Meigouren Adventures

Easy your life.

Update History

31 May 2013


I was told by two different psychics that I would be dead at age 42. They would be the first to say that they were not psychics. They were transcendental transition guides or previous existence facilitators or some such bullshit. They were psychics. Why I spoke to these two people on two separate occasions is a story unto itself, but this is not that.

As the fates would have it, I was John Kennedy in my last life. Everybody is always someone famous in a past life. No one ever seems to be a dirt farmer or the guy who invented measles.

Delving into the spooky dust to uncover my noteworthy past was a fairly simple process. It is all about numbers.

Kennedy died seven years before I was born. According to some, your ghost needs to rest for seven years before possessing some other sucker. Kennedy’s last name has seven letters, as does mine. Both of our names begin with consonants and are immediately followed by vowels. They end the same way, assuming that Y is a vowel.

Kennedy was born in 1917. I was born in 1970. He was born May 29 and I was born May 31. This discrepancy can be easily explained since I was born very early in the morning, practically on the 30th and he was born late on the 29th. If you adjust time zones then we were practically born on the same date.

Needless to say, but said nonetheless, we are both Geminis. Gemini is the twin sign.

John was commonly called Jack by his friends and family. My first name can also be shortened to a four letter nickname.

Kennedy’s first wife had a French name spelled the French way rather than the more common English way, as did mine. If you combine their names, you get a famous author, though I doubt this has any bearing on the case.

The president and I have similar medical histories, although I have yet to injure my back in World War II. Kennedy was pronounced dead three times in his life. I am still working on number one.

Taking all of this and the fact that Kennedy died at 42 into consideration, and crunching the numbers, it was determined that I would die at 42.

What none of the psychics knew and I only thought about later was that Kennedy had a childhood friend that he knew for the rest of his life named Lem while I have a childhood friend named Ken. Both of their initials are the same (Lem is a nickname). Lem was the third child to a man named Fred and a mother with British ancestors.

It might be irrelevant to my fall from world power, but it was an open secret that Lem was a flaming homo. One of my temporary lady companions once told me that Ken was “as gay as disco”. Her source was his wife, whom she claimed had claimed that Ken could not function as a man unless he was with other men. It might be worth noting that this particular temporary lady companion was a compulsive liar who told me that one of the cashiers at our local grocery store was her best friend despite the fact that this cashier had no idea who she was.

Ignoring that reincarnation is supposed to let us move on to a higher state of existence and that going from President of the United States to me is probably a step or two in the wrong direction, there are a few flaws in this theory.

Both of our last names indeed have consonants followed by vowels, as do most family names in the English speaking world. Both of our last names have seven letters, but his full name was John Fitzgerald Francis Kennedy. Mine is considerably shorter.

It is true that I was born very early in the morning, but Kennedy was born at 3pm Massachusetts time. Adjusting for time zone differences, our birth dates are 37 hours apart. That is not the same day by any definition.

We are both Geminis, but according to Chinese signs, he was born in the year of the snake and I was born in the year of the dog.

Our first names can be abbreviated into shorter nicknames. He was commonly called Jack. No one at any point in my life has ever called me by my four letter abbreviation. I would not even know that someone was talking to me if they did.

Our wives had absolutely nothing in common.

I was supposed to die at 42 because of the numbers and the fact that Kennedy died at 42. Except that he was 46 when he died.

It only occurred to me after I typed this up that I am 43 years old in my current time zone. In the United States, where I was told that I would die at 42, I am still 42. I suppose we will have to wait and see what happens.

21 April 2013

The Wonderful World Of Literary Criticism

There is a website called It has nothing to do with the Brazilian rainforest. It sells things. Specifically, it sells anything under the sun that can be legally traded for cash or credit.

In addition to the anything under the sun that they sell, they also sell books. One can buy hardcover and/or paperback books and have them shipped within six to eight months, or one can buy what are called e-books. These are books that are not actually books, but computer files with the content of actual books. Sometimes the content of the e-book is exactly the same as the content of the real book. Sometimes the content is nothing like the real book. Sometimes the e-book is such a piece of shit that no publisher in the world would ever print it as a real book, such as “Cupids [sic] Arrow Hits The Target”.

I prefer real books. For one thing, they are real. For another, and this part might be more important, they were written, edited, proofread and published by professionals. Perhaps they are not always written by professionals, such as Cybill Shepherd’s autobiography, but a published book is usually edited by someone who understands the basic rules of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Amazon, as a publisher, will sell absolutely anything. I do not simply mean Danielle Steel versus Leo Tolstoy. If you are ten years old and illiterate, Amazon will publish and sell your Great American Novel. Some of the crap I have seen on Amazon makes Danielle Steel look like Mary Anne Evans.

