Parry (n)

A twenty-three year old Minnesotan, commonly found in Berkeley.
Known to drink beer, learn languages, program, take pictures, write, and travel.

⁓ once fought a bear to a draw.
The Parry List The Parry List
April 2, 2014

The Swadesh List is a list of base words that can be used for historical compartive linguistics. It allows one to very quickly get up and running when delving into two different languages’ pasts. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Not very useful for modern languages, though. Knowing how to say “hair”, “moon”, “earth” etc. is of little use when trying to order a beer in a pub in Bangkok or Moscow. My goal here is to develop a list of phrases that once learned in the target language will allow you to get up and running as quickly as possible. Obviously, if a decent level of proficiency is desired, this can be used as a jumping off point months in advance of a journey. However, it’s also meant to be used on a plane or bus hours or minutes before getting to your destination by turning and asking your neighbor.

The end goal is to have a list of sentences that include common words that are hard to ask about (e.g. how, why, when), common sentence structures (I would like...), how to describe things (I want the thing you put the water in), and most importantly, how to tell people that you are still a learner. With these sentences, you should also be able to get an introduction to the basic grammar you need to make sentences on the fly. Sure, it’d be cool if you knew how and when to use the vocative case in Scottish Gaelic, but it’s really not that important relative to being able to order uisge beatha.

Without further ado…

Hungarian Hungarian
October 29, 2013

Hungarian is a pretty cool language. It’s aggluntinating, which means you add person, tense, and all other sorts of markers directly to the stem of the verb. I’ll be using this page, and others, to chronicle my quest to learn Hungarian. Below, you’ll find two tools I’ve created to help me on my way: an inflector and an analyzer. The inflector takes the root form (also called a lemma or dictionary form) of a verb and inflects it correctly. It assumes the word you’re inputting is Hungarian and applies rules according to the word’s character. The inflector does the opposite - put in a word you think is a Hungarian verb, click inflect, and hope it gives you something useful. Because of certain problems in naïvely doing morphological inflections, there will occasionally be ambiguous results.

True History True History
July 24, 2013

I have once again had the wonderful privilege of visiting Almaty, Kazakhstan for the fourth time. This time around, I have learned that if I am a certain combination of crazy, wealthy, and presidential, I can actually change that number arbitrarily and everyone will agree. Kazakhs have a great ability to change other’s perception of history. For example, their radio stations. If you’ve listened to their oldies station you would be convinced that not only did they invent electronica, they used it exclusively to remix Abba songs.

If I change your mind, I’m the first in line. Baby I’m not free, independence for me.

But this is not actually too surprising, because the Kazakh people have actually created history as we know it. You don’t believe me? Below I have translated the abridged version of The History of the Kazakh People According to the Crazy Guy on the Train Who Was Pretty Sure I Was From Virginia or Nevada

This was written on my cell in a janky hostel in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China. Pictures to come later

I am finally a foreigner again. I am back in the land of stares, discreet pictures, and lewd cat calls that result in me shaking peoples’ hands without a single exchange of words.

But best of all, I am back where a chubby little Chinese boy can come up to you, stick out his hand and say in impeccable British English “hello, how are you?” and not expect anything but a mumbled reply he’ll never understand.

On Goals On Goals
June 17, 2013

This post is written while away from my computer on my phone. Photos etc, to be added when I return

I have a new goal. For the longest time I thought that graduating from school, getting a job, finding a girl etc wouldn’t be too bad. But no longer. I want to be a crazy homeless person who sells found items to other crazy people.

Dear Ms. Portman Dear Ms. Portman
April 25, 2013

Dear Natalie Portman:

This is my last chance to discuss sex with the wider world and I want to use this chance to talk to you. Ms. Portman, you’re an intelligent, articulate, beautiful woman. A single glance from you strikes me with the full force of Thor’s Mjolnir!

In the spirit of AH-I’M-ALMOST-GRADUATING-AND-NOT-READY-TO-BE-A-REAL-PERSON nostalgia, I thought it’d be a good time to share some of the sexual highlights of my time at Cornell. Originally, when I set out to be the sex artist that I am today, I thought it would be sufficient to do everything on the 161 list and then add “and then have sex afterwards” to each one of them. Now, this isn’t that bad of an idea and for most, it’s probably sufficient. For the few who want to herald the new wave of sexual artistry though — the Picassos of positions, the Rembrandts of romance and the Mondrians of making love — that just simply isn’t enough. It’s for you special few that I write this column, based on my own search for higher meaning in random sex at Cornell.

Spring break is over, and it’s time to start gearing up for midterms. You’re stuck in the library studying, and a fun night looks further away than an A in orgo. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. This week, I’m here to tell you how to woo the library hottie, that ravishing reference book reader, the one you put your heart on reserve for. I may be stating the obvious when I say that the library is not normally conducive to picking up a quick fling, but after many trials and too many tribulations, I have hit upon a set of reasonably sure-fire tips for going from checking out to checking out.

