MAY we have a new Mini-Rants thread now?

I know life isn’t going all perfectly smoothly for all of us. It is 2022, after all.

My grumble of the moment: noisy cats waking me up way earlier than I needed to be awake.

Pssst! Over here:

That looked like a major rant thread devoted to COVID lockdown in someone’s city of residence. Mods?

That was a big part of it, but I also ranted about other stuff.

And, of course others could feel free to add their own rants.

Well, this holiday has rolled in with a special nastiness this year.

  1. One day before the holiday was to begin, Beijing Municipal Education Commission ordered all schools in the city to close that afternoon (with a caveat that some schools would have to train their staff for on-line teaching, “just in case”, and for boarding schools a number of students and staff would have to remain through the holiday restricted to the campus).
  2. Where I work, the school’s new principal has rolled out a new evaluation system for us foreign teachers, and the deadline for the first of two observations is 11 May 2022, with the second one supposedly being well before six weeks prior to 31 July 2022 since that date is when the contract for most of us ends and it takes a minimum of six weeks to renew the visa.
  3. As part of #2, the two people supposed to observe me flaked and didn’t bother to show “because they had something important to do”. So, basically, others are getting by with only preparing two observed lessons, but I have to make four. Why four? Because I prepared for the two lessons!
  4. Also part of #2, having the two observed classes, literally, two days apart proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the whole purpose of this exercise is not to help us teachers improve our teaching.
  5. Did I forget to mention that these observers are fellow foreign teachers and that the results of the observation are part of the determination of how much, if any, a pay rise we get, that is if a new contract is proffered.
  6. The city’s closed a number of venues now, to include restaurants–evidently just the sit-down restaurants; the announcement was a bit vague about what “delivery is still available” means. This morning, after our community-ordered round of COVID-19 testing, my wife and I scootered down to the building where Papa John’s has a delivery and pick-up only restaurant. The building doesn’t open until 10 this morning, so we don’t know what’s going on with Papa John’s. But we did see what the KFC next to the building was doing: had heavy chairs blocking all but one door, a table with the COVID tracking app’s scan code, a digital thermometer, and a KFC employee outside checking anyone who wished to enter. I guess we’ll find out in about an hour from now what exactly the case is with the pizzaria. I’ve been hankering for a pizza all week!
  7. Of my two electric scooters, we’re still stuck using the small one because the brake pads for the large ones still cannot be shipped into Beijing.
  8. More about the school: the “health kit app” informed two of my students they have a positive result for COVID-19.
  9. We’re getting ready for an impending lock-down, but of course the preferred delivery apps are ones that do not permit foreigners to sign up. What is it with people who do not garner that the money is still Chinese money coming to them from a Chinese bank?
  10. Thanks for the fun-filled week off, May.
  11. May, you rot!

Sorry, where I live (Western Washington State) things have eased a lot. Cases are rising again but not too terribly. I remember how much of a pain in the ass it was when things shut down and it sucks you have to go through that.

Thanks. I mistyped above. The deadline for both observations is May 11, 2022. That’s why they were basically real-life twin primes.

Ah, we did find out yesterday what the deal is with the restaurant delivery. Restaurants are open, but only those restaurants that are not in larger facilites which themselves have decided to close down for the duration of the holiday as the SKP shopping mall in Dawanglu did, but you can only pick up your order if you called it in (does anyone actually still do that in this city?) or ordered online/via one of the many restaurant delivery apps. Supermarkets are still open unless they’re in a larger facility which itself is closed for the duration of the holiday.

It turns out that the May Day holiday, officially Labour Day, is one of the holidays where the government offices are also closed for the duration. Banks, however, are open except for the section where the wife and I wanted to make use of today to send money out of China.

And the facilities–shopping malls, grocery stores, etc.–that are open have an added bit of fun for one to enter their sanctum: of course one must use the “Beijing Health Kit” (BHK) app to scan the QR code at the entrance, but before one is deemed worthy, another step is added. The second step is to show the BHK page showing one is COVID-19 negative. Some places have also opted for a 3rd step, the “Green Arrow” app (行程卡/Xíngchéng kǎ/Itenerary card) showing one has not been outside of Beijing & Langfang (a city in Hebei Province, but treated as part of Beijing for COVID-19 purposes) within the last 48 hours.

Tomorrow is yet another required round of COVID-19 testing, and then on return to campus (assuming we actually do get to return to campus), there will be yet another round of testing.

It appears that my next holiday, the summer break between academic years, will be spent as yet another staycation but with numerous community tests to add to the fun.

I forgot to rail earlier about the necessity of getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) so I can drive when (if) I’m ever in Korea again. It took a couple of weeks instead of the usual three days for my application to wend its way from Beijing to the AAA outfit in Florida which issues the thing. I learned back in 2020 that I need to apply twice a year just in case I get to leave and will have a valid IDP in that case. I’m starting to get the feeling that if countries can trust each other’s passports, there’s really no need to add on a requirement for the IDP; just go ahead and require every country to have their driver license, just as with their passport, printed in English/French and whatever the issuing country’s language is.

