Thursday, July 31, 2008

I didn't get wet.

  • I took the electric bike home tonight and I didn't get wet. I, thankfully, did not have to ride in the rain and the raincoat, I have for such an eventuality, is still in mint condition. It has been off-and-on raining all this week in Wuxi. I took the bike to school in a wind storm which was followed by a torrential downpour which I thankfully just missed. I then had to leave the bike at work for three days as I feared getting caught in a rain and having to navigate through flooded streets. Drainage leaves something to be desired here in Wuxi.
  • I can use bullets in this entry because I am not in the HTML view. Dummy.
  • My 11 month old son Tony can now make sounds like ma ma and yah.
  • In my company class, I gave the students a list of definitions of leadership which included a quote, correct me if I am wrong, from General Patton which goes to the effect of "I don't want my men to love me. I want them to fight for me." Other definitions were more modern and mentioned things like interpersonal relations and passion. Half the students choose the General Patton definition as the best. As did I.
  • I am rereading, for the umpteenth time, With Charity toward none: a fond look at Misanthropy by Florence King. I have just finished a passage where she discusses Coriolanus, a character in a Shakespeare play who was based on a figure in Plutarch's lives. Coriolanus, made the seemingly inexplicable decision to commit treason against Rome because (my phrasing) the Roman Mobs pissed him off. He suffered from a bout of, what author King labelled, Tourette's Misanthropy: rather than lower himself, he compromised himself. I find it a stirring passage.
  • I just heard that Obama does not give his children Birthday or Christmas presents. He wants to teach them limits or something. But it is a harbinger, I think, of things he wants others to suffer if he becomes President of the USA. Lenin, I have read somewhere, would close the blinds personally at the Kremlin every night: An austerity on his part while he ordered the murder of millions.
  • The school will be closed early next Friday so all can watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Morning!

I wanted to use bullets but the blogger program won't let me.

The KoW tells me that Obama taught law for ten years at a very conservative college. That shows how open-minded in debates, Conservatives are. That Obama is still a Democrat after spending all those years in a conservative college, shows how immune to common sense he is.

It is raining this morning, I have 5.5 hours of classes to teach and I may have a tough scooter ride home in the rain. Otherwise, it could be an alright day. Tony, is sleeping late this morning.

WTU 148

A special announcement.

  • A special announcement from the King of Wuxi, China Expatdom.
  • I got through the day. I notice that lately I have been sitting when teaching. It is my usual habit to stand. But the summer has been long and the classes have been many.
  • WTU 148 is being uploaded as I type. You can visit here to see it when it has been uploaded.
  • History will vindicate George Bush.
  • In the upcoming Olympics, The Chinese government will be more watched than the athletes.
  • William F. Buckley and Playboy. Did you know that arch-conservative WFB wrote for Playboy? But, then he also had a show on PBS.
  • Tony, if you see WTU 148, is doing a limp-crawl. He crawls with a foot and a knee. My wife tells me that he does this because he has a sore toe.
  • Tony has just recently taken up the habit of grabbing onto his parent's shoulder if he wants to be picked up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tony! Go to sleep!

Tony up at 400 a.m. and then up at 600 a.m. is making things difficult for me this morning. He requires constant supervision because of his insatiable curiosity. Either that or put him in the playpen and let him whine.

Busy day today. I have classes at 1100, 1300,1400,1500 and then a two-hour class at 1700. It does mean a little extra money for me. Also, I have lunch at the Timken Cafeteria to look forward to.

It is raining outside. Word is that it may rain heavily today because of a Typhoon.

Make this blog the morning blog. Make the other the evening blog?

Even music won't soothe the little savage this morning.

The Youtube Video View count was missing; now it is back. My videos have been watched 238,000 times now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama has a half-brother in China. Yanqiao.

Lord knows, what Obama's policy on China is. He did say it was polluting the world and causing the icecaps to melt.

Seablogger links to an article in the left-wing Guardian that reveals Obama has a half-brother selling Chinese imports to America.

And he also links to an article saying China is no long-term threat to America.

Here is a link to a video I made in Yanqiao, a suburb of Wuxi near Hui Shan New City.

For some reason, Youtube has dropped the total video views number off my Youtube home page. I assume they are transferring the feature to its new Insight feature. But, the last time I could check, I had over 232,000 total views on my Youtube channel.

The wife had an argument with the people who had put the curtains in our apartment. It seems that they made a mistake when they billed her and now wanted 200 rmb more from her. I have seen this change in original price happen so often that it has to be a cheat on the part of the sellers. I know they will give me a higher price because I am a foreigner. It happened many times on the Field Trip as Cokes were sold to me for five rmb that cost a Chinese person four.

Already trouble with the maid we had hired. She was supposed to start yesterday. She had agreed to work for two hours everyday from eight to ten a.m. But yesterday, she came early and asked if she could work just one hour. My wife told her not to bother and just come back today at the agreed time. If she doesn't, my wife will fire her.

