Sunday, June 2, 2013

The AKIC Weekly: A Week in the Life of an English Teacher in Wuxi, China (May 26 to June 2, 2013)

Gratitude:  I am happy to be me living now at the place I am.
Acknowledgment: I was mistaken when I said my Uncle Migauns in Minneapolis was sick. In fact, it is my Uncle Red in Winnipeg who has cancer. I used to think that I never got my basic facts wrong, but like everyone else, I get mixed up.
Requests:  I only have requests to make to myself this week. I don't want anything from my rare AKIC readers.

The AKIC Mission:  To be China's leading forum of  Gómez-Dávilism and reactionary intransigence, as well as a provocation to all of AKIC's enemies and critics.

The AKIC Motto:  Believe in God, trust in Christ, look with suspicion.

Who should read AKIC? AKIC is more AK than C. So don't come here expecting the rantings of a would-be Sinologist. I just sometimes mention what I happen to see being here in China. Also, don't expect to read anything about the Expat community here at AKIC. I keep my contact with foreigners to a minimum – but then that is like someone declaring his party to be private even when no one is going to his party anyway. Only kindred spirits of me should read this blog. That is, flotsam, jetsam, waifs, lost souls, conservatives, reactionaries, lost-causers, medievalists, coin-tossers, base brats, marginal humans, watchers, cranks,walkers, wallflowers, failures, losers, Catholics, solitaries, and loners.

An AKIC Glossary
Gratitude: will always be the first word of the AKIC weekly blog entry -- it is the key to happiness.
Acknowledgment and Request:  For me Acknowledgment means confession; and Request means request.  GAR [Gratitude, Acknowledgment, Request] are the simple stages of a prayer which I came upon following the Jewish World Review site.  I used the GAR format when I delivered the eulogy at my father's funeral last year.

Jenny is my wife. She is a Jiangsu woman.

J: I will sometimes refer to her that way.

Tony is my son.  If he is annoying or is acting way, way, way out-of-line, I will spank him.

T: I will sometimes refer to Tony this way.

TKIC: Tony Kaulins in China.  I may be referring to the TKIC blogs or to Tony when I use TKIC.  I  am sure you can figure out which way I am using it from the context.

AKIC:  Andis Kaulins in China.  The same applies to AKIC as applies to TKIC.  That is, I may be referring to the AKIC blogs or to myself.  AKIC aspires to be China's leading forum of  Gómez-Dávilism and reactionary intransigence.

My School is HyLite English located on Zhongshan Road in Wuxi, China.

Casa Kaulins is what I call the apartment I (really my wife) owns.

California Villa: The English name of the apartment complex the Kaulins family resides. In Chinese pinyin, it is called Jia Zhou Yang Fang.

Train-spotting.  There is a high speed train track running near Casa K.  Tony & I, when we have a chance, love to go there to watch the trains go by.

Wuxi:  The city where Jenny, Tony & I live.  I sometimes call it the Wux.

Hui Shan: The district of Wuxi in which we live.  Not to be confused with the Hui Shan Mountain that is in Xihui Park.

The Square:  The Hui Shan People's Square is nearby Casa Kaulins.

Central Park:  Hui Shan Central Park is the park closest to Casa Kaulins.  It has a playground area and a small lake with beach.  The park is nothing special.  The water in the lake is unbelievably foul.  The playground's fixtures are following apart.  The park is big enough that its narrow paths, that I would have thought were meant for pedestrians, have cars being driven on them.  The sight of these cars honking at pedestrians to get out their way disgusts me as much as the park's lake water.  Chinese people don't know how to drive and exhibit extreme selfishness when they get behind the steering wheel.

Hui Shan Wanda: A fancy shopping mall and cinema that is near Casa Kaulins. As of this typing, it is supposed to open June 21.

Yanqiao: a town of Hui Shan District -- not too far from Casa Kaulins.

Jiangyin: A city or district next to Wuxi.

Meicun:  A suburb of Wuxi city that is far from the downtown.

Shuo Feng:  Ditto!

Ditto!  Agrees with what has been previously said.

LECTOR: I got the idea for Lector, a fictional sparring partner for my blog, from a Hilaire Belloc book I had read recently.

School Laptop:  I like to make note of where I make my notes for my weekly blog entry.  One of the four places is my school laptop.  The other three are: my home laptop, my Ipad Mini, and my Ipod Touch.

