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.

One of the reasons why I enjoy teaching…

Students are amazingly wonderful people. I gave them an access code to join Schoology as a supplement to our in-class ‘live’ interactions. A few students were slow to sign up, so as one does, I reminded them.

It seems I’m not giving enough homework if they have enough ‘free’ time to do this…


Dunno who the culprit is, but I have some clues. Not sure whether it is appropriate or not in the current political climate so I didn’t make a big announcement about this… but in all honesty, I thought it clever and quite amusing.

Surely I can’t publically condone this sort of behavior but keep it coming Mr. Former President!


On a side-note, it looks like today’s writing is up to maybe 200 words if I really stretch out this paragraph. Considering yesterday’s writing session was too short, and today’s is grossly inadequate, I’ll have some serious catching up to do. However, if one looks on the bright side, at least something is being writing. Two days in a row- woohoo!


A Friendly and Frighteningly Frank Face

A Friendly and Frighteningly Frank Face
Today’s visit (in all honestly it was like a week ago…) to the coffee shop down the street was supposed to be a working break. Three hours between classes was the perfect time to get things done. I had lunch, read an article about foreign affairs in Foreign Affairs, and sipped some java. I also wrote a short quip. What I didn’t do was get things done…
You see- a friendly foreign face saw another and conversation was struck up. A man older than me, the age of my father give or take, said hello. Not about to be rude, I replied. And so ensued the conversation. Where are you from? What are you doing? These topics quickly moved into the uncomfortable realm- explain to me Chinese women, etc. At a lost for words and wisdom, I nod and carefully navigate this conversation…
I mostly listened, and egged him on as a good listener ought do. I wasn’t about to divulge my inner, darkest most secrets though he was quite willing and able, and did. He rambled on about his past, his family, his life, how he directs movies and documentaries and likewise his son of the same calling. All fine and dandy, but the conversation felt a little forced, slightly uncomfortable.

slightly tainted-with replica of original

He did rather enthusiastically pressure me into taking down, or rather photographing, this ‘gem’ as he called it- the business card of top notch dentist who charges absurdly low fees for his dental work. My loquacious compatriot was adamant about this nugget of information, so much that he joked he should be charging me- after all, we are in an information age. This may have been before or after giving me the bird; you see he was the classic, blunt, sarcastic American I had always read about but hadn’t had much experience dealing with. Maybe it was my fault for reciprocating his sarcasm with my own rather bland sarcasm. It was all in jest, no hard feelings, but the kind of humor that is awkward among strangers in a cafe in a foreign land, common amongst drinking buddies of ten years at the local pub.

When he gave me a ring on the ol’ cele (new word, Br. tele + Am. cell) several days later, I felt guilty for not answering. But only a little. Under most circumstances I’ll be friendly enough, cheery and even amiable to a complete stranger. I couldn’t shirk the uncomfortable feeling of the prospect of spending more time with this super-extroverted character. Probably harmless, but do I really need to be entertaining myself with random peeps at this point in my life? Not top priority…

too a.m.

it’s too early in the morning but  i am awake.
checked my email in bed, found out that i’ll be hosting for a while.
got up made some hot coco in a bowl which reminded me of two days in Venice.
tried calling grandmother without such luck; didn’t leave a message on the machine.
…and there you have it.

the deleterious nature of recent weeks

recently my body has taken a beating. first, my nose was broken while playing football. the first game of the season, the first ten minutes- and bam! out with a broken nose. i’d like to thank the newly arrived british exchange students who at kickoff asked for a clean and friendly game.
the week following the initial break, i was off to see a doctor. he proceeded to use what seemed like medieval techniques- basically giving me topical anesthesia while positioning the bone back into place. the five minutes performing this ‘operation’ on my nose was excruciating. so much so that i wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. it fact, aside from the excess blood and initial shock, the original break didn’t really hurt; the day after the break i was able to to work and it was almost impossible to tell that my nose was broken aside from it being a bit larger. contrast this with what happened after the doctors visit: both eyes were swollen shut and i couldn’t even think. i stayed in bed all the next day.

