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The Madness Blog

The Madness Blog

The purpose of this blog is to give an account of my adventures during my stay in Shanghai, China.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 12:07:30


Woke at
7.30 a.m. Morning routine.

Went out
the door at 9 a.m., crossed the garden and the construction site outside, walk
up to number 16, took the elevator to the 11th floor, went into
apartment 1102 and sat down.

plan was to read through the paper one more time and catch everything we had
missed over the weekend. Today should be the last day of work.

In an
effort to increase efficiency, the girls started reading through the paper,
while I wrote an executive summary. It soon turned out that this was a bad
idea. Not only did we suddenly have three different documents with various
degree of corrections made, but lots of time was spent arguing over which word
to use and where to put the comma rather than focusing on finding actual
mistakes. We agreed to proceed together on one computer.

I began reading
out loud and stopped only for lunch and the occasional Snickers. When reading
it aloud it was easier for us to pick up on sentence structure errors as well. At
8.30 p.m. my head was about to explode and my eyes red from staring into the
screen all day. We had yet to read through the strategy, but after a call to
the copy place where we learned that it would only take about three hours to
print the paper, we decided that we had plenty of time and could pick it up
again in the morning.

I returned
to the apartment and tried not to speak. Never before have I been more tired of
my own voice. I relaxed for a bit in the darkness and solitude of my room. In
bed a little past 11 p.m., but had no chance of falling asleep. I kept going
over the SWOT-analysis in my head, wondering what the purpose of the
double-weighted SWOT was. Needless to say, I have been scarred from the last
couple of days.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 11:44:30


Woke at
7.30 a.m. Morning routine.

Met the
girls at Bettina’s at 9 a.m. and got to work. We still had half the analysis
and the strategy to go through today. The level of detail that we had
implemented was followed also today.

We went out
for lunch around noon. I went up to Kowloon Ice-house and ordered from there.
As I sat waiting for my food, I couldn’t help be amused by the interesting choice
of music in the restaurant. A selection of traditional American Christmas songs
came blasting out of the speakers as if they were the latest chart toppers.
They are bonkers, these Chinese.

After another pleasant lunch in a garden pavilion,
we returned to our computers and continued working. Through, hard work, perseverance
and vast quantities of sugar, we managed to go through the rest of the paper and
called it a day around 9 p.m.

Over the
last 50 hours we had trimmed the paper by cutting away over 4000 words and tightening
the language to near perfection. Every source has been identified and quotes

I returned
to my room, had myself a beer and relaxed a little with an Episode of Boston
Legal. In bed at 11 p.m.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 11:27:53


Woke at
7.30 a.m. Morning routine.

Went over
to Bettinas at 9 a.m. and immediately got to work. We continued where we left
off last night. With an almost disturbing attention for detail, we went through
chapter after chapter, word for word, comma for comma.

At 1 p.m.
we went out for lunch. Beautiful and warm weather outside so we decided to sit
in one of the pavilions in the garden outside our building.

working after the break. Went for a walk around 4 p.m. to get some air. We
stocked up on sweets and chocolates and went back to work. I think the sugar
messed us up a bit, because silly things suddenly became very funny. Updating
ones msn-heading developed into a science and a source of great amusement in
the group. Despite the dreary work and long hours, everyone was determined to
make the paper as good as possible and very few arguments erupted.Blog Image

Finally, at
11 p.m. we called it a day. I went back
to my room and collapsed on the bed, but were for some reason unable to sleep. Lay
twisting and turning for some time, but eventually I fell asleep.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 11:15:38


Woke at 7
a.m. Morning routine.

At a
quarter to nine, I was in a taxi bound for the tailor-market for the last time.
The market was deserted so early in the morning, but it was open and all my
things were ready for me. My linen blazer and my two vests had to be adjusted,
but I asked to have them delivered to me so that I wouldn’t have to come back.
I had brought with me a Troll that I had gotten a few months ago at a Peppe’s
Norwegians only meeting. They were ecstatic when I told them that this would
help them attract Scandinavian customers and immediately put it on display in
the shop. I said good-bye to them and left the market.

