Sunday, April 28, 2013

The AKIC Weekly Blog Entry: April 22 to April 28, 2013

Gratitude: Thank God for holidays. I will have one on May 1st.
Acknowledgment: I acknowledge something in this section of this weekly blog entry; or I maybe I should say, I make a confession. This week, I acknowledge, or confess, that I am getting lazy. I am not lazy in the sense of descending to sitting on the sofa and playing computer games all the time, but I really don't do much useful work these days. Playing with Chinese flashcards and the Python computer programming language doesn't help anyone else or expand my skill set.
Request: I pray for the recovery of my Aunt Dzidra who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dzidra, my mother's oldest sister, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The AKIC Week in Brief.   I lived this week in anticipation of the May Day holiday that is coming up in the next week. My Saturday was brilliant because everyone in China had to either go to work or go to school so they could get April 29(Monday), April 30 (Tuesday) and May 1 (Wednesday) off. I wrote my first long program in the python computer language – the first time I had written a program in thirty years.

About Me (Andis)  I am a guy who hates the wild-card in Major League Baseball.  One of the things I liked about MLB was its pennant races – I could think of nothing better than two teams dueling for months on end for first place – the only time you could cruise was when you had clinched first place, not just a playoff spot.  When the Montreal Expos were actually in a pennant race in 1979, it was the most engrossing thing I had ever followed in sports -- and it happened but a year after the great '78 race between the Yankees and the Red Sox.  I suppose the idea of the wild-card was to try to increase those moments of drama -- it instead cheapened them.  Those pennant race moments require buildups that are much longer than a playoff series.  [Now what does this rant tell you about me? I am in a stick-in-the-mud about some things.]

I in in China!  对!我现在在中国!我很喜欢看书和写在因特网。我不喜欢中国的开车人。

I am Canadian!  I decided to do something that I never would have thought possible while I was living in Canada: download a Gordon Lightfoot song. Having not had to be subjected to him for over eight years, I decided to try to listen to Rainy Day People with an open mind – a mind not polluted by an aversion to him brought on by CRTC regulations. The song wasn't so bad. I also downloaded “You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman Turner Overdrive.

I like to Read!
Here is what I am 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 guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have done his last ReJoyce Podcast in about 22 years.  Now that I have caught up to Delaney's podcast (he completed episode #150 this week), I am getting ahead him as far as reading the book.  I will be finished reading it, I figure, in a year.
The Holy Bible King James Version: I am reading a chapter a day. Now I am in the Gospel According to Saint John.
University Economics:  Elements of Inquiry Third Edition by Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen:   A great Economics textbook.
The Hills & The Sea by Hilaire Belloc.  Finished.  The sort of book I wish I could write but I haven't had the experiences and haven't the talent.
Put out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh.  Finished.  My wife got annoyed at me when the novel made me giggle in bed.
A Midsummer-Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. What can one say? It is a total classic; and because I am reading it for enjoyment and not for school, it is actually quite enjoyable.
The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods by A.G. Sertillanges. How did I go almost fifty years without having heard of this book? Well. I didn't start reading Father Schall till three months ago. It could make my top ten list of my favorite books.
I like to make videos
Here is my latest creation on my Youku and Youtube channels.

I teach English Or do I just talk to the Chinese so they can practice their English? Either way, I will disclose a little of my teaching philosophy that I do have: Chances are that in a fifty five minute class, you aren't going to teach the students more than four or five words, so you have to drill those into them.

I like to cut and paste quotes that I found interesting:
The following are from Don Colacho:
  • 1945 The necessary and sufficient condition of despotism is the disappearance of every kind of social authority not conferred by the State.
  • 1949 The people wants what it is told it should want.
  • 1960 Error almost always walks more elegantly than the truth.
  • 1964 The only man saved from intellectual vulgarity is the man who ignores what it is fashionable to know.
  • 903 Reading the newspaper degrades whomever it does not make into a brute.  [I would even say following the news turns one into a brute.  Thinking of the people who are running the US government now, puts me into a nasty mood.  Hearing that Justin Trudeau, who may or not be the son of Pierre Trudeau, makes my feel brutish as well.]
  • 1985 Conflicts rarely break out over the true disagreements.
  • 2000 The compassion we display to some helps us to justify the envy which others awaken in us. [An accurate observation of human nature. It is certainly true in my case.]
  • 2030 The left never attributes its failure to a mistaken diagnosis but to the perversity of events.
  • 2035 Theoretical affability toward vice is not a proof of liberality and elegance, but of vulgarity.
  • 2040 To the petulant subjectivism of the man who believes he is the measure [of all things] is opposed the humble subjectivism of the man who refuses to be an echo.

Here are some GK Chesterton quotes:
  • The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of familiarity.
  • A moderate is a man who wants his children to be moderately clean, houses to be moderately sanitary, and their inhabitants to be moderately sober.
  • The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind. [I stopped worrying about the look of my body – thirty years ago. The best decision I ever made.]
  • The things we see every day are the things we never see at all.
  • The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. He is always breathing the air of locality. . . . The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men—hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky. [I am no globe-trotter. I am a mover. I really haven't done that much traveling.]
  • We must make up our minds to be ignorant of much, if we would know anything.
  • Tolerance is the virtue of people who don‘t believe anything.

From Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh:  
  • That’s as may be, but this isn’t Spain. We can’t go arresting people for what they say in a private conversation in a café. I’ve no doubt we shall come to that eventually, but at the present stage of our struggle for freedom, it just can’t be done.”
  • Invasions swept over China; the Empire split up into warring kingdoms. The scholars lived their frugal and idyllic lives undisturbed, occasionally making exquisite private jokes which they wrote on leaves and floated downstream… [Are there such scholars in China now? Or were they all hunted down?]

Politically, I am Conservative: In my mid-twenties, I ceased to be a left-winger. For this you can blame Rush Limbaugh and F.A. Hayek, among others. My road away from Leftism really began when at the Union Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The UC , on Portage Avenue, was, and perhaps still is, close to the University of Winnipeg and was a popular spot for students to go have a beer and play pool. The Union Center's walls were bestrewn with images of “laboring people.” I remember once, while there on a Friday afternoon, playing devil's advocate, – I was still a leftie and trying to be intellectually honest – with a student who was so left-wing that he got a job working with the NDP (Canada's Labour Party) in the Manitoba provincial legislature. The subject was the Americans. The NDPer was so over-the-top with his criticisms of the Americans – I think he said that they weren't good at anything – that I found that I, who was then proud to say he was a Socialist, was having to stand up for the Americans. Moral of the story: being intellectually honest and being a Leftie is incompatible. I eventually choose, after some prideful obstinance, to stop being a left-winger.

