January 30, 2013
Living in China
Bangkok, Champion Pizza, Italian sausage, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pizza, Pizza Hut, Shenzhen, Walmart
While waiting for a traffic signal today, a kid on a bicycle stopped next to me. He was wearing a red helmet, a red shirt and carried a red warming basket on the back of his red bicycle. I assumed he was a Pizza Hut delivery boy.
But no. When I examined his warming box it said Champion Pizza. I’ve never heard of Champion Pizza, but it must be close to my house since we were crossing a street about 4 blocks from where I live. I asked the young man for a menu. He gave one to me.
One of my favorite foods is pizza. I have very specific tastes. I like very thin crust with tomato sauce, Italian sausage, and sweet green peppers. It should be finished off with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The pizza must be baked in a wood fired oven. I have never had anything close to this anywhere in Asia.
The closest thing to a good pizza was served in a tourist place in Bangkok. It was made on a very thin crust, but didn’t have the right toppings. It was baked in a gas fired oven. It was served with a small sprig of uncooked basil, my favorite spice, which I tore into pieces and spread over the top. It brightened up the flavor.
In China, all pizza sucks. It is usually served baked on a medium thick crust. Whatever is considered cheese is nowhere near what I consider cheese, it reminds me of mayonnaise. The pizza is always soggy and greasy.
I’ve had pizza all over Shenzhen from Pizza Huts, to several so-called Italian restaurants, to individual slices from places like Vanguard, Walmart, and JUSCO. They are all terrible. By far the best pizza I’ve found in Shenzhen was made at La Casa.
So it was with great hope in my heart that I just ordered a pizza from Champion Pizza. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise, but rationally I know it will be a greasy, rubbery, bland, disappointment. Another heartbreak.
January 28, 2013
News of the Day, Science
Citroën, Compressed air, Compressed air energy storage, Hybrid electric vehicle, Hybrid vehicle, Internal combustion engine, Peugeot, Technology
Despite the billions poured into so-called hybrid cars, the electric/gasoline technology remains expensive, inefficient, awkward to use, and unpopular. The French company Citroen Peugeot has unveiled a hybrid car employing compressed air technology in conjunction with the internal combustion engine. The air is compressed with brake use and other means and is used to power the engine.
Supposedly the new technology will save 45% on gasoline costs in highway driving and 80% in city driving. The first air-hybrid models will be priced about $1500.00 USD below comparable battery/gasoline hybrids.
The car was developed by a team of 100 Peugeot engineers who came up with the design in two years. There were no government subsidies, tax breaks, lengthy and expensive studies, or monetary grants involved.
An air-hybrid system can be installed in parallel with existing gasoline models.
It is too soon to know whether the air-hybrid technology will develop into a significant technology for automobiles. We’ve seen many technologies in many areas from various medicines, to cold fusion, to solar and wind power, that have been splashed over the media, only to prove too expensive, unworkable, or inefficient to become major factors. They usually sink into obscurity or disappear completely. It’s too early to know whether or not this is another false start.
The point is, this technology was developed by private enterprise, not government. It wasn’t a huge expensive program involving billions of taxpayer dollars, thousands of bureaucrats, and years of time. Basically it was developed in the Citroen Peugeot garage by a handful of hardworking and intelligent geniuses.
UPDATE FROM REUTERS. 2/6/13
The reality is that consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles, or EVs, which dominated U.S. streets in the first decade of the 20th century before being displaced by gasoline-powered cars.
Despite the promise of “green” transportation – and despite billions of dollars in investment, most recently by Nissan Motor Co – EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s. Those include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations.
January 27, 2013
I saw this car yesterday. I thought when it stopped clowns would get out and pour onto the sidewalk, but no. It continued down the street. Its color reminds me of the puke I once saw on the sidewalk of New York on the day of the St. Patrick Day Parade when everyone drinks green beer.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture, and wasn’t able to even get a look at its manufacturer. I was walking on the sidewalk when it passed me going the other way. It looked new, and was very clean. I’m sure its owner was proud of it.
I hope this color doesn’t catch on and become faddish. It’s best to keep it isolated in Jingtian like a virus so it won’t spread throughout the rest of Shenzhen, or to other cities, through the rest of China, or even internationally.
January 25, 2013
Living in China
Baijiu, Down syndrome, Facebook features, Houston, Houston Chronicle, restaurant, Texas, Waiting staff
If she wasn’t 6 feet tall, she was very close. She came into the café where I was reading. She was an attractive Chinese woman, but getting a bit older. I’d guess around 40. She was very loud.
