Monday, June 30, 2008
But the end of the rain, doesn't mean the end of the moisture. Now, I must be prepare for profuse perspiration. Yes, the Wuxi, China heat has hit us full-bore today. I am exhausted already.
I should have grown up in South Carolina where I have heard there is similar muggy weather.
Still, it was a surprise for me to see a middle school student wearing a Celtic shirt last Saturday. The student I saw wearing green attends a middle school that is an hour from Wuxi downtown, in the countryside. The Chinese had adopted the habit that I have seen in North America of wearing clothing of the current champion in whatever sports league is popular. I had assumed that they would wear the clothing of a team with a Chinese player on it like the Rockets and now the Nets.
But knowing that the Celtics were champions, did not help the student know how to pronouce "Celtics". I have given that lesson many times in the past few weeks.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Actually, I should say our new bike. As I type this, the wife has taken the scooter to a nearby vegetable market.
Having bought an electric bike doesn't make me an Environmentalist or a Warmista. In fact, the electric bike is a symbol of the Green movement's hypocrisy. How do you get the electricity to power these bikes? You burn coal.
Ronnie's along with the Blue Bar are the most popular Expat pubs in Wuxi, China.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I tried again to watch the series John Adams last night. It seems very interesting and I wish I could give it my full attention. But that is a luxury in these days of Tony who is becoming more and more mobile.
As you can or will see in the videos, Tony can crawl and he wants to get into everything. My wife has told me that he has broken four cups that were in a lower drawer.
This U.S. presidential election has become a contest to see who can be more stupid. Obama's idiotic statements are numerous but he is going to be able to get away them. His wife had made a speech about blacks always having to face a changing or rising bar. In fact for her husband's candidacy, the bar has been lowered. I have heard a recording of Obama saying something to the effect that if it wasn't for the Iraqi War we could have cars that could do 100 m.p.g. Obama's opponent might as well be labelled the old fool. McCain has said things that rightly only Obama should be saying like for example:
"I believe there needs to be a thorough and complete investigation of speculators to find out whether speculation has been going on and, if so, how much it has affected the price of a barrel of oil. There's a lot of things out there that need a lot more transparency and, consequently, oversight."
As John Stossel asks in this article: This man (McCain) is the Republican? McCain went to Canada to make statements about Global Warming that should ban him from having any responsible position in the Republican party. He is only going to receive the endorsement of many on the right for Presideny because in this Dumb and Dumber election, he is Dumb.
Friday, June 27, 2008
It turned out I shouldn't have arisen so early. I got to downtown Wuxi and by my school at 720 a.m. But I am just not the sort of person who can get to work five minutes or even one minute ahead of time. I like to be at work at least twenty minutes before I have to do anything.
I hated teaching at Lu Qu Middle School which is on the outskirts of Wuxi, China. The students' main teacher was not there, so they wouldn't listen to me. I also understand that they are used to being taught as a group so when I select individual students to answer questions, the rest of the class tune out. I used to worry about this but these classes we do at middle and primary schools are promotional exercises with little to no educational value. I do what I have to do and let the clock run out.
I don't know if I have said it before but my little Tony can crawl. For proof, you can watch Wuxi Tony Update 129 on My Youtube Channel because chances are it will be uploaded to Youtube when I am in bed for the night. You can also see what other videos are in my Youtube oeuvre.
The King and I drove by an electrical transformer blowup on our way back to apartments in the Hui Shan New City area of Wuxi, China. The explosion scared us for it happened on these overheard wires that run along the road we take home from our jobs. We were lucky to be in the left lane away from the area immediately beneath the explosion. I have never seen such an explosion before and so I wonder if the cause was hastily and cheaply built Chinese infrastructure.
Germany and Spain are in the final of Euro 2008. Go Spain! Viva Espange! Or something like that. Really, I should be cheering for the country where I was born (I was born in Iserlohn, Germany in 1964) but it is boring to see it win so many of these international competitions and I am not German anyway.