Python:  Some kind of script-writing computer program I am learning to use.

Atftb:  A thought for the blog.

Brandon, Manitoba, Canada is where my mother Aina lives. 
Winnipeg, Manitoba is where my brother Ron lives.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA is where some of my father's relatives live.

Bao Bao Sleepy:  What Tony calls it when he sleeps in Daddy's arms or on Daddy's lap.

David Warren:  I visit his website about five times a day.  He a fervent Catholic and reactionary.  If I model myself after anyone, it would be him.

Don Colacho:  a.k.a. Nicolás Gómez Dávila. A South American sage.  He died in 1993.  He would have been 100 in 2013.  I read his aphorisms everyday.  He is the consummate reactionary.

Father Schall: I am always reading the site of his which has a huge collection of his writings.

English Corner:  I go to a room and try to talk to a group of Chinese people in English.  Often, they don't understand me.

25,602, 602支,61081796711885, 635These are buses I can take as I go downtown Wuxi from the Hui Shan New District. I usually take the 602in the morning, transferring to the 79, 81, or 85 to get to school. In the evening, I can take the 67,79,81,85 or 118 to get to the stop where I catch the 635. The 635 is the only bus running to my area of Wuxi after 800 PM. The 81 bus is a double-decker – quite the novelty for a guy who spent a lot of his life in Manitoba.

HM:  Harry Moore is from Brisbane Australia.  He had a brief stint as an English teacher at my school.  He sends me emails occasionally.  He was my partner in crime in my notorious Wuxi China Expatdom Blog.  He suffered a stroke recently but he still heroically plugs away.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was a week with few highlights and some lowlights:
  • I had a hellish time at Ikea.
  • I was in a good mood on Friday.
  • I had a couple anecdotes to add to my list of English teaching anecdotes.
  • The week saw the first anniversary of my father's death and news that some other relatives were very sick.
  • I now have someone I can talk to on my trip back home from work.

About Me (Andis):

I am in China!  我学汉字词。我很喜欢菠萝啤酒。我觉得中国人是不好的司机。中国女人是很漂亮。我儿子Tony可以说的英语和汉语。

Politically I am Conservative!  I don't think much will come of the Obama scandals. Leftists are not open to evidence.

I am Canadian! I have been listening to The Superman Song by the Crash Test Dummies, a band from Winnipeg. I can tell some stories about this band. For I can say I saw them before they became big. How big were the Dummies? I assume they were big. I did remember running into someone from England who had heard of them. Anyway, I first saw them at a University of Winnipeg Drama Social where they did a lot of Pogues covers. The Dummies worked at the Spectrum Cabaret in Winnipeg – at its time, the Spectrum was the coolest pub in Winnipeg – I saw famous acts like The Tragically Hip, Sarah McLaughlin and Johnathan Richman there. So I can also say I had been served by all the members of the Dummies. I never forget one encounter I had with the lead singer. I think his name was Brad Roberts. He was busing tables and I was chasing or following some girl who took, what turned out to be, a brief fancy to her. Anyway, following her, I wasn't paying attention to where I was going. The place was crowded – it was a Saturday night. So, I ran into Roberts who was carrying a busing basin about his head. He got annoyed at me, and told me angrily to “watch it!” Oh well. Heat of the moment for him, I suppose, and I have never been one to pay much attention to what I am doing. [LECTOR: Didn't you put your head through glass on account of that girl? ANDIS: Let's not talk about that. LECTOR: We should Mr. You-Need-Your-Head-Examined. ANDIS: That was dumb. I would never do that again. Whatever I had at that age has gone away. My anger has become like my father's. I got to separate myself from others. LECTOR: You weren't successful with the women back in North America, were you? ANDIS: Oh yeah! I was a loser on that score. But it was a blessing I think. I meet Jenny and we got Tony so I have no complaints other than I wished I was younger when I meet Jenny and we could have had not only Tony but a Tina and a Ron and an Juanita...]

I wouldn't be Canadian if I wasn't following the NHL playoffs. Even though I wouldn't be able to tell you any players on the teams except Sid Crosby, I have my rooting interests. I hope Boston and Chicago make it to the final. An original six NHL final would be a lovely thing even from as far away as China. And I very much appreciate the Bruins efforts in revealing the barbarity of British Colombians and Canucks fans.