It is time to return to our sexual roots. We need to throw out the avant garde sex. You and your partner should no longer sit fully clothed in a darkened room emailing sex terms to each other. Stop making Tumblrs filled with .gifs of sex poses you want to do and sending them to your sex friend as foreplay (but please send links to me). Ramp up the sexual touching from eye-fucking to I’m-fucking.

“But wait,” you say, “I am already ingrained in a repetitive cycle of sensuous whispering and then falling asleep. I can’t stop!”

Last winter while abroad, I traveled with a family of Samoyed people into south Siberia to see the Northern Lights. The last night we were out, I had the most vivid dream of a tall otter in war-paint and red shorts. Over breakfast, I explained the dream and was informed that I had had my Sex Totem dream. Young adults in that region, after enough exposure to the Northern Lights, will have a dream of an animal that will ultimately describe how they are in bed. An otter evokes ideas of lazing about in the sea, holding on to one’s partner and eating shellfish. That, in my case, means staying in bed, cuddling and eating shellfish. As an otter in war-paint, it means that I am apt to go abroad to war and cuddle my conquests, which also means … no, that’s exactly what it means.

But you’re probably asking yourself: “What does this have to do with me?” Luckily for you, my Samoyed friend, Ob Yenisei, has been giving me tips on how to read other people’s sex totem dreams, which I will share with you below. If you have trouble remembering dreams, you may have already had yours without realizing it, so you can use this as a way to go from a description of your sexual self to a sex totem.

In the spirit of OMFG-I’m-a-graduating-senior nostalgia, I’m going to admit something in this column that I have never admitted before to anyone else, not even to myself: I didn’t lose my college hookup virginity until the very, very, very last day of freshman year. And I am not ashamed! If anything, this has made me into a stronger person. Albeit, a glacially slow-moving one. However, what has worked for me may not work for everyone. There may be some of you out there who started reading this column hoping for tips that will help you sweep the guy or girl of your dreams off his or her feet.

I am not here to give you those tips. I am here to talk about what I know and that’s how to wait until the very last day. Remember folks, the last day is still a day to lose your college hookup virginity.

There is a problem with today’s sexually active youth. We aren’t adventurous enough. I don’t mean this in the Kama Sutra, let’s-try-having-sex-while-upside-down-balancing-on-one-hand sort of adventurous, but rather the let’s have sex on top of a moving train sort of adventurous.

Now some of you might be thinking: “But Jimothy! You haven’t even done that and you’ve done everything.” That’s where you’d be wrong. Because I have, and the experience derailed all of my expectations on what sex could be like. However, it took a lot of preparation and no small amount of luck. As a result, I am legally obligated to not recommend that readers try it, even though I totally do.

However, I know that not all of you have access to trains, so I’ve compiled a list, in order of difficulty, of vehicles that you should probably try to have sex in or on. If I haven’t listed your preposition of choice it’s because either a) it’s not exciting or b) I can’t comprehend how you could actually do it.

Earlier last week, while in stacks … researching … for my column, I discovered a tattered paperback. It was old, but it felt like it was imbued with great power. I flipped it over and stumbled back in shock: I had found a copy of the fabled Cummunist Manifesto. All sex columnists have heard of this most holy of sex books, fabled to expound on everything from clever sex position puns to Sun style guidelines when talking about STIs. Unfortunately, most of it seems to be an amalgamation of drunken Tumblr posts, but there are a few gems that could help free us from the bourgeois, capitalist parkas that hide the sexy undergarments of collectivized society.

In order to spare you all the burden of regrettable your / you’re typos, I have compiled the best sections written by Karl “Big Poppa” Marx ’83 and Friedrich “Oogles” Engels ’84 and reprinted it below.

A Foreplaylist A Foreplay-list
November 8, 2012

There are a lot of ways to spice up your sex life. Some people use chocolate underwear and candy bras. Some people go to exotic locations. Some use real spices. None of these are bad. If anything, they are quite a good way of getting out of repetitive sex. I, however, am a great supporter of the people that hearken back to days of yore, when in order to drown out the sounds of the cattle lowing, they turned on the radio and humped along with FDR’s fireside chat.

Now, I understand that most of you don’t have giant wooden radio sets that can aid you in foreplay and thus understandably have no access to new music. To assist you, I have listed some of my favorite songs to help the mood along.

When I was a child, I loved to play pretend, running around as a knight saving the princess from the evil dragon. Over the years I kept my imagination alive: What better place to unsheathe my manly sword than in bed? While it’s no longer saving any girl from a fire-breathing dragon, it’s certainly saving her from a boring night. I know trying to generate ideas for role-playing without inspiration can be difficult, so I’ve included some of my favorite themes below.

Cornell Is Stacked Cornell Is Stacked
September 27, 2012

“Never have I ever had sex in the stacks.”

One by one, the people in the circle put down a finger and start giggling as they notice it’s just me and my girlfriend with our fingers still up. This was definitely a first for me. Even if people were lying during a drinking game (like that could happen), I didn’t want to be the only one left out. That thought stuck with me the entire night: How could I achieve my goal of writing publicly available, non-slash fiction erotica if I didn’t have anything to base it on? I resolved right then (or, perhaps, three or four shots later) that I needed to expand my sexual horizons.