Getting Tony to fall asleep.

Tony likes to be held and I get bored of holding him. So what do I do? I put on a music CD and dance with the little guy in my arms. Tony, at 11 months, seems to like listening to music. If you watch the latest Wuxi Tony Update (#147 or #146), you will see the little man dancing. I watched the movie about Glen Gould (101 short films about Glen Gould or whatever) with him and he seem to like the music that was being played. I was also watching an episode of Kenneth Clark's Civilisation where Georgian Chant music was being played and Tony stopped to listen. Tonight, I was listening to the Beatles (songs from the late sixties like "Revolution", "Back in the USSR" and "Hey Jude") and the savage boy was tamed. He fell asleep in my arms.

Things I saw Monday.

  • I took the bus to work Monday morning. I saw a fellow at the back of the bus wearing a shirt that said (I am correcting for the misspellings): Corporal Herman Goering Panzer Division March 1942.
  • I have seen bus passengers board the bus from the back door, especially when the bus is crowded. I am not sure if they are allowed to do this and I can't say that I have seen these back-boarders make an attempt to pay the fare. Perhaps, they are doing what I am thinking they are doing: sneaking on the bus.
  • I caught of a little girl standing in a basin as her mother washed her in the front of their shop. China always provides you with these nasty sights if you are not careful.
  • They are opening a play place for kids near the Toys R Us in Wuxi, China.
  • My wife bought Tony an inflatable Dolphin to wrestle with.
  • Many Chinese students think that the Welfare State increases individual freedom, and yet they prefer freedom to be responsible to freedom from responsibility.
  • I had a student who is studying philosophy in university. How could this be? I asked him. Most Chinese parents would tell their children they could not get a job studying such a subject. He responded that his parents were academics and that it was okay by them if he tried to become a professor.
  • In the evening, I always see the rising cumulo nimbus clouds but it does not always rain later. I saw the clouds yesterday but nothing happened later.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Overtime.

  • I work for a short time on Monday. I might as well take the extra money while I can get it.
  • My wife has hired a maid to help her with the cleaning as I asked her to. I see from Sunday from a burden Tony is. He can be whiny and unsure in his demands. Last night, I had a sequence with him where he wanted me to pick him up but as soon as I picked him up he would squirm (which I assumed to mean that he wanted to be taken somewhere or that maybe that he wanted to be on the ground so he could crawl - who can say?).
  • During the night, Tony was up for 20 minutes. I assume the heat was getting to him.
  • Having Tony sleep beside the parents submits the elders to kicks and head-butts and grabbings with sharp claws.
  • The last two times I took the electric bike to work I saw a cyclist lying on the pavement after being hit by a vehicle.
  • I have just uploaded WTU 147 to Youtube. For some reason, I haven't been able to upload embedded videos to this site from Youtube. So, this entry, I give you a link.

Yanqiao 3

The third set of photos of Yanqiao, a small town near our new apartment.




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Yanqiao 2

I see I can only publish four photos at a time.



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Yanqiao

Sunday evening, we went for a walk in the neighborhood. We went to a small town called Yanqiao which I had not known existed till my wife took me to it. There is more in the area I live than I had previously thought.
Above, you can see our apartment complex. Below, you can see photos taken on our walk to Yanqiao.


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day Off.

  • I have a day off barring some foreseen thing happening.
  • Tony has to be up early on this of all days.
  • David Warren on Obama's Berlin speech: Germans should be quite disturbed by the spectacle of a demagogue who communicates with the public almost exclusively through mass rallies. Americans should be disturbed by what should disturb the Germans.

Obama's Berlin Speech.

I didn't see Obama's speech in Berlin, but I have read it. It seems rather dull stuff, short on specifics other than a need for togetherness to solve world problems. And this phrase People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time. is used throughout the speech. Why? What is Berlin the moment or time for now? Berlin was the time and place for the speeches by Kennedy and Reagan. Other than a need for Obama to appear to have the aura of those two presidents, the connection between Berlin and any current crisis Obama said togetherness under him could solve is tenuous, like the connection between Al Gore's Climate Change campaign and a Nobel Peace Prize.

On a more meaningful front, Tony is learning how to play peek-a-boo. He stand himself up by leaning against the couch and will alternately hide and make his head appear from behind it. Remarkable, so full of substance and deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.

You want substance? Listen to Radio Derb.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T-Shirts and other observations.

