Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dream Traffic in Wuxi, China

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January 2018 Diary

Email me at andiskaulins@qq.com.

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I am starting to think that anti-racism is more of a problem than racism these days. Because of the anti-racism movement, many persons, who most certainly possess good will to all people of good will regardless of race or ethnicity, are being unfairly persecuted because they are not willing to be blind or lie about the bad things that people, who don't have a white hue of skin, will unfortunately do. In fact, the so-called anti-racists today have given up on the ideas of judging a person merely on the content of their character and their actions, and of trying to ignore their ethnicity or race.

The anti-racists have become in fact the sort of people they purport to hate.

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Is China is the best country in the world to be?

Arguments for: Economic potential.

Arguments against: It's government.

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I am stopping at zebra crossings to let pedestrians cross. It is not a common practice in China, or at least in the neck of the woods I inhabit in China. Chinese drivers will not yield to pedestrians unless the pedestrian has a claim on space. Driving in China I have had to stop yielding to pedestrians. But now, I have to adopt this habit because it is the right thing to do and because you can be now be fined if you don't. However, many of the local pedestrians aren't used to cars stopping for them and so I often stop and frustratingly watch a pedestrian hesitate and hesitate before crossing. Sometimes I have to give up on them and leave them standing on the curb.

One morning, I was driving on Hui Shan Da Dao, a busy three lane either-way road, and saw a woman standing, waiting to cross a zebra crossing. I was in the left most lane when I stopped for her. She hesitated to cross. Part of her hesitation was understandable because cars in the other lane weren't slowing down. After a few seconds, she did try to cross. But as she walked in front of my car, a van that was stopped behind me couldn't wait and quickly passed on my right, scaring the woman back onto the curb. I finally gave up on her and continued on my way.

Local pedestrians have to learn to be aggressive when crossing. They have to take the mindset that it is their right to cross at the zebra crossings and cars have to stop for them. That is what I do and I have often passed hesitant local pedestrians who end up following me across the street.

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To drive a mini-van in China, it seems to me that you need a special license which you can only get by failing an IQ test.

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Slush in Wuxi. [In the first week of January.]

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Steve Bannon. It looks like he is feuding with Trump. Sad. It had my instinct to defend Bannon but it seems that though he is probably ideologically sound, he has made some political mistakes.

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I was at the subway station, about to put my bag on the x-ray machine belt when a woman hurriedly came from behind, reached around me and put her handbag on the belt in front of my bag. I screamed “Bitch!” at her a couple times without getting a reaction. But I had the satisfaction of passing her at the entry gates because she had problems having the scanner read her metro pass.

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Tony & I saw the Last Jedi movie on a weekend morning (I won't say which one.) As I watched it, I could see the movie was flawed. I also had the sensation of it being long. Coming out of the cinema afterwards and if someone had asked me, I would have said that the film was okay but...

I very much objected to Yoda taking a stab at Luke Skywalker for keeping old texts. And thinking about it afterwards, I think the movie has a Maoist tinge to it with its characters talking about destroying the past and with what seemed a blatant appeal to Chinese sensibilities with having a Chinese looking character.

There was also the need to have female characters and characters of color appear.

Tony meanwhile thought the film was the best Star Wars movie ever. Or at least better than The Force Awakens and Rogue One.


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We have a parking space in our apartment complex which is a good thing because parking spots in the complex are precious.

The parking spot we have had (and hopefully still have) has been good to us. It is not too far from our apartment and affords us quick exit from the complex.

However, this may change. Typically in China, bad things can happen unpredictably, arbitrarily and without warning. One Sunday evening we drove to our parking spot to find someone parking his giant SUV in it. When Jenny asked him what he was doing, he said he had paid for the spot with the security office the day before. In the parlance of this day and age, it was a WTF moment for us. At that moment, we parked the car in the usual spot, and Tony & I went home leaving Jenny to hash the matter out.

After ten tense minutes, she came home and told me that the security had made a mistake and rented the SUV driver the wrong spot. I felt relief and thanked God for the way the whole incident timed out. If we had been ten minutes earlier or later, we really would have been screwed.

But then the next day, the security phoned Jenny and asked her if we could move our car to a spot two spaces over (leftwards) from where we were parking. They wanted to give the guy our spot because that was the deal they had made and the money had been paid.

This wouldn't be such a problem except for the pillars. Our spot, #90, has a pillar on the passenger side blocking the passenger side front door; the other spot at which they would like us to park, #92, has a pillar on the driver's side. I initially thought that the #92 pillar would block the driver door on our car, but after checking I saw this was not the case and that I would be able to get out of the car easily. However, having #90's pillar to back up by makes parking and backing up easy for us, and we are used to it. If we switch to #92, we will have to back up in a different way, and if there is a car occupying the #91 space as we do so, it will be an annoyance. And for the large SUV, it would make sense to have the #92 spot because its width would make it hard for even the driver to get out of the vehicle if a car is parked in the #91 spot.