David Warren sadly concludes that Obama will win the election. I hope, as Warren does, that he is wrong.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I have already secured my return ticket. It is good to know someone who can get return tickets for you. Normally, the first thing a train traveller has to do once he arrives at his or her destination is purchase a return ticket.
You have to know where to go to get return tickets. They are not so easily purchased at the main ticket offices.
My trip to Shanghai will take about 60 minutes. Before the fast trains, it would have taken about two hours.
I keep to the bicycle paths of which there are many in Wuxi. I never realized how annoying it must be to cyclists when pedestrians walk in these paths. Nothing worse than being forced to come to stop by someone loitering and doddering in a bike path.
I stop for red lights which seems puts me in a small minority. I have seen so many scooters ride right through red lights thereby causing cars to swerve so as to avoid collisions. Incredible.
Another thing I see that amazes me is so many cyclists going the wrong way down roads or bike paths. I think these people are taking very unnecessary risks. But the feeling of cyclists that some rules of the road don't apply to them is universal. I have seen it in Canada.
Since it is the rainy season in Wuxi now, I won't take photos of the route I take home. But rest assured rare readers, whether here or in my other blog, you will see interesting photos as soon as weather permits. My ride home, for instance, has me crossing a kilometre long bridge over a busy waterway.
I have never seen an area so full of buildings and yet so seemingly absent of people. I hope that the Hui Shan New City does not become a classic case of government overdevelopment.
So, I will have to find a new nickname for Tony. Do any of my rare readers have any suggestions?
And Damn the people who have to pollute the culture and ruin seemingly nice sounding words.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Thankfully, it didn't rain on my way home. It look and felt like it was going to rain all day yesterday but it never did.
I take the scooter to work today. I won't have to do this the next three days because I will be going to Shanghai and have workdays where I will finish in time to catch a bus home.
This morning, I will have to see if I can find the best route through downtown to get to School. What I did yesterday was wrong. I learned that there are routes where scooters can't go and make the necessary turns to get to their destinations.
Finding the way back home was easy. I can take a back way to get to the road that runs along Ronnie's Australian Pub and the Baoli Mall. I go under the train tracks and make a left turn at the next major intersection. I then make a right turn on Xicheng Road and proceed north along a bike path which goes over a long bridge. Xicheng Road takes me straight to Hui Shan New City.
Monday, June 23, 2008
It is a cliche to say it, but I will say it anyway: Riding an electric bicycle, I have a new perspective on Wuxi traffic. Most things I did anticipate. People coming from any direction at any time means you have to be always on your toes. But what really struck me today is how pedestrians are such pains in the asses when they walk in the bicycle paths. And if they walk three abreast, you want to run them down in frustration. As it was, I narrowly avoided striking one pedestrian as I had to quickly swerve to avoid them.
I have problems with the electric bike because the accelerator is on the right handle. It has always been my habit to clutch at the handles whenever I am pushing a bicycle or trying to come to a stop. But with an Electric bicycle, this can mean unplanned lurches if I don't check myself. The first time I pushed the Electric bike yesterday, it always ran away from me because the ignition was on and so when I grabbed the handle I pressed the accelerator causing a lurch. I have to learn as well to only brake with one hand. Having the habit of using both brake handles to stop may not be so bad on a normal pedal bicycle but on an electric bicycle, it can be deadly because the scooter may stop as you want it to. Again this morning, I had a scary moment when I lurched into traffic unexpectedly.
The bike maxes out at 40 km/h. In open space, it simply wasn't fast enough for me this morning. I already want to buy a Harley.
It is hardest to drive the scooter downtown. There are simply too many people.
