For decades I could not understand why fashion houses were not beating down my door for advice and why Narda for so long has thought (and mentioned) something about my colour coordination not being up to snuff and today my doctor said I was colour-blind. Something about not seeing stuff in the blue-green spectrum. I always thought those two were two shades of gray– blimey.
hardware, software, knowledge of staff, time to learn and integrate more, finding commonality – this can be the largest task; one favours Mac or PC, Android, Ubuntu, Windows, Open Source, Microsoft, Adobe, laptop, Zoom, iPad, Blackberry, Firefox, Opera, Explorer, Open Office, Safari, Flash, and on and on. I have hundreds of programs on my computer, I have hundreds of video servers and web servers. I have highlighted a few that should be useful in a school environment at http://neuage.co/tabor
this is first and foremost with integrating technology.
I have more than fifty I subscribe to (see http://neuage.org for forty or so) and blogs – again I use six main ones and a handful of others I am having a go with to see what may be useful. OK so I was adopted, and I am a Leo with five planets and my MH in Leo but even without those little annoyances I still would be investigating all this so as to be the best educator I can be.
from being in Shanghai last week I know Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and about 25 other services I have tried are not available in China. I will look at building our own in-house social media site as I want to have a webTV service for our school as well as collaborative events available with several schools; St. Luke’s School in NYC definitely wants to be apart of us. Skype education is good for this and I am sure we will find the best way to broadcast and set up a small webTV for our school. I will follow David Truss (http://davidtruss.com) and his blogs as he was the principal of our neighbouring school in Dalian for the past few years though now he seems to have left. But he is very much into integrating technology and having done this in Dalian will give me a lot of guidance.
Each day that I am able to I will jot down what I am exploring/working with. I need to go to Melbourne and collect visas for China and we will be doing family things but most days I should be able to look at useful stuff. I will list each day also what web sites I have followed that day that may or may not influence my thinking in educational technology.
packing a crate to send to China back in NYC then dragging five overweight suitcases to Adelaide and now dwindling that down to one suitcase each to take to Dalian that I have not had much time to work on this. Plus getting renters settled in three houses; two in New York and the other in New Jersey. And of course we have to go through a shed of our stuff here. We went to New York for a two year working period and to look after my father who in his middle 90s was getting old but he lived to 102 and we stayed in New York for nine years. Now the shed of our stuff in Australia is in pretty bad shape and all that has to be sorted out but there will be time to blog on setting up technology for China.
started this tech educational blog for China (http://drupal.neuage.us) though I will post it elsewhere probably. Going though the new Fireworks 5.1 to see changes. DAIS has Adobe CS4 but I want to do e-books (like my tofu e-book – see http;//tofu.neuage.us) and teach this to others and inDesign CS5.5, just released, should be useful for this. But today it is Fireworks I am working with and Dreamweaver CS5.5 and reading David Truss’ blogs to get familiar with Dalian.
Now I am really really upset with China Eastern. It is not bad enough they have the worst food of any airline I have ever been on (and I have been flying internationally for 40 years with many airlines). As we are leaving the States for good (except for our three houses there which somehow keeps us attached) and moving way too much stuff to China and storing way too much in Australia for someday when we are settled in one place we have five overweight suitcases and several carry-on bags with us, I thought putting Leigh’s ashes into my checked-in luggage would be fine. Not only did they break open the box to see what was inside (there is a label on the box clearly stating “the remains of…”) but the box, which had also been inside a plastic bag, was left to spill all over my clothes and other articles. Since Leigh died in 2003, throwing away a successful career as a LA Dodgers’ pitcher for a girl, I have had his ashes with me. I was bringing them back to Adelaide with the thought of someday putting them somewhere. It is a traumatic thing to begin with now China Eastern has made my life a bit more difficult. Sacha has some ashes too and he does not know what to do with them. For now they are in his recording studio because he too wants to keep Leigh nearby.
It is so cold in Melbourne, a rainy winter storm night. A few days ago it was 98 degrees in New York City now I realise my winter clothes are in storage on a dock waiting to be shipped to China.
