Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Entry for March 25 to March 31, 2013

Gratitude: Some nice things happen to me that I just don't deserve. I am thankful that I know this.

Acknowledgment: Have I told you I am a coward? I must have, but I will say it again. I am too scared to tell you why.

Request: Please make comments! I have other requests but I am too scared to mention them.

The AKIC Week in Brief: I read a lot of e-books and watched several films on my Ipod Mini. As I went to work, I looked for sights to mention in my blog entries. I should have done something for Easter but didn't.

I'm in China!

I don't talk much about China in this blog. Do I? So, I am thinking I should be doing a weekly feature where I comment on the passing Chinese scene.

So this is it.

A few students have told me that they hope Xi Jing Ping can follow through with his talk of ridding China or corruption. Good with that, I say.

They also told me his wife was making a good will visit to Africa. Is she being a Chinese first lady in the manner of the wife of the U.S. President? I asked the students. (My mother in Canada has heard about China's first lady.)

I also realize I don't spend much time on the Chinese internet, whether it be with foreigners or the locals. I should try to change that.

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. (See below)

  • Ulysses by James Joyce: I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's hard-to-read 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 (he completed episode #146 this week), 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 Gospels According to Saint Mark.

  • The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huzinga. Finished. Huzinga, though snooty about the Medieval mind, did make it come alive.

  • Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser. Finished. Flashy goes to Nanjing, Jiangyin, and Peking during the Taiping Rebellion. He becomes the sex slave of the-soon-to-be Iron Lady and Empress Dowager Cixi. A fun and informative novel.

  • The Road to Rome by Hilliare Belloc. I have read Chesterton's buddy before. Father Schall recommends it. The first hundred pages are awesome. I wonder if we can walk to Rome in this day and age with its cars and trucks.

  • The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century by Charles Homer Haskins. Another work recommended by David Warren. I found a PDF copy of this book on There is something to be said for an age that has lots and lots of monasteries – it shows that it is taking the world in its proper measure.

  • University Economics: Elements of Inquiry Third Edition by Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen. I also found a PDF copy of this highly-recommended textbook on The questions the authors ask at the end of each chapter are good. For instance, after the first chapter, the authors ask this head-scratcher: What is nonsensical about the proposition, "A good economic system maximizes the welfare of the maximum number of people"? I have been pondering this question since I first read it. I have a vague or intuitive idea why the statement is nonsense. Explaining why in two sentences, I say: It is like the people who say they want their socioeconomic system to be fair. This leads me to immediately ask what they mean by fair, as the above statement leads me to ask what is good. Furthermore, I can imagine a welfare maximizing system that sees the most disadvantaged in slavery or a state so miserable we can't in good conscience tolerate.

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes

  • 1650 Let us try always to adhere to the losing party, so that we will not have to be ashamed of what the winning party always does.

  • 1651 Being common and customary without being predictable is the secret of good prose.

  • 1671 Genuine thought only discovers its principles at the end. Fake thought works the other way round.

  • 1684 "Finding himself," for modern man, means dissolving himself in any collective entity. I found myself, I can say. I can also say I am dissolving but I hope I am doing so as a reactionary.

The Gospel According to Luke

14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Personally, I don't know anyone who does this.

Well, let me correct that. There are actually a lot of students whose humility puts me in my place. Like anyone with pretensions, I find it disconcerting to meet people who don't have any.

Hilliare Belloc

 'Man,' said the Director of the State, 'man is but the creature of circumstance… If anything, I am just where I am. I didn't ask to be there but I didn't have any strong conviction of where I ought to have been.

David Warren on Canadian Public Schools

For in my humble but unalterable opinion, these public "schools" (the scare quotes are needed) are crushers of the human spirit. No responsible parent should allow a child to be exposed to them. Ditto, no aspiring teacher should work in one, even temporarily, or he will be destroyed. The administrators should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Here is the link to the article where therein you can find the above quote.

As a graduate of Canadian public schools, I can say that the only two good teachers I can remember having were a Mrs. Bell who was my grade one teacher in Oromocto, New Brunswick, and a Mr Burrie (I am not sure of the spelling) who was my History and English teacher in my final year of high school which was spent in Brandon, Manitoba.

Mrs. Bell was the only teacher I ever had that beat me.

Mr. Burrie, who was dying of leukemia or cancer, had very interesting classes. I got terrible marks in his classes which showed he had some standards.

The rest of my years in school were soul-destroying. About grade seven, I realized that I didn't fit in with the other students. And there were no wise and inspiring teachers to help me steer my way. I ran aground and have spent the years since trying to forget it ever happened.

Daily Entries (A Week in the Life of a Canadian living in Wuxi, China)

Cast of Characters: Andis, Andis's son Tony, the wife of Andis: Jenny, and several Chinese passersby and students.

Monday (the 25th)

  • I don't work today.

  • I got a good copy of The Hobbit on the Internet. Tony watched it in the evening and was quite taken with it.

  • I drank a Tsingtao in a short stubbie bottle. It was delicious.

  • I finished watching Dishonored Lady on my Ipad Mini. It is a great old movie I got from It starred Heddy Lemarr and was made in 1947. I love those old movies. This one dealt with adult themes – Lemarr is a loose woman – but there wasn't a need to have the actors take off their clothes.

Tuesday (the 26th)

  • I work 1300-2100. In the morning, I put on the computer and monitored the torrent download progress.

  • Cold today. I don't know what else to say.

Wednesday (the 27th)

  • I have to make a longer entry today.

  • I work 1000-2100. Rare AKIC readers and visitors (is this what I should call the people who look at the photos I will post?) may be thinking: Don't you normally work 1300-2100 on a Wednesday? Or rather, that is, doesn't your new shift regimen have you working 1300-2100 on a Wednesday? You are correct. I was asked to switch shifts this week by another trainer.

  • I saw myself on the bus yesterday in a video I wasn't expecting. They were talking to a HyLite student in an interview format that was strewn with stock video of our trainers in class. I saw myself doing a English Corner. God, am I thin!

  • Just as I was getting off the bus this morning, I saw the beginning of the Easter video I did in which I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of Easter egg decorating knowledge.

  • I got my wife to take photos of Tony & I at bedtime on Monday night. Tony & I were watching a video on the Ipad Mini. While I held the Ipad mini, Tony had his arm around me. You can see photos of that: here and here.

  • My son Tony can print his name.

  • Last night, Tony also brought out the train set pieces and made his own configuration. You can see photos of that here and here.

  • On the way home last night, I listened to the latest Econtalk episode and I have to admit I didn't fully understand what the guest's theory about what went wrong during the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath; and so I did something I had never done before and actually read the transcript of the podcast to see what I had been missing. Like Milton Friedman who blamed the Depression on the fact that the Federal Reserve actually contracted the money supply in the thirties, the guest, who is a market monetarist, say the Fed reacted to the 2008 crisis by tightening monetary policy. This seems contrary to the facts because it seemed that the Fed was doing everything it could it towards loosening monetary policy. However, the guest said that if you looked at the nominal measures and not real measures, the Fed's policy was in fact tight and because of this, the recovery was slower than it had to be. I am skeptical about how much a central bank can affect real economic factors except in a negative way by causing inflation and making money an unreliable benchmark for which to engage in economic activity. The idea of a Fed chairman controlling the levers of the economy seems absurd to me. So I would be in agreement with the guest if he hadn't said that economic shocks and bad government fiscal policy were not major factors in determining how the economy performs. As I listened to the guest, I couldn't help but ask how his talk of monetary policy affected physical facts of culture and skill sets on the ground. The guest was abstract in a way that gives Economists a bad name.

