Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time for AKIC to be serious.

  • April Fool's morning, and I am not in the mood for jokes and frivolity. Yes sir! AKIC is feeling sober, committed, passionate about life. It is time to pull out all stops. I feel that now is the time to make pledges. It is a time to face responsibility. Make no mistake. Let me be perfectly clear. I feel that we shouldn't be dealing in false-opposites. This is the time to look truth straight in the face, and not shirk. I can't just sit around and watch bad things being done half-ass. Rolling up my shirt sleeves, I tell you I am doing so because it is time to get on with something, and that I am ready bear down. Life I say! Pour it on! For I am feeling empowered by a sense of, what the French would call, sérieux. But at the same time, I won't forget to keep my sang froid.
  • But as a blogger in all seriousness, I tell you have to check out what is happening with the Wuxi China Expatdom. You really must!
  • There is a feeling I have that the Chinese aren't big on April Fool's Day. They know of the holiday but they wouldn't know what jokes to pull. Asking if any of them had gags planned for this morning, I got no response.
  • Here is the Wuxi Jaywalkers Fantasy Baseball Team's Logo.
  • The idea of Wen Jiabao and Hu Jiantao playing Rock, Papers, Scissors to make decisions struck the students as quite funny. I also told them it was a wonderful managerial technique -- that, and tossing a coin.
  • Wake up April Fool's Day Boy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AKIC has real Wuxi Expat News!

Riding a Double-Decker Bus down Wuxi, China's Zhongshan Road

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


  • Randominations?  Can I say that? 
  • Well!  I said it! 
  • What is the official Fantasy Major League Baseball team of Wuxi Expats?  That is, of Wuxi Expats of good will?  The Wuxi Jaywalkers!  The team nickname honors the many Wuxiren who ignore traffic signals and rules.  It also makes reference to the fact that the Dodgers, of the real MLB, were nicknamed on account of their fans having to dodge streetcars to get to their baseball stadium.  (I had thought to name my FMLB team the Expats -- a vague reference to the Montreal Expos that I think is probably too vague.)
  • I watched Mr Smith goes to Washington and the Magneficent Ambersons on DVD during my days off (Monday and Tuesday).  My reactions?  Both great movies, which I found the DVDs of on the third floor of the Nanchang Market Bookstore.  Jimmy Stewart is cool!  He played the Mr Smith.  He couldn't possibly be a movie or t.v. star today which just goes to show how the popular culture, in some ways, has sunken to the sewer.  I found it strange, in a way, that I could find such a patriotically American movie, about democracy and a little guy finding entrenched interests, in the People's Republic of China of all places.  The Magneficent Ambersons is the movie Orson Welles made after Citizen Kane.  The story goes that the studios, sick of Welles, decided to ruin his second masterpiece by shortening it.  It may well have happened.  The movie is full of some wonderful scenes but it does seem to have been spliced together.
  • Tony plays with his toys -- doesn't want to go to school.
  • European Street, Ou Feng Jie, used to be one of my favorite streets in Wuxi.  Currently, it is being torn apart and replaced with lord knows what.  Walking on the street last evening, I had to dodge construction barriers and avert my glance from piles of rubble and trash.  What always shocks me is how in the midst of all this rubble, you will see shops and restaurants still open for business.  Last night, I saw a street food vendor who actually set up his stand in the midst of a pile of rubble, so that the stand was surrounded on three sides by rubble.
  • I have uploaded a whole bunch of videos to my youtube channel.  You also can watch them also on my two blogspot sites: AKIC and TKIC.
  • And don't forget about the Wuxi China Expatdom. (Read about it here or here.)  Currently, the Wuxi China Expatdom Contingent is in Manitoba, Canada.  After having gone undercover to win the World Expatdom Vision Song Contest, the contingent and a WCERN task force are set to tighten the noose around the Ayatollah of Mordor -- the former King of Wuxi who is lurking in the general vicinity.  Will they capture him?  What will they do with the KoW when they capture him?  Read these blogs everyday to find out.  (There is also going to be a boxing match between Ayira: the Chosen One and Hilary Clinton.)

This seven floor apartment doesn't have an elevator.

My wife's friend Ling Ling lives in this apartment building. She just had a baby and it is a long way to carry him.

Wuxi Tony Update: March 25, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monday and I have to keep the entry short

Jenny says we (she and I) are going downtown.  Right now, she has Tony at the doctor's -- he has been coughing badly.  Once they are done at the doctor's, Jenny will take Tony to his school.  She then will go downtown and I will join her.
So, I have put up some photos here and here -- all of Tony.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Chinese like Curling?