  • One of the summer school students I taught this morning, a sweet girl, was wearing a t-shirt that said too many men, not enough time.
  • Whenever I see someone wearing a t-shirt proclaiming to all that they have been somewhere or seen some band in concert, I think to myself: These people have more profound knowledge than I do. Maybe, I should go down on my knees to worship them.
  • Some parts of Wuxi are cleaner than others.
  • I am going to Zhejiang province tomorrow. Yippy Skippy!
  • My favorite book is "With Charity Towards None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy" by Florence King. It is my bible. It is my guide to living. Sort of.
  • I will get up at 445 am Friday morning, just like I did when I was a butt-ass courier in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada.
  • A student, at a new company class I was teaching Thursday Evening, told me she had a thirteen month old baby who has been walking for a month. Tony is eleven months old and can do everything but walk. So the time of the first step of a great specimen of mankind is not far away.
  • The popularity of Obama can be blamed on Worship and Envy.
  • Chinglish or Engrish?

It is going to be the best month ever at AKIC blogspot!

Look at the numbers. It is going to be my best month ever for visitors to this blog.

Thank you to all my rare readers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three more days to go.

  • I just got to make it to Sunday. Three more days left in the current slog and I can spend a whole day with Tony.
  • From Seablogger, I get this link: an excellent analysis of anti-Americanism and Obama. I pull this quote from it: So Barack Obama, en fĂȘte around the world, will one day learn that there is no magical cure for the envy of others. What makes America the indispensable power (and even more indispensable in the era of the new China), is precisely what makes anti-Americanism inevitable.
  • David Warren on what is wrong with Obama (there are many things actually): Read what Ronald Reagan wrote, in his own hand, and often only to himself, over many years (there is the collection aptly entitled: Reagan, In His Own Hand) -- and you find a man who is consistently thinking about his people and his nation, about what is right and what will work. Then read Obama’s Dreams From My Father. It is all about finding himself. It is a well-written book, an interesting piece of literature, but it is strictly narcissistic. I have heard excerpts from Obama's book, over the Internet, read in Obama's voice. Frankly, these excerpts reminded me of my much younger, self-pitying self that it took listening to Rush Limbaugh and a good dose of common sense from a Irish in-law to partially escape from. But this is not to say that I have completely shed myself of those bad habits developed by the modern outlook on life and self. The flaws one has are not easy to rid oneself of. In fact, it is mightily impossible to do so. I still shirk the hard choices that have to be made. Which is why, despite his flaws, I have to steadfastly support George Bush. He has made hard unpopular choices and been shellacked permanently for it. But his choices showed a moral courage that most of his detractors lack.
  • Asking the students about the Olympics, lead to me being asked about Tibet and what I thought of it. I shirked that question....
  • Why don't you want to go to Africa? I asked some middle school students. One student told me he didn't want to go because it was full of black people. I could only say "ooookay!".
  • Our new TV will have to be taken in for repairs. It seems that it heats up, causing the picture to disappear.
  • I did an English Corner for fifty students this afternoon. It was more like doing stand-up than teaching. I did have them laughing. But don't expect me to be making jokes in public whenever I return to North America.
  • Here is another David Warren column from which I quote: The Pope has anyway only the power to be heard, and the responsibility to repeat, what every genuine sage has told us since the world began: that if we lead worthy lives, we needn’t worry about matters far beyond our control. This is the truth, and it begins at home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tony is Eleven months old! Happy Birthday Dad!


  • Tony is eleven months old today. He was watching the Teletubbies last night. I had never seen him sit quietly in one spot for so long. I watched along with him and was transfixed as well. The show was mind-numbing. I don't know what else I can say.
  • I almost forgot. It is my father's birthday today. Happy Birthday Dad! Now I know what you went through raising me.
  • I will busy the next few days. I have two company classes to do and we have a field trip on Friday that doesn't seem like it will be relaxing at all. We will be going to Zhejiang province to see a bamboo forest. Start time for the trip: 700 AM which means a 500 AM arising for me.

  • This is my second most watched WTU ever, already.

  • Now solves an existential crisis like having children. Or at least it should, now that I suddenly recall people for who that sentence doesn't apply.

  • How is Tony going to end up? If he goes to seed as a child or adult, I hope it won't be because of a lack of trying on my part. But, he will be what he will be and I don't know how much effect I can have on that. I hope I am not blind to his faults. I don't want to end up like those insufferable parents who don't believe their child can do wrong. I also don't want to be one of parents who dump their children anywhere so as to not have to look after them. One of the most influential thinkers on the modern everyday thought of man, Jean Jacques Rousseau who wrote treatises on Education and the Noble Savage put his five children in an orphanage in a move that surely should have disqualified everything he said or did. But the thought patterns he spawned still effect us though many people don't it.

  • It is 716 AM, and the heat from the outside already seems unbearable.

  • McCain will pick his Vice Presidential running mate this week, or so rumour has it. But really will it make any difference? The Republicans who should have been nominated may not want to do anything with McCain. They can't take over the ticket.

  • Bus or Bike today? It looks like I will be taking the bus. It would be nice if I could get a seat but it don't look like today is going to be my day.

