Monday, December 29, 2014

good tidings and cheer

I was faced with a dilemma this week when I received a gift certificate to a local shop at my holiday party lucky draw. I detest shopping malls and have managed to avoid them entirely this year with the exception of entering them to access restaurants. I was tempted to let the gift certificate go but it was for a considerable amount of money so I decided to force SB to accompany me to Hysan Place for yum cha and shopping on Sunday morning. 

Once SB's belly was filled with delicious, dumpling goodness, I yanked him past the throngs of iPhone peddlers, around mainland shoppers who were using their hard shelled luggage as battering rams, and up the escalators into the mall.  Everything was going smoothly at the shop until a few minutes later when I felt something kick into my leg, followed by a loud exclamation. I looked up from the rack of shirts that I was inspecting to discover that a woman had managed to trip over me and was rubbing the front of her leg and glaring at me.

"Sorry," I said, though it came out as a bit of a question since I wasn't sure what had occurred. The woman continued to glare and at a loss, I turned back to the rack. Then the woman began to yell at me. SB came over to ask what was going on and I told him that the woman had tripped over me while I was stationary and somehow thought it was my fault. At this point the woman was having a fit over some invisible scratch on the toe of her fugly designer shoes (the ones that look like cheap plastic with spikes if you are in the know of really implausibly hideous, expensive shoes). SB is usually the moderate one in our relationship but something that the woman shrieked at us set him off. He wouldn't tell me what she called me but it resulted in him releasing his own stream of invective dialogue. Later he told me that he was impressed by how many insults he remembered from his days at Nanjing Normal University. I have never been to Nanjing but have noticed that many crazy tourists in the news of late hail from Nanjing, such as the hot noodle throwing, I'm gonna bomb the plane couple. I imagine that Nanjing is as good a place as any to learn the rudest, most obnoxious behavior.

Whatever SB said, coupled with the shock that some white guy was saying it, shut the woman up. Then she rushed over to her boyfriend and pointed at us in a gesture that can be recognized in any culture: I'm angry so now you must defend my honor. I responded by puffing up like a fighting bird in the equally recognizable 'bring it on' manner. SB, with his ADHD, had already moved on and was no longer paying attention. He was messaging a friend regarding creative Chinese insults. The woman's boyfriend declined to defend her honor so she flung one last insult our way (from a safe distance) and then stomped after him, her ugly, neon green, spiked Valentinos clacking away as she retreated with her luggage.

During the entire exchange, which may have lasted 45 seconds, the salesgirl managed to pretend that nothing was amiss and stood by my side like glue with her most helpful facial expression. I rewarded her single mindedness by spending all of the voucher and more. I can't imagine a more painful job.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

season's seethings

Earlier this year I was annoyed to hear that the US Supreme Court with its majority conservative justices had ruled that companies could exclude birth control coverage from mandatory health insurance if the companies claimed sincerely held religious beliefs against contraception. The Supreme Court also declared that a company claiming religious reasons to exclude parts of health insurance coverage didn't have to prove its sincerity but that they were to be held at their word. I read some outrageous comments from gleeful conservative groups basically announcing their intent to thwart 'Obamacare' by claiming religious exemptions to everything since their would be no burden of proof.

Another supposed win for a certain type of Christianity, which can only be described using the term Christian in the broadest terms, ruled that a Christian student could use school provided publication fees to print offensive pamphlets because when the state school opened a forum for freedom of expression it had to include even the most odious types of expression. More rejoicing sounded from the special Christians.

This is why last night I laughed out loud to read that the Satanic Temple was erecting displays in various state capitals. They and other groups decided to use the court rulings to their own advantage since two things were very clear: state funded forums had to allow even the most odious religious display if they allowed any at all, and the 'religious' organizations didn't have to prove that they even believed in the expressions of their odious display because they were to be taken at their word. So every state capital that allowed a religious scene to be displayed had to allow anything else also. In a state building in Tallahassee, displays ranged from the Satanic Temple's angel falling into a pit of fire ("Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple") to a plate of spaghetti (from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) to a six foot tall, beer can adorned Festivus pole.

Various religious groups are protesting these displays as attacks on Christianity, having failed to appreciate the irony of the situation.

Happy Holidays to all of my readers, and I wish you all a season of good cheer and laughter!

Monday, December 22, 2014

change in situation

SB called me from where he was hiking with the pups to tell me that Tippytoes and Elsie had spotted a cat and took off after it. Elsie eventually came back but Tippy continued to fly down the stairs. After securing Elsie, SB ran down the equivalent of six flights of stairs, heart pounding. Somewhere down below he heard tires screeching and horns honking. He stopped running and phoned me. At this point either it was too late or if it wasn't, he didn't want to do anything to cause Tippy to react if she had somehow managed to cross the busy road. 

