We arrived in Kolkata late last night; judging by that airport, you’d think the world as we know it had ended. It’s far from the modern ‘One World’ that America, China, Canada and most countries have become. I felt very uncomfortable sitting in this terminal, late at night, with a cart full of suitcases too many insects and bottle of clean water, which we aquired at the airport, in China. It’s funny how It’s come to trusting water from China in a situation like this. I’ve heard so many horror stories about the water here… But the more I think about it, China’s water is not much better. Perhaps their supply of clean water is more common, and less questionable. Then again, maybe it’s only that I feel at home there now.
In any case, the expensive hotel (Sahara Star) we’re staying at is well worth it; for the oasis that it is. “An oasis in the concrete city of Mumbai”, as it’s written on the advertisement.
Well, it’s finally happened. One could say it was inevitable; the KALMARK Interlock Armouring Machines have been copied by Chinese Copy-masters… one of them being a state-owned organization.
I actually laughed out loud as I read over an email from Leon, a company employee, in China.
The copy-machine’s model number is, LK###00
No less the designers initials…. intentional or not. Louis Kalmar, is President of KALMARK, and engineer behind the famous-in-China, Interlock Armouring Machine. The fact that the machine-designers initials are embedded in it’s model number is either fully intentional, or extremely ironic.
We’re in GuangZhou right now. It’s been an interesting few weeks. Since coming back to China, I’ve barely been back to Kunming. We arrived back, then 4 days later, I left to Shanghai for a company show. Following the show I went home to Kunming, and 4 days later, back to Shanghai to start my India visa submission! After visiting the visa office there, we were told we couldn’t apply there, and I, as a foreign person could only submit, in person, in GuangZhou.
So, here we are. Visa submitted; no passport; can’t leave… five days of waiting.
There once was a man named Alex, a tall Canadian dreamboat with an oversized nose and rockstar hair. He found himself in the distant land of Kunming, China in pursuit of his dreams, searching for his story.
One day, Alex found what he was least expecting: A beautiful Chinese girl with cartoon eyes named GuoZhe (or Suki). Imagine his surprise when he found out that Suki had a thing for oversized noses! Together, the lovebirds raced around Kunming, watched movies, got lost in love.
It was on a visit back to Canada that Alex realized what his dream had been all along! He returned to China with a ring and gave his story an unexpected twist: On July 13th, 2011, he looked into those big cartoon eyes and asked Suki to marry him. Suki said “Yes!” Yes to Alex’s crazy hair and yes to a new life together.
What happened next?
They started planning this awesome wedding and they want YOU to come!
I’m guilty of using the products myself (and they’re awesome) but I’ve been hearing some pretty nasty rumours about the company, Apple Computers, lately. Some of my friends here in China talk about the bad conditions in the factories, while picking up a call on their brand new iPhone 4 in the same breath. It’s strange, but the phone works -so people buy it.
Apparently, Apple’s new CEO has issued a fancy letter to clear up the suspicion. I just want to clear that up a little further and say that according to more reasonable claims coming from China itself, the situation is not good.
To Abe Sauer and other writers I have no respect for,
It makes me angry when I read articles about China, written by people who really don’t know what they’re talking about. Recently in the news, there’ve been many stories about fake Apple stores and other fake products specifically in Kunming. The people writing these articles really have no idea. I live in Kunming… I’ve seen the stores. They’re not ripoffs, they’re just stores. The Apple product’s, but they exist because there are no official Apple stores.
And then there’s the case of the fake IKEA. It’s actually pretty cool. It looks exactly like IKEA. But it’s the only place to buy good furniture in all of Kunming. There is no IKEA.
So before you start criticizing something you know nothing about, take my word for it, there’s a lot more to it than what you’ve heard.
I’ll be celebrating Christmas in Brantford a little early this year. Turns out Christmas time here in Kunming is not worth missing as a foreign musician. We’ll see if that holds true when the time comes. This will be the first Christmas I ever spend away from home.
I feel like I’m becoming more sentimental towards family as I move into this new phase of life with Suki. There’s a lot of things you don’t think about much as a young, single guy. Missing a day like Christmas doesn’t mean much to me —it never has. It’s just another day. It is however, an excuse to spend time with the family, so I’m making sure that point is not missed. I’ll only be home for two weeks, but I intend to spend it wisely with the family I don’t see too much lately.
