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pré·cis 摘要 issue seven volume one

april.twenty fifteen


pré·cis publisher & editor: chris stecher associate editor: maggie lee associate editor: tracy wang lead translation: maggie lee graphics: stech design photography: stech, melissa davis, eric sherman, sujinyan, katlyn murray, YPDR, edward lalonde, aram sohigian, gaylynn thornton, chris wheeler, edward lalonde, maggie lee, tracy wang, john yingling, jude domski contributing writers: timothy k. simons chris wheeler, chris parizo, william griffith, katlyn murray, cheryl lister, aram sohigian, edward lalonde penelope rocketship, jamie lynn bellanger banta, maggie lee, tracy wang, john alexander, charles watson, allen johnston, ICVS, john yingling, melanie eugenie nunnink, cartoonist: joel fremming ___________________________ content submissions and /or letters to the editor are welcome. please keep letters to 250 words,submissions to 750 words, photos and images need to be at least 200 dpi at size. contact :

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT IMAGES AND CONTENT All images and content are wholly and completely owned by the respective contributor. No redistribution of images, artwork or republication of any content can be made without written authorization of the individual contributor. 01


editorias {rant} ~ 2 decibel tour Review {Music} ~ 3-4 gigs {art and love} ~ 5,6 from the bay to beijing {travel} ~ 7-9 rattlesnake taproom interview {beer} ~ 11-13 datona bike week {the ride} ~ 16-19 word on the street {music} ~ 19-21 life off the grid {travel} ~ 24-27 acting {theater} ~ 28-29 the connectome {science} ~ 30 - 33 mikkeller bangkok interview {beer} ~ 34, 35 when a student dies {teaching} ~ 36, 37 the music industry {music} ~ 38 - 41 ICVS dogs {Pets and Animals} ~ 42-44 beastly diction {fiction} ~ 46-49 profiles in helping YPDR {stepping up} ~ 50, 51

the world underground interview {music} ~ 52-55

expat nine ball ~ 56 when the spirit calls I awaken~ {spirituality} ~ 63

this war of mine ~ {game review} ~ 66 - 67 images ~ 11, 14, 58, 59, 60-62, 64-71 cartoon {joel fremming} - back page pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


pré·cis editorias Images of life

I usually use this space to rant about something or another that has been bothering me, usually with dark undertones. Issue 7 will be different. One of the reasons I started this mag was because I wanted to put some focus on photography, writer, and artists. Works that are good, and people who rarely, if ever, get credit for their work. Let us focus in this issue on photography for a second. I have been shooting since my parents gave me a Kodak 110 for my tenth birthday. I always liked trying, as all good shooters do, to get THE shot. The one that after you developed it spoke not only to you, but moments that would grab other people by the balls. You had to actually wait to see what you shot, and like the soldier in the trenches, you only had so many shots, so you had to make them count. Not so much now. And it’s a pity. It’s a different era now, where film shooters are getting too infrequent. I miss that. I miss developing. I miss the chemicals. I miss the darkroom. Having your apartment smell like a chemistry lab had a certain flair. Chicks dug it. Whatever. It’s a different era. I now shoot with whatever digital is available, and have more appreciation for those who still go at it old school, Matt Thorsen, Jeff Howlett , Ben Tang, Rudy Amedeus , and others who continually blow me away with their work. You can go to their links and you pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

wife & child

My wife (Shanshan) and I spent a Saturday night last September at the Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel. This was at a time when her mother was still living with us, and her father was over most of the day as well. A crowded house is great, but we like to have some private time once in awhile. Shanshan’s parents brought our son (Chong Chong) with them when they picked us up from the hotel on Sunday. After letting him climb and crawl around the room for awhile, we got him undressed and into the tub. Shanshan, who had brought along a swimming suit, changed into it, and joined him. When it was time to get out, I suggested that they give the shower a try… it had a waterfall shower head on it, which I though he might like.

Su Jinyan is an American-born photographer and writer who has lived in Beijing for over eight years. He and his wife live in an apartment with their young son, two cats, and a dog. He can be contacted at or +86 186 1113 0683. His blog can be found at

The photograph was taken soon after they got into the shower… Shanshan still in her fairly modest one-piece swimsuit. I loved photographing him — safe in his mother’s arms — reaching-out to experience the falling water for the first time. I also liked his lines, and capturing the droplets of water. (Shanshan’s parents were also with us in the bathroom... her father clicking away with his camera as well.) And, well, that she appeared to be naked, and in a pose… although perfectly natural and quite motherly… some people might construe as being pornographic. (Editorial note: It is not pornographic. It is how things should be. Without judgement.)

too will be stunned.

you are a pro in what you do artistically. It doesn’t matter if you shoot with a three thousand dollar camera or a crappy cell phone camera. There are no rules or guidelines to your art.. Never has been, and there sure as shit never should be.

The aforementioned shooters are world renowned. Professional trigger folk. And I have had the honor of hanging with these guys. But I feel that are others, just as good, whose work needs to be seen. This is what I try to accomplish with this magazine. (well that and it Take a look at his work and while you are at it, take a look at the other photoggets me free beers... ) raphers like Jude Domski, Ed Lalonde, One guy in particular I met through my Melyssa Davis, Eric Sherman and travels is Sujinyan. We met over beers, others you have never heard and he wanted to just submit his work of… These shots are windows on sky-scapes in Beijing.. But his other of people’s experiences. It’s a work was so compelling that I had to finger on their souls. make one of his shots this issues cover. I mean I HAD to have it. And I want They deserve consideration. to thank Sujinyan and his family for As do all artists who never get letting me grace the magazine with it. headlines. You would do well seeking out the lesser known The point is, it really doesn’t matter if creators of art.



DECIBEL Magazine Tour, 2015 Featuring:

At The Gates, Converge, Pallbearer, Vallenfyre and Montreal’s, Phobocosm ________________ Théâtre Corona Virgin Mobile 2490 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal Quebec, H3J 1N5


April 9th, 2015. As dark clouds loomed overhead, patrons slowly made their way inside the Corona Theater for this year’s promising edition of the Decibel Magazine tour. Having CARCASS last year headline the event would be no small task to “best” but editor-in-chief, Albert Muldrian and co. have pulled out all the stops with Sweden’s, AT THE GATES being the pinnacle of tonight’s entertainment. Add to that VALLENFYRE, PALLBEARER, CONVERGE and Montreal openers, PHOBOCOSM and fans were certainly prepared to raise Hell...and they did. Starting at the ungodly hour of 6:30pm, it’s a shame that PHOBOCOSM didn’t receive the audience they so richly deserve. Having re03

review & photos: Chris Wheeler

“We are Blind to the World Within us, Waiting to be Born” leased their debut, “Deprived” late last year, those in the know (AND in attendance) heard a plethora of dense and heavy wall of sound which ended with a criminally short stint after only half an hour playing time. With an impenetrable wall of guitar fuzz, no stage banter was had as the band bulldozed through songs with confidence. Guitarist, Samuel Dufour, headbanged with vigor while vocalist, Etienne Bayard, deeply growled from the darkest reaches of Hades. Reminding of NILE during the slower moments, the epic quality of the songs nicely translated well (as usual) from record to the stage and before anyone would know it, the set came to a quick close. Originally a tribute to the passing of his father, Gregor MacKintosh went about forming VALLENFYRE in between work in PARADISE LOST. The debut album, “A Fragile King” set the wheels in motion for dirty Death Metal with Doom influences but on their second, “Splinters”, fans hear more of a Crust-Punk sound that was greatly featured in their performance last night. Coming off between early PARADISE LOST and crusty- Swe-Death, the Englishmen played a solid gig that beaconed fans to headbang with frenzy! After a few short numbers, MacKintosh seemed to emerge from his

shell engaging the fans a little more as “Cathedrals”, “The Grim Irony”, and “Splinters” (among others) all met with much applause, especially “Humanity Wept” which triggered the first pit of the night - a job well done! Slowing the pace considerably, Arkansas natives, PALLBEARER, brought forth the Doom! Long sequences of heavy instrumentation with a pronounced hypnotic affect met the crowd head on as onlookers gazed upon the scene, heads contorting back and forth. Sound wise, PALLBEARER definitely know how to utilize their weapons as a noticeable absence of a bassist (Joseph D. Rowland was held up at the border coming through to Toronto the night before) didn’t seem to diminish the power of their sound, but added that extra touch of heaviness when VALLENFYRE’s bassist joined in support to close the set. Though some seemed rather stoic, the band’s penchant for sludgy dirges didn’t fall on deaf ears as the crowd’s reaction could attest. Periodic wails from vocalist, Brett Campbell, cut through a bit of the monotony and offered something a bit different but the times he used the microphone sadly was few and far between. Simple riffs pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

played repeatedly can be a charming way to venture off to unknown imaginary worlds but squeezed between a Death Metal act and CONVERGE, soon after, may have left some scratching their heads, including this reviewer. Still, a tight and crowd pleasing half hour left others wanting more. As the first note rang out from the Massachusetts Hardcore Metallers, CONVERGE aimed to decimate the entire place with fierce energy and high rolling frenetic rage! A huge circle pit immediately formed and bodies pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

flew relentlessly into one another, sometimes unintentionally. Prancing about the stage, screamer Jacob Bannon appeared possessed and like an animal trapped inside a cage, using the microphone as an aural bomb! Crouching and face to face with fans, the atmosphere was at its peak thus far and with cuts from albums, “Jane Doe”, “Axe to Fall” and “All We Love We Leave Behind” the crowd went ballistic! Playing to a voracious audience, the 45 minute set was once more, too short. Everything anyone’s ever heard (or experienced) about AT THE GATES live certainly knows what to expect: full on, melodic Swedish Death Metal at its very finest! With frontman, Thomas Lindberg and the brothers Bjorler wielding their guitars and taking no prisoners, the Gothenburg natives lived up to their reputation, and then some, performing a vast array of songs spanning their entire career, giving fans what they wanted. A barrage of fury was thrown out to the onlookers who in turn threw it back with contorted bodies flying in every direction! Shouts of “Ter-

minal Spirit Disease!!!” and “I feel my soul go cold; only the dead are smiling!” morbidly elevated the spectacle with raised horns and pumped fists in tow. Not wasting any time, the band ran through newer songs from their last album, “At War With Reality” in “The Circular Ruins”, “Eater of Gods”, “Heroes and Tombs” and evening closer, “Night Eternal” all of which went down swimmingly. However it was the Classics that yielded the biggest reactions, especially when the “Blinded by Fear” intro was suddenly heard. “Cold”, “Raped by the Light of Christ”, “Under a Serpent Sun”, “Windows”, “Suicide Nation”, “Nausea”, and “Kingdom Gone” all received amazing applause (among others) and fans left satiated and spent. Go!

Chris Wheeler continues to write show/album reviews and interviews for Montreal Metal shop, “La Bête Noire Emporium” and freelances his work wherever needed. His work can also be read on Facebook under simply, “Chris Wheeler”. 04

MATERIALS SPEAK: 2nd contemporary Exhibit of Female Sculptors @798 Artspace

Artist: Kang Yue / Violence meets soft / wood iron balloon

Artist: Xia Feifei / A piece of Cigarette / Resin, Ready-made Articles

Artist:Cao Yun / Lost II / Bronze

Artist: Lin Yi / Private Order / mixed media



Artist: Lin Yi / Private Order / mixed media pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Will & Anita’s Wedding @ Love in the PRC

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gigs. 06

travel. by Aram Sohigian

From the Bay to Beijing Day 14 in Beijing: You Are 民 together they mean people. Literally At Liangmaqiao B (bi) means currency 币. So person and people currency. Station. Already. Honestly. Makes sense to me. Line 10 to my work. This is At an exchange rate of 6.1RMB actually not that full. The Beijing Subway. Truly efficient and amazing. Clean. Fast. And the translations provoke smiles.

Line 10 to my work. This is actually not that full.

The Beijing Subway system started in 1969. Until 2002, there were only 2 subway lines in Beijing. There are 17 now. There will be 19, total, by 2015. They have the second longest subway system, measured by distance, and third highest annual ridership, in the world. to the U.S. Dollar a subway ride The Subway has 2.46 BILLION costs about 32 American cents. stops a year. They deliver an Yep, you can ride for miles and average of 8.5 million people a miles and pay 32 pennies only. Does anyone even use pennies day to their destinations. in the States anymore? I know Beijing knows how to build I didn’t. subways and move people. Buses, by the way, are .4RMB or The price of a subway ride in about one American nickel. Beijing, with as many transfers as you want, is 2RMB. RMB is As I ride the subway, there is both the English term for the Chinese a Mandarin voice and an English Yuan or Quai. The Chinese voice informing the subway script for yuan or quai is 元. The riders of the information about literal translation of RMB rather where the train is heading, the informative about the culture: next stop, and most importantly R (ren) stands for person 人. M what stop you are at currently. 07 (min) stands for people

And the serene voice that comes from above means in a very literal sense. I get off at the Liangmaqiao (pronounced, in my horrible accent, as “Lee-ang-machiao”)10 line to get to my work. When the train arrives, the voice states one of two points: “We are already at Liangmaqiao Station” or, my favorite, “You are literally at Liangmaqiao Station.” I smile and start laughing a little bit when I hear this and start wondering who did this translation and why it is so literal and specific. I would think that the common translation would be, “You have arrived at Liangmaqiao Station” but to each city, country and culture, their own. It is one of the joys of living in a new city, a new culture, and in many ways, a new life. So much of it is wonderment, joy and magical. So, next time you go anywhere, literally be there. You already are. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

The Beijing Subway system. It but I haven’t heard a lot about Day 12 in Beijing: Apartment Werewolf of is very fast, clean and easy to muggings and things like that. I hunting…A Beijing? digress. So it goes. use. ------------------------------------------ One Man Lying. One Man Sitting. Two Men Smoking. A Koan? Day 13 in Beijing: Sleep When You Can. And Where You Can. As I was walking, I discretely took a snapshot of the two Part II awake men with my iPhone. He sleeps outside the makeshift After walking on, and looking shelter. at the picture, I realized they seen me trying to take the Again, sleep when you can. And had picture and had waved at the where you can. camera. Sadly, the picture was I have yet to figure out exactly slightly out of focus so I decided how this works. Feel free to to go back, say “Ni hao” and pantomime a request to take their pictures. Both of the men in the “sheltered area” were awake and very friendly. They laughed at me and told me to go ahead. I took three pictures, the first two which I did not like, and then a final third that caught them and their attitudes perfectly. I told them, “Xie xie” (thank you in Mandarin) and was started He sleeps outside the makeshift shelter. to walk away. The man lying down waved me over, looked at the picture, and broke into a explain it to me if you know. huge smile and started laughing The two men that were awake more. The other man looked at seem to live “inside” this semi- it and nodded appreciatively. shelter. The third man, who It is almost like a temple. I’ve works with them, doesn’t. Every never seen it move and it runs time I’ve seen him he is sleeping 24/7. Three men guard it at all on that tiny mat and has no times. covers or protection at all. I’ve only seen him sleep during the I told them again, “Xie xie” and day so maybe he stays up at glided off towards my subway night and that is why he doesn’t stop. need protection or covers? Wearing a smile a mile wide. This is the large generator that seems to run twenty four hours My spirits lifting higher than the a day, seven days a week. I Beijing sun, figure, as much as I can tell, that it is the job of these three which rose to greet me. men to sit there, wait there, and Good morning to some. sleep there, and make sure the generator doesn’t run out of Good night to others. fuel or break down. And, most likely, to make sure no one steals May everyone on this Earth it. From what I’ve seen thievery is pretty minimal in Beijing but Sleep where you can. this may just be because I’m not And when you can. aware of it. I know bicycles can be stolen -----------------------------------------lot pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015 a

These are the shoe covers I wore to go into apartments. They give them so you don’t have to take off your shoes every time you go in an apartment. For some reason my title reminded me of Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. No idea why. Maybe because I’m hunting for apartments? Maybe because I’m Armenian and Jewish and have hairy arms and legs? That was probably way more information than you wanted to know. Forget it, back to the apartment hunting. Apartment hunting. Like nothing we have in America. I guess that goes without saying since i’m in a country halfway around the world but it bears repeating and here’s why.

One Man Lying. One Man Sitting. Two Men Smoking. A Koan?

