Sky as a Kite

Main menu

Cool German words - Fremdschämen

No comments
It is fair to say that Fremdschämen is not a unique German creation, as it does have an equivalent in English: second hand embarrassment. However, it is a good example on why our German word creations are awesome. While the English speakers have to make a whole phrase out of three words to describe a very common emotion, we just smash two words together and call it a day.
In preparation of this post I read some of my old diaries from the past 20 years. While my younger self was a bit naïve sometimes, I actually did not experience a lot of Fremdschämen. More like second hand envy. I had a lot of weird adventures, just by allowing myself to stumble into all kinds of situations. I also was quite a bitch sometimes. I'm not sorry. Having said that, I now have another reason to write a will, just to make sure my diaries get burned after my death.

Picture of the week - Lava Detail

No comments

This is from the eruption in 2021. I went back there in spring 2022 and it was strange walking over lava I had seen flowing out of a volcano a year ago. I also start to be really good at editing raw pictures. The details are amazing...

Update number two about this band from this bar...(Fuck apple)

No comments
I wanted to write about Fremdschämen and even made myself read my old diary for this post, but this update was too long to be put in the comments of the old post.

According to the Chinese Digital Times the band has been completely removed from the Chinese internet, with the following censorship instructions:

Carry out a comprehensive cleanup of all content related to the band “Slap” (delete encyclopedia entries, search terms, videos, lyrics, and promotional content; delete topics and hashtags, shut down Baidu Tieba “topic bars,” and remove all related merchandise) and their songs (including “Red Child’s Eighteen Wins,” “The Eighteen Dark Arts of Master Bao,” “The Eighteen Generations of Uncle Pan,” “The Eighteen Hexagrams of Boss Bei,” “The Eighteen Prohibitions of Director Ma,” “The Eighteen Verses of Director Lang,” etc.) Content that exposes and criticizes [the band or their songs] will be allowed to remain online. (August 14, 2023)

In the past three days I had also noticed the number of monthly listeners on spotify rising from 560 to over 1000. As much as I would love to believe that my posts would have had anything to do with that, my guess is that it is fans of the band "scaling the wall" (翻墙), meaning using a vpn to use sites restricted in China. As for myself, I fortunately found and saved the lyrics and chords of my favourite song before the great purge, because I want to learn how to play it.

Apple happily complied with the clean up notice and removed 耳光乐队 (Slap) from the Chinese language apple music service, because fuuuuck apple. They are still there when you switch to the US side. Guess this is the kind of things apple does to stay on the right side of the great firewall.

Funnily enough, one of the scandals mentioned in the song 红孩儿十八赢 (red son's 18 wins), is the "imprisonment" of workers in one of the Foxconn factories (apple's main supplier).

现实版万里归途 富士康大军
-The real version of the long journey home, the Foxconn army

The workers were locked in with infected workers, still made to work, without access to food and in the end staged a break out. link. If the name sounds familiar, this is the same company, which was famous for workers committing suicide, because of the horrible working conditions in 2010. Apple has been aware of workers abuses in it's supply chain for more than 10 years, but is more interested in keeping it's record profit. Fuck apple.

Let me tell you about this random Chinese band from this random bar in Beijing and why you should listen to it (and share it everywhere)

So. I have all my music (over 160 hours) on a playlist on random, which means that every now and then songs I do not even remember I had get played. Which happened the other day with 相忘于江湖 by 耳光乐队. It is a very low quality live version I downloaded from youtube long time ago. To explain how I got to know this band we have to go back to to my year in Beijing in 2007, when I was much younger and somehow simultaneously much cooler (accidentally) and much more embarrassing than I am now.

