Monday, May 28, 2012

Arnis Kaulins (1932-2012)

Arnis Kaulins passed away at 240 pm on May 28, 2012 at the Brandon General Hospital. Son of Adolfs and Iruna, he was born in Riga, Latvia on July 23, 1932. With his family, he left Latvia on October 5, 1944 to escape Communist Atrocities. He was a refugee in Germany till the end of WWII. He was then a displaced person in Germany until he was able to emigrate to Canada, arriving in Halifax on September 15, 1950 on the U.S. Troop Ship "General Harry Taylor." Taken by train to Ajax, Ontario, he signed a one year contract with the Canadian Government as a general laborer and became a farmhand in the Brandford area. Finished the contract, he then worked for flower growing companies in Brampton, Ontario for two years, then as a carpenter on construction in Toronto and after as a buffer in a leather factory. In March 1956, he joined the Canadian Army as an Artilleryman. He received basic training in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he then joined 2 RCHA, E Battery. He received his Canadian citizenship in 1957. In 1962, he married a Latvian girl, Aina Ruza, a nurse in Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital. He was posted to Germany, from 1964 to 1967, where his first two children Andis (1964) and Benita (1966) were born. Returning to Canada, he was posted to CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick. From 1971 to 1976, he served with 5 RALC in Valcartier, Quebec during which a third child Ron was born (1972, Loretteville). In 1976, he was posted to 3 RCHA in Shilo, Manitoba. From 1977 to 1980, he returned to CFB Gagetown. His final posting was to Shilo, Manitoba where he retired with the rank of Sergeant after 26 years and 4 months of service with the Canadian Armed Forces. He bought a house and settled in Brandon, Manitoba and for 10 years worked as a security officer for the Manitoba provincial government. He retired in July 1992. Arnis spent his retirement involved in a variety of voluntary activities and working on his garden in the backyard of his house. He is survived by his wife, three children and three grandchildren Kyle, Stephanie and Anthony.

Friday, May 25, 2012

We have arrived in Brandon!

  • The Kaulins Clan China is now in the booming Southwestern Manitoba metropolis of Brandon where temperatures are unseasonably low.  It was nine degrees celsius when we arrived on Thursday afternoon and dipped down to four degrees in the evening.  Having experienced temperatures of 30 degrees in Wuxi and Shanghai, we weren't prepared for it.  I had been checking the temperatures of Brandon on the Internet and it seemed that Wuxi and Brandon's temperatures had been the same.  It was a good thing I phoned my Mom before we left and heard about the low evening temps.  I did then bring along another sweatshirt which has kept me warm.  Still, I didn't bring enough.
  • The change in temperatures in Brandon, my Mom tells me, have been very drastic.
  • We went immediately to see my father who is in the Brandon General Hospital.  As expected, it was emotional for me.  Dad, at least, seems very alert and wants me to bring his laptop to the hospital.
  • What to do about Tony on the flight back to Shanghai.  I have been told to give him gravol.  It appears that the only thing that can be done is to drug him.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tony Goofs Off in Winnipeg, Canada

Tony at a Railway Museum in Winnipeg, Canada

Passenger Throws Pillow at Us on Account of Tony's behavior on Shanghai-Vancouver Flight.

