Saturday night we stayed up until 2am or so playing Katamari Damacy. The only reason I didn’t play all day Sunday was that my thumbs were totally sore, plus I promised Paul we’d spend time at his place so he could work on the yamabago while I dutifully practiced my Mandarin.
What was the highlight of the weekend? Well, probably the Dakar presentation at SFMC. Or maybe the ice cream on Sunday afternoon. Perhaps watching drag queens scurry in from the rain at a café Saturday night? Watching videos of wombats online Sunday night after watching Shanghai Triad? (I actually was able to pick out words I understood. Not enough, but SOME)
It certainly wasn’t the time spent Saturday morning trying to get a check in British Pounds Sterling for our home stay at Isle of Man. The lack of math skills in this country is fucking frightening. It’s a good thing our culture is proud of stupidity, because otherwise, I don’t know how we’d be able to live with ourselves.
Maybe you know that I didn’t finish high school. I was b-o-r-e-d and insulted and just generally wasting my time there, so I ditched it after my junior year. To go to college. You have to take this test, the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam), to obtain your Equivalency Certificate. So, if it’s equivalent, I suppose that this test represents what they expect a high school grad to know.
It was horrible. I guess most of the kids at the test that morning were just high school dropouts who couldn’t hack it (which is saying a lot, considering how low our standards are) and were making a last-ditch effort to get out of high school with SOMETHING.
Instead of reading comprehension, the questions would ask for a direct quote from the preceding passage. No synthesis was required, just search and repeat. Multiple-choice made it even more insulting. Wait, it gets better. The crown jewel of the test was the multiple-choice question “What is 100% of 32?” I just don’t know. You see a question like that, and your immediate reaction is “This has to be a trick question.” “Am I reading this wrong somehow?” It’s like someone walking in off the street and handing you $100 for no reason. You feel a little suspicious.
The “essay” questions, holy cow… #1 was “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Gee, I remember writing arguments and supporting material into essays. Essentially, this was a laundry list question. I don’t remember the second question specifically, but I remember it was about television.
Amazingly, I managed to pass this test. I shudder to think about those who did not pass. I remember finishing the test, looking up, and seeing some sweaty palms and nervous kids. This terrifies me.
OK, so back to what I’ve been up to: This weekend was mostly relaxing, but we got some stuff done and saw some folks at SFMC on Saturday.
Prior to that? Tuesday we had dinner with Marisa and Luke. Monday I started my second semester Conversational Mandarin class. Which is very bizarre. Suit came in wearing jeans, which totally confused me. Pole-clown apparently has given up her burgeoning clown career to become a student, and the instructor spent 20 minutes talking about prostitutes in China. One guy appeared to be taking notes diligently at this point, “so, if you ask for a xiaojie, it’s going to be understood that you want a prostitute?” Hey, language class ought to be useful, right? I know how to say, “I don’t speak Mandarin.” And “I’m vegetarian.” Can I quit now? Oh, yeah, and “I want a prostitute.”
Last weekend we were in San Jose with my folks, and went to see Lion King on Saturday. This is the production by Julie Taymor, who made Titus, one of my favorite movies. The visuals effects and costumes are very cool. The story and music suck donkey balls. I HATE Disney. Oh, I get it, the lion, courage; oh, it’s so touching.
But time spent with family is always good time. My dad broke out the wine and chocolate, and we all got loaded. We’ll actually be back down there this weekend. I plan to drink as much wine as I can.