Welcome to this weekly depiction of my quiet and measured existence.
Gratitude What to be thankful for this week? Well, I suppose there are plenty of things for which I should be thankful like life, my wife, and a current minimum of strife. (I wrote this early in the week. By the time, Sunday rolled around, the strife had become maximal.)
Acknowledgement I have my moments of physical cowardice. I remember crying, when I was in the Canadian militia, because of the kick from firing a 7.62 mm FN rifle. I also have my moments of moral cowardice, but that is another story for another weekly blog entry: the acknowledgement or confession section.
Request America. Vote for Romney!! He isn't at all self-righteously narcissistic.
The Wuxi Corrupt Officials
The Corrupts lost their first game of the season 86-25. Three of their players had byes for the matchup -- that is, they didn't play in any games because their team wasn't scheduled and so the Corrupts had less players with which to score points. The Corrupts are 5-1.
Canada Ain't Cool
America elected a cool guy to be president, and look where it got them. Many Americans have looked North with envy at the uncool but efficient Prime Minister that the Canadians got. We elected our cool guy in the 1970s, suffered on account of it, and are still trying to extricate ourselves from the damage he caused.
Links of the Week
Shilobrats CFB Shilo is a military base in southwestern Manitoba near Brandon. I lived there on two occasions in 1976-77 and 1980-81. My time there was bittersweet. My days of loneliness began there.
The Language Police Are Retarded After the third presidential debate, Ann Coulter tweeted this: "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard." Good on her for saying this. Obama's approach to the debate was narcissisticly self-righteous like a Chicom trying to justify his party's lock on power in China.
Leacock (Nonsense Novels, Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada), Shakespeare (Henry V), and Mary FitzGibbon (A Trip to Manitoba).
- Day off.
- It is raining. I will be staying at home waiting for Tony to come back from school.
- I published this entry in the WCE Blog. If you don't want to look at the entry, I will tell you that it had the word philosopher in the title. After I published the entry, I looked at my Gmail and I got a message from Twitter saying that some philosophy tweeter was following me. This came about because I use Gmail to publish my blog entries. The blogs are tied into my Twitter account so that the publishing is advertised on Twitter. When I publish the blog entry, I will also get an email saying the entry had been published. The email from my blog was immediately followed by the email from Twitter.
- I had lunch at the Hui Shan Century Times Plaza. I meet Michael, a local who lives in the area. He tells me that there is a plan to open a Carrefour on Hui Shan Da Dao near the White House.
- I was reading Stephen Leacock. I was very amused. I am full of ideas for the WCE Blog.
- Tony's homework was to print the number 9 over and over again.
- For Supper: Hot Dogs. I let them overcook so that they swelled and became bent out of shape, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.
- I should have taken a photo while in the Hui Shan Tesco of these countrysiders who stared hard at me. There were five of them standing so close together like they were afraid they lose each other if they even separated for a distance of more than a meter.
- Mother Angelica gave the following example of false compassion. A woman lets her husband and her mistress live with her. When told she should kick them out, the woman says she can't because she worries they won't be able to survive on their own. Mother Angelica said the woman should have kicked them out of her home anyway. I have witnessed so much false compassion in my time in Wuxi, I don't know where to begin. I should say that I am thinking of the foreigners doing this. I remember seeing this kids being rowdy near our school. They were kicking public benches trying to remove the slats. When I wondered aloud why something wasn't being done about it, I had a trainer say to me that I was being harsh -- they were just kids after all. Another example is the foreigner who mocks locals for listening to their parents.
- I nearly watched all of the movie Cowboys versus Aliens. I gave up on it with nine minutes to go because I figured I knew what was going to happen. How I stuck with the movie so long seems as implausible to me as the movie's story was, but I did.
- Tony sat with me on the bed as I played with the computer. I had to show him train-related things. He wasn't interested in watching the Chronicles of Narnia movie.
- Day off for me. Tony will have a short day. He is going to the Three Kingdoms Park (pinyin: San Guo Qian). He had to get off to school thirty minutes earlier but will be home at 1:30.
- I spend the morning on the laptop. I listen to the third presidential debate, write an email to my sister, and edit future entries in my WCE Blog.
- The third debate. I will listen to it on the computer on the Fox News Radio site.
- The weather: Sunny. Great for Tony's school field trip.
- Breakfast: Toast and Tea. Mmmm! Yummy!!!
- Tournament Eight: Team I defeats Team F 4 to 2 in a League One Championship Quarterfinal matchup. Team I will meet Team A in a semifinal.
- The Debate was supposed to be about Foreign Policy! It is going off topic big time! How did class sizes come up?
- Personally, I prefer classes no bigger than one, if the one student is making the effort. If your teaching style is interactive, class sizes of five or more don't work. If you are lecturing, it makes no difference what the size of the class is. And lectures are probably the most inefficient way of teaching.