I teach English!  I have been doing it for eight years. I can say I have learned a lot about grammar.
I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
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. (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 #154 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 of the greatest book of all-time. I am now reading the Acts of the Apostles.
University Economics:  Elements of Inquiry Third Edition by Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen:   A great Economics textbook. 
On Something by Hilaire Belloc. Finished. On Something is a collection of short stories and essays. It is alternately profound and funny. I highly recommend it to those who are of a like mindset. That is, a mindset like mine.

Erasmus and the Age of Reformation by Johan Huizingia. David Warren mentioned Erasmus and so I am reading this book. I find the book quite fascinating so far, and I will probably read in Praise of Folly next.

I like to take photos
I publish them in the following blogs:  AKIC wordpress , TKIC blogspot, and TKIC wordpress.

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
From Don Colacho:
2264 When the motive for a decision is not economic, modern man is bewildered and frightened. [The Chinese are that way too, I have noticed.]
2282 Nothing that might satisfy our expectations fulfills our hopes.
2288 Nothing is easier than to blame Russian history for the sins of Marxism. Socialism continues to be the philosophy of shifting blame onto others. [That also explains why Socialists hate the USA so much. Because the USA uses its power in a sentimental way, the USA makes an easy and compliant scapegoat. And it is impossible to be a Socialist without a deep hatred of the USA.]
2291 A man does not communicate with another man except when the one writes in his solitude and the other reads him in his own.
2311 The fact that nothing in this world fulfills us does not prevent us from longing for a world that is less ignoble and less ugly.

Huizinga, Johan. “Erasmus and the Age of Reformation.” Erasmus was never a man to make the most of his situation. [I find this quote inspiring.]

From Hilaire Belloc and his book entitled On Something:
A Monkey may not be a Member of Parliament, a Civil Servant, an officer in either Service, no, not even in the Territorial Army.

It is fashionable to jeer at the Monkey's disinclination to sustained physical effort and to concentrated toil; but it is remarkable that those who affect such a contempt for the Monkey's powers are the first to deny him access to the liberal professions in which they know (though they dare not confess it) he would be a serious rival to the European.

From David Warren:
What has been the effect on men’s souls of surrounding their ears, hour by hour, day & night, with the throb & clatter, fracas & din of our vile mechanical devices?

At what spiritual cost, do we suffer constant sensual irritations? For the audio deprivation, of holy silence, is matched by deprivation for each of our other senses. The sights, smells, tastes, & also the tactile qualities of a modern, highly ugly environment, have an aggregate effect. We are brutalized, sensually & materially, & this in turn has moral consequences.

Our contemporary secular humanist pagan is descended from the old secularizing Protestant via the High Victorian sceptic, all of whom have shared in a Pharisaical quality: they tend to think well of themselves. It is what sets the tone of liberalism today: the notion that liberals are “gooder” than others, that they may not be perfect but stay nevertheless a cut above the squalid self-interest that characterizes everyone else. Obama, for instance, reeks of this, as do other leading progressive politicians. But we get this moral posturing alike from secular, self-styled “conservatives,” who are indistinguishable from liberals in all of their basic assumptions about God & man. Except, it is not posturing, entirely: they genuinely believe themselves to be good people, & their own hypocrisies to be matters of no importance. [I don't think well of myself, believe it or not.  And I have an abiding hatred for those who do. That is, people who think well of themselves, not people who think well of me. If there are such people, that is, people who think well of me, I wouldn't know what to do with him – I say him because there can't be enough to use the word “them.” If this person is in Wuxi, he should go to People's Hospital Number Seven!]

From John Derbyshire: 1983 was an interesting year. I learned a lot. The first half I spent teaching college in China, which was then still struggling out from under Maoism’s great rotting corpse. The joy of the work was my students, who were much brighter, funnier, and more optimistic than I thought they had any cause to be. They were more diverse in character, too. Solzhenitsyn noted the paradox that the varieties of human personality, good and bad, exhibit more strongly under totalitarianism, while freedom leads to leveled conformity. [I know I sometimes say that the Chinese are lacking in diversity of character and all dress the same. But are they really? I've noticed that the consumer society has done little to make the Chinese appear diverse. However, the old-timers I see are definite characters in many cases, and they are a joy to observe. If anything, the foreigners, who live in China, are conformist to a greater degree. When I go to Shanghai, and see a foreigner on a mountain bike and spandex, I shake my head. And to add a thought to what Solzhenitsyn said. Rock 'n Roll which is supposedly Modernity's greatest expression of Freedom and Individuality is really extraordinarily conforming. How many times have I been pooed-pooed by people for liking something that wasn't Rock 'n Roll – not being like everyone else from my generation.]
I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and any thoughts that occur to me.