[The end result was that the driver of the big SUV decided to take the #92 spot.]

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It's January 9th and I feel foreboding because I have read on the Internet that the Chicoms are going to completely shut down all VPNs by January 11th. I cross my fingers and hope that my VPN router will still be able to do the trick. It has been working well recently so a complete block by the GFW will be a big blow to my psyche as well as Tony's.

Jenny doesn't care and probably won't put up with my moaning about it.

[As January ends, our VPN is working fine.]

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I parallel-parked my car behind a van which then drove off about thirty seconds later. This left a parking space in front of my car. I wondered if there was enough space in front of me for a car to easily park because many locals can't parallel-park for shit. And then I saw a white Ford sedan, long like a boat, try to park in that space. I decided to watch, concerned that the Ford might strike my car.

What I witnessed was annoying. The car actually was parked fine on its first attempt to get in the space, but the driver then pulled out and tried again to park in the space and again and again and again and again.... Five minutes passed and I was annoyed to a frothing rage.... The driver was female, and as I learned from a passerby, a new driver. I could only think of how “new” wasn't the word I would have used to describe the woman's driver status and how the word I would have used to have described her would have started with a “C.”

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Tony said to me “I want to be a soldier.”

“Which army?” I asked him, “Canadian or Chinese?”

He replied Canadian which was nice but I pointed out to him that the Chinese would probably have more modern equipment.

If only I could find a way for Tony to join the American army.

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I witnessed an e-bike rudely cut off another e-bike as I was walking to my school. The two e-bikes were practically side by side when the e-bike on the right-hand side decided to make a quick left turn. The e-bike on the left hand side had to quickly apply his brakes and it was the screeching of them that got my attention. It was as a blatant a cut-off as I had ever seen. I looked for a reaction from the e-biker who had been cut off. With a cigarette hanging from his lip, the cut-off e-biker's face was typical Chinese inscrutable, but he the looked back at the other e-bike.

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The best part of The Last Jedi movie, for me, has been listening to the reaction. Many hated it and many liked it, like Tony. I find myself agreeing with Jonah Goldberg who was in between. He said the movie was not great but it was better than the prequels and had some good things in it.

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Thinking to see the movie again. I asked Tony. He said yes. Now, we have to see what Jenny says. [She said no.]

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Is Haiti a s***hole? Most certainly.

Does America need more immigrants from this and other s***holes? Probably not. These countries need to keep their human capital.

Is immigration an answer to the problem of places being s***holes? Debatable.

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Tony said to me “Hitler had a Japanese mustache!” and I was first thinking Tony says the darnedest things. But it got me to thinking some about about his living in China, where he is exposed to lots of TV WWII dramatizations of Chinese fighting Japanese with mustaches under their noses; and so he would think that.

It was only recently that I thought of some of the Japanese as having Hitler mustaches.

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Tony says he wants to go to Finland because that is where Santa Claus lives.

Not everything he says excites me.

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So much reading I do that I can't think of anything original to say. So in the middle of January 2018, I feel like my mind is a desert.

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Am I happier because I became a conservative? Yes.

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Trump is more likely to be Joan Crawford than a racist. In fact, he is less racist than all his detractors, especially those who say he is a racist.

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If Trump is crazy, how would you describe the media that he is denouncing? It seems to me that they are off their duff....

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Some inspirational quotes:
  • We never know what we want. So, if you think you want something, you shouldn't want it unless you are thinking that you really don't want it.
  • Prefer the paradoxical to the rational.
  • There is only one worse thing than not getting what you want; that is getting what you want.
  • When should you feel most uncomfortable? When you feel comfortable.
  • The only thing worse than being uncomfortable is being comfortable.
  • Don't be friends with people you get along with. They will only make you feel comfortable and thus weaken you.
  • Pain is good for you because it makes you stronger. Therefore, you should walk barefoot on broken glass at least once a day.
  • There is only one thing worse than not being taken seriously, that is being taken seriously.
  • We should take our silliness seriously and our seriousness sillily.
  • Smile on the outside, frown on the inside or vice versa because you don't want to threaten people with your authenticity.
  • People can't bear the truth; but they also can't bear lies that they think are untrue because others might think they are true.
  • We should be blind to color except when it is trying to tell us something.
  • You can't put a camel through the eye of a needle unless you have a really big needle or a very small camel.
  • Don't overthink things or under-think things while always being aware that you are probably thinking about them wrongly.
  • Don't let humility turn you into an overbearing egotist.
  • What are three assets we really don't need? Cynicism, seriousness, pedantry and an ability to count.
  • When should you never be scared? When you are in a scary situation.
  • Don't double your efforts. Cube them. That is, no to E × 2, yes to E² (Where E > 2).
  • You can always count on people to not be reliable.
  • Is it better to have tried hard and failed, or to have had a relaxing afternoon of not having ventured and failed?
  • If you make less things, you will eventually have less things to repair.

