Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blog Entry for December 24 to December 30, 2012

Gratitude: I made it to 48. I figure I am two-thirds of the way through.

Acknowledgment: I wasn't very good to my father in his final years. There's no getting away from it. I will continue to honor him out of my shame at not having done more during his lifetime. No doubt, my father was flawed, but what person isn't? Living in the modern age, his earnestness turned to bitterness. But he did do some things of which I am proud. I thanked him at his funeral for these things – pity, I didn't thank him before he died.

Request: Question your assumptions & send me money!

The week in brief:

  • Three days off and then four days of showing up at work before having

the next three days off.

  • I was thinking about getting a Kindle and then I was thinking of getting a Kobo Dayglo and then I returned to my idea of getting an Ipad Mini.

  • Following a certain podcast (which I have linked to at least four times in this week's blog entry), I am trying to have Joycean stream-of-consciousness moments. I will try to have one now: Hey Sex Lady! Oh! It is Gangnam Style! It is Condom style! Free condiments! No! Think Colacho and take five steps back! Put your head between your legs! No! 不行! 不要起床了!我是加拿大人!我的发音不好!我不爱你!我不爱你!哈哈!对不起!Don't be a showoff!

2012 in Review

  • This is the year my father Arnis died. May he rest in peace. I still don't know how to classify the fact that I was able to be with him in his final days. For he died a week after I arrived in Canada for what was my second visit in eight years. Was it fortunate or the powers-that-be's way of telling me how much I had neglected him in his final years?

  • Pillow-throwing incident on the plane. Am I a bad parent? Or are children annoying on a plane and there isn't much to be done about it? (My brother Ron tells me that Tony is too young to be taken to sporting events. Ron tried to do that do with a kid he had, and thus he knows). My best decision of the year was to pretend, at the moment that it didn't happen. I may have not have been at my father's deathbed if I had said something to my wife then and there. My wife wanted blood when I told her what had happened once we were far away from the airport.

  • My poor nephew and niece! Kyle and Steph not only lost their grandfather, but their father as well in 2012. Steve was killed in a logging truck accident over the summer.

  • Tony grew before my eyes. He is my reason to live.

  • I felt in love with my Ipod Touch. A curse and a blessing.

  • I am more in love with my wife Jenny than ever.

  • The Repubics nominated Romney, a RINO, to be their presidential candidate. And that good it did them? Right? If you run a Democrat against a Democrat, the Democrat wins, especially if he has the superficialities on his side.

  • I discovered the aphorisms of Don Colacho.

  • I almost forgot to mention. I should say something about work.... What to say? I don't know.

  • I have decided that I like Gangnam Style. This video, featuring PSY, on Youku is interesting for the dancing zebra and the fact that an advertisement for Youtube can be found on Youku.

Quotes AKIC likes

  • Don Colacho: To engage in dialogue with those who do not share our postulates is nothing more than a stupid way to waste our time. Looking at this quote which I immediately took a liking too, I realized I should see what postulates are... Briefly, I gather from the dictionary on my Ipod that postulates are assumptions which are the basis for our reasonings.

  • Don Colacho: The cultivated man is not someone who walks around loaded with answers but who is capable of asking questions. I tell the students to ask themselves questions in order to make sentences.

  • Don Colacho: I am not trying to poison the wells. But to show that they are poisoned. That is my motto! Yeah! That's it! That is my motto! Or is it? Perhaps, this is my supposed justification for this. Perhaps, I am trying to poison the wells. Perhaps, I am doing both things at once. Of three possible reasons for doing what I do based on this aphorism, I have to say I am doing it for the last reason. After all, I am trying to poison the wells made by humans.

  • Thomas Sowell: After watching a documentary about the tragic story of Jonestown, I was struck by the utterly unthinking way that so many people put themselves completely at the mercy of a glib and warped man, who led them to degradation and destruction. And I could not help thinking of the parallel with the way we put a glib and warped man in the White House. Amen! I remember first hearing the epitaph Koolaid Drinkers applied to Obama Voters in 2009.

  • Thomas Sowell: The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.

This Week's Reading

  • I finished reading Spiritual Provocations by Soren Kierkegaard. A provocative thinker. His Christianity is the kind that looks at the world from eternity – takes a step back as it were, but he also looks sternly on modern Christianity, scolding it for its surrender to the world. The people, who do criticize Christianity from a secular or atheist viewpoint, criticize Christians for not being pacifist and tolerant enough. Kierkegaard criticizes it by saying Christians are too pacifist and too tolerant.

  • I read Othello, fulfilling my Shakespeare requirement. It is great reading Shakespeare if you are not forced to by teachers.

  • I am slowly working my way through Pascal's Pensees.

  • Inside the Forbidden City by Princess Der Ling. A close up look at the Cixi, the real power at the end of the last Chinese Dynasty.

  • Don Colacho's Aphorisms.

  • The Life of Johnson by Boswell. Johnson had a melancholic disposition.

Monday (the 24th)

  • No work

  • It's my birthday. I was born December 24, 1964 in Iserlohn, Germany. Here is how I looked forty eight years later.

  • I slept in till almost 845 a.m. Tony didn't have school or at least he didn't go.

  • We went to this Brazil BBQ Buffet restaurant – near the Grand Canal and Taihu Square, in the evening for Christmas/Birthday dinner. The food was mediocre. The staff was meant to be dressed Christmasy. They wore red Santa hats and masquerade ball masks. The Santa was Chinese – I had a chance to pat his tummy and I forgot the Chinese word for pregnant. We had some turkey. I ate a lot of Salmon Sushi. I was the only foreigner in the place and so I was given the honor of drawing the winning number for the first door prize. They then asked me to sing – I was terrible, but I have become comfortable with making a fool of myself in front of crowds.

  • Tony opens his Christmas Presents. I realize that the toys I bought Tony need C batteries. Who knew? I hope I can find some tomorrow.

  • Photos taken: Tony & a Chinese Santa, Birthday Breakfast, and Tony & Andis take Photos of Each Other

  • It was nice to see people wishing me happy birthday on Facebook. Although, as my brother tells me – that don't mean anything.

  • We took the bus home – Jenny tells me that the others were looking at me and wondering if I was the guy in the commercial that was being played on the bus.

Tuesday (the 25th)

  • Christmas morning, I was in Tesco buying C-size batteries for the Takara TOMY trains I bought Tony. Tesco had the batteries, but they were expensive – 15 rmb for two – and they were in limited supply – I bought the last three packs.

  • I see now why I was able to get the trains at fifty percent off.