Monday [May 27]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

The weather is gray and damp. It looks like I won't be going anywhere.

I feel cooped up. Yesterday, I stayed indoors, so I have this guilty feeling that I should be doing something. The question is what should I be doing? I have a lot of things I intend to do but these things don't seem to hold my interest long enough.

How can I write of having a role-model? It is too late in life for me to have one. I am just going to have to improve on what I have been working with all my life.

I took Tony to the pick-up van. Afterward, I took a short stroll around the complex. Perhaps, I will go for a longer stroll later to combat this cooped-up feeling.

I am much too passive on the social front, and I have paid the consequences. I have correctly realized the places I shouldn't be going and the people I shouldn't be wasting my time with; so I am going to have to find a new frontier.

I phoned my mother last night to get an update on the condition of my Aunt Dzidra. Dzidra is in the hospital and my mother said that she won't be going back home – an ominous thing to say. Dzidra can't eat because she will throw up if she does, and so she is only able to chew pieces of ice.

My mother will be going to Winnipeg, she tells me, to say good bye to her eldest sister. I choke up at the thought of it.

My mother told me that she planned to put some flowers on my father's grave to mark the first anniversary of his death. Meanwhile, at the Care Home where Dad had been before he died, there will be a service to honor the patients who had passed away during the last year that my mother will attend as well.

I completed my watching of Zorba the Greek. It is a movie based on a book and I feel now that I should read the book. The movie was episodic and the shift from utter brutal episodes to joy-of-life was too jarring – the book couldn't have been that way could it?

I just noticed that I had typed that I had delivered the eulogy at my father's wedding. I corrected the mistake which showed up in two entries, but I wonder how many times I glossed over the sentence and didn't pick up on the mistake. I really need an editor. As it is, I try not to publish something right after I've typed it, but even taking my time, I make these bizarre errors. [LECTOR: You're losing it buddy! Time to get your head examined!]

[Ipad Mini]
Ever notice that at a football game,  American Football that is, that the people most likely to get hurt there are wearing helmets and  protective gear?  There is a lesson there for other parts of life.

[Home Laptop]
I actually made my way through two movies on my days off: Zorba the Greek and Damsels in Distress. The first movie, made in the year of my birth, ended with a dance scene; and so did the second movie, which as far as I can tell was released very recently. I didn't intend to watch films ending with dance sequences, but that is the way it worked out. The movies were both good in their own way. Anthony Quinn put in a great performance as Zorba. The second movie was a combination of Mount Rushmore, PD Wodehouse, and Fred Astaire – I laughed my head off in spots.

A store down the street from Casa K sells King Cans of Pineapple Beer. Hooray! [Lector: Boozer!!]

Tuesday [May 28]
[Home Laptop]

Every blog entry, David Warren makes is a gem. I have just read this one in praise of silence.

I work 1300 to 2100. Today, more than other days, is a day that I am going to have to endure. The death of my father has made what I have been doing seem pointless.

[School Laptop]
Two sights seen on my way to work: 1)I saw a horse in a field. 2) I see a man sitting happily in the shade of a building. But then as I passed him and looked to his left, I saw a huge pile of rubble. I hadn't, for an instant, realized that the man was sitting at the arched entrance to a building that was being demolished.

My wife wasn't pleased with me when I left for work this morning. She knew I was moping because it was the anniversary of my father's passing away. Feeling sorry for myself, I neglected to do some tasks around the house like take out the garbage and hang the laundry. At first my reaction to her outburst was to ask to her to lay off of me for the day. But there was a point to her criticism – I can't feel sorry for myself – sorry don't allow us to carry on with life and sorry don't honor the memory of my father. Sometimes, redemption seems impossible. What to do? What to do? What to do? [LECTOR: Do something other than mope, you big dummy!]
Wednesday [May 29]
[Home Laptop]
I work 1300 to 2100 today.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast at home and then at school, I drank only water and chewed on two pieces of gum. I will try the same regimen today. I don't do so because there are any benefits to it. I didn't notice any yesterday. I had a headache, felt dizzy, and was lagging in my last class. I do so to test my tolerance of discomfort. I think Catholics do these sort of things occasionally as well.

