Thursday, April 30, 2009
Anyway, that has nothing really to do with my story of Tony and the stool. It stared two days when Tony sat on the bar stool in our kitchen. Placing him on a stool, I noticed, he was well-behaved and stationary. That is, he stood in one place. When it is supper time, Jenny has a hard time feeding Tony as he becomes elusive, moving to and fro to avoid the spoon or fork. So, I had a bright idea, the first I had in a decade or, so I thought. Placing Tony on this shorter stool we have was an excellent way to get Tony to sit still and eat his supper. For two days the wife was in heaven. But then Tony figured out how to get down from the stool. Fear had been keeping him up there. So, now I am going to have tie or chain him down to get him to eat.
Looking at Tony undress, I realized that sexy legs run in the Kaulins family. If you don't believe this self-evident truth, I will take a video of my legs in which you won't miss a single hair.
After three or four months of glorious, astonishing, incredible, and well-earned increases in the numbers for this blog, I have suddenly and inexorably hit a plateau. Why am I going to do to get the numbers to increase yet again? I suppose I could talk about masturbation, using condoms, singing kumba ya in Chinese, and the illustrated exploits of Wuxi Sexpats.
Wuxi Tony Update 324: Way Cool! - Watch more Funny Videos
What will most of the locals do May Day? Most of them will stay home and watch television, fearing the May Day crowds.
Tony has developed this frustrated whine. It is whine that doesn't seem to indicate what he is mad about. For instance, last night he was playing with a playing card package. He was putting the cards in one by one. But when he was finished, he got angry and took the cards out. I couldn't understand what was annoying him. Was he missing cards? Was he expecting something magical to happen (like something he saw on t.v. maybe)? I couldn't understand. Taking the cards away from him because it was his bed time, he really got angry. And it took me a while to soothe him. He does this when he is putting coins in a container as well.
Jenny tells me that Tony put a pillow in the garbage.
Tony loves to goes through Jenny's purse and wallets. He loves pulling out the money and plastic cards. My wife has so much plastic. I don't mean she has lots of credit cards. Plastic V.I.P. discount cards are a popular way for stores to encourage customer loyalty here in Wuxi.
I predict a Bruins - Red Wings Stanley Cup Final. I hope I am wrong.
Applications keep flowing in for my ad. The market for teaching jobs in China must be tightening. I have heard that schools have been laying off or putting off hiring.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tony and I went downtown and played as Jenny shopped. Here are some photos of Tony enjoying himself. I can't get over how fast Tony has grown. It only seems like yesterday, I was thrilled to see him do a mere roll. Now, he can seat himself in a toy car and walk down narrow passageways.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In the meanwhile, you can enjoy Wuxi Tony Update #322. The WTU series now on Vimeo till Youtube is unblocked.
Wuxi Tony Update #322: Tony at a playground. from Andis Kaulins on Vimeo.
I find this interesting because I was not born in Canada. Because my parents were Canadian citizens (they were born in Latvia), when I was born in Germany, I was able to get Canadian citizenship. My son Tony, because he was born to a Canadian citizen abroad, has just received his Canadian citizenship. But this new law means that if Tony's children are born abroad, they may not get Canadian citizenship. Or doesn't it? I am confused about this as Seablogger (though for different reasons) who was reading this article from an Ottawa newspaper report on new Canadian citizenship laws.
One sentence in the article just might strike out at me: I could be part of the "growing diaspora of disengaged (Canadian) citizens who live permanently abroad, who aren't assuming any of the responsibilities and obligations, but enjoy almost all of its rights and privileges."
This son of Latvian diasporans is becoming a Canadian diasporan himself.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Two wonderful days off await me. But will they be wonderful? Will they be days off? It is up to Jenny who says it is up to me but I can't buy her argument that I possess free will in our marriage.
