We drove to Ling’s on Friday night, played ping pong a bit. Saturday was very warm and we went to the driving range, preparing for Sunday’s round. The New Year’s Eve party was at Lu Yinghao’s, a purported poet (Chinese classical style) who now seems more interested in hosting weekly poker tournament. It’s a big gathering of UIBE alumni. Lu’s basement has a nice home theatre with a dedicated computer and a mixer (I didn’t see any faders, so maybe he’s just talking about a multi-channel poweramp with mic input). After dinner we played, surprise, poker. HH was first out on a triple A (he drew a pair) by a straight. Second out was me on a straight by a flush. Then it’s all UIBE business. We also watched the preposterously pretentious Promise before and after dinner. Chen Kaige should be banished to labor camp for life for wasting $30m like that. Zhang Yimou would have joined him, if he didn’t make Qianlizoudanqi.

On Sunday we played a round at a private club, through a friend who’s a Lexus mechanics and fixes many club managers’ cars (they seem to like Lexus). I played terrible mostly for putting, though the new driver felt pretty good without too many slices. When we’re done at about 3:30pm we’re terribly hungry so we bought some steak from Harris Teeter and had a nice long lun-ner, with one Chianti Classical from Italy and one 10-year old Zhang Yu. We relaxed a while afterwards, and started to play poker again when Lu Yinghao arrived. Zhang Zhiwei gave a poker set with tabletop and shuffler as New Year’s present, and Yin Meng, acting independently, gave a shuffler. The newly remodeled basement is a perfect place for such debauchery: the bar countertop is the right size for the poker tabletop, and those unfortunate in the game, which mostly included the hosts, can drink away their blues. Ling was first out, and HH seond after a big lost to me. I stayed till the end by folding the last few hands while Yin Meng battled the championship caliber Lu Yinghao in futility.

After everyone’s gone we watched La Dolce Vita for a short while, but HH and Ling both had to crash due to the amount of alcohol they swallowed. We got up after noon, it was raining so we just finished the movie and left after dinner.