  • Friday Evening.  Conversation Class.  The topic?  Sports.  I ask the students what sports they would like to try.  One of the younger students, can't name a sport he likes, so he makes throwing gestures and says it is done on ice.  I say it sounds and looks like curling, and I ask him if he saw it during the Winter Olympic games.  He says he did.  I then do a double-check and I draw a curling stone on the whiteboard.  He confirms.  Another student in the class then nods appreciatively.  "I like it too!" she says.  Maybe, the Chinese like Curling.
  • Another student tells me he hangs a cross (the Christian one) in his car for good luck.  He says he isn't a Christian, when I ask him.  I think of something, Flannery O'Connor said.  I think it went along the lines of the Christian religion isn't an electric blanket, it is the cross.  I don't think she thought of it as a lucky charm.
  • Many students said they heard about Earth Hour after the fact.  I, of course, didn't observe it.  I was watching the end of the original True Grit movie with John Wayne.  I liked the ending of that film as John Wayne rides off -- brought tears to my eyes.
  • I then watched the first half of Mr. Smith goes to Washington.  Funny, how I could buy such a patriotically American movie in China.  And Jimmy Stewart has to be one of my heroes.  I like how an "aw shucks" kind of guy can punch out people.
  • I was able to watch the films because Tony and Jenny were in Beixin on Saturday Night.  I splurged and bought a 12 inch Subway sandwich.
  • Here are some links:  Tony's new truck: here and here.  Photos taken around Wuxi.  Ginger for Sale.  "Awkward load" photo.  No KFC on Mars.

Ginger for Sale!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Classic Photo of scooter carrying plywood sheet

I found this photo when I was cleaning out my hard drive. I took it three or four years ago.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Friday late in March, 2011.

  • I took still more photos around Wuxi today.
  • I also took some photos of my son Tony: here and here.
  • Speaking of Tony.  I am into lesson thirty eight of my Chinese textbook.  I came home last night, and I asked Tony what Mom was doing.  He told me "Ta Xi Lian", "她 洗脸",  or in English, "she is washing her face."  I learned these words but a month ago, and the little bugger already knows them!  Amazing!  I am already going to have to have Tony teach me Chinese!
  • I brought home a flier from Toys-R-Us, as well last night.  Tony took it with him to school this morning.
  • This morning, I wanted to get my bus card loaded up with credit again, but the lineup at the office, I could get this done, was a hundred people long!
  • Some Wuxi Expats are good pals.
  • Harry Callahan and the WCE Trio perform before a large crowd at Gunner Stadium.

Construction on Zhongshan Road in Wuxi, China

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chinese reaction to Libya, Wuxi Photos, et cetera

Thinking what to put in the blog today, I had the idea to take some photos.  Wuxi is rapidly changing because of all the construction.  So I should do my best to try to chronicle this, because otherwise, I will be doing nothing but doing Wuxi China Expatdom or Wuxi China Expatdom blogging.

  • Here are photos taken in late March 2011 on Zhongshan Road and at Nanchang Temple Market.
  • The student reaction to the intervention in Libya is interesting.  Last night, I asked if the students if they had heard about it, and they all seemed to indicate that they had.  Asking if the intervention was necessary, I got the general impression that the students were thinking "America is in another war for oil!"  I next asked the students if they thought Qaddafi was a good man, and I heard a wide range of reactions.  The first student said Qaddafi was a great man for his people, comparable to Chairman Mao.  I didn't know how to take it that -- was he serious or being sarcastic?  The next student then said Qaddafi was a bad man.  The other students talked about him being a good man for his people, mixed in with a few "so-so" opinions about him.
  • My two cents worth, for what it's worth, about Libya is that foreign policy pronouncements can be tricky.  I have yet to see what I see as a consistent rationale for all America has done through its history, foreign-policy wise.  But then America has had different presidents who have had different takes on what their foreign policy should be.  I will say that America's foreign policy, more than any other nations who have had the power, has had a humanitarian aspect to it.  For instance, George W. Bush, despite many who would say otherwise, had a big humanitarian element to his foreign policy.  Obama, no doubt, has decided to employ U.S. forces in Libya for humanitarian concerns, though I have Chinese students telling me he is doing so for oil.  And it is easy to find previous Obama statements on foreign policy that are inconsistent with what he has decided to do in Libya.  The one rationale, I have heard from Obama supporters for what he has done in Libya, is that he is not Bush in how he is doing it, or more simply he is not Bush.  Obama is probably closer to Bush on foreign policy than many would care to admit.  (Ralph Nader, strangely enough, is now saying both Bush and Obama have committed war crimes.)
  • What's happening in the world of TKIC?  Visit here or here to find out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

True Luck, Panglossian versus Utopian.