This is why critics were invented. As we all know, critics are the wisest amongst us who can take us by the hand and guide us through the dreck and into the wonderful world of literature.

Once upon a time there was something called a newspaper. Every major city had one and people read them even if they had no internet connection at home. In the city of New York there was such a newspaper, called The New York Times. In addition to creating a vast liberal conspiracy, it published reviews of the latest books. Or rather, the latest books that its esteemed critics deemed worthy of our considerations.

Praise by The New York Times Book Review almost guaranteed a best seller, just as any shitcanning would almost always cause sales to plummet. For good or ill, people are sheep and will generally like what they are told to like.

This used to bother me because I believe that critics, by and large, are fundamentally a waste of space. No one on the planet can tell me what I will and will not like better than I. There is no reason to assume that I will hate something just because Pauline Kael hated it. In fact, I am more likely to like that which she hated.

I realize that Pauline Kael was a film critic, but she is an excellent example of someone whose opinions I am supposed to agree with but rarely do.

But that was the past. Now anyone can be a critic. Now everyone is a critic. People buy their real books and e-books based not on what newspaper critics tell them they should like, but based on the inane ramblings of anonymous strangers. If Alison Arngrim’s autobiography gets mostly five star reviews, it will be a bestseller. I have nothing against Ms Arngrim, and found her performances superior to Melissa Sue Anderson’s, but is her book a greater work of literature than Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography? According to the reviews at Amazon it is.

Critics of the past may have had an inflated sense of their own importance, but at least most of them could coherently put four or five words together. The aforementioned Pauline Kael was a bit of a douchebag, but she was a capable and often witty writer. “Joseph Doerr” (see below) is simply an idiot.

One could easily argue that I am only complaining because of bad reviews of my own work. However, my latest masterpiece has received nothing but high praise to date. The fact that it only has one review and that I know the reviewer personally is irrelevant. It has 100% five star reviews. In the world of selling your crap online, this is all that matters.

My complaint is not that any idiot can write an illiterate review of my work and damage the enormous income I earn from those 70¢ royalties. My complaint is that any idiot can write illiterate reviews of absolutely anything while I can review absolutely nothing.

I do not own any electronic reading device. But I own a computer, and that computer has a program that can read e-books. I still prefer actual books, but e-books are terribly convenient and take up far less space. My computer could probably hold a thousand times as many books as the largest bookshelf I have ever had were it not already full of midget donkey porn.

Since I have a computer, and since I live in a land where books are hard to come by and mostly turn to compost in the constant oppressive heat and humidity, I have begun to download e-books. At websites like Amazon, great works of world literature are often free or very inexpensive, while the giant chunks of shit have the highest prices. This works out in my favor since I prefer great works of world literature to giant chunks of shit, and everything for sale at Amazon costs at least two or three dollars more to those of us who refuse to live in the United States. This is ostensibly because shipping items from within the United States to without is more expensive. Amazon either does not realize that downloaded digital items require no postal services or, more likely, they simply want to charge more to as many people as possible.

Amazon has websites for the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Brazil and probably somewhere else, but I do not live in any of those nations either.

I can download free e-books onto my computerized reading program and actually read them. Whenever I do, Amazon is kind enough to make recommendations on other items I might enjoy, all based on previous items downloaded.

When one downloads something from Amazon, this is considered a “purchase”, despite the absence of any money changing hands. When one makes a “purchase”, Amazon invites one to review the item. This might be done to give customers the false hope that their opinions matter. In an effort to help out aspiring young authors, I thought I would display my usual benevolence and write a nice review or two.

However, to write a review, one must have actually purchased something and not simply “purchased” it. Despite being asked by Amazon robots to write reviews every time I downloaded something for free, I could not write a review because what I downloaded was free.

This only partially bothers me. I need not actually buy the item I wish to review, which is good since most e-books cost at least two or three dollars more to those of us who do not live in the United States. I can download an MP3 song file for 99¢ and then review “Admiration On Valentine’s Day”, which is seven pages long and costs US$102 for some reason. I would like to review this book because it looks great, from the cover all the way down to the riveting synopsis.

An excerpt:

“Who is this Red Rose that just walked in the she hot stuff,”………………………………….
“Thomas told David this Rosie one Melissa best friends, your luck she single.

Look out, WH Auden. Cintilante.

Unfortunately for the unpublishable at Amazon, I cannot download a 99¢ MP3 song.

Not only does Amazon charge extra for the privilege of buying their products from outside of the United States, but they also care enough about international relations to protect us from the evils of music.

While I am not allowed to post a literate review that might encourage someone to spend money at Amazon, real Americans can post the following:

You would think that after spending twelve years in high school, this person would know how to write a better review.

