Thursday, December 5, 2019

Guardian Angel?; So Far, No Moments; Cross My Fingers; Mad I get; Lovely Thing for a Change; Three Accidents

  • Since hearing Mother Angelica mention them in a podcast, I have occasionally wondered how my Guardian Angel affects my life. Sometimes, I think the GA is putting reminiscences in my mind of when I did things of which I should be ashamed or embarrassed. I have admit that in my late teens and early twenties, I had a feeling of being in a higher station than really I deserved to be; and so quit jobs because I felt they weren't good enough for me. A couple of those occasions came back to me recently, seemingly out of the blue.

  • Since American Thanksgiving, I have not posted on WeChat moments. I am planning to start posting again at the end of Lent. So, I am looking at a good three months of WeChat silence. And the thing is, I don't think anyone who gets my moments posting will notice, which is most likely a good thing.

  • So far, there has been no mention of our school having a Christmas party this year. I cross my fingers and hope that this will be the case. I am thinking my hope will be realized because the school would have already planned one if they were because we already know when and where the school will be having its Chinese New Year slash Spring Festival dinner.

  • Things I shouldn't get mad about, after all these years I have spend in China, but still do: First, I was making a left turn and waiting for a car, coming from my left, to pass by so I could in fact make it when its driver made a right turn before me without making a turn signal. Second, I was trying to get off the train but was blocked by this old man with child trying to board. The signs and announcements all tell the locals to let the people off first before boarding.

  • I saw a lovely thing for a change. A man on a wheelchair got on the subway. A bit later, I saw a little girl sit on his lap. I assume the girl was his daughter. I was a nice sight. I then thought I saw a couple, sitting opposite me, praying which would have been better if that is what they were in fact doing.

  • I passed three accident scenes while driving Tony to school in the morning. First, there were two cars that had obviously collided because of improper lane changing. Second, I saw that an SUV had hit an e-bike. Who was at fault was hard to say. The e-biker could have been ignoring a traffic signal; the driver could have made a right turn without looking. Finally, I saw a car ran straight into the end of a traffic fence slash barrier. As I have blogged before, the authorities put what is basically fencing on the center lines of roads to get drivers to stick to their side of the road. But there have to be gaps in the fences so people can make turn. It was at one of these gaps that I saw the collision aftermath. The driver was female. This scene was one when you really had to wonder what the woman had been doing. She drove straight into the barrier end like she didn't see it was there. She was making a left turn. If she hit the fence end because she was inattentive seemed hard to believe. I speculate that another car must have been involved that had forced her to hit the fence end. Either the car was driving very quickly on the road already or another car making a left turn had the same time tried to overtake her so that she got startled and hit the fence end before she knew it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Old Women Annoying Me; Serotonin Book; Tony's Christmas Wish; Running out the Clock; No Christ in Chinese Christmas, Christmas will be on a Wednesday

  • I like to sit at back of bus which I take to work. There are four seats there in that back row, and I often have them all to my self. However, one day these three women had to sit by me. They nattered like hens so that I couldn't concentrate enough to enjoyably read. I got off the bus in a bad mood and then lost my temper at a old woman who cut in front of line of me at the bakery I always go to. I call her a f***ing bitch three times loudly. Everyone in the bakery stared and me, and I believe they understood the foulness of my language, but the old woman I was screaming at looked at me blankly. I couldn't tell if she was deaf or was incredibly inscrutable.

  • Finished reading Serotonin, a novel by Michel Houellebecq . I sympathized with the novel's main character's alienation from the society; however, I envied his sex life and financial success. I felt like a real loser after I finished the novel.

  • Tony doesn't know what he wants for this Christmas. I asked him one early morning in early December, and he quickly answered that he didn't know. He then came back to me later that day, and told me that he still couldn't think of what he wanted. What does tell me? Either he has everything he wants, or the only things he could possibly want are to be had on a computer or his Iphone.