  • Some things I saw this morning: 1) On the way to the bus stop from Casa Kaulins, and after having seen Tony picked up by the van that takes him to the kindergarten, I saw a man washing vegetables in a basin just beside the entrance to his restaurant. I always skirt the area in front of the restaurant because usually it is wet. 2)I then saw an old woman walking her bike through the intersection. She was doing so against a red light which had me wondering why she wasn't riding the bike through the intersection. However, the thing that really struck me about her was her eyes. She was looking intently to her right to see if any cars were coming. 3) I had breakfast at the McDonalds at the corner of Xueqian and Zhongshan Road, kitty corner from Ba Bai Ban. I walked into the room that faces Xueqian road and saw a TV reporter and her cameraman having breakfast. I thought about how I didn't want to be in front of another camera.

  • This afternoon's English Corner topic: Legs.

  • I have just uploaded the latest commercial I have done for the school. You can also see it below this entry.

Thursday (the 28th)

  • It looks like Tony will accompany me on my trip to Shanghai on the 31st and 1st. I want him to see a sight and maybe get him to the Takara TOMY Shanghai store.

  • I work 1300-2100 today. I like the 1300 kickoffs, to borrow an expression from an Englishman I know, because I don't feel rushed in the morning. I can spend some time at the home, reading and looking at the computer.

  • This morning, I finished watching the third episode of the four-part Jesus of Nazareth mini-series that was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in the 1970s. I am quite taken with it. I will keep the series on my hard drive to watch it again in the future. It ain't a watch-once-and-chuck. With a script written by Anthony Burgess and an all-star cast, the series is worth repeated viewings.

  • The weather today is sunny. I didn't wear my my dark blue nylon shell of a jacket.

  • Sights of the day: 1) At the intersection near Casa Kaulins, I saw an old woman pushing a three wheel pick-up motor scooter through an intersection. In the back, lay an old sickly-looking man covered with a dirty wool blanket. 2) After getting off a bus near Nanchang Temple, I walked to school and chanced to see an old man pushing a wheel chair. I wondered if it was his own or somebody else's.

  • Yesterday, I asked the students to tell me the synonym for "possess." Thinking it would be hard for them, I even wrote this on the board for them: _ a v e. They still couldn't figure it out even after I used five sentences with "possess!" "Girls want to possess bags." "Girls want to possess diamond rings." Girls want to possess bags and shoes!"

  • My plans for my upcoming Shanghai trip continue to evolve. I was planning to go Sunday & Monday but it turns out that the person I was to stay with now has to go to Wuxi that day for work. Kind of hard to meet if you are exchanging locations. So, it looks like I am going to go to Shanghai early on Monday and come back in the afternoon.

Friday (the 29th)

  • I worked 1100-2100 this day.

  • I made entries but they weren't saved. Thanks a lot Evernote!

  • I started studying French.

  • I discovered that the Canadian consulate was closed on Monday, April 1st for Easter Monday thus ruining my plans. I discovered, much to my surprise, that the Consulate was open on April 4th which is a holiday in China. So, I decided to go to Shanghai on April 4th.

  • My back was giving me trouble. I would sit for thirty minutes and experience back spasms as I got up. I had to hold onto the desk's edge before I was able to unstiffen and move freely.

  • Every bedtime this week, Tony has asked to watch the Hobbit on my Ipad Mini.

Saturday (the 30th)

  • For whatever it's worth, I work 1000-1800 today.

  • Last night, I had a student who told me his English name was Obama. I immediately told him that was a stupid name to have. Perhaps, I shouldn't have but I did. He was with this student named Arthur – perhaps after the U.S. President Chester Arthur – who all the teachers wished would go away. Whatever his calling is in life, for Arthur it isn't as a speaker of English in a second language.

  • A student told me that his father beat him everyday till he was fourteen. "I wasn't good at school!" the student said when I asked him why. My first thought to the student's revelation was that the beatings hadn't done him any good because he was still a student that teachers wish would not ever come to class again. I then wondered what the mistake was that the parent had made. It couldn't have been the fact of the beatings. There was no doubt that this student deserved to be beaten. The father either probably stopped just when continuing would have borne fruit, or he wasn't beating the kid hard enough.

  • For every student who deserves a beating, there are at least twenty whose feet I should kiss. It is too bad the bad ones have to ruin it for everybody.

  • I asked the students about spanking and if they had been spanked. However, I didn't ask one student. "You were so good as a child that it was your parents who were spanked by you!" I told him.

  • BTW, what is my calling? I wonder. I have suddenly become so advanced in years, I think I have blown it.

  • For an instant last night, I didn't know where Tony was in the apartment. I looked in all the rooms and finally saw him in the master bedroom – the last place I would have expected to find him at that time of night. He was playing with the Ipad – not a surprise. But he had the Ipad plugged into recharger. The little bugger now knows what to do when he has used up all the Ipad's battery power.

  • Andis: "Have you eaten Canadian Food?" Student: "Yes!" Andis (with disbelief): "Really, tell me more about this!" Student: "It was dark!" Andis: "Dark!?!?" Student: "It was dark and the waiters told me the food was Canadian!: Andis: "So you don't know exactly you ate?" Student: "Yes!" Cheeky!!

  • I finished watching the 1977 Jesus of Nazareth mini-series – just in time for Easter.

Sunday (the 31st)

  • Easter Sunday: I don't work.

  • Wuxi's Suntech has gone bankrupt. I remember having to teach a group of their workers a few years back – every Saturday the class was, nine to twelve in the morning-- the only time I had that teaching regimen. I never forget one student telling me how they dealt with customer complaints about their solar panels not working on cloudy. "You are going to have to wait till the sun comes out again." It was like that out at my mother-in-law's home in the countryside where solar panels are used to heat the water. "You are going to have to wait till a sunny day before you can take a bath!"

  • The plan, at the moment of this typing, is that the K gang is going downtown for Tony's drawing class.

  • I woke up at 600 am. I thought it was 700 am. I changed my alarm sounds last night. I didn't realize the Merle Haggard's Mama Tried was my 600 am alarm. It is nice to have an extra hour in the morning to do stuff.

  • On the Ipad Mini, last night, I watched It's Love I am Looking starring Bette Davis, Olivia DeHaviland, and Leslie Howard. It was a comedy with the butler-actor I had seen in the Gay Divorcee. It wasn't a four star movie. The acting didn't hit the right tone. It was overdone which I hate to say, because I have usually been very taken with Leslie Howard.