I like to keep a diary
Here is the list of its characters:
  • Andis
  • LECTOR: really Andis pretending to criticize himself.
  • Tony: Andis's son [you can see photos of him here and here.]
  • Jenny: Andis's wife
  • Students
  • My Handler
  • Andis's Mom
  • Chinese Flashcards
  • My Home Laptop
  • My School Laptop
  • My Ipad Mini

Monday [April 22nd]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

I phoned my Mom last night.  She tells me that it is still snowing and cold in Brandon, Manitoba. I hate to tell her that temperatures are in the mid-twenties here in Wuxi.

Tuesday [April 23rd]

Tony sits on my lap and giggles for some unknown reason.

I  must put money on my bus card. I have less than 10 rmb on it.

[Home Laptop]
I just looked at 400 Chinese flashcards. I identified about 90 percent of them correctly.

[School Laptop]
On the way downtown, the bus, I was riding, broke down.  I had to walk to the next stop to get to the place where I did top up my bus card with money with 100 rmb. There is irony in that. [LECTOR: Are you sure?]

I work 1300-2100.

How to become a high Testosterone ____ Wonder Being (what are the two words I had in the middle?)

One of the students I talked to today was this young girl who works seven days a week at a restaurant.  She has down time during her work day which lasts from 900 in the morning to 800 in the evening, but really her schedule is brutal, and I feel very sorry for her.  I also feel guilty because I don't think we are doing enough for her to with the investment she has made to improve her English.

Had an awful headache during my VIP class.

I watched the first 30 minutes of Jesus of Nazareth series that I watched before Easter.  For whatever reason, I got it into my head to watch it a second time.

As of now, I have had 22 views of my last weekly blog entry – not very good.   However, On Youku, I have had 150 views of Trains, Toys & Tony.

Wednesday [April 24th]
[School Laptop]
I work 1300 to 2100 today.  I have five classes and I have to go to the police station in order to renew my Visa.  So, I have spent the morning at home doing my daily flashcard practice and Chinese typing practice.

Oh the humanity!  I think to myself as I go to school. I can never take for granted how there are so many people in China.

I wear my Winnipeg Jets cap today. [LECTOR:  What do you tell you very few readers this? I do have a reputation to live up to as Wuxi's most boring expatriate.]

I have a student, in 2000 class tonight, whose name is Eileen.  I have downloaded a song by Dexy's Midnight Runners titled Come On Eileen!  I might play if for her; I might not.  Listening to the song, most of the lyrics are incomprehensible:  Come on Eileen blah blah blah blah! But the music and rhythm are quite catchy.

As I said last night, or rather, as I  typed into my Ipad last night, I had a headache during my VIP class and it was an ordeal to make it to the end.  I also had a pains in my right leg from my hip to my knees and then further down to my ankle.  The only thing, I can do for it is to massage it.

What's new?  I am thinking about the earthquake in China.  Why?  I'm Chinese.

Thursday [April 25th]
[School Laptop]
I work 1000 to 2100 today.  My long day.  Not necessarily my busiest day.  What I mean is that this is the day of the week that I spend most of my time away from Casa Kaulins.

Last night, as the class came to an end and I needed to say something, I asked a woman student what she was now going to do and she told me that she was going to pick up her dog which was having a bath at some pet spa.  Thinking of someone I knew who had a dog, I thought to mention it to the woman but didn't.  Instead, I giggled at the thought of somehow saying that it wasn't the person who needed the bath, but the person's dog who did, although it wasn't a stretch to think that this particular individual needed a bath as much as his dog.

Slow moving old types descending the stairs of the double-decker bus as it is about to pull into my stop.  Annoying!!

I went to the police office yesterday to have my visa renewed.  While there, I saw another foreigner having to do the same thing done I assumed.  I overheard him say that he was from a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec. I lived in Quebec from 1971-1976.  

At one of the two areas we went to in the police station, one of the uniformed clerks told my handler that he recognized me -- from the Bus TV, of course.  "Do you want his signature!" said my handler to him.  My handler told me the clerk turned red-faced at the suggestion.

I found these two interesting reactions to the Boston Marathon Bombings by David Warren and Steve Sailer.

Tony will have to go to school this Saturday and Sunday so he can get Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday off next week for the May Day holiday.

I am working on an email to be sent to my brother Ron who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  I have to talk to him more than I have done.  I think the last time I talked him was at Christmas time.  Writing to my sister and now my brother, I have decided that it is best to take my time sending emails.  That is, I should write them, save them, look at them again, add, edit, and repeat doing so until I think it is time finally to send it -- either that or say to myself: "Enough already, you diddly dandy do, press the "send" button, why don't ya?"

Friday [April 26th]
I work 1100-2100 but I am already at school at 900.  [Lector:  God!  Why so early?]  I come early not out of some strange zealous devotion to duty, but because I have to get Tony to his Kindergarten bus/van pickup at 745.  I figure that I might as well just go to work instead of return to the apartment and then leave if half-an-hour later.  The things I would have done at home, like Chinese flashcard study, I could just as well do at school on the school laptop. [Which reminds me!  I am writing on the School Laptop]

I am wasting my time.  [LECTOR:  You just figured that out?!?]  Here's the proof.  I took the 602to work today.  (I could have taken the 602, 610 or 25, but I choose to take the 602. Why? This is another story which I won't bore you with now.)  I took that particular bus to a stop where I then waited for the 81 bus (I could get on the 79 or 85 if I wanted to at that stop, but I prefer the romance of a double-decker bus.)   While waiting for the 81, I saw another 602pull into the stop, much to my bemusement.  If  I had only known, I could have taken my time back by Casa K!  I could have lingered in the small shop, for instance, where I buy my gum.  [LECTOR:  You waste time, you know, by not getting the 79 or 85 buses.  Andis: True enough.  But I would not have soaked in the romantic atmosphere of the 81 bus.  Life should be a proper mixture of efficiency and romance.]

Playing with the Python programming language, I will soon be able to write a program that will do most of my tournament work for me.

I have just written a program that can play a round-robin tournament game.

Saturday [April 27th]
[School Laptop]
Students are going to school and workers are going to work, and so they aren't coming to the school to take English classes.  So, an easy day for me – just two classes.

I will challenge myself by spending lots of time on the flashcard practice.

[Home Laptop]
I took Tony out of the apartment this evening. I wanted to go for an e-bike ride around the area, maybe even go to Yanqiao; Tony wanted to go to Tesco to look at toys. Tony's will prevailed but I got angry and vowed to never take Tony to a toy store on our next outing together. I was at least able to get Tony out of the store as quickly as possible. All I spent on him was 2 rmb at the arcade. But then Tony further annoyed me by asking to go home as soon as we got on the e-bike. “I don't want to go to Yanqiao! I want to go home!” moaned Tony when I told my desire. Tony is getting lame. He is not at all adventurous and is always begging to go home – something he has never done before.

