Tag Archives: the Internet

Burnt offerings 2014

The return of Qingming.

Nothing kills of the anticipation of a long weekend like a pile of exam papers, and once again this year, there are piles to be marked in the after­math of the mocks this week. I’m already a little ahead on the marking, having dispatched the A2s’ reading papers in a day, although that’s not quite the feat that it appears to be. I also made deep inroads into AS1’s reading, and that is a feat because there are five texts, and the paper is a bulky, clumsy thing to handle.

The exam this time has also been different because we included a writing paper. Normally, to spare ourselves a good deal of bother, we set some recent text type as the writing so that we can mark it beforehand. Although I like splitting things in this way, such exercises are only partial tests of the students’ ability to produce the text type correctly because they’re only dealing with a single type and don’t have to do it under exam conditions.

Although I told the classes to focus on the topics which we have covered in class (Health and Cultural Diversity), A2(2) mostly chose the Cultural Diversity topic or the Science and Technology one. The popularity of the latter was because the text type was blog/diary entry, which is no doubt regarded as an easy option because of its supposedly amorphous nature. A2(1&3) split themselves roughly evenly across four of the text types, but had the brains to avoid Leisure, which was a pamphlet giving advice and thus something akin to guidelines or instructions.

AS1 favoured the nature vs. nurture question about homosexuality; the blog entry reacting to newspaper reports alleging that Justin Bieber is gay; and the review topic (“review the film of the book”, meaning To Kill a Mockingbird; answers – anything but). The other two topics got a smatter­ing of attention.


A musical interlude.

When I saw that the exchange rate had improved in my favour, I went on a music-buying spree.

  1. Garden of Early Delights (Pamela Thorby and Andrew Lawrence-King; Linn Records) – this is an album of early Baroque music which includes some fairly familiar pieces (in fact, the only name I don’t know is Johann Schop), and combines the recorder with the harp.
  2. The Nightingale and the Butterfly (Pamela Thorby and Elizabeth Kenny; Linn Records) – Thorby unites with a lutenist on an album of French pieces from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This is mostly new music from composers who I have previously not heard of (e.g. Charles Dieupart, Louis Caix d’Hervelois) or who were only slightly known to me (e.g. Robert de Visée).
  3. Locatelli, Concerti Grossi, Op. 1 (The Raglan Baroque Players; Hyperion Records) – I don’t often go to Hyperion because they charge VAT regardless of your point of origin, but the exchange rate was a little more benign than it has been. I had previously had a single example of Locatelli’s output prior to this and bought several albums all at once.
  4. Locatelli, L’Arte del Violino (The Raglan Baroque Players; Hyperion Records) – This is Locatelli’s Op. 3, which is the composer showing off his technical skills with the violin. It is not, though, one of those works of this nature in which all sense of musical quality is abandoned in favour of some clever screechy sound which very few violinists – apart from Locatelli – could achieve.
  5. Locatelli’s Op. 4 (The Raglan Baroque Players; Hyperion Records) – This is a combination of six Introduttioni Teatrali which, according to the accom­p­anying booklet, have an obscure history. The remaining six Concerti are just as obscure with no clear reason why they were included in this publication.
  6. Locatelli, 10 Sonatas Op. 8 (The Locatelli Trio; Hyperion Records) – Like Op. 4, this is a mixed bag, being a combination of ten violin and trio sonatas which, as the notes say, was contrary to the usual practice of six or twelve pieces of the same genre.
  7. Marin Marais, Pièces de Viole du Second Livre (Markku Luolajan-Mikkola et al.; BIS Records) – Having quite liked Marais’ Pièces de Caractère, I thought it was worth trying some more music from him and filling in a gap in my musical arsenal.
  8. Marin Marais, Pièces de Viole du Cinquième Livre (Wieland Kuijken et al.; Accent) – This album includes a piece which was inspired by the oper­ation in which Marais’ gallbladder was removed (Le Tableau de l’Oper­ation de la Taille). I was listening to the album when I heard what sound­ed like someone speaking French. I thought it was coming from outside, but it was commentary accompanying the music.
  9. Rameau, Pièces de clavecin en concerts (London Baroque; BIS Records) – This is an album of six concerts which are largely character pieces, although it’s often impossible to tell who in Rameau’s circle they refer to. The first concert is probably a tombeau, a genre of which the French seemed to be particularly fond. There is some overlap with Rameau, Complete Works for Harpsichord (Trevor Pinnock; crd).
  10. Italian Lute Music G.G. Kapsberger – A. Piccinini (Konrad Junghänal; Accent) – Lute music always gives me a sense of warm summer afternoons when the sun is setting, the light is just so, and the world is quiet and comfortable.
  11. Telemann, The twelve Fantasias for Transverse Flute without Bass (Bart­hold Kuijken; Accent) – This is another album in which “fantasia” has been misspelt in the file name. Probably it’s just a typo, but it smacks of a lack of attention.
  12. Telemann, Trios & Quartets (Epoca Barocca; CPO) – What is says on the box. Unfortunately, the accompanying booklet (an occasional inclusion from CPO) is cut off at the end of the first page of the German section, which means there. The CPO website is barely any more enlightening. This seems to be chamber music for the musically inclined burgers of Hamburg to bash out of an evening.
  13. Telemann, III Trietti metodichi e III Scherzi (Parnassi musici; CPO) – These are light pieces which Telemann published in 1731. The CPO website says they are “full of dancy swing”. CPO must’ve been on a budget because the cover for this album is the same as the cover of Telemann’s Complete Violin Concertos Vol. 4.
  14. Hotteterre, Complete Chamber Music Vol. 1 Suites Op. 2 (Camerata Köln; CPO) – This is a very recent release from CPO and marks the first in a series of four CDs from Camerata Köln. I haven’t listened to the album properly yet, but it is very chamber music in style.