The good news for Amazon is that some of these reviews are positive, such as these glowing recommendations for Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, one of the world’s great novels.

13 January 2013

A Better Never Did Itself Sustain Upon A Soldier’s Thigh

People talk to me all the time. Too often, in fact. If I were an anonymous face in the crowd I could probably get away with walking to the local opium den without anyone bothering me. As a local celebrity, I cannot so much as throw my bag of garbagie in the middle of the road without some stranger straining to bask in the warmth of my international fame.

The most frequent comments I get from random admirers are “Why you so handsome? I wish me/mine son and/or husband will be making of so attactness” and “You blog is most greatest blog is ever was, but is needing more recipes”. There is little I can do about the former. Baby Jesus made me as stunning as I am and the men in your life as banal as they are for a reason. Ours is not to question why. I have complete control over the latter.

Starting today, I will intersperse amongst my indelibly perceptive observations my incontrovertible opinions on mankind’s greatest works of film and literature. I will also share my recipe for banana muffins.

I had intended to begin with what I have no doubt would have been such a brilliant review of William Shakespeare’s Othello that Coleridge himself would have ejaculated in his own grave were he able, but I simply cannot get over what a bitch Othello is. I do not mean that the play is difficult to read or ingest. I mean that the character Othello is a punk. He thinks his wife is the shit, but totally caps her ass just because Iago talked smack about her. When I first read it, I was like, dude. I read it again recently and if I ever find Othello’s Facebook page I am so spamming the shit out of him.

The Moor of Venice? More like the Douchemoor of Venice.

Instead, we have an e-book version of a blog. Same difference.

An American Teacher In Taiwan” by Ken Berglund is based on the famous blog of the same title and author. It is advertised as a guide to teaching English in Taiwan. I feel this part is misleading as much has changed since the author escaped to his homeland. Even if the labyrinth of Chinese bureaucracy was somehow the same today as it was five years ago, or even five months ago, no single person can give anyone a comprehensive view of the horrors that await them should they feel the need to follow in his footsteps. The arbitrary rules and regulations change from person to person and are enforced at whim.

However, this e-book is also advertised as “One writer’s experience about living, working, dating, finding love, and raising kids in a foreign country.” As a personal memoir, I cannot question its veracity. I can only confirm that many of the obstacles in adapting to life in a Chinese culture that the author experienced are universal to any American, or possibly even Canadian, in similar circumstances.

Mr Berglund relates an incident wherein he is induced to enter a “special” KTV by women of liberal morals and is only able to leave the establishment after forfeiting an unacceptably large sum of cash. Any robust red blooded male who has set foot in any Chinese country for more than twelve hours can relate to this situation.

If you want to know what kind of paperwork you must fill out and have stamped in triplicate to live in the Land of Scooter, this book will not help you. If you want to know what the people are like and how different their customs are from your own, this book covers a broad range of expatriate topics.

Some would say its range of topics is too broad. A guide to living in a foreign land or a travel guide should have a more narrow focus. But as a memoir, there is an even balance between personal insights (the part about his erectile dysfunction brought on by too many betel nuts) and general anecdotes (Chinamen be wacky). For this reason among others, I think this should be marketed as a memoir and not any kind of handbook.

While this e-book is probably more interesting to Americans who have lived or are now living in a foreign country, it is written in such a casual narrative that even a xenophobe who has never set foot outside of Itawamba, Mississippi might find it enjoyable.

I give it five muffins.

25 December 2012

Making Of Move Again

They say one should be quick to adapt if one is to expatriate oneself from one’s homeland for another. They say a lot of things, but in this case, one thinks that they are spot on the mark. Moving from an industrial powerhouse that can kick anybody’s ass, except maybe North Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, and possibly Iran, China and the Soviet Union, to a backward agrarian nation of ox plows and blue trucks takes a bit of getting used to.

American grocery stores have 78 different types of bath soap. Chinese grocery stores rarely stock soap as it is a luxury with which the masses are not particularly interested. Those who choose not to believe me can simply compare a Chinese public restroom with an American public restroom. Aside from the filth, open sewers, fauna, complete absence of toilet paper and the frequent presence of old women ironically mopping the floor, the first difference you would notice in a Chinese restroom is that soap and water are not a priority.

While it may be true that most Americans do not wash their hands after expelling fluids and whatnot, at least there is freedom of choice. Chinese lavatorians do not have the option of washing their hands since there is no soap on the premises and precious little running water. Developed locations like airports that have those developed faucets that automatically turn on and off when the sensor senses your hand will give the tiniest squirt of water. There is little use in setting the mechanism to give customers an adequate volume since most of the customers never use it at all.

