Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Entry for January 21 to January 27, 2013

Gratitude: I am thankful for having a wife and son.
Acknowledgment: What do I have to acknowledge this week? Actually, it would be easier to not acknowledge anything. That is, what is a good thing I have done? I held the door open and let the woman go first -- a very reactionary thing to do in this day and age... But what I have really done wrong? Oh! Where to start? Where to start? Where to start? I got cavities. I don't floss....
Request: Pick a team to cheer for in Tournament #9. On Monday the 28th, it will be eight months since my father died. Please visit the page I have dedicated to him. I would like to make it the most visited page on my site.

Highlights of the week: I have discovered that people read my blog. I started to play Tournament #9. The school had its annual Chinese New Year dinner. I wore a cardigan my parents sent me a few years ago and wondered why I hadn't worn it more often. I was also adjusting to life with the Ipad Mini. The week ends with the mouse on my laptop going to shit.

What AKIC Is Reading this Week

Quotes AKIC likes
  • Thomas à Kempis: No man safely goeth abroad who loveth not to rest at home. No man safely talketh but he who loveth to hold his peace. No man safely ruleth but he who loveth to be subject. No man safely commandeth but he who loveth to obey.
  • Samuel Johnson (to the actor David Garrick): I'll come no more behind your scenes, David, for the silk stockings and white bosoms of your actresses excite my amourous propensities.

Don Colacho Quotes that AKIC likes this week
  • 635: A man is wise if he has no ambitions for anything but lives as if he had an ambition for everything.
  • 640: As poor and needy as it may be, every life has moments worthy of eternity.
  • 663: A Man is intelligent only if he is not afraid to agree with fools.
  • 665: Everybody feels superior to what he does, because he believes he is superior to what he is. Nobody believes he is the little that he really is.
  • 707:The struggle against disorder is nobler than order itself. The man who is master of himself is not as magnanimous as the man who suppresses the insurrection of his soul. The deepest silence is that of a terrified crowd.

Monday (the 21th)
  • It was painful for me to edit last week's blog entry yesterday evening. I couldn't go through the entire 10 pages of text without having to change or correct something. After five re-reads, I said "f*** it!" and published it. I will have to do more editing on a daily basis.
  • I didn't work today.
  • The water shortage didn't happen. So, I filled the tubs with water for no reason.
  • It rained so the K family stayed in the house.
  • I added some apps to my new Ipad Mini including a handwriting app, a mah jong app, a piano app, a spreadsheet app, a Yatzy app, and a NFL football app. I will quickly delete the mah jong app -- I am looking to play against three other computer players, not solve puzzles. I will also delete the NFL app -- I want to have two teams play a game, not do cumbersome drills.
  • The handwriting app makes me want to get a stylus. Jenny says there are some in the house but I doubt I will find them. Perhaps, the Apple store sells them.
  • My father loved playing Yatzhee.
  • I made a spreadsheet to calculate and make standings for Tournament #9. I have the spreadsheet set up so that I can enter games scores and get total wins, losses, ties, points for, points against, and standing points for each team. However, I don't know how to get the spreadsheet to sort the teams, by standing points, automatically. Once I get the game results, I have to cut, paste, and sort the numbers manually.
  • Farting around some more with the spreadsheets, I have discovered that I will be able to post the standings at AKIC wordpress, though not as date files but as picture files.

Tuesday (the 22nd)
  • I work 1300 to 2100.
  • Before work, I looked for a stylus for my Ipad. No luck. There was nothing at the Apple vendor. The stylus for the Samsung won't work on the Ipad. I then researched on the Internet and learned that if I want a stylus for handwriting on the Ipad, I am SOL. Apparently, none of the styluses designed for the Ipad are any good for writing.
  • At 100 PM, I will have a class with a girl named Cassie. When I hear the name Cassie, I imagine a perky twenty year old girl, with long hair, who is wearing jeans and a patterned shirt.
  • 200 PM: The girl looked like a Cassie. She was a first student at Shanghai University -- currently on her Spring Festival break.
  • 500 PM: Workers came into my office to replace that wallpaper that had been slowly peeling off the wall. It took them an hour and so my routine was buggered.
  • I don't have much to say other then my 300 PM class went well. The topic was multiculturalism and the students were very opinionated. One student Wang was vocally dismissive of Chairman Mao and the Chinese government. His opinions shocked and amused the other students. I have to say that the way he expressed his opinions, he did come across as a crank -- even if I agreed with him.
  • The class was also notable because I had two students named Paris and Helen. When taking attendance, the two students names came up consecutively. That is, I first noted Helen's presence and then Paris's. I asked Paris if she had seen the movie Troy. It turned out that she was familiar with the story and told me that she had a classmate who gave himself the English name of Achilles.
  • 1043 PM: I took out my back yesterday when I lifted Tony. I didn't feel the effects until today. It is hard for me to bend over -- I'd be of no use to anyone in prison.
  • There is one thing that can be said for the locals way of getting on buses -- the way is to jostle and elbow your way onto the bus before others so one can get a seat: If there is a pretty girl getting on the bus at the same time you can crowd into her.... But, I am married, so I am just putting that forth as a proposition to others, not a proposal to myself.

Wednesday (the 23rd)
  • I work 1300-2100 today.
  • I am still stiff. I stand up for twenty minutes morning and I will ache on my right side. Taking a shower, I had a hard time standing up straight.
  • I have got a proper VPN on my laptop again! Thanks to Mister Rudkin who is the eleventh greatest Englishman of all-time.
  • On the bus to work, I saw a young man wearing a jacket with a wide fur collar -- it didn't look right to me. He was surely wearing a female's jacket. He looked like a Shirley wearing a female's jacket.
  • While on the bus, I was so absorbed in my Chinese textbook that I missed my stop. So, forced to get off later than planned, I decided to walk through the downtown to get to my school, stopping off at a the Subway in the basement of Parkson's. Passing through Chongan Market, I wanted to get some photos to convey the looming quality of the skyscrapers being constructed in the area -- however, I was walking towards the sun.
  • Paying for a sandwich at Subway is annoying. What they do is give you an invoice for the sandwich which you have to take to a cashier's desk to pay. Today, the cashier's desk had a long lineup, and it being Wuxi, I couldn't determine where the lineup began and where ended. Meanwhile, there had been no lineup at the Subway to have my sandwich made.
  • English Schools in Wuxi are not allowed to employ part-time foreign teachers, but they do. I have heard that the government is cracking down on the practice. Inspectors will be visiting schools to make sure no part-timers are on the premises.
  • 507 PM: The first toss of Tournament #9, which was taken by Team Al of Group 1A, was a tail. Team A1 won the match defeating Team D 2-0.
  • In the day's second match, also in Group 1A, Team B defeated Team C 4-2.

