Tag Archives: Shanghai

Solitary Saturday reveals lack of bench depth among David’s friends

The season has become suddenly desperate for David Tang as this weekend has revealed his lack of bench depth among his friends. While his friend group is among the strongest in the city when 100%, unexpected absences have left David in dire straits.

As every friend manager knows, you must strengthen your secondary rotation in order to weather the stretch runs of the season, especially toward the end of Q3, when business trips pick up for professionals and teachers begin their class years.

David has already called up his Mains, five buddies from the football league, but they’re all out of town for various reasons; two on holiday and three on business trips. He phoned them up knowing they were away, but he was starting to feel the early pangs of loneliness, and it was nice just to hear their voices. When he’d first learned that they would all be absent, he had hoped for the best, assuming he would be able to easily find someone who would be up for hanging out.

Yet again, we see that the smallest assumptions can cause seemingly unshakeable institutions to crumble.

David’s buddies from the office are all unavailable: Rodger is hanging out with his family, Jessie is with her weird boyfriend, and unpaid intern Candy is inexplicably speaking at a yet another professional work conference. David’s last chance for accompaniment, the three acquaintances he went to a training event with last week, are not options; two are at a retreat, and the third just isn’t ready for a spontaneous call up to the big lights of the grand stage.

Forlorn, David took a walk on the sidewalks, because the early autumn weather in Shanghai is beautiful for a stroll, though beauty unshared can be a cutting presence when one is unwillingly solitary. He tried making eye contact with passerby, in the hopes that one of them would smile and welcome him to a game of Climb Trees, or Frisbee; no such luck. No one responded to his friendly chatting in restaurants or convenience stores, his out-of-town friends weren’t picking up his international calls, and even his amiable elderly neighbours weren’t home, likely out dancing in a park.

His options were truly, dismally exhausted. There was literally no one left to hang out with.

Finally surrendering to the inevitable, David retired home to stream the Walking Dead and the final season of Parks and Rec, alone. He was only able to avoid despair by holding out hope that he could turn things around next weekend, or perhaps during a morale-lifting mid-week fixture.

 

 

 

OTHER SHANGHAI CIRCLES POSTS

new curtains first step in apartment’s aesthetic revolution

area man ponders near death experience over frozen yoghurt

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Area man ponders near death experience over frozen yoghurt

After coming literally this close to dying just over fifteen minutes ago, an area man has elected to treat himself to a froyo.

 

Over lunch, Andrew Cheng reflected on one of his most harrowing experiences to date. After having gone to a new Sichuan restaurant for lunch, “just to try it out,” Andrew reported that the irresponsible restaurant served him food so spicy that it very nearly killed him; having been taken to life’s precipice, he even had time to peer into the abyss, putting into perspective the folly of all his ways, before dousing his internals with water and bland, saving white rice.

 

“I really should’ve been able to handle that,” Andrew said in disbelief, mentally believing his Asian heritage ought to have rendered him immune to such an attack. While his parents did emigrate from Taiwan to Canada, Andrew’s tastes are fully and incontrovertibly North American, which explains his use of stupid words like froyo and inability to consume mildly Sichuan-spiced dishes without being convinced he is going to die.

 

It cannot be confirmed just how close to death’s door Andrew came, but he was surely right on the razor’s edge, considering the substantial number of cartoon chilis listed beside the menu item he ordered (three of four, ranking him as a 中辣/Medium on the house scale). As Andrew stares at the table, his froyo nearly untouched and his eyes distant as he relives the haunting episode not long past, it is evident that lunch caused streams of both mucus and tears to run down his face, leaving still visible streaks.

 

“If God spared me, He must have some grand purpose for my life,” said Andrew slowly. “I’ve been… sent back among you for some reason…” He followed up this realisation with a vacant, smiling gaze which settled upon a nearby group of humans who were also enjoying a froyo, albeit theirs lacked the peculiar spice of Having Not Just Almost Perished. Finding the benevolent, other-worldly stare from the stranger a couple tables over kind of creepy, they quickly gathered their things and left.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI CIRCLES SERIES POSTS

thousands of protestors issue joint apology to riot police

shanghai expat somehow managed to survive alone for years

man in the next stall over is having a rough time

 

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New curtains first step in apartment’s aesthetic revolution

It has been several weeks since the Lofty Garden roommates met to determine the artistic direction of their apartment, and the first visible change has just been completed. Many thanks can be thrown in the direction of their newly-hired live-in aesthetic consultant, which, apparently, is an actual thing. I can tell you more about her later; for now, let’s get straight to the action.

