Notes: Chinese Funeral Gadgets Burning (Seriously)

Grandpa%27s%20presents-10.jpgIn between CES and Macworld, I thought I'd get a break. Instead, I had to deal with the CES prank fallout and my grandfather's funeral, at the same time. (Murphy's Calendar.) It was definitely the most challenging two weeks of my life in terms of physical and emotional endurance. Gadgets have always been a pleasant distraction from the more serious side of it all, and so gadgets were present at Grandpa Jimmy Eng's funeral, too, in the form of some paper mockups to be burned for use in the afterlife.

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Chinese tradition involves burning fake money for the deceased to use in the afterlife. In recent years, that's expanded to other material goods like this benz, phone and laptop. I found some of these in a little shop in Chinatown, two doors down from the funeral parlour. What a racket, these guys charge 15 bucks for a paper notebook, but who is going to argue when grandpa needs to send email from hell. (Traditionally, there is no heaven in the Chinese afterlife, only hell. Oh look, Windows 95!) Adam, my brother, shot these photos, and I told him that when I passed, he should send me off by loading my ashes into a model rocket and blasting them over the ocean. We had a good laugh, and when the casket was closed, between the silence, and sobs from my mother, a musak rendition of How Deep is Your Love came on, to which I started laughing almost uncontrollably. I am not one of those freaks who has to laugh at tragedy every time, but I just didn't have the energy to let my guard down between the monster trade shows. If I did, I probably wouldn't have been able to function.

That's life, weird, difficult, sad and confusing at times. But at least my job is fun, and I've got a bit of good health left. I'll call that lucky.

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