  • I did a little DVD shopping yesterday. At Nanchang Temple, third floor of the book market, I bought DVDs with the movies Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and The Magnificent Ambersons. Then at a little shop on Xueqian Street, I found a copy of the original True Grit with John Wayne, which I thought was truly lucky. I watched the first 75 minutes and can't wait to watch the rest, if I get a chance.
  • A Panglossian says "the world as it is, is the best of all worlds." The Utopian believes that the best possible world can be perfect. Most people fall in between these two extremes. Some believe that we can find better worlds improving on what we have got, taking into account the fact that it will never be perfect. Some want to improve the world at all costs. Some want to keep what is the best. Some bemoan the fact that the best is not perfect enough. And so on. I fall back on the fact that life is a paradox, and you just have to accept that one must always try to make things perfect, even if the goal is never reached.
  • Most of the major figures of the Wuxi China Expatdom have gone to Manitoba, Canada.
  • Where does the word "China" come from? Christian Missionaries, writing in Latin, mentioned an old dynasty called the Chin. They referred to it as Chin-a in their writing, and it became adopted as a name for the Middle Kingdom. I have sometimes mentioned the Latin origins of English words to students, without mentioning the Latin origins of their country's English name.
  • A student tells me her family's home in Yunnan province doesn't have a fridge because they never needed one. True enough, I suppose.
  • What's my son Tony up to? Find out here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My wife Jenny Kaulins

Some English names I would give my Chinese students, if I could (and if I dared).

I always thought to make this list.  Sometimes, the students would like me to give them English names, but lately, I find myself telling them that I would get back to them about it -- the issue of naming is wrought with possibilities.  I would venture to say that it is overwrought. And so after making a mental note about making a list of names and putting it in my wallet, I never do...
However, one evening, a few weeks ago, I jotted these possible names into a notebook -- finally getting around to it, as it were.  I told myself to jot down ten.  The first one on the list was easy because I giggled so much when I thought of it that I became inspired to make a list of ten.  However, the longer I made the list, the less resolute and amused I became.  I shelved, as the expression goes, till now.
Here goes nothing:
  1. Oklahoma:  Something about the Grunge scene -- you, know, Nirvana and the band that did the song about Jeremy speaking in class -- just turned me off.  Maybe, I was getting old.  Maybe, I didn't like the fact that these bands, seemed to have descended from the alternative bands I liked (the Smiths, New Order, Husker Du), and had sinned by becoming too popular.  Anyway, it was the Grunge scene that made me decide to go back, way back, in my musical exploration.  I decided that I would become a Sinatra fan.  From there, it was only a matter of time before I discovered the joys of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Cole Porter, and Rodgers and Hammerstein.  One day, I was flipping through racks of DVDs in Wuxi, and I found a copy of Oklahoma! -- the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  Putting that in the DVD player was the cultural equivalent of bringing a Husker Du tape back to Brandon, Manitoba.  It was awesome full of real catchy tunes including the one about Oklahoma being okay.  I would name a student Oklahoma as an excuse to sing songs from that musical.  "You're Okay Oklahoma, Oklahoma you're doing okay!"
  2. Mahovlich.  I saw Frank Mahovlich in Brandon, Manitoba -- I bring this up because it was a fond reminiscence.  The Big "M" and his brother Pete, the little "M" were awesome hockey players, that I watched on television in my impressionable years.  To see one of them live, even in an old-timers game, was a thrill.  The Big "M" had a way of skating, with a big strong wide gait, that was distinctive, and he still had it in his fifties.  Now, I would name a Chinese student Mahovlich because I love to pronounce that name.  One has to press one's lower lips against the teeth, and then push the word to the top of one's throat.  It would be my way of getting back at the Chinese for having such a tonal language.
  3. Autumn.  I have had students named Summer, Spring, and Winter; but never Autumn or Fall.  I know, and  then, I could say, I don't know why this should be.  I would give the name Autumn to students who strike me as being mature.
  4. Smoggy.  Same rationale as choice number three.  I have had students named Rainy and Sunny.  Why not Smoggy?  I would give the name Smoggy to students who were avid smokers.  (I actually had a student tell me smoking was his hobby -- God Bless 'em! I said.  True rebellion always wins my admiration.)
  5. Cheryl.  I haven't had a Chinese student called Cheryl -- that is my rationale for this name.
  6. Mulligan. Same rationale as name number five.
  7. Anatole.  Same rationale as name number five and six, except one little proviso:  the way I see it, Anatole is not a name you can give to someone right away.  They have show you they have a personality of an Anatole.  The personality of an Anatole? you say.  They have to have a personality to match the scowl.
  8. Esposito.  I named my son Tony after Tony Esposito (Actually I named my son Anthony so he could shorten his name to Tony, but you get the idea.).  Esposito was the coolest  hockey goalie of all-time -- even cooler than Ken Dryden, circa 1971 - 1973.  As well, Esposito like Mahovlich, is just a cool name to say.  And there are lots of students named Tony who don't want to be reminded that they have the same name as my son.  "Hey Esposito!  Make a sentence with "perchance."
  9. Jefferson.  Many of the younger male students like to name themselves after NBA players - Kobe and Lebron.  One thing I wish the Chinese would do -- actually they are many but I won't talk about all that -- is follow NFL football.  There are many cool and graceful wide receivers named Jefferson that I can recall.
  10. Bonita.  It is like the name of my sister, and there are no Bonita's that I know of in China.
  11. Hector.  You got name a student after something Greek and Homerish.
  12. Abraham.  The students say they admire Abraham Lincoln, and yet not one of them has named themselves after him.
  13. Aina.  My mom's name.