Freddy, Yoon, Darryl, and the live-in aesthetic consultant are standing in the living room, beholding the new curtains, which billow softly in the mild October breeze coming through the open windows.

“Yoon,” Freddy said, in that voice that tells you he’s getting emotional.

“Yes, Freddy?”

“This thing that I do now, it is a far, far better thing than any other I have done.”

“Are you quoting Les Mis? Like, comparing that to these curtains?”

“It’s not Les Mis. It’s A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens.”

“But the curtains thing.”

“…Yes.”

“….” To emphasize the ellipses, which signify judgmental silence, Yoon gave Freddy a heavy, you’re-ridiculous stare which was wasted on oblivious Freddy, lost in the dizzying mist of emotion.

“This will be my crowning achievement, Yoon. When my term is up, this is what they will look back upon. No matter what happens from here on out…”

Freddy paused, evidently attempting to avoid choking up.

“…no matter what, I’ll know I made a difference.”

The live-in aesthetic consultant stood awkwardly next to the two men while a splayed-out Darryl texted on the couch. She cleared her throat, attempting to put an end to one of the most uncomfortable exchanges she had ever witnessed, which is impressive, if you think about it, because as a live-in aesthetic consultant, you really get to see a weird side of your clients, which may or may not be due to the fact that anyone who hires a live-in aesthetic consultant is probably not exactly living in the fat, bulgy area of a standard deviation graph called Relative Sanity. Freddy, for his part, interpreted this as a request for the payment of credit due.

“All thanks to you, of course, live-in aesthetic consultant. As they say,” he continued in his Addressing the Crowd voice, “behind all great endeavors, there is a great team of support; behind every masterpiece, there is an… assistant, or an intern, or something like that, you know, someone to assist artistic geniuses and such.”

She shook her head, which Freddy assumed meant she was just as overcome by emotion as him. He continued.

“You know, some people might think it’s a bit over-indulgent for us to hire a live-in aesthetic consultant. Here we are, three grown men – surely we ought to be doing our own aesthetic consulting!

“But you get busy. You start to need an extra hand around. Life, clumsy, oafish life, gets in the way, doesn’t it?”

“Oh, life,” Freddy mused, as he continued to gaze at the curtains, rippling whispers of joy into the living room, each small wave a promise of coming beauty – raw, gritty, domestic, apartmental beauty, bought with the perseverance of a handful of brave pioneers.

 

 

LOFTY GARDENS APARTMENT SERIES

roommate meeting called to discuss artistic direction of apartment

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Roommate meeting called to discuss artistic direction

“I’ve called this Apartment Meeting to discuss something I’m sure you’ve been noticing over the past few weeks. This is not a recent trend – they never really are, are they? Today’s topic is something that has been growing for years, and it is only now beginning to rear its ugly head.”

“The data has begun to trend in a worryingly negative direction,” Freddy continued, as he began to flick through a slideshow presentation of mostly blurry iPhone photos showing different parts of the apartment.

“Mismatched curtains; noisily disorganised bookshelves; uncoordinated chair and ottoman combinations; a nonsensical couch configuration; a total lack of throw pillows; offensively inane artwork; wine with ugly labels; pots that are just gaudily coloured; hangers that aren’t even close to cohesive…”

He paused for dramatic emphasis.

“Who can live in a place like this? With the chaos of Shanghai outside, how can we return to an abode that is not a sanctuary? A habitation that is not a home? A place of noise and sound, with no music; a place of colour and lines, but no art?

“I believe it is clear to everyone present – ” he looked pointedly at both roommates in turn, holding the eyes of Yoon for two full seconds and the blue-screenlit forehead of Darryl for another two – “that the status quo is not an option. To do nothing, to choose inaction, is to choose demise.”

Freddy smiled despite himself. He loved getting all worked up and eloquent. This was going better than planned.

“It is time to ACT!” he said, kicking a cushiony ottoman nearby for emphasis, which was somewhat anticlimactic, as the doughy thing just absorbed the blow unmoving, sighing his kick away with a soft thump.

“The vibe of this apartment is what has us gathered here today, and the vibe of the apartment is what we are gathered here to change.” Yoon nodded grimly. He was catching on. He was also prone to affirm whatever happened to be the point of discussion at any given point in time. Darryl was giggling silently as he texted his girlfriend, doing that shaky-shoulders and hissing thing that people do, something that incidentally annoyed Freddy so, so very much, and especially when Darryl did it, because it was almost always during Roommate Meetings, and he was still doing it –

“Darryl!” Freddy shouted.

Darryl looked up for a moment and then resumed texting.

“DARRYL!”

Darryl looked up for a moment and then resumed texting.

“Freddy.”