I got sad news in an email from my mother. Her oldest sister – Mom was the youngest of four daughters – has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Auntie Dzirdra! My God! I pray Dzidra doesn't suffer and can live for a few more years yet! [Dzidra lives in Winnipeg – a street over from my brother Ron.]

I spend the evening at Casa K working on my weekly blog entry. [Only 29 people have read my last blog entry as I type this.] During the week, I write the entry in Evernote. On Saturday, I import the entry to my home laptop where I put it into a text file that I can edit with Open Office.

Sunday [April 28]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today, but Tony has to go to school. So I was up early this morning to send him off'.

David Warren, my favorite presence on the Internet, has written a blog entry about the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Warren's assessment of Bush is, as are of some of the entry's commentators, bang-on. Bush was a decent man who tried to do the right things for the right reasons, who loved his country (unlike the current President), who meant well and was lacking in any sort of cynicism. His failures, and I admit there were a few, could be attributed to the fact that he lived in a post-1965 America that had become spoiled and self-hating. Like Sarah Palin, you can say that Bush had to have been doing something right because he was hated the people one should be hated by if one is to, in fact, be a decent human being. [LECTOR: split infinitive!]

Sights & Sounds as I walk to the bus stop:

  • Woman wears t-shirt that says "The Resurrection Will Be Truculent.”
  • A flat bed truck passes and I hear its passenger grunt.  I look up to see a man spit out of the cab.  His face goes momentarily cross-eyed and his projectile darts out swift and true from  just below the middle of his upper lip.

On the bus:  
  • The sidewalks around the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza, which is under construction, have been completed.  They seemed to have appeared overnight.
  • It is not a good idea to fly Iranian jetliners if they are Boeings. A student told me that because of a trade embargo, the Iranians can't get parts of their Boeings. Recalling when he had once flown by an Iranian-owned Boeing, he told me that the plane felt like it was falling apart and that its engine didn't sound right.

[Home Laptop]
This has to be my lamest weekly blog entry ever. Trying to edit it, I get this sinking feeling that the prose is just utterly awful.

For lunch, Jenny & I went to the Jinling Hotel for a lunch buffet. It was not great, but not bad.

I took Tony for an E-bike ride after he came back from school. We rode to a nearby town that is just across the border that divides Wuxi and Jiangying districts. Like a Western movie set, the town had buildings along its main drag and not much behind them – at least on the southern side. Going in a southerly direction, we found a nice narrow paved road that was tree-lined and took us over many narrow bridges. We felt like we were in the countryside for we saw people, with the appearance of peasants, engaged in subsistence farming, using hoes to scrape the land and bearing pails, two-at-a-time, by tying them to a long and narrow board that could be carried on their shoulders. The whole scene was lovely and because the weather was perfect, this e-bike trip brought me the best moments of the week.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Entry for April 15 to April 21, 2013

Gratitude:  I am thankful for the few comments and emails that my blogging has garnered me. I am also thankful to be ALIVE!!!!!
Acknowledgment:  You have come to the wrong place if you want to know anything about the Wuxi Expat scene.  I am like the Unabomber living in my own shack.  Of course, it is a shack with a lot of Chinese in it and not too many foreigners.  Really, I am more like this character – I think he was in a W. Somerset Maugham story – who lives in China but concerns himself with things western. If I remember the story correctly, this man living in the middle of China and occupied himself with the Greek and Roman Classics.  I occupy myself with old western texts as well.  A strange kind of seclusion no doubt, but what the hay!  I gots to be me.
Request:  I need Tylenol and Crown Royal:  not necessarily in that order.  I could also use some Sleeman's Honey Lager and Cottage Cheese.

The AKIC Week in Brief.  
Not much happened this week.  I went to work and then I went home.  It was a week worthy of Wuxi, China's Most Boring White Guy.  The only thing of note that could be said to have happened in AKICistan is that I embraced being the most boring white guy with aplomb.

To place this entry in historical context, there was a bombing at the Boston Marathon,and lo and behold some Muslims were responsible, and I learned that Justin Trudeau won the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

About Me (Andis)  This is  a weekly feature so don't expect me to give the whole store away all at once.  So, what will I tell you about me this week?  Actually, I have given some of the store away in other sections of this weekly blog entry.  So, I will say this:  I am teaching English at a training center in Wuxi, China.  I am married to a local girl and we have a five year old son who I probably spoil too much.  My views of the world and my surroundings are reactionary and Catholic.

I am in China!  【我在中国!】我住在无锡,江苏,中国。我是英文的老师。我的学校是环亚国际英语。我可以说得一点点点中文。我的发音不好。我爱我的中国的太太。她是无锡的最漂亮的女人。她也是中国的最漂亮的女人!我很喜欢中国的菜。我不喜欢很多的外国人。我觉得他们是不好人。我不喜欢看电视。我很喜欢看书。我孩子Tony 的年纪是五岁,八个月。他喜欢火车玩具和消防车玩具。下个星期,我告诉你们更多。

I'm Canadian!   I have heard that Justin Trudeau is now officially the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  For this reason, I can say I am happy not to be in Canada even though I miss certain aspects of living there and constantly wonder if I should go back.  Justin, I hear, is less qualified to the Prime Minister of Canada than Obama was qualified to be the President of the USA.  But I hear that like Obama, Justin has superficiality going for him, and no matter how lacking in substance, qualifications, and managerial competence he is, people will stick by him because of what he appears to be.  The only positive is that will be easier to despise and laugh at Canadian Liberal Party members – not that it wasn't easy for me not to do so during their hey day as Canada's natural ruling party, but the fact that they elected the son of a former Prime Minister to be their leader says volumes and adds clarity.

I like to Read!
Here is what I am 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 ¨C they are all profound actually ¨C 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 #149 this week), I am getting ahead him as far as reading the book.  I will be finished it, I figure, in a year.
The Holy Bible King James Version .  The Gospel According to Saint John.
University Economics:  Elements of Inquiry Third Edition by Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen.   It end-of-chapter questions force one to think so as to be able to explain one's thought to other people.  
The Hills & The Sea by Hilaire Belloc.  I liked The Path to Rome so much that I decided to read another Belloc Book - I have ten of them on my Ipad.  I choose this one because Father Schall mentioned it in one of his essays (which I read daily on my dotdotdot app)
Put out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh. He is one awesome writer. Loads and loads of fun to read. If you read Evelyn Waugh, you should the fact on your CV. It puts you in the .00001 percent of pure awesome people of human history!

I like to make videos  When I have the time. Here are the two places you can see my videos:  My Youtube Channel and My Youku Channel.

I teach English or at least I go through the motions of it. On my resume, I can say I am an AESL teacher – Andis English as a Second Language.

