Thursday, March 29, 2007

How old?

I just tried to remember how old I am and for the life of me couldn't do it. If that wasn't bad enough I had to ask Phil, who couldn't remember either.....

.... and so we had to look it up on my blog.

I. Kid. You. Not.

Earth Hour

I have written before about the total of 98 light bulbs in our 110 m square apartment... well this weekend we are doing our bit to help the world on Earth Hour by turning off all these lights for one hour, on Sat 31st from 7.30-8.30pm.

SIGN UP TO EARTH HOUR and commit to turning off your lights on 31 March from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. It's free!

GET OFF STANDBY Unplug any appliances - mobile phone charger, TV, microwave, MP3 player - that are not being used and are on standby. Appliances left on standby account for up to 10% of the average household's electricity use.

SPREAD THE WORD about Earth Hour by involving your friends and family. Encourage them to sign-up turn off their lights at 7.30pm Saturday 31 March 2007... This year's Earth Hour will happen in Sydney, but we hope that Earth Hour can grow into a global campaign. If you live outside of Sydney, you can show your support by joining us and turning off your lights at 7.30pm local time
Read more here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


They should rename Blogspot as Blockspot- yes once again the Chinese government in all it's wisdom has blocked blogspot again. Why? Just in case we point out that their dictatorial control of the internet is against the fundamental human rights of free speech- oh, wait, they just demonstrated that themselves by blocking it in the first place.

Nevermind, I 'ave my vayz... but it makes posting comments on other blogs difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. So if I seem a little quiet you know why.

I know this cartoon is not entirely relevant to Blogger being blocked by the Chinese Govt, but it's along the censorship theme...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ni hao... know-how.

Australian newspapers are reporting that former Minister for Immigration Amanda Vanstone (pictured at right) has admitted to spending AU$30,000 (US$24,000) of tax payer's money on Mandarin lessons. I hate to say it, but it's just not that hard. Yes it's a complex language, one I myself have no where near mastered even though I live in China, but seriously... $30 thousand dollars? Someone needs to give that woman a big fat red F.

Read the article from the Sydney Morning Herald here

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rocket Man

During my English class today we were studying a unit on space travel and the future. Deciding to get away from the usual hero worship of astronauts and focus on the more person side of it, we listened to "Space Oddity" (Ground control to Major Tom...) by David Bowie, and Elton John's "Rocket Man".

After discussing how lonely and dangerous it must be in space I asked the teenage students to write a letter to their parents, imagining they are alone in their very own "Tin Can".

This is what Tony wrote (grammar mistakes and all... they are after all still learning):

Dear Mum,

Now I am in the space and I'm very miss you. So I decide to write a letter to you. In the space, the sky is all black like my dirty shirt. I remember you washed my shirt and trousers. After you washed them they became very clean. At this time, I also wear these clothes so that I can feel your warm and kind.

Do you remember, when I was a child, I wished to be a 'Rocket Man'? Now I complete it, bring my dream as well as yours. Though I am far from the earth and far from you, our heart will be together forever.

Perhaps I can't come back home, the rocket is burning. I will see the god. And I will tell him to keep your life longer. Sorry mum, your dear son can't complete your life with you. But you should be happy, don't sad about that.

I will miss you forever, forever!

Your son,


Words from a 14 year old boy that damn near made me cry right there in the middle of class.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Will paint for rent money

It's finally here! The Loud Creations Cafe Press store

Great huh? And this is just a sample. All items are decorated with my own original paintings, and what better way is there to take art off the gallery walls and into your homes.

Check it out. Great gifts, great clothes, great homewares, great way for you to help me pay my rent.

Ok, the hard sell is over. We now return you to your regular programming.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gummy Bears

"Gummy bears... bouncin' here and there and everywhere..."

Check out this chandelier made entirely of Gummy Bears:

Now that's what I call Tasteful art.

More on the YaYa Chou website (click on 'Sculpture')

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sightseeing in Moganshan

Some photos from Moganshan, 3.5 hours away from Shanghai:

Manny does Moganshan

Here is Manny during our "girls' trip" to Moganshan last weekend... alternatively titled "Manny of the Mountain"

With the girls: (clockwise from top: Maria, Me, Irene, Daniela, Federica, Cindy)

Posing in front of a pagoda on the mountain side

Next to the pond at the base of the Sword Falls

Lunch time, after some serious walking up the mountain

Watching the traffic from the mini-van, while returning to Hangzhou from Moganshan

Playing 'Uno' on the train back to Shanghai

Watching the world flash by from the train window.


Brought to you by Just Another Manny's Monday

'Cause you can never have too much food...

This is what happens when you go on a 2 day holiday with 4 Italian women...

(The worst thing is that there was still even more food hidden away in luggage at the time this photo was taken!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Jig Is Up

I am doing a "guest demonstration" at an international kindergarten for book week- demonstrating how to illustrate a book. To sixty 5 year olds. Ahem.

Anyway, I was looking for the text for Goldilocks and the Three Bears online, so I could print it out as a book and have each kid in the classes illustrate a page each. I found the plot line on Wikipedia, prefaced by this warning:

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
I appreciate the concern, but with one of the most well known fairytales of all time, I think the jig is up.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Quacon and Queggs

Me: "Hey! Do you know what I bought? It starts with 'W' and you eat them for breakfast with maple syrup..."
Phil: "Ummm..."
Me: "Rhymes with "squaffles..."
Phil: "Ummm... Quaffles?"


Saturday, March 03, 2007


Why is it that when I was young and single, not doing the dishes for days is funny, and a sign of how cool I must have been- the pile of dirty coffee mugs, toast plates and butter knives demonstrating that obviously I had better things to do than stay at home cleaning.

But now, in the grips of co-habitation* not doing the dishes for days just means that we are slobs living in our own filth.

When did this happen?

I must say I always liked Joan Rivers' take on housework:

"I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to do it all over again".
*is it just me, or does "co-habitation" sound like something zoo animals do? "The pandas have been kept in co-habitation for 8 months, in the hopes making a mate..."

Ethics, Schmethics

Is it ethical (or whatever) to grate a chunk of your knuckle into a pile of cheese, pull out the chunk of skin, and eat then the cheese anyway?

Just asking.

Kids these days...

On Sundays I teach English at a private school for Chinese students who want to learn English. When teaching a unit of the curriculum called "Old and New" the students were told to put the following in order from old to new:

  • CD
  • Record
  • Mp3
  • Cassette
  • Mini-disk

This prompted the following conversation:

Student A: "Teacher, what's a record?"

Me: "It's like a big black CD with lines cut into it. A needle in the record player rests in the lines, or grooves, and reads the music to play. When I was a little girl we only used records to listen to music."

Student B: "Oh yeah, I saw one of those things in the antiques market."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Got a long way to go

Check out World 66 for a map showing all the countries you've visited in red. This map shows I've sure got a long way to go... but I guess it's not bad considering I left Australia for the first time only 7 years ago.

create your own visited country map

What's your world map like?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bad blogger

Just when I'm thinking (again) that I desperately need to start going to the gym I get this word verification from blogger:

It's official- Blogger hates me.