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Speaking of peeps…

… with time on their hands…

I just don’t see the point of having to have the latest and “greatest” as soon as available…



On the closing of distances and the speed of technological change – Trashy in China, Part 5

Not so very long ago, the sight of my colleagues and I would have brought about looks of curiosity in Beijing. White faces were not all that commonly seen among the average populace. Visitors stood out and were usually visiting government officials of western businessmen. They were most certainly not seen in the alley markets and shops where the common folk shopped.

Today, after the opening of Chinese society to the West, the integration of the Chinese economy with the rest of the world and increased tourism, Western faces are now commonplace. True, my colleagues and I did stand out from the crowd in some places more than others. And true, I would imagine that there are many places outside the urban centres where a white, bearded bald guy would still be a curiosity, but overall, we aren’t that big a deal anymore.

And it is not only the social, economic and cultural changes that have contributed to this demystification of white folks. Think about the time that it takes to travel here. At one time it would take a year or more by ship. Then it was months by train using such magical routes like the Orient Express. The advent of air travel made the journey even less. And today? Well, with some favourable winds over the North Pole, we arrived on Tuesday afternoon after only 13ish hours in the air. In my lifetime the journey has gone from one of days to mere hours.

The shrinking of the distance between our two societies is not confined to the spatial/ physical. Through the wonder of the Net and Skype, I spoke with my family this morning. And using a webcam, could see them as I spoke – in real time. For free.

Culturally, I imagine that the lay of the land is much different now in the early 21st century than it was before the opening of Chinese society and the shrinking of the distance between our worlds. Much of the original culture is preserved – and rather ferociously, I imagine. A theatre listed only 2 of 9 features that were from Hollywood. In spite of a schooling system that insists on 5 years minimum of English language training, English is seldom heard and rarely understood. Rickshaws and bikes are still a prominent way to get around. In side street markets there are scorpions and beetles on sticks – to eat shish kabob style!

014Even in the very modern buffet restaurant where we have lunch each day there are foods that I don’t recognise.

But there is a KFC down the street from my hotel. And apparently a Wal-Mart at a mall down the street. And a Scrawny Ronnie’s too.

My colleagues in the Chinese government tell me that they sort their household wastes into different boxes before pick-up. They compost organics. They worry about landfill space.

We cut through a high-end mall that could have been in Ottawa, Toronto or Montreal… complete with eyeball-searing lighting, model quality floor staff and fashions that wouldn’t look out of place in the Resident Love Goddess’s closet. And Audis and Hyundai’s are replacing the bikes and rickshaws. It might be happening slowly, but ever so surely, western norms are an invasive species.

I wonder what this place will look like in 50 years…


Totally unneccesary invasion of privacy!

I  need everyone who reads this to check out this blog entry by XUP.

I saw an article about this in the Globe the other day and the first thought to cross my mind was “why”?

Why is this technology needed?

I can see the YouTube vids now! EVERYTHING eventually ends up on YouTube! These pics, at the very least, will provide some jollies to more than a few security agents!

“Hey, Ralph, check out the kaboo-boos on this one, ain’t she a treat to the eyes?”
“Sure thing Herman, but ya should seen the bod on this chick that flew to Paris last week!”

Seriously, we have to question this hare-brained idea, and now. What is the impetus for this? Has there been a recent incident where a would-be terrorist has tried to sneak verboten items in his or her body cavities? Where is the “thing” that the CBSA (Can. Border Services Agency) can point to and say: “see – THIS is why we have to do this!”

I’d start a fb group decrying this but as I am a frequent flier, I fear I would be put on someone’s “list”.

Can you tell that I’m really pissed off about this?

Write your MP. Your MPP. Your Mom. Your psychic healer.



Help! I lost my freakin’ phone and I can’t get up!

Yeah, I know only readers of a certain vinatge will catch on the the title of this note.

Anyway, Trashy has lost his cell phone. I liked my Razr. It was light. Had a big keypad for my stubby fingers. The volume was great. I miss her.

Dunno where I went wrong. I’m pretty anal about where on my body I carry my phone and am usually aware of its presence. My best guess is that I lost it on the #86 or at Elmvale Acres plaza. Yeah – I called both OC Transpo and the plaza… and got zilch.

So, it is looking like Trashy may have to get a new one – much to my chagrin. I am holding off until at least the weekend to see if it turns up, but if not, it’s off to Rogers I go. I’m finding it very inconvenient and frustrating not being plugged in while at a meeting or on the bus.

To the purpose of this scribble.

I am soliciting opinions on what I should spend my hard-earned shekels.

These are my specs:

  1. It has to be Rogers compatible.
  2. I like to send pics from time to time.
  3. It has to have a clear and preferably large display.  My vision ain’t what it used to be.
  4. I’m not hung up on surfing the net on my phone, but I would like to access my email once in a while.
  5. Good volume (I don’t hear so well either – too many chainsaws and bulldozers as a younger guy – with no hearing protection)
  6. I’m not a heavy user of voice or text. I send less than 100 texts per month and am always under my 200 minute limit. I point out my usage patterns only because some phones are available only if one signs up on a specific plan.

I might just get another Razr – but maybe I’m ready for a change. Any advice would be appreciated. Do you already have a phone that would seem to meet my requirements? Are there any cell phone phanatics out there that may be able to help?

My old phone. May she rest in peace.

My old phone. May she rest in peace.