Tag Archives: stupid motorists

Mr Bamboo, Comptroller of the Weather

Mind where you park, moron.

The infamous Lolita Complex Merida bike.

A couple of days ago I took my bike outside at school and cleaned it. Now it’s raining. It seems to be a pattern. It rains, I clean my bike, it rains again. The only logical conclusion is that I can control the weather by cleaning my bike. If I want to cause a drought, I don’t clean it; if I want to cause flooding, I do clean it.

I’m sure that we’ve probably had as much rain today as we had throughout the whole of last week. The ponds on the island are full to the brim, and as I write there has been a rumble of thunder. It was very heavy at lunchtime, and just as bad on the way home. Surface flooding once again leaves me wondering why it is after 2,500 of “civilisation”, the inGlorious Motherland can send people into space and build aircraft carriers, but can’t get the drains and drainage right.

A few weeks ago I mentioned how a car had gone over the edge of the low shelf outside Houcaller, which marks the edge of the pavement. Today at lunchtime the same thing had happened, and on this occasion some nitwit had managed to get their car even further over the edge. I wonder how commonly it happens, though, if it’s taken this long (four years) for me to see it twice.

My little darlings had their Reading and Writing exam yesterday, and will have Listening tomorrow. I had a look at the paper this morning, which was par for the course.

Today’s interesting Internet find (via languagehat) was a website devoted to the correspondence of Bess of Hardwick (aka the Countess of Shrewsbury), who was a contemporary of Elizabeth I. The site is interesting for the history, the insights into the people of the time, and the language when people still wrote much as they spoke.


When the empress is musical

Checks and imbalances.

For some reason, certain music sites have been being slow. I went to Classics Online this morning, whose main page appeared without much bother, but after that it was excruciatingly slow. I tried the Chandos site, which was also clunkingly slow. However, the moment I switched Astrill on, there were no problems. So, what was the problem?

My answer is that I don’t know, but it seems odd that two music sites should both be being slow; and knowing that the new empress is a singer, I wonder whether the sites are being subject to an extra level of paranoia. National security, of course.

My browsing led me to The Trio Sonata in 18th Century Italy, played by London Baroque. This is the seventh album in a series dedicated to trio sonatas from the Baroque era.

I’ve also been browsing the Hyperion website quite a bit, but shy away from buying stuff because the prices there are higher and subject to VAT. I’m damned if I’m going to let that twerp, George Osborne, get his incompetent hands on any more of my money than I can avoid. However, if the UK’s credit rating gets cut again, sterling might drop in value sufficiently to make their albums less pricey.

I seem to have hit a whole bunch of harpsichord albums on my Walkman: three of pieces by (François) Couperin, one of pieces compiled by MRN Couperin, and two albums of keyboard sonatas by Scarlatti (because my Walkman alphabetises by “Domenico” and not “Scarlatti”). I prefer not to listen to so much harpsi­chord music all at once and usually alternate between keyboard albums and something else. In this case, it’s going to be lute music by Dowland.

Satan’s Panamera.

As I was heading to 远东百货 from Carrefour this morning, I was just passing the bus stop when I heard a turbo-charged engine roaring away. I was a little concerned because I was just passing the bus on the inside as it sat at the stop, and had to swing out to get round some car when this happened.

Some idiot in a white Panamera drove past at speed followed by his retarded friend in one of those hunch-backed BMW SUVs. I was waiting for one or both of them to have an accident, but they hurtled towards 中山路 and turned left long before I reached the intersection myself.

When I reached the side gate into Jinma, I saw another white Panamera, but as the reg. plate revealed, this one was being driven by Satan. I feel a little sorry for Satan for being made to drive such an awful car.

Temperature, temperature quite contrary

Make your mind up.

The high of 27° on Saturday was answered with a mere 8° yesterday. This morning was wet, contrary to the forecast, but has turned dry since. Tomorrow it’s meant to reach 20° or 21°, which seemed quite promising until I saw Wednesday’s high of 9°.

Take it onto the road.

