Saturday, October 30, 2010

It is just China

Interesting day, Big Daddy found out what the dude in the street is doing, making cheap blankets for poor people. But he can't sell them on the street, it is against the law. And they are too small for us. Because he can only make them the size of the board he owns. And people report you if they see you doing illegal stuff. Huh? It is ok to sell DVD's on the street every day and not ok to sell blankets on Saturday? And what about the card games on the sidewalks?

Wanted to go to the new mall near us so we meandered down that way. Bought a scarf as I was freezing. Bought some coffee from the bar. Had a snack at Casa 13 and David now has Sherry. Then Big Daddy got really excited on the way to the mall. The flower lady was home. So instead of shopping we bought flowers. So many flowers we could not carry them. For 240RMB. So the flower lady had this guy carry our flowers home for us. He took the long and convolted way and then he would not take a tip.

Well, we got home and took the elevator up to our apartment and the door would not open. Key works, turns green and beeps, no open. OK, we go downstairs and jabba jabba and have a smoke and a lady from housekeeping comes and motions us up. So we all traipse back up to the apartment and she can't get the door open either. She tells us to stay there, in pantomine. I tell her there are no chairs, in pantomine. Down we all go. Now there is more jabba jabba and more people. And another phone call. Then the doorman tells us to go back up, in pantomine of course. Now we have Shemp. Shemp can't get it open either and confirms the hip thrust used by everyone involved does not budge the door. So back down we go. Now I insist Big Daddy needs to go to the front desk in the main building. I stay with the doormen. After a while a guy speaking English comes and tells me to go back upstairs. I'm game.

This is where it becomes hilarious. The door is open and Shemp has the locks torn apart. My stuff is in the apartment (you did not think I was carrying this stuff up and down did you?) and there is water all over the floor. Not a flood but enough water to wonder. Big Daddy calls and I tell him I am in the apartment. He tells me they wanted to move us to a different apartment without our stuff. Huh? Shemp number 2 joins us and the lock fixing begins in earnest. This takes about 30 minutes and lots of noise and jabba jabba and what appears to be Chinese WD40. Then the Shemps call me over, show me the lock works and pantomines that I do not know how to work the lock properly. WTF. Then the assistant manager calls and tells Big Daddy that we need a new lock but they can't do that on Sunday. What, are they all gonna be in church? Do I sense some western influence in a day of rest?

Anyway, the flowers are beautiful and we are ready for new day of adventure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sad, sad, sad

It was bound to happen, my newfound communication skills with the Shanghai taxi drivers failed me yesterday. Got kicked out of one taxi because he did not understand Port-o-man, which is the correct pronunciation as confirmed by the second cab driver. Then the taxi from the Port-o-man did not understand how to get me home, and he was in a EXPO taxi. And I must say the wear and tear on the EXPO taxi was unbelievable. Also the lack of cleanliness.

Big Daddy and I had breakfast at Element Fresh and there were about 8 western guys all sitting by themselves having breakfast about 9:30 in the morning. They all looked sad. Glancing about the room, looking like they really wanted someone to talk to, or just staring at laptops. And they all looked like they had no place to go. It was just weird. Why don't they sit together?

I did buy a curling iron at the hair salon and it was about the same price a good one would cost in the US. Came home and curled my hair. Did not look bad. Woke up this morning and again I have the flatest hair in China. And trust me, that is some flat hair. Can't wait to get home and get a decent hair cut.

And get some fall/winter clothes. I am freezing here. Hairdresser told me it seems colder here and she is right. 50f feels more like low 40's at home. Supposed to get up to 70 this weekend, and I sure hope so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TSA and me

I have been reading a lot lately about the new AIT machines in the US and I am not getting any good answers to my questions. And every thread on FlyerTalk denigrates into a childish rant, with no real answers most of the time. Now I realize from personal experiences with TSA, including a very enlightening ride to the Airlines Parking lot, that some of these people are not real bright. There are employees in other jobs that are not real bright too, but those people generally are not putting me through an x-ray while their buddy is in possesion of all my stuff.

