Monday, June 16, 2014

Diary: June 10 to June 16, 2014

  • Andis blogs about words that don't rhyme but he wish did.
  • Andis makes a mistake with his LinkedIn account.
  • Andis has a Chinese lesson.
  • A student tells Andis stories of going to high school in Boston.
  • Andis watches episodes of the Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher.
  • Andis blogs about the World Cup.
  • Andis sees a man laying unconscious on the street.
  • Andis raves about an Indian movie the Lunchbox.
  • Andis wanted to wring his son's neck on Father's Day.
  • Andis & Tony go to the cinema to see Godzilla.

Tuesday [June 10]
[Home Laptop]
  • Watched the ninth episode of the current season of Game of Thrones. Episode nine focused on just one narrative.
  • This morning, I had Tony picked up and taken to school, and I had the e-bike charged fully and parked for Jenny.
  • Hopefully, I didn't miss any spots when I was shaving.
  • I made a really dumb mistake with my LinkedIn account last week. I accidentally sent invitations to everyone who had an address in one of my email accounts. The invitations were even appearing on my blogs because I have found that because I am China, emailing is the only way I can post to my blog.
  • Not much else to say this morning. Maybe something will happen on my way to school.
[School Laptop]
  • Today's Shift: 13:00 to 21:00. This week's shifts: Tuesday 13:00 to 21:00, Wednesday 13:00 to 21:00, Thursday 10:00 to 21:00, Friday 11:00 to 21:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00. No overtime this week.
  • Did anything interesting happen on my way to work? Yes. One thing. I took a photo of a pedestrian traffic control light that showed both a green walk signal and a red don't walk signal. There must have been a short.
  • I was listening to the latest GLOP culture podcast from the Ricochet site and I heard some blowback against one aspect of the Game of Thrones world. The commentators said they hated the Northern Wall which divided the Windwalkers and Zombie peoples from the Southern realms which include Winterfell and the city from where Joffrey had reigned.

Wednesday [June 11]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00.
  • I had a Chinese lesson this morning. My first lesson in eight or nine years. (My Chinese study has been self-taught for all these years. I know a lot of characters and read a very little, but I can't have even the simplest of conversations.) I spent the class practicing my tones. I cannot distinguish the second and fourth tones. My first tone will sound like third tones. Aaaaaggghhhh! Or I should say AAAAAAaaAAAAaaaAAAa! I very much hate the Tones.
  • Last night I had a student who had recently spent three months attending a high school in Boston. He told me he loved it because his school days were shorter and the material he studied was very much easier than what he had to deal with in China. The math he was being taught was fourth grade. He then told me some tales of accidentally saying words like impotent and erection, and thus making his teachers laugh and laugh and laugh. His most interesting anecdote he told me about was about being warned not to say “nigga” around black people. Many Chinese, when speaking, will say something sounding like “nigga” when pausing to think what to say next, like Westerners saying “ah!” as a filler.
  • The student had a classmate and buddy from Wuxi attending the high school with him. I can just imagine what would have happened if he and his buddy were overheard using “nigga” in a conversation by a nearby negro. “Leroy, did you hear what those Chinese guys were saying?!? Let's get on our phones and summon a flash mob and beat these Chinese down!”
  • Student: Normal Chinese people do this. Andis: Chinese people normally do this.

Thursday [June 12]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • The K family overslept this morning. At 7:00 AM, I was awaken by Jenny who in turn had been roused by a phone call from the driver of the car that takes Tony to school. It ended up that I had to take Tony to school on the e-bike. I didn't want to because it was an early shift day but Jenny insisted.
  • It turned out that I had loads of time. I got Tony to school and I showered and I shaved and I got on a bus and made it to work so that now I have time to make this diary entry before I start my first class which is at 10:00 AM class.
  • Funny thing happened, I thought, when I dropped off Tony. I had to watch him make his way till he was out of sight. I am not used to the idea that Tony can go anywhere without Jenny or I accompanying him. I know he is seven but he is all I got....
  • The construction on Zhongshan Road is currently a pain for pedestrians who have been left to fend for themselves as pedestrian path markings have been completely removed. In one spot where there was a mid-road pedestrian crossing lane, string barriers had been put up. Walkers following the normal paths have been forced to go over or under the string to cross the street.
  • I watched another episode of Real Time with Bill Maher because a host of a podcast I listen to was making a guest panel appearance. To further torture myself I watched an episode of the Colbert Report which had the celebrity economist Thomas Piketty as a guest.
  • Real Time, if one can gleam anything from it, shows that television is not the place to engage in intelligent conversation on any issues. Hard to respond to any argument in ten seconds. Hard to respond to some factoid presented by a person that you may not have been aware of.
  • Anthony Weiner was on one of the other guests on the Real Time panel. He looked as creepy as his reputation suggests. And he proudly called himself a progressive whenever he had the chance to speak.
  • Colbert, of the Colbert Report, is a goof. He may have said two things rating a smile in the twenty minute show I watched. He is apparently a Catholic but that doesn't come across. (I wonder how he deals with the likes of Bill Maher who is a rabid atheist. Maher was playing the game )
  • I just taught a student from Taiwan. She has three sisters. I, for the first time in my ten year career of making small talk with people trying to improve their English, asked a student what her sisters did and if they were married!