I like to cut and paste quotes that I found interesting:
The following are quotes from Don Colacho:
1838 Innumerable problems arise from the method by which we seek to solve them.
1850 Pedantry is the weapon with which the professional protects the interests of his guild.
1857 The increasing integration of humanity merely makes it easier to share the same vices.
1877 The ugliness of the modern face is an ethical phenomenon.
1891 No one now is ignorant of the fact that transforming the world means bureaucratizing man.
1892 To condemn oneself is no less pretentious than to absolve oneself. Damn! He has a point! I suppose my self-condemnations are a way above transcending my existence while on earth.
1896 Liberal ideas are likeable.  Their consequences ruinous. I don't even think they are likable anymore. Rather than admitting that their ideas don't work in practice. Liberals have doubled down and become rude & crude. The earlier Liberals, though foolish were at least earnest in a decent sort of way. Now, they are just mostly complete iceholes.
1922 The individual does not search for his identity except when he despairs of his quality. I never did find myself in China – I did find a wife thought.

Some interesting advice from Hillaire Belloc: if you will let your fellow-citizen curse you and grunt at you, and if you will but talk to him on matters which he knows far better than you, then you have him ready at the end.
Blame the Boston Bombings on Rap and Pot Smokers? Sounds good to me. Here is a link from
Fox News tonight reported that one or more of the Muslim terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon were well known among their peers for smoking pot and listening to rap.  And people think that pot and rap are part of acculturation to America?

No, rap music is anti-American and anti-white.  It is openly racist.  A Muslim immigrant who listens to rap is acculturating to an anti-American, an anti-white sub-culture.  It is also of note that Barack Hussein Obama is a big fan of rap and smoked a lot of pot while younger.  I don't think this is coincidental.

President Obama failed in his attempt to pull brains out of hearts or use emotional blackmail in a supremely brazen attempt to pass gun-control legislation: Obama is in a huff this week because his gun bill got shot down like a clay pigeon. Like most of us, he was deeply affected by the massacre at Sandy Hook. Like much of the country, he seems to think emotions should drive public policy.

An anagram of mother-in-law is 'Woman Hitler.' You can find other mother-in-law jokes here.

Another cut-and-paste from Belloc's The Hills and The Seas: the story of that Sultan who publicly proclaimed that he had possessed all power on earth, and had numbered on a tablet with his own hand each of his happy days, and had found them, when he came to die, to be seventeen. There is a profound observation in that quote, for sure. I can think of ever having had a completely happy day – many happy moments but not many happy days. I had a wonderful feeling sitting in bed on Sunday with Tony, but the little bugger then annoyed me in the afternoon.

And another: Wealth makes the run of our days somewhat more easy, poverty makes them more hard—or very hard. But no poverty has ever yet brought of itself despair into the soul—the men who kill themselves are neither rich nor poor.

Politically, I am conservative  I say this knowing that it doesn't matter to anyone but me.  And with no plans to go on a murderous killing spree, it will never matter. How much of a conservative am I anyway? I don't care for Obama. I honored the life of Margaret Thatcher. I don't care for most of the Republican party.

I like to keep a diary [Not that anything happens in my life – nothing does. But I do have some thoughts and I see some things.]

Here is the list of diary characters:
Andis writing in the first person.
Andis being written about in the third person.
Tony: Andis's five year old son.
Jenny: Andis's Chinese wife.
LECTOR: Andis's imaginary critic and sometime debate partner.
Jimmy Stewart
Robert Downey Junior
Someone who probably has competed in the Boston Marathon
[My Ipad Mini]
[My School Laptop: a ten year old Compaq Presario]
[My Home Laptop: a not as old Dell]
The square braces: “[“ and “]”

Monday (the 15th)
[this entry was made in my Ipad]
[LECTOR: Can I make comments earlier in this entry? I mean, like not just in the diary section. I have some issues with things you said earlier in this entry. Andis: Are you a Leftie? LECTOR: If you want me to be. You are the ones who puts the words behind my name and the colon. Andis: If you talk earlier in the entry, readers will just day WTF! ]

I don't work today.  I stay home.

I watch a film on my IPad:  Winchester 73 starring Jimmy Stewart.  A great movie of the Western genre.    I loved the landscapes.  I was thinking how I yearned so much to see such scenery. Any sort of scenery there is in the Jiangsu and Wuxi area is being bulldozed over for scenery-blocking and soul-less high rises.

I wonder what book to read next.  I wonder if I will ever stop downloading books.  Today, I download a book called The Intellectual Life by AG Sertillanges.  I hadn't heard of the book till today.  Searching for it on the Internet, I read that  a few writers swore by it, said it was their favorite.

Today was a day that some shit was to happen in Nork land, supposively.  So far, nothing.

I watched PSY's new video a few times.  I got a good copy of it via torrent, and so I don't need Wifi to watch while I am on the bus.

All my stated goals for myself seem empty.  I can't raise any enthusiasms for them. I need discipline today to work towards them.

Laundry, hung outside the window, flutters in the wind.  Behind the clothes, I see the tops of the trees that are planted on the grounds of the government building that is across the road from our apartment complex. Behind and above the trees stands a 20 storey apartment building. -- on its roof, on each corner, are four covered patio areas.  I would love to be in them taking a gander at all that is below.

Tuesday (the 16th)
[this entry was started on my Home Laptop]

I will work 1300 to 2100.  I look forward to the challenge to be offered by the fresh horrors that may greet me.  Reflecting on the things you don't want to meet -- indifference to my being is a thing to be devoutly wished for.

I hope that the workers clear the pile they made in our apartment stairwell.  (Here is the photo of it.)  Jenny doesn't seem to mind because it is above our floor and so it doesn't affect us.  But I am livid about the eyesore and the fucking sheer laziness of the apartment workers.  This is not an uncommon sight in Wuxi apartmendom -- piles of building materials left in stairwells and never ever picked up.  This case is particularly grievous because it has been left not in some corner of a stairwell that is never used but on a stairwell that people have to pass through all the time.

At the apartment, I will spend some time looking at Chinese flashcards before going to work.

I read in the news that someone set off some bombs at the Boston Marathon.

[I made the following entries for the 16th on my school laptop]

No afternoon classes.  It is 1300 and I am prepped for the evening.  So, I have an afternoon of Chinese and Python study to look forward to.

I watched the PSY Gentleman video on the bus.  I showed the video to a colleague at work.  The eleventh greatest Englishman of all-time told me that he likes it.

They tell me I am a celebrity; what with my image been shown on buses all over the city.  Forced to think an of answer to the question of what it is like, I say that it doesn't impress my wife and son very much  -- no respect at home, like I am Rodney Dangerfield.  And besides, no one who I would want to impress would be impressed anyway by my performances.

[Later at home on the IPad.]

The pile was cleared. [LECTOR: You were a bit premature in making a hubbub about it weren't you!]

