Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wuxi China Kaulins Family Update: May 31, 2011

AKIC's favorite poets

Not much to say today.  So it's time to make a list.
Here, off the top of my head, is a list of my favorite poets:
  1. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  2. Elizabeth Bishop
  3. Ezra Pound
  4. W.H. Auden
  5. Emily Dickinson
  6. T.S. Eliot
  7. William Blake
  8. A.E. Houseman      
  9. Phillip Larkin

 There are probably more.  But, as I was saying,  this list is just off the top of head.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is the Spirit of AKIC?The first of what could be a neverending whack of ruminations.

What is the Spirit of AKIC?  Right now, I couldn't tell you with any degree of certainty.  But I hope that in writing this entry, the first of a series, I will be able to eventually tell you something.  
What I will do is answer a series of suggestions of what this AKIC spirit could possibly be, or could (not) possibly be filled with.
Here is what I have come up with so far:
Duty?  I do feel a certain duty in each day, making an entry to most of my blogs -- that is AKIC, TKIC, and WCE.  I suppose there is a certain "spirit" and sublimeness in that.

Honor?  Ha ha ha. LOL. LMAO!  ROTFL!  That is laughable.  I sometimes wonder if I should spend more time ensuring what I say is true, understandable, or expressed in a grammatically manner.  I should but I don't.  So I shirk it on the honor question.

Thousands of year of Chinese history?  I wish.  I did at one time publish some Tang Dynasty poems in this blog.  But, how often do I refer to Chinese history?
Nothing?  It could be if you mean by nothing:  the void, oblivion, obscurity, Armageddon, or Seinfeld like wit and hardy-har-har.  I think I found an element of the AKIC spirit.
Spheres?  If electrons are shaped like spheres, then why not?  Electrons are being used in the making of this blog。
The Sublime?  The day, I think I read somewhere, is beautiful.  The dark, I think I read in the same place, is sublime.  There is a darkness in the AKIC spirit.  But I think it is the darkness of having sat in the shade for so long. 
Fraternity?  Hah!  With what?  With whom?  Where?  I am just a man against the world stuck in a dark, musty corner.  I feel fraternal with books and podcasts.  Not with people.  I feel dang uncomfortable when people get too close -- I think then I am acting under false pretences.
Equality?  Of course not.  I am no socialist.  But I do believe in giving the average Tom, Dick, or Harry a chance.  But if they can't make anything of it, there is not much else I can do.
Liberty?  Up to a point.  Liberty entails responsibility.  Liberty doesn't mean license to a libertine.  Liberty does mean questioning, but it means questioning to understand, not questioning to scoff rhetorically.  One who is determined not to be satisfied, will never be satisfied.
Travel?  I am not a traveller.  I am a mover.  I have lived in a lot of places in my life, but really I haven't travelled much.
Misanthropy?  Yes.  But there are figures I admire from a distance.

It is all happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom.

Visit here to see the excitement.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kim Il Jung is the North Korean Leader! Doh!

  • Kim Il Jung is the current leader of North Korea.  Why the hell did I keep thinking it was Kim Il Sung who has been dead for years?  I will punish myself by cutting and pasting this fact one hundred times.  In the old day, I would have had to write lines.
  • The mistake is causing me to soul search.  I winged out on who the leader of North Korea.  Therefore, I must become a lefty.
  • Saturday Evening, the Wuxi Family Kaulins went to a Korean BBQ Buffet Restaurant in Nanchang Market.  Andis drank a lot of beer because he found the food on offering boring, except for the salad bar which did have thousand islands dressing.  Tony put on his back pack halfway through the meal because he wanted to go.  So, Andis spent half his time chasing Tony about.  Jenny, in the meanwhile, ate.  Tony had his Dad hold him up so they could look out a window.  They saw a canal, some tourist boats, the Hotel Nikkei, and a lot of Villa housing.
  • Bruins and Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final.  A final that pleases in many ways.  For one thing, there are two teams from two serious hockey towns competing for the cup.  Secondly, these are two franchises that would look nice hoisting the Cup -- Vancouver because they are a Canadian team; Boston because they haven't won it since 1972.
  • Poor Tampa Bay didn't make the finals.  Oh well. It is not like they had fans anyway.
  • In fact, it is one of those finals where I couldn't care less who wins.  None of the teams strikes me as being disagreeable in some manner.  There are no teams from Ontario, Arizona, or Florida in the final.
  • Here is a list of shows from a podcast that I have recently discovered and instantly fallen in love with.  I love you Milt Rosenburg!
  • I will say that again.  I love you Milt Rosenburg!I never in a million years would have predicted that I would have put such a thing in my blog.
  • Better to listen to Rosenburg than to podcasts from the Guardian.  I exposed myself to their political broadcast.  Yuck!  Their nuanced analysis of American politics?  Obama good!Bush bad!
  • If the Republicans nominated an old piece of gum sticking to the bottom of a toilet seat in the secondary bus station of Wuxi, China, it would make a better president than the current occupant of the White House.   What's the guy's name?  Osama?  Anyway.  I will offer my assessment of the Republican field in the next bullit.
  • My fantasy 2012 Republican ticket would be Herman Cain and Sarah Palin -- who is the P or the V.P., it matters not.  Michelle Bachman also puts a tingle up my leg.  Mitt Romney has nice hair.  But he is plastic and seems a reed easily swayed by political winds.  Still, he is better than the Democratic Hair guy, the creepy John Edwards who could easily have been vice president.  Newt Gingrich, like John Edwards, has some explaining to do.   He converted to Roman Catholicism which is a plus in my books, so I would expect that he has explained his marital sins to his confessor -- I also hope he confessed his sin of appearing in a commercial with Nancy "stretch" Pelosi.   He is portrayed as an idea guy.  But sometimes he comes out of left field, saying things like free laptops for all students.  I think Gingrich is more a politician than a serious, consistent conservative thinker.  He would be a plug-your-nose-and-vote for candidate if he ever got the politician.  As would be Rudy Guilliani who I have heard is  contemplating another presidential run.  Rudy G was my hope in '08.  Alas, he is so yesterday!  Although, I do remember agreeing with his policy positions.  And his personal life is nothing to sing to the Gods about.  I don't know what to say about Tim Pawlenty.  I have heard he suffers from a Charisma deficit disorder which is a big problem in an age that voted for Obama "because he was cool!"  And then there is some guy named Huntsman.  He sounds very unpromising.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Home Mart demolished!

