Thursday, April 27, 2017
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You are a golden god

Ryan Day Archive

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Ryan Day

Why I Still Hate Drum Circles—Briefly

October 14th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

So, he dropped me off at the edge of this mountainy type geological formation that was covered in forest. I was glad to be dropped off. The 40 minute drive out to this seemingly random point had been filled with little bubblets of conversation like:

“That’s when I knew that Jeremy was a total psycopath and there was no choice but to pull the trigger. Him or me. Feel that?” He offered his finger for me to examine tactilely. I was assuming it was his trigger finger. There was a nodule. “Got caught in the trigger mechanism. Saved his life. Lucky, huh?”

Uh huh. (more…)


Ryan Day

Bio-Baby Daddy?

October 9th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I was sitting on a patio watching a lightning storm over the mountains that linger at every edge of the valley when a couple of girls walked up to my table.

“Are you having a good night?” the tall one screamed into my ear, startling me into spilling a little beer on my pants. There was an athletic grey rabbit tattooed on her neck.

“No!” I screamed in return.

“Why not?” she screamed back, disappointed.

“Cause it’s hot as hell and everyone in this town’s brains seem to have melted!”

She tilted her head sideways like a puppy in an earnest attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. Now she spoke in a normal tone. “Do you ever just wanna dance like a hippie?”

“No!”

(more…)


Ryan Day

Sexpo, Shantou, No No

May 25th, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

It seemed like an exhibit had finally arrived to the Shantou Cultural Center, a building which had either sat empty or hosted various dry goods sales, since I first came to reside here. Shantou Sexpo 2009. The signs guaranteed an event that celebrated the past and present of sexuality in China, to release China’s own cousin to the Kama Sutra that had been hiding deep inside all of that pent up Confucianism. It promised to be an interesting foray into the sexual revolution that I am told is in full effect all around me (note the 360 degree rotation of my head, hand perched seekingly over eyes as if in a salute to all the sexual revolution that must be just beyond the horizon of Shantou). Perhaps, by all around me, they meant 20 hours North in Beijing… Still, hopes were high that this was going to be a day filled with pearls… of the sexual wisdom of the orient.

And then I arrived… (more…)


Ryan Day

Rats Make Low Flying Kites

May 18th, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

One thing that makes me sad about the prospect of one day not  living in China: nothing will ever seem weird again. I’ve spent so many of my favorite Sundays walking about, having dispensed to me, by my companions of necessity, such Midwestern subsidized corn kernels of observation as ”holy shit-troopers!” upon the sight of a Chinese abortion ad that describes the process as, ’seven minutes in a dream,’ or the strange pronunciation of, ”Look at them’ens!” when the rare and lone Shantou punk rocker presents himself, or even just hearing it stated plainly, ”That’s weird, like R. Simmons weird!” when the old man makes the finger of one hand in the hole of the other gesture everytime we pass. I’m not sure who he’s trying to sell us, though I’m hopeful it is not himself.

I am all but certain that China has been the apex of my favorite pastime: walking around and listening to the loosely tethered ramblings of the hungover and displaced that spring up in the tired and unguarded mind of the expat suffering from his or her own self-inflicted wounds. One day I will miss my Sundays in Shantou. (more…)


Ryan Day

Tomb Sweeping

April 12th, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

Spring is here, and it’s time to sweep off the dead. Campus was overflowing with buses and well-dressed Chinese people the other day. I assumed there was a conference of some sort, but all of these well dressed people seemed to be heading from their buses into the mountains. They descended quietly from a long line of coaches parked along what we refer to as ‘the million dollar road’ (I’ll let you guess why), and took serene, rehearsed steps towards the mountain paths. I felt as if I was watching the result of some sci-fi mind control plot in which the communtiy had been infested with a bug that drove them into the mountains where they would be summarily eliminated by a giant ray gun, or maybe just a really loud note played on an inter-stellar harpsichord. It turns out, however, that the mountains surrounding the campus I live on are filled with tombs, and this was Qing Ming Jie, Tomb Sweeping Day, or the Chinese equivalent of el Dia de los Muertos. (more…)


Ryan Day

Lemon in an Open Eye

March 24th, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

There were fifteen people in the room representing eight nations. A Filipino couple was onstage performing like a pair of high school music teachers. A plump Indian man and his partner meshed ballroom dancing and sweet third grade swaying to a castrated rendition of “She’s a Little Runaway.” An Austrian and an Italian were, for god knows what reason, doing lines of salt into a rolled up one-hundred Yuan note and squirting lemons into each others eyes prior to taking one of what must have been many tequila shots.

