Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Day Natterings

Got Tickets
So, I got tickets after all.  This morning, I went to the Bus station (a small bus station down the road from Baoli and  Kitty Corner from the main train and bus station complex.  With the wife on the phone to help me, I was able to get tickets to go to Beixing tomorrow.  The bus leaves at 930 in the morning.

Why, I couldn't get tickets yesterday will have be attributed to my brutal Chinese skills.

Military Parade
I am watching Chinese television this morning  -- something I don't often do.  I am tuned to the big ceremony taking place at Tiananmen Square.  I have just seen Hu Jintao review troops from a black limousine.

Wuxi Tony Update #425: Farewell to the Tony Boy!

No! It is not a final farewell! But it was a parting of sweet sorrow.

In a few days, thankfully, there will be another reunion.

No tickets and no rest

I had a most disheartening afternoon but it ended with a sense of relief.

 I went to downtown Wuxi, at about one o'click, to buy a bus ticket to go to Beixing where my wife and son are staying.  I found out that the earliest available ticket to go there was on the fourth of October.  I had been hoping to get a ticket for second.  Unavailable to get tickets, I decided I would phone my wife and see if there were other arrangements we could make, like I would get a ticket to a town near Beixing and get someone to pick me up.  But I couldn't get the wife to answer my calls.  I spent four hours in downtown Wuxi hoping she would call back but she never did.  I then returned to the ticket booth and found out that then even tickets for the fourth were sold out.  I was facing the prospect of not being able to spend any time with my wife and child over the holiday.  And not being able to get a hold of my wife was irksome as I was wondering what the hell was going on. 

I returned home and found my wife's Xiao Ling Tong phone  -- a cheap mobile phone that uses the ground line number of our apartment.  On the Xial Ling Tong, the number for my in-laws was sure to be found I reasoned.  The only problem was trying to find their number because I couldn't navigate the phone's menus which were all in Chinese.  I phoned the last made calls and got a neighbor at the apartment complex who can speak some English.  With her help, I was able to find my in-laws' number and finally get a hold of Jenny.

It turned out that her phone had been shut off the entire afternoon.  The plan now is for me to try to get a bus ticket to Taixing where someone will pick me up and drive me to Beixing.  If I can't get tickets for the first or second, Jenny and Tony will come back to Wuxi.  I hope that I can't buy those tickets.  But I do have to do some scrambling tonight on the off chance I can get a ticket for the first.  I will have to clean the apartment and pack  -- activities I meant to do tomorrow, the first.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Holiday begins! No birthday greeting, though.

I am off from work, starting today (September 30) until October 7.  I will reunite with my wife and son on October 2.  I don't want to travel on October 1 -- it is an absolutely, scary proposition.  Too many people there will be.

Talking to the students I have the impression that the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China is not something worth commemorating.  They all appreciate having the time off, but aren't fill  with any patriotic fervour  One student told me that the government is making an effort to rouse patriotic fervour but isn't succeeding.

Wuxi Tony Update #424: Tony on a parked bus.

In Beixing, Tony discovered a new pastime: walking onto parked at buses at the station near his grandparent's home. I took this video to show it. You will also see me attempt to speak Chinese.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The streets of Beixing, China.

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Photos of my son Tony taken in Beixing, China, a countryside place.

In the photo below, Tony boarded a bus parked near his grandparents. He then got into the driver's seat. The driver didn't mind and thought Tony's interest was amusing.

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Wuxi, China Tuesday Tales

In the Doghouse
I should pay more heed to the thoughts in the back-of-my-mind.

 I went to the pub last night with the KoW.
  To be more exactly, I will tell you I went to the Blue Bar.  I went to the Blue Bar.  I was thinking, or rather in the back-of-my-mind, was the proposition that I should phone Jenny soon, as has been my evening habit while She and Tony have been in Beixing.  But the KoW and I got to talking.  I wasn't wearing my P.L.A. wristwatch.  I lost track of time.  

Just as we got ready to leave the Blue Bar , I felt the vibration of my phone -- Jenny was calling me.  She wasn't too happy.  I pleaded that I was planning to phone but she would have nothing of it.  I got a "fuckey off" and a quick hangup -- I did hear Tony crying in the background.  

Looking at my phone, I saw that she had tried to phone me six times.

The Two Australian Pubs
I went to Ronnie's on Saturday, and then I went to the Blue Bar last night (Monday evening).  I don't go to these places much these days, and having once frequented them a lot, my current abstinence allows me a certain perspective on them.  Entering a room of strangers is how I felt in both places this week.  Normally, that shouldn't be a problem but having spent the time I have in Wuxi, it is a disappointing feeling.  But that really says more about me than the two pubs.  An aspect of the Expat life that I once relished is now gone for me forever.

Jumbo tron
At the corner of Xueqian and Zhongshan Roads, near our school and Ba Bai Ban, a big video screen has just been erected.  Yesterday was the first day I noticed it.  And now as I teach classes the flickering of it always catches my attention.

It ain't ready after all
Nix what I said previously about the Hongdo building.  It isn't quite finished yet.  Just coming into work, I saw that the construction elevator was still in place.

One thing to do October 1
I haven't detected any excitement in the air from the students about the October 1 holiday.  No big activities, as far as I have been told, are planned in Wuxi.  One student did tell me he was keen to watch the big military parade from Beijing on October 1 because he was curious to see what new military hardware the P.L.A. has.  

I will try to watch that myself.

Wuxi Tony Update #423: Feeding Tony

Be warned! There is spanking in this video. But when Tony won't eat, Jenny feels she has no choice.

Links I find interesting at the end of September, 2009.

One more day of work and then I can go on Holiday!  So I will present you with some interesting links I have collected over the past week.

I might as well put this weekly feature, I am now doing, in historical context.

Would any of my co-workers at DHL want to read Ulysses by James Joyce?  I doubt it.  They called me, at DHL, the Latvian schoolboy for  a reason.  Would any of my colleagues at the English school I now work want to read Ulysses?  Would they make the effort to read the whole novel through?  I doubt it.  So could James Joyce ever be for ordinary folks?  What from I know about Joyce he wasn't ordinary at all.  Or I should say he didn't lead a life given to producing things that  the ordinary man wanted.

Next to David Warren, Marc Steyn is my favourite Canadian pundit.  And he not only writes tremendous columns skewering his political opponents, he writes about music.  His musical tastes are pre Rock & Roll and he of course worships Sinatra.  His first musical podcast, which can be gotten to using the link in the headline, has introduced me to a whole lot of music that, though not as good as Sinatra, is still nonetheless worthwhile to listen to.

Further thought:  Is there a place anywhere in the world that you could walk in and listen to this type of music?  Certainly, not in Wuxi.  All that is imported from the West, is our noisy barbarism -- our rock & roll.  Why is it that the Chinese like country music and despise the baser sorts of rock music I have introduced them to?

The headlined link above had me wanting to get a hold of this book.  And not three days later, I had someone give me the book.  Children's literature, now that I have a son, is very interesting to me.  Perhaps, one day, I will write some stories of mine own for my son Tony.  

Here is an audio interview with the author of the article.

Marx and Smith, mated in captivity
Do you remember me talking about George Jonas, one of my favorite Canadian Pundits?  Well, I did and I told you he is very good.  Click on the line in the headline to read his take on recent Chinese history.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why do the Democrats want Obama assassinated?

There is nothing to be gained, for Republicans and conservatives, from the assassination of Obama.  All that would serve to do is make a martyr for the Democrats and for the left-wing ideas that conservatives honestly disagree with.  It would make the world a worse place.  (I refer to the predictions I have read of Obama's assassination from lefties, and left wing media types reporting of crazed men coming to Obama rallies)

I shouldn't have to be saying what I just said.  Yet, I feel compelled to when I hear of the Lefties talking about it.  They simply assume that there is a right-wing conspiracy to kill Obama because he is black, and that to disagree with Obama is to be dishonest.

