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And the video is out. Strangly, my Chinese lines have me speaking in my ordinary voice.  I was wearing a microphone some of the time while saying the lines to myself, so I'm thinking they dubbed my "Imperial" voice with my normal voice.

And the video is GREAT!  Sadly, I've got zero clue how to share a WeChat channel video in any way other than WeChat.  Happily, they took some of what I said (in English) and put that as a voiceover of a video of me sitting and chatting with a couple of guys from the village.  At the time, I thought they were just taking photos of us sitting there, so was saying silly things like "Wo ming bai ting bu dong!" to one of them. ahahahahah

Now I just need to recover a bit more.  Then I can edit what I already have written and start working on the new chapters.
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 agagagagag  bjbjbjbjbj agagagagag  bfbfbfbfbf

bartender, get this man a round. Put it on my tab. He's earned it.
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I forgot to mention something that happened on Wednesday morning.  My wife was out, but notified me that there was a short boat on display for at the back of the pond and one (or possibly both) of the village schools were bringing children to look at it.  This could be a good chance for photos about teaching the next generation about Dragon Boats as well as to resolve a nagging thought - just how long is a dragon boat?  I'd recently acquired a 50 meter tape measure just for this purpose.  I passed a group of children on my way to the boat, but had it mostly to myself for a few minutes.  Nose to tail was easy, since the tail was perfect for attaching one end of the tape measure to.  A passing mom dropped her child right in the middle of the boat, so I had to wait a bit to measure the beam (max width) and height from gunwale to keel at that point.  The waterline varies widely based on how heavily the boat is loaded, so I didn't bother to try to estimate it.

On Friday evening the wear and tear of paddling was catching up to me a bit, so I skipped the official dinner afterwards and had a quick bite to eat at home.

Despite wanting more sleep, I got up at 9 am on Saturday, went down to the pond despite the modest rain, and brought my tape measure.  The raceboats are slightly newer.  I'd noticed that they seemed sligtly longer than the older longboats (they get parked parallel, but almost always are offset).  My plan was to send someone with superior balance to myself to hold the end of the tape on the tail (my village's longboats lack the decorative tale of the short boats - which may explain something) so my wife could get a pic of me holding the tape measure to each dragon's nose.  There was a small group patching leaks and doing other maintentenance.  One of them quickly helped by grapping the end of the tape measure and running straight to the nose.  Damn those boat tails were long and narrow.

Since there was a difference of about a meter between the 2 long boats, I decided to measure the 2 shortboats parked nearby.  This time I managed to get into the boat first and moved forward before handing the end of the tape to someone more agile than I am.  Both boats were slightly different to each other and the one I'd measured Friday.

Want to see diagrams and exact measurements?  Wait until I get the book written.  ahahahahah

Saturday's practice was delayed due to rain (only the second time that's happened this year).  When we finally all got in the boats, the first large boat got deployed.  I was in the second.  We had just cast off and were getting lined up to head out when there was a flash in the sky.  2 minutes later, we were being pounded by more rain and

Yesterday was "Rewarding the Boats" and the race.  The race was so unofficial that it wasn't even timed and there was even a plan to stick me in a raceboat.  Sadly, there were more people who really wanted those seats, so I ended up in the second boat which parked itself near the finish line.

One nice thing is that we got tied up to one of the viewing platforms, and the rope from the stern end was only 2 seats ahead of me.  People were climbing out and back in.  I climbed out and watched most of the race standing and leaning on the railing before climbing back in for the closing ceremony.

After 9 days of sitting on a wooden seat, my own stern end was a bit sore.  ahahahahah  I also racked up a fine assortment of minor bruises along the way and also managed to strain my back.  Sunday morning had more sun than the whole previous week, so I also got sunburned.  Now I've got a year to recover from all of this before jumping back into the boats. agagagagag

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The Champagne Cabana / Re: What's in the News
« Last post by Escaped Lunatic on June 17, 2024, 03:09:24 PM »
Just like with finance, indicator after indicator shows that China has moved WAY up the ladder in scientific research (quantity AND quality.

Here's an article from The Economist declaring China to be a scientific superpower.

https://archive.ph/UVk4x

"From plant biology to superconductor physics the country is at the cutting edge"

agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag
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A couple of nights ago, a different woman from the culture bureau was at the after-practice dinner.  She and her video guys got footage from the kitchen, did closeups of lifting something from each dish with chopsticks, and asked a few people questions.  I also got questioned, gave an answer, and got suggestions for a better answers.  I mostly gave that answer while ad-libbing a bit more.  I thought they'd cut it, but the video came out in WeChat videos last night just after dinner and it's all there.  I'm told the video with the longer interview will most likely come out sometime on Sunday.
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During that meeting with the Culture Bureau, a woman sitting next to the main person asked me a lot of questions.  She rewrote that into a scripted interview for a video.  I whined about asking about my age (I'm a dragon - think round numbers  ananananan) and finally got that removed.  The script included her talking to a couple of other people, including someone addressed as an Old Man in the village - who is the same age I am. amamamamam

In any event, I'm very used to speaking spontaneously, but ... let's just say I'm a thousand tmes better at improv than at closely following a script.  We finally got most of the interview video done on the same day as the Mouth Stuffing ceremony and it only took about 20 takes before I more or less got it right.