It is basically impossible to find an apartment by yourself in Beijing. Being that I don’t speak Mandarin, the dominant language in Beijing, that might be a silly point to make to everyone. However, the language has nothing to do with it. Landlords deal directly with rental agents here. You all an agency, they come pick you up in a private car, and then they call different landlords at each apartment complex and set up appointments for you. If the landlord is busy, you 08

don’t see an apartment. If they are free, they may or may not be there when you see the apartment, it is very different from America. I met Cathy and Christina, which are definitely not their Chinese names, and they were both 24 years old, college graduates and spoke fantastic English. They were also both very friendly, happy and considerate. They also smiled a lot and were very professional about everything they did and tried their best to find out exactly where I wanted to live. They showed me a few different apartments that ranged from 600 square feet studios to 1000 square feet one bedrooms. Prices ranged from $1000 to $1800 American and, if these apartments were in San Francisco, they would cost about twice to three times the price. They were all in the Western District, called Sanlitun, and this is similar to the best districts in San Francisco. The rooms were recently renovated and are beautiful inside. Some of the apartments have gyms inside them and others are located on top of malls that have restaurants that will actually deliver to your door if you call them for a meal. Winning!

real estate agent.


However, this is where it gets Honestly, you sleep when you tricky: Real estate agents, like can and where you can. That is Cathy and Christina, get paid about it. to find you an apartment. the

hunter, in this case me, won’t pay them directly but they will get one month’s rent from the landlord. Therefore, there is a serious conflict of interest in regards to them bargaining for lower rent for you because they are immediately giving themselves a cut in commission. That being said, both Cathy and Christina were recommended by my agency and seem to be very honest and upfront about the money issue and did not try to hide it. I appreciate the honesty as many foreigners don’t know about this business issue and they could have not Something I really love about mentioned it at all. Beijing are the names of the As to how apartments are rented apartment complexes. So far I’ve in America, they seemed very visited East Avenue Apartments, surprised and thought it would Château Edinburgh, Forte be difficult to find a home in a International, International city you don’t know well and I Wonderland and will see Private agreed. I could not imagine Castle tomorrow. trying to find an apartment by in this city. It would be At the end of my apartment myself more than hunting, I mentioned to Cathy is for sure! one blog entry, that and Christina about how apartment hunting is done in ------------------------------------America and the differences between the two. We also talked Day 11 in Beijing: Sleep when about how you can bargain for you can. Where you can. a lower rent with the landlord and this is almost expected in I’m guessing this is a construction apartment hunting, as it is with worker. Or a demolition expert. many things in China. This Or a shop owner. Or a rock star. Or a person that just needed a 09 is part of their job as your

Sometime you just have to nap.

Mind you, this is at 4 in the afternoon, in a highly populated area with many high rises and apartments close by. This man is on the corner of where I work. There is a 4 or 6 lane main road right beside him depending on which direction you go at this corner. It is not, in any way, relaxing or quiet. And yet, he is sound asleep. And looks fairly happy and comfortable. Sometime you just have to nap.

Aram Sohigian moved from San Francisco to Beijing to work as a psychotherapist. He started a blog about his experiences two weeks before arriving and has posted once a day about his travels around the world since June 5th, 2013. His blog is www.fromthebaytobeijing. com pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


hong kong

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by: Maggie Lee

Rattlesnake Taproom, Sunhe. How did you decide to open a brewpub?

When we moved from 3rd ring Sanlitun to 5th ring Sunhe, there were certain trade offs. Much cheaper rent, less traffic and closer to work were the pros. But moving into a newly built city with only 40% occupancy we had to give up on a couple of perks such as music clubs and craft beer brewers within walking distance. That was a big con. Although we have friends like Brandon at iBrew who deliver cases of his Punk IPA and Mango Love, we started to miss the fun of walking up the street and grabbing a pint of something other than (my beloved) Tsingtao. Thankfully, one day while shopping at the Kang Ying Fresh market, I happened upon Rattlesnake Brewers, Where I met up with the Owner Snake, his Manager Moon, and a cast of other local characters who graced the opening of Sunhe’s first bar of note. Our newest associate editor and translator extraordinaire Maggie Lee gives us the interview of the first, and hopefully not the last we have to say about Rattlesnake Taproom. 11

Xu Wei Guang (Snake): My first experience trying craft beer was when I was studying in the university of QILU, capital city of Shangdong Province in central east of China, the fascinating taste was amazing, making me love it immediately. My major was biotechnology, thus, opening my own craft beer bar was implanted in the back of my mind. Dominic: we worked together at a trading company in Beijing. The first time he turned me on to a German craft beer, I was hooked. I was working on a masters a Masters Degree in fermentation from Tianjin University of science pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

and technology. And then Xu (Snake) came up with the idea for a brewpub. _____________________

Why and when did you decide to open the brewpub and how did you get your funding? Snake: More and more people from China locally are starting to love craft beer, but not all of them can find the place to enjoy it. Fortunately, I saved enough funds after working and I met Dominic, who has the same interest, and of course he has what I mostly need, is that his background. Then, we triggered our brewpub project last June.

Snake: we are a small operation, so we have other people cook and bring in the food. Everything from fresh seafood, to Harbin sausage, to American fried chicken. Yes, we do have the menu but the offerings from RATTLESNAKE menu are mainly our craft beers, fruit beers, wine and whiskey. Otherwise, lots of Chinese snacks what we ordered from traditional brands can be found. I am sure that the unique taste

the main clientele group will be people who work or live around SUNHE. I imagine that people will come here after a day of heavy work, ordering a glass of quality craft beer, sitting there without a keyboard and enjoying the music. It’s a beautiful and satisfied scene, for all the people we call RATTLESNAKE’s. _____________________

How did you decide on Sunhe? Why not Lido or Sanlitun?

Now we are here, and you can see we still have room to improve, not only the quality but introducing other flavors. Dominic: Thanks to Snake`s funding, it gives me the opportunity to make my dream come true, offering craft beer to customers without artificial ingredients was my dream, I aim to be special on the producing process, to keep our historical brewing technology instead of industrial manufacturing. _____________________

You have a small menu. Do you have a kitchen? Would you like to expand the menu? pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

will impress anyone who ever try RATTLESNAKE. Expanding the menu also the place is already in progress. _____________________

Who do you expect your clientele will be? Snake: RATTLESNAKE welcomes all friends who like and are fascinated with craft beer. Definitely,

Dominic: We did our homework to investigate the place and people. SUNHE is a better choice, because there are people who like craft beer, but no place for them to enjoy near SUNHE. It is more challenging to start a new bar in LIDO or SANLITUN, and those places do not fit RATTLESNAKE now. We believe we can have a good future in SUN- 12

HE, just as old saying in China ‘ Good wine needs no bush’ . _____________________

Do you expect to expand or do other locations? Snake: First of all maintenance of our current place and satisfaction of our clientele nearby is our priority, we will expand to other locations when there is enough funds and brand broadcasting by word of mouth. _____________________

Your Location here at the market in Kang Ying is a little out of the way. Are you going to Advertise? Snake: Frankly speaking, there is a lack of advertising sources in KangYing market, or Sunhe so currently we depend on customer`s work-of-mouth marketing within their social net, attracting more and more people to come to try us out. _____________________

What Craft Beers do YOU prefer? Snake: We mainly have 4 kinds of flavors in RATTLESNAKE, they are wheat beer, IPA, STOUT and RATTLESNAKE with unique taste of each of them, personally I like the one with name of our brewpub, it is our shop signature product with a special taste that can only be found here.

13 _____________________

Are you on Facebook, Wechat or other social media? Snake: We are on Wechat now, and seeking other media to do efficient brand broadcasting. _____________________

Do you accept Credit Cards? Snake: Yeah, we have the POS machine to rush credit cards. We take cash and other payable cards, maybe alipay soon. _____________________

What impressed you most when you opened the brewpub? Snake: Like most of the start-ups, we met difficulties that nearly killed our dream. But thanks to friends we overcame those blocks to achieve what we have today. To those people we say Thank You! _____________________

RATTLESNAKE CRAFT BEER Address: A-04 Shitongjiaxin Market, Sunhe, Chaoyang district, Beijing Ph: 131 4635 5405

Maggie Lee, graduated from Capital University of Economics and Business. She loves working on User Interface Design, writing the occasional article, food and traveling. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


photos: © Sujinyan

beijing Street Food

A Corner at Night

Bicycle and San Lun Che



Rush 3

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Datona Bike week 2015

When you live in a northern climate the winter can get long. This winter was particularly harsh on New England, so it was with much anticipation when I planned and packed for a trip to Daytona Beach in sunny Florida for Daytona Bike Week. I was packed for over a week and on March 4 yet another winter storm was moving across the continental United States toward the northeast. I was going no matter what so I hitched up my trailer containing my Buell Blast to my Chevy Astro van and began my drive from northern Vermont to Florida. I drove down to Pennsylvania to pick up my riding buddy Kevin at his house near Philadelphia and on Thursday morning we loaded his Super Tenere and headed south down Interstate 95 through the storm “Thor”. It was a white knuckle drive but Astro the wonder van has all-wheel drive and with most people staying home we made it to southern Georgia before midnight. On Friday we pulled 15 into the Daytona

The Ride

Story and Photos by: Ed Lalonde

International Speedway infield and set up camp during a windy rain storm. We had arrived to what many snowbound northern motorcyclists dream of, Daytona Bike Week! The rain followed us down and the weather report started looking ugly but Saturday dawned clear and sunny. After exploring the marketplace at the track we pulled our bikes out of the trailer and went for a ride to the Iron Horse Saloon in nearby Ormond. Our week of beer, bikes, and bands began in fine style. The Iron Horse Saloon is a great biker bar, an outdoor compound where you park your bike inside the bar and can watch the mayhem from an upper deck. It is my favorite bike week bar, a great place to get up close to rocking bands and to bike and people watch. We caught the Cold Hard Cash show, a Johnny Cash tribute act, and then Jared Blake. Jared’s music is what I would describe as kick ass southern country rock and one of my two favorite bike week bands. After Jared we returned to the track to catch the first of the week’s

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racing action, the AMA Pro Supercross. The Daytona Bike Week rally began in 1937 and racing was, and continues to be, a defining element. If it has two wheels and a motor there is a race

plate of oysters and a fish sandwich during sunset we returned to camp fairly early and watched Wild Hogs on the tv I brought. After checking out the quad races Tuesday morning we went to the

The Daytona Bike Week rally began in 1937 and racing was, and continues to be, a defining element. If it has two wheels and a motor there is a race for it. The professional supercross races were fantastic with sky high jumps that trilled the huge audience. These guys were really fast and fearless! for it. The professional supercross races were fantastic with sky high jumps that trilled the huge audience. These guys were really fast and fearless! On Sunday and Monday we watched the amateur motocross races and on Tuesday pro four wheelers raced on a slightly modified version of the track, which occupied the area between pit road and the start/finish line of the speedway. When we were done watching races on Sunday we took a ride up to the Iron Horse for some more music, bike watching, and, of course, beer drinking. By now we stopped looking at the weather report because it was gloomy and, fortunately, always wrong. We had 80 plus degree sunny days all week.

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On Monday we took a nice long ride out into the hill country to the west of Daytona and ended the day at JB’s Fishcamp in New Smyrna Beach. After a

marketplace and test rode a few new model bikes. I really liked the Indian Scout, which has 100 rear wheel horse power in a fairly small cruiser style bike, and the Yamaha Raider, which has an unknown amount of horse power and a huge amount of torque. Afterwards we took our bikes on a ride down onto Daytona Beach. You can drive on the beaches in Florida and it is something you have to do at some point during the week. It was here that the Buell began to backfire and act like something was clogging the fuel flow. This would become an ongoing issue for the next couple of days. For the evening we went south to New Smyrna Beach to Pub 44 to catch some music and have some good beer. There is a big stage out back and a classic rock cover band was cranking out the likes of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac. It was a beautiful and enjoyable night but we returned to the track early to get 16

the van to go out to Main Street in Daytona Beach. Main Street is the bike week biker epicenter with two outdoor stages and numerous bars lining the street. It was in full swing when we got there. Dirty Harry’s was rocking an 80’s heavy metal band on their outdoor stage and we had a few beers and did some people watching there before heading across the street to the Full Moon Saloon. My other favorite bike week band, Jasmine Cain, was playing on their big outdoor stage. She rocks hard and puts out 110 percent all the time! It is great stuff, too. When we stepped through the door to the indoor bar to use the bathroom there was a country band playing to a handful of hardcore fans. It was a bit of a twilight zone moment stepping from the rocking sound of Jasmine Cain directly into the twang of country, but that is part of what 17

makes Daytona bike week so great! On Wednesday morning we had a mission to fix the Buell and it was soon discovered that the intake boot had a split in it. I went up to Destination Daytona in Ormond to the biggest Harley dealer in the country to find a replacement. They didn’t have the part I needed but did give me some new silicone type glue to try. Destination Daytona is a huge biker marketplace for bike week. They were hosting a bagger bike show which I explored. The baggers aren’t my style but are very cool to look at and expensive. There are thousands of dollars in the paint jobs alone and custom work everywhere. We got a big dose of the bikes at bike week before going to the Iron Horse once again to catch the owner of the place on stage, David Allen Coe. After his great outlaw country show I returned

to camp and glued up the intake boot, We finished out the evening watching Easy Rider. Thursday morning dawned and bike week racing began again with the super bikes practicing and getting ready for the big race on Saturday, the Daytona 200. I put the Buell back together and rode it to the showers. On my return the bike backfired and blew the carb off so we went off to find something else to repair it. Kevin came back with a sump pump connector from Home Depot which he fashioned into something that worked! The Buell was back on the road. We celebrated by going up to the Iron Horse for the afternoon. In the evening we returned to the track to watch the AMA Pro Flat Track races. They raced on a quarter mile dirt track just outside of turn one of the speedway. The racing action was close and

action packed. There was a second round the following night. During the race we were joined by another fellow snow bound friend from Vermont. He was visiting his mother near Fort Myers and he rented a Harley Streetglide to come over to see bike week. So on Friday we decided to give him the whole experience. After a leisurely morning watching racing on the speedway we drove over to the Iron Horse Saloon. Inside is a Wall of Death and we paid 5 bucks to see the riders risk their lives and limbs for our entertainment. It is the best five bucks I spent! After the show we enjoyed some of the best food at bike week, marinated steak tips over potatoes and mushrooms, the best ten bucks you will spend! Afterwards we walked across the street to the pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Broken Spoke Saloon. I had never been to the Broken Spoke at Daytona but I will definitely return. It is a big outdoor bar under a grove of trees which are wrapped in lights. There was a cute woman swinging above the bar and Jared Blake was rocking the stage. After Jared’s set we left and finished out the night catching Jasmine Cain again at the Full Moon Saloon on Main Street before experiencing Froggy’s Saloon, a raunchy kind of bike week bar. Tony got quite the initiation! Saturday morning dawned and soon the sounds of superbikes warming up filled the air. The weather was perfect and the Daytona 200 was about to begin but we wanted to get in a ride so we headed down the coast to Cape Canaveral before returning to the track to catch the end of the race in pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

the afternoon. The race is 200 miles at speeds up to nearly 200 miles per hour, 57 laps around the Daytona Speedway and requiring several pit stops along the way. It is dangerous enough that there usually are several red flags that stop the race when a rider requires medical attention. This race included multiple red flags so that by the time we got back we had missed very little of the race. It was a fight for first among three riders for most of the race, with drafting passes which changed the lead on nearly every lap. In the end last year’s winner, Danny Eslick, drafted past Josh Herrin to win at the line. It was an exciting finish to the race. Our bike week was coming to a close but we went out one last time, back to Pub 44. We enjoyed some more good beer

and the Cherry Bombs, dancers who do a sort of burlesque show, before the classic southern rockers Molly Hatchet finished out the night with a blistering set of their classic material. It was a rocking end to a long and action packed week. On Sunday morning the racing continued at the speedway but we packed up and started the drive back to the frozen northeast. Home was just over 1400 miles away and for some reason we decided to do it all in a 33 and a half hour marathon drive. We made it to Kevin’s house on Monday

morning and I turned into my driveway at 8:30 that night. I had mixed feelings when I pulled into my snow covered driveway. I was more than exhausted from the drive but I was happy to be home with my wife and cats. But I was not so psyched to be back in the cold of winter and faced with several more weeks before I can once again feel the warm air on my face as I ride my motorcycle.