Thursday (the 24th)
  • I work 1000 to 2100 today.
  • Last night, the bus, I was taking home, got caught in a traffic jam -- a strange thing at 920 PM, even for Wuxi. The reason? Roadwork. In Wuxi, they will work around the clock.
  • While on the bus, I listened to ReJoyce Podcast episodes #125 and #126. It looks like my prediction that I would be caught up to Frank Delaney who recently recorded episode #136 will come true.
  • This morning, the double decker bus was crowded. I went upstairs to see that all the seats were occupied. However, an old man saw me and he shuffled to the window seat so I could sit down beside him. Don't let them tell you that the locals are ill-mannered bores when on buses.
  • Last night, the wife ordered some styluses for Ipads and Iphones on taobao -- the big online shopping site in China. I have made taobao into a verb for the students -- Do you taobao? I ask them.
  • Here is a message for my top-secret CIA operatives working in China. Stund! Stund! Abort! The Chinese watch shipment won't be ready till midnight on Saturday at the usual secret meeting place.
  • I solved my Tournament #9 standings sorting problem! The solution was to create a macro which was very easy to do.
  • 230 PM: I have just listened to ReJoyce Podcast Episode #127. Blue is the color of depression.

Friday (the 25th)
  • I work 1100-2100.
  • Satisfying moment: This morning, I was crossing the street at an intersection. The pedestrian signal was in my favour. But in front of me, two cars were about to make right turns and thus cross my path. The first car, without coming to a stop and instead probably accelerating, was able to turn in front of me, cutting it a little too close so that I felt a spasm of anger. The second car, then tried to do what the first car did, but I didn't yield any ground and so I made the second driver come to a full stop. I tried to look the driver in the eye -- I noticed he had an annoyed look. Priceless!
  • I learned that the assassin of Leon Trotsky was in Mexico City on a Canadian passport. An interesting fact to me. No humane person could shed tears for Trotsky -- he was a Bolshevik murdering son-of-a-bitch. It is too bad that the murder was Stalin's responsibility. Of course, if there was somehow a way that Canada that took take credit, it really wouldn't have made much difference -- Trotsky was a loser at the time of his death. Still, it is good to see Canada played in killing one Bolshevik.
  • Friday morning traffic, on the bridge crossing a big canal near Casa Kaulins, was at a standstill.
  • An idea for my Chinese study. Since I am not going to bother to learn to write Chinese characters, I am thinking I should practice typing them so I can memorize them better than I have been.
  • Photocopy a page from the textbook, and then practice typing it on the computer.
  • Here is some Chinese typing for you: 我的 学校 是 坏亚国际英语。
  • I listened to episode #128 of the ReJoyce Podcast.
  • Dinner at Subway: the Healthy Option?

Saturday (the 26th)
  • Funny how Tony is happy to see me when Mom is making him do his homework.
  • I work 1000-1700 today. Our Chinese New Year slash Spring Festival dinner will start at 1730. It is in the building near the fountain which is on Zhongshan Road near Houxixi Street.
  • As I was approaching the bus stop, I saw a woman doing high leg kicks. She could raise her foot over her shoulders. I wanted to get closer to see what the woman looked like. Perhaps, she was very pretty. But getting to the bus stop, I saw a dour & sour middle-aged face.
  • Fifteen minutes into class, I had this need to phone Tony and make sure he was alright. This premonition I had filled me with anguish.
  • I phoned home as soon as the class was over and he was alright.

Sunday (the 27th)
  • Dammit! I went over thirty hours without doing any work on my weekly blog entry.
  • Oh yeah! I don't work today.
  • 820 PM: Why have I been away from this blog entry for thirty hours? Last night, I went to the school's annual Chinese New Year dinner. That took up the evening and then I felt like crap when I got home and I felt crappy in the morning as well. And then we had visitors in the afternoon. This friends of Jenny's had two kids including a two year-old boy who had to get into everything... And he peed on Tony's Tomy Plarail track! Uggh.
  • It was my 8th or 9th CNY dinner. Tony had a good time -- he ran around and took some photos of the performances which included two children playing musical instruments and Gangnum Style dancing.
  • The only good thing about today's visitation was that I got to eat potatoes and sweet potato balls at one of my favorite in-the-area restaurants.
  • I spend my Sunday evening having trouble with the mouse on my laptop. It ruined my trying to recreate the sorting macro for my Tournament #9.
  • I have finished play in the first group of Tournament #9. Here are the results.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Entry for January 14 to January 20, 2013

Gratitude: Despite the complaint in the next section of GAR (Gratitude, Acknowledgment, Request), I am not as lonely as I make myself out to be. I have enough contact with others on the Internet to keep me going, for which I am most thankful. Any more contact and I may take it for granted.

Acknowledgment: I don't have any close friends at the moment. I have made a point of cultivating solitude. But if I wasn't, it wouldn't make much difference. There are other reasons why I have no close friends – I am not a good friend. I have had a talent, since my middle school days, of not being able to make any. (I am listening to a podcast series: Aristotle's philosophy of friendship, and it has got me to thinking.)

Request: I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want. So, maybe I need to know what I should want.

The Week Basically: I got my Ipad Mini and I saw a woman do a rather strange thing with chicken breasts.

What AKIC Is Reading this Week

Don Colacho Quotes that I Like This Week

I have created an ebook with approximately 3,000 of Don Colaco's aphorisms. I try to read at least ten of them a day. Here are a few that I have read and pondered this week:

423 Man is more capable of heroic acts than of decent gestures. This is why so many people are assholes. When obvious bad things are there to be combated, they have to make a point of being in the center of everyone's attention when they battle them. But in day-to-day life, their instinct is to demean others as much as they can. Pompous and petty.

424 Modern man calls his ambition a duty.
This describes the need I have to blog.

425 The preaching of progressives has so corrupted us that nobody believes that he is what he is, but only what he did not succeed in being.
This explains this need of many to "find themselves."

427 The first step of wisdom is to admit, with good humor, that our ideas have no reason to interest anybody.
Too often, our ideas aren't our ideas anyway. We got them from someone else and like to show them off in hopes that they make us appear interesting.

476 He who abandons himself to his instincts degrades his face as obviously as he degrades his soul. Maybe this explains the permanent frown I have on my face.

497 To live with lucidity a simple, quiet, discrete life among intelligent books, loving a few beings. This is a life that is devoutly to be wished for... I have that life now! Strangely enough! I just have to learn to be more comfortable with it.

Other Quotes AKIC Likes or Found Interesting

David Warren: I have often suspected that "art history" serves Progress more than it can ever serve Art; that it is like a museum guard who tells you to keep moving. This leads me to think what a stupid cliché "He was ahead of his time" is.

Taki Theodoracopulos: Bill Maher. His political correctness aside, he has a repulsive face, a nose that closely resembles a penis, and a mind so fine that no original idea could violate it. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Geoffrey Miller: China has been running the world's largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China's ever-faster rise as the global superpower. What will the Chinese do with all their old people?

Anthony Esolen: Who is Abraham not? ...He's not Achilles, nursing his wounded pride in his tent, and spitefully praying that the enemy would mow down his fellow Greeks...  Abraham is exceptional for being unexceptional. Don't be like Achilles! Be like Abraham. That's a message for AKIC.

E.D. Hirsch Jr.: It isn't overstating the case to say that the most secure way to predict whether an educational policy is likely to help restore the middle class is to focus on the question: Is this policy likely to expand the vocabularies of 12th-graders? I try to talk to Tony like he is an adult.

Two Interesting Links

  • Intelligent Life on Mars? This entry was made by my sometime co-conspirator HM. As always what HM does is much wittier and well-written than anything I can do.

  • The Edge asks 152 really smart people what they are worried about in 2013.