Another episode from Moronic Chinese Motorists this morning. I was heading along the cycle lane past Vanguard and Suyou only to run into two outstanding specimens of motoring stupidity. One car was heading north and the other south, with little more than the thickness of a credit card between them. Instead of one (or better still, both) of these drooling halfwits reversing, they both persisted in driving forwards. I manoeuvred around them and continued on my way, but I shouldn’t have to be manoeuvring around cars on the cycle lane; or, Access Road as the petrol-driven plonkers call it.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting to turn down 解放路 at lunchtime on my way to Yamazaki when I hear some turbocharged engine approaching, and through the intersection comes this BMW (probably an M3), which is going far too fast. The car is also hot pink. Eek! Now while a Matchbox BMW M3 can be hot pink and get away with it, this is just hugely ghastly. I saw it parked outside the hot pot place as I was heading back to school where it was scaring the other cars away.

A weekend! A weekend!

My kingdom for a weekend!

Fred and I left the Crowne Plaza in Kuala Lumpur at about 6.15am and made to KL Sentral, and the airport, well ahead of time. We thought that the flight back to Guangzhou might be half empty, but in this matter we were deceived and the plane was almost entirely full.

I should interrupt my narrative at this point to make some observations about Kuala Lumpur, although I saw so little of it that I can’t really form a proper judgement. I hated the mobs of motorcyclists and their attendant racket, and I wasn’t too keen on all the roadworks in the centre of the city. The weather, in spite of the heavy rain, was much more pleasant than I was expecting. I thought that the city would be drenched in humidity, but it was less humid than Wuxi typically is. The centre of the city is a tourist trap and not in a nice way. It seemed vulgar and tacky, and the sort of place where you might find the sleazy American who Fred and I overheard talking to one of the staff in the Pullman Hotel at Guangzhou Airport. Overall, on the basis of this snapshot, I’d generally rate KL higher rather than lower.

Part way through the flight my head started aching quite nastily, and got even worse before two Paracetamol capsules and a prolonged period of keeping my eyes shut eventually saw it off.

I’ve been constantly tired and exhausted this week for want of a decent weekend. I have been trying to do some marking, but even now I’m only within striking distance of completing PAL 1. On other occasions I might’ve bought papers home to mark during the week, but I’d be kidding myself if I thought I might actually do any marking in the evenings. If I was a cuddly toy, I’d be all outer fabric and no stuffing.

With the arrival of Reader and Acrobat XI, I went in search of the 10.1.4 patch for Acrobat because I had some bug trying to force 10.1.3 on me even although I had Acrobat 10.1.3. But what a rigmarole it was to find the latest patch on the Adobe website (basically, go to the US site or don’t bother), which was merely the prelude to a painfully slow download.

I tried to update Reader at school today, but all that achieved was the death of Reader X and the unwelcome rise of Foxit. My theory remains that schools have been told to prevent the installation of Adobe Reader because it’s being used as an attack vector by a benign imperial government that we all know and love.

It was the annual Open Day at school today when we have teachers from other schools, and parents, wandering into our classrooms. I had a bunch turn up during my second period with AS 1&3, and then a couple later this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Freegate has been updated again.

Three motoring morons today. One driving his car down the cycle lane outside school; another (Volvo driver) under the bridge cutting some other driver up (at speed) on the inside (don’t mind me); taxi driver going wrong way down the cycle lane on 人民西路. I saw a story a couple of days ago about some 太太 whose SUV was about to be towed away. She got in it and towed the tow truck away instead while the driver of the truck chased after her. (End of story unknown.) This occasioned much praise from ignorant foreigners who are unaware that a few more morons in the Empire need to be towed away to teach them some manners.

Hong Wrong has an interest entry about the changing Hong Kong skyline. I also saw an interest article somewhere about Kowloon Walled City, but I forget where exactly.

At the start of the week

Update me.

I got back from Chengdu yesterday afternoon, where I’d been since last Tuesday. Internet access was intermittent at best: long periods of getting nowhere via my Internet helper were followed by short periods of access, which were enough to post some brief comment on Facebook before the connection was lost again. It was annoying and frustrating, and any idea I might’ve had about posting here had to go out of the window.

The flight to Chengdu went without a hitch. The city wasn’t completely grey and dismal while I was there, but to make up for that, it was utterly horrid yesterday with heavy cloud and dull haze, which eventually turned into rain (though not till after I’d departed).

I was on the noisy side of the hotel overlooking 滨江路 (or whatever the road is on the west side of 南大街; 锦里东路, which is a little odd because 锦里 is probably about a kilometre south of the river) where the traffic a.) never seems to stop and b.) seldom knows how to stay in lane.

The traffic in Chengdu is possibly worse than ever, and in places, cyclists are force to take rather circuitous routes to get about. It’s not longer possible to cross 人民南路 on the south side of Tianfu Square (from 西 to 东御街 [御 yù “imperial”]) without going south to the first intersection and doing a painfully slow U-turn there. It makes the driving in Wuxi look civilised.