It is five AM, Narda is happily asleep probably dreaming of someplace warm and I am wide awake, shivering (they do not have central heating in houses in Australia) thinking it is 5.00 PM the evening before this morning. ‘Hey body clock get with the program.’ But it is great being here. From 1980 to 2002 Australia was home. I was poor with two children in tow those years. I am still poor but I get to fly around now instead of taking buses. So much has changed but decades changes everyone. Back in the 1980s I had a tenth grade education (that is why my syntax is still budget often); then for some strange reason at 43 years old, that would be 1991, I thought I would try and educate myself as it was obvious I was not going to become a well loved, sought after poet with no learnin’. I applied for, tested for, was accepted for a BA program at Deakin University in Melbourne. I thought, sure, easy, two kids, a failed tofu business, almost homeless, I can get a degree. Well I worked really hard and four years later I had a BA in literature and journalism. Then I thought, hey maybe I am smart and capable and applied to do an Honours degree, did that, and went for a Masters, did that and went for a PhD, which almost killed me and took seven years on two continents, but after 14 years I had gone from a tenth grade drop out to a doctor something. So I taught at university in Adelaide and then in New York then became a high school computer teacher then a middle school computer teacher then a primary school computer teacher and then it seems I was too old for any school in the States to want me so I went and got my teacher’s certificate from Darwin University. I did that off-campus whilst living in NYC watching Narda go off to work everyday, teaching. I did my ten-week practicum at Torrens Valley Christian School in Adelaide last July – September and lived upstairs from Narda’s parents whilst she was happily teaching in NYC. Got the teaching degree then got hired by Dalian American International School, Dalian China to be the middle school computer teacher and technology integrator. I am so excited. And sitting here, shivering in the dark, so as not to wake Narda, not even 24 hours back in Australia I realise what an interesting trip this has been. Not sure why I never did well with schooling in the States and Australia I do so much. Perhaps it is because my Mercury passes through Adelaide, like if that matters.
I suppose I am not a Yank anymore. After fleeing the States of the past 9 years I am totally using my Aussie passport. Lived here 22 years, and the States 41 years but now my China work visa says Aussie. ‘Hey World I’m OK.” Yet everyone says I sound like a Yank. Just don’t get it.
Sacha is doing so well, so maybe a little bit of my parenting rubbed off. His new DVD is so good but of course it seems everyone is doing a new DVD (except me – I am just writing an e-book on tofu – tofu.neuage.us). And yes Facebook/Twitter/youtube was blocked in China but it seems my blog links show up in Twitter and Facebook even if I don’t see them in China.
This is our second home in airbnb. In Harlem we lived for 17 days in Penny’s pad, we learned a -lot about her from her photos and poems all over the walls. In Melbourne we are at Imogen Manins’ studiom http://elwoodstudio.com.au/ which is only a few blocks from Sacha’s house. From the posters on the wall we learn that Imogen, http://www.imogenmanins.com/about.htm, is a cellist with lots of awards.
Staying in airbnb places http://www.airbnb.com/ is so much better than hotel rooms.
Now it is 6.30 AM, still dark outside, mid-winter and all, and I am ready to go back to bed. But I am starving and all we have is a loaf of bread. See I am wealthy.
We had a good stay at the Grand Mercure with a special interest in the loo: heated toilet seat, massage/vibrate, spray wash in various directions – dry; if this was not China (blocking youtube) and not the Shanghai Airport (blocking my uploads to my server) See the video clip, not of anything more than the toilet control box. If you are unable to view it, well you must be in China.
We popped into a cell phone shop to see how much a new Google phone would be. Unbelievable, there were eight floors of cell phone stalls, mostly iPhones and Android – OK what is left? There were a few Blackberry stalls. The building was packed with 20-year-olds. We must have looked strange; tall, not-Chinese, old – and confused. There were hundreds of cellphone stalls on each floor. I was unable to decipher the price. I thought we would be trampled by the youth of China – all 1.2 billion of them, in Shanghai to get the latest phone on the same day we just were having a look-see.
So another flight is delayed. We are not having a good time with China Eastern and probably rarely have. The food they served between JFK and Shanghai was so bad we could not eat it. I had the vegetarian slop which I could eat, barely, but Narda’s chicken was uneatable and her scrambled eggs – we have no idea what they were but they not only smelt revolting but we both spit out the first bite. But we have learned that China Eastern has the worst flight food of any airline we have ever been on.