  • To put diapers on Tony means to wrestle him. I can't beat him sometimes. He is like a 30 pound jumping bean.

Wuxi Tony Update #144: Tony is officially 11 months ago, July 23.

Tony talks about being 11 months old.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #143

Be the first to see the Chase of Tony.

On the Hui Shan Big Bridge

Finally, after 16 hours, I have uploaded this video to Youtube. This is the first video featuring my scooter slash electric bicycle.

Obama's Foreign Policy. I should kill someone.

I find this defense of Obama's foreign policy inexplicable. At one point, the author says Obama has crafted views on foreign policy similar to Henry Kissinger. You would think the candidate of Hope and Change and a new kind of politics would not have foreign policy views similar to Henry Kissinger. The problem is that when it came to Hope and Change in foreign policy, the Left's most hated person, George Bush, already tried to employ it. But because Bush is from Texas and is a born-again Christian, the Left couldn't never accept the idealism of Bush's cause. Because of their bigotry (yes, there is more bigotry on the left than the right), the Left rather than supporting Bush's idealistic cause, became foreign-policy realists akin to Nixon and Kissinger and the first George Bush. And so if Obama is a foreign policy realist, he is also a fraud. His appeal to the idealism of his star-struck supporters could not have caused the swooning it did if any of his hot airified rhetoric contained specifics or hard-headed realism.

The more I work, the more inexplicable I find human nature. Sometimes, you have to laugh and sometimes, you have to try to fight bitterness.

Some teachers must get their work ethic from the Special Olympics: it does not matter if you do it well as long as you show up eventually. These teachers must have seriously thought, before they came, that China had achieved some sort of socialist paradise so they could work like they were in a union. They must also get confused by the saying that "Mussolini made the trains run on time." They must also seem to think it means that only fascists insist on getting anywhere on time. The saying was said so as to show that Mussolini was good (i.e. because he could achieve an unquestioned good like trains running on time.). But leave it to people to think that those who want good are bad or that it is uncool to try to be good. "Don't you know that it fascist man?"

You also find some choice samples of human nature among the students. You will come across some little emperors or empresses: spoiled brats or bitches who should be beaten to an inch of their life.

I had one female princess ask me whether it was better for her to go to France or Italy. I should have told her to go to France because she would have fitted in with all the assholes who inhabit that country.

This summer, there has been another student who seems to hate foreigners or be spoiled or lord-knows-what. He is a student that all the other teachers talk about and he now has a reputation as someone you don't want to teach. I finally had him in a class this morning. I asked him where he went to school. He said he didn't want to tell me because he wanted it to be a secret. I had to laugh. The student wasn't a distraction or interrupting the class as a whole like other students I have seen. He would make his answers in turn, but his answers were just so bizarre. I would have to label him a little Red Guardist with rich parents who put him in a school where the teachers are capitalist/welfare-state foreigners. At the end of the class when I fielded questions from the class, he asked me why I was teaching in China. I told him it was an opportunity to see China which I found very interesting. He found my answer to be bizarre because it was the same answer the other teachers had given him when he asked them the same question. I have no idea what he really believes are our motives in coming here, but for whatever reason I would like to talk to him one-on-one. He will talk and his attitude seems to be a unique specimen thereof.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rebuild this Wall!

What exactly was hard-left Obama boy going to say if he went to the Brandenburg Gate? He would surely have employed a lot of flim-flam-Obamery holier-than-thou Circumlocutions that would have earned the plaudits of the Left while leaving the Right who would scrutinize the speech to wonder how stupid people could be.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wuxi,China Rain

This video was taken Saturday Night in the safety of a car.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Early morning trip to Carrefour.

I took the bike to work this morning. I wanted to get the cheese I talked about in my last posting. My wife found some but it was the sharp cheddar that really is not the ideal for pizza. I took matters into my own hands and left half-an-hour early to shop at Carrefour before going to work this morning.

Now I am at school. I made such good time that I can make a blog entry before I teach a class. I found the mozza at Carrefour: 39 rmb for a small chunk. I was also able to buy some breakfast at McDonald's.

On my scooter journey here was one close call. On the final stretch to school, I was riding down a narrow side street. An older woman coming out of a apartment complex crossed the street. Only problem was she drove into the street full speed without looking to see if anyone was coming. I had to make a quick evasive maneuver while cursing. Funny thing, she was cursing too. Somehow I was, in her mind, in the wrong but I have no idea how a Chinese brain would truly believe this.


I am going to have to start giving Tony baths. I have to help the wife in any way I can. She is a very busy woman because Tony just won't stop being mischievous.

Tonight, we will have a little dinner party at our house. We will host the King, Queen, prince, Duke, Duchess, and little Duchess of Wuxi, China Expatdom.

I need cheese.

