Sunday, August 3, 2014
- The Casa Kaulins washing machine breaks down.
- Andis does some video dictation.
- Sunday, Andis has a cavalcade of things go wrong.
- Andis lists some of his favorite conservative and reactionary people.
- Andis sees a mouse on the street.
- Some big changes are contemplated for Andis's family in Canada.
- Andis hears that there is a forecast for typhoon like weather in Wuxi.
- Andis has an announcement to make.
Tuesday [July 29]
- Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00. No overtime. Alas.
- This morning was ruined by a malfunction of the K family washing machine. I couldn't get it to spin and drain the water – at a certain point in its cycle, it would just make a funny grinding noise. Jenny was out when this happened and I had to go to work right away, so I had no choice but to turn the machine off with the water and laundry still inside.
- Weather outside? Hot.
- What question am I going to answer this week? I will have to think about it.
Wednesday [July 30]
- Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00. Just five classes. No overtime.
- I am typing this entry at 16:29 – later than normal. Usually, I have finished my school blogging by 14:00. I am doing this entry late because I am typing out dictation for a video.
- After two days of typing out the video dialogue, I am 12:30 into a 37:39 video. I am trying to get six minutes of the video dialogue typed out per day.
- The weather outside is hot and sunny.
- I took Tony for a walk in the morning and Jenny had me have him carry an umbrella.
- We moved the malfunctioning washing machine into the bathroom. It had given us an OE code which indicates a drainage problem. The moving was Jenny's idea. She thought that perhaps the drain in the bathroom would be not clogged. If she had thought about it, she would have realized that the problem was in the washing machine. Because if the problem was with the kitchen drain, we would have had a flooded kitchen. Anyway, she was in a bad mood because of having to hand-wash clothes and so I was ambushed when I got home last night having no time to think straight. I helped moved the washer into the bathroom.
- The washer, as I thought, wouldn't drain water in its new location. Jenny, able to read the Chinese manual, was able to drain it without opening the front door [We have a LG Tromm front-end loading washer].
- Moving the washer into the bathroom is great idea, but not because Jenny thought it would solve the problem. The washer just seems to work better and look better in the bathroom. I hope we keep it there after it is repaired. And speaking of repairing, moving the washer into the bathroom will make it easier for a repairman to work on it. In the kitchen, the machine was under a counter in a tight space..
- What is wrong with the washer? Either the the drain filter is clogged or there is something wrong with the drainage pump. The drainage pump could be clogged as well or perhaps it has a broken moving part that needs to be replaced. If I was a betting man, I would say the pump has a broken part. At the draining parts of the wash cycle, the machine was making a grinding noise.
- Question that I will answer this week? What are my seven favorite conservatives or reactionary types. Number one has to be David Warren, a Canadian who was a journalist and now blogs sometimes at Essays in Idleness. He looks at the world from a Catholic point of view and so he isn't a down-the-line Republican party supporters though he will support the ones who have some street cred. Number two (I will list two because I didn't mention one yesterday) is William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review. [I haven't determined who my next five will be. I am making this list on the fly.]
Thursday [July 31]
- It's time like this that I need to have faith.
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00. I will get off at 20:00 though.
- Washing machine update: Jenny phoned the LG company and they told her to do something with the machine which didn't solve the problem. So, she will have to phone them again today. Why can't she phone a repairman?
- Yesterday, I asked a student how his week-long trip to Japan had been. He told me that he wanted to stay in Japan because it was more interesting than China. [It may will be true. Communism has and Communists have a way of making a country dull.]
- My sister, who lives in Chilliwack BC, is in Brandon, till August 10th or so, to visit our mother. My sister told me that the old house in Brandon is in a ruinous state and may be more than my mother, who is in her seventies, can handle. My sister wants my mother to sell the old house and to get her to move to British Columbia. As well, she would like my brother, who lives in Winnipeg, to move to BC as well. He, being a tradesman, could at least get a job easily enough if he decided to move. My mother had been thinking to keep the house for Jenny, Tony & I.
- So my sister wanted to know what my plans are. All I can tell her is that things are up in the air. Hearing stories about the bad weather in Manitoba really dampened my enthusiasm for going back there. The family all being in BC would have some advantages like good weather.
Friday [August 1]
- I have a 11:00 to 21:00 shift today.
- This weekend will be a typhoon weekend. A student told me that she couldn't buy train tickets for this weekend because the trains had been canceled in anticipation of heavy rains and high winds.
- I have to go to Cummins this afternoon to do a business presentation class.
- Maybe, the washing machine will be repaired today.
- I had a student who has seen the Hui Shan train station. I have been meaning to do this but I don't know where the station, which in is our area, is. Living in Qianzhou, which is close to Yanqiao, the student is not far from this station and can catch trains to Shanghai there. She gave me more information about it than I have been able to gleam from others who live in the area.
- Seeing how I neglected to mention one yesterday, I have to mention two conservative/reactionary types I like today. I like Nicholas Gomez Davilla whose aphorisms I find quite illuminating and Evelyn Waugh, the great Catholic novelist whose books I can read over and over again.
Saturday [August 2]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 17:00.
- The typhoon has been canceled, or rather its visit to Wuxi has been canceled. I have just been told that the typhoon is now headed to Japan which should make the locals happy.
- We talked, that be Jenny & I, of my bringing Tony to school today. I was sort of for it till I got up in the morning and thought about how having Tony around would interfere with some things I need to do on the computer. Still, I went through the motions of trying to wake up Tony but he didn't budge.
- I saw one of our flight attendant girls. That is, a student who is going to flight attendants school in Wuxi. I told her “Long time, no see!” She said this was because she had been interning. I asked if she was interning on a plane. She said she wasn't, she was interning in a restaurant.
- Two more conservative reactionary types I admire: Rush Limbaugh and Andrew Briebart (R.I.P.). Both of them are/were happy warriors in the good fight.
- The washing machine is repaired. Jenny finally got a repairman to come last night. He had it repaired in twenty minutes
Sunday [August 3]
- No shifts today.
- After work yesterday I went home where I have been ever since.
- What have I done? Watched some Seinfeld episodes and downloaded Steve McQueen movies.