And so I have a list bigger than ten.  It turns out, the list is long on names but short on long-winded rationales.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monday Musings?

Lately, my best work can be found at my other blogs:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011.

I can't think of a good title for this blog entry.  Oh well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More real than reality.

My Wuxi China Expatdom Blog is a sideline blog that allows me to lampoon Expat life here.  I love doing it more than writing a normal dairy journal type blog.  Now, if anyone else enjoys that writing -- that is another question.  I certainly glad to know that one man in Australia likes it, and I very much appreciate the contributions that he has made to the blog -- I think they are better than mine.  

The WCE blog is loosely based on reality.  It is filled mostly with my whimsical imaginations.  I do hope that it does have things to say about human nature.  And because it purports to lampoon human nature, it does so from a conservative perspective.  As Lady Thatcher says, "the facts of life are conservative."  

This thoughts come to mind as I found two things on the Internet that show maybe my silliest scenarios in the WCE Blog are not so silly after all.  Exhibit one:  this column by George Jonas.  The column is about Qaddafi and the Earthquake, but toward the end it makes a defense of dynastic marriage -- the ancient practice of uniting kingdoms by marriage.  Says Jonas, "The medieval motto of one historic dynasty was similar to the 1960s hippie injunction of "Make Love, Not War."  Brilliant!  Now, it was only yesterday, that I published an entry in my WCE blog announcing that the King of the Wuxi Expatdom was marrying a princess from the Azanian Empire!  Exhibit two, was made reference to as I was listening to the latest Radio Derb podcast.  John Derbyshire said it was a year ago that a Korean man married his Japanese pillow.  I googled and found the story.  One of the first things I had happen in the Wuxi China Expatdom was a craze for marrying inanimate objects.  

I think I can rightly say that the WCE Blog is more real than reality.

Other links:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the road to Changzhou 1

A little over three years ago in 2008, I was on the road to Changzhou.

Three buses to choose from

Some days, it's just hard to keep this blog going.  Life is pretty routine.  I do have my son Tony to tell you about.  I do spend a lot of times making things up -- fun, but it doesn't feel like I am getting you an accurate feel of what life in China is like.  Sometimes, I have to resort to telling you about what my hash browns were like at McDonald's (fine this morning -- they came fresh out of the fry vat.), the accidents I have seen (none so far today), and my bus ride to work...
  • This morning, I had the first-in-the-lifetime sensation of having three buses to choose from.  I took the #610 downtown.  I got off near European Street (Oh Feng Jay -- it is pronounced in Chinese, pardon the spelling) to catch a bus to get me close to work.  This morning, the three buses, I can take from the European stop, pulled into the stop at the same time: the #79, the #81, and the #85.  I choose the #81 because it was a double-decker (never get over the novelty) and because it got me closest to McDonald's and Breakfast.
  • Orient Express has written a fine piece about a night with inspector Harry Callahan in the Wuxi China Expatdom.
  • Gorzo the Mighty is getting married!
  • My wife tells me that salt went up to 10 rmb a bag from its normal 1.5 rmb because of nuclear hysteria.

Tony locks his father out

Friday morning, Dad took out the trash.  He returned to the apartment to see Tony holding open the door and smiling.  As he approached the door, Tony slammed the door shut and locked it.

"What a little bugger!" thought Dad.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bondage, 30 rmb beer, Tony gets a new car.

  • The title of this blog entry is a tribute to a habit filmmakers have of giving shockingly, long, seemingly-unfinished, undisciplined, and what really are working titles to their movies like "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "The Cook, the Thief, the Wife, and her lover", and "Summer, Spring, Fall, Winter, and Spring." 
  • SMS mesages are being sent around Wuxi telling people to not go out in the rain because of fears of nuclear fallout from the Japanese Nuclear Plants.
  • Hao ba! 好吧!

  • Beer is 30 rmb in Wuxi, China pubs!  What an outrage!!  If only there was a Gambay's in Wuxi.  Alas, there isn't.
  • The portrait photos of Tony I mentioned?  They will be another ten days or so.  What Jenny did yesterday was merely choose the photos she wanted printed.
  • Did I mention bondage?  Yet another bondage shop opens in the Wuxi China Expatdom.
  • When I got home from work last night, Tony proudly showed me that he got a new car -- a '69 Volvo.  Here is a photo and story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wuxi Andis and Wuxi Tony play with a train set: March 12, 2011