Sometime last year I convinced a friend of mine from back home to travel with me to London to visit a friend studying there over winter break. Ostensibly, the reason for going to London was to visit said London-going friend, but I knew in my heart of hearts that we were going because I had read online that the average bust size of a British woman was a 32D.

We decided to go right before New Year’s Eve, to catch the British festivities. After landing at Heathrow, we had to take the Tube into the city. As we sat down on the underground, I noticed the end station for this particular line was called Cockfosters. Clearly this city was going to be well suited to my goals.

I spent the summer in Shanghai, an occasionally hellish and always muggy city in the south of China. One evening while I was out walking, the daughter of the adorable chef couple that lived below me came out of her parent’s apartment. She was back from school up north, about to go to Australia for grad school … and the absolute definition of the word sexy.

As I start jogging over to say hi, I begin to flex my chest and ruffle my hair, getting ready to start the conversation and promptly trip on a crack in sidewalk. But I don’t lose my cool, no, my stare was holding, even if with my ripped jeans skin was showing, there was a hot night wind blowing, and I look up and say “Where you going, baby?” She just looks down and says “out,” with a slight grin.

In the spirit of the Olympics, I have attempted to set a new record for “Longest Time Without Writing a Blog Post” – naw, just kidding. I’m just lazy. However, I have been using this time to “observe” (but don’t tell my boss, I’ve been telling him I’ve been programming).

As a commuter I spend a lot of time on the subway. I’ve mastered its tricks, its trades, and its stock exchange. I can do the Sleep-Until-Your-Stop, the No-Holds-Stand, the Doze-Off-Standing, and the Read-A-Book-In-Someone-Else’s-Hands. If there was a way to monetize these skills, I’d be rollin’ in the dough. (and subsequently wouldn’t have to ride the subway – you can see where I’m going with this.)

Independent of marketable skills, the Shanghai Metro has brought out my muse better than any Beatrice ever has. What I present to you below is my first work from what is likely to be part of my opus (in stores and Amazon soon!) comprised solely of unconnected ramblings written while sitting.

Fowl Problems Fowl Problems
June 27, 2012

I’m ashamed to admit that I have a problem. Well, I’m probably ashamed. I’m pretty sure shame is outlawed in China - and you know how good I am at avoiding breaking laws (hence why I no longer mail anything).

What is this problem?

I don’t know what the food I eat at restaurants looks like raw. I order something delicious, say “8 Splced Hevenly Chriken.” Chicken. I like chicken. I can say chicken and I can say meat. Hell, I even know what a chicken looks like in real life. Buying chicken at the super market should be easy as pie!

So I walk to butcher’s area of the supermarket and look at what they have to offer. Various organs (I think), various limbs (I think), various… things that I’m not entirely sure are meat, but are there anyways. Some pre-cut meat things that have pig stickers on them. I’m pretty sure that these are pork. But it’s China and the labels don’t actually say pork anywhere on them…so, maybe only 80% sure.

This is going to be my last blog post in Harbin - and I figure I should write it now before I…study…this weekend. Finals are coming up and given that there is only one full weekend left together with all of these new friends, the sensible thing to do is study. You’ll know where to find me. In my “room.”

Ok, I lie. I may not be in my room. I might be in the Harbin Institute of Technology Science Park. For those of you don’t know what a Science Park, it’s like an Arboretum of Science. If you don’t know what an arboretum is, imagine model rockets and used boosters growing haphazardly out of the ground. Now why might I be there (besides the concept itself being awesome)? There are three reasons: I’ve started jogging, I love lilacs, and retired Chinese people are awesome.

Every semester CET plans a rip-roaring adventure to some city other than Harbin, most likely in order to convince students that not all of China is cold. The way they go about accomplishing this goal is actually quite clever: by going south. 12 hours south via train, to be precise. Now you may be thinking “the title says land of opportunity, I was unaware NAME-OF-YOUR-COUNTRY (to appeal to a wider audience) was south of China.” And you would be right, unless you’re from North Korea. But you’re not. (If you are, please comment otherwise).

Yes, that’s right, CET Spring Semester 2012 “Road” Trip was to Dandong, a large Chinese city on the North Korean border. Now, clearly none of the activities involved crossing the border (unfortunately), but a lot of them involved looking at North Korea, which is surprisingly fun. For instance, we got to look at North Koreans farm while we stood on a portion of the Great Wall. We were literally a stone’s throw away. (If me throwing a stone into N. Korean broke any international laws, then I was figuratively a stone’s throw away). I now have the entire life of a North Korean cow documented. It mostly involves eating and drinking.

Spring-ish Break Spring-ish Break
April 16, 2012

There are sandstorms in Harbin. Which means that you should probably keep any and all eating utensils by an open window. I can guarantee that they will stay clean. At least most of the time, which you know, is really all that matters. I mean, when you think of it, you’re not even eating most of the time.

