Archive for December 2004

Observations of Stuff

W00t, yet another set of observations. This time from the household. Now that I think over it, it is shit-splittingly funny. It all began like this… around 19:00, my brother is taking a shower, and two of my cousins are playing in the living room. They’re 5/m and 4/f, and they’re amusing themselves by cutting up advertisements in the newspaper (today’s newspaper, I might add). It seems to be all they want to do; they’re often asking me to draw pictures and cut them out… (List of things I’ve been asked to draw so far: strawberries, grapes, oranges, butterflies, 747s, jet fighter, two-nosed jet fighter – I have no idea about the aerodynamics of a plane with two noses, but I was asked anyway, X’mas tree, ice cream). Now, her father (my uncle), has told her many times not to play with scissors, and so she’s always asked someone else to cut them out so far. Well, this night my grandmother was playing the part when suddenly my brother call out from the washroom – there’s no hot water. So my grandmother goes to call the gas guys (see, water heating is provided by natural gas, only the gas is delivered not by pipe but from a tank, much like those little propane tanks you plug a barbecue into, only bigger, like a metre tall). At this point, all hell breaks loose. Since my youngest cousin has tried to grab my other cousin’s scissors (cause he was cutting up today’s newspaper), they’ve started fighting – with the scissors opening and closing because each had a hold of one handle. My grandfather is trying to get them to stop before somebody has their wrist slit, and their mother rushes over with a bamboo STICK (its intended use should be obvious) and finally my youngest cousin drops the scissors. She then starts wailing "我要剪東西!!!" (roughly translated, "I want to cut stuff." Had she been any older, I would be translating "I want to cut shit"). My grandmother is outside showing the gas guy the way around the house to where the empty tank is (it was an emergency call for gas, and they got here within 10 minutes), my aunt is trying to get her daughter to shut up because my grandfather hates crying, my grandfather is shouting at her to shut up because he hates crying (and he’s entitled to that), and meanwhile the other kid is cutting away at the newspaper. A minute later, I’m in the kitchen between the back window and the washroom relaying messages (and translating simulatenously) between my brother, who’s testing for hot water, and the gas guy outside the kitchen in the back, who’s trying to figure out how much to loosen the tank valve. Above this shouting is my grandfather who is now telling the other kid to put the scissors away (sibling fairness) and my aunt is out front with her daughter because when she cries she needs to GO, and my brother is in the only bathroom in the house, and now she’s crying because she really needs to GO. When my brother stepped out of the washroom, everything was quiet again because, in the meantime, the following had occured: the daughter had peed into a bucket in a private corner out front (it ain’t no front yard like those in Toronto) and so was not crying anymore, my grandfather got really pissed off and he’s now holding the scissors, the gas guy had left having delivered the tank, and the children then went home with their mom, and so everything was all quiet again.

Heh, it get’s pretty crazy around here sometimes.

On a totally unrelated note, I would like to identify some observations that only an engineer or a geek would be gaga over… 1) I saw a cable-stay bridge. A long one at that. 2) I have yet to see a traffic light that did not have LED bulbs. 3) There are countdown timers on the pedestrian walk signals. 4) There are countdown timers on the traffic signals at major intersections. 5) Traffic signals go for as much as 58 seconds per direction here. 6) The pedestrian walk signals are either a person standing still, or an animated person walking, or when the countdown timer is at 10 seconds, the person is running.

Anyway, that’s that.

The word of the day is "我要剪東西!!!"