I bought the bike at Carrefour, Baoli. I bought the biggest bike with the most battery power I could find. I will park it underground at the apartment complex. They have a place where I can plug it in overnight to recharge for free.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I had put a series of definitions on the whiteboard about the word culture saying it, among other things, shared customs, habits, beliefs and values. When the student kept talking about American economic power like it was a bullying sort of thing, I had to point to the board and ask him what any of this business talk had to do with customs and habits. He replied that was what he thought America was all about.
I could only shrug and later I wondered after talking to some other foreigners about this whether the student had a point. Some said that American economic power had a role to play in the influence of its culture, but I could think of examples like in Canada or France where American culture is universally derided and yet people choose it over their local fare.
I wanted to talk Blue Jeans and Hollywood with this student and all I got back was Wall Street!
Older citizens who have two or three dogs are panicking.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Next Monday, the wife says I can buy an electric bicycle. I look forward to riding it to work but I imagine it will drain me over the long run. I will have a long ride to work. I hope I can keep my scooter use to a minimum so my wife can use it.
Now that Euro 2008 is in the quarterfinal stage, I will cheer for Holland and against Russia.
Tonight, I will have two conversation classes and an English Corner. The topics for the conversation classes: Fashion and Study Abroad. In the English Corner I will try to get the students to talk about acronyms and medical insurance - two unrelated topics.
We have some summer students enrolling in the school which will keep us busy I hope.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
And now this morning, I see Tony completely barefoot after I had put the shoe on each foot. So, I shake my head and let him roam barefoot.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Our school is slowly evolving from catering to individual clients to corporate clients. We have to do what the market dictates. It is good for me to work with a group over a period of time. In the school, I see students on a too infrequent basis to really assess how much their English has improved. Having a group for three months will test my English teaching abilities.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Work and my impending move occupy my time leaving me little opportunity to blog, as I have already told you. So this may be my last blog entry until Tuesday. But at AKIC, we never say never! I may be able to sneak a posting on the weekend if I can get access to the Internet.
I have been having trouble uploading Wuxi Tony Update #120 to Youtube. Uploading at home is usually never a problem. However at school, it is. Sometimes the upload connection times out or is lost and it is hard to get connected. Yesterday afternoon, I last remember having WTU 120 sixty eight percent uploaded before something went wrong. Now, I am uploading using the Firefox browser which is working for now.
Till I get my electric bicycle, I am going to have to take taxis to get home in the evenings. I am slotting myself into as many early morning shifts as possible to avoid having to do this.
Toys R Us is coming to Wuxi. I saw a sign for the famous American Chain Store as I was walking on Zhong Shan Road near the renovated Ba Bai Ban.
I will be doing a salon class about Cliches this afternoon. A Cliche is an idiom or colorful expression gone stale or boring. "So!", I will say to the students, "I will talk about boring things!".
I moved my home computer to the new apartment last night for which I wish to offer a public thank you to his majesty, the King of Wuxi Expatdom, Andrew I. So, for the next little while, I won't have Internet access at home and so won't be able to make many postings. As a matter of fact, I may not be near the Internet for three days in a row this weekend (Saturday, Sunday, Monday), unless I can sneak in the King of Wuxi's apartment where Internet has just been installed.
Last night, Niels, the greatest Danish Expat that Wuxi has ever known as well as founder of Wuxi Life, offered me congratulations. I had to ask him what for, because I hadn't done anything remarkable lately, other that the Toner (or El Toner as the Mexicans or Spaniards would say). He was congratulating me, he said, for moving into a new apartment and having property. I had to admit that I never thought too much about having property. I would have been a renter all my life if I had my druthers, but I made a commitment to please my wife. Also, property means you have to take problems in your place personally. I would rather let someone else worry about it so I can read Evelyn Waugh in peace.
I spent my first night in the new apartment. I slept in the living room on the Sofa so I could enjoy watching the large screen T.V. The first night was horrible as I was up all night trying to kill mosquitoes with my electric tennis racket zapper. We have screens on the windows except in one place.
Greece is letting me down in Euro 2008.