Actually, the Home Mart was not demolished.  The Home Mart of which I speak was closed years ago.  What I mean is that the building that the Home Mart was in has been demolished.  Currently, the ground, that it once occupied, is nothing but an open space occupied by a big pile of rubble.  

This pile or rubble really is quite a stark sight for this long-time Wuxi Expat -- that is if you can say that being in Wuxi since 2004 bestows on one the right to call oneself a long-time, long-term Wuxi Expat, who if he felt so inclined could call others newbies -- but I wouldn't do that!  Oh no!  I am not one to lord it over the others in that manner -- though I know many Wuxi Expats who are inclined or were inclined to.  Shame on them!

Anyway.  Pardon my digression!  Please!  What I mean to say is that in 2003 or 2004 when I first came to Wuxi, that intersection, which I am dammed if I can remember the name of, had a Home Mart and a Sheraton Hotel diagonally opposite from each other.  Now, the Hotel is run by a different chain, and diagonally opposite the hotel is a big pile of rubble.  Down the street from this pile of rubble there used to be Ronnie's Pub.  Ronnie's isn't there anymore and now neither is the Home Mart.

Memories light the corner of my mind!  Sweet-colored memories.......

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Observations and Links

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have gone 44 years without winning the Stanley Cup.
  • In Wuxi, there are brick walls, which are everywhere and are built for a variety of reasons.  Some are built to cover the fact of demolition.  Some are built to stop people from roaming in empty fields.  This morning, I saw workers scavenging bricks from one of these walls.  I presume they were taking the bricks to another construction site in the area.
  • Photo of Tony taken Friday Morning.
  • On the bus last night, I saw video of Kim Il Sung, the leader of North Korea, visiting Beijing.  It was so surreal, I couldn't take my eyes off it and so I couldn't study my Chinese textbook.  I saw Kim Il Sung being given the red carpet treatment.  Sung posed for photos with, and shook the hands of, all the big wigs of  the Chinese leadership including Wen Jiabao and Hu Jiantao.  He was taken to a commercial display featuring big-screen televisions and Ipad like devices.  I could just imagine the sort of poverty his people are experiencing -- I wondered if any of them had televisions.  Sung wore a brown suit with ugly glasses, and looked for all the world like an Atilla the Hun being shown electricity.  The visit ended at the train station as Chinese officials waved to Sung boarding his train.  Why can't he take a plane? I wondered.
  • Wuxi China Subway Update on youtube or youku.
  • Near the school is the intersection of Zhongshan and Xueqian Roads.  It is a busy intersection and so it always has three or four traffic cops monitoring it.  They are all equipped with whistles which they blow when someone is attempting a traffic indiscretion.  Most of the time, pedestrians heed the cops and their whistles.  But every once in a while, someone doesn't heed them and it is quite the sight.  This morning, I saw one of these rebellious pedestrians jaywalk in front of a traffic cop.  The cop, a female, whistled at him, but he muttered at her and continued on his way.  The female coop keep blowing her whistle ehile summoning the attention of a male cop  who was standing in the center of the intersection directing vehicular traffic.  He turned around, blew his whistle at the jaywalking pedestrian to no effect.  The two cops then looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and carried on.  I watched the jaywalker continue on his way into the distance.
  • Photo of Tony resisting efforts to be woken up.

Wuxi China Subway Construction Update: May 27, 2011

This video shows construction of a metro bridge over a canal in the Hui Shan District of Wuxi, China.

HyLite Language School in Wuxi, China looking for Full-time and Summer English teachers

If you are interested and are a Native English Speaker, email me at akaulins@gmail.com for more information.  

Also, you can visit here and here for more details.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canucks Fever. Sort of.

  • Are the Vancouver Canucks Canada's team?  Maybe not.  Having lived from the East Coast to the West Coast of Canada, I can remember when the Canucks barely entered the consciousness of this Montreal Canadiens fan who was then living in Quebec and New Brunswick. But then I moved to Manitoba and when I became a Jets fan, I hated the Canucks.  But when the Jets left Winnipeg and I moved to British Columbia, the Canucks became my team.  And I still cheer for them from afar here in China.  However, I was reminded of how many Canadians are loyal to their local team, and don't care for their neighboring Canadian team when I listened to a podcast segment of the Charles Adler show that asked if the Canucks were Canada's team.  I was reminded that many Oilers and Flames fans don't care for the Canucks.  And some of the Canucks detractors did make a point about British Columbians that I had forgotten -- some BCers have an element of barbarism to them.  Many of them, I recall, thought little of the Rest of Canada.  Be that as it may, I will cheer for the Canucks in the 2011 Final.
  • The Vancouver Canucks are definitely Wuxi China Expatdom's team.  Read about it here and here.
  • Do the Tampa Bay Lightning have fans?  Just wondering.
  • Ayira versus Oprah: the latest fight of the century.
  • Is Tony sleeping?
  • Video of Tony jumping on the couch.
  • I ask again, at a different site: Is Tony Sleeping?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Come on Canucks!

