Episode #13: Eris Strikes!

Fear not dear reader, I haven't abandoned you like some bastard child. Much to the contrary, I've been the one victimized by having the Internet connection to my apartment disconnected and simultaneously catching a cold. The first problem was quickly solved by taking my account number on a scrap of paper to the local post office and paying the shocking negative balance on the account (it probably hadn't been paid for months before I arrived here).

Being sick has made teaching a lot less fun, of course - lack of energy, vocal projection, and (by the end of the day) will to live. I've been coughing all the time and slinging phlegm even more than the Chinese do. In an unprecedented low, earlier today I had to hand off teaching to the TA as I felt the terrorizing battle-cry of a sudden bowel movement. Shit. The one solace I have is that so far all of my precious bodily fluids have been the right color and texture. One co-worker here who is into biking around the city told me that once after a session, he coughed up a mucous as black as the night. If air pollution is this bad here, I can't imagine what it must be like in cities like Beijing.

Lately I've been a bit more reclusive, spending my night hours glued to news pages and forums, trying to follow all of the delicious chaos in Iran (Tehran riots over suspected election fraud) and China (the Xinjiang ethnic violence and the Shisou corruption riots). The two countries have interestingly used nearly identical tactics to quell their respective uprisings. It has provided excellent discussion material for some of my adult classes, where I have a chance to learn something as well. As China prepares to swiftly tidy itself up and celebrate the 60th anniversary of rule under the Communist Party, the current rhetoric of a "harmonious society" is being severly plagued by instances of corruption, unrest, censorship, discrimination, and economic discontent.

Minus the celebrating, it sounds not too unlike the United States. We do have one more major political party, though, so that's a point of pride, right? (And while US Internet Service Providers don't overtly censor the Net in the same way the CCP does, scores of lobbyists, politicians, and "concerned parents" are always hard at work, whittling away at online freedoms.)

Well, it's not all doom and gloom across the pond: at least we don't have mandatory summer drills for students.

Time to get some much needed rest. The sooner I'm back to health, the sooner I can drop some A-bomb tonnage on this bitch... you need to hear the hospital and beer-garden stories.


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