Then there was the intro.  I was supposed to meet someone else, tell him I was born in the Year of the Dragon and how great it is to be paddling dragon boats in the village during a Dragon Year.  Getting me and the initially targetted person both free at the same time didn't work.  Even better, she thought it would be cool if I said the lines in Mandarin.  aqaqaqaqaq

I had my lovely wife print it out in pinyin and make the font about 24 points for easy viewing.  The pronunciation was easy, but there were just enough words outside of my vocabulary to have my brain keep scrambling things.  While I was messing around reading the script over and over, I said my lines in a deep, commanding voice like an emperor making a decree in one of those cool costume drama TV shows - and the lady from the Culture Bureau decided that's how I should say it on video.  My wife would hold up the script just outside of camera view.

Also, we still didn't have the person I was supposed to be talking to. So, my wife found a random person to volunteer.  But, he had 2 small children who were ready to dash off in random directions, so she watched them.  This left the Culture Bureau woman to hold the script while I walked up to meet someone next to where my village section's boats were parked.  What could possibly go wrong?

Aiyaaaaaaa!  My newfound friend took several large steps towards me each time I approached to shake his hand, putting the script too far away to see.  As things progressed, a larger and larger crowd formed to make sure I'd be as nervous as possible. llllllllll  After 6 or 8 tries, we rearranged things.  The woman and the two camera guys went to the outside of the railing (there's a narrow platform for people getting in and out of the boats there).  He and I would meet at the same place, then walk to the railing and I'd deliver my lines (imperial style ababababab) while appearing to be looking at the boats.  About 10 tries later, it finally worked well enough.

I really hope they've got a good video editor.

And (with one unfortunate exception a couple rows ahead of me llllllllll) the crew of the boat I'm on is getting paddling more and more precisely synched up.
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Teacher's Tips (ON-TOPIC) / Re: Ok, then how DO I find a job?
« Last post by AMonk on June 12, 2024, 06:44:47 AM »
In letters, 10 feet high ---

One other note that should be considered a Commandment for FTs.
Never trust a recruiter.  Never trust any recruiter.
This even includes members of fine establishments like the Saloon who can seem like nice and helpful guys in the forum.[/b]
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Dragon Boat Day was supposed to be practice, but for Day 3, it was one hell of a practice session.  The boats undocked earlier and back and forth in the pond far more times that yesterday than the day before.

I see I have to make a small amendment to the "match the paddle in front of you" advice I give.  Several people ahead of me were having trouble staying in synch.  The smart thing to do if your paddle hits another is to pull it up and wait for the next chance to match the paddle in front of you.  The problem was there multiple people doing this and at a couple points, I had to match the paddle 5 or 6 seats forward since all the crew in-between weren't paddling.

The good news is that this sort of thing usually works itself out as practice continues.  Typically, during the last few days synchronization gets pretty close to perfection.

In other news, one short boat from another section of the village sank, resulting in the entire crew (I think that size boat has a full crew of 26) being seriously wet.  I didn't see it happen, but I did see the ones who didn't swim to shore working on bailing out the boat.  The shorter boats sit much lower in the water, which makes it easier for the whole boat to flood if it leans a little too far to one side or the other.
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Ummmm... we were definitely talking finished pages.  The good news is that he knows there are going to be TONS of photos.

And it's Dragon Boat Day!  Which has people asking me on WeChat why I'm posting about a race on the 16th - because my village sets its own schedule.  Dragon Boat Day itself can be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the celebrations in my village.

I'm focusing primarily on my local boats, but I was planning a chapter showing some different styles of boats and boating in other places (like the Dragon Boats on Ice in Harbin).

I already messaged a photographer friend in FengHuang ask asked for some good shots of the people who paddle while standing up.  Evidently, it's a choice each crew makes (I still need to ask if the boat have slightly different designs), and he promised to get me some good pics.  Oh. and they are throwing 500 live ducks into the river there today while people swim from the opposite shore to try to grab ducks.  I've seen a few videos.  ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah

There are ducks in my village pond, but I suspect me jumping in and and trying to grab them would be . . . discouraged.
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Teacher's Tips (ON-TOPIC) / Re: Ok, then how DO I find a job?
« Last post by Escaped Lunatic on June 10, 2024, 04:54:47 PM »
This is a dilemma.  Every site that offers reviews claims "We're 100% honest!"  In reality, most of them will quickly remove (or even never display) bad reviews for companies that pay  them.

Also, no matter how good an employer is, there will be some employees who just can't be satisfied.  Only the absolute worst employers would have no good reviews, since there are people out there who are so desperate that they would rate a place with very low pay and an 80 hour workweek well if it came with 3 meals a day and a free bunk in a dormitory.

Check what their forums and reviews say about their Top Howevermany Employers.  If the review for those are 10/10 (with one or two 8/10 and 9/10 reviewer ratings to add realism) and few, if any, complaints in the forums, that's a very strong indication that the site is not presenting an honest picture of selected companies.

Since you are already in China, if you see what looks like a good school, don't settle for just a phone or live chat iterview.  If they are interested in you and you are interested in them, go for an onsite visit.  Before signing a contract, ask to meet some current foreign employees.  Invite one or two of them out for coffee, beer, or baijio just to get them away from their supervisors.  Chat a bit and see what they really think.

One other note that should be considered a Commandment for FTs.  Never trust a recruiter.  Never trust any recruiter.  This even includes members of fine establishments like the Saloon who can seem like nice and helpful guys in the forum.  Recruiters lie.  Recruiters cheat.  Recruiters steal.  If there is a problem with the employer, the recruiter is not on your side or the employer's side.  The recruiter is always 100% on the recruiter's side.  If there ever were any honest recruiters, they were quickly murdered by the dishonest ones.  ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS deal directly with the school/company that you hope to be hired by.
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