  • Can the Canucks win their game before I go teach a class?  Currently, they are in double overtime with the Sharks.  If the Canucks can score, they will be in the Stanley Cup final.
  • The weather in Wuxi?  It is quite lovely.  Temperatures in the mid twenties celsius.
  • Last evening, Wuxi looked lovely.  Something about the sun shining at supper time made even the piles of rubble look lovely.
  • I go to class.....
  • I come back and I see that the Canucks have won!
  • I will watch the highlights and go back to work.

Wuxi China Kaulins Family Update: May 22, 2011

Tony takes photo of Andis

Every which way but straight

Jenny and Tony are sleeping upside down.  That is, only I have my head at the head of the bed, and my feet at the foot of bed.  They have their feet at the head of bed and their heads at the foot of the bed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Mundinations

  • Rain in Wuxi.  Ahem!
  • Canucks beat Sharks 4-2, take 3-1 lead in Stanley Cup Semifinal Series.  Yes!
  • Heat beat Bulls!  A victory for evil. Darn!
  • Not much to say today!  天啊!
  • 我 爱 Jenny!我 不 爱 Obama!我 觉得 Obama 是 坏人!I have nothing to say today so I will type in some Chinese.
  • Some Chinese grandparents think that the school children today do too much homework.  I would have thought this would be so, but that is what I have been told.
  • I was listening to a podcast about the American Civil War that was life-changing.  I think I will become a civil war buff when I move back to Canada, whenever that will be.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend Observations

  • Now there are water melon sellers near the location where, three or four years ago, I took the video Wuxi China Bengal Dog.  This year, the water melon sellers appear to be a couple with no children or pet dogs painted up.
  • Tony Kaulins went to a cinema for the first time on Saturday night.  Read about Tony's experience here.  The movie was nothing special.  The who Chinese movie experience was nothing special as well.  The popcorn is sweet.  The movie was shown without trailers.  The screen was square.
  • Friday it was broiling in Wuxi - literally Fryday.  Saturday was so cool that I had regrets about not having brought a jacket with me.
  • Holding Tony while standing on a crowded bus is painful.  Tony weighs a lot now so it is hard to hold him in one arm while I am holding onto a pole or stander's handle to maintain balance.
  • My sometime collaborator on the Wuxi China Expatdom Blog is having a birthday this Sunday.  Happy Birthday Harry!
  • Something tells me it's all happening in the WCE!  I do believe it!  I do believe it's true!  Woo hoo hoo!
  • Sunday on the way to work, I saw that another bus and car collision had occurred.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Busy. But am I doing anything productive?

  • I wonders.
  • I have been feeling whooped this past week.  I am teaching classes, and trying to stay on top on my other interests and responsibilities.  I study Chinese everyday.  I have three books, on the trot, that I am reading.  I have some upcoming classes to prepare.  I play with Tony all I can.  But at the end of the day, before I do fall asleep, I wonder if I am doing anything productive.  Getting up early the next day, I feel there isn't enough time.  And yet, I wonder what and how and why I am doing whatever it is that I do.
  • I blog as well.  Here are some links:  Wake Up Tony!,  Two Toys Found!Latvian food producers have not yet exhausted Wuxi China Expatdom market possibilities, Tony plays a guitar and sings into a microphone,  Wake Up Tony: the video!, Tony does a pose for the cameraThe Armed Forces and Society Festival will be held in Shuo Fengand Tony! 早上好!
  • Tonight's SPC topic: sweet talking.  With some imaginative students, this can be a good class.
  • Chinese Kindergartens are going on the Internet promising to give Visas to foreign teachers, even though they aren't able to.  My school gives me my Visa no problem, but that is because they have allotments from the Bureau of Education.
  • I want a sister or brother for Tony!
  • I don't want Tony to be a bully.  But I do want him to be able to bully the bullies.
  • Neighbor thinks Tony is fat.  I think he looks solid, unlike his slim classmates.
  • Over a thousand posts on TKIC blogspot.  About three thousand views though.  Hopefully, they are all from my parents.
  • Yes!  The Bruins have a 2-1 series lead on Tampa Bay Whatevers. Canucks -- Bruins Stanley Cup Final!  Here we come!

Wake up Tony!