Ed Lalonde ~ I’ve taking photographs ever since my father gave me a Kodak 620 view camera when I was six. I like the ability to capture moments of time, creating an opportunity to extend the present into the future and the past into the now. 18

word on the street

by William Griffith

The Nahash Interview

Simply put, I’m not a metal guy – never have been, never will. I’m gone to a fair share of metal shows, raged out to plenty of Metallica back in lockers rooms before hockey games, been engulfed in mosh pits the size of my morning commute, but when all is said and down, it’s not particularly music I get down with. Too much of it feels empty, hallow, devoid of any real emotion. Which leads to Nahash, the metal drone project from Shanghai producer Raphael Valensi. It’s heavy, brooding, pitch black, and at times unsettling – a deafening unwavering mess of unchecked tension and aggression that’s cuts to the bone. My kind of evil. Before the release of the Nahash/To Die split from Nasty Wizard Recordings this Saturday, March 28th at DDC, we chatted with the man behind the madness about clusterfucks, douchfloors, and cult attire. -------------------------------------------

1) What twisted mind frame were you in when you came up with the idea of Nahash? The first album I released as Nahash was made on the day that my grandma died. I think it was also the point when I was really really over that whole DJ 19 thing, I wanted to torture people,

to completely alienate the audience, to make them scream in suffocation. Nahash was the name of the first song

and Funk fan, but it’s definitely that sweet early 90’s Acid Jazz sound that makes Nahash’s heart beat, bands like Jamiroquai, US3 or Brooklyn Funk Essential. It’s all that music that added that sweet white funk flavour to the bidibapadoo swing of the jazz sound. When you see Nahash live it’s really what I try to recreate, of course your untrained unfazed ears can only perceive a bunch of deconstructed BRRR PZZZZ TRRRRURRRRRGHKKKKKKSSSSSS but what we are doing is paying tribute to the golden age of Stevie Wonder rip offs made in England. So yeah, When I started I was making the soundtracks for when the world finally ends, but I’m here now, it hasn’t ended so I say put some more reverb on those smooth trumpets, make that slap bass pop and always remember that those beats ain’t gonna break themselves son! ----------------------------------------------

3) Your background in mainly in producing? How did it feel to be on the other side of the process? I don’t see these as being two sides of a process, it’s just one giant clusterfuck of a process, and to be perfectly honest if you see production as an opposite side there is a fair chance that your band will sound like shit. I see producers and engineers as floating member of a band, I have this very hippie feeling that a band is a larger group of people and everybody participates in the sound, from the guy who drives the truck to the singer. but that’s just me, I’m old fluffy hippie who reads album credits a bit too much.

on the first Death To Ponies album, I’m rubbish at finding names, so I nicked that one off my old band. Ea-sy. ----------------------------------------------

2) Can you comment on the essential ingredients that make up the beating (bleeding) heart of Nahash? It’s no secret that I am primarily a Disco

But yes, it does feels good to be on stage, playing too loud and letting someone else worry about levels and knobs for a change. ------------------------------------------------

4) Musically, Nahash is as far as you can get from your work in electronic DJ team Acid Pony Club? How have audiences reacted to Nahash? Is there a sick pleasure to making p e o p l e pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

manipulating images and tried to apply the same ideas to sound. ---------------------------------------------

6) What’s your stance on metal music and bands (particularly black metal) in China? Any recommendations? Do you feel it’s steering in a different direction? You know I’m gonna say it just right out, it’s not because I live in China that I’m an authority on Chinese anything, also I’m a House head remember? Ask me about soapy clubs and bottle service, that’s my expertise. And all I really care about is gossips and cheap thrills, so until somebody stabs someone or a shrine of some sort gets burned down I’ll keep listening to “a blaze in the northern sky” thank you very much. ------------------------------------------------

as uncomfortable as possible? The main difference is that with Acid Pony Club we play for our audience, an Acid Pony party is about crowd pleasing, everybody put your hands up, people having a good time, women are looking fine kind of thing. And that draws a lot of energy cause you have to be constantly “with” your audience, party as much as they party, keeping a finger on the pulse of the douchefloor, can’t let that go man, it’s a House vibe right here. With Nahash I don’t give a flying fuck what the audience reaction is, I wanna play to the visuals, not for the people.

of drones and instruments and I then organize them on a timeline, fading in and out of different atmospheres and layers, exactly as you would do with different images. That happened when I looking for an alternative to the very beat dominated music that I was writing before, I basically started editing music to the time code instead of to bars and beats, again mimicking what video editors do. In this regard Tina Sprinkles has had an enormous influence on the project and she is actually the only other permanent band member at this point, I basically looks at the way that she was

7) How has Nahash transform over the past year? What can we expect for the upcoming year? Nahash started as a solo project but very soon developed into a common effort coming from both me and Tina, and so the early works we did were very centered around soundtracks for video work (like these : watch?v=jVYLY_TAdfk and https://www. ) I never really set up to do live shows with Nahash but when I started doing it I needed an instrument that would me look bad ass, somehow synths and drum machines are just too “polite” so I took the jump to page 21

Maybe the thing that makes you uncomfortable is how incredibly crap I am at playing bass. I take no sick pleasure in that, it’s just the way I am, and I am extremely crap at it. All this being said, if you’ve seen Acid Pony Club performing live you’ve witnessed our very own take on noisy, harsh and improvised electronic music, we call it “Punk Techno” as a joke, but our jokes are not very funny. ----------------------------------------------------

5) There’s a cinematic quality to your music (made more so by the unnerving visual from Tina Sprinkles) that gives way to an apocalyptic atmosphere that’s literally suffocating. What influences your music? Do you have to be in a certain mindset when creating this type of music? The visuals are the main influence when I record as Nahash. This influence extends to the way that I produce music. Unlike a lot of experimental music which is mainly improvised the stuff I do as Nahash is really scripted, I record tons and tons of layers pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Need to find out who is playing where in Beijing?

20 word on the street is..

old bass I had laying around and gave it a go, it sounded like poop. Adopted. Now the show works around the visual, a bass and some very simple drone machines, and I have some guests drummers when I can, Michael Cupoli is fun to work with so he’s gonna come down and play with me for our opening slot for Boris, Ivan has participated in recordings that will come out soon as part of a double EP with the very pretentious title “Old Religion/New Skin”. It was a pleasure having him back in the studio, and we are now talking about starting something new together. So yeah, we have transformed from being very synths heavy, very droney, to be something more organic with a Metal which makes all the purist cringe cause I don’t look the part and don’t give a rat’s ass about Iron Maiden. And that’s definitely where it’s headed, making more and more purists shit their pants. On the side I have also been working on something more electronic for SVBKVLT, kind of like the sound track for a horror movie that never existed called “L’Isola Degli Dei Morti” (The Island Of The Dead Gods, even more pompous titles, yay!), I don’t know when it’s coming out, but when it does you’ll get a copy since you will probably be the only one to review it. ---------------------------------------------------

8) You ever think of starting a cult? What’s the attire? Would Michael Cupoli be allowed in? Huashan is a cult of Trve Kvnts, but we only allow one fat-ass balding white dude in our midst, and that would be me, so sorry Michael, I’m afraid your position has already been filled. I first came up with the ritual attire, I was then accused of having zero swag, at which point I had to google “swag”. So now we all just get naked and listen to a bunch of drones. But that’s just really all you wanted me to say, ADMIT IT, JUST FUCKING ADMIT IT ALREADY! Here are some links: watch?v=ltlFAzpitEY XNjg0NjM4MjI4.html album/a-ruin-is-not-a-catastrophe watch?v=jVYLY_TAdfk https://nastywizardrecordings. album/old-religion-new-skin-2


ICVS offers monthly workshops for expatriates who need counseling on repatriating with their pets including: • Required vaccinations and pre-departure screening health examination to ensure smooth departure from China • Obtaining the official Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (vaccination red book required for export • Obtaining the EU microchip required for the official exit health examination to take pets out of China • Fulfilling pet import requirements for European Union and strict quarantine control destinations (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, etc.) • Completing the rabies antibody titre test required to take pets into the European Union and other countries • Transporting pet by “excess check-in baggage” or unaccompanied live animal “cargo” transport • Taking multiple pets out of China under the “one-pet per-passport” regulation • Taking pets out of China when the owner has to leave the country first • Managing the process without the assistance of a pet relocation company • Exporting rabbits and other exotic animals • Reducing the stress of travel on pets and pet owners • Safe and effective calming remedies to help pets during travel CONTACT ICVS FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Tel: (010) 8456-1939/1940 E-mail: pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

pré·cis 摘要 The international magazine focusing on life. in all its form.

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Is seeking out and

individual contributors

advertisers worldwide to help round out the magazine.

Almost anything goes. Art, photography, food, travel, fiction, nonfiction, commentary. Ever want to get in print?

Now is your chance!


story and photos: Cheryl Lister


Goodbye to our ‘hood in Piedra Blanca

Off The Grid Mama Ponders:

Can a Gypsy Grow Roots? I counted: Since birth, I have truck that was sturdy enough moved forty-two times. In the to cross rivers. My husband United States, the geographical quit the Massachusetts based span of these moves ranges Author with roots from Hawaii to Massachusetts. On planet Earth, the moves span from Romania to the Dominican Republic.

my friends upon departure, describing how we longed for a more natural, almost oldfashioned world for our young daughters to grow up in. I wanted to live in a place where it was unheard of that children could be gunned down in their school hallways, playgrounds, cafeterias. In pondering this article, I researched and was horrified to discover that school shootings have increased in the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on December 14, 2012. ( List_of_school_shootings_ management job he had worked in_the_United_States) Is that so hard to achieve, and we gave the sign of a deeply disturbed away our favorite furniture. We society on so many insane levels, were going for permanence. or what?

My most recent move was last week. I’m not sure if you’ve kept up with me but my family and I had been living off the grid on a tropical rainforest farm in the Dominican Republic. There were signs that maybe, just maybe, our solar powered, passion fruit perfumed airy life would not turn out as long term as we had wished - and planned for. In preparation for our departure from the United States, we had used most of our life savings to build the house on the farm and buy a I gave eloquent speeches to 23

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

did, the “entamoeba histolytica” coast to the Sierra foothills. they found in my gut were well Even though I wasn’t born here, Letting go of our semi-traditional habituated and highly resistant my maternal Grandfather was: American life and leaving He is buried in Bolinas. My Mom Massachusetts was invigorating was born and died in Northern Finding Our Way Home and enlightening. Settling into California although she only the isolated tropical farm lived here for two years was exciting, joy-filled at the beginning of her - and challenging. life, and another one I’m a bit of a baby or two right at the regarding roaches, end. frogs and snakes. I had to adjust to Was she part of the our intermittent gypsy embodied internet and in me? There is a telephone restless, circular service, to accept path that took my that just because Mom away from I wanted to make California when a phone call didn’t she was two, and mean I would be over sixty-five years able to. And as much eventually brought her as I tried to learn and back for her last ragged speak Spanish, my brain breaths. She had a gypsy grooves for language are very quality for sure. Maybe not shallow. Communicating forty-two moves but definitely a with anyone took place only if to leaving. streak for being on the move, my the other person was gracious Mom initiated unique adventures enough - and bilingual - to speak After two rounds of medication such as renting a tree-house for from the Doctor and no sign of my Dad and her to vacation in my language. my body recovering, it became on the isolated coast of Waipio The other challenge was very clear to me one sleepless Valley, Hawaii. unfortunate but a fact: Ever night that it was time to go. since our arrival to the rainforest Immediately. My husband and I have to admit I don’t feel farm, I caught one illness after I packed what we could, said rooted. As I settle into the fortythe next. I’m not sure what most good-bye to the community on second dwelling of my life, it of them were, and I don’t really the farm, left our house with seems appropriate to ponder: want to speculate at this point. dishes in the sink and books on Can a gypsy grow roots? But the most recent illness, the shelves, and flew to the place which came on about seven that most felt like home if there What does it mean “to root?” One months after moving to the farm could be such a place for us: definition of root via Google is, “to establish deeply and firmly.” - I couldn’t shake. It started with Marin County, California. Somewhat randomly yet a depressingly heavy, dreadful feeling of energy being sucked Out of the forty-two moves of intuitively motivated, I signed out of me, along with a fever and my life, a significant number of up for a yoga course shortly diarrhea. The diarrhea didn’t moves - and years - have been after our recent arrival that goes stop. My mistake was waiting spent in Northern California. I into detail regarding the Chakra so long to get to a doctor that by have quite a few deeply close System, which I’ve never been the time I friends scattered from the rocky particularly interested in. Yet the first Chakra we focus on is 24 pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

family more firmly and deeply than I have thus far. In the new home that I am writing these words from, I have a peekaboo view of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, often cuddled by lusciously fluid whipped cream slathers of fog. It’s the kind of beautiful here that makes you I ponder this. We are given feel like your eyeballs have new exercises by the yoga teacher to wipers on them: Everything is work on grounding and rooting outlined in vividly crisp, distinct ourselves. We are asked to observe ourselves in our daily wood fairies lives, to notice when we feel connected, contained, collected. All of these feelings can be associated with being rooted. We are reading a book called Wheels of Life for the course, and author A n o d e a Judith, PhD writes of being rooted: “You are here. You are connected. You are solid, but you are molten inside. Deep within your roots you find your past, your memories, your primal self. Your connection here is simple, direct. You detail. Back at the farm, when remember your heritage, your we slipped through the jungle ancient self as a child of the down to the river, I usually sang, Earth. She is your teacher.” “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the Root Chakra, “Muladhara” in Sanskrit, whose element is Earth. It has to do with survival and when acting from its balanced place, manifests a grounding energy. When the Root Chakra is not balanced, there is fear.

I ponder this. My ancient the lion sleeps tonight..dee da Self...a child of the Earth. She is dum doowayyyyy...” When we hike here above our new home, my teacher... I start singing the opening song My roots are not a location, from the Sound of Music, “The although settling into a physical hills are alive....!” and if I had a home supports my growing wish dress on I would spin around and 25 to establish myself and our let the skirt fly wide around me.

It is spacious and airy, rolling and wide. I’m trying not to dwell on the differences between my oldest daughter’s Kindergarten here compared to the one we sent her to in the countryside of the Dominican Republic. Regarding the big cop standing on the corner by her new school - the one that wears a Darth Vader style helmet on his head and full gear - I try to see that as a positive sign of alertness. At my daughter’s new Kindergarten school, we pass through guarded gates that can only be entered with assigned Identification tags. This is different from the casual “Hola’s!” we shouted out to the school Secretary as we skipped into the entryway of the Dominican school...and I remind myself grimly, it’s necessary. I also notice the Kindergarten kids here have more of their pretend Adult act “down” - I watched two young girls in a disagreement that sounded like something from New Jersey Housewives. The kids in DR were pretending to be dinosaurs and kitties and chased each other in the grass. Like I said, I’m trying not to dwell on it, and we play a lot of dinosaur chase at home anyway. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

I like this home. It would be good to stay awhile. The routine and rootedness of a home would be refreshing - and grounding - to us all. At the same time, I see that my roots are not a place. My roots are that part in me that can find my truest Self in any moment, be it a pristine or fucked up moment. My roots are that part in me that can call to my Self, and be heard, held, and responded to. My ground is that confidence in the real me that has always been here, even when I have forgotten her. She begins from the burst of the stardust that we all share. She moves down and up from the ground and rises within me to touch both the Earth and the heavens, so that I am ever connected, to all.

ourselves, walked last evening through a redwood forest to a waterfall just a few minutes from their house. The paths, the ground, the Earth edges were all bumpy with the continual slow growth push of a multitude of underground roots. Through this visual feast, I felt how true it is that from our reaching out to become grounded in ourselves, we inevitably seek, extend the roots of ourselves and find the strength of connection with our kin folk.

You can move a gypsy forty-two or four thousand times. Yet when she stands solid on the ground beneath her feet, she is home. My roots reach out and become a permanent part of all that I am: My roots are fluid and travel with me wherever I may go. Symbiotically, our roots reach out and become a permanent part of one another. Be you friend or plant or dog on a path, we travel together and around our planet home, spinning tendrils of love out, intertwining with and enriching one another with our interconnectedness.