  • Last evening, I watched the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in overtime, thereby qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final.   It was the first time I had been able to watch a hockey game live on television for over seven years.  I, unfortunately, wasn't able to give the game my complete attention.  Tony was asking me to find him firetruck videos on YouTube.
  • I hope that the Rangers and Kings meet in the Stanley Cup Final.  The other option: a Kings versus Devils final would not seem so glamorous.  The New Jersey Devils are the Atlanta Braves of ice hockey.
  • To access YouTube so easily is a wonderful thing, but Tony is going to be spoiled.  My son loves watching videos of whatever his obsessions are.    Currently, they are diggers and firetrucks.
  • I brought my grooming kit with me with in my backpack.  Going through the X-ray machine in Shanghai, I had the tweezers confiscated.
  • Tony slept the entire Vancouver to Winnipeg flight which was a good thing.  However, he was awake and whiny most of the Shanghai-Vancouver flight and so earned the wrath of some passengers other than just his parents.  He slept for about an hour at the beginning of the flight which was wonderful.  But he woke up and started whining and wouldn't let Dad watch a movie or listen to a podcast.  He kept telling his father to take him to the bathroom so he could pee.  A few times that he was taken, he didn't pee and so he left his parents with the impression that he was bored and went to the john for something to do.  He also ran up and down the aisles of the plane and his Dad couldn't catch him.  His behavior was such that one of the flight attendants asked his father if he was special.  It wouldn't surprised me if Tony was,  Dad replied.
  • Now, I don't know if Tony was that bad, his parents were  lazy or a particular woman was being particularly cranky on the long Shanghai-Vancouver flight, but she told me to quiet Tony, "that kid of yours!", down because people were trying to sleep.  I said okay to her and spent the rest of the flight, even more annoyed than Tony had already made me till that point.  My first thought, about what this lady had said,  was that she wasn't telling me anything I  didn't already know.  Other than pleading with Tony  there wasn't much I could do.  Disciplining him with a spanking would have only made it harder for her to sleep.  And if I had lost my temper with Tony, I would have most definitely lost it with her.  I just ended up stewing all the more, patiently telling Tony to shush it when I could.  The flight was an ordeal that had to be borne I assured myself.  I didn't bother looking at the woman again.  She was seated to my left and behind.  ( I should mention that Tony was on my right seated in between Jenny and me.)  From what I could remember, she was past child-bearing age and looked like she had  had face-lifts gone bad.  She was Canadian, I assume, and had short hair. 
  • I recall, now, a report I had heard about young children being banned from first class seating, and I figured that this woman was part of that mind set.  With this in mind, I thought how,  for the first time, I was directly confronted by the mindset.  I recall one time when I had ridden a bus from Wuxi to Nanjing and there was a crying baby that was driving me mad.  I didn't have children then so I had no sympathy.  Now that I do Tony, I know that the childless me was lacking in empathy, just like that woman.
  • I should have asked her if she had had kids.  I could tell by her looks that she probably hadn't.
  • Tony did raise the ire of another passenger but, on that score, I do have to plead mea culpa.  Tony was playing with the fold-down table top and shaking the chair that it was on.  I let him, against my better judgement, continue doing it because I thought I didn't see anyone sitting in the seat in front.  When a man arose to complain, he was seated to the seat of the right,  I quickly chided Tony to show I was annoyed with him too, and I could only think how long it was before he finally had the nerve to say something.
  • Later, Tony started playing with some children who were seated close to us.  He and this three year old Chinese boy were soon seated beside each other, and me, while Tony was playing on the Ipad.  As they played, they did get out of hand and became loud for an instant.  As I moved to stop and quiet them, I noticed a flash of white out of the corner of my eye.  I didn't put two and two together till Jenny asked me about ten minutes later if I had thrown a pillow at her and the kids.   I pretended I misunderstood what she was saying but  I realized then that that woman had probably thrown a pillow at us.  I wasn't in a mood for a confrontation and I realized if I had told Jenny what had happened, there would have been an ungodly incident.  Jenny is a Tiger Mom, not as meek as me and not at all interested in avoiding confrontation as I am.  I just let it go, wanting more than ever for the flight to get to Vancouver.  
  • I told Jenny what had happened after we had gotten off the flight and had made it through customs.  She is still annoyed by what happened, but I did the right thing in not telling her till afterwards.  Don't mess with a Tiger Mom!!  Don't have confrontations on planes.
  • During out eight hour stay in Vancouver, we spent some time at a house of former students of mine.
  • The flight to Winnipeg was delayed two hours.  It sounded like they couldn't find a plane for the fight.  Carry-on luggage space was quickly taken up and the staff had to check some luggage into another spot on the plane.
  • In the end, I have the satisfaction of having known that  that woman was pissed off without having known the full magnitude of my magnanimity in not telling my wife about it right away.
  • One more thing, I noticed.  Air Canada, I have heard, is having labor troubles.  I overheard one of the flight attendants say he didn't want to do his job for twelve more years.  Jenny later asked me why all the staff was so old.  They were unionized I told her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



300 am, we arrived in Winnipeg.

