Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Champagne Cabana => Topic started by: Escaped Lunatic on February 04, 2019, 01:31:34 AM

Title: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 04, 2019, 01:31:34 AM
I thought I'd create a thread downstairs so some of us can publicly share things that had been mostly in various upstairs threads about What's making me Happy, Sad, Rabid, Comatose, etc.  If you want to keep something out of the public eye, the upstairs threads are still there.  Otherwise, feel free to share it with everyone down here.


I'm having some shoulder issues.  Sadly, didn't have time for a full diagnosis before a 2 week trip out of China.  Worse, after 2 weeks of being super-careful, I had to grab my excessively heavy laptop bag with the wrong arm while putting it in an overhead bin for my flight back to China. ananananan ananananan ananananan

Managed to get to the hospital on Saturday.  They think it's a damaged tendon and set me up for an MRI.  Silly me.  I assumed I'd wander over to the Diagnostic Imaging area and wait until my name was called (or for the confused look, since my first name doesn't work in Chinese).  Instead, it turns out that MRIs usually need to be scheduled a week in advance.

The good news - with Spring Festival causing most of the population to leave Donnguan, I only had to wait until Sunday evening.  Bad news:  I will have to wait somewhat longer for a doctor to check the results.

So, ended up finding my way to MRI land (English labels were mixed between MR and MRI.  Some Chinese signs had the original name of the procedure NMR - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - a far too scary name for the audience in American hospitals) and waited for my appointment.  Only had to wait about an extra 20 minutes before I was shown in, pushed back on the table (catching my injured shoulder on some projection  ananananan), and had ear protection slapped onto my head.

Sadly, before I could react, the tech ran from the room as the table slid me into the narrow confines of the machine.  The goal is to stay as still as possible other than breathing.  I had a stray hair on one cheek that kept me constantly struggling not to reach up and brush it aside.  Also, the ear protection wasn't firmly seated and felt like it was going to fall off the whole time.  So, instead of tuning out and trying to sleep through the sounds of massive magnets probing the nuclei of my atoms, I spent the whole time inside desperately resisting the urge to get that hair off my cheek and to push the ear protectors on more firmly.  Subjective time inside - several months.  Objective time inside - about 18 minutes.

Now to wait for the doctors to come back from their holiday so I can see how good or bad the news is.
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 11, 2019, 03:10:36 AM
Scooter Girl dropped by.  For some reason, she decided she needed to firmly pat me on the shoulder (repeatedly).  She's never done that before.  Guess which shoulder she picked.  ananananan ananananan ananananan

It reminded me of the time a friend decided to pinch my cheeks (the only time in my life anyone's done that) - A couple of days after getting my wisdom teeth out.  ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan

Still waiting for the docs to get back and look at the MRIs.

Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 19, 2019, 06:23:19 AM
So much for a calm, quiet lunch.

Just as I was about to sit down to eat, my daughter noticed Stripy Emperor strolling by with something in his mouth.  It turned out to be a very dusty blob of lint.  I got rid of it, told him what a good cat he was for protecting us against such a dangerous object and sat down.

His majesty walked past, heading toward the balcony like he had something very important to do.  Something didn't quite seem right, so I put down my chopsticks to follow.

He was trying to get another blob of lint from under the washing machine.  As I was reaching out to grab it, I spotted something else - fur and a small tail. aoaoaoaoao

This happened once before, years ago when there wasn't a big, brave kitty cat to warn of the danger.

I grabbed Stripy Emperor and put him inside his palace.  My daughter decided the bedroom would be a better place, causing a delay.  Happily, my wife had a pair of disposable chopsticks in the kitchen.

I went back out.  The baby rat (yes, RAT!) was now out from under the washer.  I used the chopsticks to toss it off the balcony.  Then my daughter joined me in tilting the washing machine.  Another baby rat to toss.  Finally, my wife joined the effort and a third baby rat joined the others on the pavement below.

Now I'm left wondering - were they just hanging out on the floor tiles under the washer, or is there a nest up inside the guts of the washer, possibly containing a much larger quantity of rodents of assorted sizes?  Hopefully there will be time later today to tilt the washer far enough to see what's inside while using a mirror to keep my face away from the possibility of a very large and angry mother rat.
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 20, 2019, 01:51:42 AM
The day dragged on and I didn't have a chance to arrange a coordinated attack on the washer.  I deliberately kept the balcony door closed so his majesty wouldn't be trying to rip the washer apart by himself.

For reasons known only to her, my lovely wife opened the balcony door.  I told her she needed to watch Stripy Emperor's reaction.  She appeared to agree, then went into the kitchen to start cooking.  Then it happened.