This video was taken on Friday Morning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wuxi Tony and Andis play to the camera

15 Children; Chavez sucks; and a defence of speculators

  • This local woman I was talking to, told me her grandfather died in 1946.  From what I could make out of her story telling, her grandfather was rich and was murdered by kidnappers.  At the time in China, there was little law and order.  So, her grandfather being rich, had land, and so was kidnapped on many occasions by these men demanding ransom.  Finally, the grandmother had nothing to give....
  • If wasn't interesting enough, the woman then told me that her grandmother had fifteen children!  Four of them survived to adulthood, including the woman's mother.  The others died because of childhood diseases and war (some had been soldiers).  One of the grandmother's sons, the woman's uncle, fled to Taiwan in 1949, and it wasn't till 1989 till the grandmother and the uncle saw each other again.  The pleasure of seeing her son after all those years, however, killed the grandmother.  A jaw-dropping set of circumstances for this blogger. 
  • What's Tony like at school?  We had one of his teachers over for supper on Monday evening and she gave us details.
  • This teacher was from South America.  She was from Columbia, moved to Venezuela, but then had to flee Hugo Chavez.  Chavez, from what she says, is trying to turn Venezuela into North Korea.  He is closing the country off to the world, and the thugs rule.  She found it mind-boggling, that in this day and age, where Communism has been proven to not work, that Chavez wants to bring it back.  Meanwhile, gullible lefties that I have meet in China have expressed admiration for him.  Anyone who picks on a Texas evangelical has to be good right?  Actually -- good left -- that last question was left-wing logic.
  • Meanwhile, I also hear this talk of getting "the oil speculators who are driving up the price of oil." or so they say.  Speculators serve an economic purpose that isn't fully appreciated.  First off, as I remember Milton Friedman saying, speculators take on risks.  Every economic decision made is a risk -- a gamble as it were.  The idea that if we just get rid of the gambling in the economy, that all prices would be cheaper is logically impossible.  Secondly, speculators allocate goods over time.  If there weren't speculators, people would consume all they have right away -- there would be  continual cycles of feast and famine.  Speculators in trying to determine future prices of goods are doing us a big favour -- they are ensuring goods are allocated properly over time.  This kind of speculation in food markets have been shown to prevent starvation.  This second point must be stressed.  I hear this talk of how oil inventory levels are the same now as they were last year and how the price now is so much more expensive.  How can this be? some ask.  And many answer saying it is the speculators gambling, driving up the price.  Well, a lot has happened in the last year, to indicate to speculators that future oil supplies won't be so abundant.  For instance, the Obama administration, because of the BP accident, had declared a moratorium on more drilling in the U.S.A.  (Obama's talk about having his Justice department investigate oil speculation is classic demagoguery -- no sane person should vote for him because of this).  And China and India are needing  more oil than ever for their economies.  Combine this with the fact that supply of oil, in economic parlance, is very inelastic, and the price of oil is explained and one can't help conclude that in this day and age, witch hunts still exist.  The witches are now called speculators.  If we consumed this oil now, which is what would be happening if prices were lowered, we would been facing shortages in the immediate future.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tony Nugent?

Tony is playing his toy guitar and singing along with the rock song that is coming out of Dad's mobile phone.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Saturday Night's alright

  • Saturday Day is no good.  It is hot.  Night is alright because I am with the wife and son.
  • 星期六,我 有工作。 我 教 四个课。 I will have to do more of this.
  • 我 太太 是 中国人。 我们 有 一个孩子。 他的 名字 是 Tony.
  • I  went to a part of Wuxi that I had never been to before.  There was this road which I was familiar with up to a certain point.  Thursday, the road took me past this point and I saw yet another large industrial area.  Over a bridge, the road took me, before it became bumpy and potholed.  And this road took one to the industrial area.  The bad section of road caused the drivers and cyclists to take evasive actions and so make traffic even more chaotic than I was accustomed -- even after being in Wuxi for six years.
  • Before Chinese holidays start, half the customers in the larger supermarkets  will use debits cards from the supermarket to purchase things.  These cards have a story behind them, that I hesitate to provide details about, but which if I could, would explain why sometimes you can get things cheaper in small shops than in grocery stores.  I can say that people who use these cards don't pay much attention to prices and so "things" can be pulled over on them.  For example, a single bottle of beer can have a cheaper unit price than a case.
  • It is not only home dwellers who can be forced to move by the goverment when it decides to do some construction.  Companies can be told to move as well, I learned, as I talked to the boss of one.
  • Some students!  I asked one what games or sports he liked.  He told me he didn't like games.  I asked him what job was interesting.  He said accountant.  I asked why.  He said it was his job.
  • 星期五晚饭,我 吃了  米饭 和 川牛肉。很好吃!
  • Friday night, I am on the bus, minding my own business.  I was studying my Chinese textbook listening to an ESPN podcast on my mobile phone, when all-of-a-sudden I got a phone call.  Receiving a phone call while listening to a podcast can be quite annoying for me, because anytime this happens, I have to re-listen to a portion of a podcast.  Sometimes, the podcast has been reversed one minute by the call, and sometimes twenty minutes (very annoying!).  Who phoned me?  I saw a number I didn't recognize so I didn't answer the phone.  I then saw that my podcast had been pushed back ten minutes.  Someone then tapped me on the shoulder and said "long time no see!"  Not knowing exactly who I was talking to, I just replied in kind.  And then I realized that this was the person who had just phoned me.  Somewhere, at sometime, I had given him my phone number.  The man, having got my attention, asked me all sorts of questions.  He was thinking of opening an online big-and-tall shop to sell clothes to foreigners.  I gave him advice about where to advertise this business.  He then asked me a question, which I understood as asking  what I thought of Wuxi, and what suggestions I had for it.  Thankfully, my stop came before I had to think up an answer.
  • Saturday morning, I was on the bus doing the same thing I was doing on Friday night, minding my own business, studying my Chinese textbook, and listening to a podcast.  This time, the person sitting beside me, having seen me read my Chinese textbook, started asking me questions in Chinese.  He actually spoke Chinese slowly enough that I could understand him, and I learned that he was studying Japanese; and I was able to answer some of his questions.  Talking about learning Japanese, he said "中国人 觉得 日文容易!外国人觉得 日本文 很难!" -- to which I heartily agreed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fryday entry