Steve Lawrence is convinced Obama will win in a landslide over McCain. He also told an anecdote about seeing a man walking down the street, late at night, with only a shirt on.
The King of Wuxi tells me some parking spaces in Wuxi sell for more than 100,000 rmb.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
This is the last blog entry I will do in the 21st floor apartment. I will pack the computer away this morning so I can move it to my new apartment. I will continue to blog from school during we get Internet in our new place.
Will I miss the place? No. Will I miss the view? No.
Here is WTU 119.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I was hoping to move some stuff over to the new apartment this morning but just as I was ready to go, the wife told me I had to stay with Tony while she did something. So now, she is doing her thing, I have gotten Tony to fall asleep and I am doing my thing: bloggy and uploady.
Pardon me for talking to you like I would talk to my son. But when you do one kind of talky, it is hard to change over to normal talky. Plus some of you are like babies anyway! Do you like your rattle? Goo goo goo! Do you want Obama to win? What a silly little poo!
The TVU player doesn't have the FOX News Channel anymore. I will just have to watch the Nostalgia Western Channel.
Maybe, we will do some packing this morning. Maybe, I will pack up the computer. Maybe, I will look into what the KoW 2008 campaign is doing.
I have heard that the King of Wuxi accepted the nomination of his party for the presidency of the USA. Of course, he got the nomination of the Benevolent Bread Party by acclamation. But he did give a stirring speech at the formal nomination acceptance ceremony. It ended something like this:
The journey will not be difficult. The road will be nothing I haven't handled before in my time working for the Liberal Party in Manitoba as well as working for Evermore here in Wuxi, China. I face this challenge with confidence, and knowledge of my own great powers. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of most of the American people. Because if they are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when the King of Wuxi began to provide free of charge, cookies and cake and chocolate ice cream and sunshine and lollipops and mashed potatoes with pork chops and high-speed Internet installed on weekends and nude photos of me and politicians in cartoon animal suits and telescreens in every room of every house; this was the moment when the rise of the bread began in the oven of my new apartment and all our athlete's foot fungus began to heal; this was the moment when we kicked ass and secured our nation and maintained our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when I, through my amazing ESP powers and X-ray like forethought, made this so-so nation into something really cool and nifty. Thank you, God bless you, God bless me, and may God bless the United States of America as well as Wuxi, China Expats.
Here is WTU 118.
I hate it when my wife hangs laundry outside the window of our 21st floor apartment. One has to always worry about wind blowing the laundry away as well as having to worry about rain. Several times, my wife has had to go downstairs to retrieve fallen laundry.
Today, she lost my favorite pair of black underwear. I particularly liked this pair because they fit snugly, felt comfortable and showed off my ass in its best possible light. This valuable pair of underwear is irretrievable, or so my wife says, because no one lives near the resting spot 20 floors below.
There is something that happened last week at the Canadian Consulate in Shanghai that I forgot to mention and I will mention now. To be served you have to take a number. There is a machine from which you can take a number, but you must be careful because you have two choices: if you are there for passport reasons, you take one number; if you are there for citizenship reasons, you take another number. Naturally, one person came to the consulate, choose the wrong number and was very upset when he waited for a half-hour and was not being served by the citizenship office.
There was a second thing about the consulate setup that got people upset, including me. People going to pick up a passport wait for their name to be called. These people go to the same office as those who are supposed to take a number and wait to be served when dealing with passport applications. I didn't know this as did another man and just as my number was called, a woman rushed into the office and was served. It looked like a Chinese person budding into line in the Canadian Consulate. Why couldn't they have picked up their passports at another office? I asked about my friend about this and he made the same observation. Only in government.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
HyLite Language School in downtown Wuxi looking for part-time and full-time English teachers for the Summer.
HyLite Language School in downtown Wuxi is looking for teachers, part-time and full-time to work this summer. If you need extra money, this may be the opportunity for you. We can offer some flexibility in the times you would teach. Send me an email at email@example.com or text me at 13665121262 for more details.
