thoughts

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…

The Ultimate Revolution

Delving into the third speech/interview I have seen with Aldous Huxley, this gem stuck out and seems to be very pertinent to today’s situation. The talk is on developments in science/technology that allow the controlling of the masses in ways that are not as blunt, and potentially more effective than those historically. Transcript of the speech here.

Quite clearly, if everybody were extremely unsuggestible organized society would be quite impossible, and if everybody were extremely suggestible then a dictatorship would be absolutely inevitable. I mean it’s very fortunate that we have people who are moderately suggestible in the majority and who therefore preserve us from dictatorship but do permit organized society to be formed. But, once given the fact that there are these 20% of highly suggestible people, it becomes quite clear that this is a matter of enormous political importance, for example, any demagogue who is able to get hold of a large number of these 20% of suggestible people and to organize them is really in a position to overthrow any government in any country.

Aldous Huxley – The Ultimate Revolution (Berkeley Speech 1962)

on politics of the hour

It’s been a while since my last post. Often there is a desire to write but no motivation to do so. Today, at 12:42am I have just enough motivation and time and energy to spend on a few thoughts.

It comes to mind that I often miss ‘important’ events- I’m not in country when seemingly eventful occasions happen, when the dynamic of the environment changes, when history is in the making. I read the news, digest and interpret the situation but never experience what those in the midst at the time experience.

I scroll through social media, reading what friends and family posts. I share similar feelings with some and others, I hold polar opposite views. I am very much stirred to question them, not out of bitterness but out of a genuine desire to understand their viewpoint.

But I don’t. I’m not sure I can handle the strain or whether they can handle the strain. Perhaps I am selling them short, selling myself short or selling our relationships short…

Instead my strategy with things of this nature will be to not offer my opinion unless explicitly asked. This never happens, so it’s safe to say that this is one way to avoid the interaction. But also leaves me still in the dark.

Cat-like

It is said that curiosity killed the cat.

Are other animals capable of curiosity?

With the development of technology… starts most of my students’ papers.

… curiosity is stifled and we are told what to think and pursue in the rat race that is life.

It should really  be the other way around. Everything else in life should be an aside, for what is it to lose the innate curiosity that abounds in children? Why are we seemingly more and more disinterested as we age?

It may be that our interests are focused or it may be that we tune out.

If curiosity is unique to humans (which I doubt… it killed the cat), why aren’t we more embracing of it?

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:

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…?

the beginning of the end

i just got the ol’ lady a new sony laptop for valentine’s day. what a nice guy, i know. her old one was hanging on by a limb, so hey, why not? when we bought the laptop, they threw in a couple extra goodies as they do in china. one of the free goodies was a laptop table. this table is bad news, i would never buy one in public, and know better than to buy one privately. they threw it in as a bonus- who would say no freebie right?
of course i had to test it out… i sit here lying in bed with my head propped up, just enough to feel comfortable, just enough to slowly ruin my neck and lower back over time. i’m embarrassed to say that it’s freaking wonderful to type while lying down, the whirl of the usb fans humming me into a zen-like state as i type away. no more hot computer on the lap as i awkwardly try it maneuver the mouse and keyboard, no more readjusting to reduce the strain. my only fear is that one day i won’t be able to get out of bed, that one day i’ll be just like the humans from wall-e. this, my dear friends, is the beginning of the end..

S’moot’h Point

Today’s title is brought to you by lack of intelligence. You see, I may have already said my piece about this piece. To be sure the computer ran a little search. I asked it to find posts that had ‘moot’ in it. In all sanity I knew that I didn’t write ‘moot’ in my last post yet, the search query returned my last post. I forced myself to click on it, and when I searched the page for ‘moot’ I came up with this:

Blah, blah blah blah smooth blah blah blah blah blah… blah blah.

Serves me right.

Anyway.

Onto moot…

Students very often ask the question, “May I come in?” after they have already entered the classroom. I mean really- if I say no, are they going to stand outside or stay inside anyway? All they are doing is disrupting the classroom flow. Perhaps they are trying to show respect. If it’s the case, I advise them to show up on time or don’t shop up at all. I dunno. But it’s a complete waste of their breathe and everyone’s time, this little exchange.

IMHO… moot