venerdì, maggio 11, 2012

Another flame in the wall

Well gosh, guys. Tomorrow I'm heading to the other side of the Great Firewall and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to blog here for about a month. Nor will I be able to idly flip to the blogs on the sidebar whenever I start getting the feeling I'd rather not be working. Since I started working at home, you all have really taken the place of colleagues who I waste time with in offices, with less drinking and staplegun fights, and I'm going to miss you.

So obviously, either my productivity is about to fucking skyrocket with this trip, or I'm going to come out of this speaking fluent Mandarin.

Speaking of the Great Firewall, tonight is a last scramble before I go behind it to get all my source material together for some bullshit essay I have to write for a bullshit course for a bullshit Australian university (that'll remain nameless for the moment) that I'm doing because, since I was doing the Mandarin stuff already, I can pick up another certificate if I do a couple of bullshit arts courses as well. It's a correspondence course. You may have heard that Australians are world leaders when it comes to correspondence education, which in my experience of this course (not the Mandarin courses, which were actually fantastically delivered, taught, and supported) is the same sort of perspective that'd say Indians are the world's best lovers just because there's a fuckload of babies there.

I can't tell you how fucking dimestore this course is. There are no lectures - just semi-literate notes that are meant to be "written" lectures - and no professorial support besides someone who's not quite a TA, has no meaningful perspective or background on any issues covered in the course, and whose role seems limited to congratulating people when they make contributions to the message board, which I suppose is a measure in place to stand in for seminars, but which were already in use alongside seminars in FUCKIN' 1997 WHEN I DID MY FUCKING UNDERGRAD AND THE INTERNET HARDLY EXISTED.

Oh yeah - the TA also spends a lot of time on the message boards inviting people to contact him directly by email if a specific question comes up, and then not answering emails. A man after my own heart, truly. Lazy fucking cunt that he is. He and I are probably peas in a fuckin' pod. And me being this sort of person was one of the reasons I decided not to be a TA or professor. The private sector deserves the full brunt of my epic laziness - university students are already getting screwed every other way, and they can't pay me as much.

Anyhoo. The class is a fucking gyp.  I'll probably continue with the Asian Studies certificate if the baby's not too colicky and I don't lose my mind, but it'll just be pure Mandarin classes now as far as possible - no more wasting money on these pisashit arts courses.

martedì, maggio 08, 2012

Taking it easy, hardcore

I'm taking my relaxation seriously. Today I started with an hour-long qi gong class, three hours of yoga, and then an hour of acupuncture which stretched into 90 minutes when I fell asleep on the table and the therapist didn't have the heart to wake me. I was snoring, he said. Well. Thanks, acupuncturist. I needed it.

My brain is tangling with the complex but pleasant puzzle of how to stay perfectly nourished and perfectly relaxed over the next six months, whilst travelling in Asia and Europe. I'm not actually going anywhere I haven't been before, unless you count a new city or two in countries I already know pretty well, so I have it pretty much mapped out in my mind. I'm always a pretty relaxed traveller, so really it's my normal routine with a lot more first-class tickets and massages thrown in. It's a write-off . . . and anyways, this is probably my last chance to travel first-class for awhile . . . soon I'll have children, which means I'll be poor. That's how it works, right? Anyways, when you book this far ahead, the price difference between coach class and business class is about 20 bucks.

Today's yoga class was a scream. I was really out of place there, like by asking what simple exercises I could do on a series of eight long-haul flights over the next month while everybody else had questions about the utility of homeopathy and raspberry leaf tea, but that was fine. Everybody else was white but had names like Indra. What was interesting in that context was that at the conversation bit toward the end, when people started sharing their snuff flicks birthing stories, was even these absolute hippie types had no problem reaching straight for the pain killers and C-sections as soon as they started feeling it was necessary.  Nobody had managed shit without nitrous, which was encouraging.

I guess I've been inculcated with the idea that I really have to do everything naturally or else I'm somehow a failure as a woman, and I've had to come to deal with the fact that there's a fairly high chance for me in particular that things are not going to happen naturally in the least, if I want Ren and I to live, anyways. That's made me sad, or testy, or something, but the more fucking horror stories birthing stories I hear, the more it's coming home to me that childbirth really has been to women what war has been to men in martial societies - something that just happens, and back in the day you couldn't go into it confidently expecting to survive, unless you were a bloody fool.

But Ren and I happen to be happening now, when childbirth just isn't as awful as it used to be for people of our income bracket and nationality, just as war isn't as awful as it used to be for all those guys flying around other people's countries and dropping bombs on them without getting too close. But I'll probably still make a good and thriving baby, and you won't find too many aerial campaigns that have made a good and thriving war. So. I guess my point is, if I have one, that thank fuck things are as they are.