A little
past 10 a.m. I arrived at Bettina’s to find all the girls there and ready to
work. We started on page one and went through the paper step by step and in
extreme detail. Had lunch around 1 p.m. Continued working. Around 4 p.m. we
went for a walk around the block. Went back and continued working. Around 7
p.m. we ordered dinner from Sherpas. Continued working after dinner.

At 10 p.m.,
after 12 hours work, we called it a day. Nothing more productive could come out
of our minds today anyway.

I went back
to the apartment and was in bed before 11 p.m.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 10:52:46

supervision session

Woke at 8
a.m. Morning routine.

As we had
our last session with our supervisor today, we had decided not to meet up in
the morning, but rather take it from whatever happens at the meeting. So,
before leaving the house, I sat for a while catching up on some newspapers and
crushing some puny Aztec civilization with my vastly superior army. Had some
lunch and wrote a little on the executive summary before heading off to meet
the supervisor at 4 p.m.

It turned
out to be a rather positive meeting. Our supervisor was far less negative than
she was last time and even commended some of the work we had done. Clearly, we
still had some work to do, but she felt we were on the right path, if only we
could tighten it a bit. She gave us a long list of suggestions and a printed
out version with detailed commentary. In addition to the feedback we got from
the Swedish group, we have many good suggestions and ideas we need to look
closer at.

Astrid and
I were back in the apartment at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. we left once more for spinning
class. We didn’t really want to go today, but we did anyway – hoping that we’d
feel better after the class. As it turned out I felt terrible after the class. I
was utterly exhausted, probably even more so than the first time. I am glad
there is a short walk from the gym to our apartment as it helps me regain
control of myself.

I watched
an episode of Boston Legal (great, great show by the way) and went to bed at 11


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Thu, June 05, 2008 10:52:11

of findings

Up bright
and early. Morning routine.

Sat down at
my desk and started working. I looked over the presentation I had made and
familiarized myself with it.

At noon, I
headed off to campus to hear the presentations. In turn, every group gave a
presentation off their projects and how far they had gotten. Naturally, this
took some time. No one had timed their presentations, but what was supposed to
be a 15 minute presentation soon developed into an hour long presentation and discussion.
It took nearly four hours before finally it was my turn. I gave what I believed
to be a short presentation, but was informed afterwards that I had talked for
half an hour.

presentation went relatively smoothly and Astrid and I were more than able to
answer all questions afterwards.

Around 5
p.m., all groups had presented their findings and we were let go with a warning
from our supervisor to use the next week well.

Roger, Hanne, Gigi, Alex, Frode and I went over to a Mexican restaurant by the
main gates to the university. Sat for a while, feeling relieved that we were
one step closer to completion.

Frode and I
took a taxi back to Linping. I got off by the post office, went in and got
myself some boxes for shipping. Relatively big boxes and apparently I can put
up to 20 kg in them and ship them home for around 1000rmb each. I walked down
Linping rd from the post office and stopped by the dvd-store. They had just
gotten the latest season of Boston Legal in stock, so naturally I had to get
that. Went back to the apartment and watched a couple of episodes.

Didn’t do
anymore work today. Time passed easily enough anyway. I went to bed around 11


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Wed, May 28, 2008 04:30:43

The Fuzz

Woke at
7.30 a.m. Morning routine.

Astrid and
I went down to Starbucks to meet Ouafa and to write out the opposition for
NSEC. We had all made comments, so we went through them and collected everything
in one document. Astrid had a previous engagement and left us around 10.30 a.m.
Ouafa and I finished the document and started looking over the presentation I
made yesterday. We made some adjustments and finished it.

