Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Random post about music

I hope to go to 台北 (Taipei) tomorrow if I get a chance, so I may be gone a bit.

Anyway, this was a great quote about Taiwanese music taste with hip-hop:

"It never ceases to amaze us how the Taiwanese clubbers don’t get sick of hearing the same 30 songs over and over again. The DJs after him played the same tracks he did and they all went insane like they had not heard them 30 minutes earlier. The same Hip Hop tracks could be played 4 times a night (and often are) and the local clubbers go mental every time they hear them. It’s like having a 10 year-old sister listening to the Little Mermaid soundtrack on repeat." Source: http://www.grantstetski.com/index.php?pageid=6&articleid=3

I really love the quote, specifically the end. As any friend of mine knows, I love hip hop and prefer it in general to most music. That said, it does shock me that they really do go nuts for exactly the same song. I fully expect to hear Black Eyed Peas MORE than six times a night. This is usually because I show up early (I was trained in Boulder to go out at nine or ten, or even eight, so the fact that people don't go out until ludicrous hours like one in the morning still has not changed me). Therefore, I end up sticking around until things going and leave afterwards (most of this is trivial, since I started dating Rie, I have not clubbed much anyway).

Anyway, they will play the two latest BEP songs about two or three times each, and then have an older one for good measure. It is insane, even giving them the fact that they cannot understand the terrible lyrics, which is simply not justifiable.

The one thing that also ticks me, there are some great Chinese pop tracks. Not amazing, but they are surely better than BEP. Yet I do not think I have ever heard them at a club. They are super popular on MTV, yet they just don’t get play, ever song is either techno (for the DJ) or American Hip Hop (for the clubbers).

Monday, January 30, 2006

An English entry

This post is in English because I have a lot of time on my hands, and, well, f it. All Chinese life lasted maybe, six seconds. The fact is that my Chinese conversation is just not good enough to get by. My Spanish was ugly, but I could get around, if by no other tool than faking cognates. You can't fake anything here. If people commuted by writing things down, I think I would be okay, my reading is fine. But my speaking is just not good enough. It is not terrible, and I can converse, but there are too many times where things just fall apart.
Anyway, an odd topic inspired me to post: Jackie Chan.
I consider Jackie Chan the king of light hearted action films. Even his "gritty stuff" seemed very tame to me. I am now watching him in a really messed up flick. I just started watching, and he just watched all of his friends die in twos and threes before his very eyes. Afterwards he becomes a serious drunk. All of this is pretty visual and definitely kind of unnerving, largely because it is Jackie. I found myself in my coach going "Jackie!? Jackie!?"
I wanted to apply this to a larger topic of how it shows that we all have a different side, but, whatever. I want to get back to studying Chinese anyway.
For the Chinese posts, don't worry if you can't understand the Chinese posts, they are not only not interesting, they incredibly poorly written, and largely indecipherable (that has been largely fixed, but initially they were nonsense).
A piece of bad news, I am on hold at Columbia. Based on the people they have been letting in, I believe I will still get in, but this is disconcerting. What is good is that it has gotten me to look harder at NYU. Its location is really amazing. That said, there is something about the ivy league, some dark Jackie Chan sort of thing, that keeps me wanting to go to Columbia.
Part of the problem with NYU is I met a real idiot that went to NYU Law. I realize I could meet a real jerk from any of my schools, but that one really got me. Being that I can't really get to the schools to see them, its all pretty trivial. I mean, I am behind the veil of ignorance no matter what, guessing on rumor and vague impressions.
Also, my future is more colorful wondering about Rie and I. Rie is away for ten days, staying at her teacher's house, so I miss her a lot. Anyway, back to 中文的新聞.

Oh also, the Chinese ads for Google ads are WAY cooler in Chinese. For those of you not down with the Chinese, they are usually questions like who was the second man on the moon or what is the fastest bird. They are really cool. So I may have to make sure my entries are in Chinese just for the neat ads.

Also to note, after that a Jet Li from his WAY younger days came on. It was a comedy and kind of a romance, like most Jackie Chan films that hit America (but set in China). For someone who cares, weird stuff. I am sure I sound really silly to any real 功夫 fans, but I thought it was cool.

