Friday, November 30, 2007

Day30: The End. But Addicted All the Same

No, i'm not addicted to NaBloPoMo, blogging, or any chemical or herbal substances.

No, my addiction is dirty and secretive, and the only one who's known about it up to now is Heza. Funny that, since she's the one who turned me onto the sinister entity called... statcounter.

Almost daily i sneakily log on, and see what parts of the globe are reading my blog, for how long, and how they got there.

i assume that anyone reading this has gotten here thru me or Heza, so who the heck from Manitoba has been checking in?

i ain't proud of my time on statcounter, but i do recognize that part of me wants to cling onto my last life chapter, where i felt like i had it all goin' and where i was 100% stoked to be surrounded by so many great people.

And part of me feels that i should keep track of my hits so that i can see when people inevitably forget about me. (hey, i would too: 8,531 km is a long way away!)

Anyhow, they say that talking about it is the 1st step in recovery.

And aren't i allowed one small indulgence, seeing as how i made a clean break from Facebook months ago?

Re: FB, i'm pretty close to my idealized experience, where Heza is connected to lots of people i know, and i can see their pix and updates, but she should never tell me her password. Hey, Rebekah: you should hook up w/ Heza on FB!

Anyhow, sorry if this disturbing tale of dark dingy alley addictions wasn't the glowy lovey End of NaBloPoMo entry it coulda bn. So, thx to all who tuned in. We hope you enjoyed the show, and we hope to see ya again, real soon!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day29: It's In the Bag

The title refers to a couple things.

1. Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo, and i view it w/ a tinge of sadness. It's nice having a bit of extra purpose thrown into yr life.

2. One of my gr7 classes sang the Velvet Underground's I'll Be Your Mirror in a competition at another school today, and... next we're off to the December finals! i have no idea what this means. One student told my principal that we'd be playing at Teeny Men Square, which isn't actually unlikely. Another student said we'd play at a "big house," whatever that means.

i have no idea how big this thing actually is, but the competition today was pretty sad gong show. One of my students started things out w/ a speech about why she loves learning English, and the audience was less than attentive. Then 30 seconds in, a man jumped in, saying "Time's up, you're done, you're done," to her total bewilderment.

Before long it was apparent that anyone who wasn't dazzling got the hook early. "Done. You're done. Thank-you. Time's Up." A scant few acts actually completed a song/skit/speech.

Actually i don't think anyone finished a speech. Most people barely got beyond, "Hello teachers, friends, and students. It is a great honour here today. I very hope you can-" "Time's up, thank-you. Time's up."

But every time i felt bad for the performers, and i was often the only person clapping apres. Oh, come on, folks. Put yr hands together already.

Mostly the show was a big headache due to mediocre performances, lots of them, students who were noisy, teachers who never thought of quieting them, a brutally loud super crappy sound system, etc, etc.

But hey, at least the kids are learning English. It don't get more real than the kid sneakily hollering "Shit! Shit!" into a stray mike. Good one ol' chap!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day28: Girls Going Wild

Well, so far i've met up w/ 2 cool girls who answered my music ad. Both of whom i hope to get to know better and to hang out w/ more. One has a roommate who went to McGill. She is young and cynical and somewhat rebellious. She (not unlike myself) is ideologically opposed to the comfortable life her Calm You Knist Potty parents have set her up with, not least of all her education in international trade.

The other is a young and talented artist-photographer-keyboardist-singer who played at that killer Modern Sky Festival in October, and who's camera skills are impressive. She's tuned in to BJ i suspect, so maybe i can capitalize on that. It was cool to see her pad, which was in a shoddy old tower. In that quintessential artist way, it was dirty and fully cluttered with cool miscellanea including a lot of audio and recording stuff. She also fulfills family obligations by completing a degree in economics.

i wonder if there's a major rebellion brimming. Youth waiting to grind the pragmatic dreams of their parents underneath their knock off Adidas. i think it'll come before long, but i have no idea what it'll look like. 'cause yes there's a lot of money pummeling its way into China right now, but noone's getting any of it unless they've got their fingers in the 1st world's pockets somehow.

