Saturday, December 31, 2011

It is time for a political comment

I do not belong to a political party or group. I pretty much support people I believe are going to try and do something I agree with. And not mess up things that do not matter. If I contact you and you do not respond your name is xed out no matter who you are. After all, if Richard Nixon responded to a childish message, sent when I was a foolish teen, well that established the bar for me.

I have written to famous writers, columnists, and public servants. Also politicians. I have received responses from a few, never expected--unless it is a public servant. If I am asking you a question I expect an answer. I do not care if it is a form letter, I can make decisions based on a form letter (mostly if you evade answering the question) but no response tells me you don't give a shit. Period.

I once wrote to my 2 senators, and only 1 responded. With a form letter, but a form letter that let me know he was aware of the situation and afraid to open his mouth. And he put me on his mailing list and I receive occasional updates and what he is doing. Fair is fair. I don't like the guy but he will be there forever, might as well know what he is up to.

A few years ago I sent a letter to President Obama, way before he was elected. No response, nothing, not a thing. Nuttin. Then a while later I started getting emails asking me for money for the campaign. Why would I give money to people who do not even have a form letter handy. This morning I had over 10 emails from Obama, Michelle, Joe Biden and other assorted minions asking me for money. And my phone number. They are desperate for this money before midnight, it must be 2011 money. Huh? And where do they think they are going to take me to lunch?

And they have given my email address to some groups I really do not like, don't know if they sold it or just shared it. I wear fur, support the Canadian Indian tribes also those folks in Finland. I also wear leather shoes. I don't judge if you wear plastic oil-from the ground- shoes. I don't make fun of people who buy factory produced chicken if that is all they can afford. I do not like people who buy potato chips and soda pop for their children on a daily basis, but there is nothing I can do about that right now.

You know I have never received a call when these politicians are in China. I am registered at the embassy.

All joking aside, I never designated this stuff as spam when it was just the occasional plea and I never open email if I don't know the person. I just chuckled at their persistence, I never sent them money or responded in any way. But over 10 in one morning? I may have to take care of this.

Funny of the day-to me: Recently watched a documentary on Queen Elizabeth II and the workings of the royal family. Every piece of mail the Queen receives is answered by a hand written note. Wouldn't it be a hoot to get a response from the Queen. Don't know how long it takes though, should I use U.S. address or China address? Or try to do one of each. Decisions, decisions.

What a Debacle

There will be no pictures, frankly I scared myself when I looked in the mirror, Big Daddy is still Rudolf and I am so not happy.

We got a late start today and it went downhill from there.

We went to the basement movie store. There was this guy standing in front of the new releases. The table is 3 feet wide. And a rather tall large man was standing front and center looking at the movies. There aren't that many movies to look at on the table. Well, I peeked and peered around him as best as I could and then yep, the devil came out. I asked him if he was going to buy all the movies. When he said no, I asked him if it would kill him to let someone take a look at the table. I swear I did not use a bad word. We got MoneyBall and One Day with Anne Hathaway.

Next we went to exchange a jade necklace BD got me for Christmas week. It was too expensive for how much I liked it. Not much. Well of course we could only exchange. Although BD did get a bit off the necklace and then I got a bit off one of the bracelets so it was okay. Got 2 bracelets and I have no clue if they are worth anything. I do not know diddly about Jade.

So then BD insisted we go to Marks&Spencer as they have clothes for fat people. Now really, I was regular normal size when I got here. People thought I weighed less than I did. Normal size U.S. 10/12. I am short, almost 5'4", really just a smidge under. So I am curvy and a little, maybe a lot top-heavy. So I have gained 15 pounds in the almost 2 years I have been here. So I would now call myself pudgy bordering on plump. I am not the hugest person out there. I tried on every damn coat in that crappy store and the only thing I can figure is every well off  cheap white bitch with a driver got there first. Because a size 10 in British sizes was the largest I could find. Then I found a little bigger and then a little more bigger. I don't know if those assholes know sizes but I finally found the last biggest ass coat in the store, and it was the only one not on sale. BD found me in tears, when I told him the size he said he would cut the tag out.

Now since I worked mostly with men I know size does not matter, and six inches is huge,  I am thinking that explains the British sizing. And BD says we can return it for wine and chutney. Because Mr. Bigger Bigger called and he has found me a coat. And since he has no sizes, only bigger bigger, this could work.

However, this tale gets sadder and sadder. We could not get a taxi to Mr. Bigger and Bigger. It seems that Friday night is the worst time ever to get a taxi. We walked from Marks&Spencer to the Portman Center and during that time we had at least 6 phony (or black taxis) stop and try to pick us up, 4 motorcyles trying to get us as customers, and one real taxi that offered to take us on a 14 rmb fare for 50 rmb (which we should have taken and then stiffed him) and the guy on a lawnmower disguised as a red metal cart.

I did however meet a sweet little girl who spoke English. Her mother only spoke Chinese but kept encouraging the girl to talk to me. She was 7. And when they gave up on the taxis she told me goodbye and we wished each other Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I should be as thin as when I first arrived

Because I laugh my ass off every day.

Meat counter at the Butchery

Based on the standing rib roast I went with Big Daddy for a return visit to the butcher. That is the cleanest place I have seen in China. I mean spotless. The butcher said it was a slow day, well we bought around 60 bucks U.S. worth and while we were there 2 Euro trash came in and proceeded to call everyone they knew. Don't think it will be slow for long. I got a decent red wine for around 7 bucks and that is unheard of. The butcher told me they sell a ton of it and I thought, yea well TJ's sells a bunch of 2 buck Chuck too. But really it was decent.

The taxi driver screwed us over taking the long way there, so I decided to walk for a bit and figure it out. We were on this street that I think is the new Fuxing Lu for clothes. I found a place that had coats in front. It was down a short path and so we went inside. I asked for bigger. The tried every coat in the joint on me. They were all too small. The 2 peeps running the store did get one coat zipped up. I could not move but they were both so pleased. The conversation was pretty much them speaking Chinese and my saying bigger, bigger. I did buy a sweater. It was normal sized it was just cut for roominess and having bosoms. 

The street ended at Shaanxi just a block or so up from the City Market, not bad for a walk and evidence the taxi was trying to convince us he had driven us to Beijing.

Funny of the day: Remember the recent job interview, well it was with a head hunter firm not the hiring company, they are on holiday. The head hunter firm was so impressed with Big Daddy they want to shop him around. In order to do this they need a picture of him. The man with a huge red scab on his nose from the grease splatter. There are no pictures of BD that do not display fun and frivolity as the old camera died and we left the card in the U.S. I am thinking bare minerals makeup.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tales of the job search

If this were not so important to my future I would be rolling on the floor laughing.

I was really afraid Big Daddy would be offered this job as they "the company" did not balk at giving him the stars and the moon. And he got a huge splat of grease on his nose cooking breakfast this week. Right on the tip of the nose. Rudolf size. And of course this job is in China. Since it all seemed preposterous I just figured fate would hit me in the ass.

Nope this was another one of those famous jobs, we need a Senior Manager in Butchering, Baking and Candlestick making. And we prefer a doctorate in all 3, with 57 years of experience. And for all that we are kinda willing to pay you on the cheap as you would be hands on and save us hiring 12 more people.

It is was for a division of a company he has interviewed with 3 times this year. This time through a head hunter that is obviously not in the loop with corporate. Well all it cost was taxi fare and time, but really.

I will say someone in the group did admit maybe they asking for the impossible. How many times have I heard this. If you want a lap dog don't interview a Great Dane. If you want a steady girlfriend don't interview high end hookers. This reminds me of a co-worker who met a vegan on line, met him for dinner and ordered a burger. WTF, figure it out before you waste everyone's time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

We found a butcher

He has only been in our area for 2 weeks though he does have a shop in Pudong. The name is Yasmine's and Jason Mellink is the Master Butcher. Cell 150 0086 8415, address No. 93, North Xiangyang Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai.

Big Daddy got the best 2 rib standing roast, it was tasty and wonderful and cooked just great in the crappy counter top oven. Around 325 RMB and 4 pounds. There are leftovers galore. Yes, there will be soup at the end of the roast journey. They also have plump with real breasts chickens and assorted meats and sausages. They also have good wine at a decent price.

I told BD he should have taken a picture of the meat before we devoured it. Red meat is not something you eat or even see here on a regular basis.

Talked to Punkin Head today, made me cry, we miss him so much. He is having fun in Vermont and saw a movie, Hugo. He highly recommends it.

I need to get off my ass and get dressed and go out in the bowels of hell. Big Daddy witnessed a fight between a cat and a frog at the wet market recently. The proprietor of the fish stand rescued the frog, not sure if it was one of her sale items, and then offered BD prawns. He said it was the saddest thing he has seen in a while. His camera did not power up quick enough on the fabled real iPhone to capture the moment. No, he did not buy any prawns.

Sunshine fresh

Drying clothes.