  • For a while this morning, it seemed that we weren't going to go to the drawing class. Tony and Jenny were lingering in bed and there was no strong desire, it seemed, to get out of bed. If we hadn't gone, it wouldn't have upset me much. The drawing class takes three hours from my day off – those three hours could be spent lingering in bed instead of sitting on a bus and then also at a McDonald's while Tony colors in some pre-printed sheet. Asking Jenny what was her intention with regards to going to the drawing class, she told me that it was up to Tony. If he wanted, we would go. It didn't seemed he wanted to because he was dead as a log when we tried to wake him. But then all of a sudden, he was up and Jenny said he wanted to go to the class. Jenny then had me take Tony while she cleaned the apartment and bought train tickets to get us to Shanghai on Thursday, April 4th.

  • At the drawing/art class, there were but three children, Tony included. It seemed that there were a lot of parents and children who decided to stay in bed.

  • On the bus ride to the drawing class, I had a youngish-looking woman sit beside me and Tony in order to practice her English with me. Welcome to Wuxi! She said. She introduced herself to me as a graduate of Lambton College. She wanted to "make friends with me!" I further learned that she was 32 and that she wasn't married yet which was a worry to her parents. In reaction to my concern, she told me that she did have a boyfriend, and that she was hoping to have three children. Her talking to me attracted an audience and I had another woman try to practice her English on me – she was studying it at another school, unfortunately. I find these conversations awkward. The people are so earnest to talk but I don't know what to say to them. I would have rather continued listening to my Ipod – I am ashamed to admit. John Derbyshire was on a roll in the latest episode of Radio Derb. He did singing duet with the first lady of China – Mrs. Xi Jing Ping.

  • After art class, Tony & I went to the Nanchang Temple Market. I took a lot of photos of Tony that you can view them here and here.

  • At the Nanchang Book Market, we wandered to second floor spot which afforded us a bird's eye view of the walkways below, and allowed us to take photos of each other.

  • Jenny was able to get us train tickets; so we can go to Shanghai on April 4th!

  • I took Tony to the Nanchang KFC. I contemplated the utter soullessness of the place as Tony munched on some wings. I then thought of the fact that it was Easter and recalled the final scenes from the Jesus of Nazareth mini-series I had watched on Saturday night.

  • We then went to The Grandma's Restaurant in Nanchang. Rare readers may know that I have praised The Grandma's at Ba Bai Ban. This was our first time to try out the Nanchang The Grandma's. The food was the same but the wait, which are notoriously long at the Ba Bai Ban The Grandma's, was much shorter. But the time Jenny was able to join us, food had been served to us.

  • Finished at The Grandma's, we decided to walk to the #602 bus stop which is on the other side of downtown Wuxi by Chongan Market. Jenny worried about the length of the walk but I said it would be no problem. My right leg has been troubling me the past year and I have felt arthritic-like pain in my thigh, knee and ankles making me need to sit down on occasion. As we approached the bus stop, my right leg fell felt like it was asleep. After sitting on the bus for forty minutes, the leg was much better and I walked home with no problems.

  • Along the way to the bus stop, Jenny bought Tony a toy gun that he wanted. Be it ever so politically incorrect, I am glad to say she did so. Press the trigger on the toy, and a recording of machine-gun burst plays and lights flash. Tony played with his new toy as we walked to the bus stop. Along the way, this little boy, about Tony's age, was sitting in a car's back seat and playing with a toy pistol. He saw Tony and Tony saw him, and they playfully exchanged gun fire. I laughed at the sight, as did a male street sweeper who smiled at me. That's just what kids do.

  • With a bad back and a sore right leg, I am becoming very aware of my mortality.

  • I have heard a few people around me express concern about North Korea proclaiming they were in a state of war with South Korea. When I first heard this, I did visit the Internet to see what was happening, and came away feeling it was hype.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Entry for March 18 to March 24, 2013

Gratitude: After having found some photos of the classmate of Tony who recently passed away (see below), I know what I have to be thankful for this week.
Acknowledgment: I am boring.
Request: Rare readers! Make more comments. The more negative the better.

The AKIC Week in Brief: I went to work. I stayed at home with my wife and son. I read books on my Ipad. I recorded a commercial on Friday. No glamor in my life, but I have resigned myself to happily accepting it. I believe the human tendency is to present our lives as being full of excitement. I thinking that from on, in my blog, I will try to fight this tendency in myself and so present my life as being the opposite – dull, provincial, unoriginal, and boring. And hear I am living in China – something I would never have dreamed of!!!

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. (See below)
  • Ulysses by James Joyce: I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's hard-to-read 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 Gospels According to Saint Mark.
  • The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huzinga. The past is another place as this book clearly shows.
  • The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare. Father Schall writes somewhere on his site, that he knew a man who a point of reading the entire works of Shakespeare every year. I wish I could do that, but it will suffice for me to read the Great Bard every fourth or fifth book I do read.
  • Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser. I have read both Peter Hitchens & John Derbyshire praise this series of novels. The novel am reading now, is apparently the 8th of the series. It is set in China at the time of the Taiping Rebellion. So far, the novel is a fun way to learn some history. Like James Bond, Flashy meets many beautiful women and has adventures. Flashy mentions Taihu, Kiangsu province, and Kiangyin – we refer to the latter two as Jiangsu and Jiangyin – and that the Yangtze River is full of Pirates.

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes
  • 1551 Making us feel intelligent is how nature notifies us that we are saying something stupid.
  • 1578 When originality is rare, innovation abounds.
  • 1603 Nothing is more superficial than intelligences that comprehend everything.
  • 1604 What was true yesterday is not always error today, as fools believe. But what is true today can be error tomorrow, as fools forget.

A Quote from David Warren
The whole enterprise of “news” is a porage of naïve trust, & exploiting malice; hardly worth selling one’s soul. The sensationalism of the media gets worse, as journalists with some real knowledge of their beats grow old & die. They are replaced by “professional communicators” who do not even have beats, let alone the prolonged experience that comes from sticking to one. But while this “trend” is discouraging, those who put their faith in journalists were fools all along. You can read the full article, from which this quote was cut & pasted, here. I read a book, a long time ago, that said that following the news closely, being what is now called a news junkie, was a sure way to become dumb because it narrowed one focus to the immediate, making one ignorant of the longer view which contained much more truth and wisdom. I agreed with it. I also can come to the conclusion that journalists, as a lot, are an ignorant bunch – the best of whom are slick & articulate enough to fool many into thinking they do know something.

The Balinghou
This article says there is a big generation gap in China and that the young have had enough. Most of the young I have meet have expressed a love and a respect for their parents. Do they tell me this because they have to?

My Current Podcast Listening Habits
Thanks to all the e-books I have, I don't listen to as many podcasts as I used to. Sometimes on the bus ride back home from work, I will now read an e-book instead of listen to a podcast. And besides being able to say that that are too many books, not enough time; I also can say that there are so many podcasts and not even hours in the day to listen to them all.

Still, I do listen to a lot of podcasts.

The ones that I can say I listen to religiously are the Econtalk podcast, the China History Podcast, the Radio Derb Podcast, Frank Delaney's ReJoyce Podcast, the Russian Rulers Podcast, the History of Byzantium, the audio recording of Don Cherry's Coach's Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, the Three Martini Lunch, Coffee and Markets, Rex Murphy's commentary on CBC's the National, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, Dennis Prager's Townhall and Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson.