Monday, January 23, 2006

第二

我一寫完這篇文章,就睡覺。

我有時候討厭我自己的中文。我聽不出中文是一種語言。現在跟日文比起來日文難了很多。然而幾月不是這樣。

對大部份的外國人來說,說中國話比寫中國字容易。
如今我差不多看得懂難的新聞,可是說中文,我說得不那麼好。對我來說中國話很難。我常常沒聽到別人說話,可人們覺得我聽不懂,所以他們跟我說英文,可是他們的英文說得很爛。

不過寫中國子又難又煩。

我喜歡比起教英文我更喜歡學中文。雖然我喜歡教英文,可是我喜歡教高級的學生。七歲以下的小朋友讓我覺得很煩。我為什麼不喜歡教是因為我最好不要說英文。我只在這裡一年,就回美國。

我必須三,四個月內決定讀那所律師學校。我差一點決定不學法律。有時候我不知道怎麼決定。不知道怎麼我來這裡。

周杰倫的歌我聽過很多次,我在網路上找不到。可是,最後我的朋友給我送光碟。我對他的歌詞很有興趣。

Saturday, January 21, 2006

我開始中文生活

我不知道能不能,可是今天我開始兩個禮拜差不多沒有英文。 我要沒有上英文的課三個禮拜。所以,我要屬目想中文。 在摩西哥的時後,我試試看做一樣。

但是我需要你的幫芒。說中文的人,幾位喜歡看我的網誌。如果你看得懂我寫什麼,我有一挑戰給你,翻譯我寫什麼對英文。我的中文,我知道有很多問題,可是覺得看中文的人,能看的懂我的意思。 所以,如果你在學習英文,我想你在迴響翻我的意思。 然後,我可以改進你的英文。 況且,你可以告訴我幾個的問題。 我知道有大多,可是情告訴我幾個。

反正我很高興沒教英文兩個多禮拜。 有時候我愛教,可是平常不喜歡需要說英文。有時候對我的念不好。我希望用我的假學得好好兒。

現在緊張律師的學校。 很快應該發現可不可以進我的第一大學。 我也緊張不會用時間這裡真的學中文。 我想看的動報紙。 我希望看的動電師,可是我才可以學六個月。

我可以寫比教多,可是怕沒有人看的懂我的中文。 如果有人響應這個,我會再寫。

Monday, January 16, 2006

What God has been up to

In case you were wondering what the almighty has been up to, the answer is he is not watching football.

Indy's kicker Vanderjagt has said some stupid things, but this one goes at the top for me (from http://sports.esp n.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=260115011):

Vanderjagt slammed his helmet to the turf, obviously forgetting how fortunate he was to have had the chance.

"It's extreme disbelief," Vanderjagt said. "From the Polamalu interception reversal to Jerome's fumble, everything seemed to be lined up in our favor. I guess the Lord forgot about the football team.

I am no theologian, but I don't think the Lord forgets in the sense of how I lose my car keys. Rather, I think he forgets in a much more, shall we say, biblical sense, wandering in the desert sort of thing.

What I like about this is that for far too many times I have heard winners say, "this is because of the Lord." However, this is the first time where one of my favorite jokes actually happened. Where someone had the arrogance (or perhaps consistency of thought), to actually put the rap on the Supreme Being, right where it belongs.

The best part is the word "ignore," simply because I have this great image of God and Jesus sitting around watching CBS's presentation of figure skating or, say, golf. Jesus turns to God and says "Hey, dad, you know the football game is on?"

"I know, but I really just don't like that Indy team." Amen.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The one where I say Chauncey Billiups seven times

Again, apologies for grammar or typographical errors of the first rate:

I experienced school spirit today, which was definitely a taste of something different. I don't regret CU, I really don't. However, I find that people repeating sentences show a certain amount of disingenuousness.

I would never trade the friends that I have met at CU.

Also, I don't think I would really trade my dirt cheap (albeit paid for by my fantastic parents) education for a fantastically expensive one. The fact is that I have now put myself in a position where I can go to most law schools and have no debt to my name. If I went to a different school, I would, hopefully, have the same option but without the debt lingering above my head.

At CU I was always learning. Even if I slept in class, and then mastered hobbies at night, I think more times than not I was still improving myself, and that is all that counts.

But sometimes I wish that the name of my alma mater conjured up images of great academics, or at least say, excellent thespians (that sentence will draw a lot of Google hits from people who type their lisp). Yet in reality, it creates other images, and things like, say, consensual sex are definitely not in the top three.

Yet I experienced the oddest school pride moment, in possible the most vain manner. I was reading ESPN, and they said that one of the top two point-guards in the nation was "Chauncey Billups."

I actually read his name, and felt a bit different, and kept reading.