I have never had to buy real cheese before in Wuxi, China. I know you can get here but it is expensive. I have bought the process cheese slices for making sandwiches. Some grocery stores (a tier below Supermarkets like Carrefour and Auchan) sell those real blocks of cheese.

Now it just so happens that we have a new oven and my wife wants to try to make pizza. So it was my mission today to buy some mozzarella. But of course, I can't find the stuff near my school and I just don't have the time to get to a supermarket.

I need cheese!


Meanwhile, my wife who is staying home to look after Tony is so busy and up-the-wall with him, I was contemplating resigning from blogging. But, alas, I do have some spare time at school to rant.

What can I rant about? I can rant about: traffic, management, me, Obama, global warming, the wild card in Major League Baseball, You tube, my blogging, my electric bicycle, lazy teachers and others who just don't get it.

I need peace of mind!

What can I rave about? Tony, my wife, my apartment, my DVD collection, my book collection, Evelyn Waugh and Thomas Sowell to name a few things.

Wuxi China Bengal Dog

This video has been seen over 50,000 times. My most popular video ever.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Can't you see the commercial possibilities?

The school got what I thought was a great gig at the Wuxi Train Station: teach the employess English phrases you can use on the job. But then it turned out that we were teaching the employees Olympic English. The Olympics won't be in Wuxi so I don't see the point. But the school seems to like the prestige that doing the program gives the school. I see a potential market for English teaching being unexploited.

Wuxi Tony Update #142

Tony in the buff.

Busy.

I have been busy but I wonder if I have accomplished anything. Teaching classes, I have been going through the motions. The administrative stuff I have to do occupies my mind. I am always trying to figure out the schedule because something always comes up. I spend less time thinking about making effective lessons. Everything looks like a slot to be filled or covered.

I took the electric bike to school today. I had a nine o'clock class so I was riding in the midst of the Wuxi morning rush. At a corner near the train station, the amount of bicycles was more than I could fathom. Yet, somehow everyone got on their way. I saw bicycles get into spaces that I thought were surely too small into enter without causing consternation in others, but I have a Westerner's appreciation of space or rather a lack of understanding of how packed people can become if circumstances dictate.

My wife is looking after my son by herself. I don't know how she does it. I feel inadequete because I think I should be providing more for her.

I tested my company class last week, as I have probably mentioned before in this blog. Today, I finished marking them. With the exception of one student, the marks ranged from 75 to 90 out of a hundred. I don't think I did a good job of making a test to distinguish the students' abilities.

Wuxi Tony Update #141

The King of Wuxi's son and Tony the magneficent together in a WTU!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let's not plan ahead!

If you plan ahead, things run smoother. Isn't this so?

This doesn't seem to be the case at the school I work at? They always do things at the last minute and they don't seem willing to change because we bail them out every time. But in the long run, things just stay shoddy. We never improve for the better.

I schedule two weeks ahead, but what is the point if I have to redo the thing three times in the interim?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #140

The video was taken before the power failure.

Power Failure. T-shirts.

An intense thunderstorm yesterday afternoon caused a power failure in the apartment. Not having any air-conditioning, the Kaulins family went to downtown Wuxi and hung out in a mall.

I have noticed the following t-shirt fashions in Wuxi: I love China t-shirts and Couples wearing the same t-shirt design. I noticed the former fashion in Shanghai first and it has now trickled into Wuxi. The design is similar to the famous I love NY t-shirt. However, the heart bears the five stars of the current PRC Communist China flag. Too political for a foreigner to wear. A variation of the I Love China t-shirt has the simple sentence posted on the front. However, the back of the t-shirt shows a map of China with the slogan "One China!". Couples wearing the same t-shirt is not a new custom but I have lately been seeing a few bold designs for lovers to wear. One design I think is striking bears the sentence "Falling in love" on both shirts. The female's shirt below has another sentence saying "He is my boyfriend" with an arrow pointing to the side; the male's shirt of course says the opposite.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Afternoon with my Son.

Monday is a day off. I went to my school to check up on some things and pick my electric bicycle which, I am glad to report, can make two trips to work and back. This afternoon, I will spend some time with my son while my wife run some errands.

So while the wife is away, the boys will play. Although it is so humid outside I don't know Tony and I can do. Maybe, I will teach him the joys of a cool hour in the bathtub.

Wuxi, China Contrasts.

Yesterday night, I happened to be at the Kempenski Building which is one of the two tallest buildings in Wuxi. The place is swank. We went to a pub there with a live singing act, featuring some nice girls from the Philippines, and drank expensive German Draft beer. By the front entrance as I left, I saw a gold coloured Rolls Royce.

Tonight, I was wandering around my new neighborhood in the car of my pal the King of Wuxi. We went to a small grocery store so he could buy some ice cream. I saw a crowd of about 70 people outside the store. I first thought that they were there to watch some incident taking place in the store (the locals will do this at accident scenes). But then I saw they were all sitting on the ground and pavement watching a television that the store had set up in its' front window with speakers so all could hear.