My favorites are when they hang the shirts with the arms out like a scarecrow. Second favorite is the pajama type pants with one leg hanging down, kinda like they are really tired.

But the all time best of the best is the bra sized 32 AAA with a pair of bloomers an entire busload of Chinese could fit into.

Thank goodness I live in a better area, in the poorer neighborhoods they also hang their chicken out with the wash. Yes, that picture is from front yard.

At the bottom right is a caged area, one of the options, these are used as refrigerators and storage.

In our buildings I think 1% of the balconies are used for seating and plants.  I wipe down the balcony and the tables and chairs almost daily and they are filthy every time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The cleanest kitchen towels in China

The newest of the 3 washer/dryer units

Big Daddy is not as bad as I sometimes portray him. He does understand that I can take him out in a heartbeat and he likes it here at "The home momma made". So he made getting the appliance issue finished his weekend goal.

This is our third and perhaps final washer/dryer unit of the year. At least of the weekend.

Our kitchen towels have been washed 5 times, you know, testing the fucking washing machine.

The interim unit that was with us overnight did not dry. We paid 9 dollars for the manual to find this information.

The Chinese did not see a problem with this as they believe that sunlight is necessary to sterilize the filthy rags they tend to wear. They hang their clothes in their apartments where the sunlight can sterilize them. They move them frequently to follow the sun.

As there is seldom sun here, I find this entire routine baffling. Why do you put your freshly washed clothes out in the smoggy pollution?  Whatever, it is their damn country and raggedy ass clothes.

This new unit washed and dried our kitchen towels and they were actually warm when we fetched them from the unit. This was under 2 hours. We are now trying pants.

What a Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair

One time when life was good Big Daddy sang me the entire score for movies. Yes, that was before he quit drinking. South Pacific and Oklahoma were his favorites. When he gave up drinking he seems to have given up singing.

Today I almost sang the lyrics from my unpublished musical "Watch out for the cement on the way off the Balcony". It is a Barbara Streisand, spelling please, type number, really huge and a lot of brass backing up the vocals.

If he survives it would be followed up with Shes Gone , by Hall and Oates. 

There are never any problems according to Big Daddy.

Because you know this is all my fault, I did not communicate the problems properly.

We have had a "sign language" since shit went down the toilet. Picture yourself standing with you arms up at your sides with your elbows bent. Kind of a W if you include your head in the picture. Then shake your hands right and left as if you are going mad. That is the signal that I am at my maximum for bullshit.

The hand signal also means, I am done, do not cross this line, do not proceed forward.

So as Big Daddy just does not get it, let me put it in writing, read it and weep sweetest. Because we are no longer in conversation mode.

When I tell you the worst piece of shit washer/dryer unit in Shanghai does not work properly, it means this machine does not work. It does not mean that the few times you half-ass use it and don't think the soapsuds on the floor are a big deal, it is not a big deal. It does not mean that when you half -ass do laundry it is okay, because you refuse to listen when I say I have to rewash the clothes 3 or 4 times after you leave on your travels.

And yes, I understand that you have never heard me complain about this issue. I am convinced you need your ears cleaned on the streets by the ear cleaning people.

So, yes Shemp came up tonight after my screaming fit and agreed the unit needs something, who knows what that fix may be. This is one of those things you just wait and see. Shemp had quite a bit to say, however it was all in Chinese.

Stuff I have not mentioned recently:

When we got home last night the key cards to the apartment where shut off again.

The butter at the hotel is no longer packets of  New Zealand butter, it is now "really yellow" in a flower shape, I think Chinese butter. I do not eat Chinese dairy products, that is just asking for problems. Remember this when I am on the IV Drip at the doctor's office next time.

A doctor called me on the way home, he was doing follow-up as I am a seriously ill patient (thankfully I did not know this) and the big question is when do I go back to the states. Since my insurance is lousy there I do not think that makes a dent in the big picture.

The best of the best, of course is the little problem of the escalator not working at the train station in Ning Hai, you have to carry your bags up and down 3 sets of  steep marble stairs. I bitched that the suppliers should come help us with the bags, and guess what, they did. They came and got BD's bags. I have noticed that BD is the hero and I am the concubine wanna-be trailing behind. The thing that pisses me off is BD just leaves me behind to struggle on my own.

If, and that is a big if, I ever travel with Mr. Important again I think I will just sit on my bags and wait and see if the asshole notices I am not in the car.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Driving Miss Daisy to drink

Chocolate Santa, Amay's Christmas present.

Yesterday was a roller coaster ride. Boredom followed by sheer fright.

The ride home to Shanghai did not commence until 4:30 PM. I sat in the lounge from check-out at 2 until about 4, taking very tiny sips of my wine. This was because I was monitoring liquids as I knew peeing on the way home was not an option. It is a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive. We made one stop, for roasted corn on the cob and truck stop Christmas presents for Frenchey's family. He bought his wife a phony handbag from a truck stop in east lower hell.

The driver was a crazy man who has obviously never worked in automotive as he assumed all his equipment was far, far beyond 6 Sigma. The highlight of the trip was when we were drafting 2 huge trucks, we were straddling the white line and flashing our lights. The trucks parted like the Red Sea and we quickly scooted between them. We only used the lights once in a while, no one uses lights full time here, only when they feel the need.

When we got to Pudong Airport the car had barely stopped before Big Daddy snagged a taxi, this is kinda illegal for them to pick up at that spot, and we were on our way home in a flash. It seemed like the shortest ride ever and the driver was the best ever. He got a huge tip. He seemed sad and tired and I thought, well God blessed us with this driver and him with the easy and lucrative fare. So I gave him the Christmas tip hoping that maybe he would have at least an easier night and something nice for the weekend.

I was complaining to Tony at the hotel about the train ticket problem. He is so strange. He agreed with me and then asked if I knew about the train accident. And he said it as if that explained everything. I am thinking what, you make it harder to get tickets when the train crashes, for what purpose? Further conversation mentioned there were some really recent government inspections on this line and maybe they were not in compliance with the regulations. Tony said it should get better next year.

BD had another job interview Thursday morning, 5 AM China time. But the company is going into holiday shutdown so there will be no feedback until next year.

Punkin Head, you two stay safe and drive carefully. Love you both. Sorry I missed
your call.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, volume 82

The good is well, lets start with the ugly. It is Christmas and I think we should save the best for last.

The Ugly, these people are the stupidest asshats on the planets, in my humble opinion. I have not met every asshat, but of the asshats I have met they rank first. You used to could get a train ticket a week in advance. Then they changed it to 5 days in advance. Then 3 days. Now it seems to be whenever the bitch wants to sell the tickets, well it is her call. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe never. This is why I need to move home. Because at some point I am gonna blow. Sell me the ticket or don't sell me the ticket, just make up your fucking idiot mind. And this is not a white person thing, they do it to the locals too. The land of the high speed trains cannot sell tickets. I think we need to get Piers on this shit.

The supplier is driving us all back to Shanghai tomorrow as none of us can get train tickets. We all know this expense is going to go into the final bill from the supplier for this job, so the low cost country is not going to be low cost pretty soon.

That is okay, the China Daily-my fave for news-says China is going to teach Africa how to plant and harvest cotton. I recall a recent post where I told you that China is going to invent a machine to harvest cotton. Is this full circle or should I just drink more.

The Bad, remember the really important white guy from the dinner last night? He lives in this hotel. And he wanted to take us to dinner, thanks to BD for getting us out of that one. He is a pretentious-let us just say he is not my type. Hell to the no. And all the while he has 3 little Chinese girls fawning on him every minute while he is explaining they are all MBA's from China's most famous universities?

The Good, well when we walked inside the hotel, there was the tree. They light the tree at 4PM and we were a bit early for that so I was just checking out the lobby. Mr. Concierge came over and started chatting. I had to explain to him about the reindeer. That they were Santa's reindeer. That he got them in Lappland. I almost sent him to Badger's Blog, then I thought that might be cruel. Santa, reindeer, Badger talking about hiding in a reindeer carcass. No, I could not do that. 

Then I had to explain the presents. This guy was serious, how do the presents get there. Have you ever tried to explain Santa to someone about 30 years old? Yea, I did the whole nine yards, the cookies and the milk and the how when you are about 7 or 8 you know this is bullshit.

There is picture of Santa in the lobby and no one knew it was Santa.  I taught Santa. WTF.

If we are still here in the spring you can bet your ass I will have Easter Bunny books.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Big Dinner

Centerpiece at the head table.

It was different. Big Daddy said it was toned down from typical Chinese dinners. This was for the economic development of the area and indeed put on by local government. There were some important people and interesting information. Enough said about that. Speeches were not too long. First in Chinese and then in English.

We sat at the head table, our table had 16 seats and the other 3 tables 10 seats. Our supplier picked us up and escorted us to the party. He was not invited. There was assigned seating and we were next to a very important white guy who was next to the head dude. That and one other lower than us German guy made up the westerners.