It all starts with my friend Jimmy, the only competent teacher in the TEFL course. He happened to stay in the same hostel as me during the course, and we pretty much immediately became friends. Thanks to him, we did not go out to any of the tourist bars in 后海 or 三里屯, but ended up in a small bar with live music from the very active alternative/folk/jazz scene in Beijing. It is still my favourite bar I have ever been to, mainly because somehow the local musicians hanging out in the bar (and the owner) adopted us. When there was no live music we would sit around and play guitar (Jimmy was trying to teach me a Chinese song, I still haven't mastered). One time I ended up in a private party in the staff break room? owners kitchen? some random room next to the bar drinking beer and eating sunflower seeds with the staff/musicians/friends of the owner. The owner was a member of 耳光乐队 at that time (not anymore, it seems, but he plays the saxophone on their first album) and I vaguely remember seeing them rehearsing there. I know that all sounds like a very cool thing and I sound like a very cool person, but I have my diary from that time and read some of it today to find some names and I can tell you, I had a case of Fremdschämen (that will be my next German word to write about) towards my younger self.

This all came back to me, when the song randomly appeared on my playlist. 15 years later and post COVID I wondered what had happened to that bar and that band. For all I knew the band had been a small local band with only a few clips from live shows available on the internet. Folk/Jazz fusion is after all not the most mainstream music here or in China. So I did some high level internet stalking and found out several things:
  • The bar still exists and seems to be doing well. Now I feel very sad I did not try to find it last time I was in Beijing and have one more reason to return to China one day.
  • The band is a hundred times cooler than I could have imagined. They are part of the Chinese counter culture music scene. The lyrics are absurdist social commentary and on top with the very experimental folk/fusion they are doing, which blends aspects of classical Chinese folk music with every other music style, this band is way more interesting to listen to, than I could know from the two songs I had found on youtube
  • Their latest song (a filmed live version) went viral on Chinese social media and then was promptly censored two months ago. Here is a video and explanation of the song.

I searched for any way to get their music in an ok quality, but in the end I only found them on Apple music and Spotify, which I do not use. I finally gave up and signed up on Spotify, found a way to download the songs, but kept on playing them on repeat on Spotify as I really would love to be able to actually have them get paid, especially as I remember the free beers in that bar. I also feel that they are probably not in a good position, considering their social credit score must be extremely low at the moment. So here is my appeal: Go to Spotify or Apple music and add them to your playlist. Recommend them to your friends. If anything, they are the perfect show off, hipster band to know.

Picture of the week - a gallery!

No comments
For a long time I wanted to have the possibility to make a simple photo gallery. The idea was to have a simple script which takes pictures in a folder and makes a gallery out of it. This could probably have been accomplished with some sort of javascript library, but as I can only do perl, this is what I used. It took me some time to get into it again, I haven't been doing any coding for some years, but in the end I managed. The hardest part was to get the css right to have the arrows in the middle of the page. Behold, my pictures from my trip to Canada.

And here is the script:

#!/usr/bin/perl -U

use CGI::Carp qw/fatalsToBrowser/;
use CGI':all';

my $dir="/srv/http/hiawatha/images/photos/Canada";
my $webdir="/images/photos/Canada/";
my $config_FilesExtension="jpg";
my @tempentries=();
my @entries=();
my $page = escapeHTML(param('page'));
if($page eq ''){ $page = 0;}
my $back=$page-1;
my $forward=$page+1;

opendir(DH, $dir);

foreach(readdir DH)
unless($_ eq '.' or $_ eq '..' or (!($_ =~ /$config_FilesExtension$/)))
push(@tempentries, $_);


my $newStyle=<<END;
body {
background: #000;

.arrow {
border: solid white;
border-width: 0 5px 5px 0;
display: inline-block;
padding: 30px;

.left {
position: absolute;
left: 30px;
width: 50px;
margin-top: 20%;

.right {
position: absolute;
right: 30px;
width: 50px;
margin-top: 20%;
img {
height: 100vh;
display: block;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
.forward {
transform: rotate(-45deg);
-webkit-transform: rotate(-45deg);

.back {
transform: rotate(135deg);
-webkit-transform: rotate(135deg);

print header();
print start_html( -title=>'Gallery',-style=>{-code=>$newStyle});
unless($back == -1)
print '<div class="left"><a class="arrow back" href="?page='.$back.'"></a></div>';
unless($forward == scalar(@entries))
print '<div class="right"><a class="arrow forward" href="?page='.$forward.'"></a></div>';
print '<div><img src="'.$webdir.@entries[$page].'"/></div>';

Pages: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] ...