It's a back-to-work Wednesday in Mid-March 2011

  • Back to work!  Let the madness begin!
  • March madness brings on April sadness -- April being the cruelest month, what with it breeding lilacs out of something or other.
  • I just received a chain text message on my phone, in English, from an unknown number.  I will tempt fate and not re-send it.
  • Yesterday, I saw a flat-bed truck, no canopy, transporting a group of about 25 workers, all male and all in their forties -- the workers were squatting and huddled together in the back.  It is a sight, I sometimes see and wish I could take a photo of.  But I can never anticipate when such trucks will come, and when they do, I can't take my camera out fast enough.
  • This "press release" from the Wuxi government is unintentionally funny.  The Wu Culture Festival will be opened on April 10.  The deputy director of the festival is also the director of the Department of Propaganda.  (And you thought WCE was just a spoof!)
  • If you can visit this WCE blog and check out the comments made by Orient Express.
  • My son Tony likes to take a toy with to school.  This is against school policy but we let Tony do it anyway.  This morning, he wanted his Red Double-Decker bus toy, which he got in Canada in June last year.  I made him put the toy in his schoolbag -- put the curse off it, as the saying goes.  But as soon as we got to the stop, where his school van picks up him, Tony had to pull the toy out of his bag.
  • March 14, "pi" day, was a good day for blog.  An entry I made on March 14, 2009 about "pi" day was viewed a lot yesterday.  But not too many visitors stayed to explore the blog, alas!
  • I did things different today.  I took the #602 bus downtown.  Instead of getting off at the train station, I de-boarded at an earlier stop, walked a block, and took the #85, the rest of the way, to school.
  • Wednesday evening, my wife will go pickup the photos that were taken on Tony's recent photo shoot.  Expect to see the photos over the next few days at TKIC.

Posted By Andis Kaulins to Wuxi, China Expatdom at 3/15/2011 09:10:00 PM

See my blog, photos, and videos at:

Monday, March 14, 2011

My favorite presence on the ‘Net?

With so much on the Internet, you would think it would be hard for me to choose the one site I like so much, that I would  cast everything else aside to get to it when it has a new posting.  But for me it is easy.  The site I go to immediately is David Warren Online.  He watches the world from a perspective that is Catholic and so, is timeless -- he really seems to be able to step outside the age in which we live.
His latest two columns are brilliant.
He writes of the info debris that the Internet now has produced.  He makes a great observation about twittering:  when everyone is talking, you can't hear a thing.
Being Catholic, Warren writes a Lent Column in whixh he says the poorest people, he says, live in North America.  Read the column to find out why he says this.



Tuesday Links

The wife and I will do some shopping today.   We will leave Casa K early.  So...

AKIC watches Hereafter and the Dawn Treader on Pie, Pi, 3.14, or "π" Day!

This March 14, 2009 AKIC blogspot entry is apparently my most read post ever.  On that "π" day, I ate two McDonald's pies.
On 2011's "π" Day, I have watched two DVDs.  Tony's going to school afforded me the opportunity.
The first movie I watched was Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon.  I bought the DVD for the movie yesterday after I had read that the film's opening sequence featured an accurate depiction of what its is like to be swept up by a Tsunami.  The Tsunami causes the lead female character to have a near-death experience.  The rest of the film was  touching at times, but basically unremarkable.  The film's ending, which required having three distant characters' lives intertwine, was disappointing because it was abrupt and unbelievable.  The remarkable thing about the film was Damon's characters love of Charles Dickens which reminded me my cousin's husband who said the English author was the be all and end all of writers.  I also experienced the coincidence of watching the movie on March 14 -- the part of the story where the three distant characters meet in the film happens on March 14 -- a reference on part of the film's makers to "π" Day?
I then watched the Dawn Treader -- a Chronicles of Narnia movie.  The movie was fine, but unfortunately it seemed to be treading on cinematic ground that the Lord of the Ring and Harry Potter movies have already covered.  Still, I will seek out previous movies in the Narnia series.  C.S. Lewis was an alright chap.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Should I shave on my day off?

  • It rained last night.  Which is quite fitting since my day of work, yesterday, was sunny, and today, it is my day off.
  • I vowed to spend the entirety of Sunday Evening with my son Tony, and that I wouldn't be distracted from him by checking the Internet or reading.  In my mind's eye, it was going to be so wonderful.  I would give Tony my full and undivided attention.  I would play cars with him.  I would play train with him.  I would talk to him and teach him some vocabulary.  That was the plan. 
  • I do have to admit that sometimes I ignore Tony so I can do some blogging, or listening to podcast.  So the plan was necessary.
  • How did it pan out?  Well, I did quickly look at my emails a few times.  I did listen to a podcast.  I did publish two blog entries:  here and here.  But overall, I spent 95 percent of my time with him, and the blog entries I published had been written earlier in the day.  I set up the train set for Tony.  And even though I listened to a podcast,  I sat beside him as I was doing so.
  • I love bread and pineapple beerSo does Tony.
  • Here is some poetry.
  • I facilitated a conversation class, sometimes over the weekend, about Family Values.  I asked the students if they thought the importance of family to the Chinese had increased or diminished in its' recent history.  They all said it had increased because of either "the one-child policy making family members rarer" or "the increased wealth that Chinese family members now had."
  • Should I shave on my day off?  That is a complicated question.  Perhaps, I should do a photo essay about this.