I will also listen to many podcasts from the Charles Adler show, EWTN, Learn French by Podcast, the Cato Daily Podcast, the American Conservative University, Banter from the American Enteprise Institute, Counterpoint from the Australian Broadcasting Corp, Grammar Girl, NPR Money Planet, Bloggingheads tv, Marc Levin, and Popup Chinese.

So, you can see that I am interested in history, economics, Canada, American politics, grammar, learning languages and China.

Daily Entries (A Week in the Life of a Canadian living in Wuxi, China)

Monday (the 18th)
  • I don't work today.
  • Andis & Jenny went to the lunch buffet at the Jinling Hotel which is next to the Baoli Shopping Mall. Andis had his fill. He began the meal with a salad – something he doesn't get to have too often in China. Faced with the choice of Thousand Island Dressing or Caesar Dressing, he decided to make a salad with both.
  • Andis took this photo of security guards marching at the bus stop near Casa Kaulins. He took a photo of them when they had passed – he didn't think it would have been a good idea for him to be seen taking a photo by their leader. The fact that they were wearing black made Andis think of a certain novel by George Orwell.
  • Andis spent his free time reading Shakespeare's Richard III.
  • We went to this kids mall near the 1912 Bar District. It doesn't sell any toys made by Takara TOMY or Siku. But it does have a nice playground and arcade. I hesitate to bring Tony there because I know he would like it a lot and I would have to fight him to get him to leave.
  • Tony doesn't need toys; he needs experiences. That is why I would like to take him to Shanghai with me on April 1.
  • In reaction to the second latest commercial I made, the 11th greatest Englishman of all-time asked a good question: Does anyone send faxes anymore?
  • We were overdressed by the time Monday afternoon rolled around. The sun had heated the Wux to a temperature about 20 degrees. I was dressed for five to ten.

Tuesday (the 19th)
  • I work 1300-2100.
  • I have a 1300 salon, an 1800 private class, and a 1900-2100 V.I.P. Class.
  • I am suffering from a bout of ennui. Nothing much to say for myself. The muse as left me as the saying goes. Of course, I was the same way on the 12th of March. Maybe there is something about the new schedule that my body is rebelling against. My Sunday was Tuesday. Now it is Monday. My brain knows this but my body must not have gotten the memo.

Wednesday (the 19th)
  • I phoned my mother in the morning. She told me that a whole lot of snow, 72 cm, has fallen where she is living – Brandon, Manitoba, Canada; and that the temperature will go down to minus twenty five degrees tonight. It was about minus ten degrees in Brandon when I phoned her. In Wuxi, at the same time, it was about ten degrees above – a twenty degree difference. To give you an idea how much snow had fallen, Mom told me that the snow was two-thirds of the way up her backyard fences. Would I want my wife & son to live there for a year or so?
  • I work 1300-2100 today. I will play a Jeopardy game in my afternoon English Corner.
  • Deny Yourself!” Robert E. Lee said something to this effect when a young boy was introduced to him and the topic of raising a child was broached. Everyday, I must deny myself something I normally take for granted.
  • What am I going to deny myself today? Dinner? Maybe not that.
  • I have completed my daily Chinese typing and flashcard requirement. That is, I look at about 600 Chinese character flashcards a day, and type out some Chinese characters from my textbook. Since, I have no intention of learning how to write in Chinese, I type Chinese characters using a predictive text program as a way to better remember them. After all, there is nothing better than doing something hands-on with something in order to drill that something into one's memory.

Thursday (the 21st)
  • I work 1000-2100. It is my long day.
  • Annoyances of going to work today. 1) Another case of a car making a left turn cutting me off as I am crossing the street. I should have spit on the car or made more of an effort to make him stop. 2) The #81 double-decker bus was very, very crowded. I had no space to move. Bottlenecks of passengers formed on the stairs and near the exit doors. I got off a stop earlier than normal to escape.
  • Last night, I had a student who had worked at Foxcon or Foxcom – the company that makes Iphones in China. She worked at the one in Kunshan. I didn't know that there was a Foxcom in Kunshan which is on the way to Shanghai from Wuxi. The student, who comes from Inner Mongolia and is the one whom I talked about last week, told me about the big meetings that Foxcom where over two thousand employees attended. She told me she hated working there because she had one small and boring task to do over and over again.
  • I get to record another school commercial tomorrow. Oh! Exciting! I suppose.

Friday (the 22nd)
  • Andis works 1100 to 2100 today.
  • Andis earned the ire of his wife because at 700 AM, a meter reader came into the apartment and didn't put plastic baggies on to cover his shoes.
  • Andis was busy memorizing the lines for the commercial he is to shoot in the afternoon. One line is a particular mouth-fill. Here is how he remembers the line now: The Egg represents new life. Jesus our sins crucified. He was raised from the dead on the third day, and so those who believe in him will obtain this new life. Easter Eggs were a pagan symbol of the rebirth of earth in spring celebrations and early Christians adopted them as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Yesterday, I got a copy of the latest video I did on job interviews. I have uploaded it here, here, and here.

Saturday (the 23rd)
  • Last night, for the second night in a row, I saw Tony giggling as he watched the Three Stooges on television. It is so cool, I figure, that he likes watching them. The Stooges have given me many hours of enjoyment.
  • About 630 this morning, I heard a number of male voices coming from the street below our third floor apartment. I looked out my window and saw a group of ten men wearing orange construction hats walking, I would suppose, to work. This happened the morning before as well.
  • At McDonald's, the clerk beckoned me to the counter to look at the menu. A short old woman behind me tried to rush ahead of me and get served. My initial feeling was to yield to her, but then I chose not to.
  • Today, I work 1000-1800.
  • My first class is about food. I have two students, Cherry and Apple, with food names. Another has the name Ritz. Ritz Crackers! Yum! I think I will give the other five students in the class food names as well.
  • I like delicious food. I am a smart boy. Some animals are stupid.” What kind of sentences are those? They are so trite that they are not worth saying!!! Improving their English will having to involve forcing them to say something other than just words.
  • After work, the K family went to Pizza Hut for dinner or supper.
  • Tournament #9: Play has begun in the group stage of the Tournament #9 Championship tournament. The first day, of nine days of tournament play, has been completed.

Sunday (the 24th)
  • In my blog of Tony photos, I have published two photos of Tony with classmates: here and here. I published the photos because they are the first ones I have came upon that show the boy who sadly passed away before the Chinese New Year. Rare-and-far-between AKIC readers may recall my having blogged about the child.
  • I don't work today but that doesn't mean I will be able to get away from it. Tonight, the other trainers & I will go to Ganesh's, which is somewhere in the Nanchang Jie area, for some Indian Food.
  • While the wife and son are away, I will be staying at home because I will be working on some projects and I don't want to spend my whole day off downtown.
  • I will be going to Shanghai on the next weekend: March 31 and April 1. So, my next blog entry may be published at a different time.
  • I didn't accompany Tony to his drawing class and he was moaning. To placate him, I let him take my Ipad Mini with him. He stopped moaning instantly.
  • On Youku, there are currently over 450 views of my Great Train Comeback Video.
  • Ganesh's was good. Next to Momma Mia Pizzeria. Blow it out your ass! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) I had the Butter Chicken Tita Masala with rice pilaf and Cheese Nan. I ate it in five minutes! It was so good, especially after having not eaten it for nearly ten years. So, I would give the place five stars out of five.
  • I also smoked a shisha – also known as a hooka – a tall wide bottomed class container with hoses attached to it. It was alright but nothing I would want to make a habit of.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

AKIC Blog Entry for March 11 to March 17, 2013

Gratitude: I am thankful for the good health I have had. I am thankful I have a wife who tells like it is about me, but loves me just the same.