  • Christmas afternoon, I spend about an hour replying to the birthday wishes sent to me on Facebook.

  • Tony loves his presents and I fear he is going to use all the batteries today.

  • For supper, we will go to the restaurant where Tony got his black eye.

  • Later: We went. Tony didn't hurt himself playing with food.

Wednesday (the 26th)

  • No work today.

  • Boxing Day in Wuxi is cold and damp. We were going to go to a buffet at a fancy hotel near Baoli, but the weather dissuaded us.

  • Last night, I wrote three stories for the WCE Blog and phoned Winnipeg, Canada where it was minus 23 Celsius and there was lots of snow.

  • I learned that my Aunt Dzidra was born in the same year as Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Photos I hope you take a look at: A Kiss, Christmas Trains, Tony & Jenny, Taking a Photo of Taking a Photo of Tony, and Christmas Andis.

  • Afternoon: I write three stories for the WCE Blog. That is how I blog during the week for those of you who don't think my weekly entry here at AKIC blogspot is enough.

  • Afternoon: I read a scene from Othello and a chapter of Inside the Forbidden City by Princess Der Ling. I listen to episodes 83, 84, 84a, and 85 of the Rejoyce Podcast.

  • Afternoon: It is cold and dark in the apartment – damp to the bone. The heater is on – but heat rises and I feel a cold draft on me legs – my right thigh and ankle feel it.

  • Afternoon: I made a cover for an e-book. It appears when I am in bookshelf view in Ibooks. The book: Don Colacho's Aphorisms.

  • 410 pm: I get ready for to go outside and meet Tony at his kindergarten van drop-off point. I have to time it right to go outside – I don't want to wait too long in the cold rain. I don't want to wait on the roadside too long either because of the wind.

  • 425 pm: Out I go. I walk to the roadside. Down the road I look and don't see a familiar white van. So I retreat for shelter under the overhang of the security entrance to the apartment complex. I have to dodge puddles twixt the roadside and the security shack – through my thin soled slip-on shoes I can feel the cool and wet hardness of the pavement. How did it come to this? I ask myself in an attempt at being Joycean. Early pride makes one stand along roadsides in later years. My only solace is that I do it for my son – my sole redemption in life.

  • 430 pm: The van arrives. I have to sign for my son. My umbrella propped over and against the van and my shoulder, I scrawl in a damp book. I'd take Tony into my arms if I'd had two free hands. Instead, he has to drop from the front passenger seat into a puddle.

  • Tony mixes up when to answer "Yes I do!" and "Yes I am!"

  • 431 pm: I make Tony walk home – no carrying him with an umbrella.

  • 433 pm: At the apartment, Tony sees that the train track has been put away. "Do your homework and we can play train afterward!" I tell him – I say this like I am an authority. As if! It seems to me that the boy I have always been is acting. Am I really 48?

  • After Supper: The eleven car Takara Tomy train excites Tony. I worry about the C cell batteries running out. They are so expensive!

Thursday (the 27th)

  • Back work today: 1000-2100.

  • I overslept as was to be expected after three days of laziness.

  • The weather: cold & damp. My ankle and hip really felt sore this morning. I remember my Aunt Ritma, may she rest in peace, always complained of the effects of cold on her bones.

  • The topic of my first class was Virtual Schools. I asked the students about the depth and breadth of knowledge of the three kinds of people: someone who had a good library and no Internet, someone who did a transition from libraries to the Internet, and someone who grew up with the Internet.

  • I then asked the students about what they thought of programmable friends – that is virtual friends who you can program yourself so that you can choose their characteristics like degree of loyalty and so on. They didn't like it. I posited the idea of a virtual kidnapping where someone steals your virtual friend and threatens to have that friend reveal your secrets unless a ransom is paid.

  • How was your Christmas? I ain't going to ask.

  • Last night, I listened to episodes #86, #87, #88, and #89 of the Rejoyce Podcast. Thanks to Frank Delaney, I have a much better understanding of the the first two chapters of Ulysses. I read the first four pages of chapter three in my Bodley Head Ulysses, and realized that Delaney's guidance will be much needed. Joyce so mixes reality and his thoughts that I don't know if Stephen Dedalus is walking on a beach or sitting in a pub with relatives.

  • 300 PM: I feel pain in my hip and ankle so I take some Tylenol. It must be arthritis.

  • I can't concentrate fully. The cold and dankness permeates the building. My inclination is to tuck my body into a bed with thick quilts.

  • These blog entries of mine feature Raquel Welch & Pamela Anderson.

  • 350 PM: The Chinese flashcard site I go to to memorize Chinese characters is intermittent.

  • 540 PM: Ah Fudge! It is still raining.

  • Desdemona drops her handkerchief. Why does Emilia let Iago have it? My wife would not I have let me do that? She would have given it back to Desdemona herself.

  • 1000 PM (or so): Tony wants to have a lollipop and he tries to get me to open its package for him. I refuse. He stares at me wide-eyed and repeats his demand. I refuse again. We exchange demands one more time. He finally takes the lollipop to the dining room table to hide and try and open the package himself.

Friday (the 28th)

  • I work 1100-2100.

  • The weather: foggy, wet, and temperature is around seven degrees Celsius.

  • I wear toque, scarf, thermals, and light jacket. The forecast says it will be colder on the weekend – around or below zero.

  • I am trying to write cursively instead of printing as been my habit for over a decade. I notice that I can't remember how to write an "s" cursively. I also notice that it is hard to alternate between printing and writing cursively. In the very evening I started to write cursively, I had to check myself from writing cursively on the board.

  • I didn't have the big breakfast this morning at McDonald's. I instead had a hot dog, a cheese and sausage patty sandwich, and two small, nay tiny, coffees.

  • The stone I have is making my back hurt!

  • Image in my mind: the man was looking at twats on the computer – he had to quickly close the window. I look at Catholic things and quickly close my window.

  • I look them straight in the eyes....

  • On the bus I was taking to work stood an old man. He carried a rack of bright red decorations that he was going to sell somewhere. He stood out among the normally drabbly dressed passengers.

  • My wife tells me that old Wuxiren, born before 1947, can ride for free on Wuxi buses. Then they can stand, I said.

  • He said that I told everyone he was a drunkard. For years afterward, he often came to work late because....

  • A student asks: Do you pray? I answer: Yes! Before every class.

  • When I was young, probably in the third grade, I didn't win anything at the school sports day. I was so ashamed that I bought a ribbon off one of the winners. That recollection came to me as I thought about how I have no need to be a show off. All I can say is that I will never pull a stunt like buying someone ease's prize ever again. I am ashamed to admit I even thought to do it once.