I was at a relatively large airport on my way to a relatively small country when I had an altercation with the restroom’s faucet. It was imitating most of my dates in high school and refusing to service me. A tiny Chinese gentleman watched me get my tiny allocation of water followed by my verbal abuse of the obstinate apparatus.

“What is problem?”, he queried.

“I am not Chinese”, I replied. “I like soap and water”.

Though possibly impolite on my part, this dialogue illustrates my point and is often what I think to myself when faced with faucets that simply refuse to put out. I think it is impolite of tiny Chinese dudes to be all up in my face in public restrooms. I understand that they are a curious people. Not so much about anything having anything to do with any other part of the world. But when they see a handsome specimen such as me, their interest is invariably piqued as if someone is talking about who Jennifer Aniston is dating this week. I take a more American view in that I think most things are pretty much none of their business.

Another area where adaptation is absolutely required is on the road. Chinese people do not drive like humans. Much can be said about how different American driving is to European or African driving, but drivers outside of China generally share a basic level of humanity that has somehow escaped the Chinese. It is in this lane of adaptation that I refuse to yield and am failing miserably. I simply do not want to die just because some selfish asshole would rather kill than follow the most basic rules of the road and common sense.

One of the easiest elements to adapt to is the very different category of holidays. I was raised on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Columbus Day. None of which are celebrated here. Instead, we have Red Envelope Day, Dragon Boat Day, Moon Cake Day and Tomb Sweeping Day. Like American holidays, they all require eating too much food and have the option of getting drunk as a Chinaman. Unlike American holidays, it is preferable to give wads of cash to those whom you only see during these holidays rather than well thought out personal gifts such as ties and Aqua Velva.

The most expensive holiday, like Christmas, is Red Envelope Day. You are the unluck if you do not give money to people you never talk to. And like Christmas shopping, giving people money in red envelopes has little to do with the birth of Baby Jesus. You would never learn anything about the original meanings of these holidays by observing Americans celebrating Christmas or Chinese celebrating Red Envelope Day. In both cases, better people spend the most money while anyone who does not go into debt must be an asshole.

When I first came to Scooterland, I lived in a tiny dirt and dairy farm village of about six people. That took some adjusting, having come from a major metropolis where the streets are paved with gold and everyone lights their Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills. My tiny dirt farm village was lucky to have streets paved with sun dried cow shit.

I quickly adapted and became the toast of the town. As the only foreigner within several towns, I was a local celebrity. I got a discount at the local breakfast sandwich shop and the locals stared at me everywhere I went. I was like Tom Cruise, only much taller and with little interest in brainwashing cults.

Then I became a cliché and met a woman. Unfortunately, she lived nowhere near my tiny dirt farm village. As our relationship progressed, it became evident that one of us was going to have to relocate. She was from the big city. Her family lived in the big city. Everyone she knew, besides me, lived in the big city.

Big city Chinese are generally snobs. They look down on tiny dirt farm village Chinese and would prefer to never be caught dead anywhere near any tiny dirt farm village. Despite living in a tiny dirt farm village, I have always been a city person. I had no problem with moving to the big city, while there was no way in hell the Future Wife was going to move to my tiny dirt farm village. Moreover, I was not as invested in my tiny dirt farm village as she was in her big city, other than having a job there and all of my wacky adventures.

So I went from a tiny dirt farm village of about six people to a big city of about two million. This was a bigger adjustment than moving from the civilized land of milk and honey to the Chinese dirt farm village in the first place. The big city combined the filth, noise and suicidal driving of a big city with the filth, noise and suicidal driving of China. My tiny dirt farm village was certainly filthy, but I had gotten used to the obvious lack of noise and suicidal drivers. Not that they were good drivers. There were simply far fewer of them.

Before I moved to the big city, the Future Wife was offered a higher paying and better job in a medium sized suburb of a medium sized city not all that far from my tiny dirt farm village. We could have lived there and I could have easily commuted to the job I already had. But the Future Wife was not at all interested in leaving the big city. So I left my job, moved to the big city, found a crappier job that paid less in a big city where everything is more expensive than in my tiny dirt farm village and lost my celebrity status. But the locals still stared at me everywhere I went.

Marriage requires compromise. This means that if you are the husband, you do whatever the wife wants.

Six years later, the Wife was offered a higher paying and better job in a small suburb of a medium sized city. Much to everyone’s surprise, she accepted. I elucidated that doing this six years earlier could have saved me a shitbucket of pain and aggravation. Her mother was all, like, no way.

So once again I quit my job, packed my two boxes of personal possessions, helped the Wife pack her 42 tons of personal possessions and moved house. This reminds me that I need to tell my mother our new address. That has nothing to do with the story at hand, but if I do not write it down now, I will forget about it by the time I finish my drink.