Yesterday, in my 1800 class, I had a female student from Wuxi who was a high school junior from a small Missouri town that was two hours from Kansas City. She was a cheerleader for the high school basketball team. I had to resist the urge to just talk to her and ignore the other students for I had so many questions. To one question I did ask, the student told me that Wuxi skies are very ugly compared to those of the American Mid-West where the sky is blue and the clouds are white and fluffy like cotton balls.

That high school student got me to thinking. I always ask the students if they get their impressions of American High School Life from Movies, and a lot they say they do. Now, I wonder if they make movies about Chinese High School Life. I couldn't imagine it. A typical Chinese High School's life is boring and devoid of any drama. If there was drama in a Chinese High School movie, there would be a student not applying himself to his studies to which the solution would be to expose the child to Mao Tse Tung thought.

And there is a bitter irony in the last thought. I did see a sign in a primary school where Chairman Mao was presented as a great educational inspiration in the manner of Einstein, Newton, and Thomas Edison. It was ironic because Chairman Mao policies resulted in schools being shut down and teachers beat up by mobs of students.

I phoned my Mom last night. She was able to visit both her sister and brother who are in hospitals in Winnipeg. She was also planning to lay some flowers at my father's grave to make the first anniversary of his passing away.

[School Laptop]
How's it going Andis. [Don't respond.]

The most interesting looking people in Wuxi are inevitably the beggars. The middle class types are now, thanks to Capitalism, able to wear different shades of gray or brown that go well with their newly-acquired corpulence that has been brought on by their being able to eat more pork – they are boring like a smog filled Wuxi sky. Now the beggars, however, have beards and long unkempt hair; they wear the most interesting clothes and headgear – they must be strikingly similar to what the Biblical Prophets look like, and perhaps they serve as a prophecy for what China will become.

I will have to ask all the male students if they wear pants at home.

Chairman Mao had Chairmanisma?

I just finished writing an email to a rare reader Ron who liked my entry about my thoughts on the first anniversary of my father's death. He sent a card to my home in Brandon after my father's death – a gesture that I will always remember for he didn't have to do that and the fact that he took the time to mail the thing was extra special – not to say that I didn't also appreciate the few other emails I got at the time.

Perhaps I should call this the lonely blog.

My second day of just drinking water at work. The test will come at 1700. I intend to not get anything to eat at that time – I will have taught a class. But I may feel peckish enough that I will break down and head to a convenience store to buy a bag of chips – I don't have enough cash to buy myself anything more.

1700: I broke down and bought a 3.5 rmb bag of mini chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday [May 30]
[School Laptop]
I work 1000-2100.

Breakfast at McDonald's as usual, but they stopped the hand sanitizer promotion.

June 1 is Children's Day in China. Kind of ironic for a country that has the one child policy. We like you the holiday says but as long as there are not too many of you.

I wish I could have taken a picture. I saw an electric bicycle, of the type that are used to carry cargo, pass my Casa K window. In the cargo area, sat three men in orange fluorescent garb – they were scrunched together in a very confined space. And to make the effect even more unintentionally comical was the fact that the bicycle was also towing a little trailer. It was an overload of people.

We finally got rid of the damn crib that had been bottle-necking the apartment. I told J to give it away because it wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that she was going to sell it to anyone. So, my wife did so yesterday. She went on a local QQ group and offered the thing for free. She was able to get rid of the crib in an hour. “For two years,” she lamented, “I couldn't sell the thing but offer if for free and it is gone in an hour!”

I had breakfast this morning at McDonald's. Can I make it the rest of the day without supper?

At 1630, I buy a loaf of bread at the next-door 85 Degree Bakery. I down it with some water.

Friday [May 31]
[School Laptop]
I work 1100-2100. Here I am at the school at 0930.

It drizzled this morning. A misty drizzle it was. If you were in it for a short time, you needn't have taken out the umbrella.

Connoisseur. AKIC is a connoisseur of nothing because he thinks a connoisseur is a poser from the sewer, or a con from the sewer, take your pick.

The AKIC Weekly is a buffet of bullshit.