I showed the new PSY video to students.  Most didn't like it. One girl, a Korean pop devotee, knew who PSY's dance partner was. [LECTOR: Don't you think you are a little old to be liking PSY?]

Wednesday (the 17th)
[I am at home on the laptop.]

Why did I take a photo of my shoes?  Well, I am a boring white guy who wears Chinese slip-on style.  And as a boring white guy, I will defend to my dying breath, the importance of little things.

No more showing on the new PSY video to students.  

I will work 1300-2100.  I will spend the morning at the apartment doing some flashcard practice.

I am trying to get ahead of myself with the Python language learning.

I am really having trouble determining what book I will read after the Hills and the Seas.

[I am now on the school laptop]
I prepare for a 1400 SPC.

I end the day with a class with two boys of middle-school age.  The topic:  Strife in the Holy Land.   And so it is not a class I am looking forward to.

[LECTOR: That's it?]

Thursday (the 18th)
[I am at school on the laptop]
This week, I had been taking a photo a day of Tony [in the morning].  I didn't this morning because Tony was sick.  He had a very phlegmy cough but no fever.  Sleeping last night, he couldn't sit still and straight.  He took off the covers and would roll over and around so that he was at a perpendicular angle in bed to his parents. [LECTOR: Tony still sleeps with his parents. Andis: Yes. Indeed. In between his parents.]

As I was about to order breakfast at McD's, I saw a woman buying an ice cream.  Breakfast ice cream?  It seems very unseemly to me.

I work 1000-2100 today.

The Strife in the Holy Land Class turned out to be with an adult and an middle-school student.  The adult had lot to say and there wasn't much I could do to get the middle-school student, who is very quiet at the best of times, to speak; but I couldn't help but feel that I was ignoring him.  Anyway, talking about the Middle East, the adult told me his belief that the Americans wanted control of the "tap" of Middle East oil as part of what it saw as its struggle with China.  I thought he was nuts.

I had a grandmother in my class, just now.  That is only the second time that has happened.  The other grandmother student I can remember was from Japan.

Friday (the 19th)
[I am on the Ipad.]

I am waiting for T&J to get up.

The pile is gone.

I will expound on these things when I am on the school laptop.

I started to read Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh. [LECTOR: Oh! Whoopde Whoopde do!]

I don't think of myself as a Wuxi Expat anymore.  

Robert Downey Junior is being "screwed again?"

I will expound on this things as well except for the sentences I want to be cryptic.

ptvn cudr ghr sjbi!

The last sentence is in code. [LECTOR: You are telling us you have homosexual proclivities? Andis: No! LECTOR: You are saying that some people you everyday are gay? Andis: Nope!]

[I am now working on my laptop that is at school.]

The pile of material that I complained about earlier has been taken away.  Thank God.  And it is nice to be wrong.

Tony always gets up at the lastest minute possible when he has to go to school. [LECTOR: Latest?]

I suppose that to be a real Wuxi Expat, you have to be part of the Wuxi Expat Scene.  I keep to myself like the Una-bomber in a shack.  I am also an English teacher.  English teachers really can't be Expats, for they live in China, they don't travel back and forth to it. [LECTOR: I think what you mean to say is that ET's are low-status Expats.]

In order to not to get people mad at me.  I will write certain things in code.  It is more for my benefit for I plan to read these rantings sometimes in my waning days.  I have figured out a code pattern, and I dare you to try to crack it.

I did my Chinese flashcard practice, my Chinese typing practice, my Python fiddling-around (perhaps you can call it study), and my daily readings (of books and sacred books).  So, feeling I had done something, I decided to take a break.  I went to the nearby department store and bought a toy for Tony -- a fire-fighting ambulance trick made by Tomica.  Tony is sure to love it when he gets it -- I am not sure when I will give it to him.  I'd like to give it to him after he does something extraordinary.

Saturday (the 20th)
[Ipad mini]

I wake up hungry for updates from Boston.

Last night,  Jenny Laid out almost all of Tony's toys for some photos.  I posted three of the photos I took to my various blogs:  here, here, and here.

[School Laptop]
A crappy wet day outside.  I should have worn a extra layer of clothing under my shirt and sweat jacket.

The surviving Boston bomber is on a boat, or so I have been told.

I await a trainer who is famous for his tendency to exaggerate.  I want to ask him if he had run in the Boston Marathon naked and drunk only to be robbed of a victory trophy by officials who were out to get him.

That last Bomber, Sarejevo Mahovolich or whatever his name is, has been caught! [LECTOR: Don't read anything into the fact that he is Muslim!]

A student told me that live monkey brains tastes like tofu. I liked that because I am sure to repeat that saying to many a person.

[I am writing on my home laptop]
A student told me that a Chinese woman was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings. Her name was Lu Lingzi.

Jenny wanted to go to The Grandma's restaurant in Ba Bai Ban. As we left school at 500 PM, I was thinking that the cold weather would make for a shorter lineup, but I was to be sadden mistaken and shown to be overly optimistic, as the lineup was absolutely terrible. We had 77 parties ahead of us so we gave up. We ended up going to 永和大 where I had black pepper beef and youtiao. [LECTOR: What is Youtiao? Andis: Fried dough sticks.]

Back at Casa K, our home, I immediately departed on a shopping expedition to the nearby Tesco where I bought bread, milk, margarine, and chips.

I used three devices to make today's entry. What do you think of that? [LECTOR: Not much!]

I forgot to mention that I worked 1000-1700 today.

I gave Tony his new toy almost as soon as I got home yesterday night. I couldn't wait.

Sunday (the 21st)
[The following has been typed in my Ipad and sent to my laptop by email.]

Last night, for a few moments, we took Tony to the toy store at Ba Bai Ban where a table set up with TOMY Plarail track and Tomica parking garages.  The latter are used with Tomica toy cars which are the same size as Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.  The toy "garages" are an ingenious combination of elevators operated with cranks, levers, and push-button releases.  Tony is always immediately drawn to play with them, as he was yesterday.

As I was saying, you need a toy car to play with the garages.  It just so happened that Tony had a toy truck, from Matchbox, in his backpack.  Seeing the toy garage set, he took off his backpack to find his toy truck which he knew he had.

I found this little incident with Tony looking for his toy a wonder to behold.  My little guy has ideas.  My little guy has the concept of possession.  It shouldn't surprise me that he does or will; he is growing up, and yet it does.  I suppose I still have my childhood sense of time where a year seems like forever; and yet the time flows like a I am a middle-aged person -- quickly.

I am still amazed at the fact of my son's birth.  I still think he is the little helpless creature with no concepts.  His growth is a wonder to me and those little things he does.