At the waterfall, us Goylz were quite a riotous sight: My two daughters were swathed in sparkling rainbow fairy skirts, butterfly wings and ladybug hair-bands. My friend’s Yes: This gypsy has grown daughter made paint from roots. natural substances around us and face painted all the Goylz so that we looked like Amazonian tribe members. At one point we spontaneously began to dance and sing, “We like to MOVE IT, MOVE IT! We like to MOVE IT MOVE IT!” and I turned to discover that our solitude had been replaced by an observer. A silent man had arrived and was Cheryl Lister moved off the watching us unobtrusively from grid with her family in the summer a hand-crafted wooden bench at of 2014. Although they have recently moved to California, Cheryl the edge of the waterfall.

Lately I have forgotten her more than remembered. My roots have been scattered about, some because of the distraction and distress of my illness, and the clamoring for breath and space to heal. It takes a lot of energy to climb up out of sickness. It also took another piece of me to let go of all we wished to create at the farm - to let go, and leave, again. But I remember, I remember my truest Self, and immediately, the sensation of the depth of my roots, my strength, I laughed and said hi, and then my ground, is tremendous. added, “I hope you weren’t There is another layer of magic looking for some kind of calm, in becoming rooted. My oldest contemplative moment here!” friend lives ten minutes away as together we watched the from our new home, and our three ochre smeared children daughters have become sisters dancing, shouting, jumping up over the years, in the same way and down like wood fairies at that she and I are. The five of us a riotous gathering. He smiled “Goylz”, as we laughingly call and said, “Actually, no: I came here looking for some magic. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

And I think that’s exactly what I found.”

continues to work on an EcoRetreat business to help sustain the people and the land of the rainforest in the Dominican Republic near River Whisper Farm. You can find out more about the business at w w w. E c o R e t r e at s DR . c o m . To read more of her family’s adventures, check out Cheryl’s blog at: To learn more about the Fourth Way community that has established the farm, please visit: 26

theatre Acting:

A Strange and Winding Road Less Traveled by John D. Alexander

The greatest experience an actor can have, to my mind, happens when the chemistry between cast mates is just right, and the exchange of energy between the audience and the actors on stage is an upward spiral that is an elevating blast for all involved. I began acting at the age of 6 or 7, as I imagine many actors do, performing in school plays and talent shows, and doing impressions in miniature stand-up routines for my parents’ cocktail parties in Manhattan, my home town. As I grew, the talent shows and mini-stand-ups dropped off, and the roles improved. Senior year in high school, I was playing Napoleon in Man of Destiny by George Bernard Shaw, and, in the final performance of my final show of my final year in high school, something happened that I’d never experienced before: I went up on my lines (i.e., lost where we were in the show). 27

I was a brooding mess at the cast party, and, much worse, was so freaked out by it that I did not audition again for 10 years. In the final year of my master’s program, 1993, I walked past the theatre department at the University of Vermont, and saw a sign announcing “Auditions this weekend for Oedipus Rex.” I had played Creon in Antigone when I was 12, and so had a warm spot in my heart for the story of Oedipus. I decided it was time to dive back in, and immersed myself in preparation for the audition. I learned one of Oedipus’ monologues, and practiced the physicality of the blind king. A few days after the audition, which, to my joy, had felt great, I received a call from the director, in which she told me that she wanted to cast me as Oedipus, but, because I was a few years older and not a theatre student, could not offer me the role. However,

she offered Creon, I accepted, and I was firmly back in the theatre track. Over the next 20 years, living in Burlington, Vermont, where I was raising my boys, I re-established myself as an actor and developed my skill. I started with community theatre, which rehearsed at night to accommodate cast and crew day job schedules, and progressed to the point that I quit my 9 to 5, joined the Screen Actors’ Guild (1999), and then Actors Equity Association (2006). The roles were wonderful, the need to audition became less frequent, I had the outof-the-blue pleasure of working with James Coburn, Jim Carey, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, and Emile Hirsch, and my “day jobs” included bar security chief, bartender, waiter, and, finally, medical journal production editor (but THAT is another story). My boys grew up, my mother grew older and, eventually, sick, pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

photo: Matt Thorson

and I moved back to New York in 2012. I was then on sabbatical from what had become a great, small-market acting career of

I began acting at the age of 6 or 7, as I imagine many actors do, performing in school plays and talent shows, and doing impressions in miniature stand-up routines for my parents’ cocktail parties in Manhattan, my home town. a role in a film being shot in Los Angeles. I had a couple of nice scenes with Paul Sorvino, and thought, “OK, here we go.” However, after another year of solid exile in the mountains, I wasn’t “going” anywhere, I realized that mom was OK, and it was time to get back to the business. I began commuting to NYC for 2-day audition forays, staying

with an old friend. A year after that, I finally got a studio on the upper west side, and dug in to the process of auditioning in the belly of the beast, a process that is the most grueling meat grinder ever associated with such an expressive, artistic end product. It has now been nearly 1 year, and, although I’ve done single-weekend off off Broadway and had some nice callbacks, I have yet to hit it in NYC, and have done over 90 auditions in the past 2 years. My experiences in NYC, however, have made me realize that the small-pond star in my background does translate to the big pond. I’ve got the skill and the confidence to continue striving for the goal of being cast in Manhattan and getting back on the horse. People approach me and ask, “Aren’t you….?” or “Haven’t we seen you in…?,” I’ve been to bigtime after parties and fit in, and realize that my experience over 20 years in Burlington was a microcosm for the experience of the big-name actor in the larger market. Some older, wiser actors have given me two pieces of advice that I live by: (1) don’t take out-of-town work; and (2) give it 5 years. It’s simply a matter of time, and, if I didn’t believe that, I’d be back in Vermont by now.

back-to-back and overlapping shows, great roles, and much positive press, to be a caregiver and hermit in the mountains of southern New York. Burlington may be no Manhattan, but the Hudson Valley is no Burlington. After only a few months in New York State, I was offered pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

John D. Alexander Has performed in 75 productions. Raised in NYC, Mr. Alexander is co-founder of Off Center, a 60-seat theater, a dialect coach, and member of SAG and AEA



By Charles Watson

The Connectome Like Mendel said, Pea-Pod Alleles is Home Drifting along, whizzing through space at thousands of miles per hour, a ‘deepblue marble’ rock orbits a ball of hydrogen gas with a surface temperature in excess of 6,000 degrees Celsius. The terrestrial planet is so far away from the star that light travels for a full eight minutes before reaching it – yet we sit happily in the “Goldilocks Zone”: not too hot, and not too cold, but just right for liquid water to exist and thus for life to form 1. This is all well and good, but you may be rather tired of hearing the same shtick since you were in the first grade, so I will try to mix it up for you – shake and bake.

figure 1.1

Figure 1.1: One way to imagine the “vines” is using this image from the Human Connectome Project, illustrating a color-coded depiction of “principle diffusion axes” along the neuron with {red, green, blue} <--> {left-right, in-out, up-down }.

Twisting and unfurling, pining to grasp the most tenuous of all substances3 , the vines stretch with such conviction: as if wishing to be untethered from the soil in which they so obediently rest. Hint: you can close your eyes now. . . Good work! When you imagined these vines, what kind of paths did they take? In case you didn’t see it, consider that they could have braided together. If you did see it, I hope that you feel pretty good about yourself - hold on to that image, and bask in your emotion - you will need it later. It bears emphasizing, that the very fact these vivid images could be conjured with such verisimilitude epitomizes the power and unfathomable complexity of this three-pound lump of tissue that, if you were to take a whiff of, would smell like blue cheese 4,5, .

encourage you to close your eyes: close your eyes and imagine that on the surface of this massive rock has erupted a ticket of To breathe some life into this vines, each incorporating a vast In our own evolutionary version 2 idea, although it isn’t exactly gradient of colors , reaching of the “Goldilocks Zone” story, conducive to reading, I towards the sunlight under humans 29 an expansive canopy of trees. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

were able to develop an organ they went, and what they did/ think about actually physically so complex that they could what emotions they elicited in alters the structure and function do calculations on the fly, the subject as a response. For all of the associated brain regions, understand and interpret the of this calculating we will need must be the culprit. A fantastic facial expressions of people in to appeal to big data. example of this occurs in creative their group, and remember the individuals. When someone has According to the Human location of the den of that pesky a creative insight, according Connectome Project: “Via cat that kept killing their friends. to research, a surge of activity tractography along the principle Couple all this with the ability occurs in the right hemisphere diffusion direction, the brain’s to invent language by assigning of the brain. Due to their connections can be fully multiple meanings to everyday previous experiences, this nexus mapped.” While I will explain objects, and you have enabled of creative electricity has forged more fully what this means these hairless bipeds to gradually connections across the corpus later, I would first like to say emerge as the undisputed kings collosum – and in their moment that a completely unknown of the food chain – never mind of epiphany, a gross wave mechanism actually guides, 6 opposable thumbs ! This dual travels from right to left (and when the neuron is developing, representation of language back), effectively triggering a can be accompanied by a cascade of related thoughts rather fun joke to which Scientists of late have been underpinned by the same I hope you can relate: extremely interested in initial idea. The point is that we enjoy staring at that the creative insight developing a map of electrical bleached pieces of dead can be triggered by gazing trees peppered with strange wiring of neural circuits that at objects in your left squiggles while we vividly visual field, as explained enabled all this progress: the hallucinate, yet people are in the documentary: BBC still insisting that we are connectome. Horizon’s: The Creative normal. How normal are Brain – How Insight you, really? Works8. what path the “vines” will trace Scientists of late have been out: yet a convincing analogy I believe that we could extremely interested in can be drawn from the sprouting potentially calculate thoughts developing a map of electrical of root hairs in a plant to the and emotion9 : but in order to do wiring of neural circuits that expansion of neurons in the so, we will need a rapid way to enabled all this progress: the convincing analogy can be develop this map (as everyone’s connectome. drawn from the sprouting of root map is different) – and a rapid hairs in a plant7 to the expansion way to assess whether or not What follows is my speculation, of neurons in the brain. How such gross scale effects as those as I am not trained as a does the “vine” know where mentioned above are occurring. neuroscientist, or for that matter to grow, and where to make We will also have to consider as a scientist at all. I had a lot new connections? The answer information flow at the neuron of fun writing this paper, but I is heuristic, and ultimately level, as we will attempt next. could be completely wrong. rather hand-wavy, but the Now for the kicker: by No matter: what I would like developmental path of a neuron statistically amalgamating to discuss herein is the point relies on your experience. the insights from numerous of view that, with this map, we could calculate which chemicals Neuroplasticity, or the notion experiments (this effect in the would be released when, where that what you experience and brain elicits that response in pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


the body, and these effects to the body elicit ‘them’ responses in the brain), we could one day potentially watch people’s thoughts on a hologram10 as they are undergoing a lie detector test (or engaging in a seemingly innocent conversation amongst friends). That would be the ultimate dearth of privacy, so I would like to say: “Thanks, science!” There are, however, positive spinoffs to understanding neural connections. These spinoffs go far beyond the academic pleasure that is derived from venturing into what has been called the ‘new’ final frontier. As one could well imagine, an understanding of neural networks could help in facilitating learning: applying ‘creativeproductive’ thought patterns in the classroom, preventing ‘forgetting’, and potentially in reversing the destructive effects of neurodegenerative disease. Can we Calculate Emotion and Thought? Before we can begin this quest, we first need to understand a little bit about the mechanism by which neural connections transmit information. Your brain is a collection of neurons, or cells that have specialized in sending electrical impulses down their “wires”. These wires are a lot more complex than the ones that attach your computer to a power source, though still roughly ‘coaxial cables’, these are more like sieves that are 31 very picky about what goes

through them. By selectively allowing ions to diffuse across the membrane of this wire, or axon, a certain amount of potential can be built up at the “axon hillock” to allow for a sudden collapse resulting in the propagation of an electrical impulse sent hurtling down the tube. If I am not mistaken, this works through an analogue of the “Hall Effect”. To build up an image of what is going on, we need to imagine a cross sectional slice of the wire, by cutting it in half in the direction of current flow. Let’s say that the conventional current in the wire flows to the left, and an external magnetic field points out of the plane of the page. The Hall effect will cause a charge gradient to build up within the wire in the following way: the external magnetic field will force positively charged ions within the wire to the top of the wire, and will force negatively charged ions to the bottom of the wire. This charge gradient sets up a capacitance with the electric field between the ‘plates’ pointing down. As long as the current in the wire is in a steady state, this will continue to happen. The situation is complicated, however, in that the electrical impulse that travels through the axon (a current element) is moving quite rapidly (~360 miles per hour)11 .

approaching from the bottom, it will move towards and away from the wire in an oscillatory fashion, first moving in a direction antiparallel to the current flow and then away from the wire. Tracing back again, it will move in a direction parallel to current flow, and then back up towards the wire. This whole process is driven by the magnetic field created from the current within the wire, and the ion will radiate light as it accelerates. If the current is instead transitory, the electric field formed by the “hall effect” is the dominant mechanism, yet the ion will not be able to enter while the current element flows.

After the pulse has long passed, the positive charge may be far away from its initial incident trajectory. If the positive charge is above the wire, it will be pushed away by an electric field pointing radially outwards. If the positive charge happened to still be near the “bottom” of the wire, it will then be able to drift inside: as on the bottom of the wire the electric field points radially inwards. Expanding this to three dimensions with a cylindrically shaped wire of varying thickness (think resistance) and external magnetic fields pointing in all sorts of random directions (with time-varying amplitudes) results in a very confusing field configuration within the wire, but that is the general idea. If we first consider this steady Recognizing this as confusing, state configurationwhen we think about it for a few another ion wishes to enter moments, and quickly move on. the axon, say a positive charge pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

At the end of the neuron (dendrites), a bunch of calcium floods in (a positively charged ion, mind you), causing packets of neurotransmitters to drift and fuse to the inner membrane, dumping their precious contents into the gap between neurons12. These fancy-pants chemicals, whose activities determine emotional responses, diffuse across the gap between successive neurons (i.e. along the axis of the neuron), and plant themselves into integral membrane proteins like a baseball fitting in the sweet spot of a catcher’s mitt. This causes the whole process to start over on the next “victim”, with, across the brain as a whole – a myriad of these neurons firing at once. So: thoughts are governed by diffusive processes and electro-magnetic impulses: but what does that even mean?

taking advantage of a peculiar property of matter: the nuclei of atoms (a proton, in the case of water) have intrinsic magnetic moments like a top spinning clockwise or counterclockwise, and if we bombard this spin with energy from a large magnet; we can cause it to flip. When the spin flips up and down, it emits its own signals – and becomes a “lighthouse” beacon. We can then use this “lighthouse” to effectively track the diffusion of water molecules throughout the brain. This tracking will then become the map of the boundary conditions of white and grey matter: the connectome. These images are called voxels (or volumetric pixels), and graphing them graphs the pathways in the brain. We have done it!

The aforementioned withstanding, I will be happy to see you next when your To go a little further, let’s also thoughts are broadcast consider the process of neural through my TV. Enjoy imaging as one taking advantage yourselves. – Charles Watson. of Fick’s First Law of Diffusion: objects diffuse from regions of high concentration to get to regions of low concentration. Random diffusion follows a rather haphazard pattern, akin to a drunkard trying to find his keys under the ambient glow of a street light; come to find out he dropped them somewhere Biography: else! When scientists try to take Charles Watson is a pictures of the brain, they are loc’d-out gansta set taking pictures of the diffusion trippin’ banger. . . Fool! patterns of water (which is Look’s a dog in a ubiquitous in the human body). In this imaging, scientists are pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

zero-g environment!


1) Not only is this idea romanticized, it is also wrong- if boldly interpreted– as distance from a heat source isn’t the only thing that can affect the temperature of ice or steam. 2) - If you were a member of the Himba tribe, hailing from Northern Namibia, you could actually differentiate all the shades of green. http://6thfloor.blogs. 3) Light 4) See bullet 32 on page 13 of 20/20 Thinking: https://books. oJ8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false 5) The image in Figure 1.1 was found at 6) Opposable thumbs (along with, believe it or not, jaw strength) may have had a lot to do with neural development, so take this comment jestingly. 7) http://www.biomedcentral. com/1471-2229/8/57 8) 9) It is also worth mentioning that research is already being done to videotape someone’s dreams. See Michio Kaku – Future of the Mind. 10) Real holograms don’t preserve color, so it would have to be different from the images found in the Human Connectome Project 11) This causes self inductance 12) More than one neuron’s dentritic spines can exist at the interface of the axon terminus. This is what makes the mapping of connectomes so painstakingly difficult. 32

By Tracy Chenxi Wang


Mikkeller Bangkok Once a beer-lover, always a beer-lover.

