Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 20 to 26 Blog Entry

The Summer busy time winds down at my school as most of our summer students go away.

But much more importantly, the weather has cooled.  Even though it is overcast, the coolness has put everyone in a good mood.

This entry will be longer than last week's because I have realized that I can use my Ipod Touch to help me with my blogging.  I can make notes in the Ipod anywhere and have them emailed to my gmail account.   When I get in the range of WiFi, the note is magically sent to my gmail where I do my blog-composing

Gratitude   It has been wonderful to watch Tony grow up these past five years.

Acknowledgement  If I hadn't married, I wouldn't still be in Wuxi.

Request  Make comments on my blogs.  And make them nasty if you are so inclined.  I really am curious what you think.  Indifference is the worst thing,

Canada ain't Cool (Which is a very good thing!)
One of my favorite Canadians is Preston Manning.  Despite his nerdy-looking glasses and his evangelical protestant ways, Manning was able to create a new political party that would eventually win enough seats to become the official opposition.  The Leftists said he was a racist hayseed.  Nothing was further from the truth of course, but that is the way the cool (who are all leftists) people in Canada think.

Sleepy Bao Bao  
Tony goes back to school which means that he and Dad do a short session of sleepy-bao-bao.  That is, he and Dad snooze together on the couch before it is time for them to go to the van that picks them up.

Wuxi Metro Subway has no money?  
That is what some students have told me.  The implications of this are scary.  The construction could just stop which would be a disaster.  Or the cash-strapped subway ruins transit in Wuxi as it sucks money away from buses.

I live fairly close to a subway stop but not close enough for it to be convenient for me.  I will have to walk twenty minutes to get to the stop or pay a taxi to get me to it.

I also observe that the subway line near Casa K runs near nothing but empty fields full of rubble.

Chinese Lovers Day came on August 23rd this year.  I was able to leave work at 8pm an so saw streets more crowded than usual, and street hawkers selling roses.  I didn't buy any of course -- cheap bastard that I am.

Student w/ IPod Touch
He tells me he uses his to watch movies.  He didn't know what Podcasts were.

Tony's Fifth Birthday on August 23
He wanted KFC chicken.  He was happy with his presents.

Wall Street is coming!
I have heard that the chain of English Schools would be coming to Wuxi for two years now.  And finally it will be starting up in Wuxi in the Fall.  What will it mean for the Wuxi English School Market?  Who can say.  I hear reports of the Chinese economy tanking.  If this is the case, then the English School Market in Wuxi could be over-saturated.

Another problem in the Wuxi English School Market I have heard about is the difficulty of getting teachers.  When I came, all you needed was a degree and a TEFL or TOEFL certificate.   No experience was necessary!  Now, English teachers have to have two years of teaching experience before they come here.  I have heard of one case of a teacher, who had taught here for four years without degree, having acquired a degree, only to be told his previous experience didn't count and so he couldn't come to China.

The practice of teaching on a tourist visa has also been stopped by the Chinese government.  If you want to get a Chinese tourist visa, you have to prove you are going to be a tourist.

It is all good for me I would suppose!  A decline in supply could mean higher wages!  Or so I hope!

Student came back from Taiwan   Said it was beautiful.

Is This Art?
I did an English Corner about Art.  I found twenty photos of art or so-called art on the Internet.  I showed the photos of tattoos, conceptual art, advertising, propaganda, cartoons, famous guys named Art, classic art, and Modern Art to see what the students thought was art and what wasn't.  Their opinions varied with some students taking a consevative view of what was art, and some saying everything, including tattoos, was art.  I complimented on the students on seeming to have a good understanding of what art was as native English speakers.

The students didn't think much of my showing pictures Art Linkletter and Art Garfunkel, and asking if they were art.  Or rather, they didn't seem to get the joke.

I don't think there are any persons named "Art" who are famous in China.

I showed the students a CR poster showing a tractor driver holding a little red book.  They told me that it wasn't art and that it wasn't popular anymore

My Nightly Routine, Lately
I read a chapter of the Lord of the Rings (an actual book) and Our Mutual Friend (e-book) every night.  I am chomping at the bit to start reading some Dostoevsky which I have on Ipod.  So many books to read!  So little time!

Cigarette in Mouth
Worker with cigarette in mouth as he stands in a shallow gondola.  He waits for a crane to lift him to a side of building where he can perform an elevated task.

So overloaded was the e-bike that it was swerving big-time.  I have this overloaded e-bike on video but not the swerving.

Lance Armstrong isn't a hero anymore

I had written a satirical article using Niel Armstrong as a foil.  I first checked to see if he was alive.  He was before I started the article, though he was either dead or about to die when I published the article on Saturday evening.  Sunday morning, I read he had died.

I don't understand!**
When people preface a sentence with this in debate,  it is really meant to put the other person down.  There is also an assumption, on the part of the person who prefaces the sentence, that he or she possesses a superior intelligence or has more common sense.

When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me, the saying goes.  In the case where people use I don't understand as a debate tactic, they really showing they are asses with no understanding.