- I ate fish, crab, and cauliflower at a restaurant in the Wanda Plaza. All the while, I read Stephen Leacock's Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada. The restaurant was not so much a restaurant as a Dining Hall. There were at least a hundred people in the room!
- I work 1300-2100. I do an English corner at 1400. I teach a company class 1700-1900. I return to school to teach an 2000 class. (classes are 55 minutes)
- English Corner: How are you? Fine. Good. Okay. Not Bad. What's New? Anything New? No. Nothing. Not much. It's a common day.
- My mood: What is the point of living? No!!! I am not contemplating suicide. I have got responsibilities that I dare not escape. But, I just can't see anything getting me excited at this point.
- No coins in my change purse. I had to sneak into the coin can to resupply. Usually this doesn't happen.
- I was going to take the 602. But then the 25 bus pulls in ahead. The 25 has available seats. So, I take the 25. It's nice to have a choice.
- On the 25 bus, all wear jackets but the foreigner.
- I work 1000-2100.
- Weather: Rain, but not heavy.
- A driver pissed me off as I was heading to work. Here is what I tapped into My Ipod about it: Asshole Driver: You put a ******** in a car and he/she becomes an *******. You can fill in the blanks. Drivers don't yield to pedestrians here. I saw a driver in a red Honda trying to make a right turn by weaving through crossing pedestrians. I saw him head to his left hoping for a gap to drive through. The gap, he was heading to, closed to him so he quickly headed to his right to a gap forming behind the pedestrians who had closed his first gap. I took an immediate dislike to the driver's aggressive style and as I was heading in the opposite direction of these pedestrians, I made a point of it to block the second gap to the driver. The driver was about to accelerate to grab the space the gap but I held my ground and continued walking to block the gap. The driver had to stop and I saw him, with a look of unjustified consternation, rapidly turning his steering wheel. Later: I fantasize about confronting him. "You know, in civilized countries, drivers yield to pedestrians!" I blame this habit on China having been a Communist country. Communism and Socialism always produce the opposite effects that they intend among the population. Instead of making people more courteous, Communism and Socialism forces everyone to be for himself. This selfishness results in a decrease in material prosperity and public courtesy.
- Later on the bus, I was feeling pissed at the other passengers. One of them decided that he was going to exit the bus from the back door of a long three-door bus. On these buses which are long, passengers are expected to exit from the middle door. This guy decided that was going to exit the back door and so he crowded in onme, who had just gone on the bus, to the side. I wanted to elbow him, but I held back.
- Last night, in Tournament Eight, I finished the quarterfinal rounds of the two league championships. I will play one set of league semifinals Thursday evening, the other set Friday evening, and play the two league championship games on Saturday.
- A new thing that I have added to my routine at school. When I arrive, and then after finally getting the machine to recognize the fingerprint of one of my middle fingers, I will pull out my Ipod Touch. Near the check-in machine is reception and about the only spot in the school where I can get WiFi. I update my emails, sending the blog entries I just made on my Ipod to the Internet to places like my email account or my blogs.
- I had one student in a 1000 am class. I asked him about his plans for the rest of the day, and he told me that he was going to fire a BB gun with his friends. Finding this an interesting way to spend one's mid-week afternoon, I asked him for more details. He told me that he and his buddy were going to use the BB gun to shoot holes in cans and to kill birds. He told me he got the BB gun on the Internet, even thought it was illegal. "You can easily buy illegal things on the Internet in China!" he told me.
- I work 1100-2100.
- Jenny and Tony have gone to Beixin (her hometown). Jenny is changing her paperwork so that she can become a resident of Wuxi. The stupid system that tied Chinese to their village remains in place.
- I won't be doing much with my so-called time of freedom.
- I feel ennui today. I don't know if I will make a long entry.
- Annoying thing: I can't get the RSS Reader on my Ipod Touch without the use of my VPN. This suddenly started happening last night.
- I killed six mosquitoes last night. Also annoying.
- Tony likes to tell his Mother that I hit him when I didn't. It was his way of revenging me for making him get dressed.
- At 1100, I had a private class with a VIP student who came late. He was a university student studying Interior Design in Singapore. His lateness was a lethargic one. He looked like he had nothing to worry about -- the spoiled man-child of rich Chinese parents. We get a lot of them at our school.
- So much for the feeling of ennui. Jenny and Tony took the Taxi to the Bus Station. I accompanied them. Our driver went a different way to the station. Instead of taking a freeway to the bus station, the driver took a "back" way. We passed a large area full of rubble, half-demolished buildings and piles of trash. It was shocking to me that this area could be so close to the center of the city and so near its brand spanking new train station. Wuxi is being done over in a bigger way that I can imagine.