After watching The End of Suburbia, i think that maybe peak oil will make this whole International Trade Ticket To The Good Life into a farce. And yes, a farce which i'm capitalizing on by teaching kids The Language of International Trade.

It's true. I hold my tongue on quite a lot of subjects around here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day27: "Chinese People Aren't Stupid"

Since arriving in BJ, it's been very interesting to talk w/ locals about politix a smidgen. Naturally you approach the subject w/ some caution, 'cause sometimes you end up talking w/ someone whose parents are Potty members, or who are ex-members themselves.

i was surprised that pretty consistently the people who i've spoken w/ had a lot more grasp of the Cult You Rail Rev Oh Loo Shun than i'd been led to expect. Now this could easily be more of a comment on the folk i happen to cross paths w/ (as has often been the case), than a statement about the enlightenment of Beijingers.

But regardless, my cousin's husband told some pretty telling tidbits from when he himself was at the Teeny Men Square Mass i Cur. Not surprisingly, he told a narrative which was far from the glover mint account, but which sure wasn't the western version Heza and i had been gobbling up before arriving here.

Briefly, the Calm You Knist potty was very adept in that when the rev oh loo shun aries started killing and goring soul jers, they ordered the soul jers not to retaliate. So many of these violent acts (many which were really atrocious) continues on much longer than they should've.

So then the Potty easily could be justified in saying: well sorry, gang. But it's come to this.

Anyhow, H and i were under the impression that the media suppression had the population believing the glowing CCTV style news. But i was politely informed that the Chinese aren't the simpletons we'd been told they are.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day26: Developing: it's All the Rage Right Now

There's no question that BJ has chunks which seem posh and clean as a whistle, and it's fathomable that you could limit your existence to them. But there's no denying the fact that BJ and China still have a long way to go.

i saw a city worker dntn sleeping under a pile of blankets next to his shovel and hole in the asphalt. Bikes and trucks lug disastrously huge piles of goods, and people sleep under tarps in my backyard market. Yesterday, Heather and i debated with a couple stray chickens.

But in it's way, 3rd world is where it's at. Seriously, anything goes. You wanna squeeze 10 garbage bags of sweatshop socks on the bus? Noone's gonna stop you. You wanna park your car in the middle of the sidewalk? Who doesn't? Do it!

It's like it's understood that everyone's just doing the best they can, so there's a lot of tolerance to just... do shit. The doors for freedom and creativity are wide open, folks! Get in while you still can!

Oh. Except for the little fact that it's still a Calm You Knist glover-mint. So you better watch your sweet ass while yr getting all creative-like. Right, sir?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

DAY25: I'll Take The Variety Pack

Yesterday was a big montage of different places and scenes.

1st, the 3rd world market in my backyard.

Then Sappho (my singer friend)'s apartment where we played and sang. Then Heza and Sappho's roomie joined us, and we swung giant hula hoops around our waists, and drank the roomie's prized Italian coffee.

Then H and i went way out to the Lido quarter, which was quite posh and lifeless.

But we had a stellar dinner in this ultra-slick and zenned out veg restaurant. It was like Vancouver's Dharma Kitchen on steroids. We didn't order desert, but check out the oranges they brought us anyways: so gimicky, but 100% mesmerizing.

Next: the Pig and Whistle English Pub, where the drinks were steep, and the joint was packed with prostitutes. I watched the lonely looking dude absentmindedly (intentionally?) tap his wedding ring on his pint as the Lady of the Night absentmindedly brushed his thigh.

Then we went to "Super Bar Street", which was more like Mediocre Bar Street, where we got drunk in a freezing Japanese restaurant, and Heza confessed all her anxieties and stresses over life in China and beyond.

And to top everything off we hit the Afro-Arena, which felt kinda like a dead reggae night at Cafe Deux Soleil, but with more black people. i wanted to ask someone there what they're up to in BJ, but was too busy gabbin' w/ my gf.

Anyhow, i have no major problem living in my gated community, but you have to get the hell out of this place if you wanna, like, live.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day24: Slackin' it

So sue me: it's 8:51 am, and we need to jet so H can make her TCM doctor appointment way out in Chaoyang district. Then we won't get bk til late, so it's now or nvr on the blog. But fret not, i'll do a 1/2 decent post tomorrow or the next day. Or the next day.