I was nearly done at work and His Majesty strolled past.  Strangely, it sounded like he was wearing those very annoying squeaky shoes some people put on their toddlers.  Since Stripy Emperor was not wearing shoes, the only viable explanation was . . . unpleasant at best.  I followed him as quickly as I could while trying to not appear to be chasing him.  He got into the bedroom before I could intercept him and deposited a baby rat on the floor. aaaaaaaaaa

I felt very bad for not taking a moment to thank Stripy Emperor for his incredible hunting skills before safely securing him in his palace, but time was short and a mother rat might decide to come in looking for her baby at any moment.

Then I grabbed another set of disposable chopsticks, carried baby rat #4 to the balcony, and tossed it overboard.  Tilting the washer revealed 2 more which were quickly sent over the side.

Next, I got a mirror.  I saw one suspicious place, so we managed to get the washer on its side.  There didn't seem to be anything in the suspicious spot, but then my wife spotted a piece of cloth in a nearly inaccessible place near the top of the machine.  Extraction was successful and resulted in no rats attacking us.

Now I've got a "remove washer back panel and see what else is waiting inside" item on my to-do list.
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 25, 2019, 04:26:29 AM
I turned the screwdriver slowly and carefully so as not to disturb whatever lay in wait behind the back panel of the washer.  Once the last screw was out, I opened the panel the tiniest crack.

I had assumed any angry mother rat and perhaps a few other family members would be on the other side.  How terribly terribly wrong I was.  The panel was torn from my hands by the force of a rat volcano erupting as thousands of the vermin burst forth, each ripping away bits of my flesh.  As the smaller ones burrowed through my eyes and into my brain, my last thought was "How did so many rats fit into such a small space?"

Oh wait.  That's not what really happened.

After removing the last screw, I couldn't get the panel to release.  There must be some additional latch on the inside.  I'll have to get the washer on its side again.

In the meantime, I spotted an advertisement for an endoscope I can plug into a phone.  This would let me get a look in the otherwise inaccessible areas, hopefully without setting off a rat volcano. ahahahahah

I guess it's time to schedule a visit to the electronics market.


In other weekend news - finally got me, a doctor, and my MRI scan all in one room.  It's a single minor tear in a tendon.  For now, no surgery is required.  The doctor claims I've got a 50% chance of getting full functionality restored - but not before this year's Dragon Boat Races. ananananan ananananan ananananan
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Granny Mae on February 25, 2019, 10:14:21 PM
EL, keep us updated on your progress! Sorry to hear that the Dragon Boat Races might not be possible for you this year. alalalalal
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 01, 2019, 03:54:58 AM
There may be more bad news on the Dragon Boating front.  In a way, it's also good news.

There are plans to divert the street drainage away from the pond.  Since that's where many of the pipes empty, its easiest to drain the pond and build a tunnel under it to take the flow away for water treatment.

This should result in a nicer, cleaner pond. agagagagag

The BIG questions are:  When does this begin and when will it be finished?  If it begins too late or takes too long, there won't be any water in the pond during Dragon Boat season. amamamamam

In the meantime, I'm slowly regaining more range of pain-free motion in my right shoulder.
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Granny Mae on March 01, 2019, 09:49:42 PM
Good news about the shoulder EL! Keep us updated on what is happening with the Dragon Boat races. bfbfbfbfbf bjbjbjbjbj
Title: Re: Random Oddities
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 04, 2019, 09:25:21 AM
Evidently, they weren't bluffing about draining the pond.  The water level was down by half or more this morning.

My shoulder is slowly improving.  I'm told any serious paddling won't be an option this year, but I'm hoping to at least be able to take an oar for parading the boats on opening day - assuming there's any water in the pond by then.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 15, 2019, 01:51:59 AM
I walked into the kitchen this morning.  There was the most hideous and digusting smell.  It was like a pile of rats all died in a pool of decaying industrial waste. aaaaaaaaaa

It turned out that my wife had deliberately decided to let tofu rot make moldy tofu.  Why anyone would take a big brick of tasty tofu, chop it onto smaller cubes, and then turn it into a fetid pile of stench is a question that's beyond the range of modern science. kkkkkkkkkk

I wonder where I can buy a gas mask.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 03, 2019, 01:06:34 AM
March 29th, 2019.  A day that will go down in linguistic history.

I was chatting online with a Chinese friend.  Just as I ordered WeChat to translate a short sentence, I realized something shocking:

I COULD READ THE SENTENCE!

Even better, the translation that popped onto the screen supported my interpretation.

So, after all these years of barely speaking any Chinese and having a Chinese literacy level of about a dozen characters, I'm FINALLY making some progress.  I've been chewing my way through Duolingo.com's free Chinese lessons for about a month now, and am seeing some small, but noticeable improvements.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Granny Mae on April 03, 2019, 06:58:52 AM
Well done EL! I believe that if you choose to live in another Country, then you should speak the language. bjbjbjbjbj
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 04, 2019, 12:10:00 PM
That moment when wechat holds your payment service hostage unless you supply your phone number (which they already have), your passport number (which everyone already has), a PHOTOGRAPH of your passport, and then for the love of god a SELFIE, a freakin SELFIE! They want you to take a goddamned picture of yourself to go with all this other stuff.....