- Watching Seinfeld, I saw two great scenes. 1) After having accidentally seen Elaine naked, Kramer tries to make it up to her by taking off his clothes for her so that she has seen him naked too. 2) Kramer dances to jungle sounds in Elaine's apartment wearing only a pink bath towel.
- I thought of six conservatives so far for my list. I can think of a seventh and a whole lot more. My seventh is the economist Thomas Sowell. Here are other conservatives I admire: Marc Steyn, Marc Levin, Peter Robinson, James Delingpole, Charles C. Cooke, Kathy Shaidle, Florence King, Kevin B Williamson, Victor Hanson, Charles Schall, Anthony Esolen, to name but a few.
- [Later] A veritable cavalcade of errors has this day been for me. It started when I went to pick up Tony from his drawing class. I didn't know that Jenny had changed the location of his art class, which was in a music store near Wanda, going to another music store that was closer to Casa Kaulins.
- I went to the music store by Wanda and looked like a fool as I walked into the store and the personnel had no idea what was I doing there.
- To compound matters, Jenny didn't answer right away when I phoned to ask her where Tony's drawing class was.
- Later, I was trying to move my e-bike in the Wanda Plaza. It had been blocked off by two bikes which parked behind it. As I backed it out, a mirror of one of the other e-bikes was blocking my way. Trying to bend the mirror out of the way, I tore it off. A bunch of people saw me do this including security guards and they told me to just drive away. I felt sheepish for the next hour. It serves them right for blocking me, I rationalized.
Monday [August 4]
- No shift today.
- Yesterday, I didn't feel a hundred percent. My stomach was upset and I was splattering when doing my business. Still, I was able to go about and do some things like go to a restaurant, go grocery shopping with Jenny, and then visit someone's apartment in the downtown yesterday for dinner. But when I wasn't doing something, I was lying down, trying to fee my stomach warm thoughts.
- My list of conservatives I like is not complete. Here are yet some more conservatives I admire: Anne Coulter, Rob Long, Taki, Charles Krauthammer, Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger.
- Call me a bigot if you must.
- Today, I don't want to do anything. My stomach is still not where I would like it to be. So I will stay about the house.
- Trouble comes in threes they say. So, the stomach was the third thing to go wrong yesterday.
- For the first time months, Tony set up his Plarail train set. Friday when I came home, I saw a very elaborate setup in the living room. Bridges, tunnels, and track side stations on two symmetrically and intricately overlapping routes had been assembled. I had to wonder if perhaps Jenny had helped Tony. When I asked her, the following funny exchange resulted. Andis: Honey! Did you help set up the train set? Jenny: No, I didn't. Andis: So, you didn't touch it? Jenny: No! I didn't touch it. Tony: I touched it.
- I have finished the video dictation. I will go through it at normal speed to see if I made any mistakes.
- Yesterday, K family was making its way to an apartment in downtown where we were invited for supper. We walking down behind the Hongdou Building on a side street in front of a row of small restaurants. In front of the restaurants are drains and reservoirs where grease and dirty water is thrown out. It is rather a disgusting sight actually, but it is all too common in China. As I dodged a puddle of grease, I saw a very forlorn looking mouse. It was soaked in grease so that it looked very slim and slimy with mickey mouse shaped ears and a long tail. I quickened my pace to walk away from this restaurant row.
- An announcement: From John Derbyshire, who won't be doing any Radio Derb in August, and from David Warren, who won't be blogging at Essays in Idleness till September, I have gotten the idea to not make a diary entries for August. I need a rest from it. August in Wuxi is a not a time to be active. The summer humidity zaps any initiative out of a person. It makes one go through the motions. And It does lend itself to exciting diary entries. So I give myself one less thing to do for a month.
- The month will also give me time to think what I want to do with my blog. Not having many readers, that I know of, I am going to have to try something different. I may try writing essays on various topics that interest me and may interest others, and hopefully totally offend leftists. I may make observational blog entries. Observations that I have like the previous one about the slimy mouse may be separate blog entries in the future.
- I won't be absent completely from the Internet world. I will publish photos in my AKIC and TKIC blogs. And I may make some attempts at satire and whimsy at the Wuxi China Expatdom blog. It is the year of the firearm in the Wuxi Expatdom! There will be squabbles between the Dangle and Ding Dong factions of Wuxi Expatdom!
Monday, July 28, 2014
- Andis lists his favorite Germans and Austrians. Two of them are kickballers.
- Andis finishes typing out dictation of a lecture delivered by a Jim Wallace of the Sojourners.
- Andis hates the weather.
- Arnis Kaulins's birthday is this week.
- Andis is frustrated by the four tones of the Mandarin language.
- Andis watches the film the Lives of Others.
- Andis talks about his conversion to conservatism.
- The Kaulins family miss the boat.
- Andis ponders the question: What is social justice?
- Andis likes the Canadian website Small Dead Animals.
- Andis sees a security man porting a firearm.
- Andis wonders about the abilities of Wuxi Metro Drivers.
- Andis & Tony take the Wuxi Metro to Changguangxi Station.
- Andis & Tony wander around the Xizhang Station.
Tuesday [July 22]
- Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00. I teach an extra class today! Yahoo! It means overtime.
- The day was hot enough that I brought a change of pants and of a shirt to work.
- Yesterday, Tony wanted to take the subway. So I took him to the Mao Ye Mall and the Wuxi Museum and Taihu Square. I couldn't get Tony to eat even though he agreed to go to the Starbucks at Mao Ye and the Pizza Hut at Parkson's. All he did eat was a piece of pizza and some chips at Pizza Hut. So I found that I had spent too much money on food for myself.
- We only spent a half-hour at Taihu Square, where Tony likes to drive mini toy cars yesterday – we had spent an hour on the two previous occasions. Yesterday, Tony found the heat too intense and told me he wanted to quit driving the toy car after 28 minutes.
- Maybe, this week I will talk about my favorite Germans and Austrians.
Wednesday [July 23]
- It's my father's birthday today. He would have been 82.
- In a month, it will be Tony's birthday. That be, Anthony Arnis Peng Kaulins if you look at his birth certificate. Anthony or Tony will be seven. I think he is already seven by Chinese reckoning.