I asked the students what they favorite English words were. I told them my favorite Chinese expression was MamaHuHu. In return, they listed expressions like: "Fall in Love", "Encourage" and "Stupid". Of course it was the stupid student that said "stupid". Taking literally, to "fall in love" is a strange expression. I suppose the student had images of two lovers hand in hand, falling from the top of a high building or mountain into the blissful state. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tony has is using his feet to kick doors open. He must have caught a police show on t.v. or something.
The Wizard of Oz DVD plays on the t.v.
Here is the third and last video I took at that Maoist Restaurant on Xicheng Road.
Cultural Revolution Redux: Here come the Japanese from Andis Kaulins on Vimeo.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Family K went to a restaurant on Wuxi's Xicheng Road that has a Cultural Revoultionary theme. The Restaurant has its staff dress like Red Guards. There are plenty of photos of Chairman Mao and other such memorabilia plastered all over the restaurant. Customers are entertained by a high-octane floor show, better than anything you would see at Ronnies, featuring authentic Cultural Revolution music and moralty plays. The restaurant, "where the customer is the leader(shouzhang), and the staff are peasants(pinxiazhongnong)", also serves Birthday Parties.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Anyway, it shows why public transportation sucks. I remember reading someone defending it by saying that on the bus or train you could read. Really? Hard to hold a book when you are trying to keep your balance.
Jenny tells me that Tony missed me while he was in Beixing but, now that he is home and used to me, he prefers to be with her.
I was working through King Lear last evening. Funny how now reading in bed means I fall asleep easily. It never used to be that way for me.
Dumb me. My mobile phone was acting strangely. I had plugged an earpiece into it so I could listen to a podcast. Unplugging the earpiece left the phone "thinking" there was still an earpiece plugged in, so the phone's speakers were not working. All I had to do to fix the problem was turn the phone on and off. At work, I was asking to borrow some one's earpiece.
I shouldn't bother talking about Oprah. What's the point? But, after reading accounts of his sitting through some diatribe from Daniel Ortega, I find it hard to believe that Oprah wasn't present for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory sermons.
- Congratulations to Cecilia (that is her English name) and her husband on the birth of their son yesterday. Cecilia lives in an apartment down the lane from Casa K.
- Tony achieved another historical first this evening. He ate a meal by himself. That is, he ate a bowl of corkscrew noodles with a fork, with little assistance from his mother or me.
- I took Tony to the nearby square (of which you can see photos if you look in this blog archives) with a scooter that I hoped he was going to ride. He didn't and he also didn't want to walk so I carried two burdens in my arms for no particular reason. This scooter is one that Tony can sit on, that Tony can steer, and that Tony can move using his feet.
- If Tony goes to sleep early tonight, I will have an evening of Shakespeare (King Lear) and Davies (What's Bred in the Bone).
Friday, April 24, 2009
- China has doubled its gold reserves. It is wise thing that they do.
- My son Tony loves rough-housing with me. The past week, since his return from Beixing, our favorite activity has been to play Crash Daddy!. Tony charges at me; I put my arms up to deflect his onslaught. He think it's the best thing.
- A student, I just had, had never heard of Spell Checkers before.
- In the NHL playoffs, it looks as if the Canucks will meet the winner of the Flames-Black Hawks series. Unless, of course, the Sharks can come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Ducks in which case the Canucks would play the Red Wings in the second round. This Canucks' enthusiast says "Go Ducks Go!". He also says "Go Black Hawks!".
- Lately, I have had these people approach me, with mobile phones in their hands, trying to sell them to me. Where did they get those phones? They are probably stolen.
- Twitter needs a spam follower filter. I just made five tweets and quickly had two new followers.
- This morning, Tony grabbed a bag of chips my wife had opened last night, and was eating the leftover chips. He even tried to feed me some.
- I told my wife I was thinking of taking some time off work. I have vacation time coming. However, my wife took me to mean that it was good as done. She went ahead and made the plans. She wasn't happy when I told her she had to scuttle them. Oops!