Things I Don't Like about Living in Wuxi

After having read my list of things I like about living in Wuxi, you were probably thinking Wuxi was the land of milk & honey, the streets were surely paved with gold, all the women were Victoria's Secret models, and you needed to quit what you were doing, abandon your current family, and move here. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but Wuxi isn't perfect – in fact, it is far from it. Here, with apologies to the nice people I have meet from Wuxi, is my list of things I don't like about living in Wuxi:

  1. Drivers never yielding to pedestrians.

  2. Cars cutting off pedestrians crossing the street.

  3. Pedestrians ignoring don't walk signals.

  4. Cars being driven on sidewalks.

  5. Cars being driven on pedestrian paths in public parks.

  6. Cars being driven the wrong way.

  7. Cars and trucks being driven in bicycle paths.

  8. Being watched constantly.

  9. Constant construction.

  10. Commies.

  11. Gray and brown days.

  12. Piles of rubble and garbage everywhere. You can see this in the better parts of town.

  13. Lack of central heating in buildings.

  14. Fireworks.

  15. Brown clothes.

  16. No sense or atmosphere of history. You would ever know that Wuxi has had thousands of years of history.

  17. The obliteration of anything that is old in Wuxi.

  18. Vomit puddles on the street.

  19. Phony temples and phony historical sights.

  20. Public spitting and urination.

  21. Occasional sights of defecating in public.

  22. Shoddy workmanship whether it is in one's apartments or on the roads.

  23. Nerdy Chinese Men. I never meet people who would admit to liking Michael Jackson till I came here.

  24. Would-be Expatriate Sinologists.

  25. Would-be Expatriate Anthropologists.

  26. Pervert Expatriates.

  27. Conspicuous consumption

  28. Line-ups in McDonald's. The locals can screw up a two person lineup.

  29. Queue jumpers.

  30. E-Bikes being driven too fast in pedestrian areas.

  31. Boarding a public bus. It is a fight to which you must bring your elbows.

  32. Locals saying hello to you after they passed by you.

  33. Hearing locals in vehicles saying "laowei" when they pass by you.

  34. It doesn't have a sports team to cheer for.

  35. The locals favorite spectator sports are soccer and basketball.

  36. The locals favorite participation sports are ping-pong and badminton.

  37. Lack of central heating.

  38. The locals habit of opening windows for fresh air in winter!

  39. When I see foreigners, I want to avoid them. I didn't use to feel that way.

  40. In hot weather, the local men will roll up their pants to reveal shins, or their shirts to reveal their abdomens.

  41. Standing on the bus.

  42. There is no cottage cheese.

  43. There is no Tim Horton's.

  44. There is no Wendy's.

  45. It is hard to get good bread.

  46. Holidays are Hell here.

  47. Crowds in Supermarkets.

  48. The lack of imagination of the locals.

  49. The Wuxi local dialect.

  50. Smoking in apartment hallways.

  51. Littering being left in apartment hallways.

  52. Idiotic parking.

A thing or things I like about Wuxi that I may not have mentioned

The list I made of things I like about Wuxi was not complete. In the next few weeks, I will make a point of doing what I am doing here: listings some things about Wuxi that I may not have mentioned:

  • I like walking down Wuxi side streets. I feel then like I am really in the China of my imaginings.

  • Tony's seeming celebrity status.

Monday (the 14th)

  • A day off.

  • I am too proud to try to make friends. Pride is another one of my sins.

  • The plan: the K family will go to the Jinling Hotel for a buffet.

  • We say with a perverse sense of pride that we are no good or ugly. Why do we need to tell people that of our defects? Do we think they can't see them? Do we think that they think that we aren't aware of our defects and have never had a chance to become aware of them? Are we imitating people who are our superiors who tell us of their defects? Pride hasn't been expunged and we may well raise our pride by pretending to be modest.

  • What do I want? I have to fight being drawn to things that I know that I shouldn't be drawn to. I find myself in a state where I stay away and feel pain that I stay away, and yet am well aware of the futility of not staying away. I want something that I can't see while being drawn to things I can't see and know will do me no good.

  • Last night, Tony threw a fit, throwing his arms up in the air. I can't remember what he was mad about.... He got over it.

  • Simone Wiel. Was I attracted to her life or to her thought?

  • Is God an absolute good? It is assumed. What if he wasn't? He would have made the world as it, not changing a thing from that done by a God who was absolutely good.

  • 520 PM: We did go to Jinling Hotel Buffet. I ate my fill. Most of the food was unpalatable but there was enough Western style food to satisfy me. I made myself a vegetable salad with lettuce, chick peas, and Thousand Islands Dressing – something I can only do on a quarterly basis. I had about nine serving of Roast Duck. I ate the one loaf of French bread there was to be had.

  • We, the K family, then went to Carrefour. In the meat section, I saw an old woman take thawed and slimy chicken breasts, and lay them in the bottom of her shopping cart – that is right on the metal grill! I will be telling everyone this anecdote for years to come. I told my wife about it, and she told me that was why she didn't want Tony sitting in shopping carts.

  • We then went to Tesco – the one in Hui Shan near Casa K. Tony was finding the things he wanted and putting them into the shopping cart. Thankfully, he didn't want chicken breasts.

  • How many foreigners I have seen on my days off which are now Sunday and Monday? None.

  • Aristotle's philosophy of friendship by Mark Vernon, a series of twenty podcasts based on lectures done by the great philosopher in 330 B.C., earns my highest recommendation. I found the series on Itunes. The podcasts are no more than five minutes long and very informative. I am bad at friendship, being so selfish and benefit-calculating, so I should listen to this series twice. I have never come close to achieving the highest kind of friendship that Aristotle lectured about – the kind of friendship where one simply enjoys the pleasure of another person's company and all worldly considerations matter not even a fig.

  • I saw an old man walking down the street. He was wearing a long great trench coat and a fur cap. He looked like PLA or from the pre-1980 era. I tried to take a photo but it didn't turn out well.

Tuesday (the 15th)

  • I work 1300-2100 today.

  • Monday evening, I listened to episodes 116 & 117 of the Rejoyce Podcast.

  • In the morning at Casa K, I got up about 730, which is major sleeping in for yours truly. For my wife and son, however, waking up then would be like rising from death. So, while they were sleeping, I was getting ready to go to work and listening to some podcasts.

  • I arrive at work and was surprised to see that there were no classes for me on my desk. It turned out that there was a mistake made by the scheduler. So, I take some classes from the other teachers and go home early.

  • Just as I was arriving at work, I encountered a beggar on the street. Unfortunately for her, I wasn't sure she was begging until I passed her. She was seen by me to have brought out a grasping hand, but her hand was seen from the corner of my eye. That grasping hand struck my arm rather hard and my instincts told me it wasn't worth the bother to go into my bag full of one jiao coins and give her some.

  • I got an email from China History Podcast host Laslzo Montgomery – a response to an email I had recently sent him. I learned his computer is on the fritz and he was forced to use an Ipad to answer emails. When I saw him call me "And is," with the annoying space caused by the IOS spell checker, I knew he wasn't kidding. For the longest time, the Ipad and Ipod would not recognize my name as a valid sleeping and was always splitting it up into "And" and "is."

  • I thought I had put my Jan 14-20 blog file on Evernote. But it wasn't there when I synched it.

  • 215 PM: I spent about two hours preparing my 2013 Best Wuxi Expat Pubs entry.