The table settings were a compromise with western flatware and chopsticks and nuts and sauces across the top. There was a small wine glass with a dribble of red wine, an empty goblet and a glass of crazy wine.

My crazy wine.

The empty goblet was for your drink. Big Daddy got his Coke and I asked for red wine as the white important dude was drinking it. They bring it in a small carafe. The reason for the dribble in the glass soon became apparent. They toast with it and then drain the glass. Therefore only a sip. No one drank the crazy wine and the staff took them away while serving dinner. After the speech the movers and shakers went to each guest and said hello and gave each of us his business card. Then during dinner you take your wine glass and carafe and toast each person and make small talk. And then when you get happier you go around and chat some more and by this time you use whatever carafe is handy. No one got more than happy. Very happy maybe.

The Lazy Susan was around 7 feet across and glass.

Smokes on the Whirley Bird.

The food was very good, mostly sea food and duck. BD was careful about he put on my plate. Did not know what most of it was. Ate some soup that was good and it turns out it was shark's fin, who knew. They did bring some items on individual plates and individual plates of fruit at the end.

The end was the best, just when you wonder when it will end, everyone stands up and toasts and the head dude says the party is over. Woohoo, no guessing when you can sneak out.

Funny of the day: BD pokes me on the train and tells me the Chinese girl is taking pictures of herself with phony glasses on. I try not to stare as it is rude, but really, this chick had red and black plastic frames with no lenses. And she is admiring herself with the camera and snapping pictures. WTF.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Random Snippets once again

Working really hard to stay healthy for the big dinner. Sometimes it is harder to stabilize so I am really watching what I eat and when.

Just finished John Sanford's Shock Wave with Virgil Flowers. Love those books. This one was great.

As soon as the floors dry I need to pick out clothes and pack for the trip. Then a nice long bath. I don't know why I need to be so clean when I travel here, it is always filthy and disgusting.

Big Daddy seems to think a couple things could happen at the dinner. Maybe a banquet or maybe other customers from our supplier. Neither of us believe the gubmint is paying, they never do, so it will be interesting.

The demise of the N Korean leader is all over CNN, this will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Oh yea, I heard Sophie won on Survivor. Come on there is not much to watch and do here, it is just mind candy for passing the time. Anyway, what is it with these people? You could tell who was a loser and who was dangerous and they all just ignored the signs. Can't see the forest for the trees or just plain stupid ass people?

I found 2 new Blogs that look interesting, one is total snark (wish I could be her she is hilarious) and one that seems to follow architecture and furnishings, I will let you know if they are great.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Whirley Bird dinners

I have been told everything here is a 2000 year tradition. In reading the history of this country that is not possible, but then again neither is Santa Claus. This is the dinner tradition.

The Whirley Bird dinner is a very intense way to entertain customers. I have no knowledge of their personal celebrations.

The Chinese style restaurants have private rooms where the dinner is served. In the middle of the table is a huge Lazy Susan. The host orders for the table and they bring out the dinner in stages. Not sure about the stages. All the dishes are communal and everyone sticks their chop sticks in to get their own food. These are the same chop sticks you eat with. They do not follow the Japanese style of eating from one end and serving from the other end of the chop sticks. They serve rice at the end of the meal. Plain rice. Then fruit.

They also serve very, very weak tea, hot water and crazy wine. Crazy wine is like (and may be) sickly moonshine. My bottle, which I would never consider drinking, has some floaters in it and smells terrible. I know this because it leaked. They fill the crazy wine glasses and slam the drink continuously throughout the dinner. The goal is to get very drunk. They have a toast they holler out and slam the drink. And they toast everyone all night.

I know this stuff from Big Daddy. And he has never met with the gubmint (yes, I am spelling it that way for a reason) so this dinner may be a tad different. I will try for some pictures, I really do not know the protocol for this area. BD did tell me to order a Coke, fill up the glass and take tiny sips to keep it full, when a glass has room they pour in the crazy wine.

So you can see why a Wasp with a weak stomach and no adventure in her soul was hoping to miss this highlight. I feel a BLT on wheat toast is an abomination. 

The name Whirley Bird came from an event in the past. Some friends well  known as cheaper than cheap asked some of us to help them move. They said they would order pizza and furnish drinks. Well we all busted ass moving them and when we were tired, dirty and hungry they put a bag of potato chips on the Lazy Susan. You had to twirl the Lazy Susan to reach in and get your chips and that baby never stopped whirling. And the hosts decided that we did not need pizza, the chips were enough. Maybe I should write an entire post about these people, they were unbelievable.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

There is such a thing as too popular

Another first, the "gubmint" peoples want to take us to dinner for Christmas and New Year. Not sure whose New Year. There is no way you can turn down this kinda shit. The guy that is assigned as the messengar is really nice and we can't make him look bad.

And there is one of you out there that knows this is gonna be whirley bird dinner. I was so certain I could get out of here with no whirley birds. I am also certain there is a protocol for sitting and don't have a clue and I am not drinking the crazy wine. And Big Daddy does not drink. This should be interesting.

Shit, are we supposed to take these fucks gifts?

Well at least I have a place to wear the 999 Roses.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looks good to me

Counter top looks fine.

5 hours including lunch and quite a few Chinese conversations with "counter top" Shemp and we are done. I guess. No idea on how long til I can use it, yes I asked Shemp and he told me, just not in English. He is making a phone call however. I don't know to whom.

3 conversation included the need for me to cover the appliances, including the leaky coffee maker. Finally I caught on and got a towel from the bathroom. Shemp was happy. Then we moved the stuff out and I scattered it about the apartment. This was because the electric sander made quite a mess. Shemp never let go of his sander, he took it to lunch. A man and his tools, he probably had to sign out for it.

Well the kitchen window is wide open, not sure why and I am waiting to see when the ayis show up to clean this mess. Then maybe I can clean the kitchen to white people standards and maybe have lunch. Or dinner as this is already past lunchtime.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another chapter in the counter top saga

I am now quite sure this is phony granite.

Phony granite amazes me as it is more expensive than real granite here. The 2 foot hunk of whatever material it is came loose. It was not really heavy but quite awkward to deal with. I had no place to put it and I did not want it to fall and break, especially on my feet.

On closer inspection it also appears it has been repaired in the past. Hmm, how many Shemps have vaulted up on this sink I wonder.

So I sent Big Daddy up to the Concierge with the broken hunk of counter top. Sean seemed amazed that we did not want to keep in a place of honor in the apartment. I have an appointment at 9 AM Wednesday for whatever they are going to do. BD also told Sean that in order to save me throwing cell phones down the toilet, and avoiding a toilet repair, he need to get the ayis under control. And get them to change the towels properly.

In the couple years we have been here we are seeing a pattern. There is some rule that all monies owed to workers somehow has to be paid in full in coordination of the Chinese New Year. This is when people typically quit or change jobs. Huge turnover and this year it is around January 23 I think. As it is nearly impossible to fire someone here employees can get away with practically anything.

My long awaited package from Punkin Head arrived and had to be picked up at the Post Office. It contained my new AMEX and I was getting concerned about the card. It also contained 2 birthday cards and some movies from The Ladies collection. Last night we watched Fried Green Tomatoes, I love that movie.

This is gonna get ugly

I am hopeful I have not lost my sense of humor. I seem to be a bit cranky. Big Daddy is pissing me off, he is taking the stupid pills again. Yes, we have them in America too, men don't take them regularly, just when they need to feel stupid. Yesterday as I was getting a gallon of oil on my toenails and then having them wrapped in plastic film he asked if I wanted to stroll down to the bakery. Then he told me we had new movies, which we don't have. Then he washed kitchen towels this morning instead of last night. Kitchen towels take 4 to 5 hours in the machine. He is on thin ice here.

I am giving him a chance to redeem himself.

The Shemps did not appear for the kitchen counter top repair. I waited for the ayi invasion before I got pissed. Actually the ayis pissed me off. First they dropped everything in the hall. It sounded like all hell broke loose. Then they started shouting at each other. Then they started talking on the phones. Well, when the one ayi got a call in the kitchen and I could hear the caller, I did have to say something. I was nice, I did not swear and scream, I just told her no phone. That will be on BD's list of things to do, ask the manager if he pays the ayis to clean or talk on the phone. I mean really, they get out of hand and you have to say something. They have brought their children when they clean. They have brought husbands and boyfriends, and brothers. Not any more.

Maybe I should have titled this the bitch is back.

So anyway, I called BD and asked him to inquire about the counter top with the management. He talked to Sean. Sean and Brian are the managers and I can't remember which is the big boss. Sean then called me. It seems the counter top cannot be repaired for a few days. They don't know when. They don't have the right shit to fix the counter top. He suggested that I just sit in the apartment and wait for them to show up. I suggested he fuck himself. He suggested that waiting was a great idea. I suggested we get the leasing company involved and then I told him he had given me a Chinese headache. As we were quite far apart in our negotiations I ended the call.

