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the Gong Family

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epilogue (the tennis lesson). [Jul. 15th, 2009|10:15 pm]
the Gong Family

[Tags|, ]

about the tennis lesson, it didn't go too badly. the other guy has a decent sense of timing, but as usual, his difficulties are those of familiarity and practice.

e.g. switching grips,
how close should the ball be (to swing at it), etc.

it may not have been incredible excitement, the way that 爸爸 taught/drilled us tennis, but i wouldn't trade those instincts for anything else.

in retrospect, picking up balls is good for the soul. a few courts down from us, this morning, one camp counselor kept yelling at the kids to pick up the balls. man, 打得小! [1]

on a related note, my favorite shot is a running cross-court (forehand) shot.

unlike hitting it down the line, you can cut loose a little -- being that diagonals are longer than sides of rectangles -- and get terrific speed out of it.

there's also the killjoy effect. the opponent thinks that (s)he has you on the run, but little does (s)he know .. mmwoohahaha! (;

[1] at least, i think that's what i meant. there's a risk of using cantodict too literally.
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not the teaching that i'm used to .. [Jul. 13th, 2009|05:21 pm]
the Gong Family

[music |radiohead - 15 step]

some time ago i promised a friend/colleague that i'd play tennis with him this week. more precisely, he doesn't know how to play tennis at all, which means that i actually promised him that i would teach him how to play tennis.

this makes me uneasy, when i think about how we learned how to play tennis: long rallies instead of a game format.

i think the first proper (singles) match i played was when i was 13, in junior high school. i think i double-faulted a game away. to be honest, i don't remember when i learned how to do the basic overhead serve. even now i'd have trouble with it.

so i suspect that i mightn't be teaching him the tennis that he is expecting.

then again, this is not the first time i've taught someone a little tennis. from experience, it's not so bad if the student is a mathematician.

it could also be worse: i could be teaching someone how to play basketball.
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SantaCon 2007! [Dec. 10th, 2007|10:05 pm]
the Gong Family

Wanna see a Duggie Claus and friends?





This is how I spent Saturday afternoon/evening; it was surprisingly fun! To read more about SantaCon and to see different events world-wide, go to:

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(no subject) [May. 13th, 2007|12:05 am]
the Gong Family

[music |angelique kidjo - "olofoofo"]

you know, re-reading my last post i think i made it sound like a more negative encounter than a positive one.

actually, it was a pretty cool thing, to bump into a cantonese speaking family. the older woman reminded me a little of poh-poh (ma's ma, i mean), but i learned that her husband speaks hoh san wah, the same as guong-guong and poh-poh and auntie.

i think it weirded them out, in a pleasant way: randomly, the bike next to where they were standing belongs to an american-chinese who spoke their lingo.

small world!

the last time i ran into a hoh san wah speaker was on an amtrak train to chicago; i was headed to a conference @ champaign-urbana, at the time.

the last time i spoke canto (to a non-family member) was at another conference in cincinnati, where my research group went to have dim sum on a sunday.

is it common to find canto speakers, in california?
i wondered about that, sometimes.
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Getting ready for THE RELAY [May. 3rd, 2007|06:05 pm]
the Gong Family

So Sam's coworkers are officially insane; The Relay is this weekend:


200 miles. 12 people. 36 shifts. 30+ hours. Continuously. Nuts, eh?

I get to be in the (un)enviable position of Volunteer, making me a driver ... a water girl ... a snack lady ... a militant timer ... and a cheerleader ... for 30+ hours. My official Relay shift is from 1:30 am to 6:30 am Sunday at the Golden Gate bridge. I'll try to remember to take pics of the scenery and the full moon to share! :)
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warm-weather running: pros and cons. [Apr. 22nd, 2007|07:49 pm]
the Gong Family

[Tags|, ]
[mood |amusedamused]

the warm weather has reached ann arbor. i played outdoor basketball shirtless yesterday and today ran for 40 minutes without a shirt. it's very liberating.