  • I listened to a blogging head podcast (I won't link it) during which someone claimed to have done a scientific study of this phenomenon of people spending lots of money for the personal objects of dead and very famous celebrities. Someone, for instance, played 375,000 dollars for JFK's golf clubs. The speaker who claimed the study was scientific conducted surveys and didn't appear to have actually conducted experiments. The speaker didn't talk about this phenomenon of celebrity relic in relation to religious relics in the past. I suppose he didn't even ask the participants in his survey if they were religious. Of course, he may well have but I gave up on the podcast because it seemed so insipid to me.

  • I am thinking of getting a Kindle, but I read that the Kindle Fire only lets you read books that you bought at Amazon. I want something that can let me read the epubs from as well as epubs I have made.

  • I eat at the Fujian Restaurant near our school. It is run by the wife of the president of the company I work for. I got a 100 rmb debit card from her for my birthday! The food is very good despite its looking so meager and plain.

  • Tonight's English Corner topic: Quitting. I needed a word that started with Q. I haven't got any intentions.

Saturday (the 29th)

  • "Hey! No kissing Mommy!" So said Tony late Friday night.

  • Fucking local government! Pardon my French. The kindergarten van won't be picking Tony up starting January 1. We will instead have to find other arrangements to get Tony to school. My wife will either have to take Tony there by e-bike, by bus, or by taxi. All options are more dangerous, more expensive, and much more inconvenient for us. I curse the government because they have decided to suspend kindergarten van service in an over-reaction to some kindergarten van accidents that have occurred recently. Why don't they just fucking suspend all cars and buses everywhere for a period before they decide what they are going to do? The solution they, the government or the state that this, will eventually come with up will be as brilliant as their solutions to airport security.

  • Anyway, I work 1000-1800. Tony doesn't go to school today like many students have to.

  • Perhaps, he & Jenny will go to Ikea. Which for me means hot dogs!!!

  • It is cold and wet outside. An ugly day. I have a headache on account of it.

  • These blog entries feature the Swedish Bikini Team and Brigitte Bardot and an Aircraft Carrier. (This sentence wouldn't make sense without the links. Funny how that is, these days.)

  • It snowed today and some of it stayed on the ground.

  • I wade through slush as I walk from the bus stop to the apartment.

  • Another Wuxi Blog. Unfortunately, the guy is a leftie, but whatever – more perspectives of Wuxi, I suppose.

  • The Kindle Paperwhite doesn't support epubs! Dang!

  • Maybe, I will get the Kobo Glo....

Sunday (the 30th)

  • I work 1000-1800. And then three glorious days off!

  • Snow on the ground. The temperature is around zero. It is sunny. I can't complain about that.

  • On the bus, an old man gestures to me to take a seat that had become unoccupied. I wave my hands to indicate I didn't want the seat. I mentioned that this happened to me before with another old man. What's up with this? Are these old men doing this because I look old or because I am a foreigner or because I am an old-looking foreigner?

  • No school for Tony in January and maybe February. The decision, by the powers that be, to not let the kindergarten cannot use their van to pick up students, is why Jenny & I have to do this. We will explore other options. Till then, Tony will be home-schooled. Taking Tony to school by our old e-bike is more dangerous than taking the van, the taxi is too expensive, and the bus isn't convenient – we would lost an hour and a half a day. Hopefully, the van service returns soon. This is an example of how government in dealing with one problem creates more problems and inconvenience. I have read that since England adopted draconian gun laws, rapes have increased. This could be a case of correlation not causation, but then there isn't any proof that gun control lowers the murder rate. Cross country stats used to justify gun control don't take into account what murder rates were before or after the imposition of gun control. Looking at stats this way and one will learn that England's gun control laws had no effect on their murder rates which were always historically lower than America – even when there was no gun control.

  • Finished listening to episode #93 of the ReJoyce Podcast.

  • Reviewing what I have written so far this week, I am struck how Christmas 2012 just seems like ancient history to me within the week. That is, when I just looked at whatever it was I had written on Monday, I thought, besides the fact that the prose was wonky, that oh yeah, Monday was my birthday.

  • 1220 PM: I am eating what will probably be the last pizza I eat in 2012. I will then teach my last three classes of 2012 – one of which will be my last SPC.

  • 1255 PM: My last meal of the year at McDonald's was breakfast.

  • Notes written in my book last night: Good Blog! Chronicles his life in Wuxi. His site is professionally put together. I am too cheap to have one like that! But. Leftist. Idiots don't like Obama! Blah! (When I italicize, I am doing a Joycean stream-of-consciousness thingee.)

  • J & T go to Ikea. Hot Dogs! Hot Dog! Hot Dog! Hot Diggity Dog!

  • J tells me that a child can only stay a maximum of one hour in the playground. I wonder if this rule is in place because some people are using the playground as a free day-time daycare center? It could also be because the playground is busy!

  • 230 PM: I just finished my last private class of 2012! Students looked to have been in a daze because of the cold.

  • 410 PM: I finished my last English Corner of 2012. All the students agreed that PSY was 2012's most interesting person. They all had good years but said that China had a bad one.

  • Milton Rosenburg, host of WGN's Extension 720, had a show I had been listening to regularly via podcast for the last year. I listened to a podcast from December 14th, and expected to find more on Itunes. But for a week, there were no more. I then did some googling yesterday and I learned that WGN had canceled his show. What a shame! I found him to be a very civilized listen. I plan to send him an email to tell him how sad I am to hear he had gone.

  • 435 PM: My last class of 2012!

  • 1900 PM: It turns out that I didn't have my last pizza of 2012 at lunchtime. We went to Pizza Hut for supper. No idea how the people who run the company feel about Obamacare.

  • I let Tony play with my Ipod at the restaurant. When he goes to use the restroom, he gives me a stern look and tells me to not take the the Ipod back. That kid kills me sometimes!

  • Why stop at only encouraging people on bicycles and e-bikes to wear helmets? Every pedestrian in Wuxi should have a helmet. About 730, an e-bike nearly ran over Tony. Tony was walking on the sidewalk near the 85 bakery that is by the Christian Church when he had to dodge e-bike that basically came out of nowhere. Jenny had some stern words for the driver who was a woman and was accompanied by her daughter. I called her a f***ing bitch making sure to say it in a tone that could be interrupted as swearing by all passersby especially that woman. My wife told me that the woman didn't apologize for riding so fast and told my wife to watch her child. That woman, when seeing Tony should, have slowed down instead of trying to dodge around him at full speed. E-bikes in downtown Wuxi are a menace. I have had a few close calls myself with e-bikes, I didn't see, trying to swerve past me at full-speed. There isn't any quicker way I can think of to make a calm and placate Andis become angry and violent. Frequently, the e-bikes ride on the sidewalks, eschewing the nearby bicycle paths, which is not such a bad thing in itself if they didn't go so bloody fast when they were doing so. This woman was obviously coming from a parking area – but she should have exercised some caution when she was heading to the bicycle path.