I didn't work today, but I was up at six all the same.  [LECTOR: Those links have nothing to do with the sentence!] I read for a couple of hours and then did huggy baobao with Tony -- I don't often get to linger in bed with Tony my side so it was a pleasant moment to be remembered for eternity I told myself.  [I remember December 24, 1971 looking out the window at the snow.  I was in Courcelette, Quebec in a PMQ.  I told myself to remember that moment for eternity as well.  I couldn't tell you from what room I was looking outside.  All that I can recall is the snow and the thought. LECTOR: Big Deal!]

We went to a Taiwanese Restaurant for lunch where I found myself actually liking the Tofu.  I suppose I liked it because it was spicy.  The Taiwanese restaurant is the only foreign restaurant in our complex.  Ha ha!  [LECTOR:  Your wife is right.  Your jokes aren't funny.  Andis:  Shut up you lefty!  I was about to type dumb lefty but that would have implied that are lefties who are smart. LECTOR:  When you say smart lefty, you could be saying he is smart among lefties but not the whole population.  Andis:  True.  But, now I wonder whose side you are on.  Lector:  You're the one putting words in my mouth, so to speak.  It. Is really your fault if I am not consistent.]

I spent the afternoon with Tony.  I had been hoping to go on an e-bike ride with him to the countryside, but he peevishly and petulantly insisted on being taken to Ba Bai Ban to visit the toy department -- the one we had been to the night before.  It was not what I wanted to do, but Tony agreed and did abide by a vow made to his mom that we weren't to buy any toys.  He didn't beg for toys once!

Photos of Tony at the toy shop can be seen:  here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Entry for April 8 to April 14, 2013

Gratitude:  Thanks to the forty or so people who take a look at my weekly blog entries.  I am even more thankful to the few who probably read my entries to the very end. You have endured more than a survivor – that is the TV show, not the other survivors. [There is a reference to an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm]
Acknowledgment:  As you can see, I have done my acknowledgment in the gratitude section.  I have no readers.
Request:  Make comments!  I don't care if you have anything to say.  I would just like you to think of the comment section at the end of this entry as a visitor sign-in book.

The AKIC Week in Brief
Nothing happened to AKIC.  A hero of AKIC, Margaret Thatcher (the鐵夫人 in Chinese) passed away – AKIC was rather low key about it.  Like John Derbyshire, AKIC adored Maggie. Other than that, I got my new passport on Saturday, and Friday night, I had a nose-bleeding episode that scared the heck out of my wife.

A commercial with AKIC in it was played constantly on the bus TV Andis was a celebrity of sorts without any of the privileges.

My very very rare readers may notice that I have decided to somewhat change the format of my weekly blog entry.

About Me (Andis Kaulins)

I in in China!  
I live in Jiangsu Province in Wuxi, a small city of 4 million (or so I have been told) that is a two-hour car ride and now, a forty-minute fast train ride from Shanghai.

I am Canadian!  
So, I listen to podcasts by Charles Adler, Rex Murphy, and Don Cherry.

However, I don't share the hatred of many Canadians for the Americans. No country in the world has had better neighbors. With apologies to the English, but No country has done more good for the world. The way I see it, Americans are today's Jews. When I do hear the typical anti-American spout off, I can't help but be reminded of Nazis talking about the Jews. With vindictive-righteousness, they spout off about American flaws. Why is it they won't stick a fence-post up their ass when they talk about the flaws of other countries – I suppose they think the flaws of non-Americans are really America's fault.

Like a true Canadian, I very much look like a boring old white guy from anywhere in the world, except that I sometimes wear a Winnipeg Jets cap.

I like to Read!
Here is what I am reading and what I have read, 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 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 #148 this week), I am getting ahead Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished it, I figure, in a year.
The Holy Bible King James Version .  The Gospel According to  Saint Mark. Finished.  I started the Gospel According to Saint John.
The Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc.  Finished.  It was a great read.  Belloc mixes travel log with philosophic, political, and religious thought.  He introduces an imaginary character, Lector, with whom he has verbal jousts. LECTOR, my version that is, was introduced to this blog last week.
The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century by Charles Homer Haskins .  Finished.  I found and read this book after having heard about on David Warren's blog.  It was dry at spots but contained many insights about history.  
University Economics:  Elements of Inquiry Third Edition by Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen.   It end-of-chapter questions force one to think so as to be able to explain one's thought to other people.  
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.  Finished.  I heard of the story.  I had heard of the character Ichabob Crane, but I never read the story.  It is well-written and its ending is very ambiguous and thought-provoking.
The Hills & The Sea by Hilaire Belloc.  I liked The Path to Rome so much that I decided to read another Belloc Book - I have ten of them on my Ipad.  I choose this one because Father Schall mentioned it in one of his essays (which I read daily on my dotdotdot app).
The Inquisition / A Critical and Historical Study of the Coercive Power of the Church by E. Vacandard. Finished. I read it after coming upon a reference to it to the book, I finished reading this week, by Charles Homer Haskins. The Inquisition has given the Catholic Church a bad name, and it is an easy thing to pick up and hit Catholics with. No one in good conscience could defend it. But other great peoples, the Germans and the Chinese, have had their moments of madness, only just recently. The Church is a human institution and unfortunately it succumbs, in its weakness, to the times it is part of. For as the author of this study of the Inquisition says: To comprehend it [The Inquisition] we must picture to ourselves a stage of civilization in many respects wholly unlike our own. Passions were fiercer, convictions stronger, virtues and vices more exaggerated, than in our colder and self-contained time.

I like to make videos
Here are the two places you can see my videos:  My Youtube Channel and My Youku Channel.

I like to cut and paste quotes that I find interesting:

This Week's Don Colacho Quotes:
1794 A decent man is one who makes demands upon himself that the circumstances do not make upon him.
1798 The specialist, in the social sciences, strives above all to quantify the obvious.
1806 The quality of an intelligence depends less on what it understands than on what makes it smile. [What makes me smile? Hmm. Basically, I am a humorless fellow. I only can smile in retrospect at some of the things I have overheard.]
1809 The fool exclaims that we are denying the problem when we show the falsity of his favorite solution. [How apt a thought when apparently the US Senate was passing some sort of gun control legislation.]
1820 The pleasant book does not attract the fool unless a pedantic interpretation vouches for it.
1821 Modern man deafens himself with music in order not to hear himself.
[True. I wonder what Colacho would have thought of podcasts.]

Quotes from Hilaire Belloc: 
All you that feel youth slipping past you and that are desolate at the approach of age, be merry; it is not what it looks like from in front and from outside. There is a glory in all completion, and all good endings are but shining transitions. There will come a sharp moment of revelation when you shall bless the effect of time. [I feel the youth slipping past me. I am waiting for that sharp moment of revelation.]