At 1 p.m.
Astrid had returned and she and I went to get some food. Picked up some
take-away from Kowloon Ice-house and returned to the apartment.

I sat at my
desk, eating in front of the computer. Had a short break before diving into the
opposition that we had received on our thesis from the Swedes. They had been
extremely thorough and came with several good suggestions.

As I sat at
my desk I watched the sky grow darker and heard the rumbling sound of thunder.
Around 6 p.m. the sky had really opened up and was throwing everything it had
at the city. Heavy thunderstorms with impressive lightning and heavy rain. It
was a little eerie actually. I was most concerned about what would happen if
the power went out. Even had a candle lit on my desk just in case.

So when the
doorbell rang around 7 p.m. I ran to the door expecting it to be someone who
came to check that everything was alright here and that I still had
electricity. I was distressed to see that it was three uniformed police and
they did not look happy. They demanded to see my passport and started examining
it thoroughly. They made a big fuss when they saw that I had been in and out of
the country a few times without registering at the local police station. I told
them that I did not realize that I had to do that and that I would be leaving
the country for good in less than three weeks. They did not care and asked to
see the pink slip that I received when I first registered back in august. On
this, they discovered that I had not updated my registration after I got a new
visa. Apparently I was supposed to know that I needed to do that too. They
completely forgot about the failing to register on in and out trips and instead
told me that I had to get down to the police station as soon as possible to
update my visa number. I got the distinct impression that they were just
looking for something to get me on. Of course, I said I would take care of it
and so they left. I was left puzzled and holding a big envelope with the print:
Welcome to Shanghai! And contained maps and various information about how to
register as an alien.

At 8 p.m. I
went out the door to get some food. Downstairs in the entrance to the building,
I was met by no less than six police officers asking me my business. I
explained to them that I had already talked to their colleagues and was only
going out to get some dinner. Surprisingly, this was satisfactory for them and
they let me go. Can’t help to wonder about the thinking behind these check-ups.
They seem random and misplaced.

Outside it
was still raining, but because of the heat, I was dry almost as soon as I set
foot inside the mall. Ordered some food from Ajisens’ new menu and did a little
grocery shopping while I waited. I was pleased to see that the police had left
the building before I returned.

Watched Detonator II with dinner. Another really
bad movie, but it took my mind off things and made me very drowsy.

In bed at
11 p.m. Did not have to wait long before drifting off to slumber land.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Wed, May 28, 2008 03:59:47

Last leg

Woke at 7.30
a.m. Morning routine.

Got to work
around 10 a.m. Started working on a presentation that we have to hold on Wednesday
on the progress and the findings of our research. Clever as I am, I used the
template that I made for our last presentation back in March.

Of course,
presenting findings meant that I had to read through most of the paper and
extract useful bits of information here and there. It took some time. I felt a
little restless today and kept pacing around in the apartment doing everything
but what I was supposed to. Needless to say, this did not expedite the

Had a long
lunch and returned to my desk to finish the presentation. I kept getting
sidetracked as I read through the thesis and wrote in new things, deleted old
things and made general corrections.

Chatted for
a long time with people in Norway, complaining over how easy they have it,
having to write only 40 pages on their thesis and with no presentation. I
suppose it is only fair as I have had a great experience doing my final year in
China. Somehow I guess the universe is still in balance.

the presentation, as much as I could on my own, and was satisfied that I had
done enough for today. Went out and got some dinner to go. Watched Lars and the real girl. Brilliant movie.
So good that I even watched the extra material. Really very nice and a movie I
think even my sister would enjoy.

Sat surfing
the net for a while and chatting to some people around the world. I really don’t
understand how I survived three years in Reading without a laptop connected to
the internet.