  • My sixth and last profile of the six nominees for the 2012 Wuxi Expat of the Year.

  • A great photo taken by Jenny: Tony & His Train Set.

  • HM asked me if I had been following the Fiscal Cliff drama. I told him I had stopped pay such close attention to US politics after the election. I have no hope in anything good coming out of he negotiations – Obama and Boehner are both clowns. What should be done ain't going to happen.

  • My wife finds out that a Kobo Glo is 1200 rmb on Taibao. We will go to Bainaohui and see if they have any for me to look at. I am leaning to the Kobo because it supports the epub format and I gather that it would be able to easily interface in a pc-sort of way with my laptop.

  • 1130 PM: Icicles forming on the clothes we have drying on the balcony.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my rare and far-in-between readers from the AKIC Blog Network!

The Best Birthday Present a Father Could Ever Have: a Video

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The AKIC Blog Entry for December 17 to December 23, 2012

Gratitude: The World didn't come to an end. I should be thankful, though not so much for my sake as for the sake of my wife & son.

The Week in Brief: To continue to pursue my strategy of stoic withdrawal and individual self-cultivation – that was the question. I supposed it was destined to end in despair. I also counted down the days to Christmas (and my birthday, though not so much).

Acknowledgment: I must surely be a narcissist.

Request Read my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog

Current Reading

  • I will finish either Pascal's Pensees or the Kierkegaard anthology before I start another book.

  • Letters to the Corinthians (KJV version)

  • Ulysses by James Joyce

  • Boswell's Life of Johnson

  • I read Hayek's essay The Pretense of Knowledge.

  • I plan on reading Benita: An African Romance by H Rider Haggard. Benita is the name of my sister.

Links of the week

Some Quotes AKIC liked

  • Don Colacho: The bourgeoisie is any group of individuals dissatisfied with what they have and satisfied with what they are. I am wholly bourgeoisie in this sense. I can't help but read Colacho and say that is just so frigging true!

  • Kierkergaard: That the goal of the state is to improve its citizens – is obviously nonsense. The state is of the evil rather than of the good, a necessary evil, in a certain sense a useful, expedient evil, but not a good. The state is actually human egotism in great dimensions. Just as we speak of a calculation of infinitesimals, so also the state is a calculation of egotisms, but always in such a way that it egotistically appears to be the most prudent thing to enter into and to be in this higher egotism. But this, after all, is anything but the moral abandoning of egotism. Two things about this. First, doesn't this tell you all to need to know about the likes of Obama & his ilk? Second, Don Colacho, a brilliant linguist, was trying to learn Danish so he could read Kierkergaard in the original Danish.

  • Don Colacho: Let us not complain of the soil in which we were born, but rather of the plant we are. Worry about what you can control! How true!!

  • Kierkergaard: A person rarely amounts to anything, either good or evil, who has never lived in solitude. In solitude there is the Absolute, but also the absolute danger. How I wish this was true.

  • Kierkegaard: Mere gossip mocks real talk, and to express what is yet in thought weakens action by forestalling it. Where mere scope is concerned, talkativeness wins the day, it jabbers on incessantly about everything and nothing. But someone who can really talk, because because he knows how to remain silent, will not talk about a variety of things but about one thing only, and he will know when to talk and when to remain silent. This is how I have been trying to be, but I am still not doing it right.

Monday (the 17th)

  • I don't work.

  • Car Squabble. As I leave the apartment, I see a man in his pajamas accompanied by a security guard. I see he has to to move his car. The man whose car he blocked is giving him the what-for.

  • My wife changes some USD I had in an account to RMB. I had to sign about twenty forms. What was up with that?!?

  • There are a lot of D-bag drivers in Wuxi. I think that from now on any time a car cuts in front of me when I have the right-of-way, I will give the guy the finger... ( As if I would! I vowed to do that after a car cut in front of me as I was crossing the street.)

  • The stores play Christmas music. The store staff wear Christmas hats and jackets. The stores sell Christmas decorations. The only problem is that Christmas isn't a holiday in China. For most Chinese, it is just another day.

  • I uploaded two videos: the Dilly & Dally Pub commercial and Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #36.

Tuesday (the 18th)

  • I don't work.

  • I told Tony that there was a week till Christmas.

  • It is cooling down. The weather that is.

  • My laptop crashed twice.

  • My windows movie maker program crashed twice as well.

  • I tried to re-synch all my music and my books on the Ipod. What a pain in the ass.

  • I went to school to pick up Tony's Christmas present.

  • On the bus ride downtown, I saw a bus cut off the bus I was riding. My driver was annoyed. I found it interesting. It really is everyone for himself on the roads of Wuxi.

  • I went to the Xinhua bookstore to buy some Ultraman books for Tony.

  • Wandering around Xinhua, I saw a man crouched down by a bottom shelf. He had a store book wide open, and he looked to be copying the contents, via pen, into a notebook that he was holding onto as well. It seems a strange thing to be doing in the age of computers, smart phones, and e-books; and yet there is something to be said for writing out thoughts by hand because they will stay in your memory much better. Materially poor and yet there is some of the ancient Chinese scribe about the man that gives him nobility.

  • I saw that the Moresky360 will not stand out so prominently in the Wuxi skyline anymore.

  • Someone make a comment on last week's blog entry.

  • I put the finishing touches on Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #37.

  • I finished listening to ReJoyce Podcast #67. Currently, Delaney has finished podcast #131. So I am 64 episodes behind. I should catch up easily enough. Delaney does one or two podcasts a week. I listened to seven tonight-- Delaney guided me through almost two pages of Ulysses, chapter two. Stephen Dedalus's thoughts are occupied with the death of his mother and his intellectual interests which include William Blake & Shakespeare.

  • Though, I haven't added to the page dedicated to my father recently, I still think of him everyday. The image, I have in my mind,of the last time I saw him still flashes in my brain. One time last week, I was walking down the stairs to do an English Corner, and the image of him on his deathbed, his head lying like he was asleep, suddenly came to me. I got choked up and tears came to my eyes. Fortunately, I recovered quickly enough to get on with my class.