So now BD is in charge of saving the day, my sanity, and Sean's hide. And maybe that ayi's cell phone as I may flush it down the toilet the next time I have to hear that bullshit.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shemp returns

The spot of ledge on which Shemp hunched down to fix the heating unit. That is our kitchen window. Pic taken from the back balcony.

Well I am pretty sure we have heat. Shemp was gone when we returned from our mani and pedi experience. And shortly thereafter an ayi arrived to mop. And she emptied a waste can. Actually she did quite a bit which only means this is worse than I think it is. And she discovered the tub that does not drain and is making a phone call. Woohoo.

The worst part of the entire mess was Shemp once again refused the step stool and used his own methods of getting out the window onto the ledge. That involved vaulting onto the sink and counter. Which resulted in the one piece granite counter breaking/cracking in 2 places. Which of course made the sink dicey. You know, staying in place.

Well the Shemps are supposed to replace the counter top tomorrow while the ayis are doing their regular cleaning. This may require stronger drink than my wine. Or more wine than I have.

Well they just left and I pressed some special tea on the ayi, she acted like she did not want to take it but I persisted and she relented. She did a damn fine job. Tub is now draining properly.

Toes are pretty and Big Daddy is ready to tackle the kitchen with his well massaged hands and arms.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Out and About

I finally left the apartment on Saturday to get my hair done. No problems and the hair looks good. Stress makes it worse and worrying if you are going to have an episode is stressful. I almost froze to death though. It was mid-forties and felt like 30 degrees. That would be F not C.

We ended up coming back home to get my full length fur before the afternoon. I have never worn that fur when the temps were above freezing. Everyone seems to think the humidity makes it feel colder. And here when there is cold there is wind.

We just wandered around and I found a new throw blanket for 3 dollars. When we got home I made Big Daddy throw it in the washer as we found it in rather dodgy conditions. Came out fine.

Shemp came last night for the no heat problem. I am sure this will become a huge issue as the first thing they did was to offer us another apartment. Then Shemp called his buddy. 2 Shemps do not make a quorum. This morning Shemp came back and is sitting out on this tiny ledge tearing apart the heating unit. I can't get a picture, I will improvise later.

BD did get Shemp to fix the chain on the front door. When we were leaving the apartment about 6 months ago he opened the door with the chain connected and it broke. As he used no extra force I was not worried about the safety factor, so I never rushed to get it repaired.

This afternoon I have a pedicure and I need to get ready, and I have no heat here. Hmm, could be interesting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Well I bucked up and investigated one of the medications I was not familiar with, Dicetel. I also found quite a bit of information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and there is more information available than I found a few years ago. Dicetel does not seem too bad when you weigh the symptoms against the "what may happen". When I was a child they had me on phenobarbital and Donnatal, I was so upset when they put our poodle on the same meds for seizures. Then a 10 or so years ago Bentyl, which did nothing. The next was I think Velnorm which I am positive almost killed me.

The only problem with the Dicetel so far is you are supposed to take it with food and I just cannot eat right now. A piece of cheese is about it, and I don't think that is enough. Or perhaps it is my phobia about taking pills. I just hate it. Yuck. And it always scares me when they say you should not take the pills lying down. First, who could? Don't you have to sit up to drink the water? Second, what is the problem, does this shit need gravity to work?

There were a lot of stories on one site of people's experiences with IBS and I have to admit, I did laugh my ass off. It is a terrible disease and very hard to control, but when it is not you, it is hilarious what people go through to hide it. Or what happens when they can't.

I know stress makes mine worse. And eating properly is different for everyone but the main key seems to be eating smaller portions more often. And that is my failure here, access to what I can eat and eating too much when I actually see real food. I have to learn to be satisfied by small portions of nothing with a treat once in a while.

The food poisoning seems to have run its course, so now it is just getting back on track. I wish I could get real yogurt here, and real whole wheat bread.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Home Maintenance

Big Daddy left for Ning Hai and I can't blame him.

I need to call Shemp and frankly I am not up to it. The tub is not draining properly and the knob to turn on the sprayer is not working properly. I have to use my Leatherman to use it. Same knob problem in the shower and I am not using the Leatherman in the shower. And something is not right with the washer/dryer machine. It does not want to do the fake drying cycle.

I would say I am 50% better. Doctor said it was very serious so I must be at medium now. I forgot the instructions on one medicine and I need to look it up on the Internet as everything except the name is in Chinese. This is always a bad idea for me, I get diseases from just hearing about them, you know the hypochondria thing. Could call the doctor but that ordeal is as frustrating as getting Piers off the air, just never works.

That reminds me, someone left a comment on the last Blog about recycling and Green credits. When I was working I was called to a meeting at Plant Loco to give them all the information on how we recycled our product and where did we send it. I told them a corn field. It was a non-recycle item. Those idiots had stored 3 years of this crap and claimed credits on their recycling efforts. Just another example of my tax dollars down the shitter.

I apologize for the content here, just not up to breezy chit chat.

Oh yea, I am reading James Patterson and unknown writer's The Christmas Wedding. Almost at the end and it is starting to feel like a Nicholas Sparks book. WTF. Has anyone heard of James Lee Burke? I need a new author.

More gifts for me

Our free Christmas tree, we sprang for the twinkle lights at 3 bucks a pop.

If you order from Mealbay, a restaurant delivery service, on Christmas tree Saturday you get a free tree with ornaments. A full meter of holiday cheer.

I also got food poisoning, at least that is what the doctor thinks at this point. Yes, I ended up back at the doctor's office for another go-round with the IV treatment and a shot in the hiney. The good news is that bright red blood is better than dark ucky blood. I now have enough medication to start my own store. And a thermometer. They are hard to find here.

I also have a new doctor. My old one must have escaped because the new one did not know who he was. She has only been here 2 weeks so she must be his replacement. She also recommended Gatorade for severe dehydration and a gluten free diet for the IBS. I asked her very politely in non Nola Rice language if she had lost her fucking mind. Where in the hell does she think I can find that stuff in China. She laughed and agreed. She did tell me to lay off the ginger ale. But when you are that sick, there is nothing like ginger ale, just wished it could have been Vernor's.

So momma is having a very quiet week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Now this is a Christmas tree

Lobby at the Howard Johnson Hotel

On his last trip to Ning Hai Big Daddy took some books and movies for the guys at the tool shop. Their favorites were the movie 127 Days and a funny book on a guy's travel through China. I could not watch the movie and it gave BD nightmares. Nan had been looking for it for some time. He and Jason were fighting over who got to read the book first. Nan actually lived in Germany for a few years and Jason has traveled quite a bit, so they are both aware China is very odd to visitors.

Forgot to ask Punkin Head this morning if he got my email about a book I am looking for, These Entertaining People, it is from the 60's and written by Florence Pritchett Smith. She was the wife of the Ambassador to Cuba during the evacuation. Sounded very interesting in a review.

Funny of the day, I asked BD to bring home some shampoo as I had run out. He said he would call down to bring some up. Huh, BD's hair length is measured thousandths it is so short, what happened to the shampoo? He took a bubble bath with it. I gotta get him out of here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The quest for coffee

Hello Kitty home appliances, Chinese love Hello Kitty

I have finally convinced Big Daddy we need a new coffee maker. He did take the hint and he took it apart and did something to the shut-off valve but it leaked a few days later. Finally I had to put my cute little foot down and just tell him, this is fucking ridiculous. These cheap piece of shit machines only last a year and that is the truth of it. My coffee maker at home cost around 400 dollars and it goes for maintenance once a year.

So last night we traipsed over to the local appliance store to look at coffeemakers, they had one. It was a regular, small, electric drip pot. Nope, I can do just as well with the French press models. Now we have to go to the big ball building, they are the other place that has electronics and appliances. It is a huge mall type place and I don't think we can get as good a deal there. Coffee makers are difficult to find here and why coffee is so expensive I believe, they don't drink it very often. Oh, Starbucks is packed but you can buy tea there and those coffee's are all flavored and fancied, not just good coffee.

The reason I let Big Daddy buy all the appliances, or let him think he does, is because he just adores the research and getting the best deal. That and the blue car. We were getting a new car one year and he came home and said it was all worked out, there were 2 cars available, pick which color I liked. One was black sapphire and one was dark auburn. Well, I hate blue. So you can guess which one I brought home. He was aghast! Didn't I look at the brochures he brought home? Well, yes I had and I thought that it was odd to bring them home. I guess I did not listen to how passionately he had described the black sapphire, however in the sunlight it was blue. I heard about that damn car for years. Until he brought me the 18 karat gold, handmade necklace from Italy set with sky blue topaz. Which I immediately loaned to my mother, who loves blue.

And I have rarely set foot on a car lot again. New rules, you buy the shit you want and I will use it, drive it or give it away if it is blue. It has worked out quite well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

O Tannenbaum

Thought I would cheer myself up so I went down to soak up the warmth and beauty of our lobby Christmas Tree. It has been up for a few weeks now. It is so much better than the raggedy ass piece of shit they had on the counter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Best Month Ever

Yes, it is indeed my copy of the The Help.

