Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'm so sick of my computer

I've been working on these building/design plans for the past few months. They are still not done, but it's time to stop thinking and start building! Regardless of how "imperfect" these plans are, I'm still pretty dang proud of them.

Shout out to SketchUp, the free software program I used to create these!

Feel free to use them if you're building your own home :)






Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Our first pickup

We've been proud owners of a Ford Ranger for 1 month now and it is AWESOME! We love our Honda Fit, but this pickup has already been used to haul several loads of windows, flooring, and lumber (most of which was free/cheap). Too bad Ford discontinued this model...




Sunday, July 17, 2016

We're building a tiny house! Here's a start at our building plans. Stay tuned for more progress as time goes on ;)





Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Industrial Masculinity

I was researching an industrial company at work the other day and stumbled across this photo:


Perhaps it was the dreadful monotony and tediousness of my work that made me giggle. Or perhaps I'm still just too immature. Either way, I found it humorous that the phrase "mine is bigger than yours" applies to so many things other than bodily organs.


--
Byron Yee 余柏仁
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Guangzhou Subway - The Best??

CNN recently listed Guangzhou, China as the #1 subway system in the world. The first line was opened in 1992, just 20 years ago, and now has eight lines, 144 stations, 236 kilometers of track and well over 1.2 billion passengers.

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/life/10-best-metro-systems-746919

I agree, the metro system itself is wonderful, clean, fast, and very convenient. However, what CNN failed to take into account in their ratings is the 1.2+ billion passengers themselves.

The subway system makes frequent PSAs about offering your seat to elders - old people are notoriously the pushiest and now feel entitled to get that seat, even leading to fighting and Mike Tyson style bloody ear bites.
http://www.chinasmack.com/2012/videos/bloody-fight-between-chinese-men-for-guangzhou-subway-seat.html

But let's not wholly blame old people for poor "uncivilized" metro behavior. Just last month, a boy was just not mature or old enough to hold it. So he went potty on the subway - Number 2.
http://www.chinasmack.com/2012/pictures/chinese-boy-defecates-in-guangzhou-subway-netizens-shocked.html

All grumpy old people and feces aside, the Guangzhou subway is just an uncomfortable ride due to the sheer number of people who need to commute everyday. It takes a bit of vigilance, agility, and flexibility to maneuver yourself in between and among the flow and push and shove of people.

So, I'm not arguing CNN's ratings of the Guangzhou subway, I'm just suggesting it should also be posted as #1 on the list of "Top Ten Places to experience the subway for people who love unintentional gropage, fighting and biting, and occasional fecal matter" as well.


--
Byron Yee 余柏仁
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Taste of Home

Sure, this country has a lot of great vegetable and fruits that we can't get back at home. Peaches, lychees, and bitter melon are in season right now.

However, I always see these beautiful bright red apples that are 3x the normal price on the imported shelves of the fruit stands. Look closely and you can see the bright red sticker with "Washington" written on it. It makes me nostalgic, and so sad that the price is so ridiculously high to eat one of those here. But my buddy took sympathy over my Seattle-pains and brought back a nice juicy one for me from Hong Kong. It was the BEST apple I've ever eaten in my life.

As much as I hate Snow White and her insanely annoying singing voice, I now have an understanding for why she so foolishly accepted that poison apple from the wicked witch. However, her taste in dwarves and princes is still questionable.

--
Byron Yee
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Men's Fashion in China

Only in China have I seen men bold enough (and pretentious enough) to flaunt a Louis Vuitton belt and matching murse (man + purse). This is a country which is famous for it's copied/generic products, however, I'm 100% this man spent lots and lots of money for the real thing.

However, after exiting the fancy executive business building, I saw a beggar on the street with the same bag, but I'm equally certain that one was a knock-off.

--
Byron Yee
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Foreign Policy

I remember growing up in California and hearing people complaining about how illegal immigrants were taking over jobs and flooding the workforce. Ironically enough, these immigrants they were complaining about were the same Mexicans they were paying to mow their bright green, baseball field quality lawns.

Recently, China's expat population has started to boom, both for higher end management jobs and also for those interested in the wholesale and commercial trade of cheap Chinese products. Quite a few of these expats, many from Africa, are here illegally, and the government is starting to really crackdown on these expats.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/03/world/asia/china-foreigner-crackdown-florcruz/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

I'm not worried because I have a legit visa for work, but even those are getting more difficult to obtain. I'm not sure why the immigration office is deciding to make this an increasingly difficult process, but that's how it works. So, wish me luck as I'm currently Hong Kong right now trying to sort out my new visa...

--
Byron Yee
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chopsticks: the multi-use tool

A couple weeks ago, the door knob on our office was acting a bit wobbly. The next week, it fell off completely. Seeing as how this was the doorway to the regular hallway, but also needed to be kept closed to seal in precious A/C, it was crucial we found a quick fix until it could be repaired.

So a math teacher (of course) took a pair of disposable chopsticks which are always in abundant supply and annoyance, wrapped the plastic wrap around the sticks, and wedged it into the lock mechanism, which when twisted carefully could open and close the latch.

So for any Greenpeace, WWF, or environmentalists who complain that these chopsticks are leading to the deforestation of bamboo forests (http://greenanswers.com/blog/265539/china-and-japan%E2%80%99s-use-disposable-chopsticks-threatens-asia%E2%80%99s-forests), you'll have to complain and whine much louder when you're trapped inside your buildings with broken doorknobs and no way in/out.

The other more environmentally friendly fix is to prop the door open with a broom, which is conveniently how the men's bathroom stays open - because there weren't anymore chopsticks to be found...

--
Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China

Monday, June 18, 2012

College Entrance Exams

Every year in June, the entire country buckles down, crams, and stresses about the the much revered and much feared College Entrance Exams. Similar to the SAT or ACT, its a long, meticulous, painstaking, and mind-numbing experience. Unlike the SATs, this set of exams has the power to determine your educational opportunities, professional life, career, and the general success and prosperity of the rest of your life. So, yes these kids have a bit of pressure.

And the entire country feels this pressure. Special lines on buses and subways are designated for these poor little high school students. School buses drive like tanks or battering rams through the morning rush hour traffic. Families lie to their children about dead/dying family members as to not distract their studies. Wait - WHAT?! True story, check it out:

http://www.chinasmack.com/2012/pictures/student-learns-mother-died-only-after-finishing-gaokao-exam.html

The mom of one of these students perished in a car accident 2 weeks before her son's tests. Rather than tell him and make him more emotionally distressed, the school, police department, and family members all collaborated in a huge lie.

So, imagine this boy, finishing 3 days of intense testing, breathing a sigh of relief once laying down his #2 Pencil, just to be greeted by his family (NOT his mom or dad), saying "Congratulations! You finished! Oh, and by the way..."

The bigger question is, what would you have done????

--
Byron Yee
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China