在中国

As of Late

As of late I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night. Don’t ask why as there might be a plethora of reasons. I might say that I only need a few hours of sleep each night. I might say that all the caffeine consumed throughout the day has kept me awake. It may be that I’m a light sleeper and my child has kicked me back into consciousness at 2am. It also may be that I have tasks to do such as international calling. Maybe waking up in the middle of the night is just natural.

Anywho… if it gives me a chance to write a little bit, all the better.

On Calligraphy

Yesterday a student asked me if I wanted to participate in her Calligraphy club. I mused aloud how my handwriting must be so beautiful. Was this a low blow to the teacher? I do not have legible handwriting… what gives? She mentioned that last year we learned cursive together and that I might be interested. What a thoughtful student! The club held a competition the previous year- didn’t know it existed, let alone the competitions. It seems that it was an online thing. One plus was that the competition allowed for both Chinese and English calligraphy submissions! Hopefully in the future the will be some updates worth posting and sharing…

On 90 seconds of ‘fame’

So the fam’ was on television yesterday. Nothing primetime, just the local television station (…considering the population of the ‘city’ is 8.23 million, I’m sure a few people watched). It’s funny because one sees oneself in a different light in that situation. Totally unprepared and unrehearsed, my ‘performance’ was very ordinary 😉 I also noted that I have aged and almost remind myself of my grandparents though not nearly as aged.

la gente

Sometimes I wonder if people ‘get it’. I include myself in this, but lately it’s more other people who don’t register. The ability to divine what’s going on, the ability to pick up on the EQ of others is no small task, but one is within reason to expect people around you to be switched on or at least care…

The ol’ noggin hurts lately and there is much consternation around every corner as my basis for reality continues to be redefined by surprise turns and twists of events.

In the words of a Mexican teenage sage, wise beyond his years and undetected by the masses:

la gente…

a slow demise

This week has been a slow demise. Slow and painful.

A week ago, somehow, someway, I caught a bug that has tormented me and plotted my destruction. Perhaps it was a perfect storm: lack of sleep, staying up late, and just too much old fashion exercise for a fragile body (still figuring out when I became so fragile). And here I am on the mend (knock on wood) but not after a few licks.

Sunday I was in bed all day with a fever. Monday morning come work time, still had the fever but what the heck, why not head into work? Tuesday still under the weather, Wednesday was a passable day that was spent uncomfortably in the office for the most part that probably should have been spent recuperating in bed at home. Thursday I somehow managed to get through six lessons and a few meetings. Yesterday, Friday saw me into work. I thought I’d celebrate my good feelings of survival with a fast food breakfast. By 8:30am I was feeling dizzy, started class at 9:15am and was really about to topple. I excused myself, asked permission to take the day off and prepared to do so. At 9:30am I was taking a moment just to collect myself before heading home. On my way down the stairs I made it just in time to the men’s restroom to unload my dizziness in two violent and self-contained abdominal upheavals. That cured the dizziness just long enough to take the subway home and crawl into bed. I’ve been sleeping since…

The week before my troubles was filled with full lessons, no preps, staffing stress and oral examinations. Next week is similar, so that ought to be a blast. It’s all about pacing and doing what needs to be done. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’m hoping that I’m at least up to 80% come Monday otherwise I might not make it. This past week was fairly uneventful and I was running on fumes, perhaps an average of 35%. Yeah I can gauge this pretty well as normally I can do flights and flights of stairs without breaking stride. Last week I couldn’t get up two flights without feeling like keeling over.

At some point I wanted to start writing again, and documenting my demise might be a good time to start. Most likely Hopefully it will take a lot longer than a week or two. It would be a terrible pity to start such a good habit so late in life 😉

Now off to catch some afternoon …zzzZZZs and charge up the proverbial battery for next week’s festivities.

Anew

Despite all the tasks I have listed to do today, here comes a drop of rain after a long drought. Add to it the fact that I’ve decided to ‘write a novel’ in November (more on that another day) which requires something to the effect of 1000+ words per day. Here I am barely breaking 100 for an unrelated task…

Observations

camouflageMidway through my self-inflicted hour-long walk to work this morning which began shortly after 6am, I noticed a person rummaging through the rubbish bin; noticed them collect something- if memory serves it was a plastic bottle which at one point might have held at least 500ml but surely less than 1L of some diabetes abetting liquid; noticed them upon completing their survey of the bin continue on towards the intersection; and noticed them commence the fording of light traffic to eventually arrive at the other side of the street.

I never did see the person reach the other side of the street for as they began the first few footsteps onto the cold hard concrete my attention was drawn to the projectile that left their hand and landed smack dab on a stripe of the futile attempt to control the urban zebra.

I could go tangent about the fascinating complex mechanisms of ‘waste’ collection here in the Middle Kingdom- but I wont. Equally probable on my part would be a digression, nay an exploration of the habits of a random sample of citizens and their nonchalant attitude toward polluting the surrounding environment. Something else worth reflecting on but perhaps not expanding on at this moment is my own haughty perspective and hypocritical inaction of right-ing ‘a wrong’ (I did not put this plastic in its place…and don’t get me started thinking about the fact that it’s existence has not changed merely by placing it in the designated bin rather than on the street surface…!)

