mistersandman: How would you feel if you had to put on a really stupid hat? (RAGE)
Life is full of wonderful small surprises, like finding a Chuck-E-Cheese token sitting on a park bench or having a pleasant conversation with a stranger on a bus. And then there are the other surprises.

I reserved Shenzhen: A Travelogue by Gary Delisle from the library. It was one of the few non-fiction books on Shenzhen in the library's collection and I wanted to get to know my future home a little better. When I finally got my hands on it, I was surprised to discover it was a comic book, entirely etched in charcoal.



Intrigued, I read the book in an afternoon between classes. To say the least, it filled me with loathing.

Read more... )

Christ, what an asshole.
mistersandman: (hahaha)
It is said that in suburbia, a rabbit will devour your garden, a groundhog will devour your garden, and a deer will devour your garden. But only in the case of the deer--and this has been true in suburbia since the founding of Levittown--will your dog not chase the perpetrator to its home and munch upon its children in retaliation.

~Chester A. Arthur

And it just so happens that two out of three days this month have been associated with the groundhog and rabbit, respectively. I've never had much love for either creature, which I suspect is a defense mechanism I developed as a child after seeing the torn remains of the wee beasties scattered across my backyard after dear departed Topaz was through with them.

The rodent gods have taken note of my callow blasphemy and have responded in kind. That jagoff Puxatony Phil said spring would come early and Pittsburgh gets slammed with bitterly cold winds and snow not hours later. Now it's the Year of the Rabbit and I'm not looking forward to a whole year of this bullshit. Even my horoscope knows I'm in for a karmic asskicking: "If you are born in the Year of the Snake take extra care this year on your health and investments."

Geez. I'm surprised they didn't give me the address of a good funeral home or a cheap notary for my last will and testament. The only way I can think of to accrue existential merit is to play Learn From Lei Feng. Alas, I cannot find a copy for sale, but I remain hopeful that some worthy comrade will take pity on me and show me the way. Perhaps there I will encounter the legendary 卯泽东 and be absolved.

Boom. A little bit of Chinese language humor for you.


mistersandman: (watchmen)
I just got off the phone with James Swihart, co-director of the Teaching and Learning Program in China, a program that works in conjunction with the Shenzhen government to teach English to Chinese students aged 7-18. The interview was a lot easier than I expected. In fact, it wasn’t much of an interview at all! I’ve never been to a job interview where I was expected to ask more questions than the interviewee. Did they think I wouldn’t read their website’s FAQ twenty times in preparation for our conversation? On the whole, the interview would have gone smoother if I hadn’t tried to use his answers to talk about my experiences.

He seemed like a nice guy, though. He described the work permit/visa process as “a pain in the ass" and who can't appreciate that kind of honesty? I think he and his program are still coming to terms with the fact that more and more Americans are studying Chinese and living abroad in China as part of their college experience. Since he ascended to the co-director position in 2005, the number of people with Chinese language experience (which is to say, at least one semester of Chinese in college) has risen from 20% to 50%.



I really hope I get in. Lord knows I’ll never cut it as a YouTube comedian:

mistersandman: (hahaha)
HAPPY NATIONAL DAY, MOTHERFUCKERS




Think back on the last anniversary of your nation's founding. Maybe you watched some fireworks. You might have kicked back a beer or two with friends. Maybe you got laid, or even ate some apple pie. Well, the People's Republic of China sent up a lunar satellite. Feel free to shit yourself:

Yeah, that's right. The Chang'e-2, carried by a Long March 3C rocket no less, lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province around seven this morning EST.

It is expected to reach the moon in
5 days, which is leaps and bounds more awesome than its predecessor in 2007, which arrived after twelve days. The first Chang'e orbited the moon for 494 days and sent back 1.37 terabytes of data, producing China's first complete moon picture before it... intentionally crashed into the moon. Righteous!

China's space program has received a great deal of attention from the Chinese media, because there's nothing more patriotic than sending your nation's symbolic phallus into the great unknown and if nothing else, the Chinese Communist Party derives its power from being the largest bastion of
Chinese nationalism around.

I've met some people who insist that China will arrive at superpower status the minute a Chinese person sets foot on the moon. Others are less enthusiastic. In his 2005 book China Road, NPR correspondent Rob Gifford recalls covering China's first human space flight mission, the Shenzhou 5, in 2003. In Beijing, he encountered the sort of positive response one would expect from such a momentous achievement. Fifty miles out of Beijing, very few of the farmers had heard of Shenzhou 5.

A hundred miles out of Beijing, an elderly couple asked, "What's outer space?"

And now for something completely boring )
I need to work on coherence. This tale began with a bang and ended in bureaucracy. It is a metaphor for your life.

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