  • As I make this entry, my blogspot blogs are in read-only mode which means I can't publish entries to them.  I am sure the problem will be fixed.  But it justifies my having blogs on two different publishing platforms.
  • I follow seven game of the Red Wings -- Sharks NHL playoff series on the Internet by looking at the score and time remaining updates on a Canadian Sports network website.  Even though I wasn't seeing the action and taking in the crowd atmosphere, I felt tense as I saw the Sharks had a one goal lead and the time was not seeming to run down fast enough.
  • But now that the game is over, and the Sharks have won, I can feel relief.  I am cheering for the Canucks and the prospect of playing a hot Red Wing team didn't bode well.  I am pleased that the Canucks will play a Sharks team that is now happy to have even made it to the series.  Aesthetically, the prospect of the Canucks or the Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final is fine.  I just hope that either of these two West coast teams doesn't have to play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final.  So:  Go Boston!!!  Go Canucks!!  A Boston -- Vancouver final would be mighty pleasing.
  • Top ten things for tourists to do in the Wuxi China Expatdom.
  • At the church near my school, you can get an English-Chinese Bible (one page English -- the opposite page in Chinese) for fifty rmb.  The student who has told me about this, says that the Chinese translation is well-done.  I will have to see what version of the Bible is used for the English.
  • I know enough Chinese characters that I can impress some locals with my knowledge.  What I have been doing is reading a Chinese textbook on the bus (with minimal pinyin -- I have to read the characters) and study flashcards on the computer: this is the site I use.
  • Tony was not a happy camper on Friday morning.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I got the blue glass!

  • McDonald's has some new burger on its menu -- a double bacon burger with some lettuce and sauce on top.  I bought it, liked it, and even got a small coca-cola glass with it.  I will give the glass to Tony.  It was a blue colour.  Funny, another trainer bought the double bacon burger and got a pink glass.  And of course, he is the butt of many male office jokes.
  • Interesting conversations with some students yesterday about China, where it has gone, and where it is going.  While the students were happy with the progress China has made, they did express worries about the future and whether China can make the changes it needs to advance further.  There is still too much corruption in China, they told me.
  • Two days of Summer heat followed by two days of wet autumn-like weather.
  • From, Manitoba, Canada, my parents tell me that the spring floods this year are particularly high.  They have sent me some photos.  They don't have to worry so much because they are far from the valley with its flood plain that divides their town of Brandon in two.  
  • Things haven't calmed down in the Wuxi China Expatdom: visit here or here to find out what's going on.
  • I did an English Corner about Germany.  The students told me that they find Germans have no sense of humor but admire their engineering precision skills and engineering minds.  One student told me how the first Subway line built in Shanghai, had been designed by Germans and thought strange by the Chinese because it had so many curves in its path.  But it turned out, there was a good reason having the tunnels curve instead of go straight which wasn't appreciated till the second subway line was built.  Curved tunnels facilitate cooling.  I introduced the students to the word "redeem" and "redemption" when talking about the German history. The students all agreed that Germany had redeemed itself -- however, they added that Japan hadn't.
  • Speaking of Japan, here is a very informative article about Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake.
  • I have no more studio photos of Tony to show.  I am now posting more current photos of my son: here and here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two accidents at same intersection -- different times of the day.

  • The intersection at which I ended the video Wuxi Expat goes to work #1 had at least two accidents on Tuesday.  The first accident, between a bus and a SUV happened at 1130 a.m.  The bus was making a wide right turn and the SUV made a right turn on the inside.  The result was the front passenger side corner of the bus hit the SUV's driver side back door.  The second accident, that I saw, happened about 330 p.m.  Two black VW Santanas had a head-on collision, that was not so serious.  One of the Santanas was trying to make a quick left turn in front of the other Santana which was trying to go straight through the intersection.  The left-turning Santana did not succeed in its goal.  To accurately describe the left turn that was attempted, I would hope you understand it when I say that the left turning vehicle was essentially cutting off the on-coming vehicle.  Cutting off other drivers happens so often in China that it usually never raises someone's cackles, except when there is an accident. 
  • It must be the heat causing these accidents.  The temperature has been above thirty so far this week.  I am sweating.  We have turned the fan on in the bedroom.  Tony and Jenny are sleeping without covers.  Tony is wandering around the house in his underwear.
  • At the Tesco yesterday, I saw a group of five adults who must have never been in a Supermarket before.  When I first noticed them, their open-mouthed awe at the surroundings was very noticeable.  And when they laid eyes on me, the laowai, the newbies did an even more noticeable double-take.  Later, as Jenny and I went to the cashiers to pay for our groceries, I saw the five of them sit on the floor to rest and take in more of their surroundings.  I would have thought by now that most Chinese would have become accustomed to things like supermarkets.
  • The current high humidity means thunder showers and micro bursts in the Wuxi area. 

Wuxi China Kaulins Family Update: May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 10 is Fred Astaire's birthday!