I had some transport for the first time, a racing bike loaned to me by Linda’s best friend. It taught me that I’ve grown out of racing bikes and their cripplingly hard saddles, and their low-slung handlebars, which forced me to bend uncomfortably over the machine. On the other hand, it reminded me how much better narrow-gauge tyres are (which it had), and decent brakes (which it didn’t have).

Linda and I took a trip to Ikea where I bought some flannels, but had not intended to, and had a look at a chair for the study to get me off this kitchen chair. There’s now an Ikea in Wuxi, and a bus which goes out there, but I need to ask someone which number.

We went to High Fly for tea one night. The staff who were there in my day all seem to have gone, and the menu seems to have changed its focus to steak with pizza being reduced to an also-ran, it seemed to me.

On Friday, Linda and I went out to Raffles City, which has been under construction for about the past four years. The place is where the Sichuan (?) Museum of Culture had been when I first arrived in Chengdu. Raffles is, obviously, a Singaporean development, and contains the usual posh shops. It also has the first Mainland branch of Treat, which is actually part of the ParknShop empire. I knew the name was familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it until I checked online. It is, of course, the supermarket at the end of the exit from the Kowloon Tong MTR station when you head to Festival Walk. It had a wide range of imported stuff, although the wines were on the stupidly expensive side.

Back in Wuxi, I found that M&G R1 pens have vanished from the shelves, including the red ones, which often linger after the black ones have gone. Still no sign of Nutella in Carrefour, but the Frico Gouda is back after an inexplicable absence.

Saw a white Audi R8 outside 远东百货 yesterday, and then a white Bentley Continental SuperSport on the side lane into Jinma. The only exceedingly expensive car I saw in Chengdu was a mid-blue Porsche cabrio.

The fun and games begin again tomorrow, but I could do with another week or month or so before then.

For 10.5 mid-range EFL teachers

You can have these two marvellously expensive cars.

A Porsche 911 Turbo S and an Aston Martin Rapide
This is what 10.5 mid-range EFL teachers will buy you.

A couple of days ago I was just leaving 远东百货 and spotted a very new Aston Martin (sans reg. plates) parked along the street. Today, I turn up outside the same building, and there’s a white 911 Turbo S.

Did I mention the violently yellow-green Audi R8 I saw a couple of weeks ago and which took about 100m to catch up with me after the lights turned green? I can’t remember, but you’re not misreading that. I, self-propelled and on two wheels, out-powered an Audi R8. Of course, dear reader, you should remember that imperial citizen either start before the light turns green, or spend a few seconds after it turns green before it registers with them that they should go. The Audi did come blasting by, but the driver should’ve been ashamed to have let me get so far ahead of him.

A Clash of Traffic

Go on orange.

The situation: Some halfwit on an electric scooter starts taking a left turn as the light is turning orange. At the same time some halfwitted taxi driver comes hurtling through the intersection and almost squashes the first moron against the front of a bus turning left from the opposite direction. The clod-brained peasant on the electric scooter is most aggrieved. Question: Which idiot is at fault?

If the Empire was governed by the rule of law, then I think the dolt on the electric scooter would’ve been (officially) at fault because the orange light signals the end of the green phase for traffic going straight ahead not the start of the green phase for turning left; but the nitwit in the taxi should also be censured for trying to speed through an orange light when he should’ve been slowing down to stop.

Mr Bamboo’s policy is to wait for the light to turn green and check behind him.

This wasn’t the only instance of idiocy I saw today. I was crossing 县前街 when I saw another moron on an electric scooter ride out in front of a car with a gap of 10-15m between them.

23rd of May. There was another incident at the intersection outside Baoli yesterday. I didn’t see it happen, but as I was turning left, I saw that some woman on one electric scooter had been knocked over it by some man riding another. She was yelling irately and he was probably wondering what the problem was.

New Keys to the Middle Kingdom: Luxury SUVs – China Real Time Report – WSJ

New Keys to the Middle Kingdom: Luxury SUVs – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

I quote

“When we buy a luxury car, we’re telling the world that we’re rich,“ Cai explains. “But with a luxury SUV, we’re saying look at me: I’m rich – and different and powerful.”

What Noddy forgot to mention is how vulgar and arrogant SUV drivers are, and how ghastly these things look.