I submit that there is a left-wing conspiracy or at least a left-wing desire to have Obama assassinated.  An Obama assassination would a wet-dream and fantasy for every Democrat because it would allow them to do what they really want to do:  be self-righteous and hateful of certain types of Americans who disagree with them.

Wuxi Tony Update #422: Tony makes a friend

Tony and I went to Jenny's old school again. I took video of Tony and a temporary friend.

Monday Moanings

My October Holiday Plans
I will have eight consecutive days off in a row.  The first two days, I will spend in Wuxi because I am not interested in dealing with the October 1 crowds and am interested in catching up on housework.  I will the spend five days in Beixing with the wife and son.  Jenny and I plan on taking some day trips around the area.

Mister Moderator
I have moderator status at

The Roaring Twenties
A movie starring Jimmy Cagney and featuring Humphrey Bogart.  I found the movie on DVD at Nanchang Temple  -- only three RMB.  The movie was good  -- it had the B&W look and feel that I like about the old movies.  James Cagney whose screen presence I initially didn't care much for, he seemed too cocky and of limited range, has grown on me.  If he is in a movie, I will buy.  The Roaring Twenties is a account of the prohibition era through the exploits of Eddie Bartlett, a unemployed World War soldier turned bootlegger.

Hongdo Building
It looks to me like the Hongdo Building, Wuxi's other downtown skyscraper, is ready to be moved into.

Wuxi Tony Update #421: The Business District of Beixing

Tony on a One Coin ride in downtown Beixing. While he enjoys myself, I take video of the surrounding scene.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #420: Tony outside his grandparents' compound.

This video taken on my last trip to Beixing shows Tony on his 25th month birthday. See what can be seen when I leave my in-laws' compound.

AKIC pulpiticizing

It is Sunday
I am going to stand behind a pulpit and do some pulpiticizing.

I went to the Breadtalk, a bakery chain, that is located nearest to my school in the building that was once called Ba Bai Ban.  Now, it is called Wuxi Yaohan or Wuxi Haoyan or something or other.  For those of you who are in the know about the location of places in the downtown of Wuxi, you will know what it is that I mean.

Anyway.  I walk in Breadtalk.  Let's talk bread!  I says.  

There were no takers but many blank starers.

Nice treatment
The people, at the McDonald's, that is located near my school, and that is kitty-corner (diagonally opposite) from  the place formerly known as Wuxi Yaohan or Wuxi Haoyan or -- you know what I mean, were especially nice to me today.  I was served with a flourish.  The female manager who took my order presented, not gave, me my change in a most formal manner, standing at attention and lifting both hands, holding the notes squarely and firmly, like she was about to put the royal crown on a monarch's head.  The manager of the place then held the door open for me as I left.  I blushed.

Di Yah!
That is what Tony says when he is not happy with the way he is being treated.  As he says this, he will spin and fall to the ground.

Josie returns from Singapore
Josie, a Study Advisor at our school, returned from Singapore bearing a bag of gifts.  I had the honour of being able to select a gift from the bag.  I choose a key chain/nail clipper/bottle opener combination bearing an image of the skyline of Singapore under which appeared the words "Singapore".  Very useful.

Maralin and Joe
Speaking of gifts, I got a bag of books from Maralin and Joe Fritz from Arizona, U.S.A.  I now have enough reading to last any countryside ordeal I will have in the next few months.  Thank you!

Wuxi Tony Update #419: Tony meets some pigs

Tony gets some pigs close up. These pigs are in a cage attached to a motorcycle.

Tony actually walked up to touch the pigs before the video was taken.

Saturday Briefs

Not self-evident after all
It had been driving me crazy.  All the Chinese would ask me if Tony was a boy or a girl.  I had thought it was bloody self-evident that he was a boy.  What were these people smoking while reading their little red books? I thought.

That was I thought, till today.  This morning, I see a 27 month old child that I could have sworn was a boy.  Her hair was cut short and so she looked like a boy, no question.  But she was a girl; and I will now point to all that my child is a boy (xiao erzi).

Strange Student
At my school, the students are generally a good lot.  But every once in a while, like last night, you get a student who you would like to shoot.  This student was strange the minute he walked in.  After calling out his name four times, I walked to the class.   This one student walked into the class and had to look at the list of names to see if he was in the class.  That sort of thing gets my goat, as they say.  The students are supposed to be practicing their listening.  Students who continually read rather than listen are dunderheads that need to be taken down a notch.  And this student then couldn't tell me what he did  --  a strange thing from someone who had been in the school for nearly two months.  I wondered if he was standing in for a friend -- he seemed so not-with-it.  He then gave me an answer to a question that was one-worded, and insolent to boot.  He had a torturous time the rest of the class and it was torture for me to see him there.  The other students strangely ignored him.  I have spent the last 24 hours wondering about him.  I assume that he was one of those summer students who just did not want to be there.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tony meets another boy

Walking Tony about Beixing, I meet a woman with little boy, and our two kids hit it off.

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Wuxi Tony Update #418: Tony on an One RMB Toy Ride

As Tony does his thing, I survey the surrounding scene. I even talk to some local yokels.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two views

From the Bridge, on which Tony can seen standing below, you can see the canal above.

It is above a fifteen foot drop from the bridge to the canal surface.
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Friday (Tuesday) Headlines

Friday is Tuesday
It really is.  Learn to accept it.

Change Bedrooms!
Jenny's father is being cantankerous.  My wife complains about him always wanting to change the room at which She and Tony sleep.  The in-laws' compound has two bedrooms.  Which one she has to sleep in is decided by the whim of her father.

Kill Doggie
There is a troublesome dog at the inlaws' compound.  The general consensus 'cept one person is to get rid of the dog.  You-guess-who wants to keep the dog.  I am thinking of  a way to get the dog thrown off a bridge or run over by a passing truck.  This dog is a mean-bite-anyone-who-comes-close son-of-a-bitch dog.  It has me wishing that the prejudice about Chinese eating dogs was true.

I don't know!
Ask me any questions from now on, I will tell you "I don't know!"  For as  Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi says "He is great who is not ashamed to admit he does not know."

I hate it when things are slow.  The Devil finds things for my idle hands to do like go to the comment board.  I think I will ask these questions:
  • What fruit does the KoW most resemble?
  • They named a brandy after Napoleon and a salad after Caesar, what will they name after the KoW?
  • What breed of dog does the KoW most resemble?
  • If the KoW were a NFL franchise what franchise would he be?
  • Does the KoW like the designated hitter rule?
  • Does the KoW like the wildcard in baseball?  (If he does, he is going to hell.  Do not pass go!.  Do not collect 200 dollars!)
  • Did somebody say sauerkraut?
  • What McDonald's Sandwich does the KoW most resemble?
  • If the KoW were a letter of the Greek alphabet, what letter would he be?
  • What element on the periodic table does the KoW most resemble?
  • Did somebody see my underwear?
  • If the KoW didn't come from Winnipeg, where would  he come from?
  • What Canadian Prime Minister does the KoW most resemble?
  • What Oscar-Winning Actress, supporting or lead, does the KoW most resemble?
  • How much are you willing to pay for a strand of the KoW's hair, tax included?
  • What industrial tool bit does the KoW most resemble?
  • Does the KoW change his own light bulbs?
  • How often do you think the KoW uses the bathroom?
  • What is the first thing you would do if you were the KoW for a day?