- I had my Chinese lesson this morning. What can I say about it? I hate the tones. I hate the f***ing tones! As soon as I think I have them figured out, my teacher tells me that I got them all wrong. With the first tone, I get lazy and I begin to pronounce it like the third tone. With the second tone, I thought I had it down pat but then my teacher tells me that I am mixing it up with the fourth tone. With the third tone, I again get lazy and start to pronounce it like the first tone. When the fourth tone follows the third tone, my efforts to try to pronounce it drive my teacher to drink.
- To end the class, I was doing Chinese numbers from one to ten. I couldn't pronounce any of them properly.
- After class, I went to a noodle house and tried to order fried noodles. The clerk didn't understand me when I asked for chaomian (炒面). Now I know that my grasp of the finer intricacies of the Chinese language is poor, but I still think you have to be pretty dumb or lacking in imagination when someone comes into your restaurant and tries to order one of the basic dishes on your menu and you can't figure out what they are asking for. What else can chaomian be in that context?
- Because of bad news about a supplier of meat to McDonalds, Jenny has decreed that Tony & I can't go to McDonalds or KFC or Burger King. This bad news that Jenny heard is big in China. The students have heard it and I overheard that McDonalds has had to stop selling things on their menu.
- I finished reading another book by Romano Guardini last night. It was a book about prayer. In fact, I could say it was a manual and I learned about how I had been doing it so wrong. I should put the book in a reference section in my Ibooks app.
- It is hot outside again. I have seen many locals using umbrellas for shade and I have seen a few shirtless men. One shirtless man, I saw on the subway; another, I saw while on the bus. The second fellow was wearing dress pants and had his dress shirt draped on his shoulders as he walked down the street.
- I finished trying to take dictation for a lecture given by a certain Jim Wallace of the Sojourners. There was so much that I disagreed with in the lecture that I wouldn't know where to start if I made a detailed critique. Briefly, I could say that this guy is a leftie, a liberal-democrat type, and even though he is a man of faith, he is a menace to the world and to people's souls. [John Derbyshire actually mentioned Wallace in a recent Radio Derb podcast. Derb had nothing good to say about him. Another podcast host, I listened to this week, said that Leftist religious types are menace – so bad that they make hard-core Leninists look good.]
- The task that I have set for myself this week is to name at least seven Germans and Austrians I like. The Germans being an accomplished people, you would think that this would be very easy. The problem is that I can more easily think of a few I don't like very much: Marx, Luther and Hitler. But I will have to make an effort to overlook these three people.
- The first German to come to mind is the Pope Benedict, aka Joseph Ratzinger. I prefer Benedict's cool intellectualism to the strange pop culture appeal of Pope Francis.
- The second German I will mention today is Konrad Adenauer. The first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (the country I was born in). He restored Germany to its role as one of the most admired nations in the world.
Thursday [July 24]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00. I got an extra class so I get some overtime pay.
- On the way to work I observed three things that I deem to be worthy of mentioning in the blog and that I deem necessary to report to my readers, many of whom are rare: 1) As I was walking to the bus stop near Casa Kaulins, I saw a security officer openly carrying a sidearm: an SMG gun. He was leading a line of three security types dressed in black uniforms. I was reminded of seeing bank guards in Mexico City carrying sub machine guns as they stood at an entrance to a bank. 2) At an intersection that is below the Wuxi Metro Line as well as being between the Xi Bei and Yanqiao Stations, I saw an old man who surely must have been senile, walking and looking lost in the middle of traffic. 3) I could have sworn that the driver of the Metro train almost stopped his train at the wrong end of the platform. Instead of waiting to slow down as the train got to the front end of the platform so that the entire length of the train could be accessed by passengers trying to get on and off the train, the driver slowed down as he got to what would be the back end of the platform. The train slowing down caused many passengers to stand up prematurely and then be jolted as the train sped up a little to get to the proper end of the platform.
- Today, I will name three Germans and Austrians I like. 1)Mozart 2)Bach 3) Beethoven. No need for me to explain why.
Friday [July 25]
- Today's shift: 11:00 to 21:00. I have six classes.
- I love Jenny. I love Jenny. I love Jenny.
- Tony was disappointed that I didn't take him with me to school yesterday. Tony had told me that he didn't want me to go to work and I asked him if he wanted to go to school with me. He took it as an offer while I meant it as a lament. I will try and take him to school next week.
- Typhoonish weather at the moment. Not so much wet. as windy..
- I support Israel. Just let it be known for the record. The Palestinians if they had any decent leaders could have some redeemable qualities about them. As it is, they have no one to blame but themselves for their poverty and backwardness. To have a great people like the Israelis, Jews, as neighbors is an opportunity to learn....
- Recently, I have begun reading Small Dead Animals on daily basis. Yesterday, the blog linked to a great article in the American Thinker that was written by a former Leftist. The author gave ten reasons why he was no longer a member of the Left. Four I can mention to you now are: 1) Leftism doesn't work. 2) Leftists are hypocrites 3) Leftists are asshats 4) Leftists are ignorant of what Conservatives believe.
- I have been a conservative type for so long that I sometimes forget that I was once of the Leftist persuasion. I gave up on it after the presidency of Ronald Reagan and listening to Rush Limbaugh. This opened me to a greater world which included the likes of Milton Friedman, Marc Steyn, William F Buckley, Evelyn Waugh, John Derbyshire, FA Hayek, and David Warren to name but a few.
- Some more Germans I like. Franz Beckenbauer and Karl Heinz Ruminege. Two stylish German kickballers that I remember from my youth.
- Study Advisor Edith asked me the difference between Extend and Expand.
- I will have a class with a student who is living in Winnipeg. He is spending a month in Wuxi before going back. Winnipeg, he tells me, has only two shopping malls: Grant Park and Polo Park. [Later: the student told me that despite Winnipeg's bad weather, mosquitoes, and lack of shopping malls, he preferred it to Wuxi. He said the Winnipeg people are much more polite than Wuxi's. This leads me to wonder: has being in Wuxi so long, turned me into an asshat? Nah. I have always been.]
Saturday [July 26]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00. I got the usual load of classes, finish at 17:00, and then have to go on this canal boat trip. Jenny had said that Tony liked boat trips but he has been telling us now that he doesn't want to go on the trip.