  • Fred Astaire, one of the top five cool guys in my books (along with Clint Eastwood, GK Chesterton, Steve McQueen, and Evelyn Waugh) is 112 years old today.  I find it interesting -- you probably don't -- that Astaire is one year older than my grandfather (on my father's side).  The best description I heard of Astaire was that he was a natural aristocrat.  Watching his films, I see he spewed grace and class out of every orifice and pore of his body.  He is being honored in the Wuxi China Expatdom.
  • I first read of this on the Internet, and now a local has repeated the story to me that Wuxi's #2 metro line construction has been ordered stopped by some environmental compliance board.  However, the construction is continuing.  First, I should say that the line being built near Casa K is the #1 and I didn't realize until just recently that more than one line is being currently constructed in Wuxi.  Secondly, I find the story strange, and that something else must be going on.  It seems unusual that the disobeyance of a bureaucratic order on such a grand scale on such a highly visible public works project would be reported in the local media.  It wouldn't surprise me that the financing of the Metro is all screwed up, and that the story of line construction being ordered stopped for environmental reasons is a cover.  Or maybe some other group is trying to muscle in on the construction.  But that is idle speculation on my part.  I had been told once, hush hush, that there was a financing problem with the subway line.
  • Residents of the PRC who go to Taiwan, I have been told, are given a new passport when they go to Taiwanese customs.  This "proper" passport is useless for the PRCers, but the Taiwanese have a point to make.  The PRC passport is not recognized by the Taiwanese.  The Taiwanese won't stamp the PRC passport but merely tear a corner off one of its pages.  I learned this when the PRCer told me she went to Taiwan, and so questions immediately popped into my mind about how the Taiwan -- PRC passport issue was dealt with.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Suspended! Temporarily!

It is the darndest thing to have something you have been working on for four years, disappear all-of-a-sudden.  The funniest thing about it was that it didn't seem such a bad thing at all.
Sunday around noon, I went to my wordpress blog home page and saw that one of my four wordpress blogs (AKIC, TKIC, WCE, and AB) wasn't listed -- the missing blog was AKIC.  Seeing this, I did the usual things like refresh, enter AKIC's url, and try to re-log onto my wordpress account.  I eventually saw messages indicating my account was suspended and that my blog had violated some code of conduct.
I quickly sent a message to wordpress support for an explanation.  A quick response to my message was promised after I entered and sent the provided form.
Before I did get a quick response, all sorts of thoughts went through my mind as to what I had done wrong.  Did my story about Tony pulling his pants down outside the restaurant bathroom violate someone's standards?  Was I in trouble over my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog which is full of absconded images and characters like Gorzo?  Perhaps, it wasn't such a good idea to use two blogging platforms to publish the same material.  Going through the code of conduct, I wandered if I should have written put up statues instead of erect statues in my WCE Mother's Day entry.  I remember once before have a document rejected till I changed a word because it has sexual connotations.
Though my mind raced with things I could have done wrong, I did take the possibility of losing the blog and all the writing I had put into it calmly.  I really did not feel like I was a victim.  I even wondered if the abrupt ending of the blog wasn't such a bad thing -- it is mostly crappy writing anyway.
In the evening, I got an email from wordpress saying my site was flagged by automated anti-spam controls, and that after a review of my site, the suspension notice was removed.  They ended the email with an apology.  Seeing how I don't pay for the service, I have nothing to complain about.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tony plays the chopsticks

Happy Mother's Day Moms!

The world of AKIC pays tribute to two moms.  AKIC's Mom, and TKIC's Mom.   

Andis's Mom Aina lives in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada and looks after Andis's Dad.

Tony's Mom Jenny lives in Wuxi, China and has two boys to look after.

Without these women, AKIC and TKIC would be helpless.  Which is needless to say, but we will say anyway.

Bonus Links

Andis and his Mom Aina

Happy Mother's Day!

Bathroom is on the first floor!

The Kaulins Family was going to go to this Chairman Mao Cultural Revolutionary Redux Restaurant that had just opened in the shopping complex near Casa K.  (Casa K is located in the Hui Shan District of Wuxi.)  This restaurant, however, had just opened on a Tuesday, and it being its opening weekend, there was no way the K family was going to get a table without waiting a hour.  So, they instead went to a Korean Restaurant, in the same shopping complex, that had opened a few months earlier.

The restaurant had no lineup.  They were immediately seated on the second floor of the restaurant.  

The little boy Tony was his usual rambunctious self running all over the restaurant and hardly taking the time to sit, eat, and drink. He did drink half a can of cola.  And so he had to use the bathroom.

Tony, when needing to use the bathroom, tells his parents what he needs to do, and they accompany him.  At the Korean Restaurant, he followed his usual procedure.   His Dad was to accompany him.  Dad, however, didn't know where the bathroom was, so to a restaurant staff girl, he asked "W.C. 在 那里?"  The staff girl answered "一楼", which meant the first floor.  Dad then turned to look for Tony, and saw that Tony already had his pants down.  Laughing, Dad pulled them up and took Tony downstairs.

Tony, at home, when having to use the bathroom, pulls his pants down and then head to the bathroom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dedicate a night to Tony: a pledge.

I will try to give Tony my complete and undivided attention tonight.  

I have two things to be concerned about with this pledge.  First, I wonder if I will be able to resist going to the Internet or doing my own thing.  Second, I have to see if Tony wants me to give him attention -- perhaps, he won't be interested.

I do want to impress him with the fact that tomorrow is Mother's Day.

Tony Kaulins in the Studio #58

What's happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom? May 7, 2011.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Heading into the weekend, not.