David Warren's latest quotes
Three new columns at David Warren's website.  I will cut and paste some choice quotes:
  • Love is at the root of all knowledge.  (This conflicts with the modern need to be cool.)
  • There is no one left quite like Fisher: a partisan by nature, as all good men are, but in a spirit so tall and generous that he could see over party lines.  (This Fisher was a CCFer -- nevertheless he earned praise from Warren.  I appreciate Warren saying the all good men are partisan by nature.  Talk of bi-partisanship that you hear so often like it is a good thing drives me nuts.  Again this conflicts with the modern posture of being cool and above it all.)
  • The  quotes above are from the column News from the front.
  • ..Refuse to worship in the temples of the gods of money and power and coolness.  (Ah yes!  To hear Warren mention my bugaboo, the coolness posture, warms my cackles.)
  • be truthful in speech, fair and even charitable in speaking of other people, and look constantly for whatever good we can find in them. Be encouraging rather than discouraging by habit, and most important, do not spread personal gossip and lies, even against our worst enemies, and even when we think they deserve it.  (So true.  But I need to remind myself constantly to be this way -- often, I am not.)
  • be content with what we have in our family and religious life, make ourselves happy with the homes we have to return to, and do not look covetously upon the Joneses. Accept with humility our station in life; have ambitions, but make them unselfish.  (Ditto!  What I said for the previous quote applies to this.)
  • The quotes above are from the column Ten suggestions
  • From Anti-anti:  Russia will now withdraw her own threat to install new missile batteries in retaliation for any Czech or Polish desire to be protected from Russia. This will sound very generous to persons of the peacenik persuasion: for after all, what's the difference between offensive and defensive arrangements? (The answer is, night and day.)

Links I find interesting

Munger on Franchising, Vertical Integration, and the Auto Industry

This podcast from Econ Talk  offers a fascinating look at the American auto industry.  The industry has been been politicized to such an extent by self-serving local politicians and unions that it deserved to go bankrupt.  But because it has been so politicized, the industry is being kept on life support by the government.  The industry has had true market competition eliminated from it.  It deserves to fail so that it could be born anew and have rid of its institutionalized stupidities.

These Expats are seeking to make their fortune in China by preserving an ancient village in Yunnan province.

Since seablogger doesn't blog full-time anymore, I have been looking for a replacement.  This blog at First Things Magazine seems a good candidate to fit my bill.  It is conservative and eclectic in nature.  Recent entries discussed The Sci Fi Dune and James Joyce's Ulysses, and not at all in a philistine manner as some would expect as First things is a religious magazine.  The First Things site also contains superb blogs by Spengler and the Anchoress.

I wish I had a Jewish upbringing.  Say what you like about them, but the Jews strike me as the wisest of people.  This article at Jewish World Review is a keeper.  Here are some quotes:
  • The prospect of being alone with our thoughts, without any outside stimulus, terrifies us. If we find ourselves in any of those places or situations where thinking was once possible, we immediately start casting about for people to call on our cell-phones.
  • The decline in our capacity for thinking in depth has been greatly accelerated by modern communications technologies.
  • I always feel something between awe and wonderment whenever I meet someone who doesn't have a cell-phone. I'm not prepared to go there yet. But I've noticed that such people are generally among the deepest and happiest that I know. 
Chesterton opens this essay by saying he thinks that travel narrows the mind.  A very counter-intuitive thought to us modern types but he backs up what he says with these gem quotes:
  • in international relations there is far too little laughing, and far too much sneering. But I believe that there is a better way which largely consists of laughter; a form of friendship between nations which is actually founded on differences.
  • GKC has two principles:  The first principle is that nobody should be ashamed of thinking a thing funny because it is foreign; the second is that he should be ashamed of thinking it wrong because it is funny.
Chesterton is defending a reaction that the Chinese have to Foreigners.  Nothing angers a foreigner more than to have the Chinese laugh at them.  "They treat us like monkeys!" many an Expat has complained.  I have always wandered what to think of stories of the Chinese laughing at black skin and stroking hairy arms.  Is this somehow racist?  It is a basic acknowledgement of differences.  We think it is racist because we see it as somehow meaning slavery and segregation which these acts certainly don't mean at all.

And the sneering!  I haven't meet an Expat, yet, that doesn't sneer at the Chinese people.  I am guilty myself.  But I have had this sneaking suspicion that the sneering I have seen other Expats do is a shameful act, and thanks to Chesterton I now know why.  Most Expats when they look at the Chinese violate the two principles that GKC elucidates in his fine essay.

Wuxi Tony Update #417: Tony and Andis walk down a countryside path

After crossing the bridge in WTU 416, we continued down a lane....

Wuxi Tony Update #416: Tony and His Father walk in the Countryside

After the reunion, Tony and I went for a walk, during which I took WTUs 416 and 417.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thursday Headlines

  • Tony wouldn't let his father sit and eat.
  • Tony had a cold and a very runny nose.
  • Tony likes to bite his father.
  • Tony gets out of eating by telling his mother he has to use the bathroom.
  • Tony likes to throw stones off bridges.  Looking at it through a child's eyes, I can see the wonder of it -- the rock arching in the air, and the big plop as it hits the water.
  • Tony gave his father a kiss at the reunion.
  • Tony can count to three.
  • Tony likes to get on parked buses.
  • Tony thinks goats are hilarious.
  • Tony touched a pig.
  • Tony likes to watch his father pee.  He laughs when he does.
  • Tony can go around without diapers.  I appreciate the savings.
  • Tony when meeting peers likes to go running with them.
  • Tony collects rocks.
  • Tony being  with you, on an evening walk on a pleasant evening, is a wonderful thing.  Especially when he falls asleep.
  • Tony gets spanked and slapped.  But he will slap back.
Kind Hearts and Coronets
I found the DVD for this classic British movie at Nanchang market.  In it, Alec Guiness gets killed eight times.  He plays all manner of characters of different ages, including once a woman.  For those of you who like only Sci-Fi and think movie making started in the 1980s, Alec Guiness played Obi Wan Kenobi -- a role he thought of as something of a joke.

Now, Voyager
I also purchased the DVD for this movie starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains at Nanchang Market.  Bette Davis plays a woman, repressed by her mother, who then becomes unrepressed and has a romance with a French architect.  It was alright movie and I wonder if a remake, complete with explicit sex scenes, has been made of it.

BTW, Claude Rains and Alec Guiness would both appear in Lawrence of Arabia.  So these two DVDs, randomly purchased and watched, have a connection.

  • Jenny is doing alright.  She has her parents helping her look after Tony.  Although, I wish I was there in the evening so I take Tony off her hands.  The little guy does not want to sleep.
  • Jenny misses me.  That is all that matters.
  • Her whatever-she-is-doing is proceeding well.
Countryside Bus
Riding a bus through the countryside is cool.  Is the staying in one place too long that drives me mad.

My Chinese
No, I am not talking about my concubine.  I should say, I don't have a concubine.  Anyway, I am talking about my spoken Chinese.  It sucks.  I was able to get a couple words edgewise with the Beixing locals as I walked about with Tony, but it was hard sailing.

Back to Work
What fresh horrors have awaited me?  None.  I am afraid to say.

Wuxi Tony Update #415: Father and Son Reunion

I'm back from Beixing. I took a lot of video. Here is the first one I took on my arrival in Beixing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #414: Tony picks up some bigger stones

I am going to Beixing. I will be back in Wuxi Wednesday Afternoon.

This is the last WTU I have made. Expect to see more when I return.

Wuxi Tony Update #413: In an Ancient Chinese Countryside Courtyard

This video was more than likely taken at an abandoned old museum.

Monday Updates

Record Day at AKIC.Blogspot
Monday was a record day for visitors at AKICBlogspot:  I have had over 120 visitors.  I haven't had such good traffic on any of my blogs since the Wuxi Snow Storm.  The increased traffic can be attributed to a link on Seablogger.  I hope some of those readers return.  Thank you Alan!