Wednesday (the 16th)

  • I actually have time to blog at home before I go to work today.

  • 900 AM: The wife and son are asleep.

  • Last night, I had a student who taught German at University. I could tell he had three languages swirling around in his head. I know a wee bit of a French. My Chinese study has caused me to make mixed French-Mandarin statements when trying to speak French. "Je peux parlez yidian francais!" I said once.

  • The Alex Jones confrontation with Piers Morgan that I enjoyed last week has been called a fiasco by some conservative commentators I have listened to. Jones, they said, was a paranoid conspiracy nut and Morgan only had him on his show to discredit the gun-rights cause. Am I discredited? I have never been credited so it doesn't matter. But it goes to show you how labeling is so much important than actual argument in debate. Jones was 95 percent right in the things he said. The way he said them was over the top, but how often are people who don't look nuts, who acted acceptably, 95 percent right in what they say? Obama, when he isn't obscure or meaningless, says more certifiably nutty things. Not to say that I would want this Jones guy to be anywhere near a position of huge responsibility but Obama shouldn't be near any either.

  • Some things are true even when Comrade Borkov says them. They are even true if Alex Jones, President Obama, Piers Morgan, or Andis Kaulins says them. (I saw that a few other bloggers agreed with my assessment of Jone-Morgan Rumble.)

  • 1135 AM: I have arrived at school. I work 1300-2100 today.

  • As I stood on a corner this morning, waiting for a signal telling me it was safe to proceed, an old man on a bike approached me. I had been pacing to and fro, as I am wont to do, but seeing the bike coming I stood still. This confused the old man, and he yelled something along the line of "Woh!", stopped his bike very quickly and jumped off. I have seen many a Wuxi cyclist perform a stop-quickly-and-jump-off-the-bike maneuver in traffic. This is because they won't yield space unless they absolutely have to. In my case, this morning however, the old man was expecting me to do something, but what it was I wasn't sure, though I have a vague theory. I don't think I was in the wrong. I think the old man was expecting to cut around me but I wasn't giving him the space. That is, I decided to stand still at a spot that the old man was expecting to make his turn.

  • I feel aches coming on from old age. But as a friend of mine made me realize, I shouldn't complain that much. He told of having to always take pain relievers on account of having broken bones and separated his shoulders. I haven't broken any bones that I know of.

  • 1205 PM: Today could be the day that the Ipad Mini arrives at Casa Kaulins. But then again, it could arrive tomorrow or the tomorrow after that...

  • I mentioned earlier I like walking down Chinese side streets because they teem with Chinese life that I find agreeable to observe. Here is a photo I took this morning on a side street.

  • 310 PM: I have just finished my English Corner. I felt awkward doing it. All I was doing was running through a list of discussion questions I had made a year ago. Funny how they all look good on paper before the show, but as soon as I am "up on stage," they become clearly inadequate or not worthy of an answer other than "yes" or "no."

  • 545 PM: No more Italian restaurant. I ordered two small pizzas at 500 and I was still waiting at 535. I had to ask for my money back. I shouldn't have sworn at them, but it was a fine way to treat a regular customer. Refer to Don Colacho Aphorism 476.

  • 910 PM: Getting on the bus, I wanted to kick a queue-jumper in the sensitive spot of the back of the leg. I was still fuming about the pizza incident. I almost gave up on the Italian Restaurant before, but I am afraid that this time it is for good.

Thursday (the 17th)

  • I work 1000-2100 today.

  • McDonald's didn't screw up my order.

  • Following along with the Rejoyce Podcast, I am in the third chapter of Ulysses – a chapter that is dense with interior monologue and obscure references. A lot of character Stephen Daedalus's thoughts are blasphemous, but I came upon two arresting lines. First line: --Mother dying come home father. Second line: The aunt thinks you killed your mother. Through the character Daedalus, James Joyce was referring to the death of his mother. When Joyce's mother was dying in Dublin, Joyce had to be summoned from Paris via that telegram message. When my father died, I just happened to be there. There was no summoning email. However, I remember two things at the time of my father's death. I walked into the hospital room. I am sorry, Andis, your father has died... Why weren't you here?!? The sentences were said by two people. I wasn't actually at my father's bedside when he died. I next thing I remember about the instant, was seeing my father, his eyes closed, his head resting toward his left shoulder. His countenance was of someone who was absolutely spent.

  • I was listening to episode #119 of the ReJoyce Podcast. Delaney actually ended the podcast with the first of the two lines I just mentioned. In #120, which I haven't listened to yet, he will talk about the second line.

  • 1100 AM: My morning so far? I prepared for a one student class at ten. The student didn't show up but I could have sworn I saw him sitting in a downstairs office around nine o'clock. So, I do some blogging – all you have seen for this day so far – and then I work on my 700 daily Chinese flashcards.

  • 105 PM: My idea for Tournament #9. There will be 40 teams split into two 20-team leagues. Each league will be divided into four groups of five – the usual four team groups with an expansion team added. Each group will play a single round robin. The first place team earns an automatic berth to the championship tournament and an automatic quarterfinals berth in the league championship. The second and third place teams in each group qualify for the first round of the league championship. In this first round, the second place team will play a sudden-death game against a third place team from another group. The winner of the game advances to the league championship quarterfinals as well as earns a berth in the tournament championship. The fourth and fifth place teams are eliminated from further competition. All the matches in the league championship playoff will be one game sudden death affairs. Ties will be settled by extra turns. The tournament championship will have sixteen teams: the eight group winners from the two leagues as well as the eight winners of the second place – third place playoff game. The first round of the tournament will see four four-team groups play a single round robin. The first place and second place teams will qualify for a eight team sudden-death playoff tournament. The winner of the playoff is the tournament nine champion.

  • I will print out the Tournament #9 sheets today. Tossing will start some next week. Two games a day for almost two months!

  • 130 PM: I am still awaiting the arrival of the Ipad Mini. My wife told me it is being shipped from Fujian province. Just great! If the Mainland and Taiwan went to war, I would be doubly instead of singly screwed!

  • 350 PM: I have just listened to episode #120 of the ReJoyce Podcast. It is the first time, I have listened to it while at school. I will go to Subway for my supper – I mean dinner! (I have said this to the students for eight years.) Fucking prick Kiwi telling me I should say dinner. The guy was angry like an ex-Catholic who wasn't molested by a priest but wish he had been!

  • 445 PM: I have gone to Subway. I got a foot-long B.L.T. 43 RMB! It is more expensive than pizza at the Italian Restaurant but I have made it so I can't return to that place, ever. On the way to and fro, I listened to episode #120A – a baker's dozen episode of the ReJoyce Podcast.

Friday (the 18th)

  • I work 1100-2100 today. No classes till 400 PM.

  • I had a student yesterday tell me she hated seeing cars being driven on sidewalks and the drivers using their horns to make pedestrians get out of their way. When a car doing this would come up behind her with its horn blaring, she wouldn't get out of the way and would instead deliberately walk at a slow pace to delay and stay in the car's way. I loved her me telling me this. I know that my instinct, when in the same situation, is to act as she would. The annoyance I feel is cross-cultural! Thank God!

  • I got up at 715. I meant to get up at 630, however my son Tony was snuggled up to me and it was such a pleasant sensation that I pressed the snooze button five times.