Right after I landed in the fascinating country of smiles and endless cilantro seasoned dishes, I headed directly to the legendary craft beer bar of this 18 million people mega-city, the Mikkeller Bangkok. As the first and only Asian outlet of acclaimed Danish beer brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø’s Mikkeller, it opened on January 29th in 2014.

holding numerous tasting events that Mike, a self-described beer connoisseur, attended regularly. That’s how they met and became

by finding work at Carlsberg Thailand, giving him a deep insight of this industry and also the local drinking demographic. “We really wanted to build something that we would go to every night.” Most beer-lover would ask why with a lot of curiosity, why would a Danish legendary gypsy brewery locate in Bangkok?

After getting away from the “There are a lot of beer bars bustling main street, onto in Bangkok and Thais have a tranquil soil, a yard of a a really strong beer drinking small side street, I found culture, but what most bars it in a green residential compete with is the amount area, the teal-colored sign of beer signage or who has of the Mikkeller Bangkok. the most number of taps, Stepping on the lawn of even though they are serving a stylish functionalist house 50 pale light lager tasting very built in the 1960’s washed much like the other”, said by Jakob rushed to the bar away all the irritation of the and poured me 2 pints of Jakob, hot weather. There is a huge garden with a few tables on the their finest each. It took Since the market was dominated patio outside. The interior is me almost 5 minutes to by domestic staple Singha, in a bright Scandinavian style down them and the world Chang and Leo, Jakob and with bright wooden floors and Mike decided to open a bar to become bright again. furniture, accomplished with a showcase beer of many styles lot of white. The food menu only on tap and bottled. “We want has a few items for now, but the to serve beer with respect. management will add more, once the business partners. Jakob’s short full My partner and I are both in this bar becomes busier. beard makes him look to me like a business not so much from a financial typical Dane. Mike smiles a lot and perspective but more so from a beer Here I met with Jakob Mørkenborg his outgoing funny ways make him culture perspective. We wanted to Rasmussen from Denmark and the people’s person of the two. After bring in a different kind of quality than his Canadian co-partner Mike traveling in South Asia for some people are used to in this part of the MacDonald. They both share years, Jakob felt a growing love for world. The beers may be much pricier enthusiasm for beer and love being Thailand and moved there in 2004. than the conventional brands, but we innovated. Jakob had been His fascination for beers got matched b e l i e v e 33 importing foreign beers and pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

they offer a whole different experience in taste,” Mike MacDonald said. “We really wanted to build something that we would go to every night.” Speaking of the customers they want to attract, they hope to get people who are genuinely interested or curious about great tasting beer. “With most people not being able distinguish between two beers like a Mexican chili beer and Mikkeller American Dream, we want to educate the Thai beer drinking crowd what good craft beer really is. A part of that is having beer tastings with an educational scope as well offering beer tastings in our Imperial Tasting Room.” The staffs are also hardcore beer-lovers with passion. They are ready to educate the customers about craft beer culture, the stories behind the beers, and how to serve and enjoy craft beers. They want to provide a complexion of beer, service and atmosphere which will attract people. “Once a beer-lover, always a beerlover”, Mike preached. There is a reason why the bar is a bit away from the busy streets of Bangkok in a much quieter place, they explained, “A requirement from Mikkel was making this bar a destination and I think we have managed just that. It’s not a place you just drop by; you’ve probably made up your mind coming here, well before actually coming here. With the garden we’re able to offer plenty of outdoor seating, people love that.” I happened traveling in Thailand during the period of political tensions; there was national curfew between midnight to 5am every day, which damaged tourists industry and local food and beverage industry a lot. Mike told me that this (policy) is one

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

of their biggest obstacles for now. Thailand has a lot of festivals and “No Alcohol” days, which adds up to four to seven days a month the bar has to stay close. A sudden feeling of deep dark sadness, dampening my mood, soggy, miserable everything but what Thailand is, fell over me! Mike and Jakob rushed to the bar and poured me 2 pints of their finest each. It took me almost 5 minutes to down them and the world become bright again.

in San Francisco and the fourth is in Stockholm (opened in March of 2014).

Talking about the theory that they run the bar, “quality is number one; we’re not competing with price. We’ll have no happy hours or discounted days.” They wouldn’t compete with the biggest selection of imported beers, or cheapest beers. “For example, the reason of people going to the wine bar is not because it has the biggest selection, but a unique selection. Another kind of customers go to the nearest bars, they don’t care what kind of beers they are drinking.” With the mission of providing the finest craft beers to the customers, Jakob started his own beer distributing company, Hopsession. Now he imports Danish beers from Nørrebro Bryghus and Bøgedal but also Mikkeller. They only want to build a different place where the customers can keep drinking with their friends. “Every time I came to Bangkok, I’d spend every night here, and I love the atmosphere here”, said an American Sam Craig who was on his business trip here. Since Mikkeller Bangkok was opened less than half a year, it already made it way on the list of Top 10 Best Beer Bar in Asia by CNN.

The bar quenches the thirst of craft beer lovers with a selection of 30 beers on tap, 20 of them are brewed by Mikkeller, and 10 of them are changing guest beers from other craft beer makers. A large selection of bottled beer completes the collection. There’s no cheap beer here, all beers on tap are in the range of 200350 Baht (RMB 40-70)per glass, and bottled ones are 250-1500 Baht (RMB 50-300), on the street you find a local commercial beer for just 50 Baht (RMB 10). There are four other venues among the world in total, other than Mikkeller Bangkok, there are two located in Copenhagen, the third is

Mikkeller Bangkok Address: 26 Ekamai Soi 10 Yaek 2, Ekamai Road, Bangkok 10110, Thailand Tel: +66 2 381 9891


Tracy Wang is a traveler and foodie. While waiting for the alien mother-ship to pick her up, she’s developed a passion to write about the things she loves most: craft beers and fine wines. She’s the executive editor for The Beer Link Magazine and started home-brewing recently.

Here is the list of Top 7 Best Beer Bars by CNN: Mikkeller Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) BrewDog Roppongi (Tokyo, Japan) Goodbeer Faucets (Tokyo, Japan) Smith Street Taps (Singapore) BREW – Beers & Ciders (Bangkok, Thailand) Brewerkz – Riverside Point (Singapore) TAPS Beer Bar (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)


by Chris Parizo

When a student dies. I looked across the wrestling mat and saw my curriculum coordinator on the other side. Typically, all practices, whether athletic or academic, are strictly no-enter zones for anyone not directly associated with the team, so I knew that something was wrong.

She drowned on a missionary was G and I met him only trip. This was devastating. after cancer had eaten away at his body and his mind – I Over the near decade of teach- didn’t get to see G without ing, it’s shocking to tabulate cancer. I don’t know what he the number of students, past looked like, I can’t picture him or current that died through without his wheelchair, I can’t my career, it’s a high-num- picture him speaking. ber that even urban teaching cannot explain: one was shot Towards the end of his life, G while selling weed on a busy and his family requested that I handed my whistle to an as- corner, another had the same his life be as normal as possistant coach and apsible. G was placed in proached him. high school and attendEvery teacher enters the ed classes. Of course you With red eyes strained profession as an idealist: he was exempt from all go in with your Dead Poet’s from the passed several assignments and attenminutes of hard weep- Society headspace ready to change dance standards, but the world one child at a time. An ing, he told me. he was there. I heard image of your impact on student he even went to some E had died. I dropped lives is painted in pop-culture and parties and sporting to the ground and wept grad school classes that teach you events – trying to be as myself. normal as possible. to be optimistic, understandings, open-minded and to be caring.

E was one of those students that a teacher dreams about. She It rarely lasts. was bright, beautiful, and just a pleasant person to be around. When she fate after leaving an all-agwas near you, you felt like a es club in the early morning, better person. She made you on the same day that E died feel that what you did had val- another student drove home ue, and she wasn’t afraid to from college and got into a car remind you of this on a near accident, killing her and other weekly basis – in a non-direct, passengers on board. non-brownnosing way. She came from one of the greatest And now this year, a student families I had ever had the op- passed away after a long, hard portunity to interact with. fight with cancer. His name 35

One day the email came stating that G would no longer be attending school, that he was too weak and tired to make the three block trip. He was put on permanent in-home hospice care.

The day they announced it to the student body, they self-organized, walked to his house, and stood outside in a showing of solidarity with the dying boy who they all had grown up with. If pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

you hadn’t cried about G in away – that is, slowly if you’re the past, you did on that day. lucky. You begin to realize over time that you sometimes It was beautiful. care more about your students’ lives and futures more G died shortly after Christmas than they do. You chalk that of this year. up to youth, but later realize that you oftentimes care more Every teacher enters the pro- about it than their own parfession as an idealist: you go ents do. And that’s when the in with your Dead Poet’s Soci- bridge collapses. ety headspace ready to change the world one child at a time. You cross out of the Idealistic An image of your impact on Phase of teaching and begin to student lives is painted in enter the Realistic Phase, you begin to note that your job is not meant to lead students to their education goals, but rather to increase standardized exam scores so that the school can meet its own education goals.

pop-culture and grad school classes that teach you to be optimistic, understandings, open-minded and to be caring. It rarely lasts.

Your idealism gets chipped away over time. You care as much as you possibly can and you tell your students this on a regular basis – you try to humanize yourself to them, hoping to build a bridge. This


The irony in this whole situation is that students will tell you they find the Idealists to be jokes and the Realists to be “real”, oftentimes laughing at the Idealists in class.

I have a wall between my students and me; none can get through it. Some people call it the Jaded Phase. They’re right.

And then G died. They took his name off the class roster last week. And once again, despite all defenses, I was devastated again.

There’s an inexplicable bond in the teacher-student relationship that transcends whether or not a teacher is Idealistic or Realistic. Students know you’re “real” by being honest, by being objective, and being And that’s when you fair. And you as the teacher innotice that your job is correctly feel that you are disdesigned only to give tant and untouchable. politicians statistical numbers that can be Teachers create futures. We mentioned in a press invest ourselves in our sturelease or into a mi- dents in the hopes that it somehow makes their futures crophone. easier – and learning that that I’m not the smiley, jok- future won’t happen, robs us ey guy I was only four of our purpose. years ago. I barely talk about my personal life And whether you’re an Idealin class, I don’t tell sto- ist or a Realist, whether you ries nearly as often. I are optimistic to a flaw or pesbarely smile anymore. simistic to a flaw, losing a stuI’m brutal, honest, and dent leaves you empty. fair. I tell my kids that they need to “figure it out” rather than “tell me what I can do for you”. I’ve gone from “oh yeah, once when I was a kid…” to “that’s personal and none of your business”.

Rewrites? How about try harder next time? How about you take this failing grade because you deserve it, and learn that I’m not here to entertain you, but to help you build skills Chris Parizo is an eight-year vetbeyond writing and reading, eran English teacher having taught and manipulation is not one of in Atlanta, GA and Boston, MA. slowly gets them. chipped 36

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


Allen L. Johnston – The Music Specialist ~

While sitting in a music conference panel recently it dawned on me that the Independent labels had created a whole new series of individual and small group owned independent SUPPORT businesses . These businesses are flourishing while the independent labels that use them are not. As a Hip-Hop / R&B / Neo Soul / Rock / Country or Gospel artist you feel that your material should be the hottest in the country. You just don’t know what to do to get started, so based on what you’re seeing and hearing today the first thing you desire is a: Manager – Most individuals imagine that a manager will be the one person that can take an artists career to great heights. Unfortunately the entry level manager knows just about nothing concerning the intricacies of the entertainment industry. At this level it’s ALL about ego and a false sense of power. Many mid-level 37

managers only know how to spend money on delusional marketing schemes and are not creative enough to really enhance an artist’s revenue streams or career. Consultant – This person is normally hired by the artist or label based on either who they know or the company they used to work for. I recently had a label consultant tell me that he knew how to sell music because he had worked for G-Unit as a STREET TEAM LEADER. The best consultants know how to develop team strategy, work within specified budgets and develop meaningful marketing plans. _______________________ Since the majority of today’s artists don’t know how to make music they now need someone who can place music around their lyrics and make people want to listen to them.

they were solely making the music popular with just their lyrics. It doesn’t matter that the people inventing the music, which ultimately gives the artist their muse, are relegated to an inferior position. They only make the BEAT and sell it for a few hundred or thousand of dollars. This new business is becoming so popular that I have recently seen directories of Beat Makers for sale.

Producer – is the correct name given to the person who not only creates the music, but assembles and mixes the musical project? Sometimes considered Beat Makers, today’s producers are becoming stars in their own right and their fees are becoming astronomical also. It is normal to expect to pay $20,000 - $75,000 per track for the expertise of a Gold or Platinum selling producer, plus own NONE of the publishing royalties. These are the real “ballers” in the Beat Makers – is a name that entertainment industry for they was created because rappers retain more money, more often. wanted people to believe that _______________________ pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Since there is a growing cadre of Beat Makers and Producers, then there has to be a business in making the tools these people will need to work with.

Click here to see the video

Computer recording software – Fruity Loops, Pro Tools, Sonic Foundry and thousands more have been purchased and downloaded on multiple machines around the world. These new recording software businesses have become so wealthy that they are having their own closed vendor shows to network and give rise to newer business models. _______________________ Recording has become so removed from the art of making music that people now say “Out of the lab” making recording a Frankenstein phrase. Musical products should instead be a work of genius, emotional yet precise and be originated from creative thought. Once “out of the lab” most labels and artists start immediately promoting the “upcoming” music. Flyer & Business Card Printers – Computers have made this business easy and home grown. Just in the streets of Charlotte NC alone I saw thousands of flyers, post cards, mini-posters and business cards ALL promoting a new artist, a new band, mix tape or song. This phenomenon is happening in every major, secondary and tertiary city in this country, and it is happening in every major pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

city around the world. Who is business physically makes most reading ALL OF THIS PAPER? large orders obtained from Flyer & Business Card Printers who CD Inserts, posters, become the middle man. This merchandise – This is normally company is also working with a 2 or 3 person operation, with the….. one person doing artwork, while another person does the CD Duplication – Not to be physical machine runs. This confused with replication, 38

the duplication process is just copying onto a pre made blank cd. Having to buy the cd duplicating machines is the first qualification for the owners of this type business. Computers have made this business easy to operate as long as you have supplies and your machines are clean and maintained. _______________________ Now you’ve got your product and you need to expose it to the world so you can become rich and famous. Of course your ego has told you that your song is HOT and you are the greatest performer of all time. Therefore you need to perform it in front of as many people as you can even though you have never had any training in how to perform. This brainstorm has generated many different varieties of the following business concept. Night Club showcases – In every town and hamlet weekly showcases have opened, giving the artist a chance to perform in front of an audience. Very few showcases promise any reward and the few that do still use the performers’ audience to make additional money every week. I have yet to find a showcase that actually gave an artist a major label deal as the grand prize, or any artist that received one. Talent shows – Not to be confused with Fashion show (That’s another article) Talent Auditions – Normally this is a weeding out 39 39

process to see who will really pay amount of physical contacts money to be told that they have and a myriad amount of email NO talent. addresses. How many times have you seen 80,000 emails Music Conferences – If I read or sent for $100 or something just hear about one more conference as ludicrous. A real effective being compared to JACK THE publicist has writing contacts, RAPPER’S FAMILY AFFAIR I print contacts, radio contacts, will start a fight. Today’s music television contacts and venue conferences leave much to be contacts. desired for the new artist. Panels have people talking down to the Periodicals - Have you been able audience or just promoting the to count the number of genre panelists individual agendas. The specific magazines in your city? dress code is loose and so are the Not only the Hip-Hop magazines, attendees who arrive with pre- Country Music magazines, R&B conceived ideas of grandeur, . magazines, Gospel magazines, What made Jack’s conference the but now lifestyles, hair, best is that it WAS a family affair, clothing, business contacts, and with proper rules of etiquette networking magazines ALL in and a complete cross section print form. Add to that the ever of the industry, announcers, increasing…. store owners, labels, artists and support groups. It was NOT a: Ezines/ E Blasts – Interactive emails that I am receiving about DJ’s Summit 50 a week publicizing concerts, Producer’s Summit shows, new songs, new artists, How Can I Be Down and other entertainment events. Get Seen & Signed This seems to be the wave of the future reaching the consumer Street Teams – someone has to directly. place this monstrous pile of paper and plastic goods in the street. Internet Radio shows – There is Teams have become specific as now a radio show or pod cast for the All Woman Country Music every type of music and genre Street Team I met in Nashville available. You can hear it over recently. the Internet at any time day or _______________________ night. Another avenue of promoting _______________________ your song or performance is When you are ready you are now the impressive….. told that retail distribution is the only way you will ever see Publicists – Dedicated to getting any substantial financial reward you as much publicity as possible from your product. The reality the majority of the new business is that if you were organized you publicists only have a limited could make more money selling pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

your own product. Distribution Services – This is really the new business model for making money off labels that never sell records. You offer the label or artist distribution then you charge them for everything you do. Major Independent Distribution - First to get your product into a major indie distributor you must pay another company that already has a distribution deal with the major indie, thousands of dollars to be able to be a subsidiary company. Next you must hire a liaison that has a relationship with the major indie distributor to make sure that your product has preferential treatment. Finally you must hire a radio promotion person to TRY and get you airplay in several different cities over different radio stations all during a specified time period that should coincide with the product release and video showing.

business model is popping up at a surprising rate. Companies are now charging labels AND artists to distribute their product. Additional charges include storage fees, shipping fees, marketing fees, distribution fees, advertising fees and the new digital distribution fee. These distributors seldom have direct access to the larger chain stores (Best But, Wal-Mart, Target, etc) and must use another company to help them sell.

physical delivery. Once again most online stores are either individually owned by the artist and label, or leased operations where the store owner does not control the product or the money from the purchase. One of the best examples of this type of operation is BurnLounge, by the way whatever happened to all of those people claiming that this was the wave of the future? _______________________ There are many adaptations on the above named new businesses, but one thing remains constant. The independent labels are disorganized, unfocused and not realizing the multiple revenue streams available today. Instead of making money labels and artists are supporting many new businesses.