- From John Derbyshire and Radio Derb: The Oprah administration has declared Canada to be a security threat: Our Secretary for Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has hit the ground running. She is determined to make the homeland secure, and is launching initiatives all over the place. To begin with, Secretary Napolitano has identified the two great looming threats to our security: Canada, and our own conservatives. On the first of those, she told a symposium at the Brookings Institution last month that the administration will take steps to make the U.S.-Canadian border more secure. From June 1st this year, Canadians will have to show a passport when entering the U.S.A. This is great news for us immigration restrictionists. It offers the hope that the flow of Canadian high-school dropouts into our northern states will at last be stanched. American citizens in Montana and Minnesota will no longer have to wait in line at the hospital emergency desk behind people named Mackenzie and Tweed using it as their primary health-care service. Schoolteachers in Washington State will no longer have to waste their time dealing with kids who think the last letter of the alphabet is called "zed." Loggers in Maine will no longer have their wages undercut by illegal Quebecois labor. The streets of Fargo and Boise will no longer be terrorized by gangs like the dreaded Moose Marauders or the even more dreaded MS-13. ("MS" of course standing for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 13 being the average number of years you have to wait for hip replacement surgery in Toronto.) Perhaps we'll even be able to dispense with those annoying phone menus that tell you to press 2 if you prefer to hear the word "about" pronounced "aboot." Yes, this may be the first step to reclaiming America from invading hordes speaking incomprehensible languages!
- I often tell the students if they want to go to America, they should move to Mexico first, and then cross the border.
- The wife tells me that fruit and vegtables are getting more expensive.
- Are you theory X or theory Y? Researching, in a cursory manner on the Internet, I have found that theory X and Y are competing theories of management styles. Theory X means being more autocratic in management style; Theory Y means being, I would assume, more humane and understanding and tolerant. Now I can remember way back when I was in High School (Neelin High School, Brandon, Manitoba) being handed this questionaire about whether you had Theory X or Theory Y beliefs. I understood it then to mean that if you were a Theory X person, you had a negative view of humanity and the opposite for Theory Y. Most of the students taking this questionaire scored 90 to 10 in favour of Theory Y. One student, who was going to become a cars salesman as soon as he graduated, was the one solid Theory X person. I think of this person as being the only person worthy of admiration from my high school days. I scored 51-49 probably in favour of Theory Y. I thought then that people behave badly depending on the situation. As I have lived out my life, I am becoming more and more of a Theory X person.
I read in a Wuxi news site that it was the sixtieth anniversary of some Wuxi liberation. I asked the students what the liberation of Wuxi was from. They told me that it was from the KMT occupation by the Communists.
I walked to school with a strange feeling in my shoes. It was like I was stepping on rocks. It turned out that Tony had thrown his coins in my shoes. Jenny tells me that Tony later cried because he couldn't find his coins.
I am a white person with blue eyes. Brazil's Marxist president Lula blames "white people with blue eyes." What did I ever do to him?
Also from the article:
There's only one useful rule for predicting human beings:
People tend to do in the future what they did in the past.
I hope that doesn't apply in my case!
Study Latin and Ancient Greek? If I have the time. Why not?
Happy Birthday Shakespeare!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The bus drove a lot of the way downtown with its back door open. The driver must have been dopey. But he wasn't as dopey as the other driver on his route. That driver rear ended a car.
A leaky pipe in the school building is too difficult to fix. So, a basin is placed permanently under the leak. Periodically, the person, sitting at the desk underneath, will be dripped on. And so someone has to remove ceiling panels to take down the basin and empty it.
People screaming on their mobile phones can't be very distracting and unnerving. There were a few of those on the bus.
Victor David Hanson says this about Mohammed Ali: Here it is—I never admired Mohammed Ali. Not that much at all. He was a brilliant boxer, but his megalomania ushered a number of deleterious trends into all sports—the ego-driven gestures (which were to be later manifested in everything from spiking the ball to trash talking the opponent) were all repellent. When I was young, I was thrilled by Ali. Reading the accounts of his bouts with Norton, Frazier, and Foreman certainly captured my young imagination. But then there were the many silly things he did like try to box against a wrestler, and keep fighting well beyond his own good. His last fight, which he lost, if I remember correctly was against some Canadian based boxer. Ali's brashness has lead to sharpie-touting NFL wide receivers and the ethos of repellent hip-hop and rap music. If he was only a boxer, his legacy might be something to be admired.