At first I thought she must be retarded, crazy, or on drugs, but after she ordered a small bottle of baijiu, I realized she was a bit drunk. She plopped down at a table to my left, so it was difficult for me to get a good look at her, or make eye contact. She was slender and had a pretty face. She sat slightly off kilter with her long legs splayed apart below the table. She drank the baijiu straight from the bottle, ignoring the tiny cup the waiter brought her.
She talked seemingly to no one, or maybe to everyone. It was hard to tell. She discussed the menu with her waiter for 5-10 minutes before ordering. Then she got up and made some loud comments about a framed calligraphy hanging on the wall. She was sexy as hell.
I had visions of going back to her place for a wild afternoon ride. She would be crazy in bed, untamed and completely uninhibited. I knew after we finished making love every blanket and pillow would be on the floor, every picture knocked from the wall, and all her knick-knacks off their shelves. I imagined those long thin legs wrapped around me in various positions. After, we would fall asleep and wake up an hour or so later stuck together from the many bodily fluids we exchanged during our romp. I figured I still could get home well before dinner time.
Alas, that was not to happen. A man entered the café. He was much shorter than the woman, but I immediately knew they were together. His face was unnaturally red. He had large bags under his bloodshot eyes. Sure enough, he joined her.
A couple of minutes later the waiter brought their food. I left.
January 20, 2013
Every Day Living
Air conditioning, Café, Construction and Maintenance, Doors and Windows, Kitchen, Materials and Supplies, Waiting staff, Weather
Yesterday I stopped in a café for a warming libation before returning home. Being a people watcher, I sat in the back of the café where I could view all of my fellow patrons as well as people walking in the parking lot and sidewalks outside through the glass front of the store. Everyone outside was hurrying around in their coats, gloves, and hats.
Then I noticed that everyone dining inside were siting in their coats too. One girl was wearing gloves as she dined. They had not removed their cold weather clothing while eating. The waitresses where bundled in coats and several layers of underclothes. They were wringing their hands from the cold. One of the waitresses touched my cheek with her icy fingers.
The front of the café had large glass double doors. They were propped open. When a waitress would open the door to the kitchen a giant blast of cold air would sweep through the café from the front to the back since the back of the kitchen was open too. It was like a wind tunnel.
I have been in the his same café during hot summer days. They keep it air conditioned and closed off from the outside. Why not do the same in the winter? I’m sure enough heat would be generated from the kitchen to warm the patrons as they dined and the employees as they worked.
As I walked home later I noticed at every business had its open doors, and at least 50% of the apartments had their windows open on this, the coldest day of the year so far.
Once someone explained that Chinese keep things well ventilated because they fear gas explosions. That may be true, especially in the old days when construction and plumbing weren’t as good as they are now. But that was then. Now is now.
Close the fucking windows. Shut the fucking doors. Keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Try to stay warm.
January 17, 2013
A few years ago the former NBA player Dennis Rodman’s wife caught him in bed with another woman. The story goes that he said he didn’t know where the woman came from, she just fell from the ceiling. Of course everyone knows people don’t randomly fall from ceilings…until now.
Yesterday I was sitting under an overhang at a small café when suddenly, crash! The ceiling just left of me collapsed and there was a human leg dangling in the air. Fortunately the leg was attached to a body, and its owner withdrew it instead of falling to the ground. But the incident proves that people sometimes can fall from ceilings.
Excuse the blurry images. I was rushing away in case others began to fall from the ceiling.
January 13, 2013
military, News of the Day
Argentina, British Armed Forces, Falkland Islands, military, Patrol boat, Patrol Ship, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Submarine
Once the most powerful militarily nations in the world, the benefits of statist socialism have taken their toll. The U.K. looks like it is ill prepared to do battle with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Maybe that’s why Kirchner is flexing her country’s muscle.
From The Telegraph. January 13, 2013.
How Britian’s current military forces compare to 1982:
Armed Forces Personnel: 320,000
Ships: 2 Carriers, 2 Assault ships, 32 Submarines, 15 Destroyers, 46 Frigates, 1 Ice Patrol Ship, 12 Hydrographic survey ships, 15 Patrol ships/craft, 29 Minesweepers and minehunters, 45 Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Aircraft: 400 plus
Armed Forces personnel: 160,000
Ships: 0 Carriers, 9 Submarines, 7 Destroyers, 13 Frigates, 2 Assault/Helicopter Carriers, 2 Assault/Command Ships, 3 RFA Landing Ships, 3 Survey ships, 1 Ice Patrol Ship, 4 Patrol Ships, 15 Minehunters, 10 Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Fighter Aircraft: 130