Digital Distribution – More and more companies are popping up claiming to be able to place your music on digital download sites and ringtones. These companies have a reputation for telling the artist that they are going to get a lot of money, while the reality is that the creator and owner of the music makes about15% of all the money from online purchases. Phone companies For more information visit get the money, take a percentage then send money to the phone carrier who takes money then sends it to the mobile aggregator who takes money then sends it Mid-Level Independent to the company that represents Distribution – This new your music. You are seldom told that you must If I read or hear about one more pay for ALL marketing & conference being compared to JACK p r o m o t i o n a l Allen consults new and existing THE RAPPER’S FAMILY AFFAIR I will services online entertainment businesses, increas& offline. ing their revenue streams while start a fight. Today’s music conferences

leave much to be desired for the new artist. Panels have people talking down to the audience or just promoting the panelists individual agendas. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Online Stores – The new online store model is for either digital delivery or

making them technically astute, providing business operations back office services for many music industry clients, publishing administration, licensing, royalty recovery, business affairs, label operation, business administration and the digital marketplace. 40

International Center for Veterinary Services



Dog Registration Begins May 1st for 2015/2016

pets REGISTERING DOGS IN BEIJING: HOW-TO GUIDE FOR DOG OWNERS A summary of the regulations for registering dogs in Beijing municipality is provided here for dog owners. Regulations have been confirmed by the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) from the laws and regulations on dog ownership and from our numerous interviews with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the Animal Husbandry Bureau of Chaoyang District and in surrounding districts, including Shunyi:

public health.

of dog ownership regulations” (e.g., within 5th ring road)

Enforcement has become more regular throughout the year but ________________________ is normally stepped-up before DOG OWNERS WITHIN 5TH major holidays (e.g., National RING ROAD Day, Chinese New Year, May Labor Day, etc.). If you live within the districts of Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Haidian, Fengtai, and Shijingshan, you must register your dog at your local police precinct (pai chu suo).

Ask your management company or landlord or neighbors which All dogs are required “pai chu suo” to be registered by oversees your law in Beijing. Owners n e i g h b o r h o od. are strongly advised Dogs residing and to REGISTER THEIR registered within DOGS immediately During these rounds of these 8 districts may not be if this has not been done yet. enforcement, the police will taller than 35-cm from ground There are ongoing rounds of be looking for: to shoulder. enforcement by the police. These enforcement rounds 1). All unregistered dogs Only ONE DOG may be are part of the government’s registered to each HOUSEHOLD efforts to regulate dog 2). Large dogs living within the 8 address, with the dog usually 41 ownership to ensure districts of “strict enforcement u n d e r pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

35-cms (measured from ground to shoulder). There have been some dogs that are slightly taller than 35-cms that have still been approved and given registration licenses (e.g., up to 50-cms or more such as Beagles, Maltese, Poodles, Cockers, Bichon Frise, Mini Schnauzers, assorted Terriers, Shelties, Shiba Inus, small mixed breeds, etc.).

within 5th ring road, it is recommended to have another property address outside 5th ring road where you may register your dog. Make sure this property address outside the 5th ring road is approved by the PSB for registering large dogs.

title document if you own your home (remember, dogs are registered to the HOUSEHOLD address NOT to the passport of the owner) 5). Permission from your neighborhood watch committee – “Ju Wei Hui”

6). CASH - Initial registration fee within the 8 major districts REGISTRATION PROCESS AT is RMB 1,000.00. Annual THE PUBLIC SECURITY BUREAU registration renewal thereafter What the police may not allow or “PAI CHU SUO” (May vary is RMB 500.00. Fees may be are large dogs (some also by “pai chu suo”) lower in areas outside of the 8 classified as aggressive breeds) such as Collies, Dalmatians, When going to the “pai chu districts. Dobermans, German suo,” to register your dog, you ________________________ Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, may need to bring the following: If your dog is NOT YET Great Danes, Huskies, Irish Wolfhounds, Labradors, 1). Your dog - police may want REGISTERED and you are also Labradoodles, Malamutes, to see the dog on the initial planning on neutering/spaying Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, visit, but this seems to depend him/her, then you may be St. Bernards, Mastiffs, etc. on each individual “pai chu entitled to a 50% discount on These are all classified as large suo.” Visit your pai chu suo in the initial registration fee if dogs and are not allowed to be advance to inquire if you must you provide proof to the police owned/registered within the bring your dog at the time of station that your dog has been neutered/spayed by a legally 8 districts roughly clustered initial registration. registered and licensed ANIMAL within the 5th ring road. 2). Two photos of your dog HOSPITAL in Beijing. (one-inch passport size). Must ________________________ be a head shot from the front. The International Center OWNERS OF MULTIPLE DOGS for Veterinary Services is a LIVING WITHIN 5th legally registered RING ROAD and fully licensed All dogs are required to be registered by animal hospital that is Each dog is registered law in Beijing. Owners are strongly advised authorized to perform to a HOUSEHOLD to REGISTER THEIR DOGS immediately neuter/spay surgeries address (e.g., address and to provide the on lease contract or if this has not been done yet. There are official neuter/spay property deed), NOT ongoing rounds of enforcement by the certificates. Owners to an INDIVIDUAL police. These enforcement rounds are part may present these (e.g., passport official neuter/spay holder). of the government’s efforts to regulate dog certificates as proof to ownership to ensure public health. If you own two dogs the police station. With then you may need these neuter/spay to find a relative or certificates, owners 3). Your original ID: shen fen friend who will permit you to are entitled to receive up to 50% zheng, passport, foreigner register your second dog using discount (e.g., RMB 500.00) on household registration their household address. Please the initial registration fee or a document (obtained from PSB ensure this second household significant discount on the next and usually needed to extend address does not have a dog year’s renewal fee. your China visa), etc. already registered. If your dog is ALREADY 4). Your LEASE for your rented For owners who have “large” REGISTERED, you may be 42 apartment or your property d o g s eligible for up to 40% discount pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015 ________________________

(e.g. RMB 200.00) on your have negotiated with local police precincts to allow their annual renewal fee. residents to register dogs Please check with your (especially large dogs) to the animal hospital first before villa compound. There are still scheduling the neuter/spay registration processes and fees surgery to ensure that it is involved. Please contact your legally registered and licensed property management agent or to perform the surgeries and neighborhood Public Security can provide official certificates. Bureau (“pai chu suo”) if you Most CLINICS are not legally live outside the 5th ring road authorized to perform and are unsure about how to surgeries in Beijing, nor are register your dog. pet shops, breeders, grooming salons with an occasional Please be advised that there veterinarian. The police may may be some residential technically not grant you the discount if compounds you cannot produce an official OUTSIDE 5th ring road that may spay/neuter certificate from not allow large dogs. Please a legally registered animal ask the management agents or hospital in Beijing. Dogs that even the local Public Security are neutered/spayed overseas Bureau overseeing the area to are currently not eligible for verify if large dogs are allowed. the spay/neuter discount on It would be unfortunate to sign a lease only to later find out registration. you cannot register your large 7). Depending on the PSB dog in these areas. precinct (pai chu suo), you would normally get your dog’s ________________________ “picture ID registration card” CAT REGISTRATION within the month. Always keep the official “fa paio” (tax bureau Cats and their owners may receipt) from the pai chu suo. all breathe a collective sigh Until you receive the license, of relief that there is NO CAT your “fa piao” is proof that your REGISTRATION requirement in dog has been registered. Beijing (for now!) ________________________


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND ADVICE REGARDING YOUR PETS Please call or email the International Center for Veterinary Services with any questions on registration, importing pets, taking pets out of the country and any animal health care or pet care issue. ________________________ ICVS Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday - 9AM to 6PM, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - 9AM to 8PM International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) No. 13-16 Rong Ke Gan Lan Cheng Shang Jie Fu Tong Xi Da Jie, Wangjing Chaoyang District, Beijing PRC 100102 Tel: (010) 8456-1939/1940 E-mail: Web site:

DOG OWNERS LIVING OUTSIDE 5th RING ROAD Many dog owners outside of 5th ring road, especially in the Shunyi villa areas, may be able to inquire with the management agents to help get dogs registered or at least obtain guidance on the process. Dogs may be over 35-cms outside of the 8 major districts. Check with your property management agent or local PSB precinct (pai chu suo) for confirmation. 43 Many of the villa operators

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015


photos: © Eric Sherman


pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Born and raised in the picturesque mountains of Vermont, and coming of age in the late 1980s, I found my love of art ; images of vivid color. I quickly groomed my eye for photography, and graphic design because I started making layouts, and fliers for bands of which I was a member. 44

Beastly Diction By Penelope Rocketship


Evangeline Moss rose with for this, not qualified enough Eurydice Moss, hereby the dawn out of habit, hunger for that. Why is it so difficult resolve to apply to whatever driving her from slumber. She these days for a young job is under this coffee ring— perched at the kitchen no matter how fartable, newspaper fetched, over or under and large mug of qualified I seem to illustration: Adam Forguites coffee in hand, and be.” And so vowing, contemplated the Evangeline began to want ads. She wiped read: her mouth roughly “Are you inquisitive? with her palms and Does your mother rubbed her hands tell you that you ask clean against her too many questions? thighs, grinning. Are you in the habit “OK Cecil,” she said. of poking your nose “You get the leftovers.” where it doesn’t She tossed the crust of belong? If the answer toast across the room is yes, then Virgil at the tidy-looking Investigations wants gray dog watching to talk to you! Unusual her solicitously with training, competitive his warm amber eyes. wages, unique He snapped his teeth benefits.” once briskly as the As a matter of fact, crust sailed by. In one Evangeline’s mother fluid motion both dog woman with considerable was exactly the person who and toast were gone, leaving intelligence and skills to find a patch of empty sun on the herself a reasonable paying did tell her that she asked too hard wooden floor. Evangeline job? Just once, in all these job many questions. sighed and rested her chin in listings, I would like to be told “Nobody wants to tell you her hand, contemplating the that I am perfectly suited to their personal business, dog-less kitchen. something.” She set down her Evangeline,” her mother would “It’s very easy for you to cup absently on the newsprint say through pinched lips. discorporate isn’t it?” Sighed and continued reading. When “Respectable people keep Evangeline, “But without she picked the cup back up, themselves to themselves.” me here to toss you crusts of she noticed that it had left a “A private detective,” thought toast, I think you’ll find it hard circular ring on the paper. “A Evangeline. “You read about to maintain your precious sign?” thought Evangeline them all the time in books, but cavalier attitude.” She turned absently. “As good a one as you never meet them in real her attention back to the any, I suppose. What I need life.” She read further. classifieds. “Too qualified here is action. I, Evangeline 45 pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

“The faint of heart need not apply,” the ad went on. “Serious inquiries only. Bring resume and letter of interest in person to Virgil Investigations.” It gave an address in the center of town. Several hours later, Evangeline Moss stood, brushed and polished, outside the L’Esperance building, a stately, stone monolith that had seen better days.

telephone receiver with great enthusiasm. “Virgil Investigations,” it said. The accent was not quite American, but Evangeline couldn’t place it immediately. “No, I’m very sorry,” the apparition continued. “You’re much too late. Yes, that’s right. The position has been filled. Yes, I’m afraid so. Goodbye, and best of luck.” He put down the receiver and beamed at her.

“Here goes nothing,” she said “Well,” said Bartholomew as she opened the door and Mews, for it was he. “What do ascended the wide granite you think of the place?” staircase. “I think it’s garish,” said The door to Virgil Investigations Evangeline honestly. “But was slightly ajar, and swung quite clean,” she hastened open easily at her knock. to say, least she had given “Hello,” she said querulously, offense. peering around the lip of the “It is, isn’t it,” said Mews door jamb. proudly. “I’m not at all fond of The office was sleek, polished and furnished in rather a disconcerting shade of yellow. The mustard-colored carpet was plush, spotless and evidently brand new. The carpet installers had, rather carelessly, left some scraps of carpet in a heap by the window, apparently in too much of a hurry to clean up after themselves. Aside from the untidy behavior of the carpet installers, the office was spotless. So spotless, in fact, that the fashionable chrometrimmed reception desk was entirely unbesmirched with life-forms of any sort, including that of a receptionist. Gone to the restroom, Evangeline supposed of its occupant. A glossy chrome telephone, a perfect companion for the immaculate desk, rang once. And rang. And rang. And rang. Bursting abruptly through an adjoining door was a lanky figure in a startling lemoncolored suit, lunging for the pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

dust. Although, I must admit that in this line of work, one is periodically required to become exposed to a certain amount of,” he wrinkled his nose. “Filth. That doesn’t bother you too much, does it?” “No,” said Evangeline taken slightly aback. “I’m sure it doesn’t.” “Now this,” Bartholomew Mews rattled on, traversing the elaborate desk and placing his hand on the back of the chair, “is your desk.” Evangeline observed him with bemusement, but kept silent. “And this,” he rattled on, “is your phone. This,” he said, opening the desk drawer, “is your stapler, your notepad, an assortment of pens and pencils, a collection of paper clips, your pad of sticky notes and your gun. And there,” he said, spinning around and gesturing towards a sleek chrome coffee pot in the corner, “is the coffee. Perhaps you’d like a cup?”

“Mr. Mews,” said Evangeline. “Bartholomew, please,” said Mews with a self-deprecatory gesture. “Bartholomew, then. Who exactly do you think I am?” “I believe,” said Mews with a contemplative look. “I believe that you are the newest employee of Virgil Investigations, unless I’m very much mistaken.” “I’m afraid you must be confusing me with somebody else. This is my first visit to your office. We’ve never met.” Evangeline turned around to look at the door, as if expecting the rightful employee of Virgil Investigations to walk through the door at any moment. Mews bent his lean frame at the waist and peered at her intently. “No,” he said firmly, straightening up and fixing her with a determined look. “No, you’re just the thing. I’m absolutely certain. Well? Will you accept the position or won’t you? The salary is quite respectable and your duties will be pleasantly varied. A bit of light office work, answering phones and that sort of thing. And in the meantime you will be apprenticed to me as a private eye. Does that suit you?” “Don’t you want to know any more about me? Wouldn’t you like to call my references?” asked Evangeline, somewhat perplexed. “No.” said Mews, brushing his hands together ins gesture of finality. “Your abilities are quite clear. Can you start on Monday? Excellent. I shall look forward to seeing you then.” And turning on his heel, he disappeared beyond the door through which he had come. The door closed behind him with an orderly 46

click, leaving Evangeline lamp-like smile at her. in a state of considerable “Ah-ha!” it exclaimed. “Ms. befuddlement. Moss. Right on time—exactly “A job!” she exclaimed ten as I knew you would be.” minutes later, bursting through the door of her apartment Today, Bartholomew Mews and snatching up a petulant wore a light gray suit and schnauzer in her arms. “A job, lemon colored tie, and his Cecil! Mummy is going to gray eyes twinkling with become a private detective. evident good nature. He extended a long-fingered and What do you think of that?” immaculately groomed hand “As long as you’re happy and to Evangeline’s, and shook it brings home the dogfood,” her proffered limb vigorously. replied Cecil, negotiating his way out of her embrace with “Delighted to have you on some difficulty. “Speaking board,” said Mews. “Let’s of which, it must be getting get started, shall we?” He towards lunch time, don’t you traversed the room with a single bounding step and think?” came to rest at the corner of *** the chrome plated reception Monday morning dawned crisp and cold. Evangeline arrived at the L’Esperance building precisely at 9:00, trying to squash the colony of unruly butterflies that appeared to be conducting a vigorous marchingband rehearsal in her stomach.

one of the old model sports cars from the 1950s. Maybe a Thunderbird—something in bright yellow paint and chrome details. I wanted it to look fast, flashy and retro. But then,” Mews, becoming excited, waggled his index finger vigorously in the air. “I had this brilliant notion.” He gazed at Evangeline with the full luminosity of his translucent eyes. “What if the sports car is actually...” he paused for effect. “A banana!” he stopped his motion with a dramatic flourish, and slapped his thighs for emphasis. “Good, eh?” he said, beaming.