The radiation bothers me. I am not that concerned with the naked aspect because well, ya get what ya pay for. A free peep is not going to yield high quality peeping. But radiation scares me. And how many times a few years after the fact are problems found and people are dying, born with defects, are have damage that is permanent? Too many.

The pat down does not bother me either. A free "cop a feel" is not going to be great and if you hurt me I scream. And you get pat downs all over the world so no biggie.

But today I read you have to remove "metal" jewelry. Now, this is just not right. I will admit, I am a jewelry junkie. I love jewelry. I wear jewelry. Mostly real jewelry, not costume. So I am supposed to remove thousands of dollars of jewelry and do what with it? Who is in charge of the jewelry when I take it off? Can't put it in the carry-on as the TSA have that too. My jewelry does not set off the metal detector. Nor did it set off the one in Federal Court when I was a juror. It is tasteful jewelry, not huge and gaudy crap.

Everyone has a limit, and this is mine. There are so many weird things going on now. When Disney World has a higher level of employees than TSA, when no knows the rules, and people are stealing money right out of the security area,whoa who is in charge of this shit.

And, they say this will make the security screening go faster. Well, when you have to take off, in addition to the regular stuff, your belt and wallet, and now your jewelry, and then get dressed again in 2 different spots, how is this quicker? And they are still patting down everyone who goes through the AIT anyway-according to the reports I am reading. And what about all the grandma's who had to have someone put this stuff on to start out with? Do you think grandma is not going to start crying when you take her wedding ring and watch her dead husband gave her away, especially if she can't do it herself? This is gonna be faster, watching grandma cry while the TSA yells at her to hurry up.

Like I used to say at work, I wish I had been in that meeting when they all thought this was a great idea. I remember one meeting where we were all discussing my parts coming to the line cold. And I mean freezing cold. So in the interest of cheap it was decided to put a pvc pipe with holes in it inside the box with a hair dryer stuck in the top. I asked, what is going to happen when they lose the pipe and set the hair dryer in the box with all the paper layers or the sweating parts? Engineering response: don't be silly that will never happen. That took 24 hours to happen.

Back to the point, I do not understand how China can manage all the travel with none of drama. And they are polite. And you keep your shoes on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Water is everywhere

Guess that typhoon, Megi, is that big cause she's coming ashore and it is wet all the way to Shanghai. And if she is still slow this is not gonna be fun. Water up to my ankles this afternoon and it is not raining that hard.

Went to get my hair done and it was not a trial for once. Did not complain because she can't fix it-so why go down that road. Only problem is they asked me to switch magazines for this uppity bitch and I was not happy, did it and smiled but come on, I was there longer and not finished with one magazine and you already read them all? Buy a book, a Kindle, and iPad or whatever. And it was a Good Housekeeping which I had not seen in years and it had recipes. For my new oven. Geez.

No shopping because it is too wet, but hairdresser told me where to shop next and told me how to pronounce the road. Little baby steps. She can't find shoes either. She's a 7 and a half.

Big Daddy got maintenance and now we have hot water again. Not lukewarm, hot. What a joy.

Got a new movie, Sex and The City 2, everyone said it was shit, but when all you can get is shit . . . Punkin Head is supposed to send us a movie to see if it works here. Then we don't have to watch the same 2 movies every other week.

Oh, and the asshole really did finally quit when they told him no. No way. So hasta la vista, and stay outta my hair. Since it is freshly washed. Oh, and I bought hairspray, real original formula from France, Elnett. Lif e is good.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weather Reports

Found the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center on the web, via my buds over at Flyer Talk. This is the most accurate information available. Watching the weather report on CNN was giving me a headache as they show what everyone is thinking and nobody agreed. And with China already having admitted they don't have a clue, well this just made me feel better. Big Daddy is flying out of Shenzhen this morning and he has to go back on Monday, so this is a concern. That and the fact China has not had a bad typhoon is years and seems worse prepared than New Orleans was for Katrina.

Have not been able to watch any TV shows this week and the Internet connection is too slow. So it is just me and Anderson Cooper again.