I assume that all these people were migrant workers taking part in the construction of Hui Shan New City and that they had little money or opportunity to do much other then to hang out at a local grocery store to watch television.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #139

I was hungover as I made this video this morning. The Tony looked so cute that I had a hard time stopping the video long after I had ran out of things to say.

How can my country honour people who would kill babies like Tony?

Canada Sucks.

They gave the baby killer, Morgentaler, the order of Canada. What is wrong with my country? David Warren has a profound reflection on it.

Canada supposedly has a conservative Prime Minister. But when I hear the left-wingers praise him, I worry. Is it because of being in a minority government situation that Steven Harper is abandoning principles?

China, with its one child policy and mandatory abortions, has a strong respect for family that the West sorely lacks. However, their one child policy will destroy that in the future. As the little emperors of today maybe have children in the future, the generational link of family may disappear and who knows what horrible consequences will result.

Testing

Strangely enough, yours truly, a teacher, does not give tests all that often. I do give grades for private classes but these do not count toward some final mark. The rare time I give tests is for company classes.

This afternoon, I gave a test to my Timken Company Class. I gave them an oral and written test. The oral test had two parts: I had the students write out minimal pairs I was dictating and I gave them each an oral interview. The written part consisted of a vocabulary test, where the students wrote out sentences for vocabulary I had mentioned in the course to date, and a describe a process test. My range of marks on the one test I have marked is from 14/25 to 21/25 which I wonder is what I want. Do I perhaps want a wider range? Did I make the test too easy?

Besides these questions about marking, I do have one observation to make about testing. It is a rather dull process. There is nothing for you to do but have an eagle eye looking for cheats. As well, time does not fly.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad Students.

Teaching all depends on the attitudes of the students. No manner how clever they are or aren't, if they don't want to be there, you don't want to teach them. I will go out of my way to help the struggling student who is enthusiastic. I would gladly fail the student who is not performing at their potential because of an bad attitude.

But what to do with these unhappy petulant students when you run out of patience with them? You can put them on the spot or tell them to never come back. Unfortunately for our school, the latter option is not feasible because the school does not want to see money walk out the door.

But bad money drives out the good and I think that ultimately it is good business to turf those bad attitude students.

Chinese Images of America.

I asked the students of my Timken company class for images they had of America. Most of the images they had were positive they mentioned images of industry and freedom. The worst image any of them came up with was of fat, lazy people living in big houses.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Immaculate Reception on My Mobile Phone.

You got to love technology. You really do. I have the original NBC broadcast footage of the famous Immaculate Reception Play that took place in the 1972 Divisional Playoff game between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I downloaded it when it was available on Youtube (it was subsequently pulled off). I don't know what it is about that play, but I can watch it over and over again.

Now, I have been looking at Video encoders on the Internet: the ones that let you change for example MPEGs to other formats like mov. or aapg and so on. I got this idea to put the video I have of the Immaculate Reception on my mobile phone. It took me all of fifteen minutes to do it. I first found out the format that my mobile phone can support (aapg) and then googled for encoders that converted to that format. The encoder I found was free, downloaded and installed in two minutes, and quickly converted my flv format video of the Immaculate Reception to aapg. It took me all of two minutes to download the aapg video to the phone and now I can watch the play on my phone.

Just think, I can have the Zapruder film on my phone next as well as Henderson's famous goal against the Soviets from 1972.

But I got to wonder about the lack of imagination of people who don't understand why I find this so impressive. But then these are the same sort of people who will vote for Obama and not question what charlatan he is.


On my ride home from work, I counted 12 shirtless men sleeping on the side deck of the Hui Shan City Big Bridge, a kilometer long bridge I have to cross to get to and from work. The men sleep there because it is the coolest place to be in a hot Wuxi, China summer. Now, I didn't see who was sleeping on the other side of this bridge which has sidewalks on both sides (most of the bridges I remember in Canada would only have one sidewalk or none) and if I am safe to assume it was the same, then there are about twenty men sleeping on that bridge tonight.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Overcast skies on Electric Bike Day.

There is now way around it. Today, I must ride my electric bike slash scooter to work.

And it is just my luck that the skies are overcast this morning with an evil forboding of rain. I haven't ridden the bike in the rain yet. I am hoping I can hold off having the first experience of it for as long as possible. Rain means having to wear a special rain jacket that surely must be uncomfortable as all hell and having to WD40 parts of the Scooter to stop it from shorting out.

Wuxi Tony Update #138

Last night, the Kaulins Family went to a Teppanyaki Restaurant at Baoli Mall here in Wuxi, China.

Men sleeping on Bridges.