As such (the quitting my job and moving part, not the telling my mother our new address part, or even the fact that I usually have a drink when I write these things), I am now adapting to life in a small suburb of a medium sized city. I have no idea what the population is, although I am sure it is somewhere between six and two million. I am not even sure if it is classified as a township or village. I doubt it is a city.

I cannot yet tell if I am a celebrity here, but the locals stare at me everywhere I go.

This current townvillage is nothing like any place I have ever lived. Neither was my tiny dirt farm village, and the big city was nothing like a big city in a civilized country, but where we are now simply defies description.

It is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere that looks like a developed city in the middle of somewhere. The streets are enormously wide by Chinese standards and paved about as well as one can expect around here. Outside of the downtown area, there are actual sidewalks between the streets and buildings. In many cases there are simply empty fields instead of buildings. This looks like a town that someone wants to develop into a city but where few people actually want to live. The downtown district looks like every small Chinese town. Where we live looks like an area where an urban planner wanted to create a planned city.

Our apartment is nothing like a typical Chinese apartment. We have a real kitchen with counter space, though no oven. Chinese people hate ovens for some reason. There is a real balcony with a real view, albeit a view of an unfinished planned city with empty fields. Most Chinese apartments have tiny balconies just big enough to hold a washing machine. We have one of those, but we also have a balcony that you can stand on and watch the birds.

The only similarities between our apartment and a typical Chinese apartment are the frequent water disconnections and the abundance of mosquitos.

When we moved here we had a choice of three different apartment styles in six different buildings. The complex has older buildings, which are about five years old, and newer buildings, which are at least three years old. None of them are even close to being full. We chose where we are now because it was the only one not rejected by either of us.

The Wife wanted to take a one bedroom apartment in one of the newer buildings because it was newer. I rejected it because it was even smaller than our previous apartment, the kitchen was a sink against a wall, the view was the building ten feet away and there was no air conditioner. The Wife wanted to buy new air conditioners for the living room and bedroom, but I found that to be a waste since all of the other available apartments came equipped.

I wanted to take one of the three bedroom apartments in one of the older buildings because it had more than enough room and two bathrooms. If you lived with my wife, you would want an extra bathroom, too. The Wife rejected it because it was slightly more expensive and, as she says every night, “too big”.

There were also four bedroom apartments with three bathrooms, but we both agreed that we did not need that much space.

We settled on a larger one bedroom in one of the older buildings. I liked the kitchen and large balcony, and the Wife liked the lower price and small laundry balcony. It took about a day to make our choice.

There were several apartments available, but narrowing it down to three options was very easy since the Chinese love to leave their apartments in a state of unnecessary dilapidation. None of the buildings are more than five years old, but some of the apartments look like they should be condemned. Every apartment you look at will be dirty. Whoever owns the building will only clean vacant apartments when they are rented. Electrical sockets and phone jacks are often torn out of walls. Windows are sometimes missing. Bathrooms are best viewed well after you move in. It is not uncommon to find discarded clothes, bicycle parts and food in closets or in the middle of the floor. When the old tenants move out, they just leave all of their garbage behind, and no one bothers to remove it until the new tenants sign the paperwork.

We immediately rejected all of the apartments with holes in the walls. Windows are easy enough to replace, but an inexplicable hole in the middle of the wall will always be trouble. We also rejected all of the apartments with animal and/or human feces on the floors and/or walls. This can be cleaned, but the Chinese version of clean is lacking, and I simply reject that shit on principle.

Some of the apartments had views of nothing more than other apartments. The Chinese do not care about what is out their windows. More often than not they cover their windows to keep out the evil sunlight. Given a choice between a view of somone’s soiled curtains on the fifteenth floor or the open sky on the fifth floor, being higher up is no longer very important.

Neighbors are more important to the Wife than they are to me, so she immediately rejected any apartment with obviously bad neighbors. By her definition, that means too many shoes and bicycles outside of their doors or too much garbagie out in the hallway. Everyone leaves their shoes outside, and I do not particularly care what is in front of their door as long as none of their crap is in front of mine, but I agree with her on the garbagie. I would prefer to keep their insects inside their apartment and not roaming the hallway and coming into mine.

The apartment we chose has no immediate neighbors. There are four apartments on the floor, and ours is the only one currently occupied. Even if others lived on this floor, we could all go in and out of our doors without ever seeing each other. We only share one wall with another apartment, and it is vacant. Since each apartment is in a corner, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to put their crap anywhere near our door. There will never be anyone above us since we are on the top floor, and there is currently no one below us.