Indeed, the whole of this strange hive of mountain men was a mixture—ignorance, sharp modernity, utter reclusion: barbaric, Christian; ruinous and enduring things.  I cut-and-paste this quote because of the punctuation.  [In this sentence, Belloc uses a dash, a colon, a semi-colon, and a comma.  I admit that I am not consistent in the uses of the punctuation marks.  The only thing, I know about their use is that are no set rules, and those who do have set rules disagree with others who have set rules, and their arguments for their set rules all seem to make sense to me.]

Everybody knows that one can increase what one has of knowledge or of any other possession by going outwards and outwards; but what is also true, and what people know less, is that one can increase it by going inwards and inwards. There is no goal to either of these directions, nor any term to your advantage as you travel in them. [I can't afford to go outwards in my explorations so I have no choice but to go inwards and inwards and inwards...]

I can't remember where I read this one:  
Self Satisfaction is darkness.  [Nothing I can add to this except to say it is so true. And having so little reason to feel self-satisfaction, I live in the land of 24 hour sun.]

Politically, I am Conservative
Maggie Thatcher R.I.P.  I found out about her death when I was downloading podcasts on my Ipod.  Coffee and Markets latest podcast was titled the passing of the Iron Lady. You either loved her and were intelligent or you hated her and were a rank moron. I grew and matured to love her.  I thought she was one of the greatest politicians of my lifetime.  You can judge the worthiness of a politician by the virulence with which the are hated by the Left. She was hated by the right people. Maggie hit grand slams or had 100 run innings. It is hard not for me to love her.

I don't get out much
On my work days, I take an hour-long bus ride to work in the downtown, and a longer ride back home in the evening. On my days off, I may take the bus downtown, but I am more than likely to spend my time in my apartment playing on Ipad or on the computer.

I teach English
I don't really want to talk about it though. However, I make some brief allusions to it in my diary.

I like to keep a diary
Its title should be: A Week in the Life of Wuxi, China's Most Boring White Guy
The Diary's Characters:
Andis (writing in the first person)
Andis (writing about himself in the third person)
LECTOR:    Andis's imagined critic and occasional combatant.
Jenny:  Andis's harshest critic.  She is also his wife.
Tony:  Andis's son.
The Chinese: students or passersby.

Monday (the 8th)
I see a funeral procession pass below our apartment.  I took a video.  Ask not for who the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. [LECTOR: So predictable. Are you really going to put a video of someone else's funeral on the Internet? Andis: Why not? The people are far enough away that you can't make them out. And besides, I am sure you can say it is of sociological interest. LECTOR: A thin rationalization if you ask me.]

I finished watching the Fiddler on the Roof.  A good flick, in my humble opinion.  It so touched me, I had tears come to my eyes. [LECTOR: Hah!! Andis: It did you know! LECTOR: Still, the entry is pathetic.]

Jenny & I go to the Taiwanese Restaurant for lunch.  We go to buy drinks from the small Ma&Pa shop along the way.  Just before entering, I could hear loud arguing voices.  Passing through the entrance door, I saw two security guards.  The woman of the Ma&Pa shop, standing behind her register, was red-faced as this middle-aged and swarthy man, that she was obviously having a disagreement with, looked to be pleading his case to the guards.  Customers looked on with bemusement but the woman continued to serve.  Her husband sitting at a desk, where he was on the computer, was adding to his wife's arguments when he could.  Jenny & I went to the shelves to find our drinks.  Catching the eye of the shop proprietors – they are my favorite people in the complex -- I gave them a sympathetic glance.  As soon as we left the shop, I asked Jenny was the hubbub was about.  The man had been apparently bitten by one the store's two puppies.

I later went to the local Tesco to do some shopping.  At the intersection near Casa K, walking with towards the green pedestrian traffic signal, I was cut off first, by a bus making a left turn and then, a car making a right turn.  If it hadn't been so sunny, I would have been madder than I was.

The Tournament Nine Championship game has been completed.  I won't tell you who won till I have made the video and put it somewhere on the Internet. [LECTOR: What the hell is Tournament #9? Andis: Ah! It is just something that I do].

It took me about 24 hours to upload this video to the Internet.  You better goddam watch it if you know what's good for ya! [LECTOR: Why would anyone want to watch another video from your pointless life? Andis: Good question.]

I have written some Python programs.  Simple ones, mind you!  But it is a start. [Andis: It is because of working with Python, that I am using these square brackets. LECTOR: Oh.]

Tuesday (the 9th)
I work 1300-2100.  The start of the work week.  What fresh horrors await me?  

The new of Maggie's death was on the Bus TV this morning.  They did a fairly long segment on her.  An Englishman at work says that even in death Maggie was divisive as those who didn't like her called her a tyrant and all sorts of other nasty things upon hearing of her passing away. [LECTOR: That bitch took milk from school children! Andis: I never had a school give me free milk. That was my family's responsibility. LECTOR: Well. Some people aren't so fortunate as to have parents who can afford to give them milk. Andis: Well. Those situations can be dealt with on an individual basis. I think the free milk thing was a racket for the milk man to supply milk at government prices. Maggie did the decent thing and put a stop to it. If a school is spending more money on milk than books, something is not right.]

I have a class at 300 pm about joking with three students.  Humor classes are hard to teach.  The students don't understand your jokes.  The jokes they tell you don't seem funny either.

I will make this blog entry in a different way this week.  I will write in Evernote instead of in a text file which I then save to Evernote.  Too often, the file wasn't being synched with the Internetherworld, and I would go home to find some blogging missing.

Wednesday (the 10th)
Lunch Money Day.   I work 1300-2100.

I come to work and get news from a colleague that North Korea had launched a missile at, possibly, Japan.  I have seen no confirmation of this on the Internet.  Till hearing the news, I had been concerning myself with reaction to Maggie's death – the best word on about her, in my opinion, came from David Warren.

Not a good time for me to be in China without a passport. [LECTOR: Why? Andis: What happens if war occurs in the Korean peninsula.]

Working with Python, on my old Compaq laptop at school, I had trouble double-clicking on a file in order to get it to work.  This was not a problem on my newer laptop which I had at home as I brought my files made at school to home.

Last night, I had a student tell me I looked to be 25 years of age.  Was she saying this to butter me up?  Was she saying this because compared to a 48 Chinese male, my general deportment seems to be that of a younger man?  Anyway, this student is going to go to middle school in Los Angeles, California.  The other student in the class, named Hunk, is an HR person at a company that provides the cleaning and security for the Wuxi Ikea.

Thursday (the 11th)
I work 1000-2100.

Last night, I entered some things into this blog using the Evernote app on my Ipad.  Now, I am on my computer and I see that the sync worked with no hitches.

I asked the students about the strangest food they had ever eaten.  Their answers were as not spectacular as I had hoped.  I then asked them about food they hated and they told me things that they should have answered in response to the first question.   A few students, in response to the second question, told me that they didn't like snake and baby chick fetuses.  The latter is a famous Nanjing dish.