Sad but true.

I always begin my classes with five minutes of chit-chat.  I ask the students how they are doing and what is on their minds.

Sunday afternoon, I had a student tell me his grandfather was ecstatic.

I asked the student why this was so.

He told me his grandfather was happy that a powerful earthquake had struck Japan.  A few other students then expressed this satisfaction as well.

I told them of the Australian English teachers who I had heard had gone missing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Double Double, and triple on the links.

Friday, March 11, 2011


  • I learned about the Japanese earthquake when I did an English Corner last night.  The students told me, which was nice because they usually tell you nothing.  I found it strange that I didn't come across the news when I was surfing the Internet, which shows I don't surf news sites much.  Already, images of water engulfing Japanese areas could be seen on the bus's video players as I was riding home last night
  • Someone told me that people on high floors of Wuxi Buildings could have felt the Japanese quake.  Jenny and Tony were on the 21st floor when the Sichuan Earthquake happened and they really felt it.  The quake being an 8.8, it was a real shaker.
  • Friday's English Corner was about Materialism.  Today's will be about Soldiers.
  • A young female student comes around the trainers office giving us grapes.  Nice of her!
  • By the time you read this, or by the time I publish this, Tony will have come downtown.
  • Lots happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom. Protests over Viagra subsidies, and Chocolate subsidies as well.
  • A photo of the latest toy I have bought for Tony.

Wuxi Tony Update #300: On the steps of a Big Buddha.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wuxi Tony Update #341: Cultural Revolution Redux Restaurant with the Gr...

Happy Birthday Chuck!

  • I just read that Chuck Norris has just celebrated his 71st birthday.  Of course, the Wuxi China Expatdom will celebrate it in grand style.  As you should know, Chuck is the only being who can rival Gorzo the Mighty.  I have always liked the joke that Chuck Norris fathered the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated team in Professional Football History.
  • I just heard about this boyfriend and girlfriend couple, one of whom works at this school,  who wear the same brand of bright yellow shoes.  I have seen many young couples here wearing the same t-shirts.  So it is a variation on that practice.   It is what they do here, and is not according to many a Westerner's taste -- still, I shudder.  And now I have just had my wife tell me she wants us to wear look-alike Mickey Mouse watches.  I reluctantly acquiesce to this demand.  Anyone who wants to put up with me deserves my acquiescence.
  • Thursday being my long day, I didn't see much of my son, and so I have only a little to say about Tony.
  • One of the local pubs has a deal where you can buy three beers, and get the fourth beer free.  That would be the sort of economizing that my wife wouldn't go for.
  • I meet another person who was born, like me, on December 24th.  However, the woman was Chinese, so it was merely a coincidence, and so we couldn't support ourselves like victims.  The fact that I can say I get cheated or overlooked on that day makes no impression on her.  For the Chinese, Christmas is a holiday with no emotional implications.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chinese Countryside Mystery

It is AKIC Tuesday! What else can be said?

  • I have to admit my mind is full of stories to put in my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog(s).  What's happening in the real world?  As usual, things are maybe a little too interesting and much has been said, and there is little I can add.  I can only tell you what I have seen.  And that means, I see a lot of my Tony boy.  You can follow him here or here.
  • I read there are now more Subway outlets in the United States than there are McDonald's.  And there may also be more Subways in the world than McDonald's as well.  I wish there were more Subways than McDonald's in Wuxi.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love McDonald's.  Long may it reign!  But I live in a place where McDonald's is far easier to find than Subway.  And then KFC trounces McDonald's here as well!  Whatever to that!  But my point is there should be more more Subways in Wuxi.  Right now, the outlet score between Subway and McDonald's is like a one-sided hockey game.  The score must be McDonald's 8, Subway 3, or something along those lines.  If I do want to get to a Subway, I have to walk for ten minutes. The injustice of that! 
  • Which brings to mind another Subway anecdote I can pass on or ramble on about.  When T&J (my wife and son) were away, I have to fight the urge to do some splurging with money -- that is, I go to the pub or buy Tony more toys.  This past weekend, my only the-wife-is-away splurge was to buy a Subway sandwich, 12 inches, with extra cheese!  That was it!
  • I had a student tell me she was a doctor.  I learned she worked at the hospital on a CRT scanning machine.  Does that make her a doctor?  She told me she didn't have a M.D. but she did have a B.Sc.
  • Frequent student mistake: to say "I am boring" when they mean to say "I am bored."
  • I had a student named Ice tell me she liked "Ice Cream."  It reminds me of the time I had a student named "Rain" on a Rainy Day, and I jokingly asked students if they liked Rain.
  • On the way to work, I saw that there had been a collision between a VW sedan and a three-wheeled motorcycle-trailer containing barrels of oil.
  • I will do an English Corner about Silence.
  • My brother Ron, living in Winnipeg, Canada liked my Off-The-Top-Of-My-Head favorite Bands list.  I asked him what bands he would put on his list and he said Black Flag, Naked Raygun, Helmet, Ministry, and a few of the bands on my list.  If anyone is interested, Ron is now living in my Aunt Ritma's old house in Winnipeg.  Ron is single and I keep telling him that he can come to China and pick up himself up an awesome beauty to help him look after the place.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Morning Calisthenics at a Wuxi China Middle School

Back to Work!