Um, not enough sleep tends to give me the most enjoyable swingy moods!
But at least there's a lapse in the responsibility for a bit. We're hittin' dntn for a meal and to see what rolls our way.

also i told a student today, that after work i don't want to talk to students. So my phone # is a private matter. Who knows what kind of slovenly state i could be in, as i grope for the phone?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day22: TGTF

With any luck, Thank God Tomorrow's Friday won't become my Thursday mantra. Nothing noteworthy at school, but i feel kinda burned out, and like i'm scrambling for time.

The upcoming wkend could be interesting. Tomorrow i'm supposed to meet up w/ this girl, to see if a music project could work out. Saturday, i'll meet up w/ the singer girl from last wk to jam a bit, and to hang out. H will come out too. And the 3 of us are soon scheduled to catch one of my fave bands of the mo' Natural Curves (from Taiwan. i suspect their name is a shoddy translation). They're super indie: idiosyncratic and capital U cUte.
Natural Curves

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day21: No Mood For Blogging

so instead, here's a link which will be a happy substitute to my cynical perspectives, largely induced by insufficient sleep.

Interesting pix from China.

And now i will go swim and sauna so i'm not a complete lump of crap.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day20: Chinese Drivers part2

I shouldn't exactly omit the fact that since arriving i have seen 2 bikes hit by cars, and passed by a few fender benders. But it's a tiny amount of damage for all the smash 'em ups you'd expect, considering the multitudes of hairline misses you see.

Still, it all adds up.

China's a big country, and each year you get TEN MILLION people injured in auto accidents. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND fatalities in a year. The jolly joke that EVERY DAY it's like a a Boeing 747 crashes into the tarmac (400 g'bye!).

Oh well. Weirdly enough, the stats seem pretty distant as i become ever more daring, riding and sprinting through traffic. When in Rome, as they say...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day19: Chinese Drivers

People say Chinese people make bad drivers. People see statusq support the stereotype with his well-intentioned but lousy car-handling skills and bad decision-making. But in BJ, drivers aren't bad: they're crazy. i highly doubt there's a mandarin translation for the word "tailgate," and weaving is the flavour de jour.

If you're good at Outrun or Daytona 500 you'd love a taxi ride here. i take my hat off to the BJ cabbies. They work long days and long nights, deal with me and H's lack of vocabulary, and have become accustomed to operate at 100% attentiveness. Check it:
They get up
early and drive their state-owned cabs until
overwhelmed by sleep: 12-18 hour work-days. On a good
month, they can gross 7000 yuan (roughly 870
dollars...the exchange rate is around 8 yuan to a
dollar). Good month or bad month, they must pay the
Chinese government 5000 yuan! Given that the drivers
themselves must pay for gas and maintenance, one
wonders where that 5000 goes.

So that's the life of a cabbie. And there's a LOT of other much crappier jobs to be had around BJ, that's for sure.

It's mighty weird to see so many people scrapin' it, and you use their services, and they don't expect (refusing, even) tips. I was all guilted out by one cabbie who drove H and i for 20 minutes, couldn't find our destination, and then just dropped us at another cab, and drove away before we knew what was happening, or before dropping him a few kuai.

What can you do? Be gracious. And i think that's about it.

photo snagged by Makeijan's flickr.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day18: Getting Out There

A while ago i placed an ad stating i wanted to meet musicians to jam w/. Today i met up w/ a lovely young vocalist, who turned out to be too shy to sing, despite stating her desire to Sing Like Siren in her response.

Ah well.

We ended up having a nice afternoon shootin' the shit about a frustrating universe, growing up in a country where Pretending is the norm, the tragedy of Expectations and Obligations, the Calm You Knist Pardy, having parents in it, Teen A Min Skware Mass a Curr, cool Chinese bands, uncool mainstream Chinese bands, boring Chinese education (aka brayn washing), yadda yadda.

Good stuffs. We'll meet up next wk probably. And now i should figger out what to do w/ the backlogged dozen others who want to tap into my latent musical genius.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day17: Hung Out To Dry On The Great Wall

It sure didn't seem like that big a deal, but H and i both over drank last night.