About a paragraph down I realized my brain, which is a funny gizmo, had taken note to return to that paragraph when I finished reading. This is often the case with articles, that I will somehow highlight a paragraph I want to read again if the article turns out to be interesting, yet usually this is a subconscious process.

Because I was aware of what happened, I decided to read the paragraph again and realized that the name "Chauncey Billups" had made me happy, if only for second.

The vanity of this baffles me. I did not play basketball at CU. I only attended one game in my four years there. And although I really did pull for the team, I only watched a handful of games.

Furthermore, "Chauncey Billups" went to CU at a completely different time from me.

But I have attached myself to my school. When the CU foundation calls me for the next couples of years, I expect to laugh. But I really do care about my school.

Perhaps I like "Chauncey Billups" because that is a name that is positive. Of what little I know about him, he is a good guy. He always seems nice. He is great at what he does. But most importantly, he is something I can picture from my school, and not feel bad.

A real discussion about whether school spirit is a good thing is a much deeper question than this blog cares to dabble in (I am writing this aside so that I don't end a sentence with a preposition, which I hate). That discussion would really be just a metaphor for Nationalism. So if you want a real discussion, read Mill or, you know, whatever.

Even a discussion that ends in the conclusion that Nationalism is good because it makes the masses enthusiastic, that does not help me not feel dumb for enjoying a moment of school glorification.

I am now applying for law schools and my allegiances flap in the wind. For a moment I was dabble with the idea of memorizing my school's position on big lists. For a moment I will think of the rebellious nature of my school. All of these discussions are far too arrogant and pointless for even the internet. Yet all of them make me feel kind of bad.

Kanye West and Slum Village, contemporaries of Mill, wrote that maybe they were, in fact, Selfish, but they would, indeed, like to love all of the world's ladies. Perhaps I want to do the same thing with law school.

But ultimately, I will pick a law school (actually, as it stands I don't even know if I have an option), and maybe KW and SV can come around and pick their ladies. Yet, this is the last few months where most law schools are created equal. This is the last few months where I won't subconsciously scan for the legal equivalent of "Chauncey Billups."

I also know that none of this really matters, don't I?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Overcompensation through length

A surprisingly large number of people check this blog. Since the new year began, sixty people saw the same thing that has been here far too long. I guess large, and surprising, is relative. But it surprised me.

Also cool people, like Ryan, are apparently checking it, so I should update.

First, bloggy stuff:

Jake's visit rocked hard. Jake came, and we had a great time. First with Rie's Japanese friend Yuka, and then with her Taiwanese friend Erica, we rocked out Taiwan. Jake miraculously crashed his bike within a minute of getting it, and again within a day of returning it. I find this impressive as I have had a larger bike, with once faulty brakes (which have since been fixed, so you can breath Mom, but there is funny story about my breaks completely not working), and I have only been in only one real bump of note.

Jake's first crash was humorous and best be left to him to tell. But his second was actually sort of beautiful. He was in the middle of the road and bailed his bike to avoid me, who was breaking hard to not hit another guy, who was breaking hard because he was trying to not another guy. Bailing, through my rear view mirror and me then turning (having stopped Mom, breath again), entailed Jake basically throwing his bike into the air.

Although I am not sure it really happened this way, I have this very music video image of Jake tossing his bike in the air like a doll and it crashing to the ground, while the traffic split apart around him.

His visit came with many more stories, but I don't have that kind of time right now.

Christmas day was very good, Jake made us wonderfully heart warming/clogging American food. Presents were abound, and lavish. I now have a calligraphy set up of a truly professional level. I am actually saving it for the next year, because you are supposed to do calligraphy for the new year.

New Year's day was great too. Eve was fine, we went to City Hall and watched a concert by a rather famous singer (Tainan did good as far as it goes). New Year's day, Rie and I made each other dinner. I made American food (read: Mexican) and she made Japanese food (read: Japanese). Both were really great and it was all very fun.

I might add a full analysis of 2 0 0 5 if I get a chance. Being that it may go down as one of the most influential of my life, I figure that might be for the best.

Teaching English is fine, but a touch frustrating. I don't like that I have a big swatch of my day devoted to English, which I feel I pretty safely have down. Mind you, there was no doubt a typo in that sentence, that just goes to show you that my English even includes advanced irony.

My class is great, I have a couple of problem kids, but nothing worth bitching about.