But this aside, I got back from a “whirlwind” “adventure” in “Zhejiang provence.” I say “whirlwind” because there weren’t any whirlwinds, “adventure” because I already knew where everything was, and “Zhejiang provence” cause I thought adding quotes made it looked “better.” On my escape from the salty North (seriously, pretty sure I saw a road-side stall that was selling potatoes, salt, and pineapples - you don’t need much else to make a traditional “Dongbei” dish), I got a chance to visit some old friends, make some new ones, and eat a lot of tasty food. But the most important thing is just that: “things.”

Occasionally Chinese people will say “Oh My Lady Gaga!” as opposed to things like “Oh My!” Your guess is as good as mine.

Anywho, I have learned through in depth study that American study techniques and Chinese study techniques are wildly different. Most Chinese students (engineering students in particular) will go to the library, work for hours on end and have most, if not all of the material memorized, ready to ace the test. American students (sample size: me) will buy a lot of snack food, spend too much time trying to decide if Ritz crackers filled with yogurt are the best things or the worst things (they’re the best), and then take a four hour nap in the middle of the day.

Walking around the streets and entering the shops of a foreign city is probably the best way to get acquainted with a new city. That and Wikipedia. But seriously, it’s great, you get to see all sorts of things that aren’t distilled and purified for easy consumption in language class. It also gives you a bunch of chances to make a dammed fool of oneself.

For example, purchasing things. I’d like to think that I have “mastered” the ability to read signs and purchase associated products. Apparently not in Chinese. One day I noticed that a store was having a sale on Kleenexes - perfect, I was running low. I go in, look at the sign, read the brand name and as I’m reading the rest of the sign reach out to grab a package of something that matches the part of the sign I’ve read so far. I look down and see a female employee giving me the strangest look. I look down and quickly drop the package of female sanitary pads I had just been holding so contemplatively. I then proceed to get lost in the same store for another 15 minutes and repeatedly pass the same employee who continues to stare at me with a strange mix of accusation and incredulity.

When I signed up to work in a nature reserve on the border of China and Russia, I was told to expect biting Siberian wind … not biting Siberian women. But let me back up first. I’ll be honest, when I first took off my pants and entered into the world of sexcapadery, I was really quite vanilla. If you could do it with your eyes closed, without moving and could finish in the time it took for your dad to go the grocery story and back, that was for me. I didn’t have a fetish or a kink — and to be honest, I didn’t want one. In my head I thought that simple was good.

I love the cold. I collect it, store it in bottles, and consume it as raw energy. I don’t need things like peanut butter, chocolate, or working toilets to remind me of home, I just need biting wind and frost-bitten extremities. I’m Minnesotan, what can I say? Gotta live up to the name.

If you’re one of the many who don’t come from a miniature version of Siberia, I should probably clarify: for those who have never been to Harbin and plan on visiting during some time other than the two weeks they call summer, it’s not actually that cold. If anything, global warming has been good to Harbin. It’s significantly warmer this winter than it was last winter. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find the actual temperature (so as not to unduly scare people away).

Brennan is a science poet. He is more than a poet - he has transcended words and writes with pure science (which look suspiciously like scribbles on the back of ripped manilla folders). Brennan likely hasn’t showered in days. Brennan is also staying in the same room as us.

This is his story.

Watching Space Jam Watching Space Jam
January 3, 2012

Some of you might be thinking: “Parry you haven’t updated this is days! There are so many things in London you had to have seen some of the things, if not a fair many things.” To this extent, there is truth in that statement, I have seen many things. Because you’re curious (or being forced to read this) I’ll let you know what they are:

Transition Transition
January 3, 2012

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sleeping on a Chair Next to a Gaggle of Africans in Heathrow for 5 Hours

My time in Londontown has come to an end and the last few days have passed in a blur (or…haze, depending). There have been crazy hobos, bent on stealing one’s kidneys, and there have been crazy undergrads, bent on stealing delicious muffins from string theory conferences. This trip has opened my eyes to many new things (e.g. that Jimothy really likes Smirnoff Ice) and closed them to many others (e.g. I will never, ever, have a good British accent).

To wrap up, I present to you the last bit of pictures from the trip. This opting out of writing more is definitely not because most of the last few days were trying to get Jimothy to drink more. That would have been a horrible thing for a group of friends to do. It was spent at museums (3 hour complete traversal of the British Museum? Probably a record…for better or worse). And uh… looking at statues. (Or, in one particularly great moment, when getting Jimothy to pose in front of a statue, an entire bus of Asian tourists pulled up in front of us and all started taking pictures of him).

Some people travel and when they come back home they have tons of souvenirs, loads of pictures, and great memories. Other people return and are pretty sure they had a 10 day long fever dream. Some people go to Kazakhstan and it’s a slightly disorienting mixture of the two. And then some people go to Kazakhstan and hang out with Ilyas and all bets are off.

Let me begin by clarifying the title. I am not the Shymkentskii who is returning. It’s an actual guy from Shymkent who has returned to Almaty and is undoubtably causing mayhem by simply existing. Ilyas and I, however, value our lives and intellect and thus have avoided this guy, who, for the sake of discussion, I’ll start calling him Jim. Jim isn’t a Kazakh name, but then again, Shymkent probably, for the sake of Kazakhstan’s national image, shouldn’t be considered Kazakh. You might expect me to insert some sort of disclaimer saying “Sorry to any and all Shymkentskiis reading this,” but people from Shymkent are the kind of people who if you hooked a typewriter up to a TV you could convince them they were playing a video game.