Woke up this morning with a huge pain in my hip. Hope this just goes away soon. Do not want to have to go to the doctor. Big Daddy had a massage yesterday at the hotel and now he is a fan. Said he could never understand why I like them until he experienced the ultimate nirvana of every muscle at peace. He is becoming almost as big a personal maintenance whore as I am.

Well, gotta go clean now that the Ayi's are gone. More later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Some Tidbits-What Would Coco Think?

Big Daddy found out about a whole new source of phony shit. Fake books. They sell them by weight. And the rumor is that they take orders. So now when you are wearing your Hello Kitty pajamas, drinking your fake Chinese beer, surrounded by the fake EXPO shit you got ripped off on-you can read your fake book. Whatever happened to just being happy with a fake Rolex. And can any Chinese alcoholic beverage be worth making a fake version of. WTF.

Went to Marks&Spencer this weekend. Yes it was as bad as I thought it was going to be. Cheap clothes as in 1980's KMart. Bought 2 sweaters that may or may not make it through 1 wearing, and a nightgown and robe. With slippers. And some blood orange marmalade. We'll see.

Walked down to the mall and went to every high-end makeup counter starting with Chanel. No red nail polish. How the hell do you not carry red nail polish. And there were guys running the Chanel counter. Now any gay guy is not letting you out of there without buying something. These guys were like, nope-see ya, well that is the problem. If you don't wear it you can't sell it. Women wear everything in the men's department except a jock strap and very few guys would ask a woman for a jock strap. But a man that does not wear makeup should not be selling it. What the fuck would Coco think?

Gap store is still coming soon in 2010. Yea, right.

The worst is we may have to move to a different apartment. In the same bulding and probably the same layout. Who knows. But the problem is we have had half the stuff fixed here and half the stuff left to fix. Now granted they may never fix the remaining shit-but at least you know what is broken and will break again next month. And how much of our shit will they break when we move? And will we have new Ayi's to train. And trust me training is hard for very little work on their part. Getting towels took 3 weeks when we moved into this apartment.

The asshole is trying to screw around with Big Daddy again. If our vacation gets messed up again, well I do not think they will be happy to see me at the company Christmas party. A few months off probation and this jerk demands a raise, a promotion, unauthorized vacation and gets away with it again because there are no laws in China. Bullshit. As they say in the US, been to that dance. And I do have a dog in this hunt. (God, I love cliches) So that slimy asshole better watch out, I will hire Jackie Chan.

And the rules made me spell Marks&Spencer wrong in the tag. Just like China, static instead of fluid.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The real reason I Blog

It is really hard and really expensive to stay in contact with friends and family in other countries. My Punkin Head is the most important followed by my mother who seems to be a ghost these days. So even if the posts seems to make no sense some days, these 2 people know I am still alive. Maybe not sane, but alive. So when the Internet connection here goes wonky and I have to reconnect and retype the same shit over and over, sometimes I just give it up and publish bullshit.

China is very sensitive right now about what is said-the country is exploding with vile indignation. The Nobel Prize sent them all into a frenzy. The Chilean miners highlighted the fact that Chinese mining industry is the worst. Another mine exploded today, this time in Henan. They are trying to appear a world leader with really very little to back it up. They are fighting for the islands they lost to Japan and then the US. And the funny thing is they claim the islands belong to Taiwan, which they claim they own and then they bitch that Taiwan buys arms from the US, which in my mind means--- then I guess they own that shit too. So these are some crazy assholes in charge of things here, including the Internet and the phone companies. When they put the Mrs. Nobel under house arrest they shut off her mobile phone and Internet.

I am sending this through an expensive VPN connection, that is the only way to have access out of China. And yes they know this is how people do this type of blogging. And yes, they shut down the connections if they can. They shut it down often. If too many "words" show up-shut off the Internet or the connection to that grid, just like they shut down CNN every time it is mentioned that the Nobel Prize winners wife is under house arrest. I cannot risk typing his name and probably typing just what I have said is not the smartest thing.

So when you read whacko shit on here and do not understand, either I am censored, tired of the disconnect bullshit, or opened a new bottle of wine. Whatever.

