Scrambler

​An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life in America. Live from New York.

An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life New York City.

A Big Change.

Hurroh all.

After much thought, I’ve decided to lay DonkeyFire to rest and move onto bigger and better blogging pastures. It was always a reflection of my year in Beijing, and now that that chapter is closed, it’s on to the next step.

In the coming days, my new and SEXIER blog will be live, reflecting the shininess of Shanghai, and a more refined tone: i.e. less drunken emotional horse-wank where I moan, and more documentation of the China experience, as well as an increased amount of design, creativity, humor and music.

If you desperately miss my emotional ramblings, feel free to email me and I’ll write you some PERSONALIZED TRIPE. Additionally, the entire DonkeyFire experience will also live on, with every entry stored under it’s own page on the new blog.

To snare the address of this exciting new space, email me at danielcarter01@gmail.com, or Facebook me…this one’s gonna be big (disclaimer: may not be big).

DonkeyFire 2.0?

Rumbling around today, I discovered SquareSpace, a new platform designed to take on Tumblr, PinInterest, WordPress et al. It’s great: the design functionality is way nicer than any of the Tumblr platforms I’ve found, the backend is much easier to manage, and the ultimate final product (i.e. what everyone else sees) is far sleeker.

And the best bit? It will automatically suck all your Tumblr/WordPress/PinInterest posts into your new platform, and push them back to your original platform if you wish.

Below are some examples of what DonkeyFire 2.0 could look like.

The catch? It’s $US16 per month for unlimited access.

Hmmmm. When I finally get around to doing my portfolio, this place would be perfect, and it could even sit as part of the blog.

SURVIVOR.

How can you tell a man? By the way he handles himself under adverse conditions.

Yes, this is a phrase more suited to war, famine, zombie attack or actual hardship. But it applies under even the meekest of circumstances. And with great pride, I shout out loud: “I AM A MAN.”

Why?

Because I rode my bike to work in PISSING RAIN, with one hand. BOOM. That’s right, sports fans, I gripped it and ripped it, navigating the ridiculously dangerous streets of Shanghai with a huge golf umbrella gripped in my dudely paw. Puddles? Pffft. Maniac drivers and scooter riders? MOVE ASIDE, MERE MORTALS. Traffic jams on footpath and street? I ONLY SEE GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROGRESS.

So much satisfaction.

God damn this song puts me in a good mood. Bit heavy, but nothing wrong with that.

Japandroids
The House that Heaven Built

My New Digs.

Here are some snapshots of my new place. I need more furniture, but it’s getting there. And I have a spare room, so plan a trip to Shanghai now!!

My Bedroom:

Spare room/office:

Living Room

Courtyard.

Shanghai Update.

In bullet point form, because who doesn’t love the efficiency and organizational cleanliness of a bullet point??

  • I HAVE A CAT ARMY. My new place is filled with gardens, which in turn are FILLED with cats. I am slowly beginning to form an alliance with the head cat, who is BADASS - he’s been in many fights, and has a broken ear. I call him Chairman Meow - an oldy but a goody. Anywho, there are kittens everywhere, and much meowing, and I am contemplating training this army to become my security force. Who would fuck with a guy who has dozens of loyal cats? Actually, that guy would be a huge weirdo. So scratch that plan…but seriously, there are heaps of cats here.
  • I WENT TO A FESTIVAL CELEBRATING GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES. It was amazing, drank beer and sampled 9 types of grilled cheese: fancy ones, bagel based ones, gourmet and plain. Good times.
  • IT RAINS. A LOT. After a year in Beijing, I initially liked all the rain. I am now getting sick of it, but I do get to use the word ‘moist’ a lot, which I find amusing: so many people hate that word.
  • I AM HUGELY HUNGOVER.

Drought, by Geoff Lemon.

Stumbled across this, and loved the way I could relate to the feeling of hot nights, and the before and after or a big storm. Oh, and it’s beautifully written too. Read the authors blog here.