  • I had a few classes where I was really, really just trying to run out the clock. I had this two hour class where I was to prep these high school age students for the speaking portion of the IELTS test. Two students showed up. One of them, a male, didn't have the English ability to understand anything I was saying. The other, a female, had spend a year in an American high school and so I had to wonder what was the point of having her in the class. They both were more interested in their smartphones. The last ten minutes of the class seemed an eternity to get through and when I finished, I quickly stood up and gave them a goodbye with I hope I never see you again tone. I then had another class with young kids who didn't want to be there. Despite telling them constantly that they have to answer with more than just a one word answer, they would always answer yes or no and mumble the rest of the answer when I asked for more. Trying to explain a phrase to them, I saw that none of them were paying attention. The last twenty minutes of this class was an eternity. I couldn't run the clock out fast enough.

  • No point in celebrating Christmas in China. It is Christmas without Christ. The Christmas parties, I have had to go to here in the past, are nothing better than a cake and cookie party for kids accompanied by clueless parents. I have this nightmare that our school will have a Christmas party this year and that they will ask me to be Santa Claus. Thinking about the nightmare, I wonder if I would have the gumption to tell those asking me to fuck off.

  • Christmas is on a Wednesday this year. I don't think I will have any luck asking Jenny to let Tony stay home that day. Consequently, I won't be doing anything for Christmas. If it means not going to a school Christmas party, that won't be such a bad thing. I will be happy to have the 25th off. I will observe the religious aspects of the holiday with the many prayer apps and prayer books for which I have access.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Stop Posting on WeChat!; Tony Born on Black Ribbon Day; Tony and Madden Football; American Thanksgiving; Being Unpopular in China

  • I tell myself to stop posting on WeChat, but I can't help myself. I just love being silly and posting absurd things on it. I try not to show the world my life; just my absurd notions of what I think is humorous. In previous years, I have made a habit of trying to ignore social media as much as I can during Lent, but this year, I am thinking of getting off starting at Advent.

  • My son Tony was born on August 23 which is a dark date for Latvians. It was the date on which the infamous Nazi – Soviet treaty was signed. One of the secret protocols of the treaty was the absorption of the Baltic states by the Soviets. What can I say about this unfortunate coincidence? Well, Tony's birth represents a new hope.

  • It rained heavily in Wuxi on November 27th. Hadn't rained so heavily in the longest time. My plan to go home late to avoid Jenny's tigermothering of Tony was thwarted.

  • Tony wants to play the Madden computer football game. He is becoming North Americanized. He knows about the NCAA. I call it the NC, double A. He prefers to call it the N,C,A,A, even rejecting my manner of saying it.

  • Somewhere in Wuxi, American Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Overeating day is being observed. I treat it as the start of the Christmas shopping season. This year, I may even use the day to mark the start of my not posting anything on WeChat moments. But then, maybe I won't. I report to you rare reader either way.

  • There's one thing worse than being unpopular with the locals in China and that is being popular with them. If you can keep to yourself in China, you don't get invited to many Chinese social gatherings which are a bore. If you are the only foreigner at these affairs, it can feel like a prison sentence. Never does one feel so lonely as when one is with dull company. (Of course, it might be that I have managed to get the locals to ignore me.)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Stupid E-Bikers; Zapruder Film on WeChat; My Own World; The Salvation Army; Winnipeg Blue Bombers Win the Grey Cup; Walking Down the Street Looking at a Laptop

  • Friday morning, I drove Jenny to downtown Wuxi. At this huge intersection, you had to wonder if the e-bikers were short-sighted or stupid or both. On a green go straight ahead light, I was going straight ahead and saw an e-biker coming from my left, who I figured was trying to cross the intersection diagonally and thus cut in front of me. This sight made me feel sadistic, and it appeared I gave the rider the scare of her life as I honked the horn and made her come to a sudden stop. As I passed her, coming as close as I could to almost brushing her, I swore, hopefully loud enough, through the open driver side window, for her to hear f***! Continuing on through the intersection, I saw another two e-bikers who were also ignoring traffic signals and trying to beat oncoming traffic. Jenny swore at them.