Friday [June 13]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 11:00 to 21:00. Three classes in the evening. I have seven hours to keep myself busy. Rare readers may deduce from my bloggings, my ramblings, or you could say my blamblings that I occupy myself while sitting at my desk here in many ways. I try to study Chinese, study English grammar, read poetry, study computer coding, blog, and pray.
  • I am participating in the school's world cup prediction competition. I had predicted a one-one draw between Brazil and Croatia based on a hunch that Brazil would be tight in front of their home fans and on memories of Croatia's plucky performance in the 1998 World Cup when they had a lead in the semifinal against eventual champion France.
  • I just learned that Brazil beat Croatia 3-1. For a while, I was looking very prescient as Croatia scored the game's first goal and Brazil then leveled the score. But then the referees gave the Brazilians a soft penalty, a free goal as it were, and Croatia gave up a late goal.
  • Seeing how I had been flirting with not bothering to watch the world cup because it was essentially a bunch of yobbish men, from countries I don't care about, wearing shorts trying to put a ball in a net. Perhaps the gods who do play a part in the results of these games were trying to tell me something.
  • The games can often be dull as dishwater. I remember that Brazil Italy 0-0 final in Pasadena. Germany and England playing to a 0-0 draw in 1982.
  • Giving a penalty in soccer would be like a foul shot being worth 25 points in a basketball game. A good comment made on the controversial call.
  • House of Cards episode seven (season one) ends with the congressman performing cunnilingus on a reporter that he is feeding stories to. What is the point of this? How does it advance the plot of the show?
  • I was hoping to be able to get a MP4 video of the match and watch it on my Ipad on the way to work, but the file was too big and my download speed was too slow.
  • I thought I was going to have lots to blog about from 10:00 to 11:00 but it is 10:36 and I can think of anything to type.
  • I will rack my brains.
  • Oh yes. Construction on Zhongshan Road. It perhaps might be finished but the time the subway begins operation on June 28th. Currently, the old pavement has been removed, and new pavement has been poured in some places.
  • I do get a point for my prediction. I was the only one apparently who thought the game could have ended in a tie, and so I am in last place. I was robbed I tell you. I. Was. Robbed.
  • The past two evenings, I have arrived home just as Tony was falling asleep so that he would shove me away when I did try to talk to him.
  • What's with you Chinese students?”, I asked to one who was particularly annoying me last evening. “How come you have no goddamn imagination?”
  • My last two classes last evening were enough to make me question why I became an English teacher and to doubt if I was doing any good.
  • There are no bad schools; only bad students. So says John Derbyshire, and he is probably right. The students who do improve are the ones that motivate themselves. Maybe an hour can be spent pleasantly enough by entertaining them, but does it improve their English? If it can inspire them. Lord knows, good comedians can inspire us to try to be witty and observant, but it is a lot of work and many of us go back or revert to our old and comfortable ways.
  • A student was not happy because her Iphone was stolen. She had left it on the table in the cafeteria. Later she phoned her phone but it was turned off after the third attempt.
  • Another student was not happy because she had just had an accident with her car when coming to school.
  • The teachers who teach at public schools and universities get the summer off. I, on the other hand, dread the Summer because it means unbearable humidity and unbearable classes with annoying middle and high school students.
  • Last night, as I was waiting, by the Baoli Mall, for the 635 bus, I saw a man laying on the pavement unconscious while, what I assumed were, a bunch of his buddies stood by, mostly engaging to horse play. I believe the man must have been passed out because I didn't see any blood on the pavement and the jovial nature of the men, mostly in their late twenties and fit, who stood around him. At the one point the group of men became so involved in their wrestling that they had moved away from the laying body leaving it alone and seemingly neglected.
  • Four minutes. Now three minutes till I go to work. It being almost eleven. What to say. What to say. What to say? Yes! My erstwhile 635 companion Sophia was on the bus last night but didn't have a seat and didn't sit next to me. I should have been a gentleman and let her sit but I was too engrossed in the episode of House of Cards.
  • One of the characters in House of Cards takes up paper-folding after a street person, who was of course black and somehow noble, gave her back some money, that she had given to him the day before, folded up to look like a swan. Was the gesture a fuck-you to the character on the part of the street person; a telling her that she couldn't assuage her conscience so easily by giving him cash? Or was it gesture on the part of the show to try and assuage the fact that the show is mostly sensational and salacious and full of posing?
  • Jenny always reproves me because I deserve to be.
  • For lunch, I eat at the Muslim Restaurant that is directly across a lane from my school. I then buy fruit and water from the recently-opened Family Mart: a convenience store that is clean and has a high-end selection of products.