As I was waiting for bus last night, I heard a plastic bottle hit the sidewalk. The woman who was disposing of the bottle, didn't discretely drop it, she lobbed it so that it flew in the air before hitting the ground.

A cold is circulating through the school. One teacher apparently had his whole class not show up one afternoon on account of it. The cold justifies my policy of not mingling – apartheid, you could call it. Now, I am paranoid that I may get it. I have never had to take a day of on account of sickness in my English teaching career – it is a fact I am quite proud of, even if only that it shows I do have some standards. I am not like some teachers I have seen through the years who take more days for sickness than I would take off for a vacation every year. And why is it that these teachers are always left-wingers?

One of the receptionists downstairs got married two weeks ago, and so she was distributing little packages of chocolate and eggs around the school. This is a tradition in China. Now what I wish is that the girls would distribute cigars when they had children. Now, there's a tradition to be started. [LECTOR: Why didn't you distribute cigars when Tony was born? ANDIS: How did you know? LECTOR: I live inside your mind. ANDIS: Oh. LECTOR: Now, how about answering my question. ANDIS: Where was I going to buy cigars in China? LECTOR: Did you even bother looking? LECTOR: And why do you want girls to start this tradition. ANDIS: There aren't too many men working in our school.]

Anyway, I tried to ask the receptionist about her husband. But she didn't understand my questions in English or Chinese. I should have typed the questions on the Ipod (in Chinese) and shown them to her.

Saturday [June 1]
[School Laptop]
It is Children's Day in a country that has the one child policy. Can anything be more ironic?

I work 1000 to 1800 today.

More diversity means more kinds of assholes and more of them too.

Last night, I talked to a girl on the bus ride back to Casa K. I had seen this girl, who was very nice looking, waiting at the 635 bus stop for the last five or six months – she would be there practically every night I was, but I had never talked to her till last night where the circumstances were such that we were able to have a conversation. First, I didn't get a seat on the bus because I had been crowded out by the other passengers as the bus approached and ended up at the back of the line as we all boarded. Second, on the bus, I just happened to stand next to the girl. A man at a seat near us got up and wanted to yield his seat to me. I declined and pointed to the girl so she could sit there. She did, said thanks to me, and then asked me some questions in very fluent English. We talked for about forty minutes. It turned out that she was a study assistant at a rival school whose name I won't mention in this blog because to do so would be to sully my blog. Be that as it may, the girl was pretty and I hypocritically overlooked the fact of her being from a rival school and talked to her. Beauty suspends rules, you could say. And since I was standing, she was making my ordeal much less onerous. Anyway, I learned that she was from Shandong province and that Shandong was more crowded than Jiangsu province – Shandong being the second most populous province in China after Henan. As well, I found out that she lived in a small 40 meter square apartment with her boyfriend who always came to pick her up at the stop that we both usually get off at; and that another girl who I always saw on the 635, for a year in fact also worked at the rival school as a sales girl--slash--sales consultant.
While it will be nice to have people to talk to at the bus stop. I hope I don't have to talk to them all the time. Like the girl, whose name I forgot, I have an Ipad Mini which I love to use on the ride back.

As I said, the girl asked me a lot of questions. One was about what I thought of Wuxi people. I told her that they were bad drivers.

I go home, eat dinner, take a shower, and then take off my pants. So said a student in the Evening SPC I did last night. He was answering a question that I was inspired to ask by listening to an Adam Carolla Show Podcast. Carolla is a comedian and a libertarian shock jock, who I enjoy listening to sometimes even though I can't do so without feeling some shame. He does sometimes give me ideas for questions to ask students. One such question was for the male students: Do you take off your pants as soon as you arrive home? I answer with an affirmative. Jenny doesn't want pants made dirty from the outdoors in contact with her clean furniture. The six males I asked at the SPC were half and half on the question. Some said they didn't take off their pants until bedtime or shower-time. One student answered as above. When I expressed my surprise, the student looked at my strangely, and repeated what he had said the first time. When I repeated what he said, the other students realized why I was surprised with his answer, but he still didn't get it. One more round of explaining and the student understood, and he said “No! No! No! I take off my pants and then shower!” While I enjoyed the joking around, I was disappointed that the student didn't actually take off his pants till after taking a shower. It would have been interesting to hear his reasoning and I would have heartily liked him for doing things different.