Yoon’s voice thwarted the righteous tumult of Darryl-directed indignation that had gathered on the edges of Freddy’s lips. “WHAT, Yoon? What?”

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do here.”

That was unexpected. Freddy knew Yoon couldn’t tell maroon from crimson, mauve from lavender, cerulean from french blue. He’d assumed Yoon would be the most difficult to convince.

“You do?”

“Yes. I get it. We need more beauty in our home. We’re three dudes trying to survive on the surf edge of chaos.”

“That’s… yeah. I guess that’s exactly how I feel,” Freddy said, stunned by Yoon’s simple poetry.

“Well, Freddy, I’m behind you, 100%. Let’s do what needs to be done. Let’s make this place a home!”

Yoon stood from one of the nonsensically-configured couches and in two paces had crossed the room, placing a hand on Freddy’s shoulder. Darryl looked up for a moment and was on the verge of resuming texting, but he absolutely hates to miss a hug, and he could feel hugs approaching like a bird feels a storm. He stood and had his hand on Freddy’s other shoulder in a moment.

“Brothers till the end!” shouted Freddy as they embraced, and then did jumping high-fives.

“Huzzah!” they shouted in unison, as the apartment called out “Freeze Frame!” and snapped a quick Roommate Selfie. This being done, they quickly dispersed as Yoon went back to reading stock reports, Freddy went to fret over the curtains, and Darryl resumed texting.

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Parents attempt to explain to child how internet works, fail

On a seemingly normal summer afternoon in Shanghai, the Welding household was thrown into disarray after young Martin asked one of the questions universally dreaded by parents.

Mum, Dad, he said, in that voice he puts on when you know he’s about to do something annoying.

Rodger and Norma Welding did their best to distract the little boy, but nothing could stop what was coming; the little terror was determined to ask his question.

Mum, Dad, he said again. How does the internet work?

Rodger and Norma, who are avid users of the internet, begin to see in that moment that that they actually had no idea as to how the internet functions. Like traffic patterns, or the seasons, they had accepted it as just one of those mysteries of life whose functioning doesn’t need to be reasoned out.

Rodger tried joking, to stall things. “Voodoo magic, of course!” He looked to Norma, feeling that it was her turn to broach the subject, after he’d successfully explained to Martin how to spell “Wednesday” the week before. “No, but seriously, Martin, I’m sure your mum can explain that one.”

As she began to think of a response, Norma realised that she had never even given the actual workings of the internet a second thought. A vast, invisible web, somehow catapulting movies and emails and pizza orders, without wires, from Space, and Germany, and Netflix… if any of those places even existed, come to think of it… it was too much to handle. Stammering, she began to feel the overwhelming magnitude of a something, invisible and all around her, transporting more information every single second than any human brain could comprehend in a lifetime. Beginning to feel paranoid, she checked their surroundings, wondering if they were in the internet right at that very moment.

Rodger was experiencing similar emotions. The internet was something that invented fantasy football and Wikipedia and the News. It wasn’t something to be comprehended, like elevators or sandwiches or airplanes. Now, however, he started to wonder about airplanes, and with a sickening feeling in his stomach, he had to confront the fact that a gigantic mass of steel and glass shouldn’t be able to fly, like it’s a bird or something. It was literally impossible.

Becoming flustered, Rodger tried to go back to the internet-as-voodoo-magic idea, which seemed more plausible than anything else at this point.

Not quite satisfied with the answers thus far, Martin followed his initial question up with a final knock-out punch, asking how can a phone make Mummy’s voice come to his school from her office. Rodger and Norma paled, looking at their phone-boxes, which were increasingly seeming more and more magic as the afternoon went on.

As they began to make up an answer, Martin, thank God, found a lizard, and stopped asking questions.

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Selfless citizen runs free quality check on mirrors, reflective surfaces

Dan Thornberg, an entrepreneur and social worker in the area, is no stranger to selfless giving, though you’ll rarely hear him admit it.

It’s said, however, that those who give in secret can’t do so for long. Once again, Dan has been caught by several local residents serving in an unexpected way.

For months now, even when he thinks no one is looking, Dan has been observed giving mirrors of all shapes and sizes, and even somewhat reflective objects, a thorough once-over. The reason for this was unclear, pun unintended (or, as you might say, punintended*), until very recently.

A source who has elected to remain anonymous has told us that she knows Dan, though we assume that means nothing more than that she may have been to a party he was at once, or ran into him at a  networking event for entrepreneurs, or noticed him in the grocery store, where they were both taking advantage of a great discount on muesli.**

“I know Dan,” our source said. “He really seems so thoughtful. It’s like he’s always looking to see how he can help. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him yet, but we actually live in the same complex, and I’ve seen him doing that, what you’re talking about. I think I know what it is. He’s just doing what he always does, serving the community! You don’t get it? He’s making sure the glass is up to par! Making sure there are no issues with the reflection!”