“You see,” he went on, “nothing is really what it seems. Not a sports car or the people who “Oh certainly, there will be drive it. Nor, in some clients,” replied an absent- (admittedly rare) cases, minded Mews. “Clients is a banana. And that, are the very life-blood of my dear Evangeline today’s the agency. So naturally, islessonwhere begins. Now,” they will arrive in throngs. Mews face became I expect they will enter, serious. “Please tell announce themselves and me everything you asked to be presented to know about detective me.” He paused a moment agencies up to this point.”

in contemplation.

“Mr. Mews,” called Evangeline softly, as she pushed open the polished office door of Virgil Investigations. Stepping gingerly inside, Evangeline could see the view of the Virgil town square through the tall, wooden framed windows on either side of the reception room. The window frames were done in the oldfashioned New England style, with warped glass panes and hand hewn rosettes in each corner. The brown wooden casements were somewhat out of step with the remainder of the garish office décor. As Evangeline was absorbed in her observations, a silvery head appeared in the far 47 doorway and beamed its

desk. “Perhaps we need more furniture,” he said absently, as if to himself. “A sofa, or someplace for clients to sit while they wait. What do you think?” he turned the intensity of his gaze on Evangeline and waited expectantly for her reply. After a pause, he continued: “Chrome and yellow, like the desk? Or perhaps brown? Yes, brown, I think is just the thing—don’t you agree?”

“Well,” she said, a little taken aback by the abrupt change in mood. “I don’t know much, I suppose. I have a cousin who was a police detective, but I didn’t know him very well. And I’ve read a few detective novels.” “Fiction,” said Mews with an officious wave of his hand. “Is a very flimsy representation of real life, particularly in detective novels.” “Is it?”

“Why brown?” blurted “But nevermind, I’m pleased Evangeline, before she could that you don’t know much about being a detective. That stop herself. simply means that there is less Mews chuckled softly. “When that I will have to teach you to I first conceived of this forget. But let’s not get ahead f reception room, I envisioned o pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

ourselves. First, the basics. Here is your desk,” said Mews with a magnanimous gesture. “In the mornings, you will sit here, answer the phone when it rings, take messages if I am out, and when I’m in the office, please ask the caller to hold and come tap on my door to enquire,” Mews gestured towards the heavy wooden door just behind the desk to the left. “I expect there may be some filing as well,” Mews gestured loosely towards a series of filing cabinets towards the right of the reception desk. “And possibly some stapling,” he picked up the stapler and waggled it a bit recklessly before putting it back where it came from. “Will clients come to see you?” asked Evangeline. “Should I greet them?” “Oh certainly, there will be clients,” replied an absentminded Mews. “Clients are the very life-blood of the agency. So naturally, they will arrive in throngs. I expect they will enter, announce themselves and asked to be presented to me.” He paused a moment in contemplation. “But you see,” he carried on after a brief pause. “I do not wish you to present them to me immediately. I may be in the office, or I may be out. At any rate, I do not wish to be disturbed by the tedious preliminaries of who did what to whom when and where. That is where you will come in.” Evangeline must have looked surprised. Mews rattled on in explanation.

shoe size and whether they started to say, but was cut off believe in empirical versus directly as Mews closed the relative morality.” distance between them with one swooping step forward, “Relative morality?” traversing the coffee table “Yes, of course,” said Mews and coming to rest with his off-handedly, as if it was the nose just inches from her own. most obvious thing in the “There,” he said pleasantly, world. “Then, you must find from immediately opposite out the crux of the matter. Evangeline’s face. “You see Now sometimes,” said Mews, how easy it is? You were just waggling a finger in the starting to gibber, you see. air with great relish, as he And I stopped you.” warmed up to what was obviously a favorite subject. Evangeline had indeed talking, simply “Sometimes, a person will be stopped able to tell you the crux of the astounded at the erratic matter immediately. You will behavior of her new employer. say ‘please tell me the crux of the matter, Mrs. Smith,’ “Positively stopped. So, now and the crux will be instantly the gibbering has ceased, we forthcoming. But at other can begin to shine the light of times, the response to that very clarity upon the scene. Do you simple question will be a blank see? Good” Mews turned and stare, likely to be followed glanced at the wall clock. by quite an oppressive “Goodness me, is that the amount of gibbering. Do you time?” he exclaimed with understand?” some agitation. “Must dash— “Gibbering, yes,” said a do make yourself at home startled Evangeline, backing in the meantime. I’m not to be disturbed until lunchtime. up a step. Under any circumstances. Mews whirled on the balls of Toodle-oo.” And with that, he his feet, stabbing the air with darted across the room and through the deep wooden a bony forefinger. door of his office. “Following the advent of gibbering is where you must take charge. If you don’t, the gibbering may go on indefinitely and, not only will it waste time, but it may also produce a taint of confusion—a corruption— in which the essence of the true matter at hand is spoiled. Or lost. Or obfuscated. Or otherwise rendered inscrutable. So it is absolutely essential that we stop,” the word stop was punctuated by another bony prod of the atmosphere, “…the gibbering. Immediately. As Penelope Rocketship is the nom de soon as possible. Toute suite. plume of an extremely cranky and reAnd how do we do that, may clusive author who lives in the middle of nowhere and basically wants to be I ask?”

“First, take down their basic information—ie name, address, phone number, occupation, hair color, height, w e i g h t , “I really don’t…” Evangeline pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

left the fuck alone


by: Timothy K. Simons - photos: YPDR

stepping up.


Young Pioneer Disaster Response This time last year I was driving trucks for the local family owned landscaping company in Brisbane. Life was easy, I had my good friends that I lived with, I had a pets, a good job and plenty of spare time. I never could have guessed what would happen next. My name is Timothy K. Simons. I’m the Senior Project Manager for the Young Pioneer Disaster Response and this is my story. On November the 8th 2013, the world’s most powerful typhoon ever to reach landfall, struck the east coast of the Philippines before moving across the county with all its might. News spread around the world, the devastation resembled that of a massive explosion. Thousands of people died and thousands were missing. With this event, my life took a different turn. At this time, I was content in my life, working in a job that I loved, hanging out with friends and generally enjoying my current situation. I never watched television much and rarely read the newspaper. Mainstream media never really appealed to me. I had little to no idea what was happening around the world. I liked it this way. But it was all 49 about to change.

In the early hours of November 11th 2013 I awoke from a dream. I remember checking the time. It was exactly 1 am. I had dreamed of a backpack covered in equipment and a plane ticket to the Philippines. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling. As I laid in my bed trying to go back to sleep, I couldn’t dismiss the overwhelming urge to travel to the Philippines without delay. This is crazy I thought to myself. It was just a dream. I eventually let go of the idea and went back to sleep.

That morning I had over slept and I rushed to work as normal. I snuck in the back of the office, warily sat in the chair at the front desk, and found the days newspaper in front of me. There on the first page was a picture of destruction and a caption “Super typhoon devastates Philippines.” Immediately I remembered my dream. Was this what I was dreaming about? It was a little too weird to think about. With a busy morning ahead, I pushed the idea to pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

the back of my mind and got on with my job. When I got home later that evening, I started thinking about that dream and the urge to travel filled my mind again. I couldn’t comprehend leaving. I had never traveled before and the thought of it made me laugh just at the nonsense of the idea. Besides, I had no money and plenty of bills. I had my pet cat Peter and I had a good job. Nope, not for me. I had dinner with my friends that night, forgot about the idea and went to bed early. I was sound asleep; the red glow of my bedside clock flashing dimly. I awoke to the same dream. As I checked the time, chills ran down my spine. It was 1am. I sat up and, at that point, I realized this was more than just a dream. It was too weird to be just a dream and to wake up at 1 am again. I was filled with the same feeling that overwhelmed me the night before, the urge to change my life and travel to the Philippines to help in some way. This was all I needed. In that moment, I reformed my life into what it is today. Over the following week I had sent hundreds of emails and searched high and low for organizations that would take me in as a volunteer. They were all either full or I didn’t have enough money to pay for the fee to join. I was almost out of hope until I received an email by Christopher White saying that he has a team and they plan to help in the recovery and they would be happy for me to join them. I met the team for the first time in Manila, from there we gathered supplies and boarded the ferry to Cebu where we

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

traveled north to Bantayan Island. The island had been vastly overlooked by other organizations when they had conducted their initial damage assessments. It was the ideal place for us to begin the creation of Young Pioneer Disaster Response, an NGO that some have said to be the most successful startup NGO of 2014. We arrived on the island to find that there was no electricity or running water and most of the roads had been cut off by fallen trees and power lines. We pitched our tents on the beach and went to work cleaning up debris in the local high school. As the months went by, we worked hard to make a name in the NGO world. We partnered with the medical team SAMU and started coordinating medical missions in different barangays. We demolished unsafe structures, conducted beach clean ups, and even did an emergency sea rescue. Everything changed quickly when we were approached by the NGO Polish Humanitarian Action, a team from Poland that were to building houses here on the island. They asked us if we could help them carry out their objectives and we said yes. A year on and we have now built over a thousand houses in partnership with PAH. We have all worked so hard over the last year and a half and YPDR has come so far from the days of sleeping on tents on the beach. We have distributed clothes and food, we have helped re-establish the high school and intermediate school and even started a marine rehabilitation project. I have seen this organization grow from an idea into a reality. I have seen its high points and its struggles. The thing that makes YPDR work so well is the commitment of the core team, built on the foundation of friendship, we have pushed ourselves and each other to the brink of collapse to see the success of YPDR and make a difference. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to make many sacrifices including being away from our families and not taking any salaries. We recently endured another typhoon and YPDR was able to respond immediately. As a team we have come a long way in just

over a year and we plan to go even further in the future. The truth is my experience with YPDR could fill a few large novels. I feel like the team has become my family and grow closer with each new chapter. We have managed to do so many amazing things in such a short amount of time to a point where YPDR has grown to be well recognized in the Philippines. It has changed my life and shown me the possibility for a better world.

Timothy K. Simons is a Senior Project Manager at Young Pioneer Disaster Response (YPDR). He is originally from New Zealand but has been living in Australia for the past 7 years. Tim came to the Philippines with a background of over 10 years in general construction, civil engineering, concrete and plumbing. He has worked for the world wide concrete giant Holcim and operated heavy machinery in Australia’s largest open cut gold mine as well as helping coordinate relief efforts in multiple disaster zones including the Whakatane floods of NZ 2004, and more recent the Brisbane floods 2012. Tim has been in the Philippines since December 2013 and has found his passion working as a humanitarian and helping the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. The road to rebuilding is a long one and he is dedicated to seeing it through. 50

film & music

the world underground INTERVIEW So introduce yourself to our readers, what is your background, where do you hail from and what started your idea of the World Underground?

Domer and in the end, P.K.14 (

I found myself constantly frustrated with music documentaries and American online My name is John Yingling. I’m content, from Appleton, Wisconsin, and music consider Chicago a second home. especially when My background is basically scouring dirty warehouses and bars, filming underground music. It basically all started in a Chicago warehouse called The M o p e r y, with a r e a l l y junky Canon Powershot camera. It’s a long story, but Chicago’s support, through a blogger site called Gonzo Chicago, built the foundation for The World Underground. I’ll never looking at foreign Too forget that. They raised money for scenes. me, for a semi-proper videography often it was either and audio recording setup, and I way too short, way ran with it from there. The World too sensationalist, or regard, Underground idea came from many contained no further but a on it’s different aspects of my life. First, an information lot of it subjects. Whether that be interview with the band Handsome doesn’t Furs. They gushed about China, a dead film page that hadn’t reach. I wanted to try and change been updated in 4 years, or simply and it made me dig, and find Josh this, but take it one step further, Feola’s website Pangbianr. Josh lacking links to find out more. There was the catalyst to all of this, are good people in every city around and create a global connectivity 51 and connected me with Nevin the world doing good things in this pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

platform. Not only can you watch the film, and download a deep and ever-growing archive of live audio, but you can also connect with artists and labels across the globe. This will only grow with time, and trips filming new episodes.. ____________________________

I notice that in episode one, you and your crew really try to incorporate the local culture into each one of PK14’s shows, the food, the nightlife, and not just the music, reminding me very much of a younger hipper versions of Anthony Bourdains

come out while filming? I won’t say that Anthony Bourdain didn’t inspire me, because he did, and I’ll take any comparison as a compliment with a smile. He’s done a great job doing his world, with the Zero Point Zero production crew, who I bother often on Twitter and via e-mail, because I love what they do. I did want to attempt, in this first episode, to find a good middle ground between music, culture, and everything in-between. Food is obviously a huge part of people’s lives, so of course that will be included in each trip. Opinions on government, nightlife, local scenes. It’s all a part of these communities. My goal is be very mindful in what I include, how I present this information in the correct way. Even though one could say this is “just rock and roll” to me

it’s much deeper, as music can build global community, especially considering how the world is opening up with the internet, and connection platforms.

shows without the pomposity. ____________________________ Was this an intentional aim from the start, or did it just How long did the China Episode take you to produce from start pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015 naturally

to finish? And what was your biggest logistical hassle? We edited for a year and a half. Being a sort of “pilot” run, I knew it would be difficult. One of the biggest challenges would have to be translation. I traveled through so many different regions of China, not only did I have Cantonese and Mandarin, but also the other regional dialects. Although the reason it was so difficult was that I requested one minute time-code for the video, which in the end, is a lot of speaking, so from then on it was numerous back and forths to get the timing right for subtitles. Now I know what not to do. This was all a huge learning process, from proper interviews, running audio myself, filming b-roll. I can say with utmost certainty that future episodes will look better, as we have upgraded cameras. I’ve also learned so much on the process of it all, I’m very excited to move forward.


I have been following your social media marketing, and I was intrigued that Rosanne Barr of all people retweeted your link. How did that come about? I always bother Roseanne on Twitter. That’s what Twitter is for, right? Bothering people who you’d never normally be able to 52 contact? My mother and I

used to watch her show back in the 90’s, and she’s somehow always responded to me, so I always bug her. I think it’s funny. If it gets one more person interested or gets them some new favorite bands, or a laugh in their day, then all this nerding out on a computer is worth it. I’m just throwing this at a wall, sometimes to no avail, and seeing what sticks. ____________________________

“Black” audio. Once the internet started opening up, they were more able to dig through our history, find bands in a more proper way, subgenres, all of that. Plus you had the influx of, as Helen Feng of Nova Heart said to me, the “all-knowing foreigner” who would come over with a handful of CD’s, and blow everyones minds with new music they could never know about. She’s quite sick of that attitude, but it held true for quite some time. Even myself, since this project has launches, I’ve been sent dozens of things from around the world I never would have been able to find otherwise. Israel. Serbia. Russia. Africa. It’s all there, but due to language, and just plain massive amounts of information that encompass the internet these days, it can be difficult to find.