  • Listening to podcasts, my mine swirls with thoughts of Gresham's Law (bad money drives out good), Adam Smith (the idea that gold and metals are wealth is fallacious and evil, and is the guiding principle of Mercantilism), pre-Socratic philosophers, and Aristotle (confidence is a result of hope).

  • 1035 AM: The Ipad Mini still hasn't arrived. I wait for my phone to ring with news that it has. Since my wife is the only one who phones me, I hope to hear the phone chirping when I come back from teaching a class. I know she will phone me when it arrives.

  • Tonight, my English Corner Topic is Books.

  • I made further preparations for the tournament. I named the eight new teams in the tournament – the expansion teams you can also call them. They are A1, B1, C1, D1, A2, B2, C2, and D2. I then created the scheduling format I will use for the five-team group stage. I seeded the teams based on their tournament eight standings. So, the first place team are one seeds, the second place teams are two seeds, and so on. The expansion teams, for scheduling purposes, are five seeds.

  • He had read a really good book. He wanted to tell everyone about it. But the attempts to describe the thoughts and interests he had been so immersed came out flat. Lesson: there is often no point in sharing your joys. Words escape one.

  • 300 PM: I have just listened to the ReJoyce Podcast episode #121.

  • The scene. I sit at the desk. I face toward my laptop which rests on the desktop at an angle from the desktop's edge. Above me to my left, and maybe a little behind me, hangs the jacket I wear for the day. (Today it is my thick and long red parka – it is a little cold out.) The walls of this office are glass. Next door to my left is the money girls office. I hear the two girls chatting away. Across the hallway sit Cici and Elsie – two study advisers. To the right of Cici and Elsie's room is what used to be my old office – Kathy, a marketing girl, sits at her desk. To my right is a metal book shelf. It is full of my assorted papers, magazines, books and things collected over the years. Behind the shelf is the other next door office – the IT guys do their things. On the other side of Cici and Elsie's office is a hallway leading away from my office and the money girl's office. On the hallway's left is the foreign trainer's office. I can hear the laowai chattering away. On the hallway's right and behind Cici and Elsie's office is a larger office where all the other study advisers sit.

  • 305 PM: I don't think the Ipad Mini has arrived. My phone has not rung.

  • 345 PM: The phone rings. I expect good news. Instead, Jenny immediately tells me bad news. The company from which we ordered the Ipad Mini tells her that she would have to wait till Monday (not Monday the 21st but Monday the 28th!). Jenny tells them to go jump in a lake. We will try to buy an Ipad Mini at a shop tomorrow.

  • 500 PM: The female student tells me she is having her period. That's a first for me in my teaching career.

Saturday (the 19th)

  • I work 1000 to 1800.

  • Last night I learned from my wife that she had been scammed on Monday. Thankfully, it was only 100 rmb but it was upsetting. Last Monday, we were coming out of the Hui Shan Times Century Plaza. By the exit was a table with China Mobile signs. My wife went to the table and gave them 100 rmb to put on her phone account. When she gave them her number, she got a message right away on her phone indicating that 100 rmb had been added to her account. So, she didn't bother to get a receipt. The next day, she saw that 100 rmb hadn't been added to her account. She had been scammed. She wasn't the only one – a lot of shoppers had been taken in. What was very disconcerting about the scam was that the scammers had put their table at the main entrance of the Shopping Mall – they could be seen by practically everyone who went there. They had to have been allowed to occupy the such a high traffic spot with the approval of the plaza operators. Either that, or the plaza's security was frightfully lax.

  • 930 AM: Maybe today we will buy an Ipad Mini in the shop. Or rather, we may be able to get the thing. I am expecting to be told that Ipad Minis are out of stock at the moment.

  • .........

  • 1200 Noon: Wife tells me that she bought the Mini for me! I tell her not to bring it to school but to take home. I can wait the five hours!

  • 230 PM: Tony phones me. He wants to unwrap the Ipad now. I tell him to wait.

Sunday (the 20th)

  • I don't work today.

  • Yesterday, I arrived home, from work, at about 530 PM. Tony was waiting for me because he wanted to play with the Ipad Mini. It wasn't to be taken out of the package till I got home.

  • Tony was very impatient. After I opened the package containing the Ipad Mini, Tony didn't seem to understand that I had to spend a few minutes setting up the Ipad, synching it, and putting Apps on it that he might want to play with.

  • Tony got the first crack at using the Mini. After playing with it for three hours, Tony let me play with it – just then, he wanted to watch cartoons and play with his train set.

  • My first observation about my new gadget: the Mini will be a great e-book reader.

  • I was amazed at how much was synched from the Ipod onto my Ipad. The bookmarks in my e-books were brought over.

  • The top ten pubs in the Wuxi China Expatdom. (I made all the banners myself).

  • Last night at midnight, Tony was taking a bath. I wanted him to get out because I wanted to go to sleep. He refused to leave the bath so I had turned off the lights in the bathroom. He cried but finally got out so I could dry and dress him.

  • This morning, all three of us got up about eight. Tony had a drawing class to go to downtown.

  • While Tony was at class, his parents went to Starbucks on Zhongshan Road. From where they sat, they had a bird's eye view of Subway Construction. Andis played with his Ipad Mini and did manage to listen to episodes #122 and #123 of the Rejoyce Podcast.

  • After Tony's class, Jenny went to get her hair washed at the Salon. Tony & Andis went to Parkson's. Andis realized he had forgotten his mobile phone. So, he & Jenny had to arrange to meet at a certain place, at a certain time – the last time people probably did such things on a regular basis was in the Middle Ages. So while Jenny was getting her hair done, Tony & Andis went to the Parkson's and ate at the Burger King. The two of them then went into the department store and visited the toy department – thankfully, nothing turned Tony on. They slowly made their way to the hair salon – it turned out that Jenny had to wait twenty minutes for them.

  • Jenny then had to get her shoes fixed. While she was to do that, Andis & Tony were to spend some time at the Xinhua Bookstore. There, Tony bought another Ultraman book. After about an hour, there was no sign of Mom. So Andis decided to go back to the Starbucks – without a phone, he had to find a place with Wifi in order to communicate with Mom with the Ipod that he hadn't forgotten. Andis learned that Mom had gone to Nanchang Temple Market. So, Andis & Tony slowly made their way toward Nanchang stopping at a Dico's on the way. The Dico's, which is near the school, has Wifi. There, Andis learned, through his Ipod touch, that Jenny was then on her way home. So, Andis & Tony did the same. Jenny got back to Casa K before the boys did.

  • Not bringing the phone made the Sunday afternoon in downtown Wuxi a p.i.t.a. It also didn't help that there were lots and lots of people.

  • 700 PM: Looks like it is going to be another evening of Tony hogging the Ipad Mini.

