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August 27, 2005

Author's Time Out

I am shifting into dissertation mode.

My research is nearly complete. I hope to write a draft of my Introduction and get a start on Chapter One during the China National Holiday, the first week in October (of which the Jewish New Year consumes a small piece). I need to finish the dissertation sometime in the Spring of 2006. I will also be busy coordinating the start up of a new factory in Nantong, which my company has decided to launch. With these two priorities in mind, I am shutting down most discretionary activities. I've "retired" from teaching English to neighbors' and vendors' kids and suspended my Monday evening "English Corner" for adults, as well as my own weekly Chinese lesson. I am entrusting Terry with the honor of keeping our Weblog and Photo Gallery passably up to date for the next 8-10 months. "Yihuir jian" (see you in a while). - Norty

Posted by now at 04:54 PM

Buying a Filing Cabinet - II

The outcome of my adventure in special ordering a filing cabinet pretty well conformed to the experience of the women who posted a long narrative on the Shanghai Ex-Pat website.

A delivery guy smaller than I drove up with the cabinet on the back of his "renli che" (people-powered vehicle, a.k.a. tricycle), then strapped it onto his back and carried it up to our third-floor apartment. It looked great. I paid him the balance due (plus 10 rmb) and sent him on his way. I pulled the draws out a few more times, and the action was great. So, I began loading my file folders into the drawers. That's when the trouble began. The drawers warped from the weight of the contents and would not close or open properly. So, the next day I contacted the proprietor of the store where I purchased the cabinet, Ms. Zhu. She cheerfully sent someone from the "factory" to our apartment. The guy disagreed with my analysis that the cheap nylon wheels (as opposed to slides with good steel bearings) were the problem. He told me "nide dongxi tai zhong" (your things are too heavey). I tried to patiently explain that the reason I wanted a filing cabinet was because I had a lot of things that needed filing. Anyway, he said that by re-making the drawers with heavier-gauge steel, he could solved the problem. I said that would be fine; all I cared about was the result. So, his two workmen (this time, with a mini-van) hauled the cabinet away. A few days later, they brought it back, and it now works pretty well (though still not quite as well as one with good slides, such as I could have ordred from Shanghai). - Norty

Posted by now at 12:54 PM

August 25, 2005

Nantong's nominee for the Darwin Awards

I wish I knew how to nominate this guy for a Darwin Award.

On August 6, during the onslaught of Typhoon Matsa, one of our stalwart locals decided to try a test flight of his new monster kite. He was afraid that the wind might pull the kite string out of his hand, so he wrapped the string several times around his arm before he launched the kite. He had the right idea, sort of. As soon as he let the kite go, the wind yanked him off his feet and pulled him 30 meters (about 90 feet) into the air before he was able to unwind the kite string from his arm. Sure enough, the wind then pulled the kite string out of his hand, and he fell 30 meters to his death.

This incident was the main topic of conversation in Nantong for the next week. I heard the story so many times that I now know the Chinese words for "stupid" (ben4) and "idiot" or "fool" (Sha3 Zi).

Posted by now at 10:38 AM