I still love the student who told me that he didn't want to buy a washing machine for his clothes because he believed that doing laundry by hand made for cleaner clothes. Such stick-in-the-mudiness just wouldn't occur in Canada.

Sunday [June 2]
[Home Laptop]
It's past midnight, as I start this entry.

Saturday night was Ikea Hell Night for the K family, China division. J decided to go to Ikea on Children's Day because a bed we were hoping to buy T was on sale. J and T got to the Ikea about 4 pm. Because I was working, I got there about 700 pm, and immediately went to the cafeteria to have supper. The lineup there was the longest I had even seen in all the times I had been to the Wuxi Ikea** – I think that there must have been at least fifty people. But whatever the numbers were, it was enough to get me to start cursing – being in China, I can get away with swearing aloud because few will understand me. Too many @@@ing people! I said to Tony – the curse being mixed with vows to never ever again go to Ikea on a Saturday evening. After finally getting some food, I had a hard time finding a table; and because the store was closing at 800 pm, I had to eat rather quickly so that we could look at the bed. The bed looked alright but I wondered how we were going to get it back to Casa K. J didn't want to pay the 80 rmb delivery charge and she didn't think the bed was going to be all that heavy, so we made a provisional decision to buy it. We had to walk through the display area to get to the warehouse to pick up the bed's metal frame parts and its wooden slats. I don't what it was, but as I was walking with T & J through the store, I detected a lot of look-at-the-foreigner-and-his-child vive coming from the other shoppers. I had an urge to deck a few adults and a bunch of children who were staring at Tony. I also had to ignore the patronizing hellos being directed at us – I had an urge to tell them all to f*** themselves. When we finally found the packages for the bed, we saw that they were too big to be carried on the bus back to Casa K. Jenny then told me that the Ikea delivery drivers wouldn't take the packages up stairs for us. I said this wouldn't be a problem if we could arrange for the driver to come when I was at home, but Jenny said, after talking to some bored looking clerks, there was no guarantee that they would come at a specified time,and so we decided to not buy the bed – we had come to Ikea on Saturday Night which was also Children's Day all for naught! We then tried to salvage the evening by buying some food. Jenny decided to buy a jar of Chocolate Sauce among other things. We then realized that we had forgotten a toy car of Tony's in the cafeteria. So I decided to go back there with Tony in hopes of retrieving it while J purchased the food. It wasn't not easy to get to the cafeteria from the checkout area quickly, and it didn't help that the store was closing. I got only more annoyed and when we got back to our table where we had eaten, it was only to see that the table had been cleaned and the toy wasn't there. We then had run quickly to meet J at the bus stop, and it turned out that she was upset because she had dropped and broken the jar of chocolate sauce just after she had purchased it. So, not only did we not buy the bed we were looking for, we lost one of Tony's toys and a jar of chocolate sauce. It was enough to dampened the spirit of a weaker being who doesn't have the fortitude of AKIC.

The episode got me to thinking. How can I get professional help if I can't afford delivery charges on a bed from Ikea. I am just going to have to live with being me and my loose-cannon, catch-as-catch-can, Chuck Bronson type personality which is given to sudden and savage bursts of apparently murderous anger.

**I had another bad experience at Ikea, but at the one in Richmond, British Columbia. I went there on a Saturday and abandoned my potential purchases because the lineups were too long.

Then there was this student named Cristal. A lanky and thin high school student, she was in my final Saturday class, and made a memorably bizarre impression on me – she certainly got herself into my top five all-time English teaching anecdotes. Sitting in the class, she immediately adopted the bored and uninterested posture of a student who was only there because her parents wanted her there – and she was playing with her mobile phone. I do have some sympathy for these sort of students because they have no life other than classes and homework; and so I try to entertain and humor them. Cristal was not very receptive to this however. She expressed open hostility to me-- though I strangely did actually get her to laugh a few times. At one point in the class, she told me that she hated me because I still couldn't remember her name after ten classes. That unfortunately happens, some girls I remember right away because they are pretty, some girls I remember because they have weird names, some women I know their faces but I can't remember their names, and some girls just don't leave an impression. Cristal was of the latter type. After her outburst, I introduced the word redemption and kept going at her – happy that I had gotten her to speak. I even asked if I took take her photo in order to never forget her, but she declined and even began to cover her face as I brought out my Ipod Touch.