Then at 6:15am this Saturday morning we wake up completely unexpectedly and rather horribly hung over. After puking a little, we frantically scrap our things together to meet our coworkers for a trip to the Great Wall.

The next hour is a terribly unpleasant road trip, where i've been informed there's no easily accessible washrooms en route, thus i solemnly clench a flimsy shopping bag in my fist, praying that i won't have to fill it with bile in front of my boss and coworkers.

A conundrum. Keep my eyes open, and people could talk to me, and responding requires Herculean effort. Keep me eyes closed, and my stomach starts happily squirming ever higher up my throat.

Miraculously, we arrive. i calmly walk to the washroom, and don't spatter a drop outside of the squat-toilet.

i feel a bit better, but H is still feeling pretty low. We are far from excited to hike the great wall. Especially since 1/2 way there we learned that we weren't not going to our expected destination, but to THE most touristy section of the Great Wall.

Luckily (?) it was bitter cold and fucking early, so it wasn't hard to actually get away from folk. It was pretty cool being more or less alone for decent stretches on the wall, where we could wallow and laugh at our misery, trying to ignore the sporadic sales people. "I give you good price! 100! No? 50!"

And then i was peeved to find that a kilometer or so along, the wall ends! Well, it's blocked off anyways. Stupid wall! I considered demanding my money back.

On the way back, we took a wee detour including a quick hike down a little unofficial trail No shortage of litter, plus an inexplicable pile of bloody maxi-pads. Oh the mysteries which enshroud the Great Wall!

Well Chair Man Maow himself said that "If you haven't been to the Great Wall, you are not a real man." And this time, he actually spoke the truth.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day16: TGINotParentTeacherInterviewsEveryday

3 hrs of translated interviews, and one crying parent later, and i'm on the couch, resigned to use gin and 7 up as the only replacement for what Vancouver offers but Beijing doesn't.

I admit, i do think about it sometimes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day15: CCTV Goes Big and Stays Home

Well today is halfway thru November. And not only am i running out of things to say, i'm running out of ideas which i've kept in backlogged for the rainy days.

So here's another one.

CCTV is China's only source of English televised whyte-wosht newz. They provide a much needed perspective on the Happy Olympics and updates on captive pandas, but little else.

They are also building one swank building.

The new CCTV building was designed by int'l design bigwig Rem Koolhaas (architect for the Seattle Library, etc). Anyhow, the building should be pretty bloody cool when it's done. Hell, it looks cool as it is. The two angled in 1/2's are just about to make precarious contact.

Construction was delayed 'cause there was a lot of public opposition to the gov't spilling millions of RMB for a posh building when the city isn't doing enough about education, infrastructure, yadda yadda. But i can't speak to that. All I know is that the BJ skyline deserves to go from a flat-top to a fauxhawk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day14: Beware

From menus to school textbooks, the shitty translations are ubiquitous. Why? The lines are open now. You have the internet. You can check things! Hell, I personally know people who speak English. Call them. Fix things. Don't you know my students' grammar is vulnerable?

Until i come across the sign above and say, "Oops, sorry. Don't change a thing. Everything's perfect."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 13: And Finally, the Olympics

After being hyper-tuned into all the negatives of the approching Vancouver Olympics, i wondered what it would be like in BJ with even more drastic and pervasive changes taking place.

But it really is a different story here. Or lack thereof. The Calm You Knist govt effectively prevents non-happy-shiny Olympic news outta the picture. And there's not much alt-media around here. Or if there is, it ain't in English.

Also, keep this major difference in mind:

In Vancouver, the vote was like 60/40 in favour for the Olympics, after it had been VODID DOWN TWICE already.

In BJ, there was over 95% support for the Olympics to be held here.

People have the Olympic feeevah. Couples humping like camels, hoping to conceive during opening ceremonies, etc, etc.

But there are people pissed off about it too:
Mostly it's the rest of China, mad that BJ gets all the spoils, while they can't afford a water filter, and the factory upstream is pouring all the toxic leather waste chemicals into the river.

And yes, there's the same issue as Van, where people are getting displaced like crazy. (10,000 people for the new airport wing alone!) But nobody really gives a rat's ass around here. Chinese people have this sort of injustice in their bloodstream by now.