- I set my alarm for six AM every morning. This morning, I work up, with a start, and turned over to check the time on my Ipad which I have on my night table because I wanted to see how much time I had to snooze before the alarm was to ring. The Ipad said it was 5:59.
- As I waited at the bus stop, I saw the same four security guards, I had seen earlier in the week, walking in single file on the sidewalk. The lead guard dressed in blue was toting the sub-machine gun again as the three dressed in black followed him. Seeing them come from a distance, I had time to think how I would react as they came close. I knew well enough to not take a photo of them. What I did do was look at them briefly and then look at the reactions of the locals. They all averted their eyes as well.
- If you could live one day over and over and over again, I asked the students, what day would you live? One student told me that he would like live the day before his rent was due over and over and over again – a clever answer I thought.
Sunday [July 27]
- No shifts today but I have to go to this winter wonderland activity for the school this afternoon, if I can find the place.
- Last evening, the Kaulins family missed the boat. We were supposed to go on a school boat trip that would have taken us on the canals of Wuxi. I was told that the meeting point was by the Starbucks at the gate to Nanchang Jie. Instead of meeting up with the others in front of the school, I decided to go to where I was told the boat launch was directly. This was the wrong place, but it just so happened that around the appointed time that we were to board the boat, there was a thunderstorm and very heavy rain. Right when I should have been wondering where everyone else was, I was instead, because of the heavy rain and Tony's whining, in a mood to bail on the outing and so when they phoned asking where we were, we told them not to bother waiting for us.
- Tony, who we thought would want to go on the boat trip, was very whiny last night and it was a relief when we decided to bail on the trip because it put an end to his whining.
- [Later] The winter wonderland trip was a waste of time. The place was small, probably an industrial refrigerator contraption that someone thought could be converted into a winter amusement park. Not very enthusiastic about going, the place made me want to be in a bad mood.
- There have thunder showers, on and off, since I got off yesterday afternoon. They played a part in our missing the boat and not being able to have a proper supper this evening.
- At least, I have been able to see a good movie: The Lives of Others, the German movie about the Stasi. The film's ending was quite affecting. The only thing that I could criticize about the movie was its not conveying the real shabbiness that was East German and the Soviet world in general. Everything seemed to be done up movie perfect.
- For supper, I walked to a small restaurant at the Wanda Plaza and picked up some dumplings. Jenny gave me the list and I presented it to the clerk at the store.
- The eight person on my list of favorite Austrians and Germans: F.A. Hayek. An intellectual hero.
- What is social justice? I have just watched a five minute video where Jonah Goldberg tries to answer the question. Of course, he couldn't because it is a meaningless word. In a Hayek book, I read, someone said that the word social is best thought of as a negator. That is, social negates the meaning of the word it modifies. So, social justice means non-justice.
Monday [July 28]
- No shifts today, but I am busy all the same. I have woken at 9:00 AM and have to rush. Jenny & Tony & I will meet at 11:30 for lunch. So I have to rush about Casa Kaulins to get things done before we leave.
- Tony is watching Godzilla versus Gina on the Apple TV. I downloaded the movie over the weekend.
- I stood on the subway train, all the way back, as I came back from yesterday's lame winter wonderland trip. It was that crowded.
- I took Tony, on his request, to the Wuxi Museum. We of course went there by subway.
- First though, Tony wanted to get off at the Xizhang Station and look around for a while till the next train would come to the station so that we could continue on our way.
- Xizhang station is the first station across the canal, from Xibei Station, if you are heading south on the number one line. Xizhang is a rather forlorn station for the moment. There is nothing close to it but empty fields and yet-to-be-completed apartment buildings. About four people got on the train that Tony & I eventually boarded so that we could continue on our way.
- Not much to say about our trip to the Wuxi Museum. Tony wanted to go back to the technology side of the Museum for a third time. I suppose he likes to play with the interactive displays.
- After visiting the museum, I got Tony to agree to take the train all the way to the Changguangxi Station: the southern terminus of Wuxi Metro Line #1. We got out of the station and walked to the nearby Wuxi Studio. I assume this place is a Shopping Mall with a movie making theme. [Yes. I have found another shopping mall in Wuxi! ] This mall, though half-empty like all the other new malls that have been constructed recently in Wuxi, has a Las Vegas Rococo feel to it, which may make it worth another visit some day.
- Tony about then annoyed me because he refused to pose for a photo beside one of the numerous statues, on the Wuxi Studio grounds, of a Roman soldier. His refusing resulted in a stand-off between us where eventually he agreed to take a photo of me by the statue. Despite my pleas to him to pose for just one photo, he refused, and I got so angry at him so that I reamed him out for five minutes as we walked back to the Changguangxi Station. Having got him to put his head down in shame so that he was whimpering, I ended up feeling like a big smuck.
- A petty-cab driver tried to charge me ten rmb to go from the Yanqiao Station to the Wanda Plaza. I talked him down to five. It made Jenny happy when I told her this.
- A final word on Germans. I ran into some Germans in Shilo, Manitoba. They were a better dressed and better behaved lot than the Canadian soldiers at that base. One funny thing about them though. The Germans who went to Shilo loved native women: something the local non-aboriginal men would never do.
- I also have run into some Germans here in Wuxi. One of them acted counter to the stereotype of Germans not having a sense of humor. Another was a bit of a psycho who was born forty years too late or on the right side of the West-East Germany divide to apply his true talents. But one German really earned my eternal admiration. What did he do? He actually showed up five minutes before an appointed time. A group of us were to meet to go to a funeral. This German and I were the first to show up. The Anglo-Saxon types – I am not one – also showed up later like they were southern Europeans.
Monday, July 21, 2014
- Andis & Tony go to the technology side of the Wuxi Museum
- Andis talks to a student about the drivers in Wuxi and in Xian.
- Andis has to go through some hoops to download a week of the Coffee and Markets podcasts.
- Andis finishes reading Cymbeline, a play by Shakespeare, and I am Pilgrim, a thriller novel.
- Andis talks to a girl from Xian about Xian and Wuxi drivers.
- Andis makes more observations about the Wuxi Metro.
- Andis has a Chinese lesson and doesn't feel he has made progress with the tones.
- The Kaulins family goes to Ikea and the nearby Lavit Mall on a Saturday Night.
- Andis spends Sunday at Casa Kaulins by himself.