The bar room was big and dimly lit except for the neon lights illumintating the synthetic fog around the stage as if it were our own very little Vegas. With just us fifteen it should have felt empty, but united by a common boredom which had brought us to demand the most of out limited chances for camaraderie and by a general fish-out-of-water existence that accompanied a desperation pregnant with all the magic potential of life in someone else’s borders, we could revel in the bars emptiness. We could fill out nostrils with salt and our eyes with lemon if that’s what we so chose. Of course, we could also choose not to.

(more…)


Ryan Day

Party People

March 15th, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

There were two students at the back of the room that he’d never seen before. Slackers, perhaps, making their debut appearance in week 4? Not impossible. He had himself been that kind of student. He approached them during a group activity that they were notably not taking part in. “Hey guys, are you in this class?” They shook their heads and looked nervously at one another. “Do you wanna be in this class?” He asked. They shook their heads again. “Do you know someone in this class?” His question again met by heads what were becoming markedly more like a side to side version of the bobble-head doll constructed in the visage of one of his students that had been given as a gift by said student (his brother, it turned out, owned a personalized bobble-head doll factory in a neaby Chinese town-a notion in the face of which he professes continued awe and bewilderment). “So…” He didn’t want to sound rude, but his set of contingencies for their presence was thinning “…what are you doing here?” They looked nervously up from their bookless desks. “We’re here for the party.”  (more…)


Ryan Day

The Robot King of Simulacrum City

February 21st, 2009
by Ryan Day

SHANGHAI, CHINA-

Its head, blinking red bulbous eyes and all, rises forty feet above the surface of Shanghai. Footsteps crashing down upon the beer gutted expats of the French Concession, mercifully ending slurry tongued, long winded explanations of the road to economic recovery and the eternal resiliency of capitalism, sending legions of panicked foreigners from the comfort of their 15 square blocks of imitation West, and into the Wild Wild East, the China that surrounds them on all sides…

At least, that’s the kind of king I invision a robot becoming. Maybe I’m not being very open minded. I’ve actually been desperately trying to decide if a robot leader would inherently lean left or right… Or maybe he would be steadied by some system of political and economic gyroscopes…  (more…)


Ryan Day

Rub, the Lucky Birds Foot

November 26th, 2008
by Ryan Day

SHANTOU, CHINA-

I travel by rickshaw these days, which is odd. I mean, to be comfortable with rickshaw travel is not something I ever expected. But the fresh air, the cruising under the night sky just a little buzzed after a stop at Shantou’s finest wine bar where elbows were rubbed against those of the budding bourgeois. Sometimes I think of the rickshaw as a time machine, transporting me back to a moment when the triangular straw hats and tattered short pants of the driver were no less obsolete than… rickshaws. Despite the allure, I think I’m witnessing the last days of rickshaw culture here in Shantou. Traffic is getting a little too car oriented and I can’t imagine this mode of travel making it very long in such a fast growing city. There are other bits of local culture in Shantou, however, that seem perfectly safe for the forseeable future, and one of those was exactly what I set out to explore on the back of my rickshaw last Saturday night. (more…)


Ryan Day

Copy Watch?

November 3rd, 2008
by Ryan Day

HONG KONG, CHINA-

“Sex finish?”

“Ummmm…”

“You want sex finish or you no want?”

“Ummmm…”

Suddenly the slapping and moaning from behind the curtain to the adjoining booth lost the innocence of some thin-skinned newby to the Thai massage. I should have known something was up when my masseuse kept awkwardly letting her vagina (excuse the vulgarity, but I don’t know how else to put it) rest on my upturned palm as she persisted in giving me what may have been the least effective massage a person with hands could give. But, you know, I thought maybe she was just one of the oblivious people. I sat up and unconvincingly waved off her offer while forcing a smile of disapproval. It may have been more tempting had my coworkers not been waiting in the lobby having just finished massages of their own. But even then, I wasn’t entirely sure this was one of the life paths I was willing to open up. I buttoned my shirt slowly, wondering if I was going to change my mind.

“It okay… You no have to.” She said with a smile. I was relieved. For a second there I thought it might not be up to me. But I left the booth, self-respect intact, even if my will had been called into question

My coworkers were waiting in the lobby, looking refreshed from their massages. “How was it they asked?” I squinted and gave it three or four seconds of earnest thought. “Good.” I said. And I meant it.

(more…)