Saturday [June 14]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00.
  • I was up till one this morning watching Mexicans and Africans playing soccer.
  • The creeps and perverts are gone!”, he assured me as, in the back of my mind, the thought arose that he was a pervert.
  • In every man, there is the pervert instinct. Better men reign in it. Weak men give into it. Evil men try to rationalize it.
  • I see why I am having so much trouble blogging this week. I haven't been answering the weekly question and so I am faced with the quandary of what to do about this oversight. I could go back and put answers in all of this week's daily entries but that would be cheating. I could answer the question for the next three days. I could answer the question all in one entry. I could admit that this week's question was rubbish and renew the weekly habit, I had been trying to establish, next week.
  • I will choose the latter option because the question I asked was bullshit. What words do you wish would rhyme but don't? Obama and Dummy. Left Winger and Idiot. The question is good; it is just that the answers are artless.

Sunday [June 15]
[Home Laptop]
  • I was up early this morning to watch Italy beat England 2-1. Toward the end of the match, it seemed that England got up early also. There seemed to be no effort on the part of the English to getting the leveling goal.
  • It was Father's Day today but it didn't mean much to Tony. I wanted to wring his neck when we went to the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza Mr. PIZZA. Without other kids around, Tony is quiet and shy. When in the company of other kids, as he was at lunch today, he is a little runt. He wants to argue and wrestle with the other kids, not realizing that his actions are disturbing the other people who want to dine.
  • It seemed to me against the world on the point of Tony's behavior. Come on, every Chinese person was telling, Tony just a kid doing what kids do.... If that was so, why did I look around the restaurant and see numerous kids behaving themselves properly.
  • I watched the Lunchbox, a film from India, on my Ipad, and now I just want to rave about it like Jay Nordlinger, a conservative commentator, who said it was the best film he had seen in many years.
  • What was the Lunchbox about? An housewife discovers that the lunch that she has been making for her husband, for his lunch-break at work and has been putting in a lunchbox, is being delivered in error to another man. She sends the other man a note with the lunch-box informing him of the mistake. The mistake is never corrected because the note leads to a correspondence between the housewife and the man. The housewife has a daughter and her husband is always coming home late from work. It seems he is not happy with the marriage. The other man, who has been eating the lunches she has made, is a widower and about to retire from his job. The correspondence, via lunchbox, sends the viewers on a emotional rollercoaster.
  • What do you like about the movie? 1)The movie has characters one really cares about. The main male character spends a long time riding to work on a very crowded train to work and back everyday where getting a seat is a privilege. The housewife is a beautiful and dignified woman. A third character, the man who is taking over the position from the main male character, earns our sympathy by the fact of his being an orphan. 2)The were porters on the train who are absolutely wonderful as they sing together in a way that is worthy of being performed in concert.. I couldn't never imagine western people ever having such camaraderie on the job. At my place of work, there may be moaning in unison, but usually it is tales of self-inflicted stupidity and what they cooked at home. 3)The characters are not rich. They have to endure the daily slog of crowded streets and commutes spend standing. 4)The main male character does a noble thing that would be inconceivable in the sex-stupefied west. 5) The food being put in the lunchbox looks so delicious.
  • Are all Indians so noble? I wish I could have taught English in India.
  • In the evening, Jenny & Tony & I had lunch with my buddy Jimmy & his wife at a restaurant called 好像家 (Just Like Home) on a back alley street that runs off of Zhongshan Road near the Nanchang Temple Market subway stop. Great food and great conversation. I look forward to visiting Jimmy at his new apartment.
  • The last train to Yanqiao leaves the Nanchang Temple Metro Stop at 21:23. Good!
  • Damn. I haven't been able to write anything for my WCE Blog.

Monday [June 18]
[School Laptop]

  • No shifts today.
  • Tony and I are going to see Godzilla 3D this evening.
  • [Later] We saw the movie. Tony enjoyed it. I thought it was alright though I prefer the aesthetic of the 1960s movies. The current one looked like Godzilla versus Alien and thus was a little dark for my taste. It seems that CGI or whatever computer graphics technology they use these days makes every action film look and feel the same.

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