- Jenny compares the Old Navy in Winnipeg with the Old Navy in Wuxi.
- Andis suffers through Wuxi's summer heat.
Tuesday [July 15]
- My shift today: 13:00 to 21:00. I see I have been given an extra class! Yahoo! Overtime!
- I am tired after my days off. In an recent online conversation I was asked how I was doing, I had to say that I found Wuxi Summers to be dull. Yesterday, I spent the day with Tony either outside suffering in the heat or inside chasing Tony around museums and shopping centers. It wasn't very inspiring really. But Tony was happy so I shouldn't complain.
- Some of the activities that I like to do, to keep myself busy, will be neglected for July and August. The heat wearies me.
- The most interesting thing on the tech side of the Wuxi Museum, that we went to yesterday, was this setup where balls were made to pass through tracks and pipes and other paths in a random fashion so that they were ringing bells, spinning, bouncing on drums or landing in bowls. It was hypnotizing.
- The lovemaking last night was wonderful.
- I will still try to answer the question about favorite television series. The first series I mentioned was Kenneth Clark's Civilisation. The second series I have liked is the Wire. Interesting characters, great dialogue, and wonderful music.
Wednesday [July 16]
- My shift today: 13:00 to 21:00.
- When I arrived home last night, Tony was watching television with the Apple TV machine. He made a point of telling me that he was able to set up it all by himself.
- Tony & Jenny will be going to Hangzhou on Sunday for another model shoot. Tony's making money for himself! [Daddy, narrow minded bigot that he is, won't piss away the money drinking. The money goes into Tony's account for his future.]
- I had my weekly Chinese lesson this morning. Just as I think I have the tones figured out, my teacher would say you pronounced the words wrong. I am going to have to practice and practice till they become second nature and I don't have to think about them.
- As it is thinking about tones makes learning Chinese very difficult. I would rather do anything but think about them.
- One of my Chinese problems is that I pronounce the first tone as a third tone. If I say a word with a string of three first tone syllables, I get lazy on the last one. I also had a devil of a time trying to say two third tone syllables in succession.
- We had our lessons at a Starbucks near Ba Bai Ban. A table of five women made quite din as they chatted away. It took a lot of concentration on tones to not be bothered by them.
- I did a salon class about America yesterday. As a warm-up exercise I asked the students to each tell me a famous American. Two students said they couldn't think of any. I can understand it when they can't think of any famous Canadians but you really have to be provincial and wearing blinders if you can't name one American. I ended up asking these two students, both teenage middle school girls, if they could name some famous Chinese people thinking that perhaps they didn't know what I meant by “famous.”
- For some reason, Itunes was not downloading the latest episodes of the Coffee and Markets podcast for me. When I didn't get episodes for two days, I thought that maybe the podcast hosts were taking time off. But when I was synching my Itunes on my computer with my Ipod, I noticed that there were six new episodes that hadn't been added, automatically as they normally would, to the Ipod. So this morning, I spent a lot of time jiggering the Itunes so that I could get the episodes downloaded. For whatever reason, Itunes is not letting my subscription to the show work. I have to search for each episode myself at the Itunes store. [As I type this, the sixth missing episode is being downloaded. I have had to download the episodes at work and at Starbucks]
- On my attendance list for my next class, I have the student Jack, and on the line below I have Ruby. So, I read Jack Ruby, the man who shot JFK's assassin. The assassin of the assassin.
Thursday [July 17]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00.
- Riding the train to work today, I noticed that I hadn't brought my umbrella with me. The last time I remember using it was last night. I remember pulling it out as it began to drizzle on my way home. So I hope it doesn't rain tonight.
- Last night, I had a class with a student who used to live in Xian. She was a young girl attending middle school who had lived in Wuxi for three years. She had moved to Wuxi because of her parents business. I asked her to compare and contrast Xian and Wuxi. She told me Xian had hotter summers, but more interestingly she told me that Xian drivers were much more likely to obey the rules of the road and weren't inconsiderate of pedestrians as Wuxi drivers were. Rare readers may know that one of my biggest sources of material for this blog is being cut off by what I considerate to be ignorant and inconsiderate and rude and generally all around asshat Wuxi drivers. And so it pleases me to know that what I have experienced is a local problem and not a problem of the whole Chinese mainland.
- Or could it be that Xian is the only place in the Chinese mainland where they drive civilized? Anyway, it is nice to see a Chinese person has a similar complaint about Wuxi drivers that I do.
- The girl also mentioned that Xian was building subway lines. The first of five lines there had been finished, she told me.
- Another television series that I like: The Simpsons. They say that the show has overstayed its welcome but I still love to quote moments from the show when it was in its prime.
- Chinese students don't seem to have much of a summer holiday compared to the summer holidays I had. Never in the summers of my school years did I do homework. I had great memories of walking in woods and exploring creeks when I was their age. The students I talk to complain of the homework constantly. When I ask the students what they are going to do for the day or the evening, they don't have much to tell me other than that they have homework to work on and if they have spare time, that they will watch a little bit of television.
Friday [July 18]
- Today's shift: 11:00 to 21:00.
- I have got the yawns. I suppose the summer heat is getting to me.
- Two Metro anecdotes to pass on to you, my very rare readers: 1) This morning, I was attempting to take video of the metro pulling into the Xibei Station. I was at the end where the front of the train would have stopped. As I directed my camera at the train, one of the platform attendants ran up to me and told me that I couldn't take a video. Why? She tried to explain but I didn't bother trying to hear her explanation. There is a similar policy in Shanghai. 2) The train drivers don't seem to be able to get their trains to come to a smooth stop. The trains always jolt the passengers before coming to a full stop. Wednesday night, the train come to a rest at a station but then had to lurch forward about a foot to align itself properly with the platform exit gates, thereby giving the passengers who had stood up to exit a bigger jolt than they may have become accustomed to.
- Tony got a new bicycle. It has training wheels. I hope that they will soon be shed.[Later]
- This afternoon, I went to a company located near the Wuxi airport and so we had a half-hour taxi ride in the sweltering hear. I fell asleep on the ride – something I never usually do. Either I am adopting local ways or I am get old.
Saturday [July 19]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00 but my last class finishes at 17:00 and so I can leave an hour early.