We are staying at my brother's place.

Sent from my iPod

Monday, May 21, 2012


Internet freedom, that is.

Sent from my iPod


The flight was an ordeal!

But, here we are!

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the Way to Canada!

I am making this entry at the Burger King in the Shanghai Pudong Airport.  

We will be in Canada in about 16 hours!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ten Men Eating Sugar Cane

  • This will be my last written entry (I may make some photo entries via Ipod) before I go to Canada.  I look forward to seeing my relatives, a few old friends and acquaintances, and my parents.  My Dad is very sick and I hope to provide him and my Mom some comfort.  My wife Jenny, I expect, will be stellar in this regard and put me to shame.
  • I wish I could have taken a photo.  I saw ten men standing on the side of the road, all eating sugar cane.  Sugar cane is about the same diameter as a banana.  But instead of being eaten, it has to be sucked. 
  • Carrefour has a good selection of adapters if you decide to bring you Chinese laptop to North America.  Hat Tip to the True Git for telling me this. 
  • When I bought the adapter at Carrefour, I stood in line to pay for it.  A person behind me, with what I thought was a cart, pushed the "cart" right against the back of my leg.  This annoyed me and I looked back and saw an older woman.  The line moved, I moved ahead, and so did the woman.  She again pushed the "cart" against the back of my leg.  I got more annoyed and stood still to block her.  The line moved ahead again and again the "cart" was pushed against my leg.  This time I felt a wheel against my foot and decided to gently kick it.  I looked behind to give the woman the "evil eye" and saw that she was pushing a stroller with child.  There was nothing I could do then but forget about it.  This behavior I have experienced numeours times before in lines to buy tickets and McDonald's where a person would practically reach around me instead of waiting an instance.  Telling another foreigner about this, he recounted similar experiences and always with older people.
  • Some things you see, you shouldn't talk aloud about.  I know this, but stupidly in certain situations when I have a desire to talk so as to be heard, I violate this rule of conduct.  Last Sunday, I saw this person with a deformity on the street.  The man looked to be a foreigner.  I saw him as I was headed to McDonald's while tagging along with some teachers from my school.  When we arrived in McDonald's and got in line to order, I asked the teachers if that deformed man I had just seen was a foreigner.  It was then pointed out to me that the man was standing in front of us in the lineup.  I can just imagine what my face looked out when I realized.  I can tell you how I felt.  I was overcome with a stricken feeling that was akin to being suddenly slapped on the face.  I had to leave, I thought; but I was unsure what exactly to do.  I decided, finally, to go the restaurant's bathroom.  I did my business, went out a side entrance of the restaurant, and again returned to the restaurant via the front entrance where I had followed the foreigner without noticing -- this time, I was on the look out for him.  I can only thank God that I felt stricken at my stupidity and thoughtlessness.
  • I try to take photos of Bus Stops.  This fellow takes photos of mops.
  • Maybe, I will take a photo of a bus stop in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
  • I have tried to explain how much open space there is in Canada to the students by telling them about Brandon's location in Manitoba.  I draw a circle and write 30,000 beside it, telling the students that's how many people live in Brandon.  I then draw a line and write 200 km over it to indicate its length.  Brandon, I tell the students is at one end of the line.  At the other end of the line I write 600,000 -- that is the population, more or less, of Winnipeg, the biggest city in Manitoba (Brandon is the second).  I tell the students that along that line there is nothing, except a city, Portage, with a population of 15,000.  You don't even have to leave the Wuxi city limits to find ten cities or villages of similar population as Brandon!
  • Rain on Saturday which reminds me that I won't be going to B.C. on this Canada trip.
  • I saw an old man, on the bus, tell a younger person to yield his seat to older people.  The old man then tried to give the seat to an older woman.  She declined and so he took the seat himself.
  • I taught a student, in Beginner Private Class One, who told me she was studying golf.  I learned that she has gone to California to train.  I asked her what her handicap was.  She told me she hadn't any; she was always making eagles and birdies.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Podcasts, Canada, Toaster, Manchester City Highlights

