shanghai lightning

Image via Gropius/Shanghaimage. 

Guys, omg.

It’s been a wild ride these last few months, and the year has simply slipped away; it’s like I’ve been hunting eels by hand. Time, so fickle, with its red dress and paisley accents. There are so many things to talk about. Luckily, there is always more time. (Until, of course, there isn’t.)

Things took an unexpected turn last summer. Through Knox’s multitude of connections, I secured a position working with a multinational corporation in rural Sichuan, doing a bit of “outreach” in the province I once called home. (Though initially there against my wishes, during the time I lived there I came to love the hills, the smells and the feel of a place so well-worn. I was floored to spend more time in the region, though my position required a bit more time dealing with middle management in developing, second- and third-tier cities than I would have liked.) The job itself was of a strange sort, and the work fell into a bit of a legal/ethical “gray area”, if you’re the type of person who believes we should ascribe “labels” to everything. Needless to say, it was exciting.

But things began to unravel in June, and by July it was no longer safe for someone such as myself — visa- and passport-less, on a  lead-footed diaspora of Phil‘s making — to remain involved as the stakes gained steam and people were thrown in jail (or worse). Domestic and international media exploded as scandal ran rife, so I quietly boarded a black market bus and headed east towards the Whore of the Orient and Knox’s patronage. It was a reunion befitting old friends, and it is good to be back in Shanghai.

In the time since Roger Presents: began, I have come to realize that the online-magazine-style format I initially envisioned is untenable (hence only three Blasts). Therefore, the Blasts are dead and gone. RIP. (Archive here.) Though I enjoyed the challenge, it quickly proved limiting, and going forward I’ll be returning to a more regular format, which is to say it will be a loosely-defined and irregularly-scheduled undertaking, prone to productive and unproductive periods in (somewhat) equal measure. But the plan is to lean towards the former; I’ve had enough of the latter. Like always, I’ll be featuring work of friends old and new, and I plan on upping the quantity of posts about me, because, hey — it’s been a real hullabaloo, and I figure I’ll tell you all about it. What’s more, shamæµ·, my dedicated Shanghai ham blog, will be relocated to Roger Presents:. I’ll be migrating some of my favorites from the original blog, and any subsequent posts will now appear on this platform only.

Meanwhile, the futures we come to expect will continue to combust before we ever arrive, as our worlds are constantly reshaped by forces not always within our control. Be it a loose-lipped wench-queen or the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, change is rarely boring, and almost never what we expect. Such is the nature of risk, and the death of most things, save those of the living, mostly works towards a better end. Whatever you call the forces that drive us — gods, Darwinism, uppercase-L Love, fate, God, mindless fucking, Thetans, Capitalism, Juju, fear — at the end of it, we are each our own, for better or worse.

But no matter. There is always more to be learned, more to be embraced, more to hope for: there is simply so much more than we could ever ask for. The past, as always, fades behind us, our troubles and cast-off detritus shed and forgotten in the light of a tomorrow unencumbered.

I roll on. It is good to be here.

Image via Gropius/Shanghaimage. View more of their images here. Some of the best Shanghai shots I’ve seen.

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    Someone thinks this story is hao-tastic

    This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it.

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