  • As soon as that image comes to my mind, I feel guilt. I didn't do good by Dad at the end of his life. Though I did get married to Jenny and did make him a grandfather – in the end it wasn't enough.

  • I had taken Tony to a nearby store to buy some water, and Dad passed away in our absence, and we returned to see him on the bed – to Tony he seemed asleep.

  • Dad was probably the best fan the AKIC blog ever had. He printed out all its photos.

  • Like the man copying from the book in the bookstore, Dad's printing out my photos seemed so dated, and yet now I am glad he did.

  • I wonder where Dad is now. I hope he is in a better place. I heard he was attending religious services during his last month.

Wednesday (the 19th)

  • I work 1300 – 2100.

  • I spend the morning trying to find out how to optimize my epubs for Ibooks. Right now, they open slowly!

  • No luck finding anything on the 'net about optimizing epubs for Ibooks.

  • I put the Stanza App on my Ipod Touch. It is worse than Ibooks at dealing with my self-made epubs. It can't even open them.

  • I hate that feeling I have when I run out of time trying to solve some problem on the computer. I have to tell myself to concentrate, concentrate, concentrate – the problem is not that important.

  • My tech guy suggests I try a program called calibre. I see that it does interface with Itunes which would seem to be a good thing. But then Sigil seemed to be a good thing till I put the ebooks produced with it on my Ipod.

Thursday (the 20th)

  • I work 1000-2100.

  • I have been stoking Tony for Christmas by telling him how many days to go.

  • I have ten ideas for the WCE Blog. I don't know when I will have the time to write them out.

  • The world is supposed to end tomorrow. In some ways it would be a relief if it did – the new four years of the Obama Administration will make the apocalypse look like a stroll in the park.

  • Calibre seemed to make my epubs load faster on the Ipod. I look forward to installing Calibre on my laptop at home to see how it interacts with Itunes and my Ipod touch.

  • Tony likes the voice control feature on the Ipod touch. He knows how to bring the feature up on the Ipod touch. Only problem is that he doesn't know how to pronounce "the Jam." He continually says "play songs by the James!" at the Ipod touch.

  • My wife tells me that she has found a place where large-sized shoes are sold.

  • On the way to work, I saw a man sitting on a cart. I took some photos which you can see here and here.

  • First class in the morning. I talk to a woman from Japan about Science.

  • Another problem I have with people who label themselves as middle-of-the-road politically is that they are really leftists in denial. Every person whom I have meet who has called himself middle-of-the-road has been an enthusiastic supporter of Obama.

  • On the Wuxi local television news recently, my wife saw a report about some foreign pre-school teacher being in financial difficulties because he had a 100,000 rmb operation. His school was able to lend him 50,000 for the operation for which he had 3,000 of his own to pay for it. The teacher told the reporter that many locals assumed all foreigners were rich when in fact some were and some weren't; and he wasn't.

  • I told the teachers at school about this story but none said they knew of the fellow – apparently, he was an American who had only been in Wuxi since April.

  • One of the trainers asked me why it was that this story would make the television news. I told him about how I have seen the most mundane of stories make that news show – they report on conflicts between neighbors and go into great depth about people being victimized by petty crime. Stories like this are about problems not caused by the government and are of such minor importance that no high-up government official would look bad because of them. In the case of the story of the kindergarten teacher, the foreigner looks pathetic and imprudent, and the management of the school, who were said to have then bought insurance, looks bad as well.

  • I just learned, from the Japanese student, that the Japanese emperor's birthday is December 24th – the same as mine. I don't know if I should tell the Chinese students this, but I tell you this because I find it very interesting. (By the time you do read this, it will be my birthday or it will have just passed. Don't worry. I will gladly accept belated birthday greetings or gifts of money.)

  • Last night, I finished listening to the 70th episode of Frank Delaney's ReJoyce podcast.

  • The Calibre Software that Sir Paul Rudkin told me seems to have solved my epub problem.

  • Last night, a student pronounced "Germany" so that it sounded to me like "Japan." I had asked him to which country in the world he wanted to travel. I thought I heard him that he wanted to go to Japan because it was quiet, especially on Sundays. I told him that that made sense since Japan had a lot of old people these days.

  • Tomorrow night's English Corner topic: World Peace.

  • For a class tonight, I will teach Currie and Suri.

  • Right now, I will teach Queena, Pasily, and Tina. If I had had a daughter, her name would have been Tina.

  • Every student named Elaine gets, from me, a description of the final scenes of the Graduate.

  • There is a rumor, I have been told, that I was going to join Web – that is, a competing school in Wuxi. Astounding to me. But it is interesting to be the subject of rumors that couldn't be farther from the truth.

  • It is raining. It wasn't raining when I left the house this morning and so I thought it would be okay for my to wear my shoes that have a hole in a sole.

Friday (the 21st)

  • I work 1100-2100.

  • Four Days till Christmas! I tell Tony. Tony goes to school today and then gets four days off.

  • It supposed to be the end of the world today. Pessimist I have become, I have no confidence that this is going to happen.

  • For my first class, I am scheduled to teach a student named Yao Ming Yi. This student is not a tall wannabee basketball player, she is pretty and shy, and a wearer of glasses without which she would be squinty. I tease her and sometimes call her Michael Jordan.

  • At this moment in time, I am leaning towards stoic withdrawal. I am a million miles away from other people here.

  • I found a new podcast last night: Alexander: a History of. I couldn't download it on my laptop. I tried to use one of my VPN programs to help with this but it didn't work. I was baffled as what to do till I thought to use the VPN on my Ipod. I don't like to download podcasts wirelessly onto my Ipod touch because it takes too long, preferring to do it on my laptop, but in the case of this podcast, it seemed to be my only option....

  • ..And it worked!

  • The internet at school is intermittent. Sometimes, I can't get my gmail. Sometimes, I can put photos into my email blog postings.

  • I listened to podcasts #70 & #71 of Frank Delaney's ReJoyce Podcast last night.

  • What does Wuxi China Expatdom Queen Ayira look like? Visit here to find out.

  • I got an email from the Haucault Family.

  • Yao Ming Yi, her English name is Mamie, was wearing a Hoodie bearing the Beatles' Yellow Submarine album cover. She told me she bought it at a shop in Chongan Market because she like the design. She didn't know who the Beatles were, how famous they were, and that Yellow Submarine was a famous song.

  • What is your fantasy? I ask the Chinese Male Student. He tells me that he has a castle in the mountains surrounded by fields for farming. I ask him when the beautiful girls in bikinis are hanging out. He tells me there aren't any.... I don't think they understand the concept of having fantasies. I wonder if the students have any imagination.