  • I have discovered another podcast worth downloading all the time.  It is the World of Words, a podcast about language.  I first heard about it on National Review's blog the Corner and then in the latest episode of the China History Podcast.
  • By the way, the China History Podcast is now discussing the Cultural Revolution.  As always the podcast is very informative but the host Laslzo Montgomery made a curious comment comparing the investigation of the Kennedy Assassination to the deification of Lei Feng by the Chinese Communists.  I felt compelled to send him an email about it.
  • In less than a week, I will be in Canada.  I should start packing.  My wife has been buying gifts, mostly food, for the relatives.  I thought about buying gifts, but thanks to my natural cheapness and my wife's controlling of the money supply, I didn't.  As I thought about it,  I wondered what souvenirs I could buy.  Wuxi doesn't sell much Wuxi stuff that I would consider bringing back to Canada.  And with so much being made in China, what can one bring back?
  • We just bought a toaster.  It was over a year ago that the last toaster we had conked out.  So for a year, I didn't have toast.  So, it is good to be back in civilization even though I burnt the bread on my first toasting attempt and Jenny is mad at me for doing so!
  • I was watching the highlights of the amazing Man City comeback against the Queens Park Rangers on youku. (The first link is with  English commentary.  Here is a link with Spanish or Brazilian commentary.   Compare.  The second link is quite amazing, especially when the announcers break into song!  Nah Na Na Nah!  Nah Na Na Nah!  Hey Hey Hey!  Quena Viero?!?)

A Game of Cards on a Wuxi Street

I took this photo as I was riding the bus.

Jenny & Tony on May 13, 2012

Jenny Gets a Massage

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Now, I can make a blog entry by walking into my apartment

Readers of all the AKIC and TKIC blogs may have noticed that I have been taking photos with my Ipod Touch and posting them to my blogs.

I have discovered that I can take a photo with my Ipod touch and then make an email containing the photo, which I can then send to my blogs (or my parents) as soon as the Ipod can access Wifi.

So on Sunday, I took some photos while riding the bus, put them in an email while riding the bus, and then had them posted to my blogs by walking into my apartment which has Wifi.

Sunday Morning on the #25 Bus


Saturday Afternoon, I had a student who named herself Nana in one of my classes.  I made reference to the Nah Na Na Nah, Na Na Na Na song whenever I asked her to speak.  (I refer to the song that they play at sporting events to mock the losers.)

Saturday Evening, I then read this article by John Derbyshire.  He opens the article by making mention of the novel Nana by Emile Zola.

It was a day of Nana, I tell ya!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jenny's New Do

Trifling Observations

  • In less than two weeks I will in Canada -- only the second time in Eight years.
  • This trip will be modest in its ambitions.  I am only looking to buy shoes.  I expect to be spending a lot of time hanging out at 2121 Queens Avenue in Brandon, Manitoba.
  • Monday, I did some classes at a primary school.  It was a pleasant enough experience.  But one student insisted that doing homework was a hobby.
  • On an epub that I downloaded onto my Ipod Trouch, I found this quote from Ambrose Bierce:  "Before praising the wisdom of the man who knows how to hold his tongue ascertain if he know how to hold his pen."  It applies to me, in a way.  You have been warned!
  • Z Visa holders have to pay into a pension in China.  Ouch!
  • The students say Americans are straight-talkers and lovers of freedom.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tony on the steps below the Wuxi Big Buddha