  • I work on Saturday and Sunday.  So, I am not heading into the weekend yet.  Not that I am complaining.  I avoid the weekend crowds.
  • Yes!  Nucks take 3 - 1 lead their series with the Nashville Predators.  It looks like they will meet the Sharks in the Western Final.
  • Why do some street vendors and small shop owners sell their wares in the midst of the rubble of their demolished surroundings?  Surroundings, that is, that have been demolished so the government can build new things.  They have no where else to go.  The shop owners have no deed or title to the area they had been using for shops or selling street food.  The local government demolishes the area and hopes the vendors leave, of their own accord.
  • I have more and more choices for podcast listening.  In the past week, I have been downloading MP3s of audio articles and editorials.  
  • The Wuxi Jaywalkers, the official Major League Baseball Fantasy Team of Wuxi Expats, are currently in 8th place (out of 10 teams) in their league.  I have had to completely revamp the pitching staff which has been the worst in the league.
  • I had an opportunity to go to the back offices of the Baoli Carrefour.  I was looking at the departmental signs (which were in Chinese) and I was happy to see a could read some of them.  (Socks in Chinese are 内衣  nei yi (pinyin))
  • Wuxi is starting to get humid.  I am happy to stay in the shade of my office or apartment during the day.
  • Tonight's English Corner Topic?  Travel in Jiangsu.
  • The right says that the techniques that Obama decried ended up helping kill Osama.  The left says it is a myth.
  • 我 很 喜欢 我的学校 和 我的小儿子。
  • Doing an interview with a student to determine his level, I had to resort to Chinese to get him to answer questions.  天啊!
  • Perhaps, I should make some Chinese entries.  我 可能 写 中文 在 我的 电脑。

Tony Kaulins in the Studio #54

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Twelve guys with white helmets

Twelve guys with white helmets
Around my neighborhood in Wuxi, I always see these guys with white police helmets riding on motorcycles.  They always ride in pairs, and I wonder why are they cruising about.  This morning (Thursday), I saw twelve of these guys gathered outside a restaurant at my apartment complex.  I wish I could have taken a photo.

Later on in the morning, I saw these five girls, dressed like airline stewardesses, lined up at the entrance to an department store on Zhongshan Road at what used to be the Sheraton.  I marveled at the use of womanpower.  I also wish I could have taken a photo.

Tony Kaulins Links

NHL Playoffs
The second round of the NHL playoffs has already seen one sweep -- what happened to the Caps?  And there is a chance there could be two more as the Bruins lead the Flyers 3-0 and the Sharks lead the Red Wings 3-0.  It seems that the Canucks are in tough as they lead the Preds 2-1 in a low scoring series that has seen two games go into O.T.

The students haven't had much to say about the death of OBL.  Asking them if it was a good thing, most either said yes, or had no opinion.

I mentioned the Obama birth certificate controversy, and a few said they had heard about.  I got lots of laughs that asking if I could see their or Hu Jiantao's birth certificate.

For what its worth, I say good on Obama for ordering the attack on OBL's compound.  He talked about doing such things during the election campaign and carried through with it.  But there was wanton negligence in not giving credit to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld whose efforts to fight terrorism were constantly being undermined by the Democrats and then candidate Obama.  Bush, it has been said, was reluctant to go into Pakistan for fears of offending an ally.  Obama criticized this during the campaign.  However, Bush did order the drone attacks in Pakistan which Obama later doubled down on.  

But then Obama also made efforts, to see the war against terrorism as a legal matter, which turned out to be silly.  Would Obama have had a captured Bin Landen stand on trial in a civilian court in New York City?  He wanted to do that with KSM till he was forced to back down by the sheer logistical difficulties of doing so.  A captured Bin Landen would have been best taken to Gitmo and put on trial there too.  

As I have said, foreign policy pronouncements are tricky.  Bush and Obama policies have been both vindicated and cast into doubt by events.  As a general point, I have heard persuasive arguments for American isolationism; and  I have heard persuasive arguments for America being more directly involved in world affairs.  

The death of OBL is no doubt a victory for the U.S.A.

Video taken by a Wuxi Expat going to work

What is happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom?

Wuxi Expat goes to work #1

Tony Kaulins in the Studio #50

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nucks win!

  • The Vancouver Canucks have beaten the Nashville Predators in overtime to take a two-one lead in their best of seven series. Yahoo!
  • I want a take a vacation. The wife says we should spend it in her hometown. Now, I don't want to take a vacation. Aaahh!!!
  • I buy a small container of milk at kedi. The clerk tries to give me a straw. I say 不要!The Clerk then asks 你可以说中文? I then say 一点点!
  • One million views! Good on me!
  • A tragedy at a Wuxi Expat wedding. But it was all just a big misunderstanding. Right!
  • The Conservatives have won a majority in the Canadian Federal Election. Double Whoopee Yahoo!
  • My English Corner tonight will be about Colors. Oh boy!
  • One minute a day on facebook is all I need. Yes!!!!
  • The Caps are down three-zero to Tampa Bay. Nooo!
  • My mobile phone destroys earphones. I have gone through four already. I am just going to have to walk around with the phone stuck to my ear so I can listen to podcasts. Damn!

The latest studio photos of Tony

Wuxi China Bengal Dog: 1,000,000 Views!


This video of mine has now been viewed over a million times.

Tony Kaulins in the studio #46

Reaction to OBL and Canada's election.