  • What fresh horrors await me?
  • Tony was miserable this morning.  Read about it here.
  • Two days without tea, for health reasons. 
  • I had a blizzard at the Wuxi Dairy Queen.  I found the ice cream was too rich, and recalled how I had a similar complaint when I went to a DQ in Brandon, Canada last June.
  • At the nearby Watson's, I bought foot salts.  Using them in the evening, I found they made my feet tingle.
  • Yesterday, Jenny and I were walking to the bus stop.  An old man, buck-toothed, dressed like a hobo and wearing a knit cap, came up to Jenny, and it looked to me like he was asking Jenny for directions.  Afterwards, I asked Jenny what the man said, and she told me she couldn't understand him.  So!  I wasn't the only one!
  • Big news at the Wuxi China Expatdom.
  • My brother Ron, who lives in Winnipeg, likes my favorite band list.

My Off-The-Top-Of-My-Head Favorite Bands List

Time to do a top (maybe) ten list.  Here are my favorite bands of all-time:
  • The Beatles
  • The Clash
  • The Sex Pistols
  • The Who
  • The Rolling Stones
  • New Order / Joy Division
  • The Jam
  • The Police
  • The Velvet Underground
  • The Cure
  • The Byrds
  • U2
  • The Smiths and Morrissey
  • Husker Du
  • Early Van Halen
  • AC DC
  • R.E.M.
As the blog entry title says, this list is off the top of my head, and so has been done hastily.  I will slap myself as through the day I think of bands I have forgotten.

Woman's Day in China.

Today is March 8 and so it is Women's Day in China.  Jenny reminded me about this about two in the afternoon in a vain attempt to lay a guilt trip on me. 
To me, every day is Women's day.  That is, you should be nice to women every day because they are the fairer sex.  And besides the day is a United Nations designated day which is reason enough for me to ignore it.  As I like to say, the U.N. is one dictator, one vote.  Hard to take seriously an organization that puts a country whose leader bombs his own people on its human rights council.
Be that as it may, all my students seem to know about the holiday (it always comes up when I ask the students to name some Chinese holidays) and many Wuxi females who work that day, get some special attention from their place of employment.
How are women treated in China?  Here is a brief three sentence synposis:  I have heard the stories of male babies being preferred.  Chinese Men seem inept with them.  Far too many foreign expats come here to prey on them.
I thank God I married Jenny!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dead Cat

  • Casa K, a third floor apartment, overlooks a road.  So, look out a window from Casa K, and road is what you will mostly see.  So it was a little unnerving to look out the window yesterday, and see a dead cat lying on the road.  I had to avert my glance from the window all day.  Dead things are an omen.  But thankfully for everybody not just me.
  • I was able to watch True Grit and the King's Speech on DVD yesterday.  The copies I watched were of okay viewing quality, though I needed to raise the volume on both because the English subtitles were all wrong, and the King's Speech sometimes froze.  The films were both fine, but the ending of True Grit has some lame plot devices at the end.  King's Speech made me reflect on how long Queen Elizabeth has been around.  When she dies, it would be the end of an era.
  • You can check out what is happening at TKIC blogspot, TKIC wordpress, WCE blogspot, or WCE wordpress.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Monday, Monday, Mundane

  • Tony got a new toy yesterday.
  • Tony lined up his toys, including his new toy, in formation.
  • It is Monday so I will not go to work.  Perhaps, I will watch a DVD.  I have a lot of choices including the True Grit DVD (How I hope it is a good copy!).
  • Say what you like about Charlie Sheen, but at least he is up front about what he did, or at least a hell of a lot more up front than, say Bill Clinton was.  I remember all these people defending Bill Clinton and yet never once did Bill Clinton (paint a "p" on his forehead for pervert) tell the world that he was a powerful, successful man enjoying the fruits of his success, and that everyone should just mind their own business.  He had all his minions or spokesman do it for him.  The fascination about Charlie Sheen comes from the fact a public figure is actually being candid with his emotions.
  • Meanwhile, I just heard on a podcast that the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise may move to Anaheim and  so the Kings could very well call themselves the Los Angeles Kings.  This would mean that were would be two major Los Angeles Kings sports teams, one in the NBA and one in the NHL.  This kind of thing hasn't happened since the St. Louis "Football" Cardinals moved to Arizona leaving only the St. Lous "baseball" Cardinals.  St. Louis  had two Cardinal-named sports team because the St. Louis "Football" Cardinals used to the Chicago Cardinals.  I am keen on seeing this quirky thing happen.
  • Line in the real Wuxi has become rountine so it is time to make stuff up, loosely based on my perception of reality:
  • Wuxi China Expatdom Prime Minister has hole in sock.
  • The missing Wuxi Expats have been located.