I have been in and seen the US underground punk and metal scene for over 20 years, and have only seen the Beijing and china scene for the last 2 years, yet it amazes me the level of energy put out by the vast majority of these bands that are fairly new to the scene. Where do you think the Chinese counterparts are getting their ____________________________ creative inspiration and energy from? I saw that the movie midpoints with the stop in Beijing, and China’s scene is, relatively speaking, I chuckled when you said that fairly new. It’s only been a few you saw a bunch of shows in a decades. Their “new” music used short amount of time. I know to come literally, from the garbage. a couple of the bands you Cassette tapes and CD’s that were interviewed, so my question shipped over for recycling or to go is this, did you see a decided in landfills, kids would pick them difference in the attitudes of out of the trash, and sell them. the BEIJING bands in relation 53

to music influences than in the other bands you interviewed in other parts of the country? And was your hangover worse? There is a difference, no question, but it might not be what you think. Beijing is China’s largest music scene, outside of Shanghai. One could compare the difference between, say, Chengdu and New York and Missoula, Montana (where I am currently.) There’s just not a critical mass of musicians and venues in Chengdu to make up the scene, like there is in Beijing. That in itself has a large difference in their attitudes. Bands like Stolen and Hiperson in Chengdu, they have few places to play, Little Bar being one of the only venues in Chengdu. That may make a local show mean a bit more, than in Beijing, where you can see a show every single night of the week, at any number of a dozen or so venues. Does it make them work harder, as a band? I can’t answer that. I did feel like the bands in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Wuhan, they seemed a little less jaded than some bands in Beijing...but I also saw a hell of a lot of work being put into productions, sound, songwriting, and overall craft in Beijing. It’s the pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

same everywhere, really. America, Europe, Asia. If you are talented, push yourself, and have a certain finesse, you can make a run at doing well. On the flip-side, sometimes really great bands do everything they can, and nobody ever gives a shit. Sometimes really good bands only want to play to 50 kids in a dirty American basement, give their music out for free, and never tour. Who are we to say what’s right? ____________________________

on doing indie funding of music projects in general, and are you thinking of going more mainstream for funding like gofundme? Somebody didn’t do their research! This project is only operational because of Indiegogo campaigns, and will probably continue to be! Jab! Haha. As for music, there’s a lot of debate. I guess I’m all for bands running fundraisers for a record, when they treat it like a pre-order scenario. Then you help pay for the record, and you get the record. Case closed. There’s so much heated debate on bands that use crowd-funding for tours. So many of the older generation who busted their ass at crappy jobs all year just to take a two week trek to the East Coast and back. I get that. I really do.

In interviewing some of the bands, you asked some of the members what their parents what they thought of the kids playing underground non mainstream music, did you get the feeling that this may be a universal parent/child situation, or do you think that some of the Chinese parental reactions were more severe In the end, crowd-funding is here than western cultures ? I think it’s universal, parents not understanding. It’s the same thing the kids of the American 70’s said to their parents who grew up in the early 1900’s. A father who went to clubs in the 1920’s who hated the flower-power generation. Those fathers who grew up on The Beatles probably hates punk rock the same way. My parents love that I’m doing this, but I’m not so sure they understand what the full outcome could possibly be. I think now with some of these articles and interviews out, they’re beginning to. A lot of the last 2 years was me basically just telling people about the idea, and what it could be. I realized a few months ago that there was no way it matched up to what was in my brain. I’m happy I can show people what all my maniacal ramblings were about now, in proper form. ____________________________

Crowdsourcing for music projects has been a big thing of late, to mixed reactions from both artists and patrons of media.. What are your thoughts pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

to stay, and at the end of the day, if you want to support something, go ahead and support it. I don’t know of a single music related crowdfunding campaign that reached it’s goal without people who want to back it. It’s their money. If they want to throw down $20 to get a donation perk, and help someone they love spread their art, why rip that apart?

huge tool in bringing over some smaller acts like Stolen, to America. The internet’s reach is now vast, but sometimes it’s also like shouting at a wall. It’s impossible to say where China will go from here, besides upward. There are dozens more places to play in smaller cities, and good bands cropping up all over. We should all be watching. I hope that this project will be a small catalyst to opening people’s eyes on what’s happening around the world. _______________

Nevin Domer _______________

Stolen _______________

Hiperson _______________

Little Bar: _______________



There is limited US market penetration for Chinese bands right now, some of the reasons are outlined by some of the band members , such as visa problems and the like. Where do you think Chinese underground will be internationally in five years? That’s a loaded question. Nevin Domer, in the film, is correct in saying that mainstream media is now just beginning to look at the Chinese scene not just as a cultural story, but as a music scenes, for music’s sake. This is good. The internet is amazing nowadays, and to tie in your previous question, I think crowd-funding could be a

John Yingling : A tireless documentarian, archivist, and connectivity geek. My main goal is to spread good work, to good people, and point them to where they can find more. 54

expat 9 ball

9 questions answered from an established expat Wait. I answered a different question. How I prepared to teach english was taking an online TEFL course and passing it. ___________________

as proof of a failed culture and the best part was when I saw that proof of a eminent failure was my unwillingness to acknowledge those differences as valid. ___________________

When you first moved to Vietnam, what was In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge your transition like? PJ Acayan is a fine facing expats in Vietupstanding human beI do not recall a transition nam today? ing we met on our travels who lives in Ho Chi Mihn City, PRV. The guy enjoys good food, drink and weaving through traffic on his motorcycle at high speeds. Not in that order though.

You have obviously worked in many places across the world or else you would not have landed in Vietnam . Looking back, what was your first expat position, and how did you prepare for it? Vietnam is the first place I’ve ever moved to that wasn’t under the umbrella of the Constitution of the United States. There was no prep. A week before I moved, I sold everything I could, got some shotgun dental work done, bought a ticket, and that was that. 55

occurring. At least not in the traditional sense of “wow! this is shit, wow! it’s getting better, to wow! This is amazing!” Once upon a time, I only knew, for certain where 1 bathroom was that had toilet paper. Then one day, I couldn’t remember the last time my ass itched, or not having a hand sprayer next to the toilet and toilet paper, from what I could extrapolate, was a great substitute for a plate. ___________________

Being right about how things should be shows up for me as the biggest challenge for expats. ___________________

You’ve obviously not been stuck on the 405 north or the DC beltway. I take out a knife, cut me a slice of Ho Chi Minh air, and eat it for lunch. Lack of commitment makes it difficult for anyone’s natural talent to contribute to surface. ___________________

What are your personal thoughts positive and negative on living and working in VietIf you are looking at nam ? hiring an expat, or if you were in a position All good thoughts. I’m to, what are the most still here. important questions ___________________ you ask in an interview? If you could give one piece of advice for How are you responsible someone considering for the contribution that coming to Vietnam to your being here is? work, what would it ___________________ be?

Did you experience culture shock, and if so, Do you feel that the what was the best and Vietnamese have been more or less inviting in worst part ? accepting you as a forI remember a life where eigner? driving against traffic and cutting in line resulted in physical and emotional trauma. I would say the worst part was when l viewed those differences

Air quality is making finding and keeping quality talent difficult?

Inviting and accepting. More like sought after. ___________________

Are you finding that the

Take all the thoughts of why you can’t or it not being possible, and do it anyways. Disregard the boundaries of who you know yourself to be and what your circumstances mean. Rediscover your ability to recreate yourself. pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015



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Le Magasin de Musique Underground Communautaire à Montréal! Montréal’s Underground Community Music Store! 59

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Khrystina Pryani

She has been described as “ ”& “

spellbinding a complete musician

“Primarily known as a vocalist and songwriter, in the last ten years Khrystina has worked with Francky Moulet (Tony Allen), Fred Doumbe (Manu Dibango), Jojo Kuo (Fela Kuti), Jean-Claude the Funky Pirate, Grace Potter (pre-Nocturnals), Lee Buhaina, and Grupo Sabor. She was born and raised in NYC, and at an early age she immersed herself in the creative arts. She discovered a particular passion for music, from Jazz to Hip Hop, Rock to Latin. A graduate of Goddard College (which produced the likes of Phish, David Mamet, Rob Brezny, Mumia Abu-Jamal), she first hit the scene in Long Island. An extremely versatile musician, she is comfortable in the studio, or on stage, rehearsed or improv. She mixes her influences to create an original soul sound, backed by her no-nonsense voice. She has established a loyal following, performing live at venues throughout Vermont and New York. In 2007 Khrystina started her own label, Free Soul Music, and independently dropped her LP, “Decade” and single “Alhamdulilah”, which are both available on iTunes.” ~ Precis Magazine

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2015 SUMMER SEASON IS HERE! Nightly Specials! Live Music!

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photos: Jude Domski


water studies

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by: Melanie Eugenie Nunnink


When Spirit Calls I Awaken I was born with a spirit calling. I’ve always known I was called to awaken, but I was never sure how to hold this experience in my life. I was prone to ecstatic states of being, mostly in my elementary school classes. Unfortunately, in this western setting of Burlington, VT no one was interested in my astral traveling in class. They were trying to teach me how to read and write. This required my consciousness to focus in a way that wasn’t easy for me. I preferred the method of light travel and joyful places I could exist, like floating with the snowflakes outside. I felt misunderstood but had no basis to communicate my belief as it was an experience of no words. Becoming an avid mediator in my teen years offered me peace with this difference. In my late 30’s I moved from San Francisco, CA to purify and heal in Sedona, Arizona among the beautiful oasis of red rocks and magical landscapes. I sought to find a master. Finally one came to Sedona. Master Zhou Ting Jue, a Wudang Mountain Monk, and China’s Living Treasure arrived. Realizing I needed someone to see me from the outside and understand perspectives of myself helped me begin to serve others. I didn’t understand my gift very well at the time, but this master offered his gift to show me I wasn’t pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015 imagining

my powerful being. “It’s not an accident that you have this gift”, he explained. People don’t get this gift by accident and you have to share it, he insisted. Then he pushed me out into the world to begin serving this gift. I listened to this master because, after all, he can boil water in his bare hands. After years of serving awakening people and spirit I’ve realized that we all feel misunderstood. More importantly, many of us actually remember who we are but lack the perspective and the nourishing environment to allow ourselves the pleasure of participating with belief. We are all incredible. Most of us knew and understood our personal gifts in childhood. Having stories like mine, we were instructed constantly to shut down and focus on the path created by the social system in our culture. Keep in mind, I’m a former high school punk rocker, bass playing, drinker, smoker, swearing, western woman. I wasn’t born in a culture of yoga or Buddhism, nor was I raised in a temple,­but I embody these things in my western form. What’s my point? It doesn’t matter who you are, what culture you came from, or how unclean and unsure you may be imagining yourself according to the logic of your social system or culture. You aren’t lost, you aren’t forgotten, and you aren’t left out of allowing yourself to remember who you

are and to wake up when your spirit calls you. “If you believe it, it’s true”, my college undergraduate Anthropology teacher once stated during class. Examining this idea of relative truths, I found it a great place to consider others ideas from a neutral basis. Being a person of extraordinary experiences I was also able to give myself a break within the voice of self­ criticism. This allowed my gift to thrive as I began to evaluate the perception of voices I heard, sights I saw, and feelings I had­(all that I knew wasn’t “real” in the physical sense). Utilizing a discernment tool called self­-love I learned to believe in my truth over all the other systems and voices in our mundane world. For instance, I used to make fun of people who believed in aliens, but after listening to my experience and loving it more I understand I have a vast numbers of star friends myself. It’s kind of ironic really. However, that’s just the beginning of my extraordinary believing. Mostly, what I think I’d like you to know is that I believe in you, your truth, and your awakening. Believe in yourself now. My spirit calls you with big smiles. Peace and Love.

Melanie is an embodied Goddess incarnated on the earth to assist with the renewal of time and ascension of Earth walking as a practiced master in this lifetime. “I didn’t come here to party alone.” Melanie



photos: © Sujinyan



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This War of Mine

by Jamie Lynn Belanger Banta

war... war never changes

game review

click for video

This War of Mine is

a thought-provoking social statement wrapped in the brutal packaging of a rather unusual survival game. It was released on November 14th, and you can pick it up for $17.99 on Steam http://store.steampowered. com/app/282070/

I purchased This War of Mine on Steam a little under a week ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I’d never played anything quite like it. The closest comparison I can come up with is a variation on the Sims. Except it’s set in a war-torn Eastern European nation, and instead of designing your posh living environs and trying to figure out how fast you can get someone to WooHoo with you, you’re doing things like crafting your own beds, water purifying units, heaters and weapons. And scavenging. At night. In the 65

out and scavenge for the things you need to survive. If you’ve made a bed, or even two (provided you have managed to scavenge enough wood and materials), someone can sleep. Sure, they can sleep without a bed, but they’ll wake up tired, which makes them more likely to become sick. And you’d better post a guard, because your shelter WILL be robbed during the dark hours of the night, doing unto you what you are doing unto others.

dark You start off the game with a group of three refugees, each with their own back story and particular skill. One might be a cook, another a former soldier; one might be a really fast runner (more useful than you would think), and if you’re lucky one of your refugees is great at bargaining. Because bargaining will become a huge part of your survival. You can’t possibly make everything you need to survive Will you rob supplies from the on your own. church, taking from people who During the day you work on need it the most, but ensuring your shelter, doing thinks like that you won’t get shot? Will building ovens, boarding up you bring food along on your windows, making food (if you’ve nightly scavenge so you can feed managed to buy, beg or steal the homeless people living in a enough food and water to make burnt out shanty? Or will you food in the first place). At night arm yourself to the teeth (no you designate one person to go easy task, given, again, that you have to scavenge for the parts to make your own weapons, AND build pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

the tool-bench you need to wondered, then play this game. hopeful and depressingly assemble them!) and go raiding If you’ve been in the military, maudlin as your small band in military outposts? or have a family member in attempts to survive the military the military that has ever been occupation of their town. It This War of Mine shines a light deployed into a warzone... play amazes and horrifies. If you play on the dark truth that most this game. It will come to occupy ONE GAME this year, play THIS people will do whatever is a special place in your heart. one. required to survive... but each choice has a consequence, Even if you don’t have military I highly recommend This War and each action affects people in your family, have never of Mine not just because it differently. When I sent Anica even contemplated the is entertaining and engaging the former accountant out to consequences of war for a single (from a gaming standpoint), rob a house inhabited by an moment, how could it hurt to but also because it excels at unarmed older couple, she see the consequences of wars driving home the toll war takes came home and became more that are waged in far off lands? on the civilian populace of a and more depressed. She These wars are at most are just country. It’s social statement eventually committed suicide, blips on our American radar, ten as game, and you WILL gain unable to live with her something from it, even if actions. Perhaps it was I highly recommend This War of Mine it is only a deeper sense of because Anica wasn’t compassion for others. not just because it is entertaining and an ex-soldier. Maybe https://www. if I had sent someone engaging (from a gaming standpoint), else, they would have but also because it excels at driving watch?v=gotK5DLdVvI been able to live with home the toll war takes on the civilian the choices they made. populace of a country. It’s social “War doesn’t end when It is from these small statement as game, and you WILL the last shot has been details that a thought- gain something from it, even if it is fired. It stays in people’s provoking game is long after that. only a deeper sense of compassion minds made. Some wounds don’t heal.”

for others.

This is war in microcosm, not from the point of view of the soldier, but from the point of view of the ordinary civilians that have to band together to survive while war rages all around them.

The longest my little band of refugee survivors has survived is 22 days. They died from wounds, they died from illness, they committed suicide, they got shot while scavenging... they even abandoned our tenement and stole our supplies. This is a game that shows the heartrending beauty and horror of the humanity’s strive to survive through even the darkest of times.

second sound bytes in our 24/7 news stream, mentioned in a ten word statement on the banner scrolling across the bottom of your chosen news network. Because let’s face it, Americans haven’t had to survive a war that was waged on North American soil since the Civil War in 1800s. education/history/10-factsabout-the-civil-war/

Very few of us can say that we know what it would be like to attempt to survive an experience like the one this “game” provides. Very few of us can say that we even care to If you’ve ever wondered what know. But we SHOULD care, and it would be like to survive in a we SHOULD know. war zone as a civilian then play this game. If you’ve NEVER This War of Mine is alternatively achingly beautiful, desperately pré·cis • issue 7 • 4.2015

Jamie lives in Orlando, Florida with her wacky but lovable husband, Greg. She has two cats, Keetah and Theo, a dog, Kona, and a one-yearold daughter named Lucy Belle. She is still (mostly) sane, surviving the challenges of being a gamer mom.


images. photos: © Sujinyan



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hong kong

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Š 2015 Joel Fremming -

Precis issue seven 4 30 2015