsdale Mall and Fry’s.

So, back to our adventure in the park. We watched a roller-blading guy set up small cones and practice a set routine. We smiled at babies. Then we headed to what we thought might be a hotel but which turned out to be a grocery store underground and then a huge huge mall with brand name Western stuff like Izod and Adidas. “Middleclasstastic!” Zond-7 pronounced… But next to us there were just a few, very non-middle-class, street vendors with skewers of meat and giant sweet potatoes roasting on steel oil drums on the back of bicycle trailers. It took us a while to get a taxi.

Then our taxi driver got a bit lost at the end after negotiating rush hour with awesome skill. We could only point to the tiny map printed on the card from our hotel… he pulled over, called the hotel, cussed cheerfully I think at our stupidity and the hotel’s; we finally got there and I tipped him 10 yuan extra hoping that would make up for it all. He said no at first, but then took it and seemed rather surprised and cheerful.

Oh! wheelchair notes! So far, my wheelchair has fit into the back of every kind of taxi. IN the smallest ones, I have to take off the footrest, but that is easy – it’s quick release, and I only have one footrest. My chair is a Quickie x frame. Your mileage may vary. Taxi drivers have been super nice about folding up my chair and stuffing it carefully into the trunk.

Some hotel bathrooms, like the ones in the airport, are very accessible. Some are not! Out in the geek malls, the bathrooms would have a wheelchair-access sign, but then were not at all accessible. I parked my chair, went up a step into the narrow stall, held onto the plumbing pipe for dear life, and squatted. If you can’t do that, you will run into difficulties; stick to bathrooms in big hotels and very fancy western malls.

Here is another random observation: people hand business cards with both hands. I keep forgetting, then noticing again. Offer your card with both hands and also accept other people’s cards with both hands.

As I wander all these malls and see the general prosperity of the millions of people in Beijing I think of what I would read about China in the 1980s. That if you came as a visitor, you would get a military escort or a “tour guide” who shadowed you and would not let you do barely anything; that you’d be shown “model” projects and Potemkin villages. 20 years later, that is not the case. But I still have that history in mind, and feel lucky to be here.

Another observation on character. There seems to be more public space, and the feeling towards public space is somewhat different than in the U.S. Public spaces are slightly less commericalized, less determined. Where in the U.S. it is hard to find a place that has not been overdetermined as to its use and what you are “supposed to do” there. Some of that attitude towards public space might be that people don’t have a lot of private outdoor space, while in the U.S. you might have a tiny backyard or in a big city might consider public space to be “unsafe”. So, I am not romanticizing it, but I like the feeling that people just go outside and hang out.

Back to my description of the day. After a rest we forced ourselves to go out, to get more familiar with the neighborhood and to look for dinner. We realized suddenly we were right on Wangfujing street, which is a giant pedestrian outdoor mall, a section of street that goes for many blocks with no cars. TV billboards, and brand name stores, and giant pharmacies, ice cream places, all a street for chinese tourists coming to shop and gawk at life in the big city. To the side there were little alleys with booths — a whole street with just meat on skewers, meat of many many kinds, and another with just booths of tourist tchatchkas like stuffed pandas and small replicas of the terracotta warriors.

As we got further and further from our hotel I realized I was freezing, my neck hurt so much I couldn’t push my chair anymore, and I was exhausted. All the jet lag in the world hit me at once and I felt sort of helpless and weepy and unable to think. I felt super scared that tomorrow (now today) I wouldn’t be able to be independent, or go out, because my arm wasn’t working very well. Zond-7 nicely gave me his warm sweatshirt and pushed me back to the hotel, remarking that my body thought I had just stayed up all night and it was 10am. The restaurants all seemed either too huge, touristy and bustling, or too pissant and empty like the one across the street. So we tried the hotel restaurant on the 2nd floor.. but it not only sucked, but was closing for the night. I slurped some cheap slightly nasty noodles, giggling in despair. We went up to our room, where I had a bath and passed out within like 10 minutes.

My arm is still a bit wobbly (old neck problems flaring up) but I think it will be okay. I just need to be a little more conservative and not wheel myself up curbs and ramps and endlessly everywhere for 8 hours straight. We’re going back to the conference today. I hope I can go out on my own again – but maybe will save it for Tiananmen tomorrow.

Everything in the guidebooks has has been hopelessly silly, wrong, and pointless. Misleading, overdetermined, ignorant, and with dumb generalizations, full of all that.

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