“I’ve never seen him leave a reflection until he’s satisfied,” our source confirmed.

Several other sources we interviewed said the same, noting Dan’s singular determination to quality-check every reflective surface and his tireless unwillingness to leave said surfaces until he has confirmed that they are reflecting to the best of their ability.

In fact, as one of our sources got into the elevator not fifteen minutes ago, she found him just wrapping up as he ran a diagnostic on the mirrored walls inside.

All that goes to say, with a community servant like Dan, you aren’t likely to catch him tooting his own horn, or trumpet, or any other brass instrument, anytime soon.

Unless, of course, he’s checking the quality of its reflection.

 

 

 

*On second thought, don’t. Don’t say punintended. Even if you make a pun, punintentionally.

**I have no idea, honestly, what the origin or the depth of their relationship may be. I’m just starting out as an investigative reporter, and I’m still getting used to keeping sources anonymous, protecting witnesses, all that good stuff. I almost told you that her name was Rachel, at the beginning, like a real novice. Also, I know I keep saying “us” and “our” and “we”, but there is really only just me. Detectiving is really starting to get lonely. Actually, if you, or anyone you know, wants to hang out later… I’d be up for doing literally anything else. And I lied about the muesli thing, up there. I bought all of it. I’m a hoarder of discounted goods. I have ten kilos of discounted muesli in my freezer. We can eat muesli if you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shanghai expat somehow managed to survive alone for years

A Shanghai expat has somehow managed to survive for over twenty six years without having come to understand how to manage the basic life needs of his body.

Every day, come approximately noon thirty, Jared Dunhill is inexplicably shocked by a crippling wave of hunger that tells his body that it is time to eat. Despite having experienced a similar sensation daily for 26 years, which would mean this has happened approximately nine thousand five hundred times, the expat has still not adapted to expect the sensation of hunger which indicates that his body would like a meal, which it will convert into energy to use in accomplishing its fairly critical daily goal of of not dying.

Frantically leaving his office in search of sustenance, the expat forages in several known and trusted locations, where he has consistently been able to purchase sandwiches, bowls of pasta or noodles or rice, various fried vegetables, the odd fruit, and on really nice days, something a bit classy, like yoghurt with muesli and berries.

Having consumed these, the expat is immediately satisfied and able to return to work. Productivity skyrockets, peaks at a respectable level, and continues humming along at a steady clip until around a quarter to six, when Jared’s energy levels come screeching to a sudden halt as his body is riddled once again with pangs of hunger. Again, and I mean literally every day, the expat is shocked to the point of incredulity, having ‘just fed [it]’, which is believed to refer either to his stomach or to the beast with an insatiable appetite that he believes resides inside of him.

By a quarter after six, Jared can generally be found crawling to another favored hunting ground, where most days he is able to scavenge, steal, scrounge, or legally purchase food. Exhausted, he then retires to his habitation, where, despite his best efforts, he suffers undesired bouts of unconsciousness every single night, lasting approximately seven hours.

 

 

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Bodyguard for Linkin Park has a really loveable face

HAWORTH SHOWROOM SHANGHAI – After a social event for entrepreneurs in Shanghai in which Linkin Park discussed ideas for educational startups, socially-minded venture capital opportunities, and possibilities for globally scalable, sustainable development, guests were primarily focused on the really loveable face of one of the band’s massive bodyguards.

“He was gigantic,” reported one guest, whom we first found describing the elaborate tattoo which covered most of the right side of the bodyguard’s neck and shaved scalp. “He could have ripped me in two pieces. But look at him. He just… he wouldn’t do that.”

As members of the band mingled with the crowd as the event concluded, the bodyguard approached one of the musicians and the guest with whom he was chatting, and patiently intimated, with manners that would make a monarch blush, that it was, unfortunately, time for them to get going, and he was quite sorry to interrupt the conversation, and they were so happy the guest was able to make it out tonight. As he spoke, he emphasized his words by gesturing with his gigantic arms, which could suffocate a dinosaur, if they had to. They haven’t had to, yet, sources have confirmed. But they could.

As the affable bodyguard turned to make his way to the door, giving the duo a moment to wrap up the conversation, he flashed a smile that could light cities and melt hearts of stone, and surely has done so in the past. In fact, one guest noted that, as he walked by, she felt her hopes rise, and started to think, spontaneously, that maybe dreams really can come true, if you just believe.