Went to bed
a little past 11 p.m.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Wed, May 28, 2008 03:33:23

See my vest

Woke at 10
a.m. Morning routine. Called and woke Arill and made him hurry up and come get

Just past
noon Arill, his out of town friend and I went down to the tailor market. I had
some things I needed to fix and a coat I had to make for a demanding person in
Norway. I was worried that lunch time on a Sunday would be terribly busy at the
market, but it turned out that even tourists have lunch around that time. The
shop was mostly empty and I had time to shoot the breeze with the tailors.
Ended up getting another pair of linen trousers and a linen blazer made. As I
was about to leave I discovered a phenomenal vest in Chinese silk that I simply
had to get two of. Brilliant! I will return next week to collect things, which presumably
will be the last time I go there. Just as well, as the two girls who speak
English are leaving for alternative career paths.Blog Image

Returned to
Linping around 2 p.m. had myself some lunch and sat down to work. Continued
reading the NSEC-thesis and made comments as I went along. It took forever. Was
hoping to get it done in a few hours, but before I knew it, it was growing dark
outside. I finished around 6 p.m. and decided that I had done enough for today.

At 8.30,
Arill, his friend and Frode showed up at my door. I had invited them all here
for the screening of what I had great hopes would be an amusing film; Zombie
Strippers. We had pizza and beer and sat down to watch the movie. OMG! So bad!
So, so, so, so bad! In the beginning it was amusingly bad, but after a while we
stopped laughing and just shook our heads in disbelief. To lighten the mood, I
screened some Pixar shorts after the main feature. Suddenly all was well in the
world again.

I booted
the boys out the door just before midnight. I was exhausted. Went to bed, but couldn’t
get to sleep. Don’t know if it was the heat or the thought of those Zombies
that kept me awake, but awake I was. Lay twisting and turning in bed for
probably over an hour before finally drifting off.


Shanghai 2007 - 2008 Posted on Wed, May 28, 2008 03:03:36


Woke at 7
a.m. and again at 9 a.m. I finally got up at noon. Had breakfast and a shower
before sitting down at my desk and staring into my computer.

Wrote for a
couple of hours before Ouafa called and invited me down to Starbucks. Met her
around 2 p.m. We sat around discussing the thesis and the high demands that
some people have on themselves and life around them. At 4 p.m. we strolled up
Linping to the video store. Getting harder to find movies I want there now.

On my way
pack to the apartment I picked up some food and sat watching TV as I ate. Very unfulfilling
actually. I am truly fed up with the fat, greasy food with only mediocre taste.
I don’t know when I last time ate something and thought: Yummy!

We have to
comment on another groups thesis for next week, so I started reading it after
dinner. 100 pages or so of academic thesis is tough to read. I am glad I don’t
have to read and grade all of them. Sat for a couple of hours at my desk before
realizing that I had to get ready for the big night.

birthday was last Monday, but he is holding a big party tonight. I got picked
up by Arill and his visiting friend around 8.30 p.m. The party was at one of
Frodes’ Italian friends house on the other side of the city. Took us a while to
get the 15-20km from Linping to Grand gateway. Grand gateway is a city in
itself. Huge shopping centers and office buildings fight for space in the over-crowded

apartment was a very modern and spacious one. Relatively much higher standard
than I have seen before. But then they are serviced apartments and are only
rented out to company employees who are here for a limited period. The walls of
the apartment was lined with Chinese girls. I soon realized that this was not a
design feature or the maid, but that these Italian guys, and Frode I guess, had
invited lots of Chinese girls whom they had met at random nights on the town.
In the early stages of the party there were probably 5 girls to every guy, but
the odds evened out after a while; at least 4 to 1 later on.

It was
interesting as, we mostly hang out with other Scandinavians. The girls were
friendly enough, though some had clearly been out with western guys before and
knew how to act. I was glad to see Jon and Juliana show up around 11, along
with Gigi and Kristoffer. We hung around for a few hours and watched the
apartment fill to the brim.

At 1 a.m.
the party moved on to a place downtown. I used this opportunity to return to
Linping. Took a taxi together with J&J.

In bed just
before 2 a.m.

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