OK so at 8 PM (our boarding time was 7.30) not only was there no check-in people but there was no plane in sight. At 8.30 someone appeared and said the flight would probably leave at 11.55 PM. If after midnight then we would have to wait until tomorrow. My son has taken a day off from work in Melbourne to meet us. Luckily I was able to Skype him and say at this point it looks as if we will be four hours late. The last time I saw him Virgin Airline had a computer problem and I was stuck at the Adelaide Airport for twelve hours and I got to Melbourne at 1 AM. Sacha collected me at the airport but he had to be at work that morning so there was no visiting time then. I suppose I am unwittingly getting him back for all those years during his adolescence when he… well all those nights of worry….
We were told we would be fed as it was a four hour delay. Sounds good, we are starving and tired, and jet-lagged frustrated.
The ‘meal’ was a pack of cookies and bottle of water. When it comes to China Eastern and food forget it. Why do we fly China Eastern? It was about a thousand dollars cheaper than any other airliners to get between the States and Australia and after a few trips, times two people, we have saved enough money to eat a proper meal every once in awhile, and stay at a nice hotel. And the staff have been good. We know it is not Singapore Airlines and we know they are at the bottom of the world-flying heap but hey….
The workers have been good to us. For example, we ask for exit-row seats and usually get them. No other airlines does that for us as they always get some young fit looking people sitting in exit-rows ready to rescue the passengers if the plane gets into strife. Not China Eastern. They have never asked us to read the safety card, or whether we were willing to help passengers through the exit if the plane lands in the Hudson. Actually they never talk to us. Being the tallest on the plane I suppose makes us look like able candidates. We love the extra leg room and the fact that no-one sitting in front of us will push back and there is no one in front of us in the exit-row. Of course we have had some better luck on other airlines such as Lufthansa upgrading us to Business between Bangalore and Frankfurt two years ago and an upgrade to business from Seoul to Singapore a few years back; both times for various reasons such as overbooking or being late and us complaining so much.
And our luggage. Shanghai airport has some good stuff: free wifi, storage facilities (we checked in three overweight suitcases last night and headed into downtown Shanghai), free baggage carts (JFK charges five dollars for the use of a cart with no-return funds) and there are probably some other good things. Back to our luggage; five well overweight suitcases and there was not a blink, they just went through, both at JFK and at Shanghai. We were charged $130 at JFK for an extra suitcase and at Shanghai we showed the JFK receipt and they did not charge us. So all our worries of the past few months of getting so much crap to Dalian is past. Our shipment was like 800 pounds overweight and they tried to charge us an additional $600 but we managed to wangle out of that and now we have more.
When at Shanghai Airport eat in the domestic terminal. The food is reasonable, if not almost tasty, and cheap. In the international terminal the food is very overpriced. We just bought two sandwiches and a coffee for 195 yuan ($30.29 USD) and the coffee was absolutely terrible.
Announcement ‘the Shanghai – Melbourne flight has been delayed. We will announce information’ – OK that was two-hours ago.
Let me be clear, we are not complaining; love China, happy to be moving to Dalian, looking forward to seeing family in Australia, loving traveling – just keeping track as we forget stuff so easy or get one trip meshed into another. We have finally left the USA after nine years and about fifteen return trips between the States and Australia with lots of countries explored between. Hopefully we will explore a lot more of the world over the next section of time.
I normally would write a short blog but being stuck at an airport for half a day brings out these musings in me….
We left a few hours late from JFK. At one point they said the airport was closed due to rain and lightening. By the time we got to Shanghai at 10 pm 14 hours later we were pretty stuffed. Fortunately the airport has storage lockers and we were able to leave behind three large suitcases and with our remaining two we got an hour taxi ride into town. Grand Mercure hotel is listed as a five star place. The beds were so soft and it would have been a long night sleep if we hadn’t slept for a few hours on the flight over. We were in bed by one am and wide awake @ 4.30, starving. We are clock watching for when the buffet opens at 6.30.
Just returned from such an excellent breakfast, one of the best we have seen in years anywhere in the world. With a little bit of energy left and too much food inside we are headed out for a couple of hours walk and will take a nap before flying on to Melbourne tonight.
A short clip of flying over the poles;
Youtube is not playing in China along with Facebook and Twitter and heaps of other sites so I will post on my own.