Thanksgiving dinner in front of the television.

When Big Daddy went out to do his shopping chores he found the movie, he is my hero.

We just could not do the phony Thanksgiving dinners, we got some foie gras last weekend, some fabulous cheese and just winged it. The foie gras will improve with experience in searing it but all in all, not bad. The trick is on how hot the pan must be-sear but not melt. The grilled fruit was great and the dinner was very satisfactory.

The movie was wonderful. I loved this book, and the movie did not veer too far off, the changes were fitting and I did not want to have her mama die again. The flavor and nuance of the south was huge, I felt like I used to walk those streets. I remember living in the south, near Memphis, when these things happened, it was truly a different world. We had a maid for little while, but I think she only came once in a while, and she babysat us. I remember how amazed she was that our poodle cost 100 dollars. And that dog was a bitch and the bane of my existence for years.

My mother refused to try to fit in with the ladies and it was always a trial, you can't be like them but must get along with them. My mother was from the north and took quite a different direction from "making your point" to just becoming scandalous, she made us swim in the public pool after it was integrated. We were the only white kids in the pool. And mother did not come with us, she was more of the make the shitball than throw the shitball person. She was too busy trying to save to world than to make our lives easy. Her world was a lady that did not know how to cook fish sticks. And mother never did convince her to use the stove.

Big Daddy is at his interview, for those keeping score he has turned down 2, one for less money than I used to make and one for location. It will happen when it happens.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Question Answered, Part 2

I was just checking my stats, I am still convinced that is all bullshit, and one of my popular posts was Sept. 20 of 2009. I described why Chinese woman wear ugly ass short nylon socks with sandals. It is so they do not get headaches.

WTF, I do not need antibiotics for my sinus headache, I need socks. Ok, wearing socks tonight and if I wake up headache free, well there ya go. Also, these socks cure backaches, this could be a win, win.

Will let y'all know if this works.

Qipu (Cheap) Road Clothing Market

Well, we have directions to this shopping mecca corrected by a high level executive's personal driver. They were corrected as the admin asked him if the directions were good enough to get us to the area. Thank you to the admin, she has done a lot of extra work for Big Daddy. She is the same admin who got me out of the Overstay office and also got my fine covered by the company.

So the information on Cheapo Lu says it is the typical nasty, filthy and loud shopping experience in the Chinese areas of the city. For the best quality you need to shop on the 3rd to 5th floors. You should also be there at 3 to 4 in the morning as that is when all the private shop owners swoop in to get the best items. This explains where all these odd little stores get their stock, they go and get what they can find and afford at Cheapo Lu, mark it up and hope for the best. This also explains why they so frequently go out of business. Gotta have a plan and just a bunch of cheap shit is not a business plan.

I remember one odd little store that had shoes, great shoes, they were all womens size 40. Now I wear a European 38, I have one of the biggest pair of feet in China and this bastard (the owner) was yelling at me a price of almost 150 U.S. dollars. I guess he was stressed out and thought I was a stupid Laowai that would pay way too much money for shoes that were too big. Why would he buy all those shoes that maybe 3 people in China would want? He probably got them for a Cheapo Lu price at 3 in the morning.

So it looks like we are going to Cheapo Lu tomorrow. Not a 3 in the morning. And I think our next stop should be the fabric market, where the tailors are.

By the way, all better now except for a funky headache when I wake up. If that does not clear up soon I may have to dip into the antibiotics. It could just be a sinus irritation from the swell environment we live in. I could go to the doctor, but if that involves an X-ray for a sinus infection, I will take my chances with my own stash of medicine. Because that means another trip to the hospital. You cannot just call your doctor and get a script here, what a pain in the ass.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feeling slightly human

This is one of the pretty white rugs I just had to have, I apologize for not making the bed.

I remember wanting a rug like this when I was a teenager, don't know much about it but I love it. I have 2, used to have 3 until Big Daddy ruined one. Don't ask because even I don't know. He somehow zero's in on certain things that will not survive and the rug I put in the guest room was a target.

When I first came to China our apartment was a sparse wasteland with no warmth. And no forks and spoons. BD got some cheap flatware and then we went to Ikea. I had never been to Ikea before, and have never been back. We got some throw things, throw pillows, rugs and blankets. Not full size blankets, those throw ones you keep on the end of the bed or the chair or the couch.

Well, not quite 2 years later you could see through the one throw blanket. Everything here is zone heating or cooling so you always need a throw. Guess I wore that one out. I wanted a nice silk one but they are extremely expensive and then I found out about a town a short train ride away where everyone buys their silk. I have not been there yet, but I cannot spend money on something in Shanghai that I know is overpriced.

Recently at the Howard Johnson in Ning Hai I could not regulate the heat/air and I was really in jet lag mode. The room finally got cold versus warm and clammy and I remembered a blanket in the closet. It was a huge down, fluffy, king size blanket. I snuggled in and had a great nap. That is when I remembered I still needed a great blanket for the apartment. The see-through blanket was not enough. I think it is a U.S. thing, you gotta have a great blanket.

Squishy blanket

So on my birthday weekend as we were wandering on (phonetic spelling) Wa Hi Lu I remembered the bedding store on Raijun Road that I had wanted to go into for 2 years. It was fascinating. It seems to be a medium to higher end Chinese store with limited stock. They tried like hell to help me find a blanket. It was hilarious, especially when they showed me the really big towels. I was pantomiming watching television with a blanket. So this is the blanket we ended up with, and I got to see all the prices on the other stuff. When I go back to the stall across the street with the rugs I can check out the blanket prices and quality now. Good deal.

The blanket cost as much as 2 rugs. I am not sure if I got ripped off or not, but I think so. But it was the only blanket I could find in Shanghai after 2 years that was not a piece of shit. I could have gone to Hermes and purchased a cashmere blanket, but you know, I would have to pay duty on that when I move home. And Hermes is cheaper in the U.S. And I don't care for Hermes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This one is for Punkin Head

Punkin Head Skyped me, he was worried about us. I hadn't Blogged in a few days.

Well, one reason is we are depressed. Big Daddy's boss has become a huge asshole, and when you are a short timer that is hard to take.

The weather has been abysmal and when it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, that sucks too.

Sunday morning we went to the doctor for prescription refills. That took forever as these are the most incompetent people in the world. The doctor took about 7 minutes for us both, we went in together, and then we had to go to the in-house pharmacy. Then paying. These people print more paper for bullshit than can be believed.

Next we went to Starbucks so I could get some coffee to use for my cookbook experiments. No de-caf. So we meandered downstairs to the city shop for odds and ends and got coffee there. But it is the same Lille coffee and the City Shop ground it and I do not think it is right.

Now we were off to the hospital for our flu shots. You cannot get those at the doctor's office, you have to go to the hospital. And fill out all the forms again and get more paper printouts.

After dinner last night I was freezing, shivering cold. But it was 74 degrees in the apartment. Yep, I got the throwback flu from the shot. Ran a fever all night, tossed and turned, nightmares and a huge headache. Just before I went to bed I somehow found the LSU/Ole Miss game on the sports channel. LSU took Ole Miss to the cleaners, it was embarrassing to watch, I think the final score was 52-3. So I had football nightmares all night.

I am hopeful this week will be better. Big Daddy is in Ning Hai and returns tomorrow evening. He has Thursday and Friday off so we can pretend to have Thanksgiving. And Friday is no longer an all fun day as he has a job interview at Pudong Airport at 1PM. It is a good thing he put in for vacation those 2 days.

I did get the latest Vanity Fair at the City Shop and the movie sellers are now saying they think they can get The Help in early December. As I never heard from Ron Howard on getting an advanced copy, this could be the plan.

Gotta take some more Advil and go back to bed. Oh, I forgot to tell you about my new blanket, maybe tomorrow if I feel like a human.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Herding Cats, or Why My Wife is Not Crazy

For a week or so I have been hiding, complaining, and acting bizarre. I have been hearing cats. Meow, meow. I have been shutting the kitchen door at night as if this was going to keep the legion of cats from attacking me. 

It seems this was a good idea.

There was a massive herd of cats loosed into our buildings. Into the stairwells. They were monitored, by the government.

Their job, to catch the mice and rats.

They were government cats. They were highly trained cats. They were sent on their cat missions by uniformed government officials. No shit, I can't make this shit up. Hang on, this gets really better.

They found the enemy. The cats, found the enemy. Not in my building thank goodness. It is about 100 yards from my building. That would be about 91 and 1 half meters for the non Americans. Or as Big Daddy says half a furlong.

When we lived in Grosse Pointe one day on his way home one day BD witnessed the Titty bar on Michigan Avenue knocked down by bulldozers. There where thousands of rats escaping across the street. He said it was the most bizarre sight he has ever seen, rats, rats, everywhere and not a cat in sight. He said they covered a half a furlong in thirty seconds. In heavy traffic.