a few days later while foolishly walking around the house barefoot, i managed to somehow catch the nail of my left big toe and proceed to rip it completely off.*  alright, i lie. it didn’t rip completely off. it just ripped off the right side and base leaving a nice hinged nail able to open from the left side. i left it on for a few days hoping it would reattach itself but, long story short, it didn’t. i got out the hedge trimmers and went to work, nail clipping as much as i could which was pretty much all of the nail. a rather good job i must say. so far, so good- no ingrown nails.

from nose to toes
anything goes-
tack a whack
it’ll grow back
god only knows

ask a lizard in a blizzard
when the hail disconnects his tail
escape i did, is what he’ll say
he surely lived another day
to tell the tale of his gizzard

-deleterious indeed

*note from the injured author: consider yourself spared the gruesome photograph of the mutant digit. my cellphone that triples as a phone-camera-stereo is currently and rather happily (should electronics ever have the capability of emotions) fulfilling its ‘stereo’ personality. it can’t be bothered with at the moment…

dreeee-ee-eee-am dream, dream, dream

These past three nights I’ve had the most vivid dreams:

Two nights ago, I was the survivor of a nuclear detonation. I, with several hundreds of others, managed to survive a nuclear detonation that exploded in the sky above us. We were in a stadium of some sort, across from the large lake here, which in real life is next to the train station. My roommate from France also survived and a math teacher from high school may have been in the dream as well. It was a surreal dream experience, quite eerie and words fail to capture the emotion, something between sad and desperate.

Last nights’ I don’t remember.

And I just woke up from one where I missed my flight at 7:08pm. I was trying to hike up to a temple in Malaysia I think. I was barefoot and climbing up a twisted path that was at times nature, at times a mix of civilization. I realized that I forgot my wallet so I had to run back down the mountain to the car, at which point I realized that I might miss my flight later that night. I also remember taking photos at the base of the mountain of some houses or ruins that had the face of a friend printed all over it (actually his “ancestor’s” face. By the time I got back to the car, it was 7pm and I had 8 minutes to get to the airport which was about an hour a way. I think driving was a part of the dream too- before I got to the mountain’s base, I parked on the side of the road (which reminded me a lot of California 253.)

I’m not certain what they mean, but I’m looking forward to the fourth installment if it is to be…

Blog Post # ~ 500

Without much adieu and a little sweating from the humid climate, here goes post number environ five hundred.

No doubt like other posts, it will be mundane.

I have a cold. It’s hot. Instead of cranking up the a/c like I’ve been doing, I’ll try something a little different: shutting it off and opening the window. This may help- after three weeks back in those United States of America I returned to find my room a bit dry and dusty. My conscience may indeed savor the heated experience- upon reflection, my carbon footprint is being reduced at the same time. Why not?

Ran errands on the electric scooter… the tires are flat. Traffic was as bad as usual but no casualties on the first run out. The “parking meter lady” wanted five jiao despite the fact that I made a quick ATM run. Ah, the welfare state. Where is it any different?

At the store I located the two items on my list: beer and toilet paper. It sounds bad. But they are necessities. I put the beer in the fridge in case the football crowd accepts an invitation to throw a couple cold ones back after a kick around this afternoon. Who would turn down free beer in this humidity?

The rest of the day looks like laundry and some Chinese study. I’ve been up since three in the morning. Mostly due to turning in at eight in the evening. What more to expect when my daily consumption of sleep in six hours?

So… It’s time to get back to work. Perhaps by staying busy my cough will leave me be. O, when, when will it leave!?

Completely unrelated: my tea bottle was almost left in Auntie M’s car on the way to San Francisco. Luckily she came back before I hopped on the bus. It would have made me so bad. It’s going on two or more years old. Pretty amazing considering how many I’ve lost and broken. The paint was wearing off so I put my own spin on it. I used the stickers from the airline as decals. The messages which were meant for my seat are now splashed on the bottle in a pop art fashion. The messages are:

  1. Please Do not Distrub
  2. Please Wake Me for Duty Free
  3. Please Wake Me for Meal Service.

They are written in Sony Playstation colors in English, Japanese and Korean.