Also, the dvlpmnt is bonkers. Like Van, BJ can't hope to keep it's Olympic promises, particularly the enviro ones. The city is f'ing packed as it is, and i'm sure as hell not going to be around here when the standing long jump is going down.

Aside: I recently had a visitor from Vancouver: an engineer. He gave me the inside scoop as to why Vancouver's new "enviro-friendly" buildings are farce. Can you say "PR scam"?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day12: House Cleaning Update

Our young maid (the new one, not the old one) comes every week. She's very nice. She cleans the apartment. She cleans the floor. She doesn't like our mop or broom. She likes to wipe everything down on her hands and knees. She cleans under and behind the furniture. She does the dishes. She takes out our garbage. She helps me throw away dead plants.

She also refuses tips. She refuses tea/juice/water. She refuses crackers and cheese.

We will pbly buy a little plant for her next wk, and we'll be horribly insulted if she refuses.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day11: Stocking the Larder

Every weekend i go to the market (pictured above) to grab some veg for the week. If i don't talk much i hope that people might not realize i can't speak Chinese, and thus be less inclined to rip me off. Not that i've ever bn ripped off in this market, and not that it would matter much. It's pretty consistent that everytime the vendor quotes a price for my freshly cut noodles or whatever, I can only roll my eyes.

The market is literally a 3 minute walk from my building's back door. Out the door, out the gate, and then 20m later, you're in a noisy bustling market. But you gotta act quick 'cause for some STUPID reason, they only open the community gate until 10am. That doesn't bode well for me, and i've gotten locked out several times. The walk back around is pbly 30 min.

Don't ask why: It's China!

Friday, November 9, 2007


Maybe this'll up my hits.

But still, here's some commentary on the not-so-seedy side of BJ.

Well, it's been a largely porn-free stint in China for statusq. Sure, you can still dig it up online w/out much trouble, but largely i don't feel the need or inclination so much. Sex w/ H is still superb, so i don't exactly require extra sensory stimulation.

You do see occasional sex vids in stores, but they don't have any explicit pix on them, so they may be softcore only. And who wants that? i'll pbly spring the $1.40 for one later on, and call it research.

With govt restrixions on media, advertisements are notably less racy than what you get in N.A. i kinda think it's a good thing.

i work in a high school where not a single girl feels obligated to wear make-up, which is pretty rad. i do think it's healthier for women and girls to live in an environment where the pressure to be sexed out is far less pronounced. (although here the desire to be married w/ kids is the alternate norm)

On the downside, there's a lot less eye candy to be had on the city streets. Rats.

Okay. Gotta jet. It's Saturday!!!

Day9: It's Getting Hot In Here...

Unexpectedly, i had a very nice day today. Sorry for sounding so cynical as of late.

But only one event worth reporting on.

F I R E !!! (drill)

But (surprise surprise) it's not quite the same deal as in Canada.

1) Community staff "mysteriously" stationed at all the stairwells 20 minutes before the scheduled alarm

2) Kids bolting down the stairs and through halls

3) REAL smoke filling the 1st floor, choking kids and staff

4) Smiling staffers strategically positioned with cameras throughout

5) A carefully prepared show of the firecrew squirting water 50 ft into the air.

6) Kids all running away from their classes so as not to miss the show (and who could blame them?)

7) The verbiose Chinese principal pontificating through a mike about how teacher's must sacrifice their lives for the students.

Anyhow, it was all pretty entertaining, if not exactly useful in terms of saving lives.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day8: The Good The Bad and The Gone

Last night i dreamt that i had to remove myself from the classroom before i slapped a student.

Other than that today was ok in a mediocre sort of way.

Could definitely be worse: in our partner school a teacher Disappeared after payday. No notice, nuthin'. Pretty crazy, when you've got 80+ kids following your subtle influence.

And now the coworker who's always grated against Heza is being suddenly relocated to fill in the emergency gap.

My principal kinda pissed me off today when he said, "G is leaving Beijing's cushiest position to one of the worst." Fair enough, G is walking into a hairy scoop, but i sure don't feel like my last wk or 2 can permit "cushy" to be used within a 1 km radius of me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day7: Business As Usual.