Tony lines up his toy cars, side-by-side, on the living room carpet.  It is good to see that he does these things.  Maybe, he will figure out how to organize his things when he puts them away.

Courage and Conviction.  The two words that I get out of the tributes I have heard about Maggie.  Courage, I heard it said, matters more than anything.  Without courage, your virtues and good thoughts count for nothing.  A damning indictment of me.  I am so right when I say that what I believe doesn't matter. I am not an asset to my side. [LECTOR: There is nothing I can add to that. Arguing with you is no fun. You don't put up a fight like Gandhi against the Islanders. That's a reference to a gag on Letterman – something about video games that weren't very popular.]

A student of mine has gone to Kazakhstan.  It was a hot and dusty place run by Muslims, he told me.

Are you the guy on the bus tv?  As I waited to catch the first of the two buses I need to take to get home, a girl came up to and asked me that question.  I said I was.  She then asked me what it was like.   I was tongue-tied because I had never been asked about it before by a stranger on the street.   The girl asked me if people came up to me all the time...  And then my bus came, and the last thing I told the young woman that she was the first to have come up to me to ask me about it.

Friday (the 12th)
I work 1100-2100.

From my office, I can hear students being drilled, military-style.  I have been told that they are preparing for the May Day celebrations where they get to parade down the street.

I have decided to bring along my Chinese-English Berlitz dictionary.  I should have been carrying with me all the time.

915 am.  I am at work already.  I take my son Tony to the kindergarten van pick-up spot.  I figure I might as well go to work where  I can get some things done.

I am in a crappy mood today.  I was reading late last night, and I then got up early so I could get Tony to school. [LECTOR: Oh! Boo hoo hoo!]

I was teaching an afternoon class in a classroom that overlooks a church parking lot.  At the church, a long-legged model wearing a black mini-skirt and high heels was posing for some photos.  It was very distracting.

For dinner, I go to McDonald's.  [LECTOR:  So predictable.]

I teach there afternoon classes.  But the time 1800 rolls around, I am pooped from having sat around all day and looked at my computer screen where I look at Chinese flashcards, and Python programming code. [LECTOR: What are you talking about? You do nothing all day!]

Saturday (the 13th)
Last evening,  just after I arrived home, I found myself sitting in the bathroom with my nose up in the air -- straight up in the air, actually.   A moment before, I remember I was trying to download a podcast on my Ipod while at the dining room table.  I looked down at the floor to see a lot of red specks on the ground.  It was my blood.  Running to the bathroom mirror, I saw blood coming out of my nose profusely.  It was strange because I didn't feel any pain and the real worry was getting my things dirty. I had to keep my nose in the air for 30 minutes before I felt assured that the bleeding had stopped. I didn't soil a thing, thankfully.

So today, I walk around with a big wad of paper towel in my pocket in case the bleeding happens again.  Some kind of allergy to something in the Wuxi smog makes my nose very itchy.  I scratch it , as Groucho Marx advises, but now I have to be careful.

I work 1000-1800 today.

I went to McDonalds for breakfast.  For some inexplicable reason, I opened the pepper package and dumped it into my coffee.  Attempts to scoop out the pepper with my cream package were to no avail.  When I start doing things like that, I wonder if Alzheimer's is coming on.  Where does my mind go sometimes?  I am turning into an absent-minded professor type.  I wonder how often I walk around with fly down or with unwashed shaving cream on my face.

I got my new passport quicker than I had expected. I had a nightmare of my passport not coming to me as the my May 7th visa expiration approached. The photo taken of me shows me scowling. That is, I mean I don't look to be a happy camper at all in the photo. I find it hard to believe that the photo passed muster with the passport authorities – it looks to show an emotion.

Two thoughts have occurred to me this past week: 1) How long is now?  That is if you could assign a number to how long now is, what would that number be? .000000000000000000001 seconds perhaps. 2) The smallest thing, you can think of, contains a universe inside itself.  How can you ever come to the absolute smallest thing?  What is the size of the smallest thing that can ever be -- a thing so small that it can contain nothing within – that is, it is itself and nothing else?

I had this fear that my nose would start spouting blood while teaching. I then had a headache and I was thinking I was going to die of a cerebral hemorrhage or whatever brain-condition it is that cuts down people in their intellectual prime.

I took four photos of my supper. Here is the first of them. You can find the others yourself if you are interested. The food at a restaurant near the Hui Shan Tesco is quite good. If you want to go, email me at I have no problem with you buying me dinner.

I had a lucid phone conversation with Tony. We then walked home together, hand-in-hand, from the restaurant where we had dinner. It is nice to be a father. [LECTOR: You just saying that in a lame attempt to show you are virile. Andis: That is lame. LECTOR: No. It isn't! Andis: Yes! It is!]

Sunday (the 14th)
My last class on Saturday was with a group of middle-school teenagers. I remembered the story about the drunk teacher making sure the little bastards knew what he thought of them. [I told you about that in the previous weekly edition of AKIC]

I don't work today. I may be doing lots of work around Casa Kaulins however.

You don't ever want to piss off my wife. The people who live on the floor above us, crude countryside types my wife tells me, steal water. To go around the water-meter, they have to drip water into a basin or pail – the faucets permitting faster flows of water being on the legal side of the meter. This they will do all night and the dripping sound can be heard in our apartment. My wife has a short temper and the dripping sound will drive her out of her mind and she isn't afraid to show it. Last night about one a.m., she was pounding on the neighbors door telling them to stop the dripping – she had gone to the apartment complex security but they couldn't stop the neighbors water-stealing, when I meekly asked her about it, so she felt had no resort but to take matters into her own hands.

I took Tony to a sandbox at the Hui Shan Century-Times Square.

I then had some ice cream from KFC while Tony drank cola. I asked Tony if my face was clean after having eaten the ice cream, and the little bastard said it was!

I then took Tony boat-spotting. Some locals thought he was a girl. He then said he was tall for his age, I suppose as way of making up for their first gap.

And what better way to cap off a perfect afternoon with my son by doing some train-spotting? [LECTOR: Did you think you could do something else with him?]

Meanwhile, Andis's darling Jenny did some baking.

Putting pdf flashcards on my Ipad is the best idea I have had this week! [LECTOR: Last week, your best idea was to put me in your blog! Andis: Thank ya very much!]

I have just seen PSY's Gentleman video. I suppose it is his encore to Gangnam Style. It is a great song and a very crude but interesting video. I like the dominatrix girl who pulls the chair out from under him and later dances by his side. I can't approve of the very ungentlemanly acts he does during the video like taking his finger from his asshole and sticking it in a girl's face, pulling the chair out from a model as she was trying to sit, and pretending to hump a plastic street pylon.

I am going to publish this entry at about 830 pm on a Sunday night. I assume nothing is going to happen in the next 3.5 hours.