  • I really thought I had gone too far when I had posted the crucial fifteen seconds of the Zapruder film on my WeChat Moments. I was hoping that someone would say I was a sicko for posting the images. Instead, I brought out a couple tin-foil hatted foreigners who said they didn't believe the official account of the assassination. For what it's worth, I was a JFK assassination buff when I was younger. I bought many books about it and I was even able to visit Dealey Plaza when the assassination occurred. I didn't believe the official account either till I actually read a book that said Oswald did it. That book made the official account seem reasonable and ultimately the truth. Also, going to Dealey Plaza, site of the assassination, I was struck by how small it the place was compared to how I imagined it. Oswald had an easy shot and was able to kill the president despite actually shooting very erratically as any person trying to kill a president would similarly do.

  • "Andis you are in your own world!" says my wife Jenny. When we argue, she says this in a mocking tone to which I respond that her way of being hard on our son Tony makes me want to retreat into my own world. Her world of scowl garners no desire to join from me, as well as no sympathy. But to be fair to her, I am a loner. It was my affliction growing up, but in the world that is now, it is a necessity. The urge to belong can make people go crazy or do crazy things like my wife.

  • I was very disappointed in Chick-fil-A when I heard they had decided to not give money to the Salvation Army. (For what conceivable reason? I shudder to learn the details.) I had made a point of going to to Chick-fil-A when I was in the US because they seemed like a restaurant worth supporting. I am eternally grateful to the Salvation Army because of the comfort they provided our family during the death of my father. And it was a lady from the Salvation Army who said a prayer at my funeral – things that wouldn't have been done for us by fucking social justice warriors!

  • The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup this week. I was happy because Tony & I had attended one of their games this year and I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I wasn't aware that the Blue Bombers had gone 29 years without winning the Cup. It was so long ago that I was living in Winnipeg at the time it happened. After that 1990 game, a friend and I went to Portage Avenue to watch the celebrations. I remember seeing some people walk off with a newspaper dispensing machine, and this repetitive process of people climbing on top of some bus stop shelter only to shooed down by a policeman and then a few minutes later seeing some other people getting the same idea until they got shooed down. I also remember being happy in 1982 when the Argos ended a 31 year stretch of not winning the Cup, and even more happy in 1983 when the Bombers ended a 21 year drought. The Bombers won three Grey Cups in the 80s and so I figured, for 29 years, that their drought was over. It was only after this game that I realized that it had gotten worse. Which goes to show you how old I am.

  • It is not an unusual sight to see someone walking down the street looking at their phone. I thought it was unusual when I saw a guy walking down the street while looking at his laptop.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Elbowed; Frustration; Don't Go to Hong Kong; Tony and a Baseball App; Trump a Traitor; Can't Listen to So Many Podcasts

  • Sitting on the bus one evening, this older local woman annoyed me when she bumped me as she went to find a seat behind where I was seated. And then as she got off the bus, she stunned me with an elbow to the head. I don't think and don't even suspect that she did it on purpose. It just seemed that she was off-kiltered in her walking. (Or it just could be that it is easier to get away with bumping into people than it would be in the country where I grew up?)

  • It is bloody hard to get these kids I am teaching to answer a question with more than one word. It is also hard to get these students to do anything but copy what I or some other student said. There was a lesson plan where a coin was tossed. I review the exercise with the students in subsequent classes. But it is so hard to get the students to call head or tails before I toss a coin. And when they do call it, they will always call "heads." Which shows to me that they still don't get it.

  • A few students have told me that Hong Kong is not a good place to go to these days.

  • Tony is obsessed with some baseball game app on my phone where he can play through a whole season with a particular team. The particular team he choose to be is the Houston Astros. At the time of my typing this, Tony told me that they had just beaten the Minnesota Twins 21-14 in the wildcard game. Said I: that is a football game score! Tony's Astros will play the New York Yankees in a divisional series.