So I am quite sure the rats will not reach my apartment.  Because the government sent in fighter cats. Chinese fighting cats. Each government person carried in a fighter cat in each arm. These are not the discovery cats, they are the fighter cats.

 They also put out notices that no one should allow their children to play in the stairways as Ratazide has been applied.

So, the next time I tell someone I hear or see weird shit, I don't think anyone should just poo poo what I say.

Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today

Now that was a chant meant to get some attention. That was a purist protest by people that actually had some skin in the game.

I remember reading years later how LBJ's daughter went to sleep listening to that chant.

That is getting your message across. On TV every night protesting a war that sent boys required to register for the draft to go to some far a way place and do your duty. Or whatever the corrupt military, at that time, commanded you to do. I don't know how bad the corruption was,  I was not there. But I have talked to too many people that were there, that shit really makes some of the movies seem tame.

Then we had Kent State. That turned out really badly. I actually wrote a letter to President Nixon and I got a response. Yes, it was in crayon as I am still quite young, and yes the response was boilerplate. But I complained to the President and I got a response. Funny thing, not one person in my family noticed, questioned or asked to look a letter from the president, but that is another story.

So I am befuddled about the Occupy protests. What is the purpose? I get they are pissed about the Wall Streeters not suffering during the recession. How is sleeping in a tent making the Wall Streeters uncomfortable in their 1500 thread count linens on their excellent mattresses?

But sleeping in a tent with your generator is not making me feel the desperation of your message. What are these people trying to present to us all that will cause some sort of change? How can they justify the damage to the environment with the generators? How can they explain how they can afford the generators and the fuel? What exactly is it that they want?

The 60 and early 70's

People ignored the sit-ins, not a real message. People took notice of the Black Panthers, they had a huge and visible message. You may not have liked it, but you could not ignore it. UAW riots, decades earlier, those sent a message. Marching in the south for Civil Rights, message sent. Opponents sent some messages back on that one, but the point is, we all knew the message.

Occupy Whatever, not getting a clear message.

Now if the complaint is about how law and policy caused you to suffer, there is a remedy for that. It requires gathering signitures to  recall your legislators, sitting in their offices until they respond to your questions. And maybe if we want to just take a little bit of history and make it work in today, get tough with the lobbyists. The lobbyists do not sleep in the park.

Nixon resigned, LBJ declined to run for another term and someone decided to get rid of the draft. I do not think all those protests were worthless. I do think all of us had a mission. Change.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unpainted Toenails

There will be no picture as I view unpainted toenails unacceptable for public viewing.

I considered drawing a picture but as Leonardo and I seem to have more than 6 degrees of separation that could take weeks.

Shit, first we need to get the latest The Help update out of the way. Punkin Head actually went looking and The Lady inquired for me, I believe a at Barnes & Noble. Nope, it is definitely December for release. As much as I have bitched about this I think Opie should just send me the movie in honor of his daughter, one of the stars of the film. Yea, like that is gonna happen. I would even donate money to his cause, whatever that is, just to get the damn movie.

I have also solved part one of the getting a job mission. I really am wishing I can find something not in automotive. That is a crazy world and I do not think I can do that again, and for probably a lot less money than they used to pay. I am used to sleeping all night and not talking to asshats at 11 PM. Also, since the government gave them some of my tax dollars I feel I have a right to tell them when they are out of line.

So to address part one, I am writing a cookbook. Just because I hate cooking and kitchens and preparing food is not a good reason not to write a book about cooking. I took over Big Daddy's Blog, previously called "Big Daddy Can Cook" now called, The Best Cookbook ever for Really Stupid People. I think it will be a success. I left his old recipes on it, there were only 2, they were good (stolen other people's recipes) and I may want to try them someday. I am currently working on a recipe for making coffee. If you check it out I must say Susan Spicer's recipe for Garlic Soup is the best.

Now, let us address unpainted toenails. These are usually toenails that have rarely if ever been seen by a professional. I do admit I have an odd fascination with toenails. Can't explain that, just do. Toenails should never be shown in public without polish. Professional type polishing. No one wants to look at nasty, dirty, jagged toenails with unkempt cuticles. Cuticle care is as important to pretty feet as perfect polish. Gleaming soft skin, silken cuticles and shiny perfect polished nails, that makes a foot worthy of being seen. Anything less is an affront to good manners. Anyone with a whit of sense can learn to do a proper pedicure, there is no excuse for bare toenails in public.

People without the good sense to polish their toes can wear oxfords and boots. Which of course means men should never be seen with visible toenails unless they are standing in sand. Period. Maybe on a boat, if they learned to properly care for their feet. Or they get regular pedicures, with buffing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alice Waters is on CNN preaching about organic farming

Smack me in the head. She thinks that putting buffalo shit on vegetables in China is something that is world shattering?

These are the people that just decided, yes my source is once again The China Daily, there are not enough peasants to pick cotton by hand. They are going to invent a cotton picking machine. Yep, you heard me, they are gonna automate. Cotton Picking.

International Harvester needs to re-think their name.

Blog Protocol

999 roses

First let us just get the daily The Help update out of the way. It comes out on DVD at Amazon on December 6. It is around 30 US dollars. Now if I order this I will have to have Punkin Head overnight the movie to me and we all know it will become available in China the day after he ships it out. GRR. And we somehow are out of sync with books. Every book is on pre-order, I am sure because they are salivating over Christmas sales since they must not make shit on the electronic books. Just a little tear running down my cheek, I really miss bookstores with books in English. Although I am sure there are other Americans missing that also, no doubt the former Borders employees.

So on to this Blogging protocol question. And yes, I have way to much time on my hands.

People put shit out on the Internet for whatever reason and people read it for whatever reason. I get that part. Some people live really interesting lives or are really good at fabricating one. Some people are funny, some are good writers, and some share a common interest. I love the crossword puzzle Blogs.

But there are some people that put themselves out there as "look at me" aren't I doing a marvelous thing? This is mostly, but not entirely,  the fashion and cooking Blogs. This is my new outfit, this is how I cooked a roast, could any number of strangers please tell me how to purchase a car, underpants and mascara type people.

When you read the comments on these Blogs, everyone always tells the writer how wonderful they look, how fabulous they are, how they wished they could own those shoes. What the fuck is up with that? Then they beg on their sites that you send them more readers. Huh.

So my question is, would it be so horrible to tell some of these people the truth? If you are going to post outfits posing for pictures,  maybe you should iron the clothes first. If your gums are the first thing people see, change your lipstick or take a page from Victoria Beckham and quit smiling. If your recipe is stolen from a movie that made the cake a parody, do not fucking post it as this is a great cake. And I do not even want to discuss unpainted toenails today, it is too large of a subject.

I only post a comment when I have something to say, which is not all time. But I never criticize other people. I also do not blow smoke up their ass.

I guess I just answered my own question. These people really do believe they are doing something great and really do not want constructive criticism. They do not understand why they do not have enough followers or clicks for whatever monetary goal they have set for themselves. It is all about the money and they are not willing to invest a bit of money to make the money they think they deserve. Bingo.

Tomorrow, either unpainted toenails, a search for a job, or whatever other stupid shit pops into my head.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Turkey Day

Big Daddy spilled his guts and informed me he has 7 vacation days left. Wow, of course that is because he just found out this year the lying and thieving Chinese forgot to tell him he had 2 work days when he got home leave. They pay for your tickets, so they have to say 2 days of your trip are work related.

Anyhoo, he is taking off Thanksgiving like a real white person. That is what the Chinese call us, white people, when they are being kind. So we are investigating where to go for Thanksgiving dinner. The prices are totally outrageous and all include what I am pretty sure is a glass of crappy wine.

The cheapest so far seems to be The Roosevelt which is supposed to be the most beautiful and expensive place to get a steak. As dried out turkey and cheap wine is probably served everywhere, I think the most beautiful and historic place is the right way to go. But we are not sure where it is.

First off, even China admits the maps are not the most accurate. And since mostly no one can read a map it is not really a priority to fix this problem. I was pretty sure I knew where it was, and then BD finds this map on the Internet that shows somewhere completely different. And the website is so out of date, well who knows where the fuck this place is. And, blast it all, it is not shown on my scarf.

Investigation is in order here, but first I have to go see if anyone has The Help.

Just an aside, as I regularly rip any movie I see, watched Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson and it was not bad. It actually had a plot I have not seen before.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why does evil exist

Because we all allow it.

I have a personal investment in the recent stories of people that were beaten by belts and taken advantage of when they should have been in a safe place and ignored by the people that should have taken care of these issues. Yes, I have had a welt or two. And I have been made to touch a penis that should not have been bandied about.

It is very easy to ignore these stories, it is even easier to pretend it is not your own story. When it was important I believed someone who told me I would be ostracized if I told the truth. Guess what, I kept the secret and I am still ostracized. When the abuser has control, well what did you think the outcome would be?