My attempt to acquire Boismortier, Flute and Harpsichord Sonatas Op. 91 has been unsuccessful. I downloaded an album from Presto Classical, but what I got sounded late 18th century. I then had a listen to samples of the album on line, which confirmed that what I had was probably something by Haydn. I’m waiting for Presto Classical to let me know when the actual album will be ready for download.


The Sekkereterry of Stayte for Edgercayshun.

Last year when the PISA report came out, much was made of the results which showed that Asian school children were geniuses and British school children were barely able to hold a pencil without stabbing one other person (including themselves). As was observed at the time, the quality of life for Asian children is generally dreadful and, in the case of China, the results were based on children in Shanghai. Michael Gove wants GSCEs pegged to results in China and other successful economies from 2017.

As I’ve observed in the past, Chinese school children are good at anything a computer could do, but rarely good at anything else. Maths – tick that box; Physics – tick that box; Chemistry – tick with less certainty; Biology – don’t tick it at all because the language is beyond them. Arts and Humanities subjects? Not likely.

Even the dimmest students here can still do maths with a reasonable degree of competence, but only a few of them are capable of doing Further Maths according to the Head of the Maths Department at school. While they may be good at maths, that doesn’t make them intellectual giants. Anything requiring imagination and creativity is beyond all of them unless they’ve been taught some sort of procedure for mimicking something just as they are taught procedures for writing TOEFL and SAT essays.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gove’s favourite sci-fi characters are the Borg from Star Trek and the Cybermen from Dr Who, both races of soulless cyborgs who can solve maths problems in the blink of an eye, but haven’t got a milligramme of creativity or joie de vivre among the lot of them. The man seems to want Borg school children rather than human beings.


Bloody China Mobile.

I’m regretting the recent switch to China Mobile. The latest wheeze is that all .co.uk websites have been blocked. I’d been on Presto Classical the other morning, but couldn’t get on it in the afternoon without Astrill. The same block (or, impediment) seemed to be affecting music sites in general, but I found, for example, that The Register was also out of bounds. .org.uk sites seemed to be partly affected. At school, which I assume goes through China Telecom, there were no problems with any of these sites. Great­fire.org claims no blocking, either. I suspect this may be some sort of filter­ing cockup. Something to do with a DNS update?


But at the end of the day…

I need to get on with some marking.

Sovereign territory

Or when in Rome?

Reports about the interview between Gavin Esler and the Chinese ambassador to Britain on Newsnight say that (not surprisingly) censorship of the Internet got mentioned. That got me thinking.

Embassies are a piece of foreign soil. Since that’s the case, is Internet access from Chinese embassies around the world subject to the same levels of paranoia to which it is subject in China, or are such blocks blithely ignored by the Empire’s representatives? If I searched, would I find the Chinese embassy in the UK has a Facebook page? A Twitter account? A WordPress or Facebook blog? Videos on YouTube of Vimeo of the office Christmas party?

