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.

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