There was some minor damage in our apartment, but we assumed it would all be fixed before we moved in, given that we were told it would all be fixed before we moved in. I have no idea why we thought the people in charge of the building would do their job in a timely fashion. I have lived amongst the Chinese for several years. The Wife has lived with them even longer. We should have known better.

When we first looked at our apartment, the floors and walls were covered with a lifetime of dust. When we moved in, the walls were freshly painted (but probably not cleaned first) and the floors were still dirty. The sliding glass doors leading from the living room to the balcony had not been replaced. Surprisingly, the kitchen was fairly clean.

This meant that dirty repair people would have to come into our apartment after we moved in. I understand that they have dirty jobs, but I do not understand why they can never clean any of the debris they always leave behind and how they always manage to leave questionable stains wherever they sit. I knew this would happen since it always does, but for some reason I was hoping we could avoid it this time. To me, it seems better for everyone to simply fix all of the problems before people move in. But that is not the Chinese way.

They fixed the sliding glass doors on the day we moved in. The Wife was more interested in the dirty floor, but I stressed the doors because they could not be properly opened or closed. This was not only a security issue, but a great way to let every insect in the country into our home. They tried to clean some of the floor, but it was getting late, and service people rarely work after four thirty.

When they tried to clean some of the tiles, that proved too difficult, and they simply replaced them. This required several days of work since every change of plans must be done on a different day. Trying to clean the tiles was one day, replacing the tiles was the next day and using one of those industrial floor cleaning machines was about a week later. The floor still has stains and cracks all over the place. You would never know that people spent three days cleaning it.

There are still some tile issues and a broken seal on one of the windows, making an unusually windy corner inside the apartment and letting in every mosquito on the planet. If they have not been fixed by now, they probably never will be. I spent the first month in the apartment fixing what little I could, and I am still battling the ants, though I fear that in this struggle I will likely lose.

There is an old Chinese saying, before one month we try make half ass fix ok, after one months you on own tough shit.

06 December 2012

Apples And Oranges

The Chinese media are trying to compare the case of the homeless man in New York who was pushed or fell in front of a subway train while people watched in horror with Yue Yue, the little girl who was hit by two different cars in the middle of a small but populated street while no one gave a shit. The Chinese point of view is that Chinese people are better than imperialist Americans because Americans also stand idly by and watch their own get run over.

For reasons known only to the Chinese and people who understand that the easiest way for the Chinese to show that they are not horrible people is to point out horrible things done by other people, subway tracks buried and barricaded underground are the same thing as a small surface road, and ten 42-ton trains are the same as two 800cc blue trucks. The Chinese media will never point out that picking a small child up from a small road and taking her to safety is not nearly as dangerous as jumping in front of a moving train and grabbing some homeless dude. Most Americans will never jump in front of a moving train to save an adult. Neither will most people in any country in the world. Neither would I. Every single American, and most people on this planet, would have picked up Yue Yue.

And, no, a little Chinese girl is not the same as some homeless guy in New York. Yue Yue did not choose to be born a girl in China. Destiny fucked her over on that one. Homeless adults in New York made questionable choices to get where they are. Like it or not, they could change their circumstances far more easily than a Chinese female can become a European male. It seems to be completely lost on the Chinese media that adults are required by common decency to help small children in danger. In our live and let die society, adults are on their own.

The Chinese media tell us that Americans do not give a shit about homeless people. This is true. The homeless in New York are invisible, just as they are every place I have ever been. Just as they are in China. The communist Chinese ideology of robbing from the rich to feed the poor has long since been replaced with the capitalist Chinese ideology of robbing from everyone to feed the rich. The homeless population in China is increasing as communist China becomes more capitalist. There may be a culture somewhere in the world where homeless people are not invisible, but I have never been there.

The Chinese media point to a court case in 2006 where a Chinese judge punished a good Samaritan for helping a stranger in trouble, as good Samaritans are wont to do. This, they say, is the reason Chinese people are selfish assholes and will willingly walk by a small child who is about to be killed. Anyone who knows anything about the Chinese id or basic sociology or group psychology or common sense can tell you that the Chinese masses were not selfless and compassionate in 2005 and suddenly became selfish assholes in 2006. The entire culture did not change its way of thinking after some minor court case that no one ever heard anything about until it was used as an excuse to stand idly by and watch a small child get run over. This was a selfish culture long before 2006.

Americans are also selfish, though not nearly on such an advanced level as the Chinese. But the homeless dude in New York did not die because of selfishness. It is not selfish to not jump in front of a moving train. One would have to be very brave to do so. Or very stupid, depending on the outcome. Only a coward would let a little girl die in the middle of a small street.

