Monday, April 28, 2008


It cost almost $50 American to go see these chinese acrobats (building with boarded up windows, stained plush upholstered seats, the whole deal) and man was it worth every penny.
There's a clapping that happened, I noticed it a lot, it peaks at the second most dangerous-looking trick. It's like the crowd is saying "okay, this is sufficient, no need to jump any hi- OH MY GOD he almost fell that time."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sara Plus Toby

second evening of experimenting with the tablet,
results are good, look for more in the future

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

16 colors, 320x480

man, I tell you, old computers are going to come back hard core at some point. I'm writing this on a computer at my Korean-run Chinese language school running XP with an "unspecified error" locking it into a low-res display.

Gmail works surprisingly well in this mode, though blogger's text editor doesn't scale quite so intuitively.

Hanyway, personal political reactions have been taking up a lot of my thought in the last few days, but I can understand that such cogitations aren't too fascinating to the general public, or even the specific public that reads this.

Other news:

1) I stopped chalking and talking. Now I throw Powerpoint into edit mode, close all the tool bars, and type while the students respond to discussion questions. Not only is it effective, but since they have to select characters chinese people can't look up from their keyboards as they type, so my students find it really unnerving.

2) I'm teaching one of my classes to sing "robot parade" It's gonna be video-taped for the parents.

3) Last class everybody asked me (in chinese) if I loved cola, because on this my second class I had once again brought a bottle of diet coke.

4) I'm switching to tea, a fat guy drinking diet soda is just too evocative an image.

5) why the motherfuck is the subway so fucking hot? sweat's running down everybody's face, the air outside is perfect, can't we just run the AC a little bit and make it not like an effing furnace.

6) subbing "well" for "very" sounds lovely

7) more than one thing about Wigan Pier rang true for me, not the least is his breif characterization as life as an "lower-upper-middle-class" fellow living in british colony, letting his sense of self-worth swell beyond all bounds.

9) lilacs are blooming everywhere they've been planted and assiduously watered and protected from the wind.

10) We've adopted a dog in our apartment block and named him buttons. I haven't touched him yet but I see him around all the time and say "hello buttons!"

11) Cricket died, in the grand scheme of things it is a small tragedy, it happened on Monday

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

that torch

The whole thing. I was listening to the BBC on the subway tonight and I heard about it being extinguished in Paris (podcast duh you don't get the BBC here and anyway who owns a radio and anyway since when do radios work on the subway?) a few times. All I can say was that I gave a little frown. I don't know the deal. Let's leave it at that. I don't know what's going on out west right now, and I can't say I think that an on-the-ground media blackout and saying that "the olympics are about sport not politics" is a well thought-out PR strategy.

That said I just don't see it. I don't see the totalitarian regime that people seem to imagine. I see well-educated people wearing machine-made clothes and slipping through the firewall like it wasn't there. I see people interested in democracy, educated about political systems, I see people who think of the police and the state as a joke.

So I guess it makes me kind of sad. I don't really see what these protesters want to happen in Tibet or Darfur or inside their toothpaste factories or anywhere else. There's seems to be a willingness to criticize but little else.

Just finished "the road to wigan pier." Did 1937 feel like this? Was everyone picking sides?

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Listening to The Empty Heart of the Chameleon on my way back from the dentist I reflect on how frustrating that all was.

Every time I go there they give me three different pieces of paper, and each time the x-ray and payment guys run it in a slightly different way. It's terrible for me to complain about because I suspect I'm generally getting special treatment. For example I never have to wait to get my x-rays even when it seems like there are a bunch of people waiting.

Still my crappy Chinese is frustrating, six days with no new words learned feels like I'm losing the war.

Anyway, the implant sites are good, in three weeks they'll put on the first set of teeth.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

16 days

That's not a good amount of time to go without posting, but Tiff just mentioned to me that Blogger was working again so whoopety doo, here we are.
You know I work as a copy editor but is there a book or something that has standard spellings for 'whoopety doo' and 'kablooey'? These are things I should know.
Okayyyyy news news news we've only got 13 weekends left in Beijing, this is freaky to me as I spend my Sundays at home playing video games and taking in tutoring that I'm not even sure I'll get paid for.
On the plus side Mass Effect is amazing and I know how to use gamefaqs so the total lack of a primer seems less important.
Video video let's have a look:
oh here we go
Sara's a little hypnotized by the cherry blossoms about. They're the first flowers in Beijing, and the way they spring from a leafless tree is just about right for plant life here. It's cold, it's dry, it's dusty. All plant life is tended, any bare patch of earth stays grubby and lifeless. It's the dessert, what do you want?

But in every courtyard, on every street border, ornamental cherries are bursting open. There is life in the dessert

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