It is one of those moments when one realizes the suitcase is still ten-pounds overweight, the last-minute list has few things crossed off of it: ‘Go to Hoboken and change the insurance policy from home-owner to four young computer guys from India are renting our house’, ‘redirect mail to Australia’ which would be fine if the post office actually redirected mail. Since having redirected to our apartment in Harlem from our home in Jersey City 15 days ago we have not received one redirected piece of mail and I am now off to meet up with one of the Indian dudes who is bringing all our non-redirected mail into Manhattan to save a trip to Jersey City – though it does not save us a trip to Hoboken because our insurance company said they will not send our policy or any correspondence to Australia or to China, then that pesky ‘last-minute-list’ of Narda’s (she has been hanging last-minute-lists on doors and walls for the past 11 years, as we always seem to be packing and headed to an airport somewhere): close T-Mobile – we hate that company, return scales to school – probably because we are always over weight, not us, just the baggage – and to think the shipment to China which was like 800 pounds over weight is waiting for a ship that won’t sink to drag it over to Dalian, mail packages – that is because we are overweight so we are posting stuff at $58 per 12X12X5 inch box, book town-car for Friday, good golly that is two days away then we are off to JFK, cancel New York Sports Club – which I can’t get to today because of this damn last minute list, something about changing something with the airlines, order my vegetarian meals for China Eastern – oh no – they take out the meat and give me an extra serve of sticky yucky white rice, purchase excess luggage from Melbourne to Adelaide… and I just do not want to read on. I just wanted to go to the gym and work on my six-pack-not and biceps and those other saggy 63-year-old bits.
So what does one do when they get overwhelmed by ‘yes we are leaving the USA after nine-years, hoping renters in three-houses will behave and pay rent and not party too hard, and all those things we were going to do in NYC and the rest of the USofA and never did and all the people I was going to look up and say hi-bye to and all I did was get nine-years older with yet another to-do-list in front of me? Well what I do in these situations is work on my webpages and blogs and think OK I will give the gym a miss and this list will just get done through some cosmic virtual abstraction.
Just looked in the mirror – something I usually avoid – and saw two grey hairs – oh no! I had planned to wait until after 65 for that… This is what leaving the USofA has done to me.
Narda and I left at the same time, 7.15. She got to St. Luke’s School at 8 I got there at 11.30. She took the train I walked which proves the subway is faster than walking 145 blocks.
this is a youtube clip which of course does not work in China – where we are at the moment so if below is blank with no video you are in China
And just the day before we wandered over to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, an easier twenty-minute walk from home.
I started keeping track with 19 weeks to go.
We were hired via Skype whilst in Shanghai on our return from Christmas in Australia; 31 December 2010, we left New Year’s Day 2011 for NYC. When we heard those last words ‘we would like to hire you both’ we jumped up and down on our bed like children learning their parents had run away with the circus. What a way to end one year and start another one.
Being a teacher in New York City is good. Watching the City delete teachers is not good. Of course the last school I was at, Ross Global Academy was closed by the city’s education department for being about the worst school in NYC. It was not me, I only was the computer guy, it was those running the school; like with seven principals it its six year history, and the love of hiring teachers straight out of college (a cost saving) who had no experience dealing with an inner city public school or any school for that matter.
From their homepage “RGA is committed to providing a holistic education to enable students to develop a global worldview and the skills necessary for success in the 21st century. RGA prepares students to think critically and creatively, understand and respect different cultures, become leaders, use technology, live healthy lives and develop a passion for learning.”
Aside from using technology I did not see the rest of their ideals happening. RGA was a battlefield. But I am not knocking RGA, I enjoyed my working there and I set up some innovative projects such as our live musical interactions between RGA and the overly talented music teacher at St. Luke’s School (oh wait that is other one off to Dalian with me to teach, who was jumping on the bed at the end of December with me in Shanghai).
Seven days from now we get the local limo out of Harlem and head to JFK for a meal or two on the way to Shanghai for a couple of days then to Melbourne to see one son for a few days and off to Adelaide for six weeks to see more of the family. Narda is excited about her grandchild which is incubating in the Adelaide Hills. We will miss that birth, November, but we will be back for Christmas with an armful of strange baby things from China.