I was already in hell as I had somehow managed to end up in the middle of a packed shopping mall in Kowloon Tong. Then this horrible news. I hyperventilated while SB crept down the remaining steps to the road. Then SB hung up on me. I stood in the middle of the holiday shoppers and tried not to cry.

SB sent me a message a few very long minutes later. Tippy was waiting for him at the bottom of the steps. He called her and she came to him very slowly. She was wheezing. He checked her all over but found no sign of injury. She was just panting that way because she was exhausted and possibly panicked having lost track of where SB was as well as whatever had happened down below in the road. He wanted to strangle her for scaring him but he couldn't even punish her for running off because she had come to him when he called her and he didn't want to send mixed messages. He decided that the dominant emotion was relief that he would be returning home with two dogs. 

As soon as I finished phoning him to shriek at him because...well, there was no reason to shriek but I had to so I did. Anyway, once that was over, I returned home where I found Tippy asleep on SB and Elsie curled up by his side and snoring. I woke Tippy up to tell her how happy I was that she was still alive. Then I cuddled everyone and vowed that we would never ever leave the safety of our home ever again. Ever. I told SB to buy those doggy wee pads because the furbabies are never doing anything mildly unsafe such as walking outdoors again. I forgot the vow later that night when we took them for their evening wrestle with Buddy and then again when I took them on the morning walk with Raisin and Billy but I reminded SB as I was leaving for work that the furbabies can't leave the flat anymore. Ever.

Monday, December 15, 2014

all things come to a halt

This morning I was greeted by the sight of stalled traffic in Causeway Bay due to the poorly planned and executed police operation to line up Hennessy Road with a dozen vans, seemingly without having taken into consideration the Monday morning commute. At the front of the traffic snarl, a police officer was arguing with an irate bus driver while other drivers milled about on the street complaining with each other or taking pictures of the police vans that were blocking the intersection. Several hundred people being made late to work is a small sacrifice to restoring order by being able to easily load a couple dozen protesters into on of the multitude of transportation vans. Possibly each protester could have their own private prison shuttle.

Friday, December 12, 2014

no such thing as privacy

In case there was still a person out there in the world who still felt like they were protected behind their double passworded, firewalled, anti-virus pro plus account, the Sony hacks were a wake up call. If someone wants to access your private online information badly enough, they will find a way. Personally, I feel moderately secure only because I'm just not interesting enough for anyone to take the time to hack me.

I have strong feelings about the publication of Sony emails. In a lot of ways I consider media reports of the private conversations between Sony executives, especially those relating to legal counsel, to be a gross violation of privacy in the same way as publishing private, naked pictures. No legitimate news agency wanted to touch the naked pictures for fear of being sued six ways to Sunday, not to mention their claims of being better people than that. Maybe it's due to my comfort level of my body but if I had a choice, I would rather the world know my personal grooming habits than know my personal discussions. I would much rather frolic about with everything hanging out than let my most private thoughts be hurled onto the public stage.

I start and delete a lot of blog posts because in the rereading I discover that they reveal too much. I share a lot of myself with my readers, more than I ever thought that I would share with strangers, but I draw the line at vomiting out all of my major malfunctions in detail. It is horrifying to think that someone could break into my account and share the crazy emails that pass between my family onto a public forum, and that news agencies could repeat it until only Gollum and his fellow hermits would have been excluded from the list of people who have invaded my privacy. 

And in case anyone has confused me for interesting, let me save the time of hacking my stuff and reveal my deep, dark secret that I am batshit crazy and have plenty of electronic proof of this. And if you look up the emails between my family members around the holidays you will find that I come by it rightfully.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

end of the road?

SB and I scurried over to Admiralty to bear witness to the clearing out of the protesters. As it turned out, they were not exactly being cleared out, except for the ones blocking the entrance to some government buildings. There was mounting frustration on both sides, but SB and I tend to back those who aren't armed with batons and clubbing people.

Over in our homeland, people are divided among race lines over several shootings of black teenagers and kids by the police.  There kids weren't exactly boy scouts and attempts by their friends to paint them as saints have largely hurt their cases as we are now skeptical of everything that was claimed by the friends, but I believe that the greater issue is that our peace officers have amongst their numbers, fellows who aren't so interested in diffusing a situation. All it takes is one hotshot with a gun and something to prove. I read somewhere that this may be about angry black people against the police, but it is just as much about angry white people against change.

Maybe, just maybe, the high number of black people being arrested isn't due to their high level of criminality as a race.