Report cards are unofficially a fait accompli. That's good.
Heza works her butt off to make sure everything is done on time.
statusq does not take care of his 1/2 of duties (which are actually less than 1/2)
Heza gets kinda bitchy in a kinda justified way.
Things eventually get done in a reasonable way.
Heza apologizes.
statusq apologizes.
Then they drink gin and juice and smoke smokes while finishing off details.
Everyone knows sq is a space cadet, so can H realistically expect otherwise?
Tomorrow is a new day.
Such are the problems when your lover is your coworker.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day5: Singin' In the Rain

A pretty uneventful day. So, in honour of rainy-season Vancouver, heeeere's Gene!

Gene Kelly, that is. H and i got Singin' In the Rain a while ago. H thinks it's legit, but i think it's bootlegged.

Anyhow, i was pretty disappointed in it. Sure there's some crazy tap dancing and some comical routines. But, "the greatest movie musical"? Uh we think not. Ever heard of The Sound of Music? Grease? Cabaret?

Well, for 1952, the visual effects are really impressive, and the colours are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory super-saturated.

But the characters are 2D, the acting is mediocre, the songs are hit and miss, and the final plot twist bordered on pathetic.

Anyhow. You could pbly better spend your time watching Naked Lunch or something.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day4: the Chain Gang.

Worked almost all day.

Squeezed in a session at the rec cntr, 'cause Heza and i decided that exercise 2x/wk is better than letting our bods turn to mush.

Ok. Back to work.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day3: The Card Is Bank

Don't lose your Chinese bank card.
Forget that in Canada you could get a new one in 15 minutes.
In China you will need to make 3 trips to the downtown branch.
You will need to submit 10 or so to be scrutinized by staff, who will ogle your crappy and inconsistent autograph.
You will piss off bank clients who think it's your fault you're taking so long.
Or that you lost yr card in the first place.
Which it was.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day2: The Time Is Ripe For Winterlong

Two teachers came from another school to observe my gr1 math class today. Apparently they were very impressed. Yes, it was good, but hell, i taught from the text for 1/2 of it. Heza and i wonder what the heck goes on in the regular Chinese classes. People think we're the cats pajamas around here. Cool, i guess.


Did i mention i do a fair bit of music w/ some classes? So far the advanced gr 7 class has really dug the songs i taught. Some good ol' 80's schmaltz w/
Cyndi Lauper's True Colors (which i admittedly dig), but we went from kitsch to pure cool w/ the Velvet Underground's I'll Be Your Mirror. I'd love to do the VU's Sweet Jane too, but the lyrics are pretty nonsensical. Anyhow, i'm super stoked on the next track we're gonna do which'll be the Pixies version of Neil Young's Winterlong. It's 101% catchy and rockin' and the lyrics are accessible enough.

I'm totally looking for hip, not-too-fast songs which have easy and school-appropriate lyrics. Suggestions please? Maybe
Belle and Sebastian's Fox in the Snow. Hmm.

The lower level gr7 class couldn't handle that so well. i plan to start
Bingo with them next. (whoever came up with the whole format was brilliant. "Clap-clap-N-G-O!" That shit's hot!)

Pic is a rather drunk statusq singing
My Girl Wants to Party All the Time. Thanks, Eddy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day1: It's the crappiest time

to start a blog-fest. Heza and i filled just slightly beyond capacity by a workload of educational administrative stuffs which must be done, but offer very little satisfaction. i guess i should've clarified in my contract that "i should not execute tasks which i deem to be unworthy of my time, or are less entertaining than the Beijing Acrobats."

Today i learned to say "meiyisi" which means "no fun," as in Life Is All Work and Meiyisi."

1: i must create 6 educational docs, which are a sadly time-consuming exercise in semantics.

2: report cards, of course

3: classes, which are all being executed by my fingernails already

4: covering parent interviews which were supposed to be my coworker's

5: taking on the remedial Eng class i spearheaded, as well as starting guitar lessons for 1 or 2 students just today.

6: No 6? Naw, that would sound like complaining, and i wouldn't dare do that.