Acknowledgment: As my wife says, Tony & I are big wimps. (Read what happened on Sunday, the 17th)

Request: Pray for my friend Harry Moore, my occasional partner in crime at the WCE Blog. (He writes the funny bits in the blog – contrasting with my lame attempts at satire.) He suffered a stroke last week. You can email him with your best wishes at

The AKIC Week in Brief: The world has a new Pope who is Catholic and intends to keep his church Catholic. Google Reader, a daily part of my life for the past few years, is being retired. My friend HM had a stroke. Another week of my life spent as a homebody in China was dull but still well-worth living even if it didn't give me much to blog about.

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. (See below)

  • Ulysses by James Joyce: I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's hard-to-read 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 Gospels According to Saint Mark. I have been reading the book, all the while – the KJV that is.

  • The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. Finished. An adventure set in the Middle Ages. There is more to Doyle than Sherlock Holmes. This Doyle novel is another thrilling page-turner.

  • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. Finished. A weighty book that was a translation. I got a little wisdom out of it. Or should I say I got little wisdom out of it?

  • Penrod by Booth Tarkington. Finished. This book, which must have been a inspiration for the Little Rascals or Our Gang serials, has some really funny and politically-incorrect bits. But it is so well-written and full of wisdom, that it must be read. It shows childhood at its roughest and most tumble-some. I don't think kids are allowed to live as children did a hundred years ago which is about when this book was written. Here are a few of the many passages I that I found to be laugh-out-loud-funny:

    {Penrod's Aunt} When Penrod grows up he'll be just the same as he is now, except that whenever he does what he wants to do he'll tell himself and other people a little story about it to make his reason for doing it seem nice and pretty and noble."
    "No, I won't!" said Penrod suddenly."

    Also: He tried to climb higher, but began to slip downward, his exertions causing damage to his apparel. A button flew into the air, and his knickerbockers and his waistband severed relations.

    And also: Certumly, people gotta marry. Everybody. You don't know anybody over twenty years old that isn't married—except maybe teachers.

  • The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huzinga. The past is another place as this book clearly shows.

  • The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare. Father Schall writes somewhere on his site, that he knew a man who a point of reading the entire works of Shakespeare every year. I wish I could do that, but it will suffice for me to read the Great Bard every fourth or fifth book I do read.

  • Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser. I have read both Peter Hitchens & John Derbyshire praise this series of novels. The novel am reading now, is apparently the 8th of the series. It is set in China at the time of the Taiping Rebellion. So far, the novel is a fun way to learn some history. Like James Bond, Flashy meets many beautiful women and has adventures.

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes

  • 1435 Nothing is more unforgivable than voluntarily imprisoning ourselves in another's convictions, when we should be trying to break through even the bars in the dungeon of our own intelligence.

  • 1437 Cynicism is not a measure of astuteness but of impotence.

  • 1448 Propose solutions? As if the world were not drowning in solutions! I was thinking of a middle-of-roader type who thought it was a stroke of rhetorical brilliance to claim that people who call themselves middle-of-the-road are equipping themselves with more tools to solve the world's problems.

  • 1471 Authentic intellectual seriousness does not frown, but rather smiles.

  • 1512 A woman has the intellectual temperature of the medium in which she lives: vehement revolutionary or dauntless conservative, according to the circumstances.

  • 1526 Our soul has a future. Humanity has none.

  • 1533 "Social" is the adjective that serves as a pretext for all swindles. I have also heard it said that when the word "social" is used a modifier, it negates the meaning of the word it modifies. Examples: Social Justice and Social Policy become non-justice and non-policy.

Quotes from Others

  • Steve Sailer: The central paradox of American political life is that blacks and Latinos tend to do better in Republican states while affluent whites do best in Democratic states. I say it is a lie that Conservatives and Libertarians are racist. It is the Liberals and Socialists who are no longer interested in a color-blind society. It is the Liberals and Socialists who keep the black man down with their welfare state policies designed, it seems, to stoke resentments.

Interesting Links about China

  • How Social Darwinism Made Modern China: A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom. I came upon this long piece in the American Conservative. I can't say I agree with it completely. The article does say that there are many things that Chinese culture does right. However, the recent economic success of China is a catching-up and a result of their having a large population.

  • Here is John Derbyshire's reaction to the article.

Daily Entries (A Week in the Life of a Canadian living in Wuxi, China)

Monday (the 11th)

  • I tried to make my Monday entry by dictating into my Ipad Mini. Below you will see the result followed by a translation and explanation of what I was trying to say and trying to do:

Monday, March 11, 2013 (That was fine.)

I didn't work today.
(That is what I meant to say.)

I did manage to get out of the house.  I went to Tesco to do a little bit of shopping.  I also bought a bucket at the KFC so we can have lunch.  However, call me through dinnerplate of the chicken pieces I had set out for him.  That is, he vomited. (
This is what I meant to say: I did manage to get out of the house. I went to Tesco to do a bit of shopping. I also bought a bucket at the KFC so we could have lunch. However, Tony got sick on the plate of chicken plates I had set out for him. That is he vomited.)

By then decided to get hold me out of the house.  Again, I'll say it again, I got Tony and I to get out of the house.  We went to a nearby park.  That is, Tony decided to go to a nearby park. He first said he wanted to go for a bus ride. He changed his mind.   Glenn Locke was nice. We walked Boneriso canals and we walked by a whole slew of local businesses And including many small food shops I Kopple hair salons and a few industrial supply shops. (
Then I decided to get us out of the house. Again. I will say it again. I got Tony and I out of the house. We went to a nearby park. That is, Tony decided to go to a nearby park – he first said he wanted to go for a bus ride. The walk was nice. We walked by some canals and we walked by a whole slow of local businesses including some small food shops, a couple hair salons, and a few industrial supply shops.)

We only spent about 15 minutes at the park. It was probably the first time that we were at the park nevermind.  Also it again. It was a first because Holani wanted to leave the park before I did. (
We spent only about 15 minutes at the park. It was the first time, Tony wanted to leave the park before I did.)

After I dropped Octonia at home, I went to the Tesco again. This time, I bought some yogurt for Tony, he had vomited at least three times in the past 24 hours.
(After, I dropped Tony off a home, I went to the Tesco again. This time, I bought some yogurt for Tony. He had vomited at least times in the past 24 hours.)

Monday, March 11 is the day that I uploaded the greatest comeback in toy train history video to the Internet.
(That is what I meant to say!)

