2021年1月18日 星期一

Entry #204

The end of the semester approacheth*.  With what sober meditation shall I begin this lengthy discussion?  Let us begin with St. Anselm, and his ontological argument for the existence of the Deity.

1. St. Anselm, and His Ontological Argument for the Existence of the Deity

Pineapples are my favorite fruit!

2. What's your name?

Some of the people reading this blog know my name.  It's not a great mystery.  If you're one of those who don't it's not a big deal.  I am in reality a very boring person, and many people find conversations with me confusing.

Would I like you if I met you?  Probably.  I like most people I meet.  For example, in the two schools where I work, I like 19 people out of the 20 or so I regularly see there.  In terms of other foreign residents, I think the ratio is similar.  I don't, however, trust people who say they like everyone.  Such people probably need to get more in touch with themselves.

3. How old are you?

I turned 46 recently.  I also have a daughter who recently turned 20.  Do I feel old?  Not really.  I feel pretty much the same as I always do.  I feel like me.

It's a very obvious thing to say, but exercise and eating right helps.  I've noticed that friends who don't eat right or exercise seem to get sick a lot easier.

4. What color is it?

It, as in the universe?  I like to think of the universe as being turquoise, like those stones you buy in desert places.  My favorite color is green, but I like to think of the universe as being turquoise.  I'll bet you anything that there's some weird religion or philosophy centered around colors, and that in this system of belief turquoise has a special connotation.

5. Is it a bird?

"Bird" in Taiwan is often slang for penis.  English teachers here must always be careful when using "bird" in the classroom, especially in conjunction with "small" or "big."  Junior high school students always have a field day with "bird."  When I was teaching junior high school "motel" was another danger word.

6. Are you fat?

No, not at all.  Some people tell me I'm too thin.  In the summer I sweat off a lot of weight, in the winter I'm slightly bigger.

7. Who's he?

You mean that guy outside, on the basketball court?  I believe he's the school PE teacher.  Today seems to be jump rope class.  I like PE teachers more when they don't yell all the time.  Some PE teachers are big believers in military-style discipline, and hearing them berate kids for not lining up properly gets old fast.

8. Are you a doctor?

No, I'm not.  I happen to be a teacher of English.  I've been a teacher of English for over twenty years, and yes, I still like the job.  Unlike some other foreign English teachers, I'm not looking to teach in a university (done that already), and I'm not overly concerned with how much I make in comparison to others.

And I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, but most teachers in most universities don't make all that much money.  I think what keeps a lot of people employed in universities is a sense of prestige (or in some cases intellectual vanity), but the reality of teaching in a university is often quite different from what people imagine it to be.  Sure, if you're a halfway attractive person there's the lure of sexually inquisitive college students, but that can be a dangerous game to play.

9. Can you run?

Yeah, I ran yesterday.  How far did I run?  I'm not sure.  I definitely ran more than 6 km, but I'm not sure how far it is from my village to the next village over.  I'm guessing around 7 km?  Definitely not more than 8 km.

I run on Wednesdays now.  I'd like to run more, but that will probably have to wait.  I'll be able to run twice a week during winter vacation, but for now I'm a little hampered by bicycling back and forth between my house and my two schools.  There's also the garbage truck to consider.  If I run twice a week I'll probably miss the garbage truck.

10. Can you read?

Yes I can, thank you.  I've been reading since I was old enough to read.  Presently I'm reading a somewhat boring novel called Man's Fate.  It's about the communist revolution in China, and it was written by a Frenchman in the 1930s.

The characters in this book get into the most pointless conversations.  They'll be raiding a police station for arms, and then a character will start talking about fate, or the historical necessity for revolution, or something similarly irritating.  Then something violent will happen, but it wont' be something violent enough to keep you interested in the story.

Before Man's Fate I was reading another book called The God Machine, written in 1968.  I liked The God Machine much more.  That novel is definitely a product of its time - complete with a characteristic dose of misogyny - but I found its theorizing on nature of artificial intelligence interesting.

11. What do you want?

I'm getting evaluated today, so I want that to go well.  I don't have any reason to think it won't go well, but I've heard of teachers getting the odd, adversarial evaluator.  Some people are on a power trip; some other people think "earning their money" means pointless criticism.

Beyond that I think I'd like pizza for my birthday.  I'm thinking about driving up to Donggang, buying a pizza at Domino's, and then taking the pizza to a bar I like.  That sounds like a fine birthday to me.  I'd probably come up with a more ambitious plan if my birthday wasn't on a weekday.

12. Do you like apples?

No, not really.  I'll eat them if they're put in front of me, but I've never enjoyed apples.

13. How can I resolve my ontological dilemma?

Maybe have a pineapple?  Pineapples always make me feel better.

14. What time is it?

It's definitely NOT Hammer Time, because as we all know, MC Hammer only appears and kills you with his dance moves if you type his name THREE times.

At the time of writing it's 12:11.  I just ate lunch and washed my lunch bowl in the sink outside the office.  It's dark and cold and I'm kinda sleepy.

15. Where's the ball?

My ball is in the English classroom, on the other side of the school.  My ball is a green and blue soccer ball.  I haven't used my ball that much in class, mostly because I've been lazy to take the kids outside for ball games.  I think we played dodgeball once.  Next semester I should really take the kids outside more.  This will also be easier next semester, because my class at the other school was moved down to the second floor from the third.

16. Where are you?

I'm sitting in front of a computer, in an office with several other teachers, in Fangliao Elementary School, in Fangliao Township, in Pingtung County, in south Taiwan, in Asia, in the northern hemisphere, on a planet orbiting a sun which is just the right distance away to allow for the presence of water in its liquid state.

I think water works best a a liquid, don't you?  You can drink it, you can swim in it, and fish seem very fond of it.  I don't like water as a gas so much.  It makes everything rainy.  I also don't like water as a solid, because it makes running and bicycling more dangerous.

17. How's the weather?

As said above it's dark and cold.  Even on the Hengchun Peninsula it gets dark and cold in the winter.  It won't last long though.  Soon it'll be sunny again, and then I can go swimming.

18. Where are you from?

I'm from the country that gave you Donald Trump.  I'm from the northwest corner of that country, near Canada but not as far up as Alaska.  I'm from a city famous for its gourmet coffee and the operating system beloved by hackers everywhere.

19. What language do you speak?

I speak English and Chinese.  I also like to think that my cats understand me when I speak to them.  And how does one "reach" a two month old kitten, anyway?  How do I enter into an embarrassing discussion of cat turds deposited outside the litter box?  Or should I ignore this problem, hoping it will go away?

20. In an ever-expanding universe headed for certain doom, how can I prepare myself for the theological ramifications of the COVID virus, Mr. Donald Trump?

Again, pineapples.  Pineapples are there for you.  Of course I'm not Donald Trump (I'd be trying and failing to type this on Twitter if I was), but I think pineapples are your best bet.

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*In case anyone in Pingtung is reading this, no, I'm not quite finished yet. But I always stop writing this blog during the last week of regular classes. I'll start again next semester.