T&J are back in Wuxi!

I spent the morning, cooking for Siemens; and in the afternoon, I walked about the downtown of Wuxi as I waited for my wife and son's train to arrive from Nanjing.
The cooking went fine.  The locals liked baked and breaded chicken wings, as well as garlic cheest toast.
Downtown, I went to Chongan and Nanchang Markets, on a mission to find a good copy of True Grit.  I ended up buying the Fighter, the King's Speech, and the copy of True Grit that I had been told was no good. (Someone told me he had bought a good copy of True Grit at Nanchang, but I couldn't find it).  I cross my fingers for True Grit.  Nanchang Market has changed beyond recognition, and the 3 rmb DVD place I had been going to was closed up.  Nanchang Market has become underground like Chongan Market, and is losing its character, I feel.
I also bought Tony a new matchbox toy, and more track for his train set.
Tony and Jenny's train arrived back at 600 pm.  So, I am happily reunited with family.
More anon.

Friday, March 4, 2011


  • A student stumped with a question about Canadian brand names. (I was doing an English Corner about Canada). He asked if he walked down Wuxi's Zhongshan Road, the main drag, what famous Canadian brand names would he see? I couldn't think of any.
  • Did Tony have a good time on the train?
  • Sunday, I have a gig showing people how to use ovens. Or I hope I do.
  • Wuxi China bicycle parking.
  • Today's English Corner topic: Ratios!
  • What's happening with Wuxi China Expats? Visit here.

Wuxi Bicycle Parking.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday is really Wednesday for me!

  • I have had a second rare reader respond to my request to send postcards to Doris, a student of mine who likes collecting them.
  • This morning, I accompanied Tony and Jenny to the train station.  The fast train will get them to Nanjing in 70 minutes.  Tony had to get up early, which he wasn't happy about, but as soon as he arrived the train station, his mood brightened.
  • Keep up to date on the Wuxi China Expatdom here or here.
  • None of the students know about Charlie Sheen.  Nuts!
  • A video taken in Dec 2008.
  • The second inductee into the Wuxi China Expat Hall of Fame has been announced.

Wuxi, China Building fattens out.

Doris receives another postcard!

A second rare AKIC reader has sent some postcards to a Doris, a student of mine, who tells me she loves to collect them.

Recently, Doris has received two postcards from Ron in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Thank you Ron!

If you wish to send a card to Doris as well the details, from my original blog post, are below:

AKIC readers the world over!

Please send Doris a postcard! Doris, who is a student of my school, likes to collect postcards sent to her from all over the world.

Here is her address:


Now, you are probably saying to yourself that this in all in Chinese. How do I write this on a postcard? Well, You should do the following:

Print out the following and tape it to a postcard:

Wuxi, Jiangsu, China

And don't forget to tell her that Andis told you to send her a postcard.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Busy again.

  • Two busy days in a row.  I tell you.  I have so much blogging that I want to let out of myself.
  • I will do a English Corner about Photos.  Here are some of the questions I will ask.
  • Tony and Andis went for a walk on February 28.  Here is the official video of that walk.
  • I was able to download a Charlie Sheen interview it and listen it to as I took the bus home.  I love podcast technology.  I thought about Sheen as a possible discussion topic for the students.  Unfortunately, I don't think the Chinese will know much about him and probably aren't aware of the hubbub, over firstly the stories about him and lately the interviews, that has been created in the West.
  • I can see why they pay Charlie Sheen two million dollars per episode.  His performance on these recent interviews has been quite the spectacle.  He decided to be in-your-face audacious and pulled it off.  He said some memorable things and he was quite funny.  At no time did he become inaudible.  The attention he has warranted is deserved, and is nothing to scoff at or be snooty about.  People are interested in personalities -- and there was one for all the world to see.
  • Be that as it may, Sheen reminded me of many an addictive personality I have meet in time.  These people can be quite funny, charming, and entertaining to be around.  But they will let you down and disappear without explanation.  And they ruin the lives of people who are close to them.
  • Tony laughs and flops in this must-see video.
  • What is the drug of Wuxi Expats?  Find out here.
  • Tony is going on a trip, with his mother.  I will be free for two days.  But I don't plan on going on any benders or even going to the pub.  I am going watch DVDs uninterrupted.  And contemplate the Wuxi China Expatdom.

Wuxi Andis and Wuxi Tony go for a walk in China: February 28, 2011