“Yo! George! I beat your high score on Home Shopping Network again!”

Road Trip! Sort of! Road Trip! Sort of!
December 30, 2011

There comes a time in every young man’s life where home becomes like corset: slimming, made of whale bones, but ultimately, constricting. For me, that time is now. Well, technically, 3 hours from now.

I should back up, perhaps. I have three friends, let’s call them Jim, Bob, and Franz, to illustrate my friend group’s lack of ethnic diversity. Jim, Bob, Franz, and I have been friends since before we had enough mental faculty to realize that we probably should find other people to be friends with. Over the years, mutual hate has kept us together. And over these years we have planned countless times to do something epic and worth of the epicness contained in our friend group. Thus, we went to Duluth for a night. Which, when all was said and done, we realize was about par for the course when it came to 4 Minnesotans deciding to “road trip.”

For those who weren’t aware, I have an undying passion for baseball. More passion than a box of passion fruit, and that’s a lot of passion. When I started to think about how I was going to get from China to the States (Google suggested kayaking), I realized I could accomplish my one true dream: The Hideki Matsui Cross-Pacific Fanclub Tour (tHMCPFT for those in the know). With a special pass, one has access to all of Matsui’s special haunts in Tokyo and Seattle, behind the scenes baseball games, introductory classes on game fixing, and free pizza. Nothing better. Actually, none of this is true, but I did go to Tokyo and Seattle over the past week. This is mostly just going to be pictures. Enjoy.

ChinaJoy ChinaJoy
July 29, 2011

They say when it rains it pours. People in Shanghai say “When it’s hot out, you get to wait in a really, really long line. And I mean really long.” Shanghaiers are pretty accurate in this regard, in so far as it was like 95 out and I stood in a line that (outside) was the length of 17 warehouses. Inside, however, it was only 3 warehouse lengths long. What for, you ask? For ChinaJoy! The world’s largest “gaming” convention. I say “gaming,” because it’s mostly this:

Perhaps due to their long and storied history, the Chinese have learned to eschew needless words and sentences. When they speak they speak with the weight of the greats like Confucius, Mencius, and those two guys who lip synced to Backstreet Boys on their shoulders.

For example, one day while running (yes, I’m as surprised as you are), one of the guards says “Oh, so you’re running.” Perhaps thinking “Dang, they move faster than I thought” or “Hm, 3pm is a good time for a fact.”

Because I am a stage and everything’s a play - or some quote like that - this post is presented in Vingette-o-vision. Also known as me having been much too lazy to pack a bunch of unrelated events from the past month into something coherent and connected. Here goes.

Act 1. Scene 1. Happy Birthday to me, la la la~~~

Parry enters the scene as a 19 year old
Parry bows
Parry does a little tap routine
Parry swallows a sword
Parry turns 20
rapturous applause
Parry leaves

FUNtitled FUNtitled
June 18, 2011

Some of you may be thinking “Wow, Parry must be having a really awesome time, as he hasn’t updated his blog in DAYS.” For those of you who I am actively trying to impress, yes, my times are all awesome. For those of you who realize that most of what I do is mundane - I’ve been at work. For those of you who stumbled upon this by accident, go with the first one: I’m awesome.

Anywho, as much as I’ve tried to make programming as adventuresome as possible, there’s only so many ways to make it so. Most of those ways are obscure and hard to find and I have unfortunately haven’t found any of them. I think instead I’m going to go into archaeology - I’m not afraid of snakes and I’ve been told I look quite rugged, or at least like a rug, which has to count for something.

One thing that has made the days a little different is the fact that most of the company (and by most, I mean all. Because there are only 4 people other than the interns.) is involved in Ultimate frisbee. Last weekend was the Shanghai Invitational Ultimate tournament, of which I was the TD. What’s a TD you ask? My first guess was that I was a touchdown, a man who just by existing scored 6 points for my home team. Considering most of what I did consisted of running around with a megaphone and airhorn and trying to explain the concept of a waiver in Chinese, I don’t think my position was point based. I will assume that it means that I was the Tournament Director. Which is kind of cool.

You know what they say about China: Everything’s bigger in China. Their cards, their hair, their capacity for love, and as I’m sure you were guessing, their Dragon Boats. Now, what exactly is a Dragon Boat? Is it a boat with the fearsome prowess of the mighty dragon? Is a boat that can fly? Is it a boat that looks like it has a replica castle on it that is manned by a bunch of men who look like purple ninjas?

If you guessed the last one…well you cheated. I know you did.

So some of you (Hi mom!) might be wondering why I haven’t updated in a week. I mean, I’m in a major city of a world power, there has to be Internet, right? This is where you would be sadly mistaken. The Internet, like nice hair, is something reserved for a select few in China, namely those who know the vocabulary for “that one thing you plug into your computer to get Internet.” Also, you need to fight a bear - they’ve become quite a problem for the Chinese.

