Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Entry for February 18 to February 24, 2012

Gratitude: Reading the history of Mao's Famine & the history of the Conquest of Peru, I realize that I should be very thankful for the circumstances I have had in my life. I haven't been the victim of bestial cruelty and greed and famine. I was born in a civilized country.

Acknowledgment: I haven't made the best of the circumstances that I have been so fortunate to have. Still, to quote Doctor Johnson, it is rather to be wondered at that I have so much.

Request: If you are interested at all in Wuxi history, you will have the China History Podcast #111 very interesting. So I request you listen to it.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was a slow news week, apparently. It was also a slow week in my life. I went back to work and not much of note happened. There was a heavy snow on Tuesday, but it quickly melted away by Thursday.

What AKIC Is Reading this Week

  • Don Colacho's Aphorisms: there are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled myself. I read ten aphorisms at a time. I cut and paste the better ones � they are all profound actually � and I put them in my weekly blog entry.

  • The Life of Johnson by Boswell. This is the third time I am reading the biography. Why? I remember a used bookshop seller asking me when I bought the book. It was like the time someone asked me how old I was when I told him I was a Sinatra fan. Some people just don't understand. It is good to be different � way different � from the people around you and the time in which they are living.

  • Ulysses by James Joyce I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's modernist novel. Delaney is making the novel more understandable and enjoyable. Delaney figures he will do his last ReJoyce Podcast in 22 years. Now that I have caught up to Delaney's podcast, I am getting ahead him as far as reading the book. I will be finished it, I figure, in the year.

  • The Holy Bible King James Version. The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. I have been reading the book, all the while � the KJV that is.

  • The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. I was reading this adventure set in the Middle Ages till My Ipad decided to lose all my book collection. (see Sunday the 17th) I realized on Saturday, that I hadn't been reading it. That's what's happen when you try to read eight books on the trot.)

  • History of the Conquest of Peru; with a preliminary view of the civilization of the Incas by William Hickling Prescott. I am really enjoying reading this history. How could a rag-tag bunch of Spaniards conquer an empire? It boggles the mind as one reads.

  • Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. I finally got my hands on a copy of the e-book! Except for the fact that they don't want to kill Jews and eschew violence, the modern Liberal agrees with pretty much everything that the Fascists and Nazis of the 1930s stood for. I find reading the book boring however. The story of how modern Liberalism became so annoying and anti-truth is depressing reading.

  • Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter: I am in China so I should be reading something about China. What a bastard was what's-his-nuts!

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes

  • 1137 Social problems are the favorite refuge of those fleeing their own problems.

  • 1140 The only man who thanks life for what it gives him is the man who does not expect everything from life.

  • 1196 Boredom is the antonym of solitude.

Quotes from Doctor Johnson

  • There is nothing more likely to betray a man into absurdity than CONDESCENSION; when he seems to suppose his understanding too powerful for his company.

  • It is rather to be wondered at that I have so much. Johnson said this when asked if he felt that he shouldn't had more than he did considering the eminence he had achieved in his life. I can say this about my life but for the opposite reasons.

Monday (the 18th)

  • I didn't work today.

  • It was raining and very cold and very damp so I just stayed in Casa Kaulins all day.

  • The only productive thing I did do was finish last week's blog entry.

  • Beside that, I had another day of reading e-books.

  • Beside that, my son Tony had me set up his train set.

  • Bust my buttons! Tony can eat using chopsticks.

Tuesday (the 19th)

  • It snowed last night. A big dump of it. My wife told me that the snow was accompanied by thunder which would have been very strange.

  • The snow is melting quickly however. I will be teaching the students the meaning of the word slush.

  • The slush for me meant I had to make a decision about footwear. I choose to wear my pair of crappy shoes � one of which had a hole in the sole and wreck them further in the slush than risk ruining my nice new shoes.

  • I work 1300-2100 today.

  • I am not in the swing of things. The snow so put me off my routine that I didn't read my Chinese textbook on the bus.