I remember having a class about six years ago where a student, of an age similar to Cristal, was also openly hostile me saying how much he hated me in his answers to the questions I was asking in a salon class. The student did make a deep impression on me as his tone stayed with me all these years. I reacted to what the student said with an “Oh whatever” attitude. That is, I didn't get upset, I didn't take umbrage at the dig at my authority, and I carried on with teaching. I might have even played along with the student. I can't remember if I ever had the student in another class after that.

I have been trying to make deals with Tony that are sealed with a handshake. Tony however quickly reneges on the deals and needs to be taught the importance of never betraying something agreed to with a handshake.

Signs of my getting old: I was laboring as I ascended the stairs at Ikea. My proud strides turned to limps as my knees seem to buckle from the stress on them from climbing. It means that I can never go back to my old job in Canada.

A great way to download videos for your mobile devices is the Youku app. I learned that it contains a video format convert so you can get videos in the avi and mp4 formats.

I am on my 12th page of typed text. This could be the longest AKIC Weekly Edition ever.

Last night, I was up at three am hunting for a mosquito that had been attacking my wife and son. I was having no luck till I turned on the Ipad Mini. The screen light attracted the little bugger and I was able to off it with our killer racquet.

I need to think of a topic for my AKIC monthly essay topic.

Hopefully, I will get a haircut today. I am starting to look like a goddam hippie.

[Ipad Mini]
I will become an proponent of Shankle Rankle Dangleism. [LECTOR: What is that? ANDIS: I don't know yet exactly what it is.]

Jenny bought a live fish for supper.  She had it put in a bag which I got to carry back home. This was fine for about five minutes but the fish startled me when it began jerking around in the bag. I initially felt like someone was grabbing the bag from behind me. Anymore, the fish kept on jerking around and I couldn't stand it anymore, giving the fish back to Jenny to carry. Carrying live things which are to be eaten in a shopping bag is one of those unique experiences that China offers.

[LECTOR:  I notice that you never ever mention other Wuxi Expats in this blog.  Why is that?  ANDIS:  it just is.  I don' mingle much with them.  It is the life I have been leading where my life is truly put into my family and my blogs; and not into a social life.  LECTOR:  You do need to have a social life.  ANDIS:  No doubt about that, but there are crowds that it is best to stay from, and this the way I feel now.  I should use the reach of the Internet to find the company I need.]

[Home Laptop]
I didn't get a haircut today. I instead took Tony for an e-bike ride. He got to throw some rocks in a canal, and I got to take a photo showing the progress being made with the construction of the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza.

I had earlier in the afternoon taken Tony to Tesco where it seemed like I was in the Soviet Union. At the nearby KFC, they didn't have Chocolate Sundaes. In the actual Tesco, they didn't have Magnum Ice Bars with just vanilla inside and the wheat bread loaves were all past expiration date. Tony played the role of a KGB interrogator trying to mentally torture me with his never-ending refrain of “I want to buy a new police car toy.” Tesco has a toy section on its lower floor; a grocery store on its upper floor. On the upper floor, Tony wouldn't let me pick up any food. He wanted me to go back to the toy department and buy him the police car which as far as I could tell never existed.

Precipitation: I came across this word reading about Erasmus. Apparently, Erasmus was prone to bouts of this. I am as well prone to bouts this precipitation in my blog. I blog shit and let things happen. I have to admit I fear the results of my precipitation, but they never seem to come because I don't think anyone is reading this blog.

Hopefully, I will get my haircut on Monday. Vanity of Vanities. I will take a before photo and an after photo, and publish them in AKIC wordpress. I also intend to wear a sleeveless top for these photos. [LECTOR: Gay! Gay! Gay! Why don't you start working at the gym?! Why don't you get a crew cut like a butch Lesbian? Why don't you tell us about your appreciation of Liberace? Hmmmmm?!?!]

Not liking the taste of soap, he prefers to wash himself with Chicken Soup.

His favorite spiritual book? The Ascent of Mount Caramel.

His favorite dystopian novel? 1984 Varieties of Cheese.

His favorite singer? Meatloaf.

His favorite Shakespeare Play? Hamlet.

His favorite gay couple? Ben and Jerry.

His favorite lament? Oh Henry!

His military hero? Captain Crunch.

His favorite earl? The Earl of Sandwich.

How does he like his dogs? Hot.

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