To Be or Not to Be
Sunday evening, I watch To Be or Not to Be, a 1942 movie starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.  An interesting picture because of its comedic depiction of the Nazis and the fact that Carole Lombard died after the filming.  The t.v. series Hogan's Heroes had to have been inspired by it.  The film had me laughing, but I felt uncomfortable with the fact that the Nazi's brutality in Poland was not accurately depicted.

The Lady Vanishes
I then watched a 1938 Hitchcock Film The Lady Vanishes.  At the time of its release, it was the most popular film ever made in England.  It is another reason for me to prefer old movies.

Tony Update
Jenny tells me that Tony is becoming a wild boy in the countryside of Beixing.  Boys will be boys.  But whatever Tony is doing, he is heavily soiling his clothes.  One day, Tony brought home a lot of rocks to the in-laws' compound.  Why we don't know.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #412: Tony watches marching fanatics?

This video really shouldn't be a WTU. Tony is in it, but the video is really about what I saw across the street from my apartment.

You will see a bus in the foreground of this video. The marchers eventually returned to it. And while the Marchers were waiting for the bus to move, Tony was waving at them and they waved back. I couldn't see a group of similarly aged people from the West getting amusement and enjoyment from Tony's actions.

A Friend Afar

Half the world apart,
united in heart.
I can say I have had a few nice things happen to me as a result of blogging.  For instance:  an entry of mine garnered mention in Commentary's blog, I have had a few emails from the Derb, meeting Steve "The Great" Wall of Florida, meeting Joe and Maralin from Arizona, and just now, I click on Fresh Bilge to see this.  This tops everything else.  My first reaction is a strange mixture of "Oh My God!" and "I am not worthy!".  And I wonder what to say to in response.  But I think I know what to do:  I have to make myself worthy of the honour.  Not so much do I have to be a better blogger; I got to be much better in person.
Alan Sullivan, aka FB or Seablogger, had to stop full-time blogging for health reasons.  That he can still take the time, with his health as it is, to read my blog is good to know -- I pray that he can somehow can return to the fray. 

Stream of Consciousness Prose: Taking an electric bike to work.

Someone has demanded this so here it is:  my latest piece of stream of consciousness prose.  Find out what it is like to be inside my brain when I ride my electric bike to work.
Guilt.  Always feel guilt when I leave the apartment.  My son Tony doesn't understand.  I try to convey my sadness and nothing-can-be-done-about-it to him.  He doesn't understand.  Yet.  I should have done more to help the wife.  Out of the apartment to the lane.  Should I wear my helmet on my walk to where the bike is parked?  It does give me some anonymity.  Oh. Oh.  There is someone I don't want to talk to.  Hide.  Look away.  Focus on the ground or something.  I am wearing my ugly shoes.  Should have thrown them away years ago.  There are holes in the toes.  But the soles are good still.  Better than anything I can get in China.   Don't think dirty thoughts.  Should I make the lesbian and old hippie comment in my blog?  What the hell where they doing in that ceremony?  Did I unplug the iron?    Must have.  I have no distinct memory of having done so.  Some habitual actions don't foster memories.  If there is a fire, the wife will let me know about it.  Down the stairs I go.   Where is the bike?  Press the alarm button on my key chain.  In the far corner.  Why do people park here if they aren't going to recharge their bikes?  I put my bike in the parking garage near the apartment when not needing a recharge.  I have to squeeze in a narrow space so I can unplug the recharger.  Put the charger under the seat.  Put the wheel lock in the back trunk, behind the seat.  Back the bike up.  Don't put on the power.  Here are the stairs.  On the sides are flat ramps.  Push the bike up the left side.  Try to not put pressure on the accelerator.  At the top.  Get on the bike.  Turn on the power.  Turn the accelerator.  Off!

The Compound
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling.  Rolling, Rolling, Rolling.  Keep those pancakes rolling!  Rawhide!  Should I ride so fast on the brick like cobblestone surface?  Slow down for the speed bumps.  Oh no!  Someone I know!  Surely, we will may eye contact and have to talk.  But....  My God!  Doesn't seem to seem me.  Bad Eyesight?  Thank god for that sometimes.  That was too close!   Stop-and-chats.  I hate them.  I have nothing to chat about.  Already, the road seems about to fall apart.  The stones are sunk into depressions.  I hate the bumpy ride on the bricks.  Coming to the guard shack.  Workers always arguing with the guards.  Can't go in without authorization I assume.  Sometimes, the guards are beat up, enforcing what they are told to enforce.  The guard waves bye to me?  Shang ban le?  Or did he say "xia ban le"?  Anyway.  Something about going to work he said.

From the Apartment Complex to the Big Bridge
Is anyone coming?  I can cross the street.  Here I go.  Off the bricks.  Now the ride is smooth.  Max speed 45 km/h.  No wind.  I feel like I have air-conditioning.  The bike seems soft in the rear.  Ever since I had the first flat tire, it has always felt soft.  At least, the seat doesn't give me...  Rawhide!  Ding Dong!  The Witch is Dead!  The Witch is Dead! The Witch is Dead! Ding Dang Dong!  Ring-a-Ding-Ding! I want you baby!  I want you Day and Night!  Because I am not in it for the money!  I don't care anymore for the Honey!  I just want to have been right all along!  Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!  Should I put the Visor down?  It is dirty and is clouds my vision.  But it stops the dirt from getting in my eyes.  It is a cheap helmet I have -- wouldn't pass muster in Germany.  I can't believe that someone actually bragged of the fact that their government made their helmets more expensive.  I mean!  WTF!  Here comes my first right turn.  Try it cut it tight!  Cut it tiiiiiighhhttt!  That driver at DHL said Asian girls have tight pussies.  Sicko!  Ranks up there with they don't shave!  I am coming to the place where I had my fourth flat.  How do the nails always puncture the side of the tire?  Tire Gremlins they say.  I don't understand the physics of it.  I suppose I could google.  Easy sailing this portion.  No traffic except the occasional peasant (pissant?) going the wrong way.  Here are my first set of lights.  Go left or straight I can  How am I feeling?  Like a lucky punk?  Or a righteous bastard?  Since I am a conservative, I will go straight.  Only dead skunk can be found in the middle of the road.  That and yellow stripes.  At this intersection, I am the only thing with two wheels that obeys the lights.  I might as well join in the pragmatism.  One thing you can say about the Chinese.  They will break the rules anyway they can.  Only way to be sane in a dictatorship.  On my left, I see some ten storey buildings, recently built, waiting for occupants -- commercial occupants.  I see a few, but not enough as the developers would like.  Build it, and they will come!  Yeah! Yeah!  Build it, and they will come!  Did the government types out here read the Iowa Baseball Confederacy?  It wouldn't surprise me if the Baseball Wild card was their idea!  Why?  Why?  Why ruin a good thing?  MLB shouldn't be like the NHL or the NFL or the NBA or the NDP or the CCCP or the CCTV for that matter.  The famous Mugambo Law of Markets.  Now, I see what is meant to be a large auto parts complex.  Now, it looks like a shanty town, not old, just yet, but give it six months, and it will get shantier.  I wonder if KoW walks Blackburn here?  Reason not to drive through.  I may step in some merde.  Another set of lights, flashing yellow.  I think I will slowly mossie on through.  Yellow doesn't mean  caution to the drivers here.  All Chinese drivers must have graduated from the Ted Kennedy Driving School.  A certificate from that place can be exchanged for a license no doubt.  Another set of lights coming.  Major intersection.  I will wait.  Dump trucks come barrelling through.  Horns loud and shrill.  Now, I pass a large stretch of undeveloped fields.  Look at the grating(?) on the side.  Some are out of place -- bad workmanship.  They have workers manicure the bushes.  Seems pointless to me.  There is so much shit for them to clean up.  All this road for me and a few other cars.  Enjoy it while you can.  Left turn coming up.  There is no way I can avoid it. I have two choices:  I can cross the road, and get into a wide bike path.  Or I can sneak to bike path closest, and cross the road at the intersection near the big bridge.  The home stretch before I get to the big bridge is wide, spacious, and underutilized.  Empty fields.  To my right is a canal with barge traffic -- a most certain major water thoroughfare.  I should take a photo.  Can't photograph your brain. Can't upload from my brain to the Internet.  I can't be a tourist forever.  Got's to be the best father I can be.  What shall Tony become?  A Marine.  A U.S. Marine.  Blessed are the Peacemakers.  And if you want peace, you are going to have to fight for it.  No where does it say "blessed are the pacifists".  Editorial comment.  Got to make this poetic.  The park glistens in the hot mid day sun.  Already the bricks are cracking.  There is the place I took my son. But I don't have the money no more for that kind of slacking.   Time to make the left turn.  There are some cops.  It looks like a roadblock trolling for drivers with money.  I will obey the lights.  Can't flaunt another country's police so blatantly.  I was pulled over once. Never again.  I have learned my lesson.  Green light-- now I can go.  Just before I get on the bridge I have to look out for the cars flying by that make a right turn onto the bridge.  They have no intention of slowing or yielding.

