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.
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.
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.