What is more horrible to deal with, this mess in your own family, it is to deny that this ever happens in good and decent families. Everyone wants to believe they have a normal and decent family.

Every time I see and hear this on television I am forced to remember things I would really prefer to forget.  I was told in so many words and many ways  that I was never not allowed to talk about this. I had to keep the biggest secret. That is a very hard secret to keep.

I wondered why I was supposed to pretend this never happened. And now I wonder why all the others that this happened to are now expected to stand up and say yes, this is what that bad person did to me.

When no one ever stood up for them.

Okay, maybe in the past those adults did not have the tools, or the guts, or the common sense to stand up and say, no. Still does not make it right.

Adults are not supposed to use children as toys, they are also not supposed to use them as objects of anger, and adults are also not supposed to cover up the terror and horror that children experience at the hands of monsters. Sorry to say, it is true, these people are monsters, been there, seen it, first hand.

Every person that covers up and ignores this type of abuse has more to answer for than mere mortals can ask of them.  God Bless all our souls.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Warning to Humankind

I am fairly certain, almost positive, that women continue to have PMS after menopause. As a quality professional I have looked at the data:

*The need to smack the shit out of random strangers continues to manifest itself.
*The need to smack the living shit out of people you kinda know continues to manifest itself.
*The desire to throw random shit off the balcony in a rage, rears it's ugly head off and on.

The only thing missing is the intense desire for very good chocolate. I know this because I have very good chocolate in the cupboard and have no desire to consume it with a very good red wine. Although I must admit I do not have a very good red wine on hand.

So here is the deal. I cannot watch my television shows on my computer. Maybe this is because China is pissed off that the Wee Wee fella is getting donations to pay off his tax bill. Maybe this is because everything in China occasionally sucks. Maybe this is because all the fucking money that I pay to make sure I can watch the television is a waste of money. Whatever. It pisses me off.

So then, this morning the Ayi's of the day come to clean/make the apartment more dirty this morning, late as usual, and they piss me off. There was a breaking bulletin on CNN on the Penn State situation and these bints (new Australian word of the day) are hollering at each other. In my fucking apartment. I did contain myself for the moment.

Now I cannot get the computer television to work properly and I am mad I did not beat the shit out of the Ayis earlier for pissing me off. That is how PMS really works. It does not make sense, it just is. Wow, maybe this is really a Public Service Announcement.

Big Daddy flew out this morning to Shenzhen, but he went to the wrong city. He was supposed to go to the one next door that starts with a G and ends with a zhou. So everyone is in a tizzy on how to get him where he is supposed to be. (I would have just kicked someone) Well, BD refused to take the bus and the supplier figured it all out. They found a driver and the dude would meet him at the airport with a sign with his picture on it. Huh, where the fuck would they have gotten this picture?

Skype. They took his picture off Skype. No one in the entire world except me and Punkin Head could identify that picture. But there it was for BD to look for and find his way to the bowels of hell.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Too many J's

Just fucked up.

Michael Jackson's lawyer is guilty of manslaughter, well you could kinda figure this one out. You don't put people out, aka, for surgery type shit, in their bedroom.  For big money I guess some people would. But come on, for minimum wage couldn't you have hired a nurses aide to holler at you when he quit breathing? Just cheap.

Joe Frazier died. Just sad. A legend, smokin Joe.

Joe Paterno is in some deep shit. You know this shit started when he was rumored to be pushing his son for his spot. Why did not someone step in and say, Joe, if your son is that good he will get his time in the sun. Just stupid.

Just throw shit until it sticks, Herman Cain. Who knows what really happened? But if it takes finding a pretty blond to go on TV and say he put his hand up her dress, well how hard is that.

Cain just seems to be the next in a long line of not gonna make it Republicans. Michelle, I am just an idiot. Perry, I just can't act like a normal person.  Romney, I am just a person who wants to be the President really, really bad. Newt, just can't go there. Ron Paul, just can't get any respect.

Just so we are straight, the smartest thing Obama ever did was make Hillary his Sec of State, not that she is great at that, just because she can't run against him now.

Eight years of Hillary would be better than four years of Obama, just sayin.

Monday, November 7, 2011

One of the best birthdays ever.

Silk Scarf , map of Shanghai

I made Big Daddy soup on Friday so he was Mr. Happy all weekend. That man loves his soup.

I will start with the most exciting and finish with the WTF.

Punkin Head called and wished me a happy day. That boy makes me happy. Last year he sent a card but we never gave him the new address when we moved.

Big Daddy gave me a beautiful hand made shawl with 999 roses sewn on, this signifies everlasting and enduring love and devotion. The color of the roses means his only love forever. So if I die he cannot give it to wife number 2. And because it was my birthday and we have spent a bunch of money there the shawl store gave me a silk scarf with a map of Shanghai on it.

Amay gave me a beautiful silk scarf in my favorite colors, purple and green.

After a nice walk I got a taxi and surprised BD by going to Kapps for dinner. He loves that place and we both had excellent steaks. First steaks since we have been back in China.

Sunday we went for a walk and ended up grabbing a taxi to the Italian restaurant on Maoming. BD has wanted to go there for awhile and have pizza. Their pizza is just like the ones he had in Torino, and last night the special was truffle pizza. He was over the moon.

When I got my hair done Saturday Anna gave me a free deep conditioner for my birthday. It is the one where they wrap up your head and put under a bonnet that ties you down and then a bunch of steam comes off your head for 20 minutes. Gotta say my hair looked great.

Oh yes, others remembered my special day too, Sephora sent me an email with a free gift (did not open the email yet) Delta Airlines sent me a Birthday Greeting and a discount code just in case I want to spend a bunch of money with them before December 31, and my old radio station in Detroit emailed me a have a happy day. Wow.

Seriously, I had a great weekend, drama free. Except for one little thing. We stopped at the video store and no they do not have The Help movie. They tried to show BD the new movies and he told them is not buying anything until they get The Help. They were sad, we do spend some kwai with them. Then we were walking past Mr. Woody's and what do see, a poster for The Help. Mr. Woody does not have the movie The Help, he has the poster. Yes, yes, we have the poster now. WTF. BD went on the Internet looking for movie here in Shanghai, they sent him to my blog.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just a taste of the Good Wishes I received

Email sent from the crew at the Ning Hai Howard Johnson.

Gotta love your fans.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I am 50% on Birthday presents

Hand carved plaque I bought in Qiantong, fish and flowers, I am water in Feng Shui talk and need wood in my surroundings. Seemed a perfect match to me.

Birthdays are very emotional for me, we don't need to get into that hot mess, but they seem to go really well or really badly. My countdown started early this year as my birthday is the 5th.

First gift received this week was a lovely bottle of wine from the Howard Johnson in Ning Hai. Of course they did hedge a bit and said it was also to make up for the fact that they woke Big Daddy up at 2AM and tried to get him to change rooms. So, the wine is 50% mine. My second gift was refused. Not by me, but as I received 1 of 2 still at 50% but now the math is getting harder and I have never been good at math.

Big Daddy has been telling his supplier he is very sad for over a week. This is because it is the only way to communicate to them that they are the worst piece of shit ever. He then draws tears on his face and refuses to go to dinner with them. Entertaining really escalates when the job is in the squat toilet.

When Big Daddy left Ning Hai yesterday the supplier tried to give him a bottle of wine for my birthday. Unfortunately the wine was accompanied by hand rolled cigars for BD. So yep, he turned them down. I told him I admired his integrity and they probably gave the loot to the Frenchy. Frenchy called today and said that he had heard how sad BD was and whatever he did worked because the tool shop was busting ass.

Funny of the day: At the train station BD heard someone calling his name. He said it was a little Chinese lady, very young. She told him she worked at the Howard Johnson and was very excited that she could tell everyone at work that she had seen him at the train station. I guess we are popular.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We are all good now

I fixed the "Did It Work" post and you can now click on the link and go right to the album and the captions show up. I fear in the future some will grumble "I wish she never figured that Picasa out". Don't worry, it was dumb luck and I doubt I will be inundating the Internet with enough photos to choke anyone. That is not a bad way to post photos, I think when I started using Picasa the Internet was on the fritz here and I could not stay connected long enough to stay interested. Thank you Badger for the reminders.

I found out some curious information today regarding my quest for the movie, The Help. Big Daddy found some magazine and brought it home from Ning Hai. The magazine had an article on how often you should clean your nose. I have a weak stomach and cannot discuss the nose cleaning nor BD's fascination with the Chinese ability to perform miracle mucus discharge and phlegm feats, however I found an article on new shit happening in Shanghai and there it was, a description of the movie, The Help. This is when I checked the date of the magazine and discovered it was 2 months old. I also discovered we missed the stage play "Kiss Me Kate". I am thinking that might have been a Chinese sanctioned movie and actually sold here at retail, which would explain why no pirates have it. Bad news, we don't know of any retail DVD establishments in Shanghai. I might have to order this one from Amazon. And find a current magazine, I have never seen this one before.