The Hui Shan Big Bridge
I have a bit of an incline to ascend.  It slows me down a bit.  Here is where I start to pass and get passed by other scooters and motorcycles.  The right lane belongs to the bikes.  There is a car trying to dodge and veer through traffic!  Get out of our lane.  Now I am on the flat portion of the Big Bridge.  I accelerate again.  Look at the boat traffic.  Magnificent!  The Magnificent Seven!  Cold water in the face brings you back to this awful place! Mahatma Gandhi and Luther King went to the game but they were murdered by the other team that went on to win 50-nil.  The Clash.  Then there is the movie.  McQueen.  Anyway, the boat traffic is amazing.  It so cool that I see this every day.  And it is so near the place my family lives.  Far out and Cool!  I can see a woman on a boat.  I have heard these barge slash boats are mom and pop operations.  The Pop drives.  The Mom helps navigate in tight spots.  She does laundry and cooking as well.  Cool gig.  I just wonder about the money.  I even see these big boats in my wife's hometown.  The canals are narrow there.  Those boats must travel miles and miles of narrow canal to get smack, dab in the middle of the countryside.  There is a nail on the pavement.  Must avoid those at all costs. I have a long way to go to find a repairman if I blow a tire here.  I can see the Wuxi skyline in the distance.  The Moresky360 and Hongdo buildings look small from here.  The breeze in my face. Wonderful!  Wonderbra! (Does the KoW wear one?)  Wunderbar!  I bought one in Shanghai once!    Ten rmb, but it was worth it.  How does the second canto of Paradise Lost begin?  Assist me!  Yeah!  Yeah! Yeah!  You can take the lyrics to popular songs and change them and it doesn't appear to affect the musical quality of the song.  Not quite the most juste of Flaubert.   Now we go over a highway -- subject of Wuxi Tony Update 404.  Tony wanted to throw stones on the highway.  Down we go!  Don't think "whee!"  It is so cliche.  Think, this is good.  Not as good as riding a mountain bike down Chilliwack Mountain -- that was cool.  The way my heart pounded when I was pedalling up that mountain.  If I did that now, I would have a heart attack.  There is a family of three on a bike.  The father drives recklessly.  He has more lives in his hands than I do. The mother holds a baby like a football.  A field on my right.  Fertilized with human excrement -- saves on piping.  

From the Bridge to the Freeway
That was the fun part of the ride.  This is the transitional stage between Hui Shan City and Wuxi proper.  Nothing much to do till I get to the first traffic light.  No time to recite a short poem, one even as short as "Jenny Kissed Me!".  Andis didn't kiss Jenny today.  Bad boy I am.    The first traffic light is strange.  It is a controlled crosswalk.  Good luck trying to control a crosswalk in China.  If you tried to cross you would have to wait for traffic.  Sometimes, I have seen cars use the sidewalk to cross the road at this point -- the Chinese would never think to follow rules and take the long way around -- they will take the shortest route possible even it means driving a car on grass, bicycle paths, and sidewalks.  The next light comes soon after.  Not being a major intersection, the lights are often ignored.  I stop.  Most other cyclists continue through even if they have to dodge cars or hope cars dodge them.  Green in 20 seconds.  The coast is clear.  I'll go.  I am a pragmatic driver too.  Nothing to see but a large empty field.  There comes a bus stop.  Sometimes the bus will hem you in as it stops to pick up passengers.  Reading the bus stop signs, I see none of these buses comes anyway near the Casa K.  And did those feet in ancient times, walk upon England's mountain green!  Put a bucket on my head and I will shut up.  Lazy Dotes and Dosey Oats and little ansky diesis.  A grigiry grigiry doo wouldn't you!  I must sing that to Tony.  On my left, I now see the shopping complex that is taking an eternity to build.  They have put up a large Ferris Wheel which I bet will rust out before it officially goes into operation.  Who likes Ferris Wheels?  Maybe the KoW!  He likes pulp science fiction and Kenny Rodgers!  Of course, if "KoW" decides it" isn't cool", he will not like it.  The need to be cool.  The plague of our modern age.  Even the Chinese are trying to be that way.  Of course, I remember what Chesterton said about Buddhist and Christian imagery.  The Christian is shown to care, to give a damn.  The Buddhist tries to look above it all with the all-knowing smile - the smile of the tyrant, the smile of the cool guy.  What's the matter?  Too cool for KFC?  Orwell George wrote Farm Animal.  The Ultimatum Bourne.  Lovers and Suns.  Wind with the Gone.  Because I am the man tax!  I am the man tax!  Yeah Yeah!  She was a quick machine.  She kept the motor sanitized!  She was the best dog gone woman I ever cleaned.  You!  All night you shook me!  Satisfaction can't get no!  Fooled Again We Won't Get.  The Cook  Fannie Farmer Book!  Illustrated Sports!  S&M NBC featuring Uber Keithman.  Having too much fun.  I nearly ran the red.  If there is a left turn signal, I will make the turn and go past the factory and the car stores.  Plain-Jane-straight-ahead-green  means I will go downtown.  I have a variety of options for driving downtown.  I see the green so I will go straight on Xicheng Road and make a Left Turn on European Street.  This intersection is under an elevated freeway.  Getting across the intersection can be perilous.  There is a motorcycle driver wearing a yellow construction helmet, going against a red.  I should make him slow down but he doesn't seem willing.  Having crossed, I have to get into the bicycle path.  I have to watch out for vehicles making left turns and not bothering to slow down.  Look at the dump truck......