Otherwise, it was an annoying day because of:
- Lazy students. How could this one Intermediate student not know how to make sentences using the present perfect when she is already half-way through the course?
- Conniving students. I can't really explain that. But I will get them.
- The closure of the third floor of the Nanchang Book Market where I like to buy the bargain old movie DVDs. I don't know if the floor is being closed for renovation or because of the Chinese habit of destroying a good old thing to replace with something soullessly modern. I suppose that will make my wife happy. Why pay 6 to 10 rmb for movies that are awful? Now I can't use the twice the quality for half the price to justify my purchases. I have felt so disappointed since the Sichuan Girls Restaurant was rennovated and went to shit.
- Stupid bus station employees. That was actually yesterday that this complaint originates but thinking about I am frothing. This certain bus station I go to I have always found myself wanting to slug one of the employees. They seem to get a kick out of seeing a Foreigner carrying luggage for one thing. Yesterday, I had one of the wing nuts who work there (must be a government job) stop me from going to help my wife take the luggage off the bus.
- Staring locals. A good way to stop the locals from starring at you is to stare back. I am also thinking of shocking them by pulling out a camera and taking a photo. As was said in Pee Wee's Big adventure: "Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer?"
But other than that (and some other things), I love China...
Here is the link if you can't see the embeded player.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This is a snack street.
Pineapples for sale at this small shop.
This alleyway leads to the Baoli Shopping Mall. Again, you can see fruit for sale.
Go a little further down the alley and you see Baoli. Notice the posters of fashion models on the building's facade.
This morning, Tony gave the maid a hug. He hadn't seen her for a week. Amazing. At least, to me.
Before I picked up two thirds of the Family K at the bus station. I wandered about the downtown. I saw this man who looked to be selling mousetraps. You can see he had his wares laid out on a sidewalk.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I finished watching the fourth season of the Wire last night. I hope they get Marlo Stanfield in the fifth. Wuxi Expats, I have fifth season on DVD. I bought a tall pack with all five seasons of the show for about 20 rmb.
Now, I watch Black Sunday, a thriller made in the 1970s (I remember going to see it in the theatre) about Palestinian terrorists plotting to use a Good Year Blimp to kill everyone at a Super Bowl game (when the Steelers meet the Cowboys in Super Bowl X - a game I remember watching)
My last full day of so-called freedom saw me wander the area around Xihui Park to take photos.
This is a tree-lined street that looks better in the photo than in person.
In this photo, construction workers watch a girl posing for a photo shot. I couldn't tell if she was modelling or posing for wedding portraits.
This old men were playing chess in the shade of an overpass near the park.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Why did I take this photo below? Because I thought it was strange to look out my front window and see a parked bicycle, a thermos for tea, and what also turned out to be a makeshift chair.
The owner of the bicycle above must have been working with the group, shown below, who were cutting grass and manicuring bushes.
The things that came past my window that I don't take photos of! This morning, there was a garbage collector with bicycle, wide straw hat, and wagon who was a perfect subject for a photo. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my camera out fast enough and he rode out of range.
Mondegreens are one of the reasons that when it comes to pop music, I am first and foremost a fan of Frank Sinatra. Listening to his recordings, he is always understandable. There isn't a need to consult a lyric sheet. I would say that making your listeners have to consult one shows the singer is a piker. Mick Jagger has been slurring his words all his career - and gotten away with it.
Says Rule Forty Two, Mondegreens can be found in every area of the spoken word. For the longest time, I have thought "Expatriate" was spelled "Expatriot", and "Upon" was spelt "apond". Teaching English as a second language, Mondegreens are an occupational hazard. I will never forget the answer two young girls gave me when I asked them if they would ever cheat on their husbands: "Yes, but only in the first year." Many times, I have had the students answer yes to a "What is?" question - "What" being something other than an interrogative. In spoken Chinese, with its tones, Mondegreens are a source of many jokes and foreign misunderstandings.