I then tried to get Tony to answer "Do you love Daddy?" with a "Yes, I do!" I heard him answer properly, but as you will see below, the Ipad didn't:

Do you Rulau daddy? Love yeah

Do you love daddy? Yeah hi there

Yeah I you

I cannot hope you did do you love daddy? Yeah bye yeah

Yeah I you

Hey have been trying to get told me to say yes I do.  I'll say it again. What I have been trying to do is get Tony to say yes I do.  E quotation mark yes I do quotation mark

Tuesday (the 12th)

  • I work 1300-2100 today.

  • A warm day in Wuxi: I wear pants, dress shirt, and a fleece jacket.

Wednesday (the 13th)

  • I work 1300-2100 today.

  • A cool day in Wuxi: I wore what I wore yesterday and put on a windbreaker.

  • The Passport renewal process seems too good to be true. I don't need to find a guarantor. I don't need to supply a whole bunch of accompanying documents. I just need to provide my old passport and some new information.

  • We have run out of Tylenol in the house. I got to get some more.

Thursday (the 14th)

  • I didn't have much to say yesterday. I hope I have more to say today. My lack of blogging has been distressing me.

  • I work 1000-2100 today.

  • My first class is about space exploration – a topic that usually doesn't go over well with the students.

  • On my Ipod Touch, I learned about the election of a the new pope. He is from South America and has chosen the name of Francis. I hope he is Catholic.

  • On my ring finger, there are two rings: my wedding ring and my father's wedding ring. I looked at my father's ring and I thought about him. I recall how he like Jenny. "She has more sense than all of us!" he said. In the commercial I recently recorded for the school, you will see me wearing two wedding rings, mine and my father's, on my finger.

  • I showed my father's wedding ring to Tony. This is grandpa I told him.

  • A student I had last night knew about Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian leader who was ousted and executed by firing squad just days after he had been making a speech to a large rally.

  • Yesterday, there was a couple in my last evening class. It had happened before, a couple in a class, but last night was strange because of intimations I had of this in a previous class. I wasn't aware there was a couple till that man of the couple told me. The girl of the couple in question had actually come into my mind, the previous class where I had had a male student who reminded me of her. This male student wore the same kind of glasses as she did – they were too wide for a narrow face and the lenses were big; and he also spoke English in the manner of the girl. Recalling the girl, I asked him if he came from Wuxi. He said he came from Guilin – the girl I was thinking of came from Inner Mongolia. I knew the girl had a fiancee and I wondered if that male student was the fiance.... Well, lo and behold, the girl from Inner Mongolia was in my next class. The man she was sitting beside was her fiancee – he wasn't the student from the previous class. The topic of my last class was shopping. Thirty minutes into the class, I asked the students who they went shopping with and who they would have liked to have gone shopping with. The fiancee of the girl from Inner Mongolia told me that he liked shopping with his fiancee. I was surprised at this because I thought, as I had told the students, that most husbands or boyfriends didn't like shopping with their partners because it was boring. Seeing my surprise, the man told me that he had to say this because his fiancee was sitting next to him. This is when I learned that he and the girl from Inner Mongolia were engaged. He then asked me if I thought they were a good couple – made for each other as it were. I, of course, said they were – not telling them about the male student from the previous class. He and the student from the other class seemed very opposite in demeanour.

  • Time seems to drag in class when you know that you are going to have use the bathroom as soon as the class is done.

  • Damn it! Grammar mistake in my latest Youtube video!!!! In the opening titles, I inserted
    the Great Comeback in Toy Train History – I forgot an "est." I was able to correct the mistake in the Youtube video, thanks to their annotations feature. However, I won't bother correcting the mistake on the Youku video – the Chinese who watch the video won't notice anyway. So far, three hundred have viewed the Youku version.

Friday (the 15th)

  • It was Pi (3.14) day yesterday. I forgot all about it. One of my most-viewed blog entries was the Pi Day entry I made in 2009.

  • I work 1100 to 2100 today. I was actually at work at 0900. I must love my job.

  • I learned last night when logging onto Google Reader that it was going to be retired on July 1st. I was surprised and saddened – it was a product that I had been using everyday for years. Seeing the announcement pop up when I logged onto the Reader, I felt like I had been handed an eviction notice or divorce papers. It was only a few weeks ago that I had recommended it to a student. Learning of the scrapping, I quickly sought out reaction to the news of it on the Internet – I was glad to see that others were disappointed. I was also glad to know that there are many other alternatives on the Internet. I immediately found one this morning: Bye Bye Google Reader. R.I.P.

  • I use RSS but not many others do. I don't know why. It seems a thing for techies but I am no techie, and the reader is not that hard to use.

  • BTW, I have never been handed divorce or eviction papers. But I can imagine what it would feel like if it happened to me.

  • I saw myself on the video screen on the bus ride to work. I was acting in the latest commercial I did for the school. (here is the link to the video on Youtube) It was well-edited. There is a shot of my father's wedding ring which I am happy to see – it may confuse others to see I have two rings.

Saturday (the 16th)

  • I work 1000-1800 today.

  • Last night, I received an email from my Aussie buddy Harry Moore. He had a stroke, a few days ago. He had to go to the hospital but he was able to compose an email, so I pray it wasn't serious.

  • Here is an idea whose time has come: Caffeine Suppositories.

  • I have to be going to Shanghai soon to get my passport renewed. Probably, April 1st.

  • Sunny outside.

  • I had to stand on the bus ride home last night. This meant listening to the Ipod and not reading the Ipad. Oh! What a tortured existence I lead! Woe is me!

  • I see a pink BMW – a sporty model – trying to race through traffic.

  • A white Mazda drives down the sidewalk and forces a crowd of people standing at a bus stop to get out of its way. It offends my sensibilities so to see people doing this.

  • The new Pope seems to be alright. He is old and not one to give in to the ways of the modern world.

  • I listened to episode 113 of the China History Podcast on the bus ride home tonight. Host Laslzo Montgomery, who I am proud to say gave me a heads-up on the chosen topic, presented the story of the famous Canadian in China: Norman Bethune. Bethune, though being a fervent Communist, made great humanitarian contributions to medicine. Having died in 1939 at the age of 49, one can defend him by saying if he had not died prematurely, he would have lived long enough to disavow his support for Communism.

Sunday (the 17th)

  • I don't work today.

  • It rains. And so it sucks outside. It is really, really dismal. Whatever...

  • Yesterday, I had a teacher tell me her mother was slim and also plump. Questioning her, I found out she meant her mother was buxom. I had a good giggle about it and of course, told all the other teachers.

  • The K family went downtown this morning for Tony's drawing class.

  • We then went to to Tesco which is near Casa Kaulins. (Casa Kaulins, BTW, is not downtown.) I wanted to see the English school that my wife had told me was now in the plaza. After looking for it for ten minutes and not finding it, my wife then told me that it was being built.