Xicheng Road to Downtown
I am heading south towards downtown.  I don't have any sense of direction living in Wuxi.  Where is North or South?  Not like in Canada.  America is that-a-way.  On my right, trees.  Behind the trees, some ugly industrial area.  Have to watch out for trucks making blind turns onto the bike path.  Here is where the bike traffic picks up.  Pass and be passed.  I wonder if some of these people are going as far as I go.  The first set of lights I encounter is a challenge.  Even when I have a green light, cars and buses can turn in front of me.  I see a #25 bus.  Think of the savings and having a certain seat -- better to be on the bike.  I slow down.  Another bike passes me and just narrowly avoids the bus.  Crazy but he got through.  Now I will pass some businesses.  There is a repair man.  Good to know in case.  What classes do I have today?  I have a one person private class to start.  Easy.  English Corner tonight or tomorrow night?  What topic did I choose?  Will I be able to keep them in rapt attention?  Who can say?  Some don't want to be there.  Someone else paid for them to be there.  Some one just made a blind left turn.  DAMN!  I avoid her.  Just.  FUCKING BITCH!  IN CIVILIZED COUNTRIES, THEY LOOK BEFORE THEY TURN!  And she thinks I am the crazy one.  Just once, I would love to shove a idiot rider onto the road. Can't be done.  Hope, I don't snap and do so.  Who can say.  I would like to pop those queue-jumpers at McDonald's.  Check! Check!  Pray for their souls.  Forgive them, for they know not what they do!  The next light marks the start of a retail district.  A long shopping street joins Xicheng.  Here is where the #312 bus route starts.  Crossing this intersection is a challenge --uncertainty about who has right of way.  It seems to work like the drill of an uncontrolled intersection -- except people try to use speed to get through faster.  I see scooters and bikes full of merchandise.  The amount of stuff these they will carry on their bike -- they have to make money.  Some of these bikes must five years old.  Lights are missing.  Trunk lids are missing.  Some bikes are missing the body covers so you can see the interior wiring.  Some bikes make a strange noise.  I wonder sometimes if the noise is coming from my bike.  Some loose piece on the bike rubs against the tire.  Motorcycles ride in the bike path.  They honk their horns to get others out of their way.  There is a bus stop.  One time, I nearly ran down a man.  He suddenly ran towards a bus -- didn't look either way.  I cross a small bridge.  Canals have walls built and buildings right on the edge.  What is it like to live near a canal?  Are there lots of mosquitoes and rats?  I pass the Cultural Revolutionary Redux Restaurant.  Too early.  I see the doors are locked and tables stacked inside.  There is another repair shop.  A three wheel self propelled bicycle passes me.  It has thin bicycle tires.  Is it powered by gas or electricity.  It must be electricity.  The bikes goes hmmmmmm!  not brrrrrrnnnggggooggooo! The driver controls a box right on the handle bar.  The intersection coming up, I must slow down for.  Cars and Trucks and the like don't look for bikes.  Here is a car making a turn.  I am not giving way.  I will make him yield.  He does.  Now, I pass what looks like an old market area.  Stalls abandoned and crap everywhere.  There is someone driving aggressively.  He honks his horn every two seconds.  He must be on cruise control.  He has no intention of stopping.  Maybe he sees it as a game.  Now comes a car in the bike path.  BASTARD! The next intersection is major -- it runs underneath an elevated highway.  People park here because of the cover.  If I turned leftward here, I would pass a chemical factory across from a poultry market.  But not today.  My daily  route is never fixed.  Do the cars have a red light?  Yes!  I will proceed.   There is a depression I know to avoid.  Vegetable carts block my way.  Lots of vegetable trucks here as well.  I see one blocking the way.  Some bikes go around it.  They won't let it maneuver to turn around.  I will wait.  I hope I didn't make any grammatical errors or typos in today's blog entry.  I really need to edit myself better.  Won't ditch the dirt with the rest of the broads!  That is why the lady is a tramp!  I have to listen to Sinatra some more.  I go.  Across the way is a statue of a horse.  It looks neglected.  It tilts slightly.  Gawdy but memorable.  Now I come up to the most major intersection yet.  The roads connecting are four lanes wide.  Motorcycles run through the red lights.  If no car makes a left turn, I will sneak through.  Now I can proceed.  I wait by the median.  Coast is clear again.  I go.  There goes a car make a right turn fast.  I will make him slow down!  This part of town is dumpy.  Christian am I?  I read the Bible.  I don't feel spirit of Christ.  But it is inspiring to read those who can feel it.  Mother Teresa had her dark moments of the soul.  Christ didn't have a good laugh - he hid his mirth.  I have to force myself to have some.  I pass a primary school.  Dumpy.  And then the Ramada Plaza.  Swankiness in the middle of rubble -- that is China for you.  I am now at the last set of lights before the railway underpass.  Kitty corner from me, I see another torn down city block -- there will be a mag lift train station there.  It used to be  the secondary bus station where the bus going to Beixing (ugh!) goes.  I get across.  No Problem. Mei Wenti.  On my right is another block of torn-down buildings.  Here comes another pothole.  Now the descent into the railway underpass.  There is work going on here -- something to do with the new subway I presume.  I don't know if I can wait five years for it.  Now, they have given the bicycles lots of space.  One time there was a bicycle traffic jam.  Through I go.  Someone honking behind me.  I don't feel in a mood to let him pass.  I ascend.  On my right is a family selling something or other.  A child sleeps.  My God!  They must live here during the day.  Crazy way to raise a child.  I suppose having a good spot under in a pedestrian slash bicycle tunnel must be heaven to them.

There is an intersection where I have to try to be in the proper turn lane.  Turn left, you will head toward the train station.  Never go there.  It is not meant for bicycles.  I will go straight.  The wait here is torturous.  I see a road block on my right for cars or bicycles.  The police try to stop motorcycles from going down here.  That, and they don't like people to ride double on their bikes.  Stand straight.  Don't hunchback over the bike.  Mama!  Ooooh!  There is a green.  So many bicycles going at once.  Have to dodge pedestrians as well.  There is a moron,on a bike, who has inched ahead and blocked the whole lane.  Everyone has to dart around him.  In America, they would call him stupid.  No one says anything here.  Because so many bikes go here, some chose to ride on the road instead of the bike path.  I choose the bike path.  I got in trouble for that once.  Only reason I didn't pay fine was that I was a foreigner.  The policeman even shook my hand after because I gave him a chance to speak English.  I have to be careful of pedestrians.  Why don't they walk on the sidewalk?  There is pair of people riding side-by-side having a conversation.  I honk at them to let me past.  I use my horn all the time here.  No point in honking in anger, no one sees it as such.  Now someone is going slowly on the left side of the lane.  HONK!  Get out of my way azzhole!  Another intersection.  I get in the left turn lane.  Sometimes, I go straight.  That way, I can see Xihui Park at a distance.  There is a McDonald's which means I have entered civilization.  Going left than straight is easier. I wait.  There is the straight green.  Wait.  Wait for it! Left, Right, Left Right!  About Turn!  Sorry. Military thinking.  Chinese military strong?  Not so easy to sacrifice children if you only have one.  A war, an unnecessary war would have a lot of pissed off Chinese parents.  Momma!  O! o! Don't mean to make your Cry!  I look up and see the Hongdo and Moresky360 buildings.   Left Turn Green.  I take the path.  Other bikes take the car lane.  I pass a hotel where someone got married.  Ronnie threw down his speech and then picked it up.  It was an hilarious performance.  God!  I don't want to look at the video of my wedding.  So many broken relationships.  Why did I invite that bastard?  He worked at school -- could not not invite him.  Didn't give hongbao.  We gave him a bottle of whiskey.  Look at the video, see that asshole being disrespectful.  There is a garbage cart blocking the way.  Slow down.  Now, have to take crosswalk to continue on my way.  This one is tricky.  Cars come barreling through.  Now there is no barrier.  Cars right besides.  On my right 78 or Seven Eight store.  Why not Seventy Eight?  The lucky numbers of the West and China.  On my left:  Wuxi Chicken Porridge.  Then, Prince Edward Road Hong Kong Style Food.  There is a KFC.  Kitty Corner, an ugly aluminum monument.  I make right turn.   Jiankang or JiaFeng Road.  I can never remember.  Back among barriers.  I came to a bus stop.  Watch out for people getting off.  Now I past the place I bought my third mobile phone -- a Nokia with MP-San.  I tell students that is now an English word like mama huhu.  Should I get rid of the MPSans on my Mobile.  "You got another thing coming"  is so essential.  "Coming is another thing you have?"  I am going to turn it on one life!  Another Intersection.  Kitty corner is an apartment where many foreigners stay.  I stayed there too in my salad days.  Now, I am on a budget.  Teachers don't make much money.  I live cheap for a good cause -- Tony.  At least, I hope Tony is a good cause.  Could be a bad one.  Not much I can do about it.  Already, I feel he disrespects me.  Like my sister and brother when I was younger.  Good to be a loner sometimes.  I wonder if that makes me a better writer?  Probably not.  James Joyce seems to have knowledge of everything.  He soaked up words like a sponge.  Great sponge cake!  It is like eating a moist sponge.  Anyway, I go straight.  I am on the road that forms a border around the downtown proper.  I am now driving besides a canal. There is a gas station.  Lineup goes out to the road.  Is there a fuel shortage in Chin?.  I think the price of gas is subsidized.  You can pay now or pay later.  Riots in Iran when they tried to raise the price.  The price was too low so there were lineups there!  I look in my mirror. No one behind me.  Now, I am at Renmin Road.  If I turn left (I can't), I will pass the Xinhua bookstore.  If I turn right, I will pass Wu Ai Jia Yuan -- where I used to live on the 21st floor.  Light is green. I go straight.  Be careful of cars making left turns.  I pass the public W.C.  I am on the path.  Up ahead is an island where I took Tony for a few walks.  He couldn't walk then I recall.  I had to push him in a pram.  The park is quite something -- paths and courtyards and secluded spots and a nice bridge you have to cross.   Here comes the last major intersection of my trip.  Here I make a left onto Xueqian Road.  Green.  Go!  On the left there is a museum of sorts.  Rebuilt.  I was walking past there all the time when they were doing that.  One more light.  This is the intersection where I got married.  The restaurant is on the other side.  I hate the food there.  Turn right and you come to the Xinjiang Restaurant I like to go to.  Last time, I went, my companion said he couldn't use chopsticks -- he was too old to learn new tricks.  At the corner is a great DVD shop.  Don't have the money now.  I will have to spend my time blogging.  I see a piano shop.  I see a school where I did spoke to 200 students one time.  Now there is a primary school.  Here I turn left and go into a back alleyway.  Cool.  Turn left into another alleyway, I head to Zhongshan road.  The school is on the other side.  Cross at the pedestrian path.  No cars stop. Damn them!  Proceed!  I am now on Xin Kai Xiao Xue Road.  My first apartment of my own in China is on this street.  On my right is where I made the Wuxi Bengal Dog video - over 300,000 views.  My route is a trip down memory lane.  I turn left behind the building wherein is the school.  I descend into the underground parking.  I park between cars. Is there enough room?  Make sure driver parking car doesn't clip my bike.  I hope I don't have a China Day!  Lock up the bike!  To work!  What the uck!!!  I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all!  Carry on!  Carry on!  Doesn't seem to matter!  But it does.  Jenny and Tony.  It does matter!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #411: Tony goes for a walk in the countryside of Hui Shan New City.