  • Today, my friend Michael in the Hui Shan District, tells me is the Winter Solstice Festival in China.

Saturday (the 22nd)

  • I work 1000-1800.

  • I wear a fleece jacket, a wind breaker, a scarf, and a toque to work. I was comfortable and I didn't feel like I was overdoing it.

  • What is the difference between popularity and democracy? Popularity is whatever the mob likes. Democracy is voting for leaders who hopefully are more wise than we are, and may well do the unpopular thing because it is right. That is my stab at the question.

  • Pizza for lunch.

  • None of the students has any big plans for Christmas – it is a foreign thing they tell me.

  • A female student tells me that girls don't have as many friends as boys do. She was saying that boys were more gregarious than girls?

  • Friday night, Tony had a balloon. He pushed it into the air. He jumped around the apartment. He screamed and laughed. His father wanted him to stop.

  • I took a photo of the church that our school overlooks. The building is begin dolled up for Christmas.

  • I published two stories today in the WCE Blog: Wuxi Expat bikes to work and Irish Expat wants to make Wuxi the Donnybrook of China. I am particularly proud of the second headline.

  • I have have listened to episode 75 of the Frank Delaney ReJoyce Podcast.

Sunday (the 23rd)

  • I work 1000-1800 today.

  • The parking at the nearby church is overflowing. Because Christmas, which is on Tuesday this year, is not a holiday in China, Chinese churchgoers are doing their Christmas services today. I saw a parking attendant monitoring e-bike parking in front of our school – the first time I have ever seen it.

  • I listened to episode 76&77 of the Frank Delaney Podcast last night. I also listened to the latest episode of the podcast (#132a) because it wasn't about the novel Ulysess but about Joyce's famous short story "The Dead." I will catch up, at the rate I am going, in about two weeks I figure.

  • I took the #25 Bus to work this morning. It is the cheap bus, costing only one rmb. The buses are no frills – no A/C, no video screens, and creeky suspension. I hadn't been riding it for a while so I noticed how there seemed to be a lot old people on it.

  • I ask a student where she would like to travel in the world. She tells me she would like to travel to the Maldives. I ask her why. She tells me that the sex scene is wonderful. Surprised, I asked her to repeat what she said. She repeated what I thought she said the frist time. I asked to her to say her answer again. She then said that Zach said it was wonderful. I expressed relief.

  • I asked the next student where she would like to travel. She told me never. I told her that she should nowhere, not never. But she corrected herself and said Norway.

  • I wonder if these incidents (there was one earlier this week) were the result of students' bad pronunciation or my hearing succumbing to the ravages of listening to too much pop music and talk on my MP3 playing devices.

  • I saw some flurries as I taught my 1300 class! Jenny tells me that she saw some snow in Hui Shan though she wasn't sure it was snow or not.

  • I will get Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off. Yahoo!

  • My English Corner was about Santa Claus. Will you marry Santa Claus? I asked the ladies...

  • How does it work? That was the topic before my last class before Christmas. It was full of my least favorite students. Teenage boys, with rare exceptions, should be put in cages.

  • I upload two videos to Youtube: Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #38 & The Best Birthday Present a Father Could Ever Have.

The Best Birthday Present a Father Could Ever Have: a Video

Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #38

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #36 & The Dilly & Dally Pub

I appeared in a commercial for my school.  You can see the commercial in the 36th episode of Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China.

I have also made a mock commercial for a mock Wuxi Expat pub that you can watch here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blog Entry for the Week of December 10 to December 16, 2012

Gratitude It is nice to be alive. It is nice that I open my weekly blog entry with the word gratitude. It is nice to be thankful. It is even nice to know that "nice" is a kind of pansy word and that to be nice can mean that you are tolerating evil. Anyway, for what am I thankful this week? Many things. I am thankful for all the things I have previously mentioned in this weekly feature. This week, I am especially thankful for being able to buy Christmas presents for my son.

Weekly Overview I should put this at the beginning of my blog entry. However, I think it is a better idea if I, from now on, always begin my blog entry with the word "gratitude." What can I say about this week? I got closer to celebrating Christmas 2012 and finished buying presents for my son Tony. I suddenly realized that I should have bought a present for my wife... There was a Christmas party at school. I slowly tried to put an end to my vow of silence, but it wasn't easy... The gulf is too big....

Acknowledgment It may well be that my being a ghost at work is not a good thing. However, now that I am in the habit of it, I find it difficult to change. That is, I can't get myself to cross the hallway and chat. My Ipod Touch is far more interesting.

Request I need an idea, a good idea of what to buy my wife for Christmas. I make this request to the muse – not to my rare-and-far-in-between readers.

Current Reading

  • I finished Bastiat's Economic Sophisms this week.

  • I will will finish either Pascal's Pensees or the Kierkegaard collection before I start another book.

  • Letters to the Corinthians (KJV version)

  • Ulysses by James Joyce (thanks to the Frank Delaney podcast, my copy of Ulysses will be forever opened to the spot where the Delaney podcast has taken me.)

  • Boswell's Life of Johnson: The writer of the Another Sort of Learning link (see below) recommends reading a little bit of Johnson every day. Seems like a good idea to me.

The Wuxi Corrupt Officials

The Corrupts lost their final regular season match-up: a showdown for first place in their division, 107-70. So, they finish in third place in their division and don't make the playoffs. The loss was bitter for the Corrupts and their fans who had been so full of optimism when the team started the season with a 5-0 record.

So, a Wuxi team hasn't won a NFL Fantasy League Title since the Wuxi Ex-Patriots did so in 2006.

The drought continues.

AKIC Link(s) of the Week

  • Another sort of learning

  • The Rejoyce Podcast

  • This entry from American Fez is wonderful. He writes that he usually walks across a bridge that offers the possibility of witnessing a plane flying over a car that is driving over a train that is running over a boat. He reminds me that I am excited when I can see two trains passing each other. I can't think of a place in Wuxi that does offer a possibility of a plane flying over a car that is driving over a train though, but from now on, I will be on the lookout.

AKIC's Quotes of the week

  • David Warren: There is no alternative to honesty & decency at the individual level. Once this is lost — from many different causes, all of them traceable to the collapse of religious faith — tyranny has its purchase. People keep thinking of "third ways," of institutional & technological arrangements by which good behavior may be obviated. There are no third ways. We serve God, or we serve Mammon, in every single act. Now whether you agree or not with Warren's assertion about religion, we can say for certain, in this life, that there are no third ways, statist ways, to improve the behavior of men. Statist controls like gun control and campus speech codes achieve nothing other than making the people who advocate for them think of themselves as good people.