Going from Hui Shan New City to downtown Wuxi, China, I often cross the kilometer long Hui Shan Big Bridge. The past two evenings, I have seen men sleeping on the bridge's sidewalk because it is cool there. Tonight, I saw three men sleeping on the bridge. A party of two had their pedal powered cart parked on the edge of a traffic lane while they slept nearby. The other man was sprawled on the sidewalk so that anyone walking on it would have to step over him.

I have heard that somewhere on the Internet, you can find a site with photos of Chinese sleeping. I have seen them sleep in many strange-to-me locations including a bridge and on the roofs of houses.


Poor Luis, our trainer from Montreal. The IELTS (or is it EILTS) assistant named Snowie keeps rejecting his proclamations of love. I am afraid he will leave Wuxi with a broken heart. But I can't blame him for trying. Snowie is one awesome chick who would make any man a good wife.

The corporate training our school does has me riding vehicles that take Wuxi's elevated roads. The number of these roads in Wuxi is incredible. The effect that they have on one's perspective of Wuxi radically changes when one is on them. Street level, Wuxi is a crowded third world city. On the elevated roads, Wuxi looks like a futuristic city of tall buildings and quiet freeways.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #137

For the first ten seconds, you will see a black screen. Then, everything gets alright.

Change in Plans...... Again!

I, by our school president, was told that a plan that the School had to teach a company class was set in stone so I went and changed the Foreign Trainer's weekly schedule, switching their days off and so on. I thank the trainers who said they would work seven days in a row because of the switches. So I submitted the new schedule to the booking girl last week. I plan the schedule two weeks ahead of time.

Yesterday, a wrench, as the expression goes, was thrown into my plans or scheduling. What had been set in a stone a week earlier had been changed and the new changes were to be enacted next week. So, all the changes I had made were unnecessary and I will switch the trainers' days off back to what they were before.

Every day of the past week has seen something happen that meant I have to quickly redo a schedule. First, it was a sick trainer who took two days off. Secondly, there is a vice mayor of Wuxi who can book classes anytime she wants and we have to bend over to satisfy her and make other arrangements for classes that had been booked a week in advance by normal students. There is a summer school program starting next week which they also told me about yesterday. And then there was yesterday's last minute change of change of plan. Having been in my job for over a year, I can tell you that it is nothing out of the normal for the Chinese management to tell you things at the last minute.

On top of that, I have staffing problems. I am having a hard time finding teachers to work here. I have had to rely on the regulars and the oldsters to work overtime to deal with our heavy summer workload of students who need to be babysat. But with a little luck, my problems may be solved by tomorrow.

On the great side of things, I arrived home yesterday and my son Tony ran to greet me. It is the little moments that make my life worth living.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #135

This was taken Monday morning. I hope you hear my voice through the fan.

I am sorry if this video was done in a sour mood.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Notary Public.

We are going to the notary public today to register our new property.

It seems a strange thing to be doing in this country. It is still hard to perceive it as a place of laws.

Thirty Eight Degrees.

It was bloody hot today. I heard someone say the high in Wuxi, China today was 38 degrees. I can believe it. I walked about 20 minutes in the heat and I had to catch a taxi to finish my journey.

My journey was to my old apartment to pick up some things I had forgotten. I thought I had forgotten one plastic crate full of papers. It turned out I had forgotten two crates, the second crate being a box of DVDs I never knew I had forgotten. There was no way I could have carried the load without a taxi. The load was too heavy and the heat was too much.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Not Proud to be Canadian.

On July 1, I wondered if I should even mention Canada Day to my Wuxi, China students. So much news from there lately distresses me: the trial of Marc Steyn by the Human Rights Commission and the awarding of an Order of Canada to a baby murderer. David Warren laments.

Wuxi Tony Update #134

Four days without a WTU seems an eternity.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Crappy Day

It is a crappy day for the entire Kaulins Family. Tony is up early and requires constant attention from my wife who would like nothing more than to be able to sleep in. At 830 a.m., I had a trainer call in sick which means I have to figure out how to get the classes covered and teach extra classes myself. I did it but I have to worry about this teacher showing up tomorrow which would mean another day of rescheduling. The intense Wuxi, China heat is killing me. The A/C causes me to have a sore throat...

Times like this you know who you can count on and you know who you can't count on.

I want to kill someone.

A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh.

The New York Times has a long profile of Rush Limbaugh. Now, I'll tell you I like Rush. He is an entertaining and exceedingly funny. He changed my mind on many things. Before I heard him, I was your typical NDP Socialist voter. But two things I remember forever put me on the right wing conservative side of most political issues. First, I remember playing a Devil advocate's once about America with an NDP type and he expressed a hatred of the U.S.A. that was irrational along the lines of Nazi hatred of Jews and the South African's feelings about Blacks. This person went through all sort of mental somersaults rather than admit that America had many virtues. Second, I remember Rush's assessment of his opponents as being more decent and fair-minded than most of his opponents' assessments of him. Rush describes most of his opponents as wanting good but having bad ideas about how to achieve it. The typical opponent of Rush describes him as being an idiot or a yahoo. The anti-Rush type further denigrates all Rush listeners as mind-numbed robots and so on. They never tell you why they disagree with Rush. I wonder if they have ever listened to his show. I wonder if they have any idea what Conservatism and Libertarianism is about. I guess they are too busy "thinking for themselves" to find out.