The Kaulins Family: Jenny, Tony, and Andis live in the Hui Shan Economic Development Zone area of Wuxi, China; or you could also say about forty minutes from Wuxi's downtown. The Hui Shan area is an interesting mix of government-ordered economic development and old countryside. So, it is fun for Andis and Tony to wander the area for they see strange things like they do in this video.


It's Coming!
My promised long piece of blogging will be published in the next twenty four hours.  I will re-read it a few times today and look for typos and grammar errors.
Now What?
What to read now that I have finished Ulysses.  Once I finish this bio of Alan Greenspan I am reading (I got it at our school library), I will dive into a Michael Crichton, and then another classic (The Adventures of Huck Finn).
Too Much Freedom?
I find that my time without Jenny and Tony can be filled with the chores Jenny normally does around the apartment like cleaning and laundry.  I have more freedom when she is around and less in another way.  I can choose when to do the things that got to get done, but I gots to do them.
Carrefour on a Saturday Night with My Bike
Go to a shopping centre in Wuxi and you will see thousands of bikes parked all around it.  I rarely have to park my bike with the masses so it is a perilous time for me when I do.  Last evening was such a occaision.  I had a hard time finding a space and I was screamed at by an attendant telling me, apparently, I was trying to park in the wrong place.  I then saw this attendant picking up bikes and moving them about, one time even setting off the bike's alarm.  I have a device that came with the keys that helps me locate my bike by setting off its alarm - a very useful thing because you can't easily misplace your bike among thousands of otheres.

Wuxi Tony Update #410: Escalator 2: The Reckoning

In this video, the entire Wuxi Kaulins family rides the escalator at Baoli Mall in Wuxi, China

Finished Ulysses

I was on the mobile with my wife and I learned that tony can say one two three and that my wife starts her driving course tomorrow before I sat on the sofa and read the last chapter of James Joyces Ulysses which is written without punctuation so that it is hard to read fast and I may have to read it again if I have the time which I dont but the chapter is sexual and so I wander if it is penthouse without grammar and punctuation but even if I find the last chapter hard and boring and torturous the novel is worth the effort to read because parts of it are brilliant and I wish I could write like him instead of writing in the bad aping style that I am now where I make a pale attempt at the poetry that is in my life yes as his novel is about the poetry of life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Things I can say, with pride, that I have seen.

I am not a man of the world like the KoW, but that is okay.  When a bunch of men of the world get together, they can be insufferable, just like a bunch of sick cancer patients comparing their conditions, or parents going on endlessly about their children...

Be that as it may, here are some things I am proud to say I have seen, in my life:

  • I saw the Canadian Junior Hockey Team beat the Soviet Junior Hockey Team seven to nothing.  Nothing better than seeing the cock-sucking fucking asshole Soviets get hammered.  The cheers at the end of the game were something else -- the loudest I have ever heard.
  • I saw Johan Cruyff score a goal for the Washington Diplomats against the Minnesota Kicks in a N.A.S.L. match.
  • I saw R.E.M. and U2 concerts on consecutive nights in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
  • I saw Queen Elizabeth II in Brandon, Manitoba.
  • I saw the back of Pope John Paul II's head in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • I saw the KoW naked on Vancouver Island.  His skin was a pasty alabaster colour.  His muscle tone was a little off.  But, I felt myself privileged nonetheless.
  • I saw the Sex Pistols perform in Vancouver.
  • I saw an Expat, with a broom, chase his Chinese girlfriend down the streets of Wuxi.
  • I saw two streakers at a British Columbia Lions game which was also the last regular season game of Luis Passaglia's career.
  • I saw Shaun Alexander run eighty yards for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders.

Wuxi Tony Update #409: Escalator

I had an uncle who died in both wars.

My mentioning of my grandfather having been on the losing sides in World Wars One and Two when he fought for the Russians in the first and the Germans in the second, earned a comment from a rare reader who said he had an in-law who fought for the Germans and the Russians in the same war.
Well!  Okay!  Let's play that toppy-eachother-in-military-losing-relative-stories game.  I had an uncle who died in both world wars one and two.  Can anyone top that!  Betcha you can't!
BTW, thanks for the comment!  Dennis!

Putting the log in blog

Actually, I have been posting videos and articles, I haven't been doing much journalizing lately.  Or should I say diarizing.  Either way, here are the latest headlines from the world of AKIC or planet AKIC (for those of you who say I live in another planet).

What did I do wrong?
The wife is away so I will attempt to cook for myself.  Not that I haven't cooked before.  But, I am out of practice, and doing something, not according to my wife's ways, in the kitchen is a risk -- I could end up in the doghouse -- something I am used to, but will never ever like.

So, I goes to buy vegetables at a market near the school -- nothing that I haven't done before.  But I go to this store expecting to find plastic bags to put the vegetables in, like you would find at Carrefour.  Once I have the vegetables in le sac plastique, I go to the scale in the veggie section to get les sacs labelled, and then proceed to the checkout.  I have a few times embarrassingly forgotten to do this.  And so you are at the checkout and you run back red-face to the vegetable scale realizing you have wasted lots of time in line.

Anyway, at the market I went to today, I couldn't find any plastic bags.  I tried to ask a clerk where the bags were, using the word I thought was Chinese for bag.  I, of course, was greeted with total incomprehension -- Ting de Dong!  I tried to do some pantomiming.  They finally understood what I wanted but everyone had a good laugh at my expense.  I just carried on, buying some carrots and vegetables -- resisting the urge to give the crowd the bird.