After fighting said bear and having Annie just go ahead and buy said Internet-thing, I am now up and running, without the actual running - sedentary is (one of) my middle name(s). However, that’s not to say I don’t get sufficient exercise. There’s the 10 minute walk to the subway station, the 40 minutes of sweating along with all the other commuters and then another 10 minute walk to the office, where I sit and slow roast for 8 hours. If anyone has ever tells you that Shanghai is temperate (or any other word that indicates less than 100% humidity), slap them in the face. Even if you haven’t been here to confirm that, do it anyways. For me.

Ok, ok, so it’s not that bad, but it will be, I’m just trying to get you to commiserate with me early.

Hello reader of my blog! Yes you! It’s that time of the year again: Parry goes traveling! However, as this was over winter break, it was only Amsterdam for one day and then Almaty for a week. (Hmm. AA. I wonder if that’s indicative of anything……no, of course not.)

As Amsterdam was more of a layover consisting of me walking in circles for 6 hours and then passing out on my hotel bed at 8pm from jet lag, we’ll skip that.

Kazakhstan though, Kazakhstan is the place to be. Let me start by explaining my title. What is a mambyet? Imagine a state, let’s call it New Jersey. Now imagine that that state is filled with people who exist only to destroy any hope that intelligence is default in the human species. Did your thoughts stray to Iowa? If so, that’s ok, Jersey and Iowa are both acceptable examples of this behavior. You may still be a little confused, am I right? A mambyet, for example might where sunglasses at night, not so he can, so he can keep track of visions in his eyes, but because he was unaware that sunglasses are used while the sun is up. People have moonglasses for a reason. They also look vaguely like their parents beat them with frying pans for not taking the trash out.

You have been warned.

Ok - so our last day in Marseille was not…horrible. Marseille still gave us the finger by saying it was too windy to visit Chateau d’If, so we went to Frioul Islands instead, which while not as Antonio Banderas as the other island, was a lot more “picturesque Mediterranean island.” That’s something I’m ok with - well barring my fear of water that can hold sharks (this includes everything from seas, to pools, to Lake Minnetonka). We spent the remainder of Marseille wandering around and avoiding roving gangs of underground hip-hop artists - also known as “those assholes who keep me up with their so-called ‘music.’”

With a nice, pretty day and nice wandering we had thought that Marseille was going to be nice to us and let us leave in peace. But no, karma is a bitch. Or rather, Marseille is a bitch. And a tricky one at that, a Richard Nixon if you will. Marseille let us leave just fine, but an hour outside of Marseille, in Nice (which apparently is not nice) THE TRAIN TRACKS CAUGHT FIRE. How does that happen? Who lets that happen? HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT? Needless to say we were delayed in the Nice train station for seven hours. Seriously, how long does it take to put out a fire? It either started as we were pulling in or sometime before. Marseille, we understand we hurt your feelings, but come on, maybe if you cleaned up a little, shaved, got a hair cut, some nice shoes, y’know, then maybe we could be seen in public together. Just let us get to our next destination, please.

And there aren’t even any of those edible (uh…so I’ve been told…) urinal cakes around here.

But yes, the fact of the matter is that Marseile smells like an alcoholic homeless man who peed himself. It doesn’t help that Marseille is home to a large amount of homeless men who’ve peed themselves. Get off the train - urine. Walk to the harbor - fish…and urine. Walk to the Arc de Triomphe - urine! Yay! Also, dog crap everywhere. Adding insult to injury.

Not Coming Home Not Coming Home
July 31, 2010

I have found my greener pastures. Those pastures where no matter which side you look at your side is always greener and theirs always a little bit brown. I’m talking about Strasbourg. Strasbourg is a city of many things: beautiful buildings, beautiful scenery, beautiful food, beautiful beauty. It’s very nice - the weather is great and the atmosphere very relaxing. There’s only about 400,000 people all told (compare this to the 1.3M people in Minneapolis and the metro area), it’s a very…quaint place. Not quaint in the bad sense, but in the “I can’t believe there’s a city that’s actually like this.” It’s very reminiscent of old school Germany. This is like straight up old school. Not like…70 years ago old school.

Paris, je t'aime Paris, je t'aime
July 27, 2010

First, I’d like to apologize to my sole reader, Chinese netizen XOXChailmanMeowXOX, who uses this blog to practice his English, for not updating lately. Y’know how riding first class across central asia and taking a train all over Paris makes your scatter-brained and forgetful.

Some of you may know me as a relatively straight edge Cornellian, some of you may know me as a raging alcoholic (Can I get a shout out to Blackout in Beijing ‘94!!). Knowing this, away from home and away from drinking age limits, my drink of choice is milk tea. Although, apparently horse milk is mildly intoxicating - so who knows, tea could become the next college cheap intoxicant…

But anyways, knowing that I’ve been drinking mostly tea for the last few weeks, my body is not ready for alcohol. Which makes the Kazakh custom of providing alcohol to and toasting to the guest a…physically trying custom. Cue Mr. Kuzembayev the Grandpa.

“Would you like vodka, whiskey, or Kazakh cognac?”