I hate to think what an office Christmas party with Chinese characteristics would be like. I’ve never heard of an office Spring Festival party. The closest they probably get is some sort of enforced, state-regulated, rigidly structured “fun”.

The dull and the dismal

Another delightful autumn day.

Today has dragged on and on. And on. And then on a bit more. It’s Mum’s birthday today. I hope her day was considerably more interesting than mine. It probably was because mine… [I think we get the idea. –ed.]

It has been grey all day. We started with that invisible drizzle which dampens the land and yet is a minor nuisance. That became a more major nuisance this afternoon, but the rain was less of a problem than the general dullness.

Dullness and writing.

I had my little darlings write a formal letter this week. The chance that such a thing is going to be in the exam is remote since the last time it turned up was winter 2008. They had to write an application for a job, but like their informal letters, most of them never really fulfilled the task.

Part of the problem lay in their inability to cast themselves as school leavers so that when they had to propose interview times, they became themselves and said they were only available at weekends. I wonder whether I should warn them of such pitfalls or not. (Of course, the reality is that between one year and the next I’ve forgotten about such things.)

Anyway, I managed to finish off PAL 2’s letters because Wednesday is mostly free, but because I don’t have a lot of free time on Thursday and even less on Friday, I only managed to get most of PAL 1’s done. I had to deal with the rump after class this afternoon when I was cursing the livid scene outside and hoping that I wouldn’t arrive home to find there was some shopping I absolutely had to do.

The Party boys’ meeting is over. They’ve been closeted in their clubhouse for the past week; they’ve buggered up the Internet for the past week; they’ve annoyed me sufficiently for the past week to make me find another way around their puerile blocks on the Internet.

I was having a look at the list of blocked sites on GreatFire.org last night. As far as I can tell from the URLs, there are a lot of sites which can remain blocked until the cows come home and then some. There are also some on the list whose inclusion utterly puzzling.

Once upon a time, I would’ve advised newcomers to China to bring a laptop so as to avoid local machines like the plague they are. I’d still advise them to bring a machine of their own, and these days I’d add “bring a VPN”. Just because the imperial government likes shoving its head up its arse, it doesn’t mean the rest of us should follow suit.

I saw something on G+ last night about zombies and tyrants. Guess which empire I immediately thought of.

All right, that’s enough incoherent rambling out of me. I’m tired, and when I’m tired, I get bad-tempered, especially when I’ve had to deal with mediocre student writing.

The next day. I really was tired. I had a brief chat with Linda on qq last night, and then went and had a snooze – for three hours –, although I don’t remember nodding off. I’m surprised this entry is even vaguely comprehensible.

There you are, Internet

I’m back and I’m irate.

Because of the raging case of paranoia which has surrounded the ascendancy of a new emperor to the Chinese throne, it’s been next to impossible to access the Internet via Freegate or Ultrasurf. Even services such as gmail have come in for a kicking as we found last weekend when it was completely inccessible, and, in general, connections to the real world have, at times, been annoyingly pitiful.

At school the connection to the Net has gone beyond pitiful to an adjective which doesn’t even exist in English. I assume that schools (especially ones full of pesky foreigners like mine; pesky foreigners who might insist on thinking for themselves in programmes which encourage independence of thought; yes, a bit of irony in that statement) and universities have come in for a particular hammering because these are places where the Chinese might just be able to think for themselves (briefly) before they’re finally and completely assimilated to the Borg collective.

This afternoon, having discovered that I could access the Astrill website (secure connection), I signed up for pay-per-view Internet. Admittedly, it’s adding about a third again to my bill, but I don’t care. I’m fed up with being unable to see the Internet. It’s not that Freegate isn’t a decent piece of kit, but that the link to the real world is fragile and easily disrupted. Since term started, Freegate has probably been out for the count more often than it has been ducking and weaving around the ring. I’m hoping Astrill is a stable alternative so that, among other things, I can post here regularly, watch YouTube and Vimeo videos instead of wondering what the little black rectangle hides (such as George Alagiah’s piece on Wellington College in Tianjin, where the fees make us look like the bargain basement), pop over to Facebook or G+, look stuff up on the IMDb, and generally surf the Internet as normal people do.