Drought

That night tasted like grapefruit; we were
hallway silhouettes. Some hours earlier, drops

had started pocking Victoria’s state-wide parch
softening the cracked lips of reservoirs.

It was summer’s last convulsion. The heavy energy of heat
curled round us and over, even as the rains came in.

There’d been a crash in the Burnley Tunnel: explosions,
calamity. With power to the whole northern grid failing

we sat in darkness – streetlights doused, houses
thinking themselves over at the edge of vision –

watching four blind lanes of Royal Parade
snakehiss with traffic, water sheeting the roadway,

tyres unable to decide if they were planes or scythes.
Our shoebox veranda made a diorama,

a comfort to those out in the world.
With the familiarity born of shared disaster

passers-by stopped to tell us of chaos in the city:
traffic lights out, cars dismantling each other,

man undone by invention one more time.
How long has it been out up here? they’d ask.

At twelve I said I’d walk home when the rain stopped.
Cars thinned out but never ceased

though at least no more cyclist lights
scrived their laser scrimshaw in our skulls.

Veranda edges circumscribed the sky, the iron lacework
boxed it up like Chinese takeaway.

Beyond the swoop of the Parade was space
and space and space. That dirty couch was a canoe,

the road a roiling mud monsoonal river, mile-wide.
We rode the current, waiting for a break in rain

that never came; let it ride the way things ride
on nights that taste like grapefruit.

Morning was a nudge in the ribs: the clouds’ campaign
from black to ash to oyster-shell.

Water still hissed through our streets
arced from branches…turned orange?

Yes. In the ultimate redundancy
the streetlights came back on.

Kissing you was like rain the night before:
while anyone could see that it was coming

it was hard to predict when the first drop would fall.
But it always falls. With a whole night to lean on

the first kiss came as easily.
And with that rain now in its twelfth hour

and your eyes so close to mine
it was hard to dodge metaphors of droughts breaking.

Inside, the terrace dusk of your room was dark grey felt.
My hands found your hands.

The rain stopped. The earth breathed,
and as we broke the crisp of brand new sheets

it seemed that everything else
had become new.

Superstar.

So I had one of those ‘You fucking idiot’ moments last night. And I ended up near nude in a Chinese Police station as a result.

About 9pm, I returned home from a run, and after showering, felt the urge to trim my beard. Not wanting to get little beard hairs all over my nice clean bathroom, I decided to take advantage of my deck and shave al fresco. MISTAKE.

Once outside (in only undies), I heard the door click shut behind me: about half a second later my brain concluded I was locked out.

In Shanghai. With no phone, and no memorized phone numbers. No language skills. And no clothes. BUT I did have a beard trimmer, so, yeah. I shaved as I thought about what to do.

Now fully trimmed, I attempted to break into my house. This failed (FORTRESS), but made me feel less likely to get robbed. It also freaked out an old lady who lives nearby. I now faced two choices: smash the glass in the door to reach in and unlock from the inside, or go to the police station out the front, and ask for assistance. I chose the latter.

Immediately after entering the police station, I regretted not just smashing the glass. I had thought I could simply pretend my undies were some cool new white person micro short, and acted as if I wasn’t basically naked. This charade did not take, and I was immediately laughed at by 6 police officers (who immediately called every available other police officer in the French Concession).

After some hilarious miming, I got my message across: locked out, need locksmith. Being China, one arrived 5 minutes later; but not before about a dozen other cops came to laugh at me. It cost RMB100, and took the dude about 1 second (NOT FORTRESS). But at least it was a laugh.

A Little Light.

I’ve always loved neon lighting, particularly to express a message. I love the simplicity of a plain background (exposed concrete, plain white gallery wall) with a few words burning brightly. So simple, yet so powerful. Here are a few cool examples.

I Love This.

Not sure where it came from, but I can relate completely.