Wednesday (the 20th)

  • I work 1300 to 2100 today.

  • Last night, I taught a VIP student from Malaysia. Very interesting guy I thought. He told me he grew up in what started as a Maoist-style commune in Malaysia. His parents told him that they hated living in a commune. For meals, one had to go to a canteen and get a bowl of rice or porridge, and there was no freedom....

  • I spent about an hour this morning uploading and installing IOS updates to my Ipad and Ipod.

  • Yesterday, as I was saying, was the Great Wuxi, China Dump of 2013. I took a lot of photos and videos using my Ipod, Ipad, and Nikon Coolpix. Here are the links to the photos I took with the Ipad: one, two. Here are the links to the photos I took with the Ipod: one, two. Here are the links to the photos I took with the Nikon: one, two, three.

  • Most of the Great Dump's snow has melted.

  • I can say that I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. I read my Chinese textbook on the bus (using my Ipad I might add!). I am studying Chinese at work using Yellowbridge flashcards.

Thursday (the 21st)

  • I work 1000-2100 today.

  • I listened to the China History Podcast #111 last evening on my bus ride back home. (I should note that I was particularly aggressive getting on the #635. I don't mean I shoved someone but I made sure that I got myself at the front of the line getting on the bus � this was more a question of getting in the right spot before others.)

Friday (the 22nd)

  • I work 1100-2100 today.

  • Yesterday, I spend a lot of time in the office studying Chinese. One of the other trainers commented that he hadn't seen me all day. I have a lot of days like that.

  • 我很喜欢学中文的词!

  • Yesterday evening, I had a class with my student from Malaysia. I asked him what he knew about Canada. He told me he knew Canada was a commonwealth country. He thought its favorite sport was skiing. He didn't know any famous Canadians. My knowledge of Malaysia was just as bad. I can't think of any famous Malays.

  • The fact that the students don't know much about Canada amuses me. I hate Canadian nationalism. It makes a conscious effort to be like America while at the same time despising America. It wants to be Canada to as proud of itself as America is. I suppose it also wants to be as well-known. Well, the world doesn't give a damn about Canada.

  • Yesterday in Tournament #9, I completed play in group 2B. What is tournament #9? It is a competition I have created with imaginary teams. The results of the matches between these teams are based on the results of coin tosses. I have been playing this thing since I was an adolescent.

  • I also took three photos, using my Ipad Mini, from school. Here they are: one, two, three. If you look, you will see that two skyscrapers are being added to the Wuxi skyline.

Saturday (the 23rd)

  • I work 1000-1800 today.

  • I downloaded and then listened to the latest John Derbyshire Podcast. He was saying he didn't have much to talk about this week. I know what he means. I haven't had much to blog about.

  • Lucky me. I suppose. My VIP student didn't come in. He had booked two morning classes and so I have two free hours, more or less. I have chosen to spend the time on Chinese typing practice. For you, my rare and far and in-between readers, I will provide you a sample of my work: 中国的首都是北京。Here is the pinyinzhongguode shoudu shi beijingThe English: China's capital is Bejing. Typing Chinese characters is easy. The programs to do this are quite helpful and are predictive. If you can't be bothered to learn to write Chinese, I would recommend learning to type it. It does aid your pinyin and Chinese character knowledge since typing them out is like writing them and is an aid to memory.

  • I had a class with students named Alex and Sally. "When Alex meet Sally!" I joked.

  • I had a student who worked in the HR department of an American company that makes cranes � the kind of cranes I can see everywhere in Wuxi on top of buildings under construction. (The cranes with tracks are called crawling cranes the student told me) I had to ask her how the heck they get the cranes on tops of the buildings. She told me that they drill a hole in the ground to begin with, and as the building increases in height, hydraulics push the crane upwards.

  • On Friday night, Tony played with the Microsoft Train Simulator.

  • I took some photos, of bike stalls and the downtown Wuxi skyline, on my way home from work today.

  • Spent the evening at home.

Sunday (the 24th)

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