“That guy, I’m sure he’s concerned about practical steps we can take to resolve the issues that are affecting our young generation,” commented another guest, as he watched him walk toward the door, a mass of muscle which could overturn a moving car without breaking a sweat, which I mention confidently, because he actually did, one crazy weekend. “It’s like, even if he were to have to pummel me into a bloody pulp, he wouldn’t make me feel bad about it, you know?”

At press time, the tattooed bodyguard, who could grind you to sand with one arm, was intently listening to an older woman in the elevator recount the many interesting things that had happened to her that day. He responded to her comments by asking insightful follow-up questions about these experiences, which showed her that he was really listening, not only with his ears, but with his heart – the very biggest muscle anyone can carry.

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Good reviews for Stephanie’s immediately forgettable new boyfriend

Despite the fact that everyone at dinner is struggling to remember the name, face, or anything remotely related to his physical appearance, personality, or interests, all reviews thus far seem to be overwhelmingly positive for Stephanie’s new boyfriend.

Stephanie, who is notoriously codependent and easily swayed by even the most minute of her friends’ opinions, asked the group what they thought of Andrew, who she claimed has joined them on numerous occasions and group outings. The earnestness in her voice and the obvious vulnerability in her gaze as she looked from face to face made it clear to the group that the stakes were high.

Jared led the response, taking charge as per usual. “He’s a great guy,” he said without hesitation. “One of the good ones.”

Rachel, privately irked that Jared had stolen two golden lines for this rare social situation, added “It’s rare you find someone who mixes intelligence… and good looks… in such a classy way, you know?”

Freddy, ever the poet, smirked inwardly as he prepped his response. “I couldn’t have picked a better match for you, Steph. The chemistry you two had, the inside jokes, the glances back and forth… I know it’s only been a few dates, but the way you carry on, it’s like you’ve known each other for years.”

Jared and Rachel simmered at his coy move, but Stephanie seemed satisfied thus far. All present, however, knew things would soon get dicey. The group prepared to change the subject but were foiled as Stephanie unexpectedly raised the ante with a quick riposte directed at the final challenger, Derek, who hadn’t yet contributed.

“Derek, what do you think about his business idea? I told you, didn’t I, that he was such an entrepreneur!”

Derek, whom everyone knows is not great under pressure, visibly blanched. He looked around the table and found no help among the many faces urging him toward a clutch response. Desperately plumbing his memory, he vaguely recalled the park trip they’d all made the previous weekend… where he remembered nodding his head in response to a bland conversation… with somebody… that had lasted over fifteen minutes… “He really knows what to do with his pockets,” he said simply, before moving to take a big helping of eggplant, trying to distract Stephanie with his quick, erratic hand motions.

The group let out a collective sigh of relief, to which Stephanie was blissfully ignorant, as she puzzled over Derek’s response. Before she could continue, Freddy asked everyone if he’d told them how Awesome last weekend was, to which Jared replied, emphatically, in the negative, while Rachel urged him to elaborate.

 

 

SHANGHAI CIRCLES SERIES POSTS

selfless citizen runs free quality check on mirrors, reflective surfaces

parents attempt to explain to child how internet works, fail

shanghai expat somehow managed to survive alone for years

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Dude at gym refuses to leave machine while texting

Last night, it has been confirmed that a dude at the local gym refused to leave a machine while texting.

The accused, who was seen in olive cargo shorts, a casual t-shirt, flip flops, and other non-workout-appropriate attire, exhibited an overly aloof demeanor as he sat on a workout machine which many viewed as necessary to their Monday night exercise routines in the midst of a crowded gym floor.

One gym member, inexplicably dressed in a red bathing suit, asked the accused good-naturedly if he ‘was using the equipment’, with the obvious underlying question being Can I use this, as you obviously are not? Socially adept members of society are able to read the italicized questions below questions, realize their unintentional mistake, and naturally respond, in good humour, ‘Yes, no worries! Here you go, and all the best.’

The accused, however, in an overt flaunting of the social norms which hold society together, responded with a steely gaze before saying “Yes,” and resuming his texting. The gym member, and the procession who followed him, were forced to find other heavy things to lift, pull, move, or press, in order to attempt, in vain, to fill out their measly chest and arm muscles.

The full procession made sure to give the accused judgmental passive-aggressive glances as he languidly completed his night’s workout of three sets of four reps, spread out across thirty-five minutes. If the accused noticed, he gave no indication, and if anything, he only proceeded to lounge with more effort than before.

At press time, the red-shorted gym member left the building at the same time as the accused, and they walked down the sidewalk in close proximity, which, the gym member confirmed, was just the most awkward thing.

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