China's thrift, industry and diligence are qualities born of long experience with hard times. The terrible suffering of the 19th and 20th centuries left every Chinese parent with the conviction that the world shows no mercy to mediocrity. They have less tolerance for fantasy than their Western counterparts. Reality has intruded on their lives for generations to the point that they are ready to meet it head on. Enough of them devote their lives to making their children excel as to produce an army of hothouse wonders so large as to swamp whatever competition the West might send against them. If Westerners think the present recession is unpleasant, they cannot begin to imagine how the recovery will look, for it may occur entirely remote to them, on the other side of the world.
It is harder and harder to dismiss the awful thought that Americans, too, might require long experience with hard times to restore the sort of diligence that their Chinese counterparts learned at such a high price.
My experience teaching English in China bears out what Spengler says. I thought it strange that the students answered "what would you do.." or "have you ever dreamed of.." questions with what I thought were depressingly realistic answers like "I don't have the money!" or "I never dreamed of being a movie or sports star." Hard times make the Chinese appreciate the mundane things like sleep for instance.
In these days of freedom, I haven't gone to complete seed. Though I have been a couch potato watching DVDs (3 episodes to go of the fourth season of the Wire), the apartment is a lot neater than when Mister Tony prowls about. And I can proudly say that I haven't drunk any alcohol in the time the wife has been away. Old Andis is keeping a promise that Young Andis made to himself all those years ago.
There was a ground breaking ceremony for the planned construction of another commercial investment plaza in Wuxi. From the Wuxi news: The plaza, which has 68 levels and a total floor area of 320,000 sqm according to plan, has incorporated shopping mall, super-five-star hotel, high-end office area, high-class hotel apartment, large electric appliance store. The shopping center has an area of 100,000 sqm and occupies 8 floors. To me this is blatant over development on the part of somebody. On the way to Huishan New City, there is another large commercial plaza with giant Ferris Wheel, hotel, and shopping mall that hasn't been complete yet. The shopping areas I already see around Wuxi don't seem to be packed with shops and shoppers.
I was looking through my book collection today. And what a mighty fine book collection it is. It has to be the finest personal library of any Wuxi Expat. Within, you can find works of Plato, Mordecai Richler, Louis L'Amour, Evelyn Waugh, Florence King, and Elmore Leonard. And it contains very few works of science fiction - thank God! I forgot I had a copy of the Robertson Davies novel Bred to the Bone. Well, I am going to be reading that novel for the next few days.
I finished reading the Pierre Trudeau biography. Apparently, Malcom Muggeridge meet Trudeau and said our 1970s P.M. was all style and no substance. Style was the only constant with Trudeau whose flip-flopped on more issues than a fish out of water. As well, Trudeau only achievements didn't quite have the results he had been hoping for (e.g. constitution and official bilingualism).
Here are some more CWWF* match ups:
Matsui versus Wang
Yagoda and Ichiro versus Yang and Feng
Ito versus Yitao
Yokozuma versus Bei Ting
Traitor in Foreign Pay versus Bald head
Fat Lady versus Splendorous Sunshine Girl
Kong Yiji versus Ah Q (for the JUWW belt)
* Chinese Workers Wresting Federation
Sunday, April 19, 2009
What I do have for you are some photos I took Saturday Evening.
The first photo was taken in the Muslim Restaurant of our apartment complex. The child, you can see outside the door, belongs to the owners. His pants are split-ass and his parents let him play on the asphalt.
In the second photo, this government building with courtyard, in my modest corner of Wuxi, is not a major building in the area.
In the third photo, you can see a building that might well be the major government building of Hui Shan New City.
Here is a photo of my wife and child that I took the last day I saw them.
Three days and they are back. You see I have no reason to want to return to being a bachelor.