I love you guys, and miss you lots. Can’t wait to be back with you, real soon.
I’ve tried to leave twice so far today, the second time, I walked outside with an umbrella, reached the front gate and turned right back around. My feet were soaked through from the knees down. There’s a tropical rainstorm going on out there right now. CRAZY.
“Each passing day, I become more convinced that you prepared her for me. Tears filled my eyes today, as we discussed our passions together; watching as they fell into alignment. What incredible plans do you have for us?! I’m so excited.”—
Suki and I were openly sharing this evening. We talked about future careers, passions and life together. Eventually we started talking about NGO’s involved with slavery and similar issues. We are both passionate about the subject and are exploring a few ideas.
I’d like to know which of the organizations I previously tracked with are already involved in some way in China or have interest in getting started.
Please keep this in mind as we explore these options.
We found an office we’re looking at renting here in Kunming. It’s in BeiChen (the north foreign corner). It’s not big, but seems adequate, it’s on the first floor at the very back of the complex.
We’re looking at building in a rehearsal space, office and storage for audio equipment yet to be purchased. It wouldn’t quite be enough if we get into warehousing microphones, cables and things of that sort, but it’s a start. We still need to get to that point before worrying about it.
This afternoon I made a last minute treck up to Shanghai to meet my dad and spend a few days looking for a new apartment here in Shanghai. We decided that between the family we spend enough on hotels in northern China that it makes renting an apartment in the city a worthwhile investment as well as a comvenience and comfort.
Sometimes we become slaves by our own doing. Such as addictions or dept, but how does such a large population become slaves to an individual, or an ideology?
People were never meant to be slaves. We should be free thinking, free to work and make a living; all within reason. Of course, it’s important that a person understands they must work hard to survive, but when people become mechanical, controlled, mindless without thoughts of their own, it scares me.
Lol just a question, in what universe is Suki a Chinese name? Or am I mistaken.
You’re correct, but actually there are many Chinese girls that use the name Suki. Her name is actually 郭哲 GuoZhé. Chinese people pick names for themselves that are easy for us (foreign people) who can’t say their names.
Well, I’m looking for possible programs that will give me specific and valuable certifications in Audio Engineering. Hopefully something that can be completed either via the internet or within a matter of two-three weeks on location.
I wrote the M1 motorcycle test this afternoon. I arrived at the licensing office, realized I didn’t have my ID, returned home to get it. I arrived at their office for the second time with only 15 minutes left to write my test. I ran thru the test and passed, no problem. I can now legally write a motorcycle in Ontario. Awesome.
I’m Home! I’ll be hanging out in Brantford for another month. So drop me a line and buy me a coffee (kidding, but seriously, I can’t afford coffee’s with everyone…. and lunch would top the charts for sure) !
I left Calgary, Alberta this morning only to find out we weren’t actually leaving yet. I packed my suitcase, all my stuff and then carried it all out to the van only to be told ten minutes later, that we’d be back at the same place that evening for two more nights…
Tonight’s venue, in Brooks Alberta, is really nice. The staff are so great and the sound system rocks! However, it was awesome when the opening bands’ sound engineer walked in with a rack full of gear and said I could use it… right after I finished Hello Kelly’s sound check, haha!
I’ve been hanging out with the guys from Hello Kelly for the past two weeks. Travis, the guitarist, invited me to stay at his place, during my stay in Nashville. It was great to finally see the city and experience just a taste of what Nashville is about.
The weekend before I left, my family and I crossed paths. They were headed to Atlanta, GA, so they decided to stop in Nashville to say hello. I took them to see the Opryland Hotel, which Travis had just taken me to see earlier in the week. Wow, what a sight to see!
The tour started on Tuesday last week, and it’s been going great so far. We’ve had very few and minor technical flaws, somehow we seem to be staying ahead of schedule, and our home openers have been Out of This World with their generosity!
This tour has been very encouraging for me thus far! Watching the Hello Kelly boys on stage and their dynamic on tour just makes me want to dive right back into my music endeavours in China, but on a whole new level! I need to get organized, get focused and remember that it’s not about me and my dreams….