As the fall brings a new crop of expats, we have at least one here at the Hotel, BD called for flowers Monday and when he went down to the lobby there was a laowai trying to steal our flowers. Offering huge sums of money for our Bird of Paradise flowers. The flower lady held firm to her refusal and Bd was the good guy and told him the arrangement on how to get flowers. I swear, there are days that the flowers are the only thing that make my life a happy one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Did it work, NO, it seems I mucked it up pretty badly.

I think I need help here. If you click on the pictures it seems you can do the slide show. This is not what I wanted. Sorry. Guess Picasa and I are not real friendly at this moment.

Just click on one of the pics.

Did it work?

Not sure about this, think this is a test blog.

Does anyone see pictures?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Qiantong Ancient City

This is a typical passageway throughout the town.

This trip was great, it was only about 15 minutes from the hotel by car. It appears that Ning Hai is in a valley surrounded by some large mountains. Reminds me of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  The city was founded near the end of the Song Dynasty by the Tong family and over 760 years later the Tongs still live there. The city was laid out so every household had front door access to water from the Baiyi River. This is also the area where the Song Dynasty launched their navy. Enough history.

I did find it amazing that people are still living there in much the same way for over 760 years. They are still still using the water stream to wash their food, prepare meals and wash their clothes on the rocks. These people have to have very strong constitutions as this water is from a Chinese river. I don't think you can boil every germ away. I have no information on their sewage system.

This guy was preparing a duck for dinner while chatting with his friends. Those are the steps to his door.

I actually have quite a few good pictures so I am trying to put together a Picasa album. I am not good at that kind of stuff. Until I figure that out I will post a picture here and there. The mountain pictures did not come out very well, it was too foggy.

In the if it can happen-it will column, Big Daddy had a job interview with a Mexican company Wednesday night that went from 10:30 until midnight. The call was on a toll free number set up by the company. So the hotel charged us 560 kwai for the toll free call. The taxi driver on the ride back to our apartment was crappy so I was a bit on edge all the way back. We entered the complex from the back and this guard sent us into the underground garage before I knew what was happening. Now the taxi dude is asking me which way to go and I am telling him, "How the fuck should I know," and of course telling him to ask for directions. What a knucklehead.

Funny of the day: Amay saw the picture of the silk worms for dinner and ever she said Yuck. And her mother serves spicy dog meat.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Funny of the Day

As I have mentioned, some days I cannot force myself to go to breakfast. On those days Big Daddy brings something back to the room. This morning as BD was sauntering back to the elevator he was distracted by the guy screaming on his cell phone with noodles hanging from his chin. The little elevator clerk (her job is to punch the up/down button) was running after BD and calling, "Mr. David, Mr. David." That is not BD's name, that is what she has always called him. "You forgot Missy" she told him. BD was looking around for me I guess, when the clerk told him, "Missy is hungry." He had forgotten to get me any food.

It pays to be popular. And Missy is not my name, she called me by my real name. I guess it is better than the other hotel that called him Mr. Damn-it.

Hate to be an I Told You So

Big Daddy's boss went back to work with the soft cast and got bumped. Will wonders never cease.

Toyota Sienna was ranked as crap in one of the latest surveys I read, Toyota good-Sienna bad.

French whore-dog's girlfriend is being picked up at 4 PM.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shocking news

This may shock some of my readers, okay one of you 2, but I do not like change, adventure, or groups of people.

Well the French ass-hat casually informed Big Daddy that he is no longer working weekends as the company from hell will no longer pay him for overtime. We, thanks to this arrogant cretin, are stuck in Ning Hai as there is no way out at the last minute.

I decided that instead of pouting I would plan a little trip. I was sober and drug free when I did this. Saturday afternoon we are being driven by someone, perhaps the hotel driver or his cousin, that does not speak any English, to Qiantong Ancient Town. It is very old and good to take pictures, per the hotel manager. It will cost 500 kwai for the ride. When we arrive we will buy tickets and go on a walking tour. We have to pay for the drivers ticket, 3 tickets for 40 kwai each. The driver will show us the good stuff.

The manager also told me that everyone is the hotel really likes me and I am very popular.  Now this scares the piss out of me. I have never been popular with the mainstream.

We have started a new trend, when we finish books here we leave them with the staff. I told Daisy I had another book for her this morning and she mis-understood, she thought I wanted the old books back. Well, as it turns out the entire staff reads the books, passing them about and enjoying being able to read in English. The guys are reading chick lit. Most of the better books find a home in Shanghai. Well, that is gonna change, the guy who picked us up also reads so more books and the DVD's we have watched are now going to Ning Hai. Once in a great while you do get to see how you may have touched another person's life.

Off to Amazon for more books, biggest extravagance here.

A Change of Seasons

I love it when the seasons change. The air has a crisp feel, there are bonfires dotting the landscape. People wear cozy sweaters and scarves. And when it hits the 60's here in China, the furs come out. Fur everywhere including boots.

At home it would cider and pumpkin everything. Here in China we also have seasonal foods.

 And you thought these little buggers were only good for making silk.

And ta-da the long awaited Spicy Dog Meat.

All these delectable delights with background music, the Chinese version of Karma Chameleon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Short Update

Big Daddy's boss was told not to return to work for 7 days, he is in a soft cast and any jostle could cause the probably sewn up right tendons to be broken again. Gotta wonder if he will go for the time off or chance no use of his hand in the future. He is an odd duck, so who knows.

Going back to Ning Hai tomorrow to finish the job with the Frenchy. 2 co-horts are also going and BD has informed everyone he is not their teacher, coach, manager, mentor, trainer or ass wiper. This should be fun.

BD had a huge interview last night and has noted that now that he has the global creds everyone asks the same questions. How do you find it working with the French/Germans? And they both think the other is the hard to deal with personality.

I remember when I worked with them they had one thing in common: denial. Once the Germans had the worst quality record in the world and no one could understand as they only had 1 problem. When I investigated they had responded, in writing for 18 months, that they had no problem. The French just answered once, verbally, that they had no seen no problems and ignored the situation. They did not seem to admire each other, but they both really disliked us, the ugly Americans. Especially when we fixed the problems, go figure.

Off to pack and attempt pretty, or at least semi-superstar status, I have a rep to maintain.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things I learned in China this week

Where to begin? Astounding or automobiles? Astounding wins.

The cost of emergency tendon surgery (right hand/wrist area) and 2 day stay in the hospital in Ning Bo is 4500 RMB, this included his meds to take home. Around 600 USD. Don't get excited, it was Big Daddy's boss. The reasons they can keep the cost so low is so simple. Number 1, they only use local anesthetics. This is the second time we have heard of this. The first was a friend with kidney surgery.  Number 2, they have no food or water available for anyone. This was confirmed by all the patients in their personal pajamas and casts walking out to the street to buy the food and water. You want personal attention, you hire someone to stay with you. This is the person that buys your food and water if you are not able to stumble to the street. Besides the meds the instructions were to eat pigeon soup and do not eat any oranges.

I scared another toddler. When we were all smashed into the elevator at the hospital all the Chinese peeps were laughing at the hysterical child. Child was pointing at me and shrieking. Our driver confirmed it was me that scared the little darling. It has got to be the light blond hair, a color never seen on the Chinese head no matter how much bleach they use. Although I did notice some people are giving up the orange tresses for bright grape.

Our train tickets were messed up (clerk kept making mistakes and reprinting and BD was so flummoxed he forgot to check the dates on the final tickets) and we had to seek alternate transportation home. One supplier in Ning Hai drove us to the hospital in Ning Bo where a different supplier drove all of us on to Shanghai. We drove over the longest bridge in the world, a fact disputed by Louisiana. It must have been low tide because the bay looked like mud flats to me. There were huge boats that looked abandoned in the mud. But it was really foggy there so who knows. 

The China Daily had an article today on how clean and safe the taxis are and how inspection is rigorously enforced. The taxi to the train station lacked bolts in front passenger seat, I know this as I bumped back and forth the entire ride. The taxi to the other train station had no lock to secure the trunk lid. This was only a problem if the unsecured can of gasoline had fallen out. I did not know any of this until we reached the train station. Oh, and we could not get a foppia as the machine thingy did not work. I think I need a chat with the hotel on their taxi fellows.

The Toyota Sienna, our second ride, was a huge disappoint. The interior fits and finishes were pitiful, V-gaps, bad parting lines, trim to headliner gaps. At 110 kpm's the IP exhibited an annoying BSR, it seemed to come from the center stack. At 140 kpm the shimmy from drive train made it feel as if we were going to launch sideways at any moment.  Also minimal storage, I swear the Jeep Commander had more room.

By the way, still cannot get the movie, The Help. We got SJP's new movie, "Don't Know How She Does It" (should have been a Lifetime Channel movie of the week) Hangover part 2, Midnight in Paris, and Horrible Bosses. Need to go back to see Mr. Woody.