I have just seen a photo of Hugo Chavez and Oprah shaking hands. It is so sad. How can this help anybody? It is like giving an unrepentant juvenille a pat on the back.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Anyway, like my e-mailer, whom I have been writing to about this topic recently, I am reluctant to be misanthropic all the time. I wish I could find some people who I can really appreciate. But it is hard. Still, I have to myself put in others' shoes and ask if there is anything about me that can be appreciated.
So, much as misanthropy appeals to me, I have to label myself a wannabe.
Can life be easy if this wasn't so? Life is never easy as we would like it to be.
Talking to the wife last night (on the phone), I did hear that Tony is now able to ascend and descend a particular step at his grandparent's house. He as well created a mess yesterday when he took a cup, being used as an ashtray, and spilled it on a chair, floor, and his clothes.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Big Bad Fat Guy versus Harmonious Countryside Man
Patriotic Soldier versus Japanese Invader
Reactionary versus Liberation Man
Monkey King and Pig Man versus Sorcerer and Landlord in a metal wire container
Jackal and Eagle versus Panda and Dragon
Cixi versus Lei Feng
Emperor Hirohito versus Bare Foot Peasant Doctor
Hulking Hogan versus Bruce Lee Two
Wonderful Man versus Unpleasant Person
Please remember to remind every one of your friends to watch. Tickets only 25 rmb.
- In this advice column by Spengler, a reader slash leader from a very populous country asks what else they can do, besides a domestic stimulus, in reviving their economy. Spengler's answer may surprise you. He also provides a simple but true explanation of last year's housing bubble burst: The baby boomers imagined that home prices would keep doubling every 10 years, and that one day, each of them would sell his house to his neighbor and retire. This silly idea contributed to a bubble in home prices.
- No DVD viewing this Friday night. AKIC is tired and wants to get some sleep.
Nothing comes to mind.
2.Classics you are embarrassed to admit you have never read?
War and Peace
3.Classics you read but hated?
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
Political Non Fiction
5.Favorite Light Reading?
6.Favorite Heavy Reading?
7.Last books you have finished?
The Northern Magus by Richard Gwynn
The Wizard of Oz by Baum
8.Last books you bailed on?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
FDR’s principles of leadership
9.Books you have read more than once?
With Charity Toward None: A Fond look at Misanthropy by Florence King
The Northern Magus by Richard Gwynn
Homage to Catalona by George Orwell
Will by G. Gordon Liddy
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (actually all of his books)
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek (also the Fatal Conceit)
10.The book that meant the most to you when you were younger?
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Hockey Stars of 1974
The books of J.K. Galbraith (I have smartened up since then)
11.Books that changed the way you looked at life?
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
The Fatal Conceit by F.A. Hayek
Orthodoxy by Chesterton
12.Books on your nightstand?
Confessions of Saint Augustine
The Dialogues of Plate
13.Books some would be surprised to know you have read?
It by Stephen King
Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
A biography of Ed Broadbent
William S. Burroughs
14.Books you mean to read this year?
That biography of Mao
God is not great by Christipher Hitchens
Anything by William F. Buckley
America Alone by Mark Steyn
Obama's first book
The Journey to the West
Anything by Lu Xun
Desert Island book?
15.Desert Island book for your worst enemy?
Das Kapital by Karl Marx
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I will be watching Double Indemnity among others over the next three days.
I will also be telling you if I got rid of the odour in the microwave oven caused by my burning popcorn. I bought a lemon yesterday which I then chopped up and put in a bowl of water. Following instructions I found on the Internet, I continually boiled the bowl of lemon water in the microwave in hopes of ridding the oven of the strong odour of burnt popcorn.
I will take the bike to school today. The weather today should be good for it. The previous two days have seen strange contrasts. Wednesday was hot. It was too hot to go outside. I wore a short sleeved shirt outside for the first time in 2009. Thursday was much cooler - at least 10 degrees lower. It was back to jacket and long sleeves.
This morning, I have an important decision to make: do I wear my jean or suede jacket on my ride to work?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Here is a video I took of Tony this morning. Pardon my French to those who decide to watch it.