The news from the Party boys conference is a resounding declaration, viz. the 12th century is here to stay – forever. Honestly, I wasn’t be expecting any change. I wasn’t expecting to hear that the government had suddenly announced an end to censorship or even a slight relaxation of the imperial anus. Necessity may force change, but it’ll be change with Chinese characteristics. That is, no real change at all.

In fact, “<noun> with Chinese characteristics” should be treated as a colossal joke because whatever the noun might’ve meant, it no longer means that. For example “socialism with Chinese cha­rac­te­ris­tics” means the worst sort of capitalism.

I don’t know how regularly I’ll be posting here, but perhaps it’ll be a little more frequent now that I don’t have to hope that Freegate might work.

Finally, is it time for me to get a Twitter account, not because I give a damn about Twitter, but because I can have one?

Working from home at the weekend?

Sir, yes sir!

Well, all right. If you like. I have an American student in PAL 2 who needs to be doing native-speaker English and not the pale (but practical) shadow of the English language which is the mainstay of the IGCSE ESL course. Fred and I decided to have her read Heart of Darkness.

I thought I’d (be a good boy and) go online in search of study questions for the book, but apart from brief visits to the usual sites (thisnotes and thatnotes), I was getting nowhere and I’m not sure why. At best the sites were only loading in part, but seemed to be tripping up on ad. serving which, failing to get through, was jamming everything up.

There was a story on the Register which said that Google had had some problems, which may be why Google Reader and Google Bookmarks were misbehaving (more with Firefox than with Chrome). The fault is supposed to have been fixed, but that doesn’t seem to have happened in the Empire where Reader has been there one moment and gone the next.

Of course, the current dog turd in the imperial soup bowl is the story about the obscenely huge amounts of lolly which Wen Jiabao’s family is supposed to have made, which has led to all or some of the NYT website being blocked. I had thought that that might be why Reader wasn’t working, but I don’t know.

Actually, that’s what’s bothering me: my ignorance. If I knew what was causing the problem, I might be able to find a solution or at least know and accept that there’s no solution. Instead, I get more and more annoyed as a consequence of my frustration. Instead, I’m more likely to start blaming Nanny when the mad old bat may not be responsible.

As for the big China story, I’ve long wonder how much the boys at the top might have. I knew it would be large sums, but I didn’t know how much. I don’t know why anyone’s really that bothered about it. It’s been happening in China since forever. If my sources aren’t unreliable, eunuchs used to set fire to imperial palaces and make a killing on the insurance and the rebuilding. In other words, the Wen family is following an age-old practice. It doesn’t excuse them, but it’s the way things are here.

It would probably be better if the Party embraced corruption as part of the Empire’s culture and stopped feigning horror every time it became public knowledge. A little more “Yeah, whatever” and a little less “Think of the children!” Since everyone knows the Party boys are corrupt, where’s the story?

Never so down

That it can’t be kicked a good deal more.

Freegate is still groaning under the strain of whatever is, er, straining it. It comes (here I am on WordPress), and goes (there I am not on WordPress), and at the time of writing, is going again. This has got to be the most sustained bout of buggering that Freegate has suffered since I started using it although some of the earlier versions didn’t last long.

Unfortunately, the story of Bo Xilai isn’t going to go away any time soon, and given that Britain plays a small supporting role in the drama, there’s going to be a fair amount of attention from the foreign press. I observe that no one has yet commented that if the Bo family had amassed a fortune of US$126 million, then it implies that all the Party boys have troughs of swill similarly overflowing with lolly. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that the distribution of wealth in the Empire is so uneven that it makes Western countries look like models of equality and fairness.

The other scandal that’s popped up is the use of shoes (don’t ask me how) in the production of the gelatine from which capsules are made. The real problem is chromium in the material although don’t get me started on the shoes. From what I’ve read, this only affects products within the Empire, but not the stuff for export.

Meanwhile, one of my little darlings wrote a response to Exam Exercise 7 for my perusal, but in a bout of nationalistic overexcitement from him, I was informed that his family celebrated the founding of the Republic of China, which occurred “several years ago”. The former was an oversight; the latter probably a reflection of a very poor sense of imperial history. I’ve asked students for instances of this or that from history, but it seems that anything before 1949 or even 1911 is a vast void. But perhaps the same is true elsewhere and my knowledge of history, which isn’t especially broad or deep, is exceptional.

