Boy, have I been busy wasting a lot of my time. I’ve rediscovered torrents, which are little files that you use in a torrent client such as Bittorrent that allow you to download things (such as feature films) from the Internet. They work by keeping track of where you are in your download and constantly changing which computer they are getting things from, depending on who is online and what they have. Most of the time the downloads return something worthwhile. Occasionally I get a download that needs a password and to get the password (in theory) you have to go to a site and answer a few questions. That doesn’t work so I’m learning how to recognize these faker’s.
Most of the films have been ripped from DVD’s (people are so dishonest) and then there are the lowest of the low, those that take video cameras with them to see a move and tape the movie. The quality is weak but you get the newer movies faster. I downloaded the new “Lincoln” movie by Steven Spielberg yesterday but I’m not sure if I’ll watch it. I might just wait for a DVD copy.
In all I think I’ve download over 20 movies this week that are watchable. I like foreign films so I take a chance on a lot of them hoping they have English subtitles. I don’t always win. It can take a few hours to download a film, or several days depending on how many people have it and are online. I guess since they are free and what I’m doing is illegal, I can’t complain. But I’m finding new ones and some classics so I’m happy. I consulted “Rotten Tomatoes” for the best of 2012 list to see what appealed to me and if it sounded good, I went for it.
I bought some DVD movies and received them. They are naturally copies but what to you expect for about $1.50. I think they can copy Blu-Ray now, which they couldn’t do before (I think). We watched “The Avengers” this weekend and it looked like Blu-Ray. It’s not my type of movie but it was good for it’s kind. A waste of time.
I’m almost finished watching Ken Burn’s “Baseball” which I never saw but always wanted to see. I’ve seen the first 9 parts and then about 15 years later he shot a 10th part which is interesting. It’s weird seeing a lot of the people who he interviewed and how much they’ve aged in the meantime. Sometimes it’s quite shocking. John Chancellor who narrated the original is no longer among the living so they had to get a new narrator. I always liked John Chancellor and when watching elections I usually stuck with NBC because of him.
For my Tuesday movie I showed “12 Angry Men”. It is truly a great film and the tension is unbelievable. It’s the story of a jury locked in a room deciding someone’s fate. It’s now a play and I’d love to see it. My DVD was terrible and kept pausing (it worked fine last year) so I guess I’ll have to spend another dollar and get a new one for next year. The students enjoyed it and were quite engrossed by it so I was pleased. Next Tuesday will be my last film until March due to exams and the Spring Festival holiday. I think I’ll treat them to “Princess Bride”. I don’t want to throw too many intelligent movies at them at once.
My culture students did their plays this last week and some of them were unbelievably clever and funny. They never get to do things like this in school and they enjoy being on their own and having the responsibility to do the job the best way they see fit. There were a few dogs, but at least 70% were pretty good and a couple were excellent. I loved it and the students loved doing them.
This week I’ll give them their exam questions (since the exam is a phony) and there marks will be based on what I think they should get. It’s fair. My students like me now after a rocky start when they thought I was too serious. Now if I ask them if they think I’m serious, they just laugh. I also let them leave early sometimes because if I’m finished there is no use repeating myself. Class discussions are next to impossible but one on one’s work as do small groups.
I’m think I may have to fail a bunch of my writing students for lack of effort. I don’t care if they try and make one hundred mistakes, but I hate when they are sloppy and make no effort. Some of my comments on their papers are quite insulting like “why don’t you just stay home”. I gave them a paper of “How to get a zero on a writing paper” and it doesn’t matter how many times I repeat myself, they still make dumb mistakes such as putting a space before a period or one space after. They will spell a country with a small letter (china) as opposed to a capital letter (China). I tell them they can make grammar and structure mistakes, but some mistakes are not permitted. So I give out zeros now. I sort of feel bad but I shouldn’t. If they don’t try, why should I care? I need to find out what happens to the students I fail. I know they will get a make-up exam but even that wouldn’t make me pass them. I’m hoping that this semester can be forgotten and it’s the end of the year mark that counts. That way this is a warning that may stick.
Two more weeks and then exams. What’s the exam schedule? How the hell do I know. What is Shujie teaching next semester and what’s her schedule? How the hell does she know. It’s o easy to plan the year in advance but they would rather do everything in a rush at the last second. It’s the Chinese way and it’s hard to adapt. I guess I’m lucky since I know my schedule.
They’ve rehired some teachers who I would not let within 1,000 yards of any child of mine. The school claims they check the teachers and query the students to find out who is good or not, but that’s not true. There is one bozo (there are a few bozo’s) who shows movies so he can play games on his cellphone. I have not heard one student say anything positive about him. I want to go somewhere where there are less foreign teachers so I don’t live in a Westerner’s ghetto (our apartment). Some of these teachers are so pathetic that they like spending all their time going out together. I don’t understand. If you come to China, don’t you want a different experience? If you want Western people, stay home.
One teacher who I didn’t mind as a person fell through the floor of my respect for him this week. I commented that the most important thing I can do is not teach English (that’s second), but to help the students learn to think for themselves and take responsibility. He didn’t agree with that since the school hired him to teach English so that’s his most important job. To my mind, that’s crap. Why not try and expand their minds a little? Who cares what the school thinks. To communicate we must communicate in English (it’s all I know) so they do learn English without really thinking they are learning English. It works. He’s an idiot.
I want a smaller school with much less English teachers so I can be B.M.O.C. I want to be left alone by management (and they pretty much leave me alone except for making me give exams which really isn’t their fault since it’s a directive from Education Department of the province). I’m not interested in being in a “Westerner’s clique”. We shall see what the future holds when the future comes closer.
My VPN which allows me to access several sites blocked by the Chinese is not working up to snuff. The brains here have come up with a new way to block it off (but since I’m posting you can get around it) and my VPN Company is coming up with new software to beat it. There is hunger in China. There is unemployment in China. And what do these morons spend their money on? To keep people off Facebook. If they really wanted to punish their citizens they would let them on Facebook. I went into one class this week and ranted about censorship for about an hour. The students didn’t seem to care and then finally one girl said, “it bothers me but what can I do about it”. That’s the problem. If only one person stands up, then nothing is done. You need millions to stand up to get something done. They are so brainwashed here that they think they are free and the government knows best, but are they ever fooled. I know I can’t change the country, but maybe I can get some young people to open their minds and think, one person at a time.
So that’s it for now. Until we meet again, happy trails to you.