Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Weekly: July 22 to July 28, 2013

Gratitude:  Thank God, I feel shame.

Acknowledgment: I have to admit that if I am scared to change. I really don't want to get out of my comfort zone.

Requests: Please visit Views of China from Casa Kaulins! Lots of interesting things to be seen if you spend a little time exploring it.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It has been a week of controversy and sweating here at AKIC. I wrote a blasphemous blog entry about Wuxi drivers, and clandestinely took photos of an incident at the government building that can be seen from the bedroom of my apartment that I call Casa Kaulins. I also made preparations for Tony's sixth birthday which will be on August 23rd. The average temperature for the week must have been 37 degrees Celsius.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things you don't know about, like places and people I mention, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China!  每天,我练习看中文词。每天,我读 Don Colacho。他是很好的思想家。

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! To be a proper Canadian, you have to support the monarchy. If it wasn't for the monarchy, there would be no Canada.

I am Canadian! I am reading a book about General Wolfe, the man who captured Quebec for England. Why? Because I am Canadian.

I am Latvian (sort of)! I say you can't trust the Russians, but they aren't all bad.

I teach English!  I hate getting one word answers from the students. Make sentences! I tell them.
I am not a freak! I am merely living in the wrong age at the wrong place and time.

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 the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #163 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished my reading of it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   I am reading a chapter a day of the greatest book of all-time. I have finished the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and have just started to read the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place them on the Dotdotdot app.

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. Finished. As with all Dickens, it was a great read.

A Tale of Red Pekin by Constance Serjeant. A story of missionaries in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion – couldn't be written today.

The House of the Wolfings by William Morris. I read that this book was an inspiration for Lord of the Rings. It is written from the perspective of a Northern European people awaiting an invasion of the Romans. A much better thing to read than Game of Thrones.

Lumen Fidei by Pope Francis. I have read that it this encyclical is really Pope Benedict's doing.

The Winning of Canada: a Chronicle of Wolf. An interesting and short biography. They knew how to lead interesting lives back in the day.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
The righteous promise little and perform much; the wicked promise much and perform not even a little.
--- Talmud

From Don Colacho:
2730 The vice which afflicts the right is cynicism, and that which afflicts the left is deceit.
2735 The realism of photography is false: it omits in its representation of the object its past, its transcendence, its future.
2740 The spectacle of failure is perhaps less melancholy than the spectacle of triumph.
2742 When he repudiates rites, man reduces himself to an animal that copulates and eats.
2744 The reactionary's objection is not discussed; it is disdained.
2752 The day is made up of its moments of silence. The rest is lost time.[Beautiful!]
2754 The modern desire to be original makes the mediocre artist believe that simply being different is the secret to being original.
2755 Not all defeated men are decent, but all decent man end up being defeated.
2775 The politician never says what he believes to be true, but rather what he considers to be effective.
2788 Doubts do not fade one by one; they disappear in a flash of light.
2790 The only pellucid dialogue is one between two recluses. [Pellucid means translucently clear, lucid in style or meaning. Where is the other recluse that I can have a pellucid dialogue with? Email me at if you are the one.]
2791 Formulating the problems of today in a traditional vocabulary strips away their false pretenses.
2794 My convictions are the same as those of an old woman praying in the corner of a church.
2798 The most persuasive reason to renounce daring progressive opinions is the inevitability with which sooner or later the fool finally adopts them.
2805 A healthy constituted state is one where innumerable obstacles restrict and impede the freedom of the legislator.
2809 The embourgeoisement of Communist societies is, ironically, modern man's last hope. [This is so rich for someone who is living in China and seen its embourgeoisement. Many capitalists are coming here to save their companies. But is modern man worth saving?]
2811 Envy differs from the other vices by the ease with which it disguises itself as a virtue. [What an accurate observation of human nature.]
2812 Political activity ceases to tempt the intelligent writer, when he finally understands that there is no intelligent text that will succeed in ousting even a small-town mayor.
2813 In the intelligent man faith is the only remedy to anguish. The fool is cured by “reason,” “progress,” alcohol, work. [There are no such intelligent people in my life at the moment.] my mind, the fall of Vietnam into the hands of the Communists was among the great horrors of the 20th century. Those from the West whose vanity, wilful ignorance, moral indifference, & deceit served the Communist conquest, I have yet