Not being one to pass up an opportunity to trying new things (read: not being allowed to pass up opportunities to try new things), I opted for the Kazakh cognac. As soon as I saw Ilyas say no, I knew I shouldn’t have accepted.

Cognac hurts.

July 19, 2010

Almaty, Kazakhstan.


Mountains mountains mountains.

And horse sausages (delicious).

Ok, entry over.

Seriously, though, Kazakhstan is an awesome place. Located within spitting distance of the Tian Shan Mountains, the scenery and nature in this place is quite extraordinary. While still hot, maybe 80-90 degrees, it’s not nearly as humid as Shanghai. This means that your clothing will actually dry. I like this about a city. I’ve spent the last few days hiking around the mountains surrounding Almaty and hanging out with Ilyas, Nuraziz, and their friends. There was one night where we were out quite late and decided to just go chill on a mountain and watch the sunrise. When I mean mountain, I really mean mountain, we were 2500m above sea level? We were here.

Hup Holland! Hup Holland!
July 15, 2010

In a turn of events that I can only describe as “delicious,” I am now in Holland. I have found the Netherlands to be a mysterious land, filled with fat white 40 year old women, biracial couples, Surinam, and too many tattoos.

Arriving in the Netherlands has been quite the culture shock. This was not helped by the fact that the first street I walk down happened to be the heart of the “red light district.” I have never seen so many naked people, nor smelled so much pot, nor seen so many over priced Chinese restaurants in one place. But I guess other than the stereotypical coffeeshops and what not, Amsterdam is pretty chill. However, for someone who was used to the different culture each street Shanghai had to offer (seriously, still confused by “California-esque stucco” on Fuxing Lu - How did that happen?), wandering around Amsterdam for 5 hours was a little bit meh. It was not helped by me getting lost in a thunderstorm, getting splashed by a car going through a puddle, still being lost, and then finally getting back to the hotel. That’s not to say I don’t like Amsterdam, it’s just it’s quite a bit different than my month in Shanghai. For example, in terms of “count rare things,” it’s usually “count the black people” (The answer is 31), however, here it’s “count the number of Indian+other-race couples (the answer is 0).

Harkening back to a grand tradition that has been plaguing mankind since the building large areas with buildings to visit became popular, the day you decide to go to visit these buildings it’s 95 degrees and so humid you could swim. This is interesting, because in theory it will be 95 degrees and humid all the time… Hm.

I never thought it could get so damnedably hot out. Ok, I lie. How can you forget last year’s “Happy Birthday Parry, it’s 104 out and we don’t have airconditioning!”

But being so downright awful for human habitation means that only 100,000 people were there with me! The first step to getting into the World Expo was to be hearded into holding pens to await going through security. This is where the true human comes out. Apparently it’s perfectly acceptable for 4 foot nothing Chinese grandmas to push and shove their way to the front of the line.

Content in China Content in China
July 8, 2010

There are few things that can relax a man who’s away from home. Common ones in China include blind massages, massages by people with working eyes, massages with sad endings, massages with normal, non-sexual endings. You get the drift. I, however, not knowing the word for massage am worried as to the results when I try finding a massage parlor. I do, luckily, sort of kind of know how to use a map. And maps include directions to….wait for it….


Happy Fourth! Happy Fourth!
July 4, 2010

In honor of our great nation’s independence, me, Annie, and some other quite American Chinese people decided to celebrate with a bbq. China, however, had different plans. Plans which included a torrential downpour.

Oh hey, look, Americans heartily grilling (or rather, cursing when the coals won’t light). Let’s give them…ACID RAIN. I hope you like sulfuric acid flavored burgers! Mwhahaha!

We were at Hansen Gu’s house, he’s a pretty chill dude. And by house, I mean a real house. Like, yard, dog, multiple stories, chandeliers, automatic mahjongg table. You know, average Chinese house. On that note, anyone down for halfsies (preferably quarteries or eighties…) for an automatic mahjongg table? Heck, anyone down for a game of mahjongg period? Do any of you know how to play? Why do I know how to play?

Ye Olde Chinese Ye Olde Chinese
July 1, 2010

I spent the last 5 days in Tongxiang 桐乡 visiting my friend, Millie, from my trip to China 2 years. Tongxiang is only 62 km away from Shanghai, so in theory a bus would take around an hour (if one considers highway speeds here are 60-100kmh). However going anywhere dubbed “Shanghai” is like wading through molasses wearing lead weights on the Sun.

Anyways after who knows how long I actually made it there. Millie lives with her boyfriend and his parents in a very swank 2 floor apartment. The housing market in Tongxiang, while still exorbitantly priced is apparently affordable on a government official and school owner’s salary. Yeah, Millie’s not just a teacher, she actually owns the school she works at. Due to the dismal state of the Chinese education system (pupils hate their teachers and vice-versa), apparently most of the useful learning is done in private after-school schools. Jack, the boyfriend, is a government official who I think works on mangaging security for things. As an official, the government gives him money specifically to buy a house - hence the reason why it seems like government officials in China own 3 houses. They have nothing to do with that money but to buy houses.