on the other hand, warm weather means dehydration. twice on my run today, i spat and some got on my right arm.

man. you'd think that after this many years, i'd know how to spit well!
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what if's .. california. [Oct. 24th, 2006|11:24 pm]
the Gong Family

i'm glad that i'm not looking for jobs this year, but admittedly, if i were, then i would be tempted to send an application to UC Davis. their mathematics department is hiring:

The Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis, is soliciting applications for a few post-doctoral Arthur J. Krener Assistant Professor positions starting July 1, 2007, subject to budgetary and administrative approval. For tenure-track positions, please see http://www.math.ucdavis.edu/employ/jobs/faculty_2007.

The Department seeks applicants with excellent research potential in areas of faculty interest and effective teaching skills. The annual salary of this position is $49,900. Applicants for the Krener Assistant Professorship are required to have completed their Ph.D. by the time of their appointment, but no earlier than July 1, 2003. The appointment is renewable for a total of up to three years, assuming satisfactory performance in research and teaching.

say dug'ay: how does $49k float with cost-of-living, over there? (;

wouldn't it be strange, if three of us ended up in northern california? oh well: just a fleeting fancy ..
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(no subject) [Oct. 12th, 2006|09:48 am]
the Gong Family

[mood |zounds!]

yes, it is still october, yet ..
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(no subject) [Oct. 8th, 2006|04:24 am]
the Gong Family

i found this post about hong kong from a friend's friends list. here is an excerpt which sounds .. humorous, for some reason.

I was fully expecting to be amazed by the city, but to my surprise the first thing to jump out at me wasn't the crazy density or great wealth, but rather the fact that every street sign had come down with character cancer. Four months in Beijing had only given me the most rudimentary knowledge of Chinese, but there was still a bedrock class of characters ('street', 'hotel', 'restaurant', 'tobacco shop') that I had come to regard as old friends, and it was somewhat traumatic to see them gone, replaced by mysterious and intimidating usurpers bristling with ink. Like Taiwan and Singapore, Hong Kong uses the traditional† Chinese writing system, which looks like it was designed by someone who got paid by the stroke:

Simplified Complexified
门 門
马 馬
时 時
对 對
汉 漢
鱼 魚
机 機
一 囈

I may be exaggerating a touch in the last example, but the others are real. And just to really mess with the heads of foreign learners, the change in orthography comes with a brand-new spoken language at no extra charge. Whatever foothold you may have scratched in the sheer rock wall of Mandarin becomes useless in Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong, dropping you back into the abyss of complete illiteracy and incomprehension so familiar from your first weeks in China. Simple everyday situations you may have learned to cope with on the mainland ("how much?", "which way?", "dumplings?", "massage?") once again become an insurmountable linguistic Everest. Hence the immense feeling of relief when you discover that everyone here secretly speaks English.
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article post. [Jul. 29th, 2006|04:05 pm]
the Gong Family

[Tags|, , ]

i found this article off Yahoo! News, and the link is [here]. it's about the chinatown buses to foxwoods and mohegan sun.

these particular paragraphs caught my attention.

Some say the casinos are filling a void in entertainment options for low-income Asian immigrants.

Gambling doesn't require language skills or a high upfront cost, and casinos including Foxwoods have set up dozens of tables featuring favorite Asian games such as Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow dominoes, Sic Bo and Baccarat.

Next to the popular noodle bar, the entrance to the massive "Asian Pit" at Foxwoods is one of the liveliest sections of the massive casino. And when customers aren't gambling, there are Asian concerts and shows to keep them occupied. Mohegan Sun has brought superstar singers A-Mei from Taiwan and Sandy Lam from Hong Kong to perform at its 10,000-seat arena.

"All of our friends come once or twice a week," Zheng said, speaking Mandarin as she rested near the noodle bar with her brother-in-law. "Life in America is hard. Our English isn't good. Even if we have time off, there's nowhere else to go. We don't have cars."
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