In the past 19 weeks we have managed to reduce our belongings to one seven by five by six foot container, collected a few weeks ago and sitting near some wharf to be tossed aboard some float-able device headed for Dalian. And two overweight suitcases and a few bags disguised as carry-on camera bags for our flights. We have gotten a painter for our houses in Round Lake and a new tenant for one of our houses up there and four Indian lads in their 20s renting our house in Jersey City. I think we are almost ready to go.
Of course we still have a few stray bags and boxes which we have to either wear or discard as they just won’t fit on the plane.
After nine years in New York we are out of here.
We came for a year or two in 2002 to look after my then 97 year-old-father, who shuffled about until a few months shy of 102. Now we are headed to China. We have one week left to explore and do all those things in New York City that we may never get to do again.
Created a tofu homepage to accompany my misguided e-book desire to share not only tofu recipes but a whole lot more. Like why was I making tofu in a foreign meat-eating country to begin with. So yes there are stories, including the day a herd of cows broke through a fence and ate my tofu burger mix. There is philosophy and so much more than what to do with tofu or what I did with tofu.
Oh the homepage for this is http://tofu.neuage.us/
like all moves, it was not easy, until it was over, then it seemed easy… by comparison. It was the lead up to moving that was the long process ~ a mere six months. A lot longer than eleven years ago when Narda helped me move out of my home in Christies Beach, South Australia on a 41 C (that is over one-hundred Fahrenheit) day and it seemed I had no concept of de-cluttering @ the time.
Eleven years later I know the concept but the reality has failed to integrate. Back in 2000 we just shoved it all in her father’s van and trailer and headed to Adelaide. Now after nine years in the States, the last three in Jersey City it was time to move on. We packed our main collectables and had a freight company pick them up a couple of weeks ago to ship to Dalian, China. I just received an e-mail that said we went over our 2500 pound agreement and now we need to pay $600 more. What??? our precious little collectables weigh more than 2500 pounds? “But dear they were just a few souvenirs I picked up along the way on our travels of the past decade”
This particular move, once the 2500 pounds + memorabilia was ready to sail the ocean blue across the great Atlantic (as we wish to avoid the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) Was OK. We have rented our house in Jersey City to four chaps from India who say they will take good care of our home. They are in their 20s and computer people. Of course they will keep our home tidy. They may even have some mates come visit from India time to time – I suppose if 0001% of the 1,155,347,700 population over there are coming to visit that would be 11553 friends … oh dear!
We shoved every thing in the car including Brendan and me, dropped off the Comcast cable stuff and drove to our new apartment (for 17 days) in Harlem – a really nice place I might add. Once Narda met us we dragged our meager belongings (minus the 2500 pounds waiting its turn for hijacking off the coast of somewhere). Same day we sold the car, well we sold it two days before but the buyer needed to wait to get insurance, nerve (he has never owned a car before) and the what-nots so I was there for him later. OK he did not get all his bits and pieces on Tuesday so on Wednesday he fronted up with insurance papers, license plates and the what-nots of a proud first-owner-car owner. Of course he had not realised it was a stick shift (our almost new 1995 Honda Civic with some rust as proof we lived in the snowy northern parts of New York for years) and he had not really driven a whole lot, but he did have his driver’s license. SO I drove the first leg of the journey of one of life’s great explorations (teaching someone to drive on a crowded Harlem street). “Be sure the clutch is in (this is the clutch) when you shift gears and slowly let out…” – I think that is what I said. I explained the speeds one should be at whilst in first, second and all those other gears. I showed reverse, the blinkers and said that Narda favours having the emergency brake on when stopping on a hill. Of course I never do, I mean what is that bloody clutch there for anyway? But knowing how horrified she gets with my hill stops and she is always right (she tells me that so it must be true) so I passed on some form, howbeit probably a bit abbreviated, of the etiquette of hill stops.
Then it was his turn, Tommy, the new car owner. Blimey! We lurched and ground and stopped suddenly and took off quickly and made darting turns down one-way streets (the other directional one-way) and I told him to ignore the cars beeping in their out-of-tune fashion (now there is a job for Narda; tune up the horns of NYC drivers so that they sound…. well, in-tune, I suppose) and just get comfortable with the driving experience.