  • The new English school will be near a Tesco Plaza playground which Tony frequents. Tony begged us to let him play at the playground today, and we relented. After finally finding where the new English school was to be, I sat by the playground and saw that all the other children were picking on Tony. Tony has the upper-hand in some of the confrontations, but he seemed to be a little bit too good-natured about what the other kids were doing to him. There was one boy who was continually throwing balls at Tony as well as swinging a rubber ball with handle at my son -- I was hoping Tony would have slugged that little bastard, but my boy just laughed it off. In another instance, the boy and three little girls tried to gang up on Tony by blocking him in a roomed area of the playground. The walls of the room were transparent, so I was able to see Tony force his way out like a football running back run through the line. I wonder if the kids, all Chinese, were picking on Tony because he was different being a mixed-blood kid. Or were they picking on him because he was weak-willed like his father?

  • I took lots of photos in the downtown at the Tesco Plaza. Here are the links: Give me!, Mom!, Me, Toy Car, Old Man Waiting for the Bus, Tony enters the 85 Bakery, Chicken!, the Wuxi Skyline, and Future Driver.

  • For supper, I ate six hot dogs. (I say this because I am trying to pad this entry out. I am really having trouble finding things to blog about.)

  • In tournament #9, the two league champions have been determined.

  • 532 million abortions and sterilizations in China since the implementation of the one-child policy.

  • On the bus, Jenny finally saw me in the commercial that I recently recorded for the school. The commercial is now on Youtube.

  • Malware has attached itself to my computer. My browser has been hijacked, and so when I try to go to a site, I am taken back to the Google search page with a flashing logo. As well, the mouse pointer flashes as well. It was some malware called default tab that I downloaded, and can't get rid. I have had to go to the registry to try to get rid of it. A simple uninstall doesn't work.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Greatest Comeback in Toy Train History

Blog Entry for March 4 to March 10, 2013

March 4 to March 10

Gratitude: I am thankful for the warm weather we had this week.

Acknowledgment: I am a son-of-a-bitch. I can't tell you why exactly I am, but I am sure I must be. For instance,I always get a set on a crowded bus so, ipso facto cetabus perabus, there is something I am doing that must not be right and proper that an s.o.b. would do.

Request: Send me money. I have never asked before so I thought I would give it a shot. You can email me at and we will iron out the details about how you can transfer the money to my account.

The AKIC Week in Brief: This is the week that my wife Jenny to order parts for our toy train set on Taobao. I also learned about an app called dotdotdot. Other than that, I went to work and returned home. I have been such a homebody lately.

What AKIC Is Reading this Week (The eleventh greatest Englishman of all-time introduced me to an app and site called It lets you announce to the world what books you are reading. However, it needs to be able to interface with Ibook app as well as the Calibre e-book management program before it can be really effective in my eyes. I will persist, in this weekly AKIC blog feature just the same or I should say regardlessly or irregardlessly.)

  • Don Colacho's Aphorisms: there are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for 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.

  • 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 Gospels According to Saint Mark. I have been reading the KJV, all the while I have engaged in making these weekly blog entries– I hadn't till a few weeks ago made a point of announcing it.

  • The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. An adventure set in the Middle Ages. There is more to Doyle than Sherlock Holmes.

  • Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. Finished. I am a fan of Goldberg's columns and shorter pieces. The point he is making in LF, I first came upon in Hayek's Road to Serfdom – that Fascism and Communism were just competing types of Socialism and really both movements of the Left; and that the Left has always tried, erroneously, to make all think that Fascism was a Right Wing movement. The degree to which many of the Left admired Fascism before it was discredited beyond all repair by the Holocaust was somewhat of a surpirse to me however.

  • Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter. Finished. I look at Modern China in a different light after reading this book. The link between China and its past was severely broken in the late 1950s and 1960s. In Wuxi, I see things torn down readily without regard to their history and new "ancient" things being erected that in no way convey the spirit of countless generations.

  • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

  • Penrod by Booth Tarkington. The misadventures of a young boy written in a florid and humorous style.

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes

  • 1343 The new left gathers together those who acknowledge the ineffectiveness of the cure without ceasing to believe in the prescription. That is why so many of them admired Hugo Chavez

  • 1344 Decadence does not derive from an excess of civilization, but from the…attempt to take advantage of civilization in order to elude the prohibitions of which it consists. To be a rebel, you need something to rebel against.

  • 1347 It is never too late for anything truly important. Coming to the age of fifty, this short sentence inspires me... to be old.

  • 1394 Specialized vocabularies allow one to speak with precision in the natural sciences and to disguise trivialities in the humanities. The Chinese do things different from us because they do. I have seen labels used instead "because they do" which just aren't very helpful.

Daily Entries (with links to photos in AKIC Wordpress)

Monday (the 4th)

  • I didn't work today.

  • Tony was sent off to school. He insisted that I carry him to the kindergarten van pickup stop, but he is now far too heavy for me to carry, so I had to make a deal with him – walk to the spot and I would let him lay his head on my shoulder and sleep while we waited for the van.

  • A&J went to the Jinling Hotel for a lunch buffet. They both ate their fill. It was supposed to be Italian month at the Jinling – at least that was what Andis gathered from the signs, but you wouldn't have known it based on the food on offer – there wasn't any Italian food at all. Andis would have protested if he had known before he came that the buffet was supposedly Italian, but he had been looking forward to the fare that was there on offer anyway. (Perhaps, the Italian theme was only for supper. Perhaps, the theme was just that a theme and nothing else as Jenny suggested.)

  • At the Jinling, Andis ate about five plates of food, one bottle of beer, and four cups of tea. And so he was sleepy the rest of the afternoon. – as was Jenny who rested her head on Andis's shoulder as they took the bus home.

  • Observing the passing scene from the bus, Andis happened to see ten security guards stand abreast on a road. At first sight of the black-clad guards, Andis thought they were meant to block the road. He then saw another guard, also clad in black uniform, order them to march. Andis lamented not having taken a photo.

  • Andis took a photo of a woman riding side-saddle on a passing bicycle. This practice is common in Wuxi. Trying the maneuver in Canada, the rider and passenger would most certainly be ticketed and fined and questioned by the police. For not only were there too many people on the bicycle, they were also not wearing helmets. The authorities here also try to clamp down on the the practice of bicycle carrying passengers, but only it seems they do so in the downtown of Wuxi. In the suburbs like Hui Shan District, they don't bother.

Tuesday (the 5th)

  • I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but I did. I was feeling cold and had a slight headache. This made the bed seem so much warmer. But I had to get the crew up so that Tony could go to school. My wife had to be coaxed, by me, to arise. As it was, she was ten minutes behind schedule; and just as we had gotten Tony to the door, so I could accompany him to where he would be picked up by the school van, he told us he had to take a poo. While he sat on the throne, the van driver phoned wondering where we were. Finished, out of the apartment and on our way to the van, Tony asked me if I had brought along the Ipod. Having waited twenty minutes for the van to come on Monday (the 4th), Tony must have been thinking that he could pass the time playing with it. As it was, the van was waiting...

  • I work 1300 to 2100 today.

  • My first class was with a student who is training to be an Olympic shooter. Her English wasn't very good. I had to force her to string out of sentence – she was all too ready to answer questions with yes's, no's, and nods.