The speaking exams finally finished yesterday and I took care of the aftermath (“Colour the rectangles HB”) this morning. The rest of the exams are little more than a couple of weeks away. At best I can keep throwing listening, summarising and writing at the PAL classes, but whether any of it penetrates is another matter. It’s too late.

Oh, bloody hell. I stumbled across another album I’d like to buy. I’m still vacillating about Couperin’s Apothéoses, but found William Byrd: Complete Consort Music from Linn Records. I have The Great Service, but little else by Byrd, who I don’t think of as a composer of instrumental music. What’s a boy to do?

Actually, he’s to go and buy some water from the shop.

Sudden renewed interests

It’s that CTB chap again.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to get about ten to twenty hits a day. The exception to that was the day I got about 16,000 hits because of CTB (aka Ryan Giggs) and the business about the superinjunctions earlier this year. That quickly calmed down and the shores of my little island were no longer battered by the storms of popular interest. I think there was a short-lived surge after that about this particular topic, and now there’s been another one (a couple of days ago), although I can’t say what prompted either. I’m sure there are better sources of information out there than this blog.


Coherence and cohesion. I never really knew you.

My learned colleague, Mr Jones, has been banging on at his classes about paragraph unity recently, which got me thinking about the matter, and then wondering – for the first time ever – what coherence actually means. When I was looking at a writing guide I bought from Cosmos Books in Hong Kong a few years ago, I found that the definition (more or less “each sentence has to be relevant to the topic”) was not quite the one I’d been applying.

I’ve been treating coherence as the degree to which a sentence is comprehensible and, to a much lesser extent, relevant to an argument. I wasn’t applying it to the grammar inasmuch as I was applying it to the sense of what was written (and the mark scheme we’ve been using has a separate section for grammar). I suppose I might say clarity.

But when I start then considering cohesion, I must admit that I’m much less certain what coherence really means if it’s about the relevance of a sentence to the topic of a particular paragraph. To me cohesion is about the connections between sentences. A non sequitur, for instance, violates cohesion because one sentence doesn’t follow the sense of another and may not even be relevant to the topic.

Observing that coherence and cohesion both come from the verb cohere, I’m not inclined to regard either as especially useful where two clearly distinct terms such as argument structure (or, on second thoughts, relevance might be a better choice because of the potential breadth of argument structure) and connectivity would, I think, be preferable. But it might also help to think of coherence as the y-axis (that is the relationship between the topic of the paragraph and the sentences in that paragraph) while cohesion is the x-axis (the relationship between one sentence and the next).

Thus the AS students may have better coherence than I thought, and staccato1 to bad2 cohesion. There’s generally a poor flow of ideas, and it’s often hard to see a clear narrative thread, which makes me wonder whether I’m the idiot. (Actually, that should be the sign telling me that they’re the ones making a mess of things.)

Notes

  1. Ideas are relevant but come one after the other without any proper development.
  2. Non sequiturs abound.

Out with the new and in with the newer.

The previous version of Frέegαтe was a very short-lived thing, having lasted little more than a week or so before the latest version appeared this morning. There’s been a slight change to the old girl, too, with the numbers now in percentages instead of milliseconds, whatever that means.

Passing through on a grey day

And there are comments, but they’ll have to wait.

I don’t know how long my Internet assistant will last, but it’s utterly hopeless from home at the moment because the connection is complete rubbish. For the past couple of days, it’s been cutting out repeatedly. I’ve been hoping this is because the workers are upgrading the infrastructure, but that supposition is based on a large reel of thick cable near the bridge just past the hotel at the weekend.

The weather has turned grey and a bit damp although I was expecting a great deal more rain than we’ve had so far today. I seem to have a knack for looking out of the window, believing that it’s dry, and then going out and finding that there’s light rain. I’m tooled up for the occasion in case things turn unpleasant. Yes, I know this is utter trivia, but I don’t have ready access to WordPress any longer and don’t always have something mind when I turn up here.

There was a story about some Mercedes-Benz driver somewhere in the Empire who deliberately crashed into a bus because he was fed up with them getting in his way. Typical Chinese Merc driver, I’d say, but let’s be honest: Chinese motorists are all appallingly bad; and anyone who drives a Merc here is bound to be an arrogant slimy little turd.

