Me and Chairman Mao
  The shape of things.
Lately I've been thinking about the phrase "form follows function"--that the way things look should be secondary to their function. I don't know whether this is true or not, since it seems to me that the design of something is an important part of the overall whole. If you don't believe me, just look around and see how many Pontiac Aztecs are still--or were ever--on the road. And if you have no idea what an Aztec is, that just proves my point. Or rather, it further proves my point, since my point was proved when I first mentioned the Aztec--it's not my fault that you're ignorant and slash or didn't watch the first season of Survivor, during the course of which the Aztec was heavily advertised.

(Side note, are people who are ignorant technically considered ignoramuses? Just wondering. For your collective sakes, of course. I know, I'm like a saint.)

Anyway, as I was saying, I have no idea whether or not form comes before, during, or after function, but here in Beijing they seem to be on an equal footing. I know this because the other day, as I was strolling down to Starbucks to get a bag of ground coffee for use in my crappy, Chinese-via-Sweden-made French press (that is, I bought it at Ikea), past the local holiday beer tree, I happened to look across the street and make an incredible discovery.

Guess What They Sell Here?

Yes, I had inadvertently stumbled across our friendly neighborhood beer stand. (I'm guessing that late at night people stumble into, not across, it. Just a thought.) But really, it's good that it's there? This way, if you are admiring the beer tree, are highly suggestible, and think "Hey, I could sure go for a nice, cold beer," there's an entire stand full of cold beer waiting for you just across the street. That, my friends, is what they call Chinese Wisdom.

(Another side note, Christmas decorations are still everywhere here--they remain up and on in all the stores. At this point, I'm guessing they'll just tear down the Santa faces and leave the lights up until February, at which point they will magically become Chinese New Year lights. Or, as they say here, plain old "New Year Lights." Or at least they would if they spoke English.)

But back to the beer stand. It is, granted, a little odd--in the way that all oversized, Fiberglas mugs of beer that double as stores must be--but at least it makes a certain kind of sense. However, as I continued on my way down the block, I saw another oddly shaped stand. This one, however, was a little more confusing.

Your Guess Is as Good as Mine

No, I have no idea either. Although all I kept wondering is whether or not Keebler makes their cookies in China. That, I think, would explain quite a bit. Now I didn't see any elves, so I can't be sure if this Keebler theory of mine is correct, but I fully intend to go back and find out. I'm guessing my odds of seeing aforementioned elves will be much better if I stop at the beer stand for a while first. Conveniently, it's right on the way …

Local dub. We watched Finding Neverland last night. Sadly, there were no English subtitles available--or so I thought. We put in the movie and started watching it, and were both amazed by how clean of a copy it was. Good colors, good sound, and no one blocking the screen on their way to the bathroom or concession stand. In short, it was a perfect copy.

(On yet another side note, the next time you are watching a movie on its opening weekend, please take care of all that stuff--bathroom, popcorn, etcetera--BEFORE you take your seat. That way, you can just sit there and enjoy the movie without worrying about getting up and missing anything while doing the bathroom, popcorn, etcetera thing. And, even better, we won't have to see your head in the middle of the screen when we're trying to watch the movie on DVD. I mean, seriously, it's really distracting. Your cooperation would be appreciated.)

Anyway, after about ten minutes a subtitle did appear for about thirty seconds, only to disappear and then return every fifteen minutes or so for the rest of the movie. Happily, this subtitle explained both the lack of Chinese-style subtitles and the overall video quality. How? It said: Property of Miramax - For Screening Purposes Only. Lovely, I know. Does this mean that I now get to vote for the Academy Awards? I hope so. I mean, someone over in L.A. has to start picking the right movies. I mean, Titanic? Seriously ...

Now I have been sitting here far too long, but this is really nice, and I will read it later, this about form following function and those photos.

Nothing is known about China. Since bloggers always write about the things they don't know, I wrote a complete post, put in everything I knew and published it to see what would happen.

Nothing happened!
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