  • I was listening to the Charles Adler podcast as I am wont to do. One podcast got me to thinking or at least, to observing. Some mother was not happy that Earl's, a preppie upscale Canadian restaurant chain, didn't have facilities for parents of young children. Her complaints garnered attention and were a subject of discussion on the Adler show. Restaurants don't have to be child-friendly if they don't want to, and customers have a right to complain. So there was nothing to debate on that matter as far as I am concerned. What struck me about the podcast was the modern anti-child attitudes of the speakers. Most cultures tolerate children. The idea that a childless person had some rights to not see other people's children would seem strange in most cultures. It would also be thought of as selfish, I am sure. Still, children have their place where they should be seen and not heard. Then, one of the speakers complained about the nerve of people bringing their children to weddings where the invitation clearly stated the wedding was to be children-free. Who would have a children-free wedding? I wouldn't go to such a wedding on principle. People are supposed to have children after they get married right? Isn't that the whole point of marriage? But it sounded like the speaker didn't want to make the same mistakes she made in her first wedding and maybe even her second... I shouldn't be surprised. This is also the modern Western culture that selfishly puts its old people in Care Homes. There is no place for children and old people in mainstream Canadian society – they are inconveniences that stop us from having adult good times! (I am guilty as most Canadians – I am afraid to say.)

  • One of the 152 smart people in above's Edge link, said he didn't believe that humans had free will. He was scientist who was very familiar with the human brain. Certain components of the brain, he said, when damaged or altered in any way, can change our moral decision-making. He sounded like he was going down the genetic determinism road, but he denied it. Anyway, I hope he is wrong about humans not having free will. I think they do though I will readily admit I want this to be so. I think, first off, that his idea of free will is of a will that only a God can have. We aren't gods. We have limitations to deal with. We can't be everywhere. We have to eat. We age. But within these limitations, we do have lots of freedom. We can debate whether we have free will or not. We can think wrong thoughts. Furthermore, the scientist said a free will brain component hadn't been discovered and it seemed very unlikely that it ever would. I say that only a God would be able to discover such things. Scientists aren't gods.

  • The whole question of Free Will is also rather paradoxical. We don't have pure freedom – we are the product of our environment – and yet we can imagine transcending it.

  • 800 PM: Tomorrow, there won't be water in the apartment – is a planned maintenance thing. We will probably stick around the apartment, only going out to eat. We will have to do a lot things with water tonight to prepare. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blog Entry for January 7 to January 13, 2013

Gratitude: I want to thank a rare reader, Omar from Dallas, for giving me the idea to write fifty things I like about living in Wuxi.

Acknowledgment: Things are too easy at the moment. I spend three hours at work a day surfing the Internet, studying Chinese, reading e-books because I have nothing pressing to do. And so at the back of my mind...

Request: As always, any comments or question or criticisms you have for me are welcome.

AKIC's Week in Brief:

  • This will be known, for the next year or so, as the week that I got an Ipad Mini. Or rather, as I now should say, the week I ordered the Ipad Mini. Having ordered it on Friday the 11th, I had originally expected it to arrive on Sunday the 13th or Monday the 14th. But on Saturday the 12th,, my wife told me that the company had phoned her to tell her it would arrive on Wednesday the 16th at the earliest. Disappointed, of course, to hear the news, I will still live.

  • Other than that, I went to work only four days this week. I had Sunday off – my days off have changed to Sunday & Monday.

  • Tony didn't go to school because the government's decision to punish the parents of children who are taken by van to school, because countryside vans taking kids to kindergartens were overcrowded and got into accidents.

  • There was decoration going on in the last unoccupied apartment in our building and the noise was so loud that it made one go out of one's mind.

Fifty or So Things I Like about Living in Wuxi

  1. I met my wife here.

  2. I know the place.

  3. It has got lots of bridges.

  4. It has lots of boat traffic.

  5. It is not so cold in the winter, and yet I can wear lots of clothing in winter.

  6. It has Pizza Hut.

  7. It has a good bus system.

  8. It has a double-decker bus.

  9. It doesn't have so many foreigners living in it.

  10. There aren't too many fat chicks.

  11. There are lots of slim girls with long hair.

  12. You very rarely meet feminists or feminazis.

  13. There isn't so much anti-smoking fascism.

  14. Their barbaric local dialect gives me an excuse for my having horrible Chinese.

  15. You can buy liquor at the corner store.

  16. Liquor and cigarettes are cheap!

  17. It has McDonald's.

  18. It has an Ikea.

  19. It is very hard to get deep-fried chicken balls here.

  20. You can see real Chinese people. It has a real big China town.

  21. I get a big kick out of the auto accidents that happen here.

  22. The government here is bad. However, you can't blame anyone you know because they didn't vote for them. I hate to be living in Obamaland.

  23. Here, one can swear profusely and get away with it.

  24. It has a lot of bats.

  25. You never suffer from a wont of company.

  26. Foreigners stand out and you can easily avoid them.

  27. You can see peasants.

  28. You are never too far from a Xinjiang Restaurant.

  29. I can go a weekend without seeing a foreigner.

  30. The foreigners congregate in certain spots so it is easy to avoid them.

  31. You can see people wearing pajamas on the street.

  32. My local small shop is a mess. I love being able to get a bottle of beer myself like I am a warehouse.

  33. You don't have to clean up after yourself in a restaurant.

  34. Wuxi has lots of street hawkers.

  35. The state, though making encroachments, doesn't seem to have completely regulated small-time capitalism.

  36. There is a spot near my home where I can take my son Tony train-spotting.

  37. People do have, or at least pretend to have, traditional values.

  38. They observe Christmas here but don't observe the shopping aspects.

  39. I can see a few old men dressed in Mao suits and hats.

  40. They love children here.

  41. I can feel a celebrity at times.

  42. It is a good place to feed's one misanthropy.

  43. There are two new years to celebrate or to not celebrate.

  44. On western New Year's eve, one can stay home and it doesn't seem like you are missing anything.

  45. My Wuxi bus pass which is pay-as-you-go.

  46. Using a mobile phone is pay-as-you-go.

  47. After eight years, I still see things done by human beings that I never thought were possible.

  48. I always have plenty of topics to blog about.

  49. There are plenty of people on the street who hawk things or can provide useful services like bike repair, shoe repair, umbrella repair, and bag repair.

  50. It has churches and mosques and temples.

  51. Grandma's restaurant on the 7th floor of Ba Bai Ban.

  52. It now has a store that sells shoes that can fit my size 47 feet.

Current Reading

Monday (the 7th)

  • Jeepers!  They have started decorating an apartment on the floor above us.  Even though, it is across the hallway, the sound of the workers using mallets to tear down walls is so loud, it feels like it they are right above us!

  • I walked up the stairs to swear at the workers! Fuck! I screamed at them. Not that it did any good. Maybe you should take Anger management classes. Then again, maybe you should have had a gun. Apartment decoration workers are no respecters of the people living in areas near where they do their work. They also are no respecters of property. They destroy the hallways of the apartments they work in.

  • Tony is plugging his ears because of the apartment decoration noise.

  • I've completed my December 31 to January 6 entry. I hope they were no mistakes or typos. Probably there were many errors of logic but what I am going to do about that. I am getting to old to change my paradigms.

  • At least, I don't work today.

  • I took Tony with me to the Golden Bridge Market as I went a light bulb for the kitchen. All the women there were obsessed with Tony, and asking me all sorts of questions about him. I answered the questions I could understand. When I thought someone asked me how old I was, I ran away.

  • I bought Tony a Ultraman mask.

  • Why is it that those who were most contemptuous of Bush's seeking to impose western ways on Iraq exhibit a contempt of Chinese ways?

