The joys of having Writer’s Block.

I am reposting this, well, because I can’t think of anything else and the jokes are just so damn funny.

One of the joys of having Writer’s Block (work with me people, I’m trying to be positive here) is that you can surf the internet for hours without feeling guilty about ‘wasting time’. After all, I am looking for inspiration. Right?

There are of course those people who never suffer from this malaise and continue to write anything from 1000 to 15000 words per day. I want to state for the record that they are either lying or from Mars.

In my attempt to see the lighter side of this catastrophic interesting situation, I found some jokes on the Net and am copying it shamelessly sharing it on my blog, since I don’t have an original thought in my brain at this time. (Not that I am bitter or anything … seriously, I’m not … ok, I am … STOP STARING!)

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh my,” said the writer. “Let me see heaven now.”

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” said the writer. “This is just as bad as hell!”

“Oh no, it’s not,” replied an unseen voice. “Here, your work gets published.”

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!”

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is–”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”



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All in the name of mint.

I spent the day driving from obscure little shop to even more obscure little shop, looking for mint flavouring for our daughter’s bake sale on Friday.  Guess what …. CHANGCHUN HAS NO MINT FLAVOURING! I also survived the ‘wild wild west’ driving attitude so popular here.  Got home and promptly bashed my toe against the table.  Yep, survived the roads but have trouble navigating my house …

Anyhooo. I tracked down the baking supply shop everyone told me about, just off the corner of Hongqi Jie and Chang’an Lu.  It is tiny but has a few odds and ends, but no mint.  Same goes for both the Walmart stores.

What Walmart did have was a small table stacked with Halloween decorations, masks and cheesy witches’ hats. The table was crowded by Chinese parents dressing their kids up in the masks, taking photos of them and putting it back on the table.  So I guess Halloween here is good enough for a photo op, but not good enough to spend money on. We’ll see if that changes over the next few years.

Westernisation (is that a word?) is however spreading fast and furious, as Changchun has just opened its third Starbucks. The chain is a favourite hangout for the hip & cool Chinese, and the bleary-eyed, caffeine deprived expats.

In the past week or so I also visited the old Flower Market (aka the Smoking Shopping Centre), saw some naked frogs, had a 2-hour full-body massage and facial for RMB220 (ridiculously cheap), had the best Chinese food in an absolute dive of a place and took a scenic drive to a hill that will soon be a ski slope.

Here are a few more Changchun snapshots. Stay tuned!

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Cheerio Ms Sophie!

We went to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant on Saturday with a group of my husband’s colleagues. Don’t know if I’ll be able to find it again without help from our trusty gps lady, but the company was fun and the food great. I was the designated driver for the evening, so I nursed my Pepsi and giggled while everyone else liberally partook of the local beer and báijiǔ – a clear Chinese alcohol that kicks like a mule and could keep a plane running.  If anyone ever offers you some báijiǔ, tell them you’re allergic to alcohol, you can thank me later.

I’ve been asking around if Changchun has a signature dish, but it seems as if the food here is mostly a mixture of dishes you’d find anywhere else in China, with an emphasis on hot, hearty soups and lots of meat – perfect for the cold winters.

Favourites of the evening were the crumbed pork with a sweet and sour sauce (Guao ba rou), as well as a steamed bun that you could fill with a chilli beef and potato mixture.  I passed on the chilli frog stew and pork trotters though. With so much food on the table, there could never be a good enough reason to eat frogs or pork feet.

I knew it was time to drag the revellers home when the mostly German crowd started toasting each other with full glasses of báijiǔ and loud shouts of ‘Cheerio Ms Sophie!’ and ‘Same procedure as last year!’  Nex time, my husband can drive.

Cheerio Ms Sophie!

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