All plastic is not treated equal. This thought led me to action and it was as simple as that. To be willing to dig through the rubbish bin to collect a plastic bottle and in nearly the same moment in time to discard a plastic bag of sorts blatantly without disregard in the middle (ok, near the curb) of the street was intriguing, enough to document and write about 16 hours later.

Okay, I lied. I may digress a little because hell, all things are connected. I don’t have the mental energy at the moment to ‘research’ about the ethical treatment of plastics in all the bio? diversity. It does remind me of an hour-long podcast compilation about the toxic nature of the world we live in, one part focusing on plastics.

“Plastic is a term that we give to hundreds of different materials…”

…anyway (it is now about at least an hour later and I somehow have sidetracked myself into lesson planning and arranging media for class later this week…)

A proposed class

Next class will be themed under cultural diversity. It seems that as of late, I happen to be coming across multiple sources that coincide with what we are studying in class:

I’m hoping to do something different in class with this material. One student’s comments/complaints/criticisms/observations is that class time is inefficient as far as time is concerned. Teachers are taking an hour to do what students can supposedly do in 20 minutes of self-study or revision. If this is the case, perhaps s/he has point. If strictly conveying knowledge is best done individually and books/other inanimate material can manage to facilitate this process in an effective way (students are able to understand and then retain that knowledge) perhaps classtime is better spent on higher order manipulation of the ‘content’. Hopefully some of that is happening in class already, and hopefully teachers are not underestimating their students’ abilities insomuch as teachers become living conduits of information…

Reading

I’m into that reading mode at the moment, very eclectic, devouring much of anything at a great rate. This again comes after a relative drought. Perhaps it is the seasons that have prompted this change in behavior- the cold rain, the weather the shift in habit.

Bookshelf at the moment (though a little outdated):

My book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (currently-reading shelf)

2:11AM Ending

As much as my little engine that could would like to go on it can’t. Or rather it will migrate to a softer surface, lay out horizontally and read a book until unconsciousness is met… hello Mr. Sandman… hello. The last little bit left is to update the ol’ wordcount for my ‘novel’ which is slightly cheating but anything that gets me writing, whether it be a blog or a book, is a positive step forward…

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Internet articles read today:

Finally…

The promised rain finally comes. For the past two weeks the weatherman has been predicting a thunderstorm ‘tomorrow’. Everyday an alert saying tomorrow will be a thunderstorm but, without fail, no thunderstorm. It’s raining real good now and with a little luck it’ll be heavy enough and fierce enough to unless some Olympian might.

Well I never…!

I hope I never come across- God forbid turn into- the person who honks at a mother or father legally crossing the street in a cross walk while pushing their one year old child in a stroller. It takes being a real asshole to honk so that you don’t have to slow down to break the law. Are we not civilized at the end of the day…?

a three-thirty a.m. cultural bonanza

yesterday was busy- many classes, tutoring and the commute home. took a three hour power nap instead of a solid night’s sleep and, shortly after midnight, started preparing for today’s oral english lesson.

in the past i’ve done a little lesson on the logo, the motto, as well as an activity in which students innovate an imaginary product or service. why? in order that this and this don’t happen as much in class (and in society). the kids are creative but tend to go with what they know.

so today i heard about a chinese talk show that basically ripped off the intro to Conan O’brien’s show, Conan. It’s absolutely funny- the story- and i think he took the right attitude toward it. a clip from the show has gone viral on the Chinese twitter/blog-o-sphere and it’s pretty funny, amazing, interesting this cross cultural communication.

This isn’t the first time Conan has reached across to Asia. He has also had a ‘feud’ with NMA.tv, a Taiwanese Animation company that ‘reports’ the news. The exchange includes several funny video clips from both parties. What started the ‘feud’ was a mock animation Conan’s team put up here.

i think today i’ll show some video clips, introduce the ideas i’ve done before and hopefully spark a conversation or activity that will be fine example of edutainment. i should really be sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, but there’s so many things to spend waste my time doing…

before the hay hits me

long day today.
ate at some trendy new hong kong style restaurant in aqua city. food actually lived up to the hype. plus some pretty good thai iced tea.
after teaching six classes today, i managed to muster up enough steam to do an hour+ worth of chinese lessons on my own. congratulations are in order.
and lastly this week i hope to hop on the unicycle at least one, and also break out the accordion once as i didn’t manage to do either of these last week. found a little weird al music for inspiration.
off to bed… tomorrow will yet again be a long day.

chapped attitude

yesterday after tutoring i started to clean up my dorm room. i’ve let it go recently, so much so that it has been unlivable. the start was modest but right when i was in the rhythm it was time to go and do real work. like most people, i have aversion to work. unlike most people, my sense of responsibility 99% overwhelms any lackadaisical feelings i might have and so i go. even with a chapped attitude, i went to work. i felt absolutely no desire and yet i still went. zero enthusiasm. i wasn’t even sick but i felt like this was NOT how i wanted to spend my time at the moment. i made it through the day and today is yesterday’s tomorrow. i’ll apply some mental balm and see if things get better.