- Not much to say for myself today. I was glad to see that David Warren's blog site was accessible again. I have also finished two books in the past 36 hours: I am Pilgrim: a brain candy page-turner thriller that was praised by the blogger Duff, and Cymbeline: a play by Shakespeare. My capsule review: both good reads. Was struck me about Cymbeline was the amazingly gentlemanly behavior of the character Lucius – despite going to war with the British king Cymbeline, his and the king's disagreement and declaration of war was done civilly and with outstanding manners.
- One thing I find irksome about riding the subway is that the manner of seating on the train means I see more children and can look more directly at their parents and grandparents. It is not a pretty sight. You don't see too many urban hipsters on a Wuxi subway train, that is for sure.
Sunday [July 20]
- No shifts today.
- No wife and child as well. Jenny & Tony were up early this morning to catch a bus to go to Hangzhou so Tony can appear in a photo shoot.
- I will stay at home. It is going to be a unbearably hot today and I have some things to do and things I would like to do that I can do at home. I want to do some blogging, some research, and publish one article to the Wuxi China Expatdom blog among other things. I also have to keep the house clean and I do some have some tasks to perform for Jenny. One thing I have to do for her is put together this shelf that we bought last night at Ikea.
- Never go to Ikea on a Saturday night. If it was up to me, I would have followed this maxim that I formulated the last time Jenny had us go to Ikea on a Saturday. But it wasn't up to me. I phoned Jenny during a break from talking at school and she told me that she and Tony were on the way to Ikea. I joined her after my last gab session.
- Why shouldn't I go to Ikea on Saturday? Too many people. The lineup in the food places takes the joy out of eating the food. Also, the Ikea bus which comes by every forty minutes can be a frustrating bitch to wait for.
- I was at least fortunate last night to not have to take the bus to Ikea. It just so happened that a fellow at work, who had a car, was able to give me a ride there. It just so happened that he lived near Ikea 离家.
- The traffic, I observed, as I was taken to Ikea made me glad to ride the train to work. I don't have to worry so much about stopping.
- Tony and Jenny actually were eating at a Burger King as I was making my way to Ikea. This created a quandary for me. Should I eat there or go for the hot dogs at Ikea?
- I decided to do the latter. However, dumb me, I didn't know how to get to the checkout area, where the hot dogs were, and wasted ten minutes walking through the store to get to satisfy my craving. The actual hot dog experience was ruined by the fact that I was carrying a bag of bread with me. Trying to eat three hot dogs and drink a soft drink, with one hand, while standing, because there were no free tables is hard. I did it but I don't want to have the challenge again.
- Wuxi has another mega mall for shoppers to go to. [Just what it needs] Near the Ikea, there is the Lavit Mall which is at least four floors tall (I didn't get a chance to explore the whole place) and has a Subway, a Burger King, an Old Navy, a Toys R Us and a Gap store. It has the cavernous feeling of the Hen Long Plaza, the Suning Plaza, the Wuxi Wanda Plaza, the Moi Ye Plaza and the Chongan Walk Street.
- Like the Moi Ye Plaza, there were many empty store spaces. So many in fact that even the very bright and colorful boards that covered them could not hide the fact of under-occupancy.
- The Toys R Us didn't sell any Plarail products. Its selection disappointed Jenny & me.
- I was eager to check out the Old Navy store, thinking I could buy a China 2014 Old Navy shirt to add to my collection of Old Navy shirts that include a USA 2003 shirt, a Canada 2004 shirt, and a Canada 2012 shirt, but there was none to be had which disappointed and surprised me. I mentioned to this Jenny and she told me about the vulgarity of Canada memorabilia that she saw at the Old Navy in Winnipeg and other stores in Canada. There were Canada towels and balls and hats and so on, said Jenny. Chinese, she said, just don't go for that. [Although the Old Navy selling USA 2014 shirts (which I wouldn't buy because that would imply support of its having elected Obama) seemed strange to me.]
- To cap off a fun [not] evening of shopping, we took the Ikea bus to downtown to where we would catch the subway. The bus was packed and so I had to stand for the entire ride, Jenny and Tony eventually getting a seat. Thinking of the character in the film I like so much, the Lunchbox, standing every day on the train that he has to take to work, I didn't feel so aggrieved, and I even did not mind standing then on the subway ride as well.
- From the subway station, Tony and I took a petty-cab home because I was carrying the shelf that I will assemble sometime today. The first petty-cab driver wanted six rmb to get to the California Villa. Jenny insisted on five rmb and eventually found a driver who would take us there for that price.
- The driver knew enough English to ask what country I was from.
- Television series I like: 1) Firing Line with William F Buckley. I loved the fact that he was very welcoming to persons his views he didn't agree with like Alan Ginsburg and JK Galbraith and George McGovern. 2) Cosmos with Carl Sagan. William F Buckley was very critical of Sagan but no one would say that Sagan's television series wasn't compelling. The new Cosmos, however, has a host who is so full of liberal democrat Barack Obama sanctimony, that I find it unwatchable. I don't recall Sagan being that way, but I was a naïve one when I watched the series all those years ago. 3) Hockey Night in Canada. I feel I have to include a Canadian show and this would have to be it. The Americans who watch this show praise it for its ability to show a game that really isn't television friendly.
Monday [July 21]
- No shifts today.
- Yesterday, I put together the Ikea shelf no problem. I spent an hour or so trying to transcribe this speech made by a silly liberal evangelical type – I should get paid for it.
- Yesterday, I went for a brief walk outside and perspired heavily. I had to shower as soon as I got back to Casa Kaulins.
- I spent an hour on my AKIC diary entry – the very one that you are reading now!
- I then watched King's Row, a movie which starred Ronald Reagan and Claude Rains among others. Reagan's acting was awkward at times but his overall screen presence was likable. His type of character would go out of fashion, only to be replaced by the dark broodiness of Marlon Brandon, among others. The movie itself was melodramatic but full of enough plot twists and emotional moments to be worth a viewing by those who aren't Quentin Tarantino jaded fucks.
- Meanwhile, Jenny & Tony went to the countryside of Hangzhou for the photo shoot. To get there and back, they had to take buses and trains. There was no direct route.