I asked one of my classes for thoughts about the death of OBL.  A few students said they didn't care -- it was an American thing.  A few students said OBL deserved it.  One student said OBL was a good man.  The rest had no opinion.
I saw OBL's image on newspapers and my bus's video screen.
I was the only one in my circle here who was aware Canada had had an election.


I am blown away by the Canadian Federal Election results which were as follows:

Conservatives 167 seats
New Democratic Party 102
Liberals 34
Bloc Quebecois 4
Greens 1

No one would have predicted these results when the election campaign started five weeks ago.

I am happy to see that the Conservatives have finally gotten a majority.  Preston Manning would be proud to see old Reformer Steven Harper as Prime Minister.

I am stunned by the NDP's incredible showing.

Ha ha to the Liberals!  The party of Trudeau had a schmuck for a leader this election.  Iggy didn't even win his seat.

And as for the Bloc Quebecois, this joke of a party, a party dedicated to breakup of Canada, deserve a fate similar to that of Bin Laden -- extinction, though not physical but electoral.

In the next four years, I expect a few Wisconsin's happening -- Harper going to be demonized in the way that Mulroney was when he was prime minister.  The Left in Canada has shifted far leftwards.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Keeping Up

OBL, NHL, Election, KFIC
  • There seems to be so much in the news lately, as I was saying before, that it is hard to keep up with it all. 
  • I heard about the death of OBL while I was at Siemens in the Macallane Home Decoration Mall.  A foreigner I know mentioned that someone phoned him to tell him the news.  My first reaction was surprise that Bin Laden was alive after all these years.  I had assumed that he had been buried in some cave during an American bombing campaign.  His death didn't make me feel like gloating.  Vengeful gloating is unbecoming and far as I am aware, a sin.  Still, It is good that America did it.  It is good to see that Obama had the courtesy to tell Bush the news personally. 
  • I will monitor the Canadian election results with keen interest.  I would love to see the Liberals relegated to third place, and a Conservative majority.
  • The second round of the National Hockey League Playoffs have been surprising.  The way things seem to be playing out now presents the possibility of a Florida-California Stanley Cup Final -- that is, San Jose versus Tampa Bay.  I don't like the sound of that.
  • In Brandon, Manitoba, my parents are dealing with floods and snow.  Just within the last week, they say they got a foot of snow fall on their house.  The snow is the last thing a community dealing with floods have to deal with.  Meanwhile, I caught this news about CFB Shilo soldiers dying in a SUV accident。It happened on the low road that links Shilo and Brandon -- a road I know well and which I was able to ride last summer.
Cooking and Foot Massage
Monday, I did a second day of cooking for Siemens and had my first ever foot massage. 
The cooking went well.  We (and Zach with whom I do the cooking gig) made quesadilas, deluxe garlic cheese toast, and a potato-bacon-cheese jazz dish.  I called it a jazz dish because we had to improvise. We had planned to make baked potatoes, but when our assistants went to clean the potatoes, they also decided to peel them.  We were at a lost as to what to do.  We wrapped the peeled potatoes in tin foil, pierced them, and coated them with oil and garlic butter.  We put them in the oven, and sort of ignored them.  I was lucky to pull them out of the oven at the right time to see they had been cooked well.  We decided to slice up the potatoes and put them back in the oven with diced bacon and shredded mozzarella cheese.  The results, as Zach said, were awesome!
Afterwards, I got treated to a foot massage -- the first one I have ever had in over six years of living in Wuxi.  I know a lot of Expats get massages done regularly. They swear by them, as the saying goes.  For whatever reasons, I haven't.  There was one time I got a back massage -- it was nice but I never made a habit of it.  Yesterday, I can report that I enjoyed a wonderful tingling sensation on my feet as I left the massage place.  However, I felt a tinge of guilt as I was getting the massage -- I was wondering what Tony and Jenny were up to.
Tony Kaulins in the studio #37, #38, #39, #40, #41, #42, #43 , #44

A Korean Buffet Restaurant in Wuxi, China.

Tony Kaulins in the studio #44

May Day Holiday Hell

I have had the misfortune of being out and about Wuxi on the May Day Holiday.
Saturday evening, April 30, Jenny needed to buy Tony formula, and so the K Family went to the Carrefour at Baoli.  The lineups at the checkouts were thirty or forty people long.  It took us over an hour to get our little bit of shopping done.  Getting home was a chore because all the buses were standing room only, and no taxis could be readily hired.  We had to wait fifteen minutes before we could catch a cab -- a least hundred occupied taxis drove past us.
Sunday, I was up early to do a cooking gig for Siemens.  I was at my local  bus stop at six a.m.  Already, there was a bunch of people also waiting to catch an early bus.  I let a few buses go by in hopes of getting a seat.  But it quickly came apparently that everyone wanted to go downtown and there was no way I was going to seat.  I caught the next bus, and had to stand elbow-to-elbow for 45 minutes.
And it was the same going back in the afternoon.  The bus seemed packed, and somehow forty more people got on.  This time on the ride back to Casa K, I had to stand elbow-to-elbow in muggy, smoggy conditions for 45 minutes. 
"What can't all these people stay home?  Why do they tourture themselbes by trying to go anywhere on a day like this?" I bitterly thought to myself.  But as some students have told me, everyone goes out on these days because these are their only possible chances to go to parks or shopping -- they aren't as fortunate as me to have days off during the week.