I’m hungry and I want to post this so that I can find out what these two supposedly legit comments are. I had quite a monstrous spam comment on my Live Journal blog the other day, but what it was hoping to achieve, I don’t know. It was as if someone had tried to append an entire blog entry to my blog entry.

6:11 out

2:45 in.

I bought myself a stopwatch the other day because I was curious how long it takes me to get from one place to another round here so that I can then calculate my average speed. From outside this building, it took me 6:11 to get to the 红豆 Building, including stops (two sets of lights) and various impediments. From the 红豆 Building, it took me 2:45 to get back to the lane to the side gate because I wasn’t delayed crossing the road and because I’m able to go through the intersections on the return leg without needing to worry about the lights.

That’s about 915m, which means I was doing an average of 5.54m/sec (about 20kph), which is a little slow for me.

I see the lane that runs between the 红豆 Building and the Knightsbridge Department Store is called 道长巷 (Dào Cháng Xiàng) and the one it intersects, where the Provençal restaurant is, is called 永定巷 (Yǒng Dìng Xiàng). There’s an old building there next to the Knightsbridge Department Store, which has somehow survived. Where it faces onto 县前街, there are shops, but round behind there’s a door in a wall. I’d guess from the names of the alleys (the former means “the Way [is] long”, and the latter means “eternal calm”) that it is (or was) a Daoist temple.

I’ve also learnt something else. I’ve seen the character 定 a fair few times, but because of it’s similarity to 走 (zǒu) “walk, go follow”, I’ve assumed that it had something to do with walking and was probably pronounced in the same way. Of course, it’s more proof (which I don’t need) that Chinese characters are utterly opaque.

Thus I conclude that buying a stopwatch is ultimately educational because I’ve learnt of the existence (I think) of an old Daoist temple and the actual meaning and pronunciation of a character I’ve long assumed to have guessed the meaning of.

Not all learning is good, though. I’ve learnt that you can search WordPress to a point (it sometimes does odd things), but you can’t even get onto the Tags page. I wonder which bunch of drooling halfwits I can blame for always finding some way ruining the Internet just that little bit more and making life in this prison even worse. Bastards.

“I bet I’m playing the part of the kindly old uncle.”

London Boulevard.

Mitchell gets out of prison after a stretch for GBH and keen not to get sucked back into London’s criminal underworld. It’s not that easy, though, especially when Bob, the psychotic gay gangster, wants him to be part of the gang.

At the same time, Mitchell gets a job minding some celeb being stalked by the paparazzi. They fall in love, but Bob is also a rather insistent suitor, and it all ends in violence.

Just as Mitchell thinks he’s out, he’s unexpectedly stabbed. The end.

Let’s see. Bad film? No, not really. Plausible chemistry between Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley? None that I could see. Audible groan to see Ray Winstone playing another gangster? Yes. Inexplicable bits of storyline? Yes.

And that was the thing. Why did David Thewlis whack the corrupt policeman? How did Mitchell find out about the gruesome end of the failed doctor in whose house he was living? (Had a scene been deleted from the copy I watched?) Who was the photographer lurking outside Keira Knightley’s house when Mitchell first went there and how was he significant? (It seems he should’ve been.)

London Boulevard looks like a film of scenes from the book strung together, but not quite forming a coherent narrative. As I said, it’s not bad, but it is flawed.

Involuntary demodularisation.

Well, my iGoogle page appears, but none of the modules do. Gmail does appear when I go directly to it, which is some small compensation, but when I tried to download an attachment just now, the page got blocked, and when I tried to reverse through my history, I got lots of white space and no content. Who’s buggering things up this time? Well, my second attempt to download the aforementioned attachment crashed and burnt again.

The weather. Again.

Very grey with a hint of dampness this morning. I did go to Carrefour yesterday afternoon, but I really did need to be wearing full-dress uniform. What did I learn? I need to keep the pockets of my over-trousers zipped up because they’re not waterproof inside. What else did I learn (that I knew already)? The sectioning off of the sides of 县前街 is not just annoying because it limits the amount of available space, but also because that’s where all the rainwater accumulates so that you’re at risk of being sprayed by the rear wheel of the person in front of you, or forced to go through some rather deep puddles or both at once.

Anyway, I need to go and have lunch.