Wouldn't it better to show you understand why the person believes or says what he says, and show him why he is wrong?  Rush Limbaugh, I remember was a master of doing this.  Too many on the Left scoff.

** Examples of this that prompted this entry:  I don't understand why people go to church!  I don't understand why anyone would be Catholic!

Saturday Morning
Grass cutters at work just outside our apartment at six a.m.

Then, on the way to bus stop, I saw a 610 bus and a van racing.  The van, which was on the left-hand side of the bus, was trying to get ahead of the bus so it could return to its normal lane, but the bus wouldn't let it.  Perhaps, the van driver had angered the bus driver who has getting his revenge.  I have seen bus drivers exhibit road rage on many occasions here in China.  I will never forget the time that a driver swerved his bus on purpose at the cab of a truck that had cut him off.  For a instance, I was sitting about a foot from the cab of the truck!

Saturday Bus Ride to Work
1) I listen to a podcast of Andrew Briebart talking to Dennis Prager.  I love the story Briebart tells about how a rock station, he was listening to, began to play Nirvana and Pearl Jam, instead of the the music of Depeche Mode and New Order that he liked.  He ended up listening to talk radio and Rush Limbaugh, and converted to conservatism

I remember hating Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  They just weren't as good as the Clash and Husker Du and the Replacements and the Smiths and New Order, all of who had been around years before.  It annoyed me that these grunge bands, who were really a vulgarization of punk and alternative music,  became popular.  

I didn't listen to Rush Limbaugh because of them, however I remember listening to him out of curiosity and then becoming a convert.  The people who hate him probably don't listen to him or have closed minds.

Briebart also talked about how the leftists attack the messenger savagely.  Case in point:  Niall Ferguson who wrote a damning article in Newsweek about Barack Obama saying he shouldn't be re-elected president.  My RSS Feed of Leftist sites was full of articles calling Ferguson a liar and and a charlatan.

2) I began the practice of blogging while standing on the bus.

3) Parts of the Wuxi that I see from the bus make me think of Isengard in the Lord of the Rings:  Lots of waste and rubble.

4)  I see students dressed in camouflage uniforms boarding buses.  In fact, I see a lot of students and a lot of buses.  I was able to take this photo with my Ipod:

First year university students often have to do a month or so of military training.

Sunday podcast routine
I listen to EWTN for the whole day.  Sunday is the Lord's Day after all.

Mother Angelica to a person taking a crying baby out of the studio, said: "Don't take the child away.  He is just being a little boy.  Don't bother me none!"     I say:  "God bless her!"

Another Foreigner in the Hui Shan District of Wuxi, China.
I saw a foreigner riding an Ebike near Casa Kaulins.  I got a brief nod of acknowledgement.  

There goes the neighborhood!

I see a foreign child at the Hui Shan People's Square
Sunday evening, I was watching Tony play in a sandbox at the Hui Shan People's Square:  the People's Square local to Casa Kaulins.

This sandbox is, in fact, a plastic kids wading pool with pebbles thrown in it instead of water.  In the sandbox, there ware plastic toy shovels, diggers, and dump trucks for the kids to play with.  Tony loves playing in this sandbox, and would play in it every evening if he could, as do lots of other kids.

Sunday evening, I noticed that one of the other kids, a little girl of about three years of age, had brown hair.  Looking at her more closely, I saw that the girl was definitely not completely Chinese.  I looked around the sandbox for a foreigner but didn't see any.  I saw that the adults accompanying her must have been her Chinese grandparents.  

The grandfather noticed me and asked, in Chinese, if I was Tony's parent.  He pointed out his granddaughter to me and said her father was Canadian.  I told him I was Canadian as well.  He told me the girl's father worked in Shanghai.  I gave him the card for my school when I could tell him, in Chinese, where I worked.

It was a rare opportunity for me to speak Chinese.

Sunday 6 a.m.
Lawnmower engine blaring outside our apartment at 600 am on Sunday!

My Sunday Morning Bus Ride to Work
I had to stand.  I was too smart for my own good and my efforts to get a seat ended up wasting about twenty minutes of time standing at the bus stop.

The Bus Driver blares shrill horn  long and loudly at an Ebiker who has wandered into intersection.

Inside the bus, an older woman holds umbrella over a young girl to shield her from the morning sun.  The young girl is engrossed in a mobile phone game. Like an noble sitting in a sedan chair, she seemed oblivious to the favour being done, taking it to be her natural right.

In the right turn lane, cars and bikes and pedestrians begin to make a turn as they now have the green light.

Jin Jiang Grand Hotel Buffet Memory
Saturday evening, I went to the buffet on the twenty-something floor of the Jin Jiang Grand Hotel on Zhongshan Road with Tony and Jenny.  It wasn't a great buffet, but the view from this revolving restaurant was nice.

The previous time I ate at the Jim Jiang Grand Hotel Buffet was probably six years ago.  I went with AD and PN, both plump gentlemen.  I wrote in my blog entry, the next day, that to be with them at a buffet was to be like a fly on the wall when Napoleon and Clausewitz discussed military strategy.

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