Maybe, I should say these quotes are perspirational. Not meant to inspire but to make you sweat.

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The Wuxi 2018 Snow Live Blog:

January 24: Yesterday, I learned of a forecast that called for two days of blizzard conditions in Wuxi starting tonight. I was worried about the prospect of my having to drive Tony to school with snow and stupid drivers with no experience of driving in snow, and of Jenny picking up Tony in such conditions. The fretting lasted about all of three hours until a student in the evening told me that the schools were going to be closed for those two days. This news gave me so much relief and I became filled with exhilaration.

January 25: Yesterday evening, there was snow in the air as I walked home from the subway station. I saw snow collecting on car exteriors. After getting home, snow started collecting on the ground. Looking out the window of Casa K this morning, I saw a lot of snow on trees, grasses and bushes but the roads looked pretty good which makes the decision to preemptively close the schools look incorrect. Still, a snow day for Tony! I am happy even though I have to go to work.

January 25 later: This snow has fallen almost ten years to the date of the great Wuxi snow of 2008 which you can see video of on my Youtube channel. So far, less snow than 2008.

January 25: I am at school. There is snow collecting in the downtown as snow falls. I just got a coffee at the 85 Bakery and the place was empty. Perhaps, everybody is staying home, not going anywhere. Annoying thing: the zipper on the winter jacket I bought ten years ago has busted, but at least I have velcro to keep the jacket together.

January 26: It snowed last night and so work has been slow on account of no students coming to school. I might as well have gone home at 17:00 yesterday but there was a student who thought that he could drive forty minutes to school and have a two hour class from 19:00 to 21:00. I realized he was crazy when I went outside at dinner time and saw that the streets were very messy. And then I got word that he had cancelled and so I had to think more of his sanity that I had been. If this sort of weather happened in Winnipeg, there would have been no need to cancel school but this being Wuxi, which is not used to snow, it was a good thing that the decision was made. I heard on social media that there had been 6,000 accidents in Wuxi yesterday. I was sure if I could believe this because I hadn't seen any accidents in my travels to and from home to work.

January 26 evening: I hear that it is supposed to snow again on the 27th. I read that schools will be closed on the 29th and 30th (Monday and Tuesday). Tony and I like this; Jenny does not.

January 27 early: I leave home early. The roads, I see, are dry with piles of snow or frozen patches. It is not snowing. I take the subway to downtown. Coming out of the station, I see snow is starting to fall.

January 27 (Saturday) at work: Saturday and I was supposed to be teaching the kiddies. I come to work and am told immediately that my classes with them have been cancelled. There is a 13:00 private class that I will teach if Roy (Roy Boy!!) actually attends.

January 30 (Tuesday. (Sunday and Monday were days off.)): The rest of Saturday, the city was a mess because it snowed heavily, and the streets and sidewalks were very slushy. I spent my days not driving the car and mostly sitting at home. Sunday, I took Tony downtown via the bus and subway. For Tony, it was a chance to experience snow. He had never seen so much of it before.
It was cold last night. This morning, I started the car up and it didn't start so easily. That sound of the ignition turning over was a sound I hadn't heard in years. When I arrived at work, I talked to a Chinese colleague who I knew had a car and she told me that she had the same problem starting her car. It scared her, she told me, and I told her what it was like in cold weather in Canada and how we needed booster cables, things which I don't think they have in southern China.


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Am I a Roundhead or a Cavalier? I suspect I am a Cavalier and, while you are at it, a Jacobin.

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Because of the snow, I told some of the students and Chinese co-workers, nine months from January 26, October 26 could be a busy day. They didn't get my joke.

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My new passport! My new, expires in ten year, passport is here!!!

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I took Tony to the Subway sandwich shop at Sanyang Plaza. As I suspected, he liked a sandwich heated with bacon, spicy Italian sausage and Cheese, with Ketchup added afterwards. The sandwich maker couldn't believe that Tony didn't want any vegetables on it. The sparseness of ingredients on the sandwich made it seem very expensive: 60 rmb. I can understand the stories I have read on the Internet of the chain starting to fail in North America.

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It is lonely life I lead in Wuxi for which there are many reasons. Major reason, I suppose, is that my kind is not here. But then I never meet my kind in Canada. And there so are probably disagreeable things about my personage...

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Email me at andiskaulins@qq.com.