Chinese Traffic Lights.

Sometimes, when you are waiting at an intersection to cross you will see this: --> <-- and arrows indicating go straight ahead. I tell you that on an electric bike, this is not good. I tried to cross the intersection on this three arrow signal, this morning, and I found myself in the midst of car and truck traffic going every which way. The trucks and cars stopped for me but it was a nerve-wracking experience.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Unbearable Heat.

The temperature yesterday in Wuxi, China was up to 32 degrees Celsius. I took my electric bike to work yesterday under the noon day sun and now have sunburned forearms. So for the rest of the summer, I will be wearing suntan lotion.

I also tried to park my bike around a popular Wuxi, China downtown shopping area. What an intimidating prospect! There were so many bikes parked in every possible cranny leaving me to wonder if I could ever find a spot to park with my big electric bike.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I win an argument with my wife.

It wasn't easy but I did it. After being married for over a year and a half, I finally won an argument with my wife. I had to do many things to win this argument: I had to threaten suicide ten times, I had to get the presidents of the USA and the PRC to try to reason with her, I had to prostrate myself four times daily at her feet, I converted to Roman Catholicism to get the most hard-core Jesuits to try to reason with her, and I bought in the best engineering minds alive to talk to her.

And so I can now put my razors in the second drawer below the sink in the bathroom instead of the third as she reluctantly agreed that the world community may have had a point.

Cultural Differences

Two things my wife disagree on:

  • How Cauliflower should be cooked. I like it nice and soft with melt-in-your-mouth goodness; the Wife likes it underdone and rubbery. At least, that is how I see it.
  • In my other blog, I mentioned that the newly, moved in neighbors in our building are not leaving a good impression on me because of their parking their electric bike in the small lobby of our building and their running a cord from their sixth floor apartment to charge the bike's batteries. I hate this action on all levels. It is lacking in class and consideration, and is also bad for property values. My wife's attitude is "so what?" These people could park their bike at a spot where they can get free electricity for recharging but choose instead to spend their own money to recharge it. (But these neighbors can take the bus to work everyday but choose not to because they think the bus is too expensive. So I don't see where the savings is for them if they recharge the bike with their own electricity). I think I should report these people to the management company.

A T.V. Interview I hope I never see.

I was busy Wednesday afternoon. I had classes to teach and interviews to do. As I was preparing and thinking, one the Chinese staff said they needed me to do an T.V. spot. I said sure without enthusiasm because I was busy and because I have become a veteran of doing these things. Appearing on T.V. has no novelty and gives you no celebrity value you can cash on.

The interview I was roped into doing in the afternoon was the worst thing I have ever done. Two minutes before the interview I was given the script for an question and answer session. The script was incomprehensible. The Chinese wrote it without consulting us. I would have needed an hour to edit the thing but, as it was, I only had one minute. So I "winged it" and did so badly. I had an embarrassing moment of gaping open mouthed inarticulateness.

The Chinese will always do this. Give you something a minute before, or tell you the day before. Maddening!

Teachers Wanted.

We need teachers at our school. Email me at akaulins@gmail.com for details.

What does China know about Canada?

For Dominion Day (July 1), now known has Canada Day, I did an English Corner about Canada. I asked the students what they knew about Canada. I was amused to see they didn't know much. What they did tell me was this: Vancouver, Toronto, Cold, French and Maple Leaf. Most told me that they knew nothing about Canada.

When I was in Canada, I am sure that I remember that they had a government department dedicated toward making Canada more well-known in the world. Or was it that they boasted of Canada's soft power having such influence in the world?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #133

Tony was a bundle of energy late last night.

ESL Creeps.

The word going around the Wuxi ESL teaching community is that there is a pedophile in our midst. A teacher was hired and subsequently fired from a school before even teaching a class because he was flirting with the students. Unfortunately, the teacher was quickly hired on at another school and the same problem arose. He was said to have sent very explicit emails to young female students and to have also molested a cleaning lady at the latter school. Parents complained and the teacher is now said to be looking for work at yet another school in the Wuxi area. But I have also heard that the school, that hired him and let him teach, has an issue of face and the teacher may teach a slew of classes yet at the school as part of a face-saving exercise.

This teacher should be deported obviously. As I have said before in this blog that some people sadly use teaching as means to end other than the calling of the teaching profession.