  • Blaise Pascal: There is internal war in man between reason and the passions. If he had only reason without passions … If he had only passions without reason … But having both, he cannot be without strife, being unable to be at peace with the one without being at war with the other. Thus he is always divided against, and opposed to himself. As soon as I read this, I knew I had to put into my quotes of the week. I am having a struggle right now. I have to chat my reason tells me. However, my instinct – my physical inclination is stay in solitude.

  • GK Chesterton: I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. Somehow that justifies my eulogy at my father's funeral and the opening salvo of my now-weekly blog entry.

  • Soren Kierkegaard: If someone happens to pass gas in public loudly, people are so startled, it is as if it were the voice of a spirit. So intoxicated are we when we are in public. You should see me when I do an English corner.

Canada ain't Cool

  • If I start to say Canada is cool then you will know that I am ready to renounce my Canadian citizenship – I have no intention of doing that. I will just try to ignore the aspects of Canadian existence that could be considered cool by the day-and-age that we now live in. I will concentrate on what is truly uncool, and thus substantive, about Canada.

  • This week, I can't think of anything.

Monday (the 10th)

  • I work in the evening: 1800-2100.

  • It is cold.

  • I buy Tony more Christmas presents. I could get exactly what he wanted – it wasn't available.

  • During a class about learning, I learned that I learned a lot during the day. That is, if figuring things out on your own is learning. I did learn about the Mexican-American war when I listened to a podcast – I had had a vague idea that there had been a war between the two countries but the podcast put a clearer idea in my mind about what the war was all about. I learned how to put a Christmas Tree into the background of a photo – that was my figuring something out for the day. (Here is the completed work.) And if learning is learning how ignorant you have been, I have learned how much I have been missing when I had previously read Joyce's Ulysses. Frank Delaney's podcast, in which he goes through the novel line-by-line, is a learning experience par excellence.

  • What did the students tell me that they are learned during their Mondays? A few said I had taught them something. Others said nothing.

Tuesday (the 11th)

  • I don't work.

  • It is cold. I wear my knit-cap, known to Canadians as a toque, in the house. I may even wear gloves tomorrow when I go to work.

  • Should I sleep or should I write entries for the WCE Blog?

  • Paul Rudkin remotely installed a VPN on my computer. I have thirty days to convince my wife to purchase the program license.

  • I was able to upload Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #34 to Youtube.

  • I went to the nearby Tesco to do some shopping, and I took video for Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #35.

  • I will buy Tony one more thing for Christmas. But what it will be is something you will have to find out later at this blog.

Wednesday (the 12th)

  • I work 1300 to 2100.

  • In the morning, Jenny goes to Tony's kindergarten for an open house; I am at home by myself, uploading videos like this one, and cleaning the house.

  • I just realized that it is Frank Sinatra's birthday today. Old Blue Eyes was born on this date in 1915.

  • I put a 100 rmb on my electronic bus pass.

  • Someone took me up on my offer of my Don Colacho's Aphorism compilation. A Chinese High School student in Singapore. He found a way to reverse the order of the aphorisms from #2988 to #1 to #1 to #2988. Again, if anyone wants a compiled epub or doc of the aphorisms, email me at for the new& improved copy.

  • They call me the ghost at work. I am there but I am not.

Thursday (the 13th)

  • I work 1000 to 2100. My 1000 class is canceled so I really don't have much to do until 1500.

  • I do will stuff on the computer, of course. I have ten ideas for stories for my WCE blog.

  • I plan to put a wrap on my Christmas shopping for Tony. (I type this at 1000 am. Let's see what I really do.)

  • I had breakfast at McDonald's. Waiting in line to make my order, this young woman did the barge-to-the-front routine. For some reason it seemed so strange. Barging to the front of the line is something the locals always do, but usually not by those locals of her demographic.

  • (I type the following at 214 pm. I bought Tony one more toy. I couldn't find any gift wrap. If I was in Canada, I would have went to any store and easily found it. But in China, where they put money in red envelopes on their big holiday, wrapping presents is not often done.)

  • I am reading but not concentrating.

  • A few passages from Pascal's Pensees grab me. One of them made my AKIC quotes section. I soon got to thinking how wonderful it would be for me if I was in a monastery. I have to talk in class – there is no getting out of that, and best to do that to the best of my abilities. But to talk the rest of the time – how I wish I worked in a monastery.

  • Maybe, I am trying to take myself beyond the things that are beyond the world on across the way. Then, maybe I am having a snit.

  • I have downloaded six volumes of Boswell's The Life of Johnson. I first read an abridged edition and later a full edition. I still remember being asked by a the owner of the now-defunct Stone Soup Books in Chilliwack, BC, why I was so keen to read that book. He thought I was nuts. Oh well.

Friday (the 14th)

  • I work 1100-2100.

  • I do something different as I go to work. I decide to get off a bus a stop earlier than I normally would get off in order to walk down a stretch of Zhongshan Road I usually see from the bus. I saw that an Apple outlet was having a ceremony to mark the launch of the Iphone 5.

  • I see a foreigner come behind me as I wait for the staff at McDonald's to give me my big breakfast. He speaks to them in what sounds like fluent Chinese. I felt a tinge of envy and then wonder as I ate. Why has all the time I have spent on Chinese has seemed to yield so little for me? I wondered.

  • On the bus, I listened to the Uncommon Knowledge Audio Podcast. Why did Romney lose? I have heard a million theories now.

  • First class today will be an Advanced Plus Salon Class (conversation) about strife in the Holy Land. I will have to ask the students what the Chinese think of the Jews and the Muslims.

  • Most chat is talking behind people's back. So what's the point? Better to be talked about behind one's back than to be the one who is talking behind others' backs.

  • Christmas party tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it. I often talk disparagingly of Christmas when I do talk about it with the students. Christmas, I tell them, is now a month-long shopping festival. I just read Kierkegaard complaining that Christmas had turned into a pretty holiday that allowed people to be too satisfied with their earthly existence. I can't go there with the students because they wouldn't begin to understand what Kierkegaard was getting on about. I will complain of the materialism.

  • Speaking of Christmas materialism, I will admit that I enjoy shopping for presents for Tony. All I can say in my defense is that at least I am not buying Christmas presents for myself. I don't want any anyway.

  • Concentrate! Concentrate! Why does my mind wander to things unimportant? Why can't I read something without some random unimportant thought taking me away from the text?

  • I see things collecting around the office for tomorrow night's so-called Christmas Party. I like to spend my Saturday nights uploading podcasts to my Ipod Touch. Instead, I have to....

