Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Here I am, sitting on the window-sills in the sun. (Chinese bedrooms often have a wide window-sills that let one sit, put things or gather dust.) My leg is still fastened onto a plaster splint. I say I've got a cast on but the front of my leg is not covered in plaster. It makes sense to do it this way: you can still put pants on if you only have plaster on one side; and besides, is it necessary to cover the whole leg? Anyway, life has been rather laid-back in my weeks of home-ridden sick leave. 

I may have broken my knee but the most discomfort came from my back, my thighs and my shoulders. At one point I was waking up at 5:00am in the morning with muscle spasms in my quadriceps. Now with two days before the cast may come off and it comes as a little bit of a disappointment. I really want the cast off but the time with it on has been beneficial. I feel healthier, less stressed, better prepared and perhaps even smarter.

Smarter? Perhaps I'm just saying that because I'm at the beginning of my iPhone life. But it's worth mentioning: I now have a smartphone. Sick leave has been quite beneficial for mastering my apps. My favourites are: Podcasts; Radio NZ; Radiolive; New Zealand radio; wechat; Air quality; BBC; Night Sky 2; Chinese audiobooks and Cricinfo. It's been good to be able to listen to, say, bfm for background music. 

Chinese audiobooks might be the next step for me. In the last few weeks I've finished reading the first Chinese kungfu novel in a series of three books during this sick leave. I'm going to try and listen to the second book of the series with the written word in support. Actually I can listen to it in both Mandarin and Cantonese. These are both easily accessible via my phone. It might sounds weird but my proficiency in reading is way out of balance with my listening and speaking and most definitely my writing of Chinese. Reading is king. This is despite being in China where you'd expect me to be speaking and hearing lots of Chinese. My bent towards reading is so strong that it's twice as good. Hopefully this is a good step to level me out.

Podcasts are something I tried hard to get into at one stage but now have a lot of power to use. Probably the most valuable to me is historical podcasts that keep knowledge alive. My previous kungfu novel had a character who grew up in Genghis Khan's Mongolia. The author though tried to keep quite historical despite the non-existence of the key character. Listening to a podcast though shortly after I could listen and patch the historical background, before and after, of Genghis Khan's conquests, while eating my lunch. 

There is a good argument to say that smarter phones can make you dumber. But right now I think I've got myself well geared to use my smartphone smartly.


Kevin Vickerman said...

Ouch! That must have hurt. I've never had a broken bone before, so I can only imagine the feeling. I hope you're doing well now. Anyway, good for you for making your smart phone work smartly for you. I only wish I could say the same for some of my friends. Hahaha! Cheers! :)

Kevin Vickerman @ CPR

Crypticity said...

Thanks, Kevin. Fortunately these things get better. I'm now without a cast and crutches, can climb stairs and ride an exercycle. I'm even more flexible than before the break, and the rehabilitation has lost me some weight. Wouldn't recommend breaking a knee but...

Good luck with your blog and thanks for taking the time to read and comment.