No, what SUVs say in China is that the driver is some coarse, ill-mannered, lower-middle-class parvenu.

Thermal knicker weather

Worst climate evah.

The icy blasts from Siberia have arrived once again, and if I was an irrational religious person, I’d assume the gods had invented China to punish people with an extreme(ly unpleasant) climate. The sky is clear, the sun is shining, and the wind-chill factor is… Well, a number I’d rather not know.

In refurbishment news (everyone’s favourite section), quite a bit of 县前街 has been wrapped in green gauze as part of some apparent programme to refurbish the shop fronts, and work continues along 道长巷 where there are even pictures of the intended result.

With regard to the latter, the street should be blocked off to cars because the work takes up quite a bit of the lane; but that would be too sensible, and cars approach from both directions. So far I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t encountered one of those annoying jams where Moron A won’t give way to Moron B, and things get worse as Morons D, E, F, and G turn up and start sounding their horns.

Speaking of four-wheeled morons, I was heading down the cycle lane on 香榭街 a day or two ago and watch another motorist reach the end of the first section of the lane only to find that the way was blocked by another car which had left an insufficient gap. What did our boy do? He started sounding his horn as if by its magical blasts, the owner of the offending car would be instantly transported there to move the vehicle out of the way. The sensible solution would be to block off the cycle lane with some solid bollards and provide some sort of off-road parking.

I’m still marking the writing section of the AS classes’ monthly tests. It’s been taking me about twenty minutes to wade through each one because of the quality and the length. Almost none of the students have written a plan, and none of those who did at least write something in that section have produced an adequate plan. The old IELTS band descriptor about the writing having a negative effect on the reader still applies very much in this case. Mark has also found a set of SAT writing descriptors which refer to the writing as immature in the lower bands.

In addition, this is one of those situations when I put in much effort for very little return. The quality of my little darlings’ writing isn’t going to hugely improve as a result of my comments, but I suspect most of them learn nothing from them. I have been trying to avoid wholesale rewriting, preferring more general comments that indicate something is wrong to encourage them to find an answer for which they will never look.

I don’t know whether David Cameron has done the right thing with Europe or whether he’s merely behaving like a 3-year-old at a birthday party who wants everything just so when it’s not his birthday. There’s a round-up of comments from across Europe in the BBC article Euro crisis: Europe reacts with anger. Meanwhile, in London, the bankers will be pleased that their lapdog barked in their interests. I’m sure there’s a tin of Winalot Prime in it for Dave, and a nice new collar and leash.

I’ve been playing a little chess again against Shredder. I’m not seriously trying to compete against the program, but rather to see how quickly Shredder can defeat me or how long I can hold off the inevitable by playing badly. My records so far have been five moves (without resorting to a Fool’s Mate) and twenty-three.

Seeing a car park

Another tale of motoring stupidity from the Empire.

Since I don’t see PAL 2 until a bit later this afternoon, I thought I’d take my shopping home and have lunch while I was there.

I then headed back to school via the usual route and noted the large number of cars which were parked on the edge of the cycle lane along 香榭路. A Volvo hatchback (a C30; starting price £14,995) was trying to join them, but finding nowhere to park. As I followed it thinking, “What a complete plonker”, some woman came up alongside me on a bike and as the car slowed down, she would try to get past on the right-hand side, but never had enough room to squeeze by, nor the brains not to attempt such a manoeuvre.

When the woman finally overtook the car, she rode straight into some Post Office workers on their electric scooters coming from the opposite direction, who seemed to be paying no attention to the car at all; and when I say “rode straight into”, I mean it. Neither she nor the woman on the scooter appeared to see each other.

At this point, I skirted round the car, past the Post Office workers, and carried on. When I reached the end of that section of cycle lane, I noted that the stupid motorist wouldn’t be able to get through because some other four-wheeled genius had parked just a bit to far over. Since there was nowhere for this woman to park her car, she would have to have reversed down the entire cycle lane, thus managing to be an annoying halfwit in both directions.

Meanwhile, when I got back to school, the school’s lunchtime radio was blaring out. Peter told me that the room where the control is is locked, and the person with the key is off somewhere, which means that nothing can be done about the stream of noise coming from the PA system. (Ah, they must’ve found the keeper of the keys; silence reigns again.)

There’s also some sponsored event here at school today. Not sure what exactly, but it seems to be something cultural. There’s a big sign up at the gate and coloured flags have gone up around the school.