Illustrating my point that there are no RANDOM oddities in China. The oddity is purposeful. I wish to sign up for my unabomber cabin now.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 05, 2019, 02:09:29 AM
I finally got my WeChat pay activated - sadly, it didn't want to take my green card, but was happy to accept a bank account number.  Since then, I've gotten 10 rmb in it.

I'm guessing there's some magical threshold where it will want excessive amounts of proof that I'm really me.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 05, 2019, 04:32:16 AM
Naw, it's a one-off event associated with some new regulatory environment, and been happening across China for the last few weeks.

http://www.thatsmags.com/beijing/post/27250/you-may-be-asked-to-verify-wechat-pay-here-s-how-to-do-it

Prooooobably not targeting just foreigners, but it doesn't seem to be affecting too many Chinese.


Meat for the squalling baby panopticon, is what it really is. Large scale uploading of selfies linked electronically to uploaded id documents? What else is that but control items for widespread facial recog testing. And we're all kind enough to do it for the government. Thanks, China.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 08, 2019, 06:05:24 AM
The counter evidence to the theory that every activity of every person is being closely monitored is the lack of mass suicides due to boredom among the people doing the monitoring. ahahahahah

Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 08, 2019, 07:35:18 AM
technically, if someone really is watching all the time, that's just surveillance. A panopticon is a system where you aren't able to determine whether or not someone is watching but you modify your behaviour anyway because you know they could be. Networked databases are panopticon-by-proxy if they automatically retain surveillance data on the entire population and can be accessed later. That was the whole deal with Prism and Xkeyscore. They weren't databases, they were tools for accessing databases.

In social construction terms, free will is a lot like free speech, useless by itself but generative when coupled with critical filters. You have free speech so that eventually someone will produce novel good speech. You have free will so that eventually someone will build a social model that elevates practice beyond whatever current confines reduce the human condition. And you have universal surveillance so that nonsense like human development can be kept under wraps.

The current panotpicons-by-proxy are not universal surveillance. That comes when something or someone successfully automates whichever database tools come next.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 09, 2019, 12:50:35 AM
No matter how well automated it is, someone's going to be stuck watching hours and days (and then weeks and months) of utterly boring and irrelevant material in the hopes of seeing something interesting.

Despite my efforts to lead an exceptionally entertaining life, I pity anyone who might ever be assigned to check out everything I do.  I can barely imagine how boring it would be to check up on someone who had an ordinary office or factory job and went home to fall asleep in front of the TV every evening. ahahahahah
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 09, 2019, 10:36:14 AM
AI, my friend. AI. It won't be people looking over the databases, it'll be the algorithms.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 10, 2019, 05:02:38 AM
I suppose it's time to end the charade.  Everyone here, everyone in your hometown, and everyone you've ever met in China are all in on it.  Your every move is being monitored by the pigeons.  It all began when you were a young child and threw a rock that injured a bird that was well connected.

It's not paranoia.  The pigeons have been out to get you for a very long time. uuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on April 10, 2019, 11:30:30 AM
Pigeons are so polarizing exactly because their hatred for us is so pure. They watch, and they laugh.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 16, 2019, 01:29:57 AM
Rock star moments are fun, most of the time.

Imagine a small group of primary schoolers wanting to take a look at you.

Imagine this group keeps growing.  The number gets above 50.  You are completely surrounded by a wall of children.

Several shove papers and pens at you.  You figure out this is for an autograph.

Sign one autograph and the rate of growth of the crowd goes exponential.

There are well over 100 of them (more are joining every moment) and all you can see is pieces of paper and pens being shoved in front of your face.

 aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao


Just when I was sure I was doomed, a hand reached in and I was dragged away.  A lovely teacher had stepped in to rescue me.  I was secured in an office until the crowd thinned enough for me to get to an escape car.  I spent 20 minutes with some students at a nearby high school before coming back.  By then, the teachers had managed to get all the primary schoolers back in their classrooms.
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Granny Mae on April 16, 2019, 07:12:53 AM
Sounds like you have been busy agagagagag EL! bjbjbjbjbj I'll forgive you forgetting my Birthday on 14th. No one else noticed either. kkkkkkkkkk
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 17, 2019, 02:03:49 AM
Oh my!  VERY VERY SORRY about missing that.  The FengHuang trip kept me so busy.  bibibibibi bibibibibi bibibibibi
Will ritual suicide with a sword be an adequate apology, or do I have to spend a day wearing a hornet nest as a hat?
Or would you prefer some more personal form of punishment?  cbcbcbcbcb
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Granny Mae on April 17, 2019, 10:42:33 PM
A more personal form of punishment thanks EL! afafafafaf  ahahahahah I knew that you had to have been busy. agagagagag
Title: Re: Random Oddities in China
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 18, 2019, 01:16:44 AM
Yaaay!  I definitely need to be personally punished.  cbcbcbcbcb