Somehow we managed to get back to our new address in Harlem. I was so in shock that I muttered something about he was doing well and it is really a practice thing until driving becomes intuitive and I thanked someone I was still alive (I was so in shock it was probably god as there was no one else around) and collapsed on the bed of our new abode. Of course then I realised I had left our New Jersey license plates on the back seat and I would have to see Tommy again. I texted him and he wrote back that he loved the car (which dispelled any lingering doubt whether there is some higher protective good force looking after the Tommys of the world) and of course it meant he got back home to his wife (she has never driven before) and their child (oh dear is the baby going to drive this car?) and that he would get the plates back. This is Thursday afternoon and I suppose I should ring and find out when these plates will arrive, but I am afraid he may have missed a turn or forgot my handbrake lesson and is at the bottom of the Hudson.
And that is this week’s move.
We get to explore this really groovy looking area of Harlem – 145th street and Saint Nicholas (the gift giving dude). I got to the local gym and of course everyone looks so much more fit than me and they play hip hop (well this is that kind of area) but I will look good by the time we leave in 16 more days, flying over to Australia with way too much stuff then on to China where hopefully some of our boxes float to shore.
Having been a tofu manufacturer for eight years in South Australia gave me some wisdom, crisis, regrets, insanity, good products, sense of success, sense of failure, and now more than twenty years after making my last batch of tofu commercially I still wonder what it was that I was doing. It was not being a single parent (male single parent at that) in rural Australia as a foreigner (USA citizen) trying to have enough money to survive, fighting in court with a mother who seemed to just like fighting in court, bringing vegetarianism to a meat loving country but there was something enjoyable about the experience. I wrote a tofu cookbook, sold tofu throughout Australia, had dozens of products, even more dreams/illusions than there are soybeans in a 50 kilo bag and somehow managed to stumble through a weird set of years. Well that was the 1980s. Now in 2011 the only thing left to do is create an ebook about tofu. A combination of recipes, stories of survival (we moved our factory seven times in those eight years from a purpose built factory in the city of Adelaide to finally ending up in a dairy shed on a farm in Mt. Compass), tips on how to make kids think the tofu they are having for dinner could be meat, and some general philosophy. After all I did earn not only a BA, but a Master’s Degree, and finally a PhD so I suppose I should have something to philosophize about.
This is my cover – perhaps a messy cover but it was a messy experience;
cover for e-book tofu again?
After being interviewed via Skype in Shanghai 31 December 2010 for jobs at Dalian American International School – we flew to New York the next day – first of January 2011 – we have taken the for-real step of getting there. Today, almost five months later, the shippers collected our many boxes, about 40 of them, a desk and a chest, and drove out of Jersey City to put our belongings in storage to ship to Dalian.
We have spent months sorting and getting rid of nine years in New York of accumulation. Then when we thought we were finished we were told to take out any DVDs, CDs, Videos, Tapers and hard-drives, computer parts and a lot of other things. We just spent three days doing that. Then as they were loading the boxes this morning we received a phone call saying everything had to be counted. We had labeled each box describing content such as clothes, books, dishes and etc. Now they want the number of everything: ten pairs of socks, 12 new pairs of jocks, 17 tee-shirts, and one embarrassing box says 16 pairs of shoes (that would be Narda’s, not mine). And not only that, but whether the sheets were wool, cotton, linen… good golly what are getting ourselves into?
But now the house has one empty room. The rest of the house, all three-stories, is full of furniture and belongings. Fortunately we were able to rent it to four lads from India who are happy with a furnished house. Including a lot of electric goods, a well supplied kitchen, beds, blankets, cupboards, lamps…. Then there are the two houses in upstate New York, both rented out and both with our belongings in places, like the attic, basement and even a part of a shed. We will never get out of the States. Then there are all our belongings in Adelaide South Australia and our house there.
Maybe someday we will just give it all up and be happy with nothing and teaching/living/learning in a third world country.
Now with seven days left in this house we have to get ourselves packed with what we will drag to Australia. In one week we are moving to Harlem for 17 days as we rented this house from the first of June.
Back to Dalian…. yes we are excited. I have started making a list of what I want to teach. I will get to that tomorrow. Today we managed to see our belongings begin their journey.
Move To Dalian