- There is this fellow. He's a local. He is kind of a hustler, a guy on the make. He always tries to talk to me on the bus. He tells me he is looking for foreigners to go hiking with. I tell him I never have the time and that I don't know any foreigners who have the time either. Anyway, I saw this guy at my school. I ran into him in the hallway after finishing a class. He gave me his business card. On it is a picture of him with two big blonde foreign women. He tells me that if I ever need a foreign woman, I can talk to him....
- I work 1000-1800. I arrive at school at 900. I should mention that I almost always arrive an hour early for my shift. If I arrived ten minutes before the start of my shift, I would feel physically ashamed of myself.
- Today's my anniversary! Six years, Jenny and I have been married. Oh! How time flies!
- Remember the anniversary song from the Flintstones? If you do, you can sing along with me: Today's my anniversary! Today's my anniversary! Today's my anniversary! Today's my anniversary! There's nothing quite as wonderful as having an anniversary! Especially on a day you have to work! Oh! So! Today's my anniversary! Today's my anniversary! Today's my anniversary! Today's my anni-veeeeeeeeeeeeer-si-ryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
- Last night, the wife and son were unexpectedly home. My wife didn't stay in Beixin like she had planned.
- On the way to work, I saw the police trying to shoo away a beggar who had plopped himself down near the entrance to an open air market. I also saw a old man being put into a police van. What was strange about the second sight was that the man seemed so dignified and thus harmless.
- An annoying sort of student comes to the school on the weekend: the full-time student whose parents have been making them English classes on their time off. They don't want to be there, and will play with their I-phones through the entire class. I just can't be bothered to take their phones away. As I say, I go through the motions at work these days.
- I wonder how the U.S. election will turn out. I suppose it will be close. I am feeling optimistic about a Romney win. I just wish he could be more of a conservative and a leader, instead of a panderer in the worst tradition of the Democratic Party.
- A student told me he was tired because he was studying about HS codes. These codes are needed to classify products for export. The classifications are important for tariff reasons. The codes tell you a lot about the product like what materials are used in its manufacture. My first reaction to this was to say how unnecessary and bureaucratic it all seemed. Thus, I told the student I was a free-trader. I asked the student what was done in the case of products that defy classification. He said experts were used to make pronouncements on these issues. The student's job was to consult companies who misclassified their products and thus became subject to fines.
- I work 1000-1800.
- I didn't completely hold back today.
- Saturday evening, was train night with Tony. I was proud of one of my configurations. I had a stretch of track riding atop another. Tony enjoyed this, and I had to make similar configuration on Sunday evening.
- I listen to EWTN podcasts. I try to make myself do this every Sunday. I was listening to the Coming Home show featuring interviews with converts to Catholicism. There was something said in the interview that will stick with me for a long time and may contribute to my current vice, which has been to be very aloof at work -- hiding in my office and not getting out unless duty absolutely demands its. The convert talked of the loneliness that his conversion brought on him. He said he had to find new friends. This, I have to do. Probably via the Internet. There is no one whom I cross paths with now that I can deal with.
- I feel disdain for everyone I see today. Here it goes:
- I get annoyed at students and their bloody imprecise sentences. I tell them: It isn't the bloody cultural revolution anymore. You don't have to make vague and meaningless sentences!
- I am ashamed to admit I am an English teacher sometimes. The students don't seem to learn anything, and far too many of the teachers I encounter are, for lack of a better word or for fear of using a dirty word, human refuse. Far too many English teachers are alcoholics, letches, perverts, loafers and here in China for nefarious reasons. Teaching for them is just a way to pass the time -- they couldn't care less if the students learn anything.
- I also have to admit that I have lowered myself to their level. I deal with it by becoming cynical and aloof.
- Pens are good for whacking students on the side of the head. One of those properly delivered in my English Conrer shut up two little miscreants real good.
- At 430 pm, I just want to go home and hug my wife & son.
- Taking the bus home, I saw a group of male adolescents crowded together. They caught my eye because they were all trying to sneak glances at me. I decided that I would try to take a photo of them doing this with my Ipod Touch Camera. They stopped doing this but decided to sit on each other's laps when two seats became available. I took a photo of that.
- Tournament Eight. Team I won the League 1 Championship by defeating Team K 10-8 in the final. Team I has a record of 6-0. In League 2, Team W defeated Team X 2-1 in the final. The championships were the first for both teams.
- The tournament will now enter the championship qualifying phase. The sixteen second and third place finishers from the eight four-team groups will compete for four spots in the 12 team Championship tournament. The four eventual qualifiers will join the eight group winners already in the tournament.
- I phone my Mom in the evening. It is minus seven degrees centigrade in Brandon, Manitoba. I find myself missing the cold. Having lived in British Columbia and then China, I haven't experienced a good crisp Canadian cold for the longest time.