Thinking about it now, I suppose in some places, the bag law applies even to vegetable sections.  I notice that others had brought their own bags for the vegetables.

Tonight, I cook.  Which should be another adventure.

I did an English Corner about acting Thursday evening which I thought went quite well.  When I asked the students if they ever acted they said no.  They understood "acting" to be mean performing in plays or movies.  But when I explained to them that acting was pretending to be something you weren't, whether a person or emotion, the students came up with numerous examples of acting they had done -- usually it was feigning enthusiasm to their boss, or pretending to be interested in someone talking about their child (What?!?!).  I then did some role plays.  In one I pretended to tell my parents that I was getting married to another man.  The male student was going to hit me -- absolutely brilliant acting.  The mother said "as long as you don't marry the Kow!  That would be a bad gay marriage!"  Another student played my wife on the Titanic.  When I explained to her that I may have to die because there weren't enough lifeboats.  She said it was okay and she would see me in the afterlife.

Liu Shi Ge Nian
None of the students seem particularly excited by the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC.  None have said they will do anything other what they normally do on the October 1 holiday - sleep and shop.

Tony in Beixing Update
Jenny tells me that Tony doesn't like staying in the grandparent's compound.  He wants to wander around like a wild countryside boy, even in the rain.

I miss them but I look forward to trying my hand at some cooking tonight.

Tom not Tony
I named a student after my son.  And he changes his name to Tom.  

"Why?" I asked him.

"Because Tony is you son!"  he answered.

I growled at him the entire class.

Never had a Grandparent
We do a salon class about grandparents.  It is a class I enjoy doing because I have lots of questions to ask the students about their grandparents.  (I like to tell them about my grandfather who fought for the Russians in World War One, and for the Germans in World War Two, and so picked the losing side in two wars.)  I had an older student in one class who was the youngest of seven children and whose grandparents all died before he was born.  Not having had a grandparent, he won't know what to do when his son becomes a father, I teased.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wuxi Tony Update #408: Tony drinks some cola

If your grandson is a thousand miles away. A video of him drinking may be interesting. As for the rest of you, you are welcome to watch. If anything, this video shows you that consumer culture has come to Mainland China in a big way.

Links I found interesting.

There is so much Economic ignorance out there.  Politicians take advantage of it for their own ends.  People have devoted their lives to causes based on economic heresies.  So often, wrong-headed policy is enacted.  This essay by Frederic Bastiat is choked full of common sense that you won't see any Finance Ministers employ.  And Bastiat further discredits the sophisms they do employ.

In China, "the seen" is all the infrastructure the government is building.  However, the unseen is the neglect.  Kilometers from where I see workers manicure road-side shrubbery, I see ditches full of garbage.  These ditches are just meters from the front doors of peoples' homes.

I eagerly look forward to reading Camille Paglia's monthly column in Salon.  While she is a person of the Left, she has an ability to be above the fray.  Conservatives can respect her and at the same time disagree with her.  In her latest column, she talks about how the Obama Administration, the Democrats, and the Left have blown it on health care.  She talks about the logistical nightmare that Obama's speech to school children was.  She speaks such common sense, you think she may tipping away from being a Democrat and an Obama supporter.  But being a member of the Left still, she does say some curious things like the following:

How has "liberty" become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin's book "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto," which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party -- but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan's 1964 song "Chimes of Freedom,"made famous by the Byrds? And here's Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with "Freedom! Freedom!" Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song "A Different Drum," with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: "All I'm saying is I'm not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me." 

I believe she has a warped idea of what freedom is.  Freedom, properly formulated, does mean having to take responsibility for your actions - having to accept the consequences of them.  The Democrats and the Left have for so long promulgated an idea of freedom where you don't have to take responsibility or accept the consequences of your actions.  The freedom, for instance, of the Woodstock festival is an abomination to people who had to work for what they got.  Woodstock was to see the fruits of your labour ridiculed by the people enjoying the fruits.  Freedom also means having to take the world as it is and acknowledging the efforts of others who have done you more good than you could ever know.  The Democrats don't believe in that aspect of freedom and hence don't believe in freedom (liberty) at all.  To be free of responsibility - is to give up freedom.

Orthodoxy by Gilbert Keith Chesterton is one of my top ten favorite reads of all time. And if you click on the links, it is readily available on the Internet.  I especially love the ending, and it has always served as my rationale for wanting to be Catholic:

Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.

Jesus was not cool, and I guess you can say he isn't cool now.  He could shed tears, and lose his temper.    These two things would render you unfit for public discourse in this day and age.  I "fancy" his mirth would strike the cool ones of today as corny.  Sounds like a guy I could get along with.  Sounds like a guy who doesn't speak gas. Doesn't sound like those too-cool-for-anything types, that the world is full of, and who are full of themselves.

Rare readers may know that I like to listen to podcasts on my MP3 player - a wonderful replacement for live talk radio.  You can go to Itunes to subscribe to pod casts on a myriad of subjects.  Currently, my favorite podcasts can be found at the link in the headline above.  One particular episode of Econtalk will be of great interest to Expats who may not give a hoot about economics.  In this episode Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about cultural norms--the subtle signals we send to each other in our daily interactions. Munger went to Germany and talks about his experiences living in a different culture.  Are some of our reactions to behavior violating our norms hard-wired?
Making a list of the Canadian writers on the Web I like to follow, I think of Marc Steyn, David Warren, and George Jonas.  If you read only these three writers from Canada, you would think that on the whole, Canadians are a sensible bunch.  But, these writers are a minority.  Canada is a center-left country, as the governing Conservative Party, unable to garner a majority in the Federal parliament should know.
George Jonas writes columns, interesting and thoughtful, on the passing political scene and on everyday life.  He has this to say about reading:
  • Reading is enjoyable and useful for people whose mind is structured so that it's suited to reading.
  • The fact, seldom discussed, is that reading is an interactive occupation. A reader gets about as much out of a book as he or she puts into it. A good book gives its reader a decent return on the investment, but readers who bring little to the table will leave with little. At the risk of a warning from the discipline committee of the Writers' Union, I'll suggest that a book is only as good as its reader.

Am I a good reader?  I ask myself.  And how do you put something into a book you are reading?  Experience, I suppose.  I being a layabout, wonder what experience I do have.
Here is what he has to say about children (with comments by me in brackets):
  • I like some individual children, but I don't like children as a group. (I like my Tony.  I hate other people's kids, but  I like talking to their parents.)
  • When you have children, you may end up having something in common with them. Regard it as your bonus, not your due. The way you raise them does make a difference, but not as much as you think. Children are their own people, for better or worse. If you try to have them for joy, companionship or security for your old age, you're having them for the wrong reasons. They may give you all that and more, but you can't count on it. You can count on nothing, except on nature's imperative.  (Already, Tony has his own personality and his own tastes.  He exhibits barbaric and selfish behavior.  I hope I can change this.  He is what he is.  He is a handsome bugger, but I hope he has brains.  What do we have in common?  We like to travel together on a bike.  We like horseplay.  But the time Tony reaches adulthood, I will be old if not dead.)
  • Children put me off. I don't find them adorable or intriguing. I find them tedious. (Tony can be tedious.  He likes to do things for a longer time than I would.  Example:  ride escalators).

The Economic Organisation of a P.O.W. Camp

P.O.W. Camps can be excellent laboratories:   ...P.O.W. camp provides a living example of a simple economy which might be used as an alternative to the Robinson Crusoe economy beloved by the textbooks, and its simplicity renders the demonstration of certain economic hypotheses both amusing and instructive...  During WW II, prisoners each received a care package with which they traded the contents.  Among the care package were cigarettes which became the official currency of exchange.