The Madness Blog

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 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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.

Today’s 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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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 checked.

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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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.

Continued 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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen Thu, June 05, 2008 10:52:46

Last 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 p.m.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen Thu, June 05, 2008 10:52:11

Presentation 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.

The 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.

Benjamin, 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 p.m.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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 presentation.

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.

Finished 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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen 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 me.

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.

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Shanghai 2007 - 2008Posted by Gard-H. Madsen Wed, May 28, 2008 03:03:36

Chinese girls

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.

Frodes 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 area.

The 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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