Thursday, December 23, 2010

On the Road Again

I drove on the streets of Beijing for the first time last night. Which was kinda fun, but a bit stressy. Driving some very new very expensive big black BMW SUV. Q's friend has a rich bf. All sorts of new-fangled doohickey's to confuse drivers of regular cars.

She hurt her tailbone, so wasn't so comfy driving. Ok, i'll do it. Don't worry you can drive really slow, she said. Although in the end, it was a bit sketch since she had me doing all sorts of illegal turns and squeezing through the skechy traffic circles, gunning ahead of traffic at the lights and stuff. I wondered occasionally if it really was stupid to be driving considering my lack of license, but then again when the hell else would i have a chance to drive in China?

Also, frankly the roads seem a lot less insane to me than they used to. In fact, not only do i feel more adjusted to the way they are, but i truly think that drivers are less insane than they were 4 years ago. Wish i had some hard data on that...

Gigs and Shenanigans

Had my gig a wk or 2 ago, which was a bit flat, frankly. (well my singing's usually a bit flat, so that goes w/out saying), but the audience (which was a reasonably full house, in a reasonably small venue) was weirdly quiet, i thought. That threw me a bit too. So i raced threw my set, making less mistakes than i'd expected, said thx, and was done. Then my friend's full piece band (6 professional musicians), and sounded amazing, but frankly i still found the audience to be on the quiet side. BJ audiences are like that sometimes, ah well.

And then yesterday was the school Christmas concert/party.

I had my gr 10s sing Happy Christmas (War is Over) and my gr 11s sing Do They Know It's Christmas. I struggled w/ the less than hype 11s to pump their fists in the air and yell "Let them know it's Christmas time at all!", w/ ultimately more success than expected once the audience started yelling too.

Also, my top student asked me to accompany his soul-style version of Oh Holy Night. So i learned that song. He sang it really well, and i did minimal back up. He waved his arms around a bit at my suggestion.

Also two girls asked me to accompany them singing this song, so I learned it. It was ok, but they need more cute smiling before breaking the bigtime.

Also this one somewhat nerdy but sweet student asked me to accompany her singing a song by Queen Sea Big Shark, a pretty decent BJ band i'm surprised any students know about. i was amazed to note the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Sigur Ros on her iPod when she was looking for the track. And i was stoked when she agreed to let me start off the track solo, before coming on stage wearing my pilots helmet as her grand entrance.

Also one other student asked me to play guitar for her, and i said "no." Seriously, how hte hell can a guy do any teaching when he's wasting all his time trying to learn new songs. Gimme a break.

Anyhow, although the very sweet gr 10s sang much worse than normal, it was still pretty fun.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top Downer

So the dog Top made an exit a couple nights ago. Rumour was she was going to her owner M's parents', which would give her owners who were largely around. Good.

But apparently M' parents don't like Top. (Huh? Don't like Top???)

So Top is now back at her disproportionately absent owner's apt. Where she gets out once/day, as opposed to 3 times here, occasionally more.

M reported to Q that Top was quite unhappy, sulking, not even interested in going out for her walk. This really disturbs me, but Top always really wanted out for her walk.

So hearing about Top saddens me.

But i also feel selfish, because I don't particularly want the responsibility or time commitment of caring for a very sweet though somewhat needy schnauzer.

i don't know how the hell parents do it. Hats off to parents.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Three Strikes Your ... Still In!

Well, since being employed by SinoBright School, i have (count 'em) three times talked about things in my classes which were deemed too sensitive, and word reached the Chinese staff, who in turn contacted my principals who in turn contacted me.

Once last year in Social Studies, i mentioned Tiannanmen.

This year I apparently overstepped boundaries by mentioning... either Tibet or Xinjiang or the Da lie Lamma or Liu Shiabo.

And the sex ed stuff.

And i am the first to admit, i have lacked cultural sensitivity.

And thus was not surprised when following two administrative meetings (neither one of which was attended by me), I was asked to sign a piece of paper which says i understand that should this sort of issue recur, it will precipitate my dismissal.


Oh well, i don't expect to tackle those topics anymore, and really i can easily teach the required concepts without delving into sensitive Chinese politics.

Sex, pbly no, but that's another can of worms, and one which i didn't really plan on opening in such a big way AT ALL.

And finally: received this email today from my boss to staff.


We will be given an in-service by the Chinese Visa department, in the near future- I assume, on the boundaries for sensitive issues/topics.

'Should be another interesting Chinese experience.

Apologies to my coworkers. Hope it doesn't take up too much of yr free time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lost track

Um, i missed a day bk there, due to internet probs. And chose not to blog at least once due to bad mood. But anyhow, let me take this overdue chance to say thx once again to you, my most steadfast and hardcore readership.

I know i f'ing zero'd out over summer and for a while, but somehow a gang of you stuck by me and continue to do so.

Well, Nov is over (already? Holy SHIT) but i do have a couple blogs to blog about that i haven't quite gotten around to yet. I'm less than caught up in many areas of my life, i feel.

Anyhow, i should jet. Derrick is marking some quizzes for me (God bless him), and is waiting for me to watch a movie w/ him or something.