  • I read an an article on Keynes that praises his utopian vision.  If I had the time, I would love to critique it. As it is, the article ends with the following quote: Popular anger has boiled over in a string of electoral defeats for the advocates of austerity. But, unlike the right-wing tribalism that has formed part of that backlash, progressive politics cannot, in the end, rely on anger. It must offer the hope of a better life. That means reclaiming utopian visions such as that of Keynes. Everything in these four sentences is, to my thinking, complete hogwash.

Tuesday (the 8th)

  • I don't work. So, I sleep in.

  • Jenny says I don't do anything when I get up early. So to please her, I stay in bed and not do anything.

  • We are going to get an Ipad Mini! 32G!

  • A German fellow in Shanghai re-tweeted my tweet that was made after I posted my blog entry announcement to wordpress.

  • We will take some video and photos of Tony. He has a chance to be a model in a Haier commercial.

  • I was trying to watch video from about the immaculate reception. Buffering...Buffering...Buffering...

  • I often forget to take off my home spectacles – I also have spectacles that I wear at school. I realize my mistake just as I have left the apartment building and have walked 50 meters. So I trudge back having wasted five minutes of my life.

  • In the afternoon, I go to the bank and do some shopping. Tony doesn't accompany me. But he makes a point of entering a voice memo into my Ipod to remind that I have to buy chips. He later phones me while I am at Tesco to remind me yet again I have to buy chips.

  • At the bank, I took a number. I then I took a seat. I saw that there was Wifi and sent my wife messages via QQ and the Ipod Touch's message app. I then had an employee ask me what my number was. I saw that his job, and that of another worker, was to see that the customers didn't miss their numbers being called. I took advantage of this to play on my Ipod and not bother to look to see if my number was called – the employees were going to remind me.

  • I listened to the latest Econtalk podcast and now I have a little project for myself. As a loyal listener, I will fulfill a request from the host Ross Roberts and tell him what my three favorite Econtalk podcasts of 2012 were. But I will have to look at the archive.

  • Jenny & I did the Tony model project. Here is the video we made on Youku. Here is the video on TKIC wordpress. Here is the video at TKIC Pick your poison. We took lots of photos. I only posted the best ones. Here is one at TKIC Blogspot. Here is another at TKIC Wordpress. Here is yet another at AKIC wordpress.

  • Tony loves his Ultraman mask.

  • I had to edit Tony's model video twice. The first edit was too much for the Window's Moviemaker software on my Dell laptop. Forgetting to save the project as I was making the video, I lost everything when I tried to get the program to process and create my video – Windows Moviemaker conked out. I lost about an hour's work. I had to re-start the editing process from scratch, making sure this time to save my work every step of the way. When I was satisfied that my video was edited properly, I got the program to process it. The first time, I had the error message "Windows Moviemaker has stopped working" appear. This was the message I saw the first time. This second time, I didn't lose my work but I was left with the worry that the laptop didn't have the capability of processing my video. I tried again and then again before the video was finally processed! Video editing is hard on computers, obviously.

Wednesday (the 9th)

  • At Tesco yesterday, I bought a pocket-sized wire-ringed notebook. I feel I need the notebook to take down notes for this blog or to record some thoughts I have when I don't feel like typing.

  • I listened to Rejoyce podcast #110 last night.

  • Someone, who came upon my blog because he was researching prospects of teaching in Wuxi, tells me that he ultimately decided to refuse a job offer from a Wuxi High School. I don't know all his reasons. I told him that of many people teaching at Wuxi suburban schools, where he had a job offer, finding it pretty grim. He told me about the reaction he got to his dark skin color at another place he had been to in China. I could tell some tales I have heard about the reaction of the Chinese to persons of a darker hue. (I could tell stories of locals laughing at the hair on my arms that was akin to the locals dealing with darker hued skin.) And at my school, I am ashamed to say, there is a policy of wanting native English speakers who look a certain way. When I had to worry about these things, one of my scariest prospects was having to deal with applicants who when I first saw them weren't qualified... The shame of it!

  • On the bus ride to work, I listen to podcasts about philosophy. Opening my backpack to pull out my Elementary Chinese Reader, I notice I had forgotten to bring along the lunch I had made.

  • The podcast about Aristotle was narrated by Charlton Heston. What a voice Chuck has!

  • I work 1300-2100.

  • English corner topic: the alphabet.

  • 300 PM: The English Corner didn't chug along as I had hoped till the end when I played a game with the students. What we did was we went through the alphabet starting at "A" and working working our way to "Z" through a process of word association. So, if we start with the word Apple, we must choose a word that starts with "B" and try to describe a relationship between the two words. If we can't, we must choose another word.

  • Why do I do these things? Why do I tempt fate? Why do I mock the Gods? I don't realize I am doing it, I could say. That is why I thought nothing of putting the Gangnam Style song on the mobile phone and then playing the song for Tony. The Gods, angered at my misusing the gift of foresight they had had given, had Tony listen to the song ten times in succession.

  • Tony, with the phone playing the Gangnam Style song placed nearby, brought out his toy guitar and put on his Ultraman mask, and danced.

Thursday (the 10th)

  • I work 1000-2100.

  • I am wearing my brown Doc Martens boots to work. I say this because I can't think of anything else on which to blog.

  • Each day of the week, I will wear a different pair of footwear to work.

  • I have a bit of money so I will go to Ba Bai Ban to buy Tony some Takara TOMY track. I am debating whether to buy him some bendable track. It may well be that the bendable track which initially seems useful may be of limited application. There could be times when this track is either too short or too long to solve some layout problem I may have.

  • Last night, I listened to episode #111 of the ReJoyce Podcast. Joyce the blasphemer! Whatever. That is what is boring about him! Joyce was biting the hand that fed his incredible learning, for even as Delaney admits, Joyce owed a big debt to the Catholic tradition of learning.

  • After reading this blog post by David Warren, I now have to add some books about Medieval Europe to my Epub collection.

  • I will play some NHL fantasy hockey. The name of your team? The Wuxi Peach Kings.

  • 1245 PM: I have gone to Ba Bai Ban, a shopping center that is near my school. I looked at some train track accessories I could buy for Tony's Takara TOMY train set. I decided against buying the bendable track. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the applications for it would be few. It would also probably encourage Tony to try to break all normal bounds in building his layouts. So, I bought Tony three sets of straight track – you can't go wrong with straight track – and some yellow pillars for elevated track layouts. I then went to the Apple shop, and learned the price for an Ipad Mini 32G. I passed on the information to my wife and she says she will buy one on line from the shop where she bought her Iphone. I then put 200 rmb on my Wuxi bus pass.

  • 105 PM: I forget to mention. But last night, I had a student tell me that her mother committed suicide. This came up when I asked the students what values they had in life and where they got them from. The female student, in a class of seven, told me that she learned the importance of family after her mother killed herself. Normally, I would have offered my sympathies to the student and just carried on with the class – not wanting to dwell on students telling me sad news from their lives; but I had to confirm what the woman said. She had told me about her mother in a matter-of-fact way without any grimace in her countenance. I thought she might have said the wrong thing. But she confirmed it and I then offered my sympathies and mentioned how the death of my father made me realize some things about family as well.