One thing about teaching English is this is a great start for both law and politics. In both cases, you have to create rules, somewhat arbitrarily. The fact is that the class could technically have no rules, but nothing would really be learnt. In society, we could have not rules, but, I feel, nothing would really get done.

So you make rules, but how far do you go. I had an anarchy my first couple of days teaching, where my punishments were random and smelt oddly of vigilantism. After that, I become dictatorial to a T. I had a constant system of checks and balances, everyone was either a good citizen or a bad one.

The next system was sort of a Marxist ideal Communism. I was subbing for a great teacher. The class ran so well I basically just pushed them around and watched.

The next system, which I did during summer school was anarchy again. I had no idea what I was doing.

My current system is a Democratic-Theocracy. We have occasional votes, far more than I picture other classes having (I like teaching them words like "abstain," I love that I get to build their vocabulary in any number of odd directions). That said, I often tell them to do things, and they listen (sometimes with pushing sometimes without). I say Theocracy because my punishments are rare if ever. I just don't punish well, but I threaten a good threaten. So I rain bluffs upon them.

Much like any good religion, the kids sort of fall in line because of some abstract notion of what will happen to them if they are bad. They fall into line really well actually. Most of my threats I will carry though if push really came to shove, but no kid has really dared to take it to that point.

Perhaps that is a failing as a teacher, but I don't think so. Really a teacher should punish only for their own comfort level. At least, that has been my sentiment. If you can handle an anarchy, and the kids still learn, do it. I can't stand it when they are excessively loud, so I occasionally crack down on that. However, me being far too loud does create some hypocrisy.

Chinese is still going great. My accent, as is my way, blows. Hating my accent in English probably does not help the situation. Tones are of course a huge problem of mine. I can say them individually, but in context they fall apart. I will deal eventually. My written Chinese is not bad, and my reading is pretty good considering. I love my new class and we are cranking away.

I enjoy the language a lot, and it has made English seem dirty and wrong to me. Its just too easy. It causes a distinct lack of blogging and coming online.

One weird thing about my job is that I don't have one for three weeks for Chinese New Year. I got a weird end of a circular stick, and will not be teaching for three weeks. This hopefully will have the biggest impact on my Chinese, as I plan on going twenty days without English (sans three hours a week of private classes I teach). This would then beat my previous record in Mexico. The problem is you can cheat in Spanish (Ummm "Yo...necesito...una.....umm....¿cell phono?" Its not so easy in Chinese "我。。。需要。。。一個。。。um。。。f。。k."

As you might imagine, this will have weird financial impact as well. Especially given most of my money goes to classes. But I am saving now, and I am picking up more hours after New Years. I am happy because these hours will be teaching advanced English (finally!). Which I enjoy WAY more.

Rie and I are doing great. Putting down here is not saying that she is of lesser significance, but rather of less intellectual fodder. Whereas my rocking Christmas comes with a story of Jake flipping motorcycles, Rie and I's relationship is just good. We have our fights, we deal. We have a weird situation here, and its panning out might be interesting, but it might be a touch not public enough to be put up here.

Taiwan is great, however it just feels like home. I have always believed that wherever I am is my home, and this is no exception. Outside of one wretchedly ill month in Mexico, I never feel like I am abroad, rather, all of my friends and family are abroad and I am chilling where I belong. Its why I like to travel so much.

The magic has worn off, especially now that I am not seeing it through Jake's eyes. But this place does not need magic to be good, its just a decent place. The food is fantastic and cheap, the traffic is bearable and at least interesting, the differences remain provocative. Its just a fine place. If I could lose my sore throat, we would be set.

Law school and New York has me really excited. I am definitely going to New York, the only question is what side of Central Park. I hope to hear from Columbia soon. Assuming good news, I will be on the North side of Central Park. Assuming bad news, the South side. Either way, not so bad. That said, I am still debating if anyone has any interesting insights in Columbia versus NYU for law school.

Either way, I should be in New York, which will make it the third time I have moved somewhere without having ever been there in four years.

Like everyone else weddings make me feel old but having and old elementary school friend's younger sister getting married has me feeling like I need to rust. Yeah I know I should get another three more of what I gots years wise, it is still weird.

That is enough off of the top of my head. I miss everyone, and will try to write more. This might become a Chinese blog for the bilingual readers out there.

Sorry this blog has become so, well, bloggy. I guess when I gave up being a writer, I gave it up real real hard. I think I will write something serious on here, I have a few ideas, if I get real high off life sometime soon. Also for the family, sorry about any grammar errors, I don't have the time to correct (I should be studying now as is).