- I meet them at the train station in the evening. We went downtown for a simple lunch at a noodle house called Baishilo which is two doors down from our school. We then went to the Babaiban department store so Tony could purchase a toy – his wages for his modeling.
- Tony unfortunately behaved badly the whole day and I wonder if he will get another modeling job.
- Today it is hot. I may take Tony for a long subway ride, but other than that we will stay home in the A/C.
- Another television series I like? Seinfeld. It had many moments of comic genius.
- I just got a phone call from Jenny that went like this: no more KFC, McDonald's, and Burger King for Tony & us. Jenny saw some report about the food at these restaurants being sold after its best-to-sell date.
- A few other television series that have earned my admiration: The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, Pee Wee's Playhouse and Sledgehammer.
Monday, July 14, 2014
- Andis is rather distracted these days on account of it being summer.
- He means to answer a question about television series.
- Andis downloads and watches some Seinfeld episodes.
- Andis is surprised when he reads the score of the Germany – Argentina game.
- Andis has some complaints about the bus stops near the Yanqiao Metro Station.
- Andis has complaints about WC kickball.
- Andis decides to take the 602 bus to the Xi Bei Canal Metro Station.
- Andis runs into 635 Sophia on the Wuxi Metro.
- On Monday, Andis sees some ominous things on the Wuxi Metro.
- Andis watches the 1973 movie Badlands.
- Andis expresses a great dislike of remote controlled toy cars.
- Andis spends Monday with his son Tony.
- Andis goes to the Mao Ye Mall for the first time.
- Andis decides that he will say kickball instead of soccer or football.
Tuesday [July 8]
- This week's shift: Tuesday 13:00 to 21:00, Wednesday 13:00 to 21:00, Thursday 10:00 to 21:00, Friday 11:00 to 21:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00.
- Tony wanted to ride the subway today. Not to be.
- I walked to the Yanqiao Subway Station. The walking I that I had to do made another ten minutes seem not such a big deal.
- I downloaded a bunch of Seinfeld episodes (Season 2) and some movies (Ida, King's Row) on my day off.
- I suppose I should answer a question over the next week. I forgot to last week. I think I will talk about my favorite television series of all time.
- The first one is the Civilisation series done by Kenneth Clark. It was only thirteen episodes but I have watched it all at least six times. I never fail to watch it without getting something new out of it.
Wednesday [July 9]
- I didn't have my glasses on when I checked the score of the Germany – Brazil WC semifinal match. The Brazilians definitely had one goal. The German number was blurry. When I put my glasses on, it was a case of oh my!
- I don't want to run into any Germans today. They would be insufferable.
- People who annoy me. I will accuse them of being Brazilian. Oh! Want to cry! Brazil boy! He he he he he!
- If I owned a pub, I would go on an Wuxi Expat forum and tell any Brazilians in Wuxi that they could cry in beers at my pub for half price today.
- Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00.
- I had a Chinese class this morning. The vocabulary was easy for me. However, my tones. 我的声调！不好！ 很不好！
- I took the subway this morning. For the first time, I pulled out something and tried to read it.
- One thing I really hate about the Yanqiao Subway Station is the lack of nearby bus stops. After getting off the bus 602, I have to walk about 300 meters to get to the station. After getting off the subway, I have to walk a little further to get to the nearest bus stop. Two times in the past week, I have gotten off and was making my way to the bus stop when the bus I was wanting to take would come by while I was still too far away from the bus stop to be able to try and hoof it to catch it. Hopefully, this will be rectified.
- The bank where I could usually do a quick in-and-out to put money on my bus card has had long lineups the last two times I have gone. Yesterday, the lineup was so long that I decided to put 200 rmb on my card instead of my normal 100.
- Rare readers may remember my reporting seeing a little boy, in defiance of his mother, pissing right at the top of the stairs at a Nanchan Subway Station entrance. I told my wife about this and she warned me that if I talked about the incident too much, I would have the locals thinking I was denigrating them.... Guilty as charged
- Yesterday, I published last week's blog diary using my Ipad and found it quite convenient. My VPN on my laptop needs to be updated by my tech guy. Unfortunately, I am working evenings the rest of the week.
- Study Adviser Edith has not taken the subway yet. Her attitude is that she has taken the subway in Nanjing and all subways are the same.
July 10 [Thursday]
- Last night, as I was waiting at the train station, I tried to type the characters for Yanqiao，堰桥， on my Ipod. Dumb me, I saw this: 往堰桥, and I thought the first character was “yan” when really it was “wang.” 往 means towards.
- I got this morning in time to catch the extra time and the penalty kicks in the Holland – Argentina WC semifinal. I am glad I didn't watch the game from the kickoff. From what I read, the first ninety minutes of the game had few scoring chances.
- This match shows why Americans are right to loathe soccer. In the biggest games, nothing seems to happen. I lost any interest in rooting for a team to win, and I found myself hoping that someone would score. Typically today's game was decided on penalty kicks.
- It was said the Brazilians lost the game because they were actually taking offensive initiative early in the game. But soccer typically awards the teams that counter attack well. Germany scored their first two goals because of this and Brazil folded after that. Perhaps, that is why the Dutch and Argentines played so conservatively.
- Perhaps the Dutch were unaware that the object of penalty kicks is not to hit the goalie with the ball.
- The Brazil – Holland third place match will probably be more entertaining than the final.
- I took the 602 to get to the Xibei Canal subway station, the next station down the line number one from the Yanqiao station. The 602 bus does there what I wish it would do at the Yanqiao station: it stops next to the subway entrance. At the Yanqiao, you have to walk about 300 meters from the 602 stop.
- I have watched five episodes of Seinfeld. Why? Why not? Something to do. Yada yada.
- A student tells me the following story. In 1976, friends of his mother take the train to Tang Shan at the time of the earthquake. They tried to find a hotel to stay in but they had no luck so they tried to sleep at the train station till staff kicked them out. Walking away from the station, following the tracks, they felt a great shaking. They looked back to see that the train station had collapsed.
- I am scheduled to teach a student named Orange.
- Last night, Tony was watching Seinfeld with me. He didn't care much for Kramer but he laughed aloud at something that the Elaine character was doing.
July 11 [Friday]
- I work 11:00 to 21:00 today.
- I took the 602 to Boston Glory to catch the train.