The tour ends on Thursday next week in Cambridge, ON; right after our show on Wednesday in Brantford, ON, where I’ll be opening for Hello Kelly as Polymath.
The family stopped in to visit me, today -in Nashville, TN. It was so great to see them. After plans changed coming home from Asia, I wasn’t scheduled to see them until the middle of May! They came and picked me up from that church I visited last week, The Anchor, and we went on a mid-day quest to find the Opryland Hotel -a famous resort hotel, here in Nashville. We had lunch, they dropped me off and went on their way to Atlanta, GA.
Alright, Hong Kong was a long time ago, Kunming is on hold and I’m in Nashville. I’ll be the sound engineer for Hello Kelly on their tour out to the west end of Canada. We ship out in two days. I’ve been finding it difficult to consistently update lately. I don’t know why it’s more difficult now than before, but I’m gonna try to catch up on what’s been left out.
I stayed with Travis this week; the guitarist in Hello Kelly. He showed me some of the need to check out places here in Nashville on his off days. Trav’s a very cool dude and he’s getting married this September. His fiancee lives in Kentucky, so doesn’t get to see her very much lately. He went to visit her before the tour, so I’m staying with Francois and his housemates for a couple of nights.
Tomorrow morning I’m gonna drop in at ‘The Anchor’ again. It’s a really amazing group of folks that meet in a little old church building in downtown Nashville. Last Sunday night I was able to catch a ride there with Francois, and it was amazing! After the service, the worship time was so incredible. During an open call for prayer, a couple guys stopped by and prayed for me. I left feeling encouraged and refreshed; like this was the reason I had to come to Nashville.
I’ve been through the north of China, and now in the south. Last week I even got to see a glimpse of Burma! For a long time I’ve been waiting to see Hong Kong and now I’ve got the chance. I have to leave Mainland China every 60 days to avoid problems with my visa, so I thought this time I would take the opportunity to see what Hong Kong is about. My flight leaves in 3 hours. My bags are packed and I’m heading over to Wang’fu’jing for a haircut!
A story is unfolding so quickly. Even I often find it difficult to keep up! You’ve only heard the bits and pieces -seeing only the highlighted scenes. Through the eyes of a camera and the words on your screen. But you just wait; there is so much more. So much emotion; tention… so much excitement!
There are words you haven’t heard and moments still unseen.
It’s the pieces that I’ve shown you and they’re only the beginning.
A story is unfolding and soon you will see;
she very well could be the only one for me.
I’m on flight #087, flying back to Shanghai. By tonight I’ll be home (in China). The thing I enjoy most about life in China is time. Somehow, I seem to find the time to write more, read more, pray more, and dream -more than I do when I’m home in America. Maybe it’s China, maybe it’s just life on the road. I haven’t figured it out yet… whatever it is, it’s enjoyable and it’s on my list of things to pursue in life.
I’m looking forward to waking up in Kunming tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to seeing my girl. I’m excited about this next chapter, and where it may take me next.
Thanks for our incredible family, mom and dad. I’m really glad we were able to be together. I can’t wait to do it again.
No, I haven’t given up or become tired of China. I’m just visiting home. I’m leaving Kunming for the first time in almost 3 months. I like this city. I’ve gotten to know my way around and although I’ve had my days of frustration, it’s quite like home to me. In many ways it’s a lot like Brantford, or many small cities in America. Only, here they eat rice, noodles, chicken feet and pig hoofs (and enjoy it intensely).
I’m looking forward to visiting home, seeing my friends and family and playing a few shows, but I’ll be back.
I wish I could say otherwise, but I’m losing faith that my guitar’s coming home. Thursday night, Polymath played a show in Kunming. After the show, I put our guitars in the back of a cab and sent them home with one of the guys.
I had a sinking feeling as I drove home in another cab, somehow knowing what was about to happen. I made more calls than I could count in an attempt to reach my friend on his phone. He didn’t pickup. Then I saw him walking; no guitars.
That’s when all the fun began. He felt horrible. We made phone calls long past midnight and we began to pray. We decided it would be best to crash for the night and call the cab company in the morning.
We tried the cab station, we tracked down the surveillance videos from the club district and made many more phone calls, but so far we still have not heard back of their whereabouts.