  • 150 PM: I have just sent an email to the host of the Econtalk podcast. In the last Econtalk podcast, he asked loyal listeners, of whom I can be counted, what their three favorite 2012 Econtalk podcasts were. After reviewing the 2012 archives, I sent him an email. I choose the three episodes I could most remember. I also thought of a way for him to get Paul Krugman on the show. Get the Keynesian to talk about Science Fiction.

  • 530 PM: I had the beef fried rice for dinner.

Friday (the 11th)

  • I work 1100-2100.

  • I wore a new pair of shoes to work, and so I was primarily concerned, in my stream-of-consciousness with how they fit. The shoes were slip-ons and they felt a little big.

  • Now, I have put on a extra pair of socks. I have yet to walk around in them. Oh God! Please give my feet a snug feeling.

  • The shoes are tight! Ouch!

  • Taking the #635 bus home is a pain now because more and more people are catching it at my stop. The night before last, I was able to snag last available seat – the closest I came to having to stand again.

  • I listened to a Popup Chinese podcast on my Ipod Touch last night. The topic was the return of the China blog. Apparently, since 2010, there had been a drop off in blogs about China. But, recently there had been a resurgence. Who knew? I didn't. But, I don't pay much attention to blogs about China. I know enough that world doesn't need another amateur Sinologist. It would be futile for me to attempt to be one. My knowledge of the Chinese language is minimal and my interests lie elsewhere.

  • One of the talkers on the podcast also said something about blogging on the blogspot platform. It is a shameful thing to be doing so the talker seem to say. I suppose I should get a address. But my wife would properly wonder what the point of my having such a url would be.

  • Our company Chinese New Year Dinner will be on Saturday, January 26th.

  • I forgot to take something for Angel to school. Angel is a friend of my wife and a student here of sorts. She is well-off financially it would seem. Her son is attending a Big Ten University in America, and she hangs out at the school. Anyway, I forgot to bring this bag containing things for Angel from Casa Kaulins. It was the third time I have failed in performing a courier task for my wife. The knowing, I had to do the task, did enter my mind when I was still at home this morning, but it was only for an instant. I left the apartment with the bag I was to bring still beside the apartment entrance.

  • Last night, in a class about adventure, a student told me that when she was a child, she and her friends would go to the local manure pit and beat snakes with sticks.

  • To keep myself busy at school, I work through the Chinese flashcards on Yellowbridge. The only problem is the site seeps through the great firewall. I have had some days where it takes forever for the cards to load, or even worse, the site does load at all.

  • Lunch: Pizza from the nearby Italian restaurant.

  • 200 PM: The first class. I almost lost it. The students were their typical unimaginative selves. The topic was sub-cultures. The students couldn't understand was a sub-group was. I asked them what groups or sub-groups of students could they remember from their school days. I told them of the jocks, nerds, metal-heads, and other sub-types I could remember from my school days. One student told me that he graduated from school six years and couldn't remember. I told him I that I could remember the sub-groups from my school days which ended over thirty years ago, and that it was pathetic that he couldn't.

Saturday (the 12th)

  • Last night, I my English corner topic was Balding. A strange topic I know, and the students told me as much, but I am balding, so what the heck! Chelsea, who is a doctor, told me that there were lots of medications to deal with the disease of balding. When I told the students about the comb-over, they told me someone I knew was doing such a thing – about that, I told I knew nothing.

  • I work 1000-1800 today.

  • 930 AM: I was just listening to a podcast where this guy named Alex Jones was giving it to Piers Morgan. If you were on the side of Jones who is a guns right supporter, you mostly enjoyed it. Jones shouted down Morgan and wouldn't let the Brit speak – a thing that Morgan is notorious for doing. Jones shouted facts at Morgan who could only pip-squeak tiny factoids in response. Jones then put on a mock Brit accent to mock Morgan. Morgan's maybe only scoring point was to try to associate Jones with 9/11 truthers.

  • Listening to the debate, I felt my blood pressure rise.

  • Tony has been sleeping on my side of the bed this past week. That is, instead of lying between Jenny & I, he has changed places so that I am the one who sleeps in the middle. I think he is mad at Jenny for her home-schooling techniques.

  • I should receive my Ipad Mini in the next day or so. Jenny ordered it on the Internet yesterday.

  • The kitchen light bulb. Earlier this week, I went to the Golden Bridge Market to buy one because we needed a replacement.. Since then, this bulb, or perhaps I should say the vaguely pretzel-shaped light tube, has been a source of anxiety for me because it isn't working properly. What is happening is that the tube stops working because its connection to the ceiling outlet is loose. So, I have had to frequently open the ceiling light cover to press upwards on the tube to get the proper connection so that light happens. Jenny keeps telling me I am not fitting the light tube in tight enough. But pressing up too hard would cause the whole light assembly to get out place. Really, the light assembly is a ceiling tile above which there is empty space. The only solution, I think, is to tape the tube tightly to the assembly. (I don't know what word I should use instead of assembly, but I hope you get my meaning)

  • 215 PM: I get a phone call from my son Tony. He is looking for a pink book. What he means is that he wants to buy a pink Ultraman book that he had browsed through the week before. Then, he had changed his mind about the book and took it back, so he could buy others. Right now, Tony is at Nanchang Temple.

  • Again, I had pizza for lunch.

  • 217 PM: Two more classes and I'm done!

Sunday (the 13th)

  • I don't work today. My days off will now be Sunday & Monday. I will have no excuse now to not go to church.

  • Sin: Presumption.

  • Modern Media: Superficial & Hasty. I agree with the man who says that the following the news daily makes one stupid.

  • Last night, the K family had dinner in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the shadows of the Moresky360 building. The restaurant was in a back alley. It was small but busy and some customers were eating on make-shift tables and stools just outside its entrance. Inside, there was a narrow walkway between two rows of tables & benches. Groups and Strangers had to sit together. Next to us sat two young girls. One of them had nice high cheekbones but a bad case of acne. When the girls left, we had to stand up to let them pass. The food was okay but I would have preferred to have eaten at the next-door Muslim restaurant. I ate meat balls and glass noodles served in tall pail-like container.

  • We then took the #602 bus home.

  • At home, Tony & I had four circuits of tracks set up so Tony could almost have all six of his TOMY trains running at the same time.

  • 1140 AM: The K family slept in. It is cold and damp outside. It doesn't look like they will be doing much.

  • I learned the My Ipad Mini won't arrive till Wednesday at the earliest.

  • I have to find a way to pay for the Proxycap Software. I tried to last night but it didn't accept my credit card.

  • 430 PM: Damn! The mouse isn't working on my computer. I decided to try and solve my jumping cursor problem – that is, when I am typing, the cursor will go about ten lines of text for no discernible reason. The touchpad driver that I just installed has completely disabled my mouse – there is a pointer locked in the center of the screen. I have to use keyboard shortcuts to work the laptop. What is really annoying is that to try to do a system restore, I need a goddamn mouse!

  • Because of the decoration going on in that fourth floor apartment, the hallway is covered with a lot of dust.

  • 530 PM: I was finally able to snag the mouse from my wife's computer. And my problem is solved. I may even have solved the problem I had originally which caused me to go two steps backwards in trying to solve it. I think that changing the touchpad's sensitivity on my laptop with stop the cursor-jumping problem.

  • 1000 PM: I help Tony do some arithmetic. He needs to use his fingers to add two plus two.

  • I also listened to episode #115 of the Rejoyce Podcast.