Mark Gordy (markp)

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The Birds Are Dying And I Have An Invisible Force Field

Oh, I forgot to mention. I've been told by my boss that I need to buy a special surgical mask that keeps out 95% of the germs floating around in the air, and if there is an outbreak anywhere near Beijing, I will have to teach English in it. Sounds fun. Many people around the city have already started wearing these masks, and soon it will be a city full of assassins--blank faces everywhere.

November 17, 2005 at 10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Birds Are Dying And I Have An Invisible Force Field

Thanks, Phil. Highly informative. Interesting times, indeed. Better stock up on the antibiotic Tamiflu.

Of course, I'm living near the petri dish for infectious diseases, so I guess the probabliity is quite a bit higher for me, especially since I take this same subway trip five times a week.

As for my 155 lb frame, Chinese food seems to be much more healthy than American food, and I do a hell of a lot of walking and bike riding here. I'm sure when I return I will gain some serious weight. Frankly, I have a long list of restaurants to visit when I return and Wendy's is definitely included on that list. Free State is currently number one on the list.

November 17, 2005 at 9:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wa

I used to work there, but I'm also a sushi connoisseur, having eaten it in at least five different countries around the world, including Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. I would definitely say that WA ranks up there with the best of them, which is an amazing feat considering it is in Kansas. As far as creativity and presentation goes, I have not been to a better sushi restaurant...and they have most of the classics as well. I know that the service is sometimes good and sometimes bad, but take it from me, in this tiny little restaurant it is very difficult to be a perfect server, especially when the restaurant is packed full of hungry people. In a perfect world, WA would be in a room the size of Tellers, but we take what we can get. I should also mention that WA is the favorite dining stop for many of the famous rockstars passing through Lawrence on tour.

Long live Mr. Shin and his talented family!!!

November 10, 2005 at 9:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Couch, Not Cootch, dammit.

I sat next to an attractive girl on a plane one time, but when she told me about how much she loved N'Sync, it totally turned me off. Usually, I'm stuck sitting by people who snore right in my ear (thank God for the ipod), or between gossiping grandmas who chatter away the entire bloody flight.

October 19, 2005 at 10:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Couch, Not Cootch, dammit.

I sat next to an attractive girl on a plane one time, but when she told me about how much she loved N'Sync, it totally turned me off. Usually, I'm stuck sitting by people who snore right in my ear (thank God for the ipod), or between gossiping grandma's who chatter away the entire bloody flight.

October 19, 2005 at 10:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tidbits Part II (Halloween Edition)

It was five months yesterday. Will you be living in Beijing?

October 19, 2005 at 6:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tidbits from the Media

Originally, I thought the same thing when I first saw the headline, but I think you may be right about the propriety and manners. It seems that most everyone here is very well mannered (aside from the constant spitting and inordinate amount of pushing and shoving to get a seat in a subway car, of course). There is a social aspect in everyday relationships called "face", and the importance of "saving face", which is somewhat hard to explain and maybe I should right a blog about it sometime. Basically, "saving face" means never making a terrible social mistake or acting embarassed. It is often frustrating because when Chinese people are embarassed they will simply start laughing out loud or they will poke fun at another person in order to save face. This idea goes far deeper than I am explaining here, but maybe you get the general idea. Here's an example: I am sitting at a nice restaurant with two other people and we just happened to all order the same thing, only my dish comes twenty minutes later than the other two and only after bothering the server several times. They are finished eating and I am a bit angry because I am starving. It is obvious that the server made a mistake. The manager happens by our table and asks us how our meal tasted. I, of course, take this opportunity to complain, but instead of giving me a discount or a free drink, the manager is cracking up laughing and we're all sitting there staring at each other wondering what in the hell is this guy's problem. It simple though. The manager was embarassed and did not want us to see his embarassment, so he started laughing to save face. Kinda strange, I know, but that is how it works here. Keeping a strong social appearance is very important and good manners go along with that.

October 6, 2005 at 9:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

In a Taxi on Baiyi Road

Yeah, I wasn't really expecting a lot of comments on this one. Sometimes you just gotta write what's on your mind before you can move on the other things.

I've spent so much time writing and re-writing crap about hurricanes and typhoons when all along this was what I was supposed to be writing about because I couldn't get that damn image out of my head (I'm really glad my mom missed it). It felt good to write it.

Anyway, no, Mr. Quinn, there are not a lot of guns in China, which is one of the reasons this occurence was so shocking. I would have expected something like this in the US, maybe, because there are guns everywhere, but they're really strict about their ban on guns here. I do see a lot of submachine guns, but they are always in the hands of the red guard (the good guys...I think).

I find all these totally unexpected things that happen in China, as well as all the completely contradictory events that I have accidentally witnessed, to be absolutely fascinating. I am going to start passing along some great little tidbits of news from some of their newspapers over the next couple of weeks to illustrate this.

Also, I have talked in depth with one of my Chinese teaching assistants about crime in China because it is on the rise, and he told me that Chinese society in general is quite confused because of the sudden shift in thought from community and politics to economics. Obviously with such a quickly growing economy there's going to be a certain percent of the population that are alienated and therefore turn to crime.

I've read a few articles on the rise of Mafia style gangs in China, as well, but I want to write more on that later, so I will shut up now.

September 22, 2005 at 10:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Community

to your mileage:

I respect your comment because it is a valid opinion, but...

A. You DID read the blog and no one forced you to do it.

B. Some people, believe it or not, ARE interested in other cultures.

C. I do not write for you.

August 9, 2005 at 9 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Bargaining Power of the A-Bomb

I hate to say it because i used to tell my next door neighbor that my dad could easily stomp his dad into the ground when i was a kid, but it's no longer about who would kick who's ass because if we ever had to find that out most of us would cease to exist. The real concern is never allowing that to happen. The North Korean issue and more importantly the Taiwan issue are potential problems between the US and China. How can we steer clear of future conflict over these problems?

July 29, 2005 at 7:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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