I asked God to keep them safe while they’re lost in transit; destination unknown. Maybe Monday they’ll come home safe.
If anyone would like to donate towards a new stage guitar it would be much appreciated. I’m in discussion with a few companies to see wether there are any interested in supporting what I’m doing in Asia.
Polymath’s first real show- November 19th, 2010, in the city of Kunming. We played on the side of the modeling runway in the most prestigious shopping square in Kunming, surrounded by curious asians of all ages.
The band of four captivated the audience, opening the show with the new single, “Feels So Right”.
“The oldest and truest trick in the touring business is for bands to start where they live. Be wary of creating a national audience from scratch.”—
I’m not sure if this is a problem. Not only have I not built a local audience, I’m starting at an international level rather than national. Could it be that with the current world stage starting local is unnecessary? I doubt it.
There must be underlying reason for this advise. If I knew what it was that is so important in the building process, I could try to incorporate it into the same process on an international scale.
Following on from the popular workshop presented at the 127th AES Convention that delved into topics relating to the nature and the consequences of the loudness wars, our panel of loudness experts and “master” mastering engineers will provide an update on the progress toward ending the war and returning peace, harmony, and dynamic range to the people.
I like this concept. If you’re wondering what this is about, let me quickly explain:
For years, the mastering game has been about making a song standout by making it’s mix louder overall. This has led to what is called, “the loudness war”.
Let me simply say -I’m not a fan. I like good clean mixes, even in rock music. I like to hear the kick punch, the notes of the guitar ring out and vocals melodies to be clear as anything. I’m hoping that the guy mastering my new songs is on the same page…
The Greek word polymath means: “having learned much”. When you consider the genesis and coming up of singer/songwriter Polymath, you’ll see that this name was aptly chosen.
The man behind the music, Alex Kalmar, has had an interesting journey thus far: After watching his peers battling for a piece of the musical pie in his local indie rock scene, Kalmar turned his eyes across the globe and thought: “Why not China?” Originally from Kitchener, ON, Kalmar developed a curiosity for China through business trips with his dad and saw an untapped opportunity within his reach. He decided to take a leap of faith.
Moving to China with little more than a suitcase, a guitar and a head full of dreams, Kalmar created the character of Polymath, an alternative pop country force that brings to mind artists like Switchfoot, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban combined. With driving choruses carried by sing-able melodies, gigantic drums and acoustic charm, Polymath has not only crafted a new sound, but a new way of doing things.
"By the time I get back to Canada in 2011, I don’t think anybody will expect what’s coming," Kalmar dishes. Free of interference or distraction, Polymath is incubating, training, if you will. For Polymath, China is a place to start: The beginning of a bigger adventure.
Part of that adventure was to record. Polymath’s self-titled debut features three infectious, emotionally raw singles destined for both radio success and live music magic. “Come fill the empty space between, where the grass in greener,” Polymath sings on “Come With Me”. This is an artist speaking to the state of his generation, whether in Canada, the USA or yeah, even China. “I see it a lot in young people everywhere,” Kalmar explains, “looking for a place to belong. Polymath is an opportunity to maybe shift their perspectives and encourage them to be the change they want to see.”
Polymath’s debut is slated for a November 2010 release and will be available electronically at Polymath.ca. April 2011 will mark Polymath’s long-awaited return to Canada, when he’ll embark on the PinkTUX tour and show the world just how much he has learned.
Last night I left my apartment and grabbed a taxi on the street heading for the club district in Kunming. I laid down across the back seat of the cab as I often do during long taxi rides. All of the sudden, the taxi driver pulls to the side of the road and a girl gets in my cab. Remember, only two minutes prior to this I’d hired the driver, right outside my apartment complex and now he’s making the decision -without prior consent, to share my taxi with a complete stranger!
Normally, this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me, and it didn’t… but I spent the whole taxi ride for the next 20 minutes contemplating what had just happened! Is this normal? Did this really just happen? How much did she pay the driver when she got out of the cab more than half-way to Kundu? What do I say to the driver?!
The scene got a little messy when the driver realized I wasn’t going to pay the full taxi fare… Nothing can be expected here and soon nothing surprises you. It just is what it is.