- There weren't too many passengers on the train.
- I have two classes with a student named Unicorn today.
- Outside it was very humid. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a heavy rain shower sometime this afternoon.
- Otherwise, I don't have much to say for myself today.
- Oh yeah. I did change the wallpaper on my Ipad Home Screen. A Jewish site had this photo of a man with an index finger pointed upward against his lip in a sh sound. I had to capture that image.
- David Warren's site is currently unavailable. Did he pull the plug on the site or was he the victim of malicious leftists?
Saturday [July 12]
- Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00.
- Humid. Humid. Humid.
- Taking the 602 to the Subway Station (Xibei), I saw the aftermath of a collision between a taxi and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist sat on the pavement, near the left-over hulk of his cycle, clutching onto his leg. In the midst of debris was the torn-off bumper of the taxi.
- I was thinking. It is only slander if it is not true....
- At the Nanchan Subway Station I saw my former 635 bus mate Sophia. I had wondered if I would ever see her again what with the subway being so big. Last time I saw her, she told me she was pregnant. Today, I told her that she didn't look pregnant – I saw no evidence of a tummy. She told me that she had experienced morning sickness and has a craving for sour food.
- When Sophia has the baby, she will be going to Henan province (or is it Hunan) where her mother-in-law will help her look after the baby.
- Sophia and I sat together on the ride to the Yanqiao station. Currently living at the Olympic apartments, she loves the subway. It is in a perfect location for her. She wondered if it was trouble for me to walk to Casa K, it being further from the subway station than the 635 bus stop where I used to disembark.. I told her it wasn't and I needed the exercise anyway.
- Getting off the subway, passengers can either take the escalator or the stairs to go down and then out of the station. Sophia thought I was crazy to want to take the stairs. I don't like being in a crowd, do like being one of the few to take the stairs, do want some exercise, and I did in fact get downstairs faster then Sophia did. In fact, I got down stairs so much quicker than her that I had to wait a minute for her to join up with me.
- When I arrived home, Jenny was taking Tony to Tae Kwan Do class. So I eat some cold fried rice and fired up the Apple TV machine with which I finished watching this movie Badlands, a 1973 movie starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Badlands was based on the real life killing spree of one Charles Starkwater. I liked it. Its violence was subdued by 2014 standards. I loved its great scenic shots. The acting was minimal and effective. But it did seem to make mass murder seem like a fun adventure. And at the end Sheen's character was treated like a celebrity. Flown back to his native state, the movie ends in the clouds...
Sunday [July 13]
- No shifts today.
- The k family goes downtown for a buffet lunch at the jinling hotel. Tony didn't like that we had to take the 25 bus to get there. He wanted to take the metro.
- Lunch was fine.
- Jenny said that I am eating less but getting fatter. Happened to my Dad in his middle age too.
- We then went to the Baoli Carrefour to get some margarine. Tony wanted to play on the kids paddle boats in the mall courtyard. So Jenny did the shopping by herself while I watched the Tony.
- To satisfy Tony, I and he took the metro home, catching it at train station. Walking from the bus stop to the metro stop, I noticed the walking surface around the train station had become very uneven. Not being paved but tiled, the surface seems like a pile of slightly shaken dominoes.
- The train arrived at platform just as we did, we got on quickly a center car, not one at the ends and had a hard time finding a seat.
- Someone we know bought Tony a remote controlled operated toy car. If Hitler had a kid, I wouldn't buy his kid a remote control toy car. They are the most annoying things. This toy car hits the wall of our apartment very hard.
- I been watching some Johnny Carson, Dean Martin and Foster Brookes videos courtesy Youtube. They were good for some chuckles.
- Why can't all drunks be like Foster Brookes? The ones I encounter in real life are always pathetic.
- Barack Obama, in a speech he made recently, tried to refute charges that he was not bi-partisan by praising some things done by Republicans Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon. So, it would seem that he only liked dead Republicans.
- Kickball is a good name for the sport that is usually called soccer or football.
- I satisfied my David Warren craving by reading his piece about the Germany – Brazil 7 – 1 match on the Catholic Thing. The Germans, said Warren, bestowed a blessing on Brazil. Perhaps the defeat will make the country less obsessed with kickball.
Monday [July 14]
- I have taken Tony on the train.
- On the Wuxi Metro, I saw the red hammer and sickle flag on a wall by the driver's door.
- On the Metro video screen, I saw Jimmy Kimmel hosting a kid's round table. Why are the Chinese still harping on that?
- Anyway, two evil signs.
- I have taken Tony to the Moi Ye Department Store. Bought him a toy. Jenny won't be pleased.
- No shifts today.
- I didn't hear the alarm that was to wake me so I could watch the World Cup Men's Kickball final between the Jerries and the Argies. I had predicted a zero – zero tie with penalty kicks and I was but eight minutes from being correct when Germany scored.
- Why not call Germany Germmany? The Germ-mans are full of germs. Ha ha.
- From the toy department of Moi Ye, where I typed into my Ipad, we went to Burger King to satisfy a craving I had. As soon as I satisfied my need for a Whopper, I felt guilt and remorse. For I had given in and the reward was pitiful, and now Burger King seems like an ordinary and depressing and like the Jack in the Box I once went to in Washington state.
- We wondered around Moi Ye, a cavernous mall that is still under construction and full of lots of empty store space. The only reason I would want to return to it is to try out the ice rink. Yes, it has an ice rink.
- I will say that the mall is easily accessible by the Metro and that it had a tank full of sharks.
- Then, Tony & I went to Taihu Square. The walk to it from the Mall was ghastly because of the humidity and the appalling appearance of the area which was still under construction and was thus full of trash, dirt, and musty smells.
- Like last Monday, Tony spent an hour driving the toy cars around the square. The weather was hot which meant that Tony had the square to himself. I hated the heat but I was glad to not see any other children.
- Local children, who Tony did run into today, were asking Tony if he was a foreigner.
- Tony wanted to go the Wuxi Museum where I then discovered that I had only seen half the exhibits last week. On the other wing of the building, there were technology exhibits which Tony quite liked. We spend two hours there in air-conditioned settings. Tony talked to the museum workers in Chinese while I sat mute.
- I will answer my television question next week. If I remember.