  • After arriving home from work, I decided to download podcasts from Itunes. I found myself swearing at the Apple Gods because their new version of the Itunes software had a new interface which I found hard to navigate. So, I spent twenty minutes more, in front of the computer than I planned to, trying to figure out how to work with the new Itunes. The interface designers made, what I thought were, silly decisions like moving buttons that I relied upon to new locations of the screen. The buttons were smaller and gave less information. I suppose I will get used to the new interface eventually, but I don't see the point of the changes.

Saturday (the 15th)

  • I will work 1000 to 1800 today. Then in the evening, I will attend the school's annual Christmas party. The first one, in 2004, was held at what is now the Blue Bar – then it was called True Blue. I remember that the students, about hundred or so, sung happy birthday to me! (I think the party was actually held on the 24th.) I thought that was nice, but then fellow teacher Peter N pointed out to me that they only did so because the school staff had mistakenly thought cakes were needed at Christmas parties.

  • (I hope you don't mind, the change of tense from present to past.)

  • I work up at 715 which is oversleeping in my world. I remember I turned off the snooze function on my Ipod Touch at 620...

  • I still got to work in plenty of time to make this blog entry.

  • Standing on the bus, a seat became available. A man, who was much older than me and who was also standing, gestured to me to take the seat. I declined. I was going to get off the bus soon anyway. Making my way to the exit, I gave the man a nod of appreciation and tried to mumble xie-xie. Did the man offer me the seat because I was a foreigner or because I was old?

  • Hell, I feel old. I have an ache in my hip, and on cold days, the bones on my right side ache. I think it must be arthritis. But I can't be bothered to go to the doctor to find out.

  • Earlier in the morning, I opened the door to see my wife naked. I wanted to make love and not go to work. (I should put something about that in the gratitude section, but I have this strange urge to publish the thought and bury it at the same time. I have a feeling that very few people read my weekly blog entry from start to finish.)

  • I pointed to a student and said "this student is stupid." Now, why would I do such a seemingly-cruel thing? Here is what happened. The exercise, I was doing with beginner students, required them to turn a sentence I said with a singular "this" or "that" into one with a plural "these" or those." Pointing to a student, whose turn it was to speak, while saying that sentence that was in the lesson plan, I was immediately struck by how, in a different context, I wouldn't dare have said what I had said while pointing at a student.

  • In my 1000 class, I had a student named Li Jia. "Li Jia" is the pinyin for "Ikea" I had learned because of the recent Wuxi Ikea opening. So I suggested the student give herself the English name: Ikea. Wondering, right then, if that was such a good idea, I then told her to think about it. I remember the criticism I got, nearly forty years ago, for naming a dog Pepsi because it came to the family in a Pepsi box. I stand by that decision. As for today's, I left it to the girl to decide – though she seemed to not mind it.

Sunday (the 16th)

  • I work 1000 to 1800 today.

  • I will begin this entry by talking about last night. Actually, I am going to shift from Sunday to Saturday in what follows:

  • The was a Christmas slash Gagnum Style Dance party at the school last night.

  • Tony & Jenny came. Tony peed his pants while playing Train Simulator on my office laptop. This ruined the evening for my wife. She had to go to a store to buy new pants for Tony. Saying she was tired, she went home early. Tony, pee-pee pants, didn't accompany her. He wanted to hang out with Dad.

  • A girl, who used to work at our school and whose wedding I attended, came to the party. I couldn't remember her name. She was a very nice girl and some who I admired very much. And it was killing me that as she was telling about her work life since leaving the school, I couldn't recall it. And to make matters worst, I thought she looked pregnant. It turned out that she had a seven-month old child already. I was fit to be executed after a long and excruciating torture.

  • I just asked the S.A., who sits in the office across the hall, to remind me of the girl's name. It was Helen. Somewhere in the blog archives, there is a photo of the Kaulins family with her and her husband taken at her wedding. (Here is the link)

  • Otherwise, the party was as expected. I posed for some photos with the students. Some of them appealed to my vanity by treating me like a celebrity. I took some photos of the students to my in my Teaching English in Wuxi, China Blog. I took photos of the pretty students with a token male student thrown in to take the curse off what I was doing. The other foreign teachers tried to act cool and be above it all, looking on with bemusement at how the Chinese held parties.

  • The Chinese require performances at their parties. Students sung or tried to win a Gangnum Style Dancing Team contest. The view of the contest was blocked for me by a standing room only crowd.

  • The party ended by 830 PM, mercifully.

  • Tony & I walked around the downtown of Wuxi before catching a bus home.

  • One good thing, of two, about the party was the fact that Tony wanted to spend time with Dad. The other good thing was the students appealing to my vanity.

  • Dad enjoyed having Tony sit on his lap on the bus ride home. Dad didn't so much appreciate Tony sitting on his shoulders on the walk from the bus stop to Casa Kaulins.

  • On the bus ride to work (I am talking Sunday), there were images of the Connecticut Elementary School Killer. People, I saw on the Internet, were saying there was a need for gun control.

  • In China, men have run into kindergartens with machetes killing young children. Young children have also been killed in vans taking them to school. That is my worry when I think about my son Tony. There are many ways to die prematurely in this world that most people don't seem bothered about unless a gun is involved.

  • Back to Sunday. I have wrapped Tony's Christmas presents. I will have to come to school on Monday or Tuesday to pick them up and bring 'em home. There is no other time I will be able to do without Tony noticing before Christmas.

  • "Andis! You are wrong!" said the student as he saw me enter the women's bathroom. I was well aware what I was doing when I ran into the bathroom. So when I came out of the bathroom with a mop the student, saw what I was up to. The school Ayi stores her mops in that bathroom. I didn't want to burden her with cleaning the mess that Tony had made the night before when he had peed himself and had also made a mess drinking cola.

  • I think that People who describe themselves as middle-of-the-road politically are really saying that they aren't capable of thinking for themselves. That is, they are defining themselves by what other people are thinking. So, I think they would be more honest for them to describe themselves as fence-sitters. Thinking about it more, I think it would be even better to describe these people as naked pointy-fence-post sitters. That is, they really getting off on sitting on those fences that consist of pointy-ended pickets which are hammered in a vertical position on horizontal railings which in turn are nailed to support-posts which are posted in the ground every few feet or so. And to get the full enjoyment of sitting on these pointy ends, they need to be wearing no pants or underwear.

  • Saturday evening, my wife was listening to Buddhist music on her Iphone. She is thinking of Buddhism while I am thinking of Catholicism. Go figure.

  • Anyway, I can think of worst things. She is not an atheist. Thank God.