  • In an SPC, a student was telling me that he had heard that Trump had committed treason. I went on for about five minutes about what nonsense that was. Trump, I told him, was trying to deal with a mess of treason and was now the victim of an attempted coup because of it. (  I have to stop get upset about it. The world is fucked. The elites are crazy. Not much Trump can do about it.)

  • I gave up on listening to so many podcasts. For one thing, there are too many. For another thing, I know what they are going to say. And with so much choice, what is the point of listening to one podcast episode religiously?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Globalists; Multiculturalism; Go Bombers Go!; Alzheimer's and Tiger-Mothering; A Game of Catch; Minnesota Twins Program

  • I had a conversation class with a student who had been to Germany, France and Italy where he was looking at factories. The folks he was talking to were, he told me, were all globalists. They hated Trump, wished Brexit didn't happened, and thought that huge trade zones were a great way to mix cultures. To the student, I had to explain the mindset of the people who were voting for Trump and Brexit. The price of cheap stuff I said was the destruction of communities. The people running these global businesses were basically screwing their own people, the people of their communities.

  • Were some cultures better than others? I asked the students I had in a class about multiculturalism. They said no but then I talked about cultures where sinners were thrown to their deaths, and I had them hemming and hawing.

  • The Winnipeg Cheese Blintzes will play the Hamilton Tater Tots in Sunday's Gravy Cup Final for the Championship of the Canadian Foodball League.

  • Alzheimer's is a terrible disease because it takes away a person's memories. Chinese tiger-mothering is a terrible practice because it doesn't give a child a chance to have a memorable childhood. People are nothing if they don't have memories.

  • On Sunday, November 17th, Tony and I played catch, with baseball and gloves, at the Hui Shan Sports Center. We found a spot where there were few people, the lighting was good and there was a wall behind Tony so he didn't spend most of his time running after balls he couldn't catch because of my uncoordinated throws or his uncoordination. I am glad to say that he showed improvement and was catching the faster balls I was throwing directly at him. I was even gladder at just being able to do a father-son thing.

  • Tony still intently studies the program we got at the Minnesota Twins game in August.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Billy Bob Thornton on Acting School; The Worst Ideas; Is the Universe Infrastructure?; Longer Walk Home; My Son Tony's Priorities; Impeachment

  • I am making my way, slowly, through the Norm MacDonald live series that was broadcast on Youtube before he got a Netflix series. The fourth episode featured guest Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton made an observation about Acting Schools, saying he thought that they were useless and that he had never seen a bad actor turned into a good actor by going to one. This observation stuck with me and makes me wonder what I am doing. Has anyone's English ever been improved by going to an English school? If someone asked me this question directly, I would shudder.

  • Multiculturalism is one of the worst ideas that man has ever had. Communism being the worst. The Chicoms like to proclaim that there are 57 nationalities being tolerated and living happily in the PRC. The truth is the Han nationality form an overwhelming majority of the PRC population. The only way there can be the other 56 is that most of them get massacred, ground to a powder so that only a few are there to add spice to the mix.

  • Could it be the enormous universe is the infrastructure needed so humans can survive in their puddle in the outskirts of an insignificant galaxy?

  • Thursday night, I got off the Subway a stop earlier so I could have a longer walk home. And then when I got near Stately Kaulins Manor, I found a park bench to sit at for fifteen minutes.

  • The first thing my son Tony did when his mother finally finished tiger-mothering him was go on the computer and check out the NBA scores. That's my boy!!

  • I've been tempted but mostly I have chosen to ignore the impeachment proceedings that are taking place. All I will say is that they are moronic and are a new low for the Democrat party. But then maybe it is all a circus on the part of the ruling class to stop us from watching what is really going on, which is that they don't give a tinker's tuss for the people they are supposed to care about.