And savor the Barry Manilow experience, get a tape of a Chinese movie, play it for about 15 minutes while you are in a crazy taxi. The one trying to fight with 25 to 30 idiots on bicycles that think they are on Harley's and then just flip over to Mandy. Surreal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Barry Manilow

Ok, interesting few days.

Watching the miners of Chile rescued was just unbelievable. Go Chile. And the others that helped and then went home. Nuff said. Not everyone needs a personal yank on the chain. Go Chile.

Went for my physical today. Interesting the way they do this. Actually took about 40 minutes start to finish. Bunch of people start out filling out paperwork and then walking about in really poor fitting old robes from one room to another. And there is usually more than one person in the room at a time. Personal privacy is not big in China. I really wonder what the porno thing is here that is so objectional as every thing I see is pretty objectional.

Just a note, this is the fourth time I have tried to post this, some of the fun is gone now. Fuck Barry.

It is way too hard to have to type this shit 4 and 5 times and keep losing it. This is why I am a crazy person.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Going Out

I am afraid to say too much and hate that I have to say too little.

I am a guest here and must remember that as a guest I agreed to abide by certain rules. So I really can't bitch that CNN International, the only English channel available, has been cutting out for a couple days whenever he who shall not be named is on the news.

Makes me wonder who is worse, them or me. Certainly not Harry Potter who had a pair.

So I will go out and eat and drink and be merry. And tonight I will pray for those who cannot.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finally a Great Day

Just lost everything I wrote and I cannot recapture the excellent writing I put down on this illustrious blog. Oh well, gotta start over and deal with it. Not gonna let it steal my joy. But I do have to figure out how to fix this damn computer and the blog itself so these things do not keep happening. That will be next.

First is the description of my great day. Good weather and good reading. Decent travels about the little part of town I know. And some fun.

Had to slog down to the Consulate to get my new passport. I really thought this was going to be a drudge trip to hell. Got a decent taxi, he went right where I wanted to go, their were no huddled masses at the window and whoa, we were in. I did have to take off my shoes and walk over carpeting I am sure infected my feet with some unknown diseases but that will be a later post. When I have huge nasty---never mind, later. Anyway got a ticket at the counter that was about 400 off and watched the sad waiting people and wham, I was next. Whole episode did not take 15 minutes.

Got a taxi back to the rabbit warren with no problems and we went to have a drink with Amay. She volunteered to go with us to the wet market to buy tea as Big Daddy and I cannot make heads or tails of the tea choices. We now have cred with the tea guy. Bought some great black tea and he gave us a gift of some more expensive tea to try. And Amay explained that the snakes in the plastic bowls are not snakes. They are fish, from the river. They look like fucking snakes. They are spicy when cooked. So Big Daddy is really up for cooking the fucking non-snake things for our dinner. At a later date.

BD-initials to be used from here on out for Big Daddy-made a great dinner, mixed salad, honey glazed chicken breasts (we stole the recipe from Blackened Out) and green beans. Then we had to go for walk as we are fat. Well, walking over to the other side of the complex BD decides we need go look at the ovens at the place he bought my hair appliance. My curling iron died about 2 weeks ago and with the shit haircut I got from the HAIRDRESSER WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED-as it is the only hairdresser in town-I was in distress. So bald BD goes to this store and pantomines curling his hair. I guess this was somewhat entertaining as BD says all the staff was there staring at a man trying to show how curl hair on his old bald head. YES, I know I am loved. He got the appliance. Another story. Anyway, this is now his favorite electronics store. So off we go.

We purchased a convection oven and a blender/processer type thing for around 180 US dollars. Quite a good price I think. They made a deal on the oven, nothing on the blender contraption. But they did seem really concerned we bought the better products-the products they were happier to sell. And I do mean products they seemed to like better, not just to make money on. The prices were the same between some things. I seem to think if you are a repeat customer and do speak a little Chinese (very little in our case) they really do give a damn if you are happy.

So I got to pet a really nice dog at the store, BD got his cooking shit, we got great tea, and there are not snakes at the wet market. What more could you want?