Because the Dragon Boat Festival fell on a Sunday, many Chinese are getting Monday off. But at our school, we don't, because we work Sunday and so the DBF was a real holiday for us.
The Toner is not up so early this Monday morning. At 724 a.m., the wife and he are still sleeping. It is good for me because I can blog and prepare for my day easily.
I now have had 190,000 views on my Youtube Channel. Here is the latest:
We are moving to our new apartment in the countryside in a week. Are we packed and ready to go? No.
Where am I going to find trainers who can work over the summer in Wuxi?
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I took the photo below of puss sweet cream at a bakery near our school. It is a classic example of Chinglish.
Some of these baby chicks have been dyed pink. A street hawker was selling the poor things. Most of the birds die two or three days after purchase.
Friday, June 6, 2008
I work tomorrow. The price I have to pay for going to Shanghai on Thursday to get a new passport. That will teach me to look at the expiry date on my Visa next time. As it was, I have cut it too close. One screwup and I am in limbo.
An Interview with Clint Eastwood. He describes himself as a Libertarian, which must mean there is no way he is voting for Obama. In fact, he said he supported John McCain in 2000. And he don't care much for Spike Lee.
We need more Vaclav Havels; no Obamas. Thank you very much.
Maybe, I will go to the New apartment on Sunday.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
To Shanghai and the Canadian Consulate, I go. I have a ticket for a 922 D-Train (fast train) in the morning and have already managed to secure a return ticket at supper time. I again thank rare reader Connie for helping me with this.
The Toner had us up at 500 a.m. this morning. Maybe he grows up to be a farmer.
But that proved to be even too early for the Toner. He has wisely fallen back asleep at 600 a.m.
The School has given us boxes of Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival. Yummy! I say. But not every Expat's cup of tea.
Here is the Wall Street Journal's China Journal Blog.
A plastic bag at Kedi cost me two Mao or to be more precise: two tenths of one Yuan.
Effective June 1, stores and restaurants in China are forbidden from using plastic bags. Now, I haven't had a chance to go to a Supermarkets to see how they are dealing with the prohibition, but I have gone to McDonalds a few times. I was first given a drink in a paper bag (before June 1, drinks were given in plastic bags - a Chinese fetish you could say). On another trip, I was given a drink in a poorly designed portable cardboard cup holder. Grab the holder by the handle and the drink cup droops so that you worry about spillage. This holder is one of the most pointless devices I have ever seen. If this is what it means to save the environment, I can see we are in for a lot of inconvenience.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I won't be going to the new apartment this morning. I would like to have moved some things there but looking outside, it appears iffy as to whether or not it will rain. As well, yesterday killed me, as the expression goes.
But I have more time for bligging, blagging, blogging.
Yesterday was a long day for me. I left the apartment at eight a.m. and didn't return till past nine in the evening. I spent a lot of time on my feet whether it be in the classroom or on the bus. When I arrived home last evening, the Toner was still awake and in a very excited mood, as the video below will attest. Tony's late night exuberance, more than anything, did me in. Now, I just don't want to do any moving today and the chance of rain is an excuse.
When making the video below, I hoped to show a new skill Tony had acquired. In the past week, he figured out how to slide backwards, on his stomach, off the edge of our large bed so as to end up standing against the side of bed. But he since has become more daring . Now he is trying to slide off the bed, on his back. He counts on one of us catching his fall and does not seem to realize the danger he is putting himself in. Watch below.
Last night, lightning flashes roused me up from bed. I looked out the window of my 21st floor apartment (the view which was initially attractive hardly holds my interest anymore) to see it was raining. I hoped I would see a spectacular show, being on the 21st floor, but it was really nothing special. The storm wasn't centered near our apartment.
Thank you, rare reader, Connie for helping my wife yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise to see you when I arrived home from work last evening. Thank you for the toys for Tony. We also appreciate your offer to help us move to the new apartment. As well, I saw that Tony seemed to like you very much.