China is a land of many different things and what not. (My government and culture classes have been paying off, as you can tell) One thing thing they are full of, that on the surface you might not expect, is compliments. Case in point:

(After getting completely lost while trying to find People’s Square and ending up on the Bund two girls come up to me to ask for a picture)

Chinese girl 1: You are…very cute.

Girl 2: Yes! Like…Korean pop star!

Ex-pat 4 Lyfe Ex-pat 4 Lyfe
June 21, 2010

Instead of sitting on a mountain top braving wind and snow and cougers (animal and women) and yetis and taxes, Buddhist monks should be forced to wait on standby for a flight to a destination that does not like being flown to. Patience is not just the name of the game, it is also the name of every action a player in the game can do. Hell, it’s the name of the player too.

om nom nom om nom nom
June 16, 2010

The first entry is supposed to be about how you’ve found your goal in life, how travel has freed you from your earthly bonds and you’re soul is soaring in the freedom right?

This one is definitely how I’ve found that I’ve gained a belt size or two…or three…or nine. Los Angeles is filled with food. Did you know that it is possible to have more than one sushi restaurant on the same steet? Minnesota has made me think that sushi is the holy grail of foods, that one’s inability to find good sushi is some how inherent to its effervescent nature on this earth. (What exactly did I just say there…?). Anyways. Sushi. Lots and lots of sushi. I wore my “Delicious Sushi” shirt today in honor of the many rolls of sushi resting in mah belly. We also had Korean (I’m going to marry a Korean chef…or a Korean bbq plate. Almost the same.) and lunch on the beach.

The Nationalist treason and plot.
 I know of no reason, why the Communist win
Should ever be forgot. On many military emblems throughout China has 八二 (8/2), signifying the Communist “Independence Day.”

Much of CCTV was filled with praise and glory and really bad Communist music for the defeat of the Nationalists 60 years ago.

Our last week was just as epic as the Communist celebration. We ate 狗肉, which I thought was fine, but it isn’t something I’d go out of my way to get. To be honest, in the range of “less commonly eaten animals,” donkey is a lot more delicious. Our culinary deliciousness does not compare to what we did for 3 days…

Wisconsin Wisconsin
July 25, 2009

Jilin is a city of many things: water, people drinking beer next to the water, 80 degree weather, and Packer fans (this one may or may not be true). With this in mind, imagine the level of activity and busyness that we’re experiencing. None. At all. The standard schedule is a combination of eating meals, playing DS, or in Kevin and my case, studying Chinese. The routine has, however, been broken up occasionally.

Beijing was spent with


Ok ok, maybe I hyperbole…but only a little. Let us back up, shall we?

We have recently arrived in Beijing, home of really really warm weather and deserted Olympic stadiums. The day was spent wandering around the Olympic village and wandering through the Bird Nest and Water Cube. To give you a good idea of what these are imagine yourself at the Metrodome and make the white grey and you have the Bird’s Nest. Imagine 4 pools in a cube, the Water Cube. We’ll be in Bejing for 5 days, but the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are tentative.

Our first city is Bao An, located in the middle of nowhere. According to Mr. Yin, the only way to find it on a satellite map is if you knew where it was already and then looked for a giant lake thing…and then you’d be close. Bao An is a farmer’s town. It is surrounded by farms…which never seem to have anyone in them, and dirt and dense rainforest like jungles. The city itself is in the process of a rebirth or it could very well be being born for the first time. A lot of it is construction and the outskirts are littered with various mounds of rubbish.

We’re not actually there yet, but we’re leaving tonight by way of train. Wuhan is located in the east-middle part of China at the convergence of some rivers. The weather varies between 77-97 degrees and they don’t eat a lot of meat.

Yesterday we ate a super fancy restaurant that Bush and Clinton ate at with Donna and Mrs. Yin’s very well-to-do friend. HAH! I beat Barack!

Not a whole lot has gone on, but we figured that if we update now, this gets us out of updating again for awhile in Wuhan, since we won’t have access to Internet outside of dingy webcafes. (uploading here is very slow…hopefully a lot of pictures next time - I’m at 700 or so right now)

Keep is MOCIN Keep is MOCIN
June 20, 2009

Our old hotel charged 4 yuan per minute, so of course that’s way too expensive. We’re now at the Howard Johnson on Nanjing Lu and are about to go out and wander around some more. A longer update to come, just wanted to let our loyal reader base know we’re not dead.

For the epic wolf,

Parry and Yucen

(The title was on a shirt featuring Spongebob…your guess as to its meaning is as good as mine…)

About About
June 20, 1991


I have an undying love for language: everything from computational linguistics to Mandarin Chinese to typography.

I am an avid traveler and love to play badminton.

I am a budding beer drinker and a journeyman mixologist.

I like puns, video games, and pretty things.

I like steampunk, biopunk, and cyberpunk, but not really British punk.

I can spin various objects on my pointer finger.

I collect records.

I swear by LaTeX.

And I have a surprising number of dictionaries to and from languages I can’t read.

Written by Parry Cadwallader (郭一口).

Typeset in ParaType Serif.

With support from Bootstrap and Typeplate.

Source is on GitHub.