More tomorrow on Anthony Bourdain, really bad hair, and why do I have zits at my age?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We almost had a smack down tonight

I really try to be a nice person and an ambassador for my country. I smile and say hello to everyone. I am nice to every person I see. I will not let them steal my joy.

However, I have my limits.

I understand that the people from this section of the planet have a different perspective on manners and customs than we have in the western world. These peoples, yes plural as there are so many cultures, think nothing of spitting, snorting, picking their nose and flicking it, and stopping right where they are standing and just standing there. And these are the minor annoyances. They are also big on pushing you. From behind or the side, it does not matter. They have a goal, to be in front, period. I have seen them crawl over each other in airplanes to gain an inch. And the word sorry does not seem to exist here. I know the word, just have never heard it used.

So tonight after dinner I light up a cigarette on the walk home. Now smoking is very common in China and you usually cannot see the smoke for the haze and smog anyway. And we all know smoking is bad, but I was outside right by the sewer smells and such and did not think much of it. This Asian woman-I do not think Chinese-started doing the fake cough, cough, cough like I was killing her as she pushed in front of me with her western male friend. Well, it just hit me wrong. So I felt the need to explain to her that we are in China, not California. And she turned and glared at me. And I believe I gave her the "mommy look". This is also known as the look could scare the fangs off a vampire. She turned right back around and came to a complete standstill. So, I indicated to Big Daddy that if she did not move her-ahem, behind, I was going to stick my knee up it. I did say knee, not foot.

And what is Big Daddy doing? Trying to get the camera out to catch the Kodak moment.

It ended in a boring manner, her escort took the first left, (and I use the term escort loosely) we continued on with the huddled masses taking pictures of themselves in front of stupid signs.

So now I know a couple things. You can take the girl out of Detroit-but you can't take Detroit out of the girl. Big Daddy will not have your back if he thinks he can get a picture out of it. Instead of my foot up her ass I should put my Mephisto on her Laboutins. And of course, do not let them steal your joy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I usually don't do politics, but really

Okay, CNN International is not the show guys usually see. And you do have other channels to watch. Fie on you. However, I do not have other channels and I am fedded up. To use a French phrase.

I am tired of stories of 11 year old girls sold into marriage. Something needs to be done here. Either fix it or prove it wrong. Since it seems to be happening in all the countries we have a presence in or support with huge tax dollars, this should not be real hard.

I am tired of politicians that are accused of breaking the law and that is where the story ends. Did it happen or not? Are you all lazy or complacent?

I am tired of stories on gay people or any other minority committing suicide, slayed at the hands of viscious killers, or being "identified" for their own good, while the "killers" get a pass for whatever reason the media uses-just so they can get the story. If you can dog the victims you can dog the perps.

I am tired of poor people. Not really poor people, you will never see really poor people on CNN, only the phony poor people. Poor people do not have hair and nail services available to them. Nor do they have cars, homes, and sidewalks. The really poor people are being helped by Oprah and Bill Gates and they do not appear on television. Unless they are getting a shot for whatever disease they are going to catch in the near future, for another TV spot.

And I am tired of Jimmy Carter, I know he is sick and in the hospital and all, but I was tired of him in the 70's. He was depressing then and now he is just a whiner. Get over it. No one liked you then and less people like you now. And the reports of your houses falling apart are rampant. And if that is not true why is there not a Habitat person out there refuting all these stories on CNN? And picking on Teddy Kennedy? I did not like Teddy and I would not pick on the dead when I had plenty of time to point this shit out when he was alive.

David Vitter in a diaper with a madam, Mike Cox won't fire the guy that works for him that is harrassing a guy at U of M, and who in the city of Detroit is having sex with whom this week?

Something needs to be done with all this information, I suggest the garbage pail, and people need to start discussing and doing something about the things that really have an impact on their lives. And they need to force the media to respond. I for one will be telling Anderson Cooper that he needs to review his past reporting and tell me if he is happy with his current stories. Then I will decide if no TV is better than shitty TV.