Connie is working out to be the ideal AKIC blog reader. Other rare readers should follow her example. Reading AKIC is the surest way to cleanse your soul without religion.
A thought about 0bama: Against all evidence, Obama supporters seem to think their man is a God who can bring about hope and change, and can transcend the ugly compromise of democracy. Why is it at these big "sermon on the mount" rallies, he hasn't performed miracles like feeding the masses from one plate of tacos?
A thought about the King of Wuxi's campaign for president: His policies like tattooing his body with his election promises; and his innovations like having the candidates wear cartoon character costumes at debates; have been labeled as ridiculous. But, he has at least proposed solutions to problems that actually exist. 0bama has been talking of changing problematic situations that don't exist except in a left-winger's mind. The King has also been accused of being totalitarian and authoritarian. But unlike, 0bama, the King of Wuxi is truly divine and so is the closest thing the world will ever have to a benevolent despot. Now, Deloris Morris, campaign manager of 0Drummond for president in '08, has to find a way to convince the American voter of 0Drummond's divinity.
I see the Penguins won game five of the Stanley Cup Final in triple overtime to prevent the Red Wings from clinching the cup. Good thing they did. After a game so long, who would have stayed around to watch a Cup celebration except only die-hards?
I really have till June 26th to get my new passport. I cross my fingers tomorrow and hope the Canadian consulate does not ruin my life by telling me they can't do it.
I will cheer for Poland in Euro 2008. Without Lativa or England, UEFA should have cancelled the tourney due to lack of compelling reasons to watch it. Although, it is not often that Footie is compelling.
Hopefully, I am losing my blogging mojo for just a few days. After a weekend where I uploaded ten videos to Youtube and made five or six blog entries (here and at my other blog), I feel like I have blown my load.
I also have an impending move to worry about and I will have to disassemble my computer at home. I am not sure when I will get the Internet at home again. So, my blogging activity will be restricted to what I can do at work.
This morning, I took some things to the new apartment. It was the first time I went to the new place on a day I was working. I left the old apartment at 800 a.m. I arrived at new one at 930 a.m. After dropping off the things and changing into work clothes, I took a bus back to the downtown of Wuxi, site of my school and my old apartment. I arrived at work at about 1105 a.m.
So I had a three hour round trip to deliver three small bags of sheets and clothes. I will have to buy an electric bicycle when we finally move. It will still mean a long 45 minute commute (at least) but it is better than spending 40 minutes like I did today waiting for a bus.
It is cool to go on Youtube and watch footage of the NHL from the seventies. The game has changed so much since I was a child.
Wuxi, China heat. It is unbearable for me at two in the afternoon.
The buses I rode today ranged in quality from new with glistening plastic sheets to decrepit and rusty with wooden seats. I was lucky to be able to get a seat on the ride back to downtown.
Monday, June 2, 2008
This morning, I heading off to our new apartment with stuff.
Then I have a busy day at school. For I have just realized that I have to put together a application for a new passport ASAP. I didn't realize that my visa expires July 1st. I knew that my passport expires in October. But because of the early visa expiration date, I have to get the passport now instead of in the summer as I had planned.
HyLite Language School located in downtown Wuxi, China is looking for Summer ESL English teachers to work over the summer, either full-time (eight hour shifts five days a week) or part-time (to work in the evenings). For more details contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The wedding I went to Sunday night at the Wuxi Grand Hotel in Wuxi, China was absolutely terrific. The music played at the ceremony, including the theme from the movie Damien, was amazing. And then the bride and groom made their appearance by singing to each other. It thrilled the audience.
I do have some video of this but I am going to edit it first before uploading it to Youtube. I do have two Wuxi Tony Updates taken at the wedding for you to watch.
For those who are interested, Wendy, a former tutor at our school, makes an appearance in the videos.