07 November 2012

The New Star Wars Movie

I got my hands on a copy of the new and highly anticipated Disney Star Wars movie. Disney is spending a lot of money to keep everything a secret, but the long arm of Disney corporate lawyers has never been successful in China. Disney bootlegs are everywhere, and English schools often use unlicensed Disney characters in their textbooks.

Much has been made of the fact that George Lucas sold the rights to the only thing worth a damn he ever did to Disney. But the suits at Disney know how to turn a profit. Every Star Wars fan’s fear that Disney will rape the franchise has come true, but at least some very rich people will make more money.

“Episode VII: Captial Gains and the Deferred Annuities”, directed by Chris Columbus, opens with a crawl that explains how new tax laws enacted after the assassination of the Emperor by his apprentice have made life difficult for Wookies, Ewoks and Droids, but have allowed humanoids to prosper, thus creating tension in the galaxy between the species.

Han Solo (Justin Bieber), who should probably change his name now that he is married, and Princess Leia (Kristin Stewart), no longer a princess, are putting their baby (CGI) to bed when it is revealed that their child has super Force powers. Instead of crying, it makes the cradle rock by itself and Forces the stuffed animals in the room to do an elaborate song and dance routine, written by those Phineas and Ferb people. If you look closely, you may notice that one of the dancing animals is a stuffed Nemo.

Meanwhile, on the planet Twit T’er, a new Sith master has emerged. Deng-Jow Ping (Vince Vaughn) hatches an evil plan to manipulate the creatures that are being heavily taxed and get them to rise up against the humans who never have to pay their fare share. He sends his padawan, To-Qen Blaque (Whoopi Goldberg), to the salt mines of M’Shellb Ackmen to shore up support. She then sings a ballad with her pet blistmok about how her boss, for whom she pines, never appreciates her.

On Dagobah, it is revealed that two other Jedi survived the Emperor’s purge and have since been living on the same planet as Yoda, though the two brothers were not aware of Yoda’s presence. The older brother, Katz (Jack Black) is mean and abusive to his younger brother, Jammer (Zach Galifianakis). After yet another argument over who is better at playing Lightsaber Hero, they sing a song and are joined by Yoda’s Ghost (CGI) at the end.

Luke Skywalker (Chris Colfer) is now teaching Jedi classes on Coruscant. After a grueling class with modern students who simply do not appreciate all that bullshit about midi-chlorians, R2-D2 (CGI) and C-3PO (CGI) join him in a song. Afterward, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Ghost (Bradley Cooper) gives him some advice on dealing with shitty students.

There is a twenty minute sequence that takes place on Kashyyyk where Chewbacca (CGI) explains to his fellow Wookies why the new tax laws are unjust and must be abolished. All of the dialogue is in Shyriiwook with English subtitles.

After a long battle sequence with a lot of special effects and nothing else, Han, Leia and Luke meet up only to discover that they are on opposite sides of the battle. Luke, the liberal arts professor, is fighting with his creature friends while Han and Leia, a middle class couple, are on the side of corporate monied interests. Luke tells Han that even though he can no longer make the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs, he is still a rebel at heart and should fight for the little people. He tells Leia that life as a tax-free princess has sheltered her from the realities of low yield returns. A bunch of Ewoks (CGI) then sing a song.

Of course, this is exactly what Deng-Jow Ping wants, and now he has our heroes fighting on his side.

Until another special effects battle inexplicably reveals Ping’s plans to Luke via the Force. It is never made clear how this happened, but if you are a real fan you will simply accept it. After all, Greedo shot first.

When the good guys figure out what the bad guys are doing, there is another special effects battle. Luke kills Ping with his lightsaber after cutting off one of Ping’s hands, Leia convinces Blaque to join the good guys now that her boss/boyfriend has been brutally murdered, and Han is reunited with Chewbacca. Chewbacca then reveals that he is pregnant, setting the stage for something unnatural in the next movie.

Everyone sings the big musical number, including R2-D2 and Chewbacca, who sing their lines in their own languages. Even the ghosts of Yoda and Obi-Wan join in.

I cannot wait for Episode VIII.

18 September 2012

Six Years None The Richer

Previously on Is Making Foreigner Show:

Foreigner making drive no license

Foreigner taking drive test

Foreigner showing make bad is driver test

There are two ways to drive legally in this country. You can have citizen identification, which I will never have, or you can have alien resident identification, which I have. Both types have to bring their identification and take a joke of a written and driving test. Citizens renew their license every six years. Alien residents have to renew theirs whenever they renew their alien residency; typically every year. The tests and fees are the same for everyone, but foreigners have to pay six times as often. If a foreigner’s license expires, he has to pay for and take all of the tests over again. If a citizen’s license expires, he simply pays an extra fee.