And now that I’m rapidly approaching the end of this contract with no idea when the current employer will proffer a new contract, or even if they will, I’m applying for jobs and–more fun!–I get to go the apostille route from afar. The first time I had to do that, the incompetent notary public in San Francisco marked up my original University of California diploma which was signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. So the original is out of my hands forever, dammit! I’ve complained on this site about apostille before, but here’s a nifty bit for you. Apparently the idea is to make it easier on the poor sod needing to prove to one country documents issued in another document are valid. Before the countries where I’m applying decided that yep they really truly honestly need to have the apostille done, they accepted simple notarized copy of the document and a notarized statement. Now, one gets to go through this nonsese (taken from

Due to the lack of familiarity with foreign documents or the entities that issue them, many countries require that foreign documents be legalized to be accepted there. This legalization procedure generally consists of a chain of certifications, by one or more authorities of the country of origin of the document and of the destination country. The first authority certifies the issuer of the document, and each subsequent authority certifies the previous one, until the final certification is made by an authority of the destination country that can be recognized by the final user there. For example, to be accepted in mainland China, a document from the U.S. state of Maryland not issued by a government official must be certified by a notary public, who must then be certified by the clerk of the circuit court in the notary’s county, who must then be certified by the state of Maryland, which must then be certified by the U.S. Department of State, which must finally be certified by the Embassy of China in the United States


The quote in my post just above was taken from Wikipedia’s article on the Apostille Convention.

Odd. Closing the older thread.

It’s odd, but it is also convention to have “mini rant” or “monthly mini rant” in the title to let folks know what the thread is, to avoid confusion.

So I assume the choice was to close the new one and rename the old one, or close the old one. The latter was easier.

Which is what happened to me. I honestly thought that was rants on a specific topic, not the generic monthly minis.

I woke up and checked my work e-mail again this morning. I thought they were moving me to the second phase of training today. But, I see no new e-mail with a Google Meet link and instructions. So, I clicked on the old GM link. It seems it was no longer valid, as I was the only one there. I e-mailed the training staff asking for instructions. A few minutes later (9:15) I receive a new e-mail with a new GM link and instructions. It said the meeting would be at 1 PM Kentucky time. Being geographically challenged, I Googled “Kentucky Time” and found the state has two time zones. I responded to the e-mail asking which time zone.

While in general, I have faith in the company I work for, this morning has not exactly inspired confidence.

No worries. Now let’s rant on!

We’re trying to get a concrete patio poured. We fired the previous contractor (that’s a long rant to type up another day), found a new one who shows up and calls when he can’t.

Problem is that it rained most of last week, and is going to be cold and rainy this week also. There is a pretty steep hill to get the concrete down, and they don’t want to navigate that when muddy (c.f. Russia vs Ukraine). And crappy as my lawn is, I still don’t want them driving trucks over it when it is muddy.

Plus it is a relatively small job, so getting the ready-mix company scheduled is apparently a pain - were supposed to be here last Friday, but cancelled due to rain. So who knows when they can get back on the schedule.

Decided to try a beginner yoga video. Got through ONE pose, discovered my balance and leg strength weren’t up to holding as long as the instructor wanted, let alone continue onward. I am horribly out of shape.

Yikes! I am facing a potential life-threatening shortage! The three Essentials of Life (for me, anyway) are food, water, and Absolut Swedish vodka* (most other vodkas are swill). And some stores are either out or starting to run low, and quantities for ordering in are either limited or non-existent. Curse the plague of COVID for supply shortages!

* - Well, OK, a decent red wine, too, but there’s lots of that around.

Due to screwups of various kinds at the doctor’s office, I was without a glucose monitor for FOUR DAYS.

I have one now, finally. But I am not a happy camper.

For much more than a year now I have had massive sinus problems. Somehow my body has been producing more mucus than brewery produces beer and I have been cough-spitting it out by the cup full. Sleeping has become difficult as I need to raise my head to a significant angle to prevent my nasal passages from filling up. Also, I seem to experience some shortness of breath and some extreme nasal sensitivity. ( I can smell perfume from two houses away and to keep from vomiting I have to light a match every time I enter a bathroom. ) I consistently test negative for COVID… so this seems to be after-the-fact damage.

I’m worried that this could be the results of that ‘long haul COVID’ or some variation of it.

A close friend has suggested seeing an ENT Dr… indicating that my badly deviated septum that I’ve dealt with my whole life may finally need surgery now so that I can breathe properly… but I’m not sure that my insurance will cover it at my age. I know that I refuse to live (sleep) for the rest of my life with some dirty vacuum cleaner hose stuck to my face to resolve “apnea”.

(There are days I’ve thought of having myself put under with ether and having each nostril drilled out with a 1/4 in drill bit just to save money.)

It’s not so bad. When I finally got my BiPap, I had the first decent and restful night of sleep for a year. The hose is dirty only if you don’t clean it with soap and water. The machine isn’t silent but is FAR less noisy than my snoring.

Well, it’s time for me to find a new endocrinologist to treat my diabetes. I’ve been using the same doctor for 26 years, and have no problem with the care I’m getting. But the woman whose job it is to approve prescription refills has fucked up for the last time. I have to take two different types of insulin three times a day, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I need to beg, threaten or fight for days, to get my refills. This time, I ran out entirely last Thursday, with no way to get more. Finally, yesterday, the pharmacist gave me a vial. I’m so fed up with this situation that I’ve decided to go to a different doctor.