I Once Dated A Writer and

Writers are forgetful,
but they remember everything.
They forget appointments and anniversaries,
but remember what you wore,
how you smelled,
on your first date…
They remember every story you’ve ever told them -
like ever,
but forget what you’ve just said.
They don’t remember to water the plants
or take out the trash,
but they don’t forget how
to make you laugh.
.
Writers are forgetful
because
they’re busy
remembering
the important things.

Shanghai vs. Beijing, Part 1 of 223

Welcome to Part 1 of the exclusive and exhaustive DonkeyFire comparison between Shanghai (my new city) and Beijing (my old city). In this first installment, we’ll cover off some of the big ticket points.

Terrible Sports Bars

Beijing is not a great city for live sport in bars, with two main venues dominating (at least in my area): the Den and the Stumble Inn (otherwise known erroneously by Jen as the ‘Slippery Nipple’, for no reason). I spent most of my sports moments at the Stumble Inn, including the Rugby World Cup last year. While both terrible in their own right, Stumble only tends to only be really, out-and-out bad on a big game night: most evenings attract a low key crowd, and the outdoor deck gives the place a nearly-respectable feel.
2 out of 5 Mulroneys (the international standard for rating bad sports bars is a Mulroney, obviously).

Shanghai steps it up BIG TIME with The Camel: a monstrosity of big screens and half wits. DON’T GET ME WRONG: this is an awesome place to watch live sport, and Origin was surprisingly bogan free (although Queensland heavy, which led me to my scoring metric for bad sports bars). With what has to be close to 60 large TVs and 3 huge projection screens, it is a good place for sport. However, an unintentional wander in on Saturday night opened my eyes to the main downside of any sports bar: the weekend warriors. Fueled by cheap piss and the prospect of anything live, these bogans are SICK for being bogans. Avoid unless you are actively trying to watch sport.
5 out of 5 Mulroneys (if he ever visits, he’ll never, ever leave).

Home Delivered Food

This category sees the fledgling KK Rabbit of Beijing up against the behemoth that is Sherpas. Both offer a range of menus and dining locations, but the ability for Sherpas to deliver on time and with the food still warm gives a clear advantage. As does the name, as KK Rabbit makes no sense to me, and is stupid. Also, the Sherpas guys wear uniforms, which is more badass should an actual war between these two food slinging organisations every break out. It’s a clear win for Shanghai.

Sweaty Parties

For the uninitiated, a sweaty party is that moment when a man realizes his balls are swimming in sweat. Beijing and Shanghai are both contenders for International Sweaty Party Location of the Year (with other contenders including Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai), which requires not only big heat, but relentless heat: that week in, week out feeling of ‘damn, I have sweaty, sweaty balls.’
However, like so many things, choosing a winner comes down to moisture: in this case, airborne moisture known as humidity. Shanghai is RELENTLESSLY humid, to the point that turning up to meetings with massive pit stains is the norm. We are currently experiencing a heat wave, which has pushed the mercury well above 40 for every day I’ve been here. Beijing is HOT AS FUCK, but as old people like to say “IT’S A DRY HEAT.” And it is. Down here is a moist, squirmy, undies-sticking bad boy. It’s another clear win for Shanghai.

Self Pep Talk.

Tell yourself it’s OK. Breathe. A lot is happening. There is a lot of change. A new city, a new apartment, a new social circle starting. A new vibe, a new way of living. A lot has to change. A lot will.

Change is good, but man, it is SCARY. I’ve done this before. YOU’VE DONE THIS BEFORE. Beijing was harder…you knew no one. No points of reference, no language skills, no clue. You fumbled around, you ran into walls, you persevered. And you got there. And you did it totally alone.

Now you have to do it again, and yes, it’s different, but you’ll manage. BUT IT ALL FEELS OVERWHELMING. Yes, but again, calm down, breathe. It can’t be as bad as you think.

Stop. Breathe. Reread. It can’t be as bad as you think.