33 Degrees Celsius

  • That was the high temp in Wuxi on Monday.
  • I don't know if this was a sign of the fact that it was hot or if it was something I never noticed before but should have; but I saw people drinking a lot of beer at lunch.  I assume that these fellows were working which explains a lot about the quality of Chinese workmanship.
  • Fucking Great Firewall of China!  I say this because I am having problems with my VPN.  Why can't China have Internet Freedom and become a country with civilized values?

Tony Kaulins Prays

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I wish I had a camera!

  • Saturday, from the bus I was taking to work, I saw two dogs screwing on the side of the road.  One of the dogs had a very happy look on his face, and was looking around like he wanted an audience to appreciate his enjoyment.
  • Finish the beer Daddy!

Tony took a photo of Jenny!!!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

View from My Kitchen Window

Ron Paul versus Paul Krugman

Watch them debate here!

It is the first time I have heard Krugman speak.  I always figured his voice would be really, really, whiny!   

Still, Ron Paul kicked his ass!

Too bad, Ron Paul is so stupid about U.S. foreign policy!!

Jenny squats!

Chicken Coop!

In my in-law's compound.

Beixin Relatives




Notes from trip to Beixin

April 30, 2012

I am in Beixin for the May Day holiday. I won't be here for long. We, that be the wife and son and me, will stay but one night.

The bus ride here was pleasant enough. I read a book and then listened to podcasts on my IPod. The view from the bus was grand. I saw the Yangtze, green countryside, tombs decorated with brightly-colored flowers and so many people. "Soak it in and remember it all for when you return to Canada!" I told myself.

I have bought Tony a toy truck. Every time I come to Beixin, I buy him a toy at a shop which is across the street from my wife's old school.

I have tried to take Tony for two walks. On the first one, I bought him the toy. It was a bribe to get him to accompany me farther than a block from the inlaws' compound. He doesn't like exploring at this stage of his life development. And as soon as he got the toy, he wanted to go back to the compound. Inexplicably, I took him on a second walk. I had intended to go it alone, but Tony wanted to come along. He immediately then wanted to tell me where to go. I went my way, and the locals were treated to the sight of a foreigner carrying, on his shoulders, a whining and bawling toddler. Tony, in fact, cried the entire walk.

The third walk of the day, I did go by myself on a potato chip purchasing mission. Tony wanted them. As I walked to a store, a trio of kids started jumping up and down like monkeys at the sight of me. As they kept circling me, I got annoyed and eventually told the chubby one of the trio to "f" off. They left me alone after that. I don't know how what I did went over with them. They may or may not have understood me. If they did, how they understood is a question that can't be clearly explained. They may have left me alone because I left their zone of wandering.

May 1

Went on one more walk yesterday. It was Tony's idea. Following his directions, we went to the toy store. He got another toy, an orange digger machine, after I told him for twenty minutes that I wouldn't buy it for him. He cried and cried, Tony did, till I agreed to buy it. I was then able to go back to the compound without carrying Tony on my shoulders. He sensed then that he had to give something back to Dad. I don't think I have ever before taken a walk with Tony without him insisting on being carried.

While having my battle of will with Tony at the shop, I saw one of the annoying trio of kids. "Hey Englishee!" he yelled at me. I tried to ignore him. But it was hard to do because he was so loud and determined to show me he could speak English. He entered the shop and spoke the English words for some items on the shelves. As he was doing this, I decided to buy Tony the orange digger. Tony and I then quickly left the store and returned to the compound.

I later recalled another instance when I heard a foreigner being called "English." It was in the great film Lawrence of Arabia.

I have watched four episodes of Breaking Bad. What else is there to do? It is now raining heavily.

Sent from my iPod