  • I had to repeat (fail) a student even though she told me an interesting anecdote. She is studying to be a flight attendant, and so I asked her if she had any male classmates. She said she had one. Asked by me what he was like, she told me that he was fat. This prompted further questions. When asked, she said she didn't think the boy was there to meet girls because that he seemed to do was eat. I didn't bother to ask about his degree of effeminacy.

Wednesday (the 6th)

  • It's warming up in the Wux! Temperatures are going to get above 20 degrees Celsius. On the way to work, I saw one foreigner wearing shorts and another in a short-sleeved t-shirt.

  • I work 1300 to 2100 today.

  • The pieces that I said I needed for Tony's toy train set had been ordered on Taobao (a popular Chinese internet shopping website) and arrived yesterday. I had been hoping to receive them on Monday. As it is, I won't be able to set up the train set for Tony till late Friday evening or on Saturday after work.

  • From, I downloaded a few country songs. Not knowing what to look for, I chose, at random, some songs by Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton. I think I found a couple gems: Haggard's Mother Tried I found quite haunting and I was humming the song when I wasn't yodelling like Dolly Parton in Tennessee Homesick Blues – another gem of track I was fortunate to download.

  • I will be starting the second round of my Tournament #9 soon. I have finished the first round where eight groups of five teams played a single round robin. The fourth and fifth place teams in each group have been eliminated. The second and third place teams from each group, sixteen in total, will play in the second round. Eight games will be played. The eight winners of the games will advance the third round – the league championships, and the fourth round – the tournament championships.

  • I am learning my lines for a commercial, for the school, that is being recorded tomorrow.

Thursday (the 7th)

  • Tuesday evening was strange because there weren't so many people boarding the 635 bus (which takes me home after work in the evening). In recent months, it has come to be that there are usually many trying to board the bus and I so I always am anxious that I may not get a seat for the long 45 minute ride back home. Last evening, I had a premonition that the previous night was a pleasant aberration not to be repeated, and I was correct. There were a lot of people boarding the bus. In fact, there was a bit of a tussle getting on the bus. I got on and there was one seat left for the taking. I went for it and this woman tried to prevent me from taking the seat because she was saving it for a friend who got on the bus after me. I wasn't having anything to do with this. I took the seat forcing the woman to withdraw the bag she had placed on the seat. At home, my wife supported my action. "What a bitch!" she said.

  • Today, I work 1000-2100. It is to be the day that I take part in the making of some commercials for our school. Don't worry! You will be able to see them on this or one of my other sites. Here is a previous commercial I have appeared in.

  • Tony didn't want to go to school this morning. Apparently yesterday, the teacher gave him heck for not paying attention in class. I could understand his reluctance. Throughout most people's lives, there are many a day that we would rather just stay at home and avoid the world.

  • I was reading my lines as the commercial was recorded. There were no second takes. I am not looking forward to seeing the final results.

Friday (the 8th)

  • I work 1100-2100 today.

  • Tony & Jenny went to the Big Buddha today. Tony calls it the Biggest Buddha. Of course, he is incorrect. It isn't the biggest Buddha though it is the biggest Buddha he has ever seen. He made a point of telling me that I wasn't coming. Now, I don't mean to say that he didn't want me to accompany him. He was just making an observation. I make a not of him saying this in my blog because I like him to hear him talk about things or make observations that I have hitherto never heard him say before.

  • Tony wore his blue China tracksuit this morning. He also wears it in this video.

Saturday (the 9th)

  • After work last night, there were a lot of people downtown, even for a Friday night. The first bus I took, to get to the bus stop to catch the bus I take home, was slowed down by a constant flow of crowds crossing the street. The traffic cops tried in vain to make pedestrians stop and let some vehicles pass through. I ended up arriving home twenty minutes later than usual. I was so late that Jenny phoned me asking where I was. I told her about the crowds and she told me that they were out because of Woman's Day which I knew about but had paid not much heed.

  • Back at home, I set up the train track for Tony so we could use the new pieces of track that had arrived on Tuesday.

  • I work 1000 to 1800 today.

  • Hugo Chavez died this week. I am not sad to hear of his passing away. That the Left does mourn is inconceivable to me. You would think they had learned some lessons from history by now, but many on the Left are just pure stubborn. Chavez was a dictator, who because of oil resources, had a license to print money.

  • Stomping Tom Connors, a Canadian musician who has made the best and only recognizable hockey song ever died this week. A shame. He was a Canadian patriot in the best way.

  • Listening to the latest John Derbyshire podcast, I learned that the comedian George Carlin suggested that the United States should be put an umlaut about the "U" in its name so people would be more scared of America. I wonder if I should do the same with my name. Maybe it would get me more respect. Andis Ka��ülins in China! Are you scared!!

  • This morning, I was sitting on the #81 bus on the second deck towards the back – the stairwell was at the front. My stop was coming so I got up to quickly get downstairs and be by the exit – but there was an old man, who was clutching seats on both sides of the aisle, in front of me with the same intention. He was walking too slowly and I could see that at the rate he was going, both of us weren't going to make it downstairs and get to the exit in time. The bus driver won't wait for stragglers to get off the bus and I didn't relish the propect of having to walk an extra block to get to school. As the old man got to the top of the stairs, I grunted and he let go of one of the seat tops to let me get pass him. I rushed to the door where passengers had almost all gotten off. Thinking of the old man, I stood by the exit door, which almost closed on me, so that the old man could get off as well.

  • In the English Corner I did last night, a student said his hero was himself – an answer one could expect from an adolescent. I remember in high school joking that the Ayatollah in Iran was my hero. I was at the age where it was it uncool to say you admired anyone.

  • In another class, a young boy shocked me by telling me his favorite book was Gone with the Wind. When asked about his favorite books, Ray had first told me that he couldn't name the book, and would have just left it at that; but I insisted on him telling me the details of it. The book was set in America, he said, and the North and the South went to war. I quickly thought of Gone with the Wind, and he confirmed it. He said it liked the book for the accurate portrayal of the characters.

  • Prompted by a David Warren blog entry, I watched a video of this now-famous Korean orphan Choi Sung Bong who has an amazing tenor voice. It brought tears to my eyes and I hoped his story was true, that his suffering has come to an end, and that celebrity-status doesn't destroy him.

Sunday (the 10th)

  • I don't work today.

  • It is cool outside.

  • I spent Saturday night at home. I was going to break open a bottle of Glenmorangie Whiskey that I had. (It was a gift from a friend of my wife.) However, I didn't have any ice in my fridge.

  • I now have ice in my fridge so I will be able to break the bottle open tonight.

  • For Tony, it was an evening of vomit and poo. He got sick in bed, and later pooed himself in bed.

  • Tony is okay now. But he doesn't want to go outside and is constantly moaning for my Ipad-Mini.

  • Train Set Update I have set up the longest Takara TOMY Plarail configuration in Casa Kaulins history. About 24 feet long, it takes one, two, three photos to show it all.

  • The last two times, I went to work, I happen to see myself on the Bus Video Screen. A commercial I shot nearly a year ago was being shown.

  • Tournament #9: I played games in the League 2 playoffs. With the first playoff round, finished, the 16 teams (of the original 40) in the tournament championship have been determined. But before the tournament championship commences, the two league champions must first be decided.

  • Tony takes an evening nap.