The standard procedure for renewing my alien residency is to do everything at the last minute. This is because everything can only be done within a certain time frame and, more often than not, the owner of my school likes to do everything at the last minute. She is the only one who can initiate proceedings. She sends forms to the government, they send forms back to her, she gives me one of those forms which I take to another government office, they give me another form to give to her which she sends to the government, they give her another form which she gives to me and I take back to the government office I went to earlier, I give them money and they give me a receipt. About a week later I can go back to that office and pick up my new identification card. It is that simple.

Renewing my driver’s license can only be done after I have the new identification card. There were several times before I had the license that I got the new card after the old one had expired. No one particularly cares if it is expired as long as the paperwork started making the rounds before it expired. Once or twice the old one expired before the paperwork for the new one went anywhere and I had to go to Hong Kong to get a visa in order to get the visa that I was waiting to get. This is all rather annoying in the beginning, but eventually you get used to it. There simply is no simple way to get things done around here.

The trouble began when I got a driver’s license. Now if anything expires, I have to take all of those driving tests again, and that is not something I want to do. I barely understood the written test, and I only passed the vision test because the clerk in charge could not have cared less. Not that my eyesight is that bad, but the vision test has nothing to do with vision.

This year, the owner of the school decided to wait until the last minute to send the initial paperwork to the government, as is her custom. She also forgot to include an important form, and it took some time for the government to let her know. She has only been doing this for five years, and apparently it takes longer than that to figure out how to do the same thing every year. After several weeks of several forms changing hands, I finally got the form that I take in to get the card that I need to renew my license. My alien residency expired the next day. This did not affect my legal residency in this country because most of the paperwork had already gone through. But since it usually takes about a week between taking the form to the government office and getting the card, there was no way in hell I would have the new card before my license expired.

Ordinarily, I take the form to the government office, go back in a week and get my new card and take that new card to renew my driver’s license. Since my driver’s license was due to expire the next day, this was not an option. So I took the form I usually take to the government office to the DMV, which is not called the DMV around here. This form basically says that all systems are go and tells the office that gives me my new card to give me my new card. There was no reason for me to believe that the people at the DMV would have any idea what this form was. But it clearly stated in Chinese that I was allowed a new card, and the people at the DMV supposedly know that having a new card is what allows me to renew the license.

Coincidentally, I have gone to the same clerk at the DMV every time I have renewed my license. I thought that since he recognized me and I recognized him, it might help. Rules at government offices are generally followed according to the clerk’s whim at any given time. Having at least some kind of relationship greatly helps.

He was not there. Instead, there was a woman who would have fit in perfectly at any American DMV. I could not decide if she was Patty or Selma.

She spoke no English and automatically assumed that I speak no Chinese, as happens pretty much all the time. While waiting for her supervisor, I wondered how I was going to talk the supervisor into renewing my license even though I had an almost expired alien resident card. My initial plan was to talk to the same guy I always saw and convince him that doing what I wanted was the way to go. Supervisors are generally less friendly around here, and more likely to follow the rules.

When the supervisor arrived, I showed her my form, explained what it was and told her that I would have the new card in about a week. I wanted her to renew my license or at least put some kind of temporary stamp on it and let me come back when I have the new card. She said that they did not do that. I knew she was going to say that. No one ever wants to do anything that has not already been done. These are not adventurous people. The Chinese did not send a person into space until 2003.

Following the logic that everyone does the same thing as everyone else, I asked her why foreigners have to renew their driver’s licenses every year while locals do it every six years. If everyone has to follow the same rules, why then do the same rules not apply to everyone. I assumed that I was going to walk away empty handed and was simply arguing for argument’s sake at this point. I had already decided that if my license expired I would not bother to take the tests all over again. Very few people recognize any rules of the road around here and I have lost interest in bending over backward to do things legally in a country where no one follows the law.

The supervisor asked me if I had a photograph. I did because I was hoping that somehow this would work, and I had to go to the other government office when I was finished with the DMV and give them a photograph so that they could give me a new card eventually. I gave her a photograph and she apologized but said I needed to pay a fee. I was willing to pay a fee. I wanted to renew my license and that always requires paying a fee. I could not believe that I had actually talked her into renewing it without having the new card.

She came back with my new driver’s license and apologized again. I was unsure which part of my argument was making her apologize so often. This is information that might be useful in the future. Especially since I knew that I might have to go through all of it again next year.

When I looked at the license to make sure they had the correct alien resident number (they have been wrong before, and this is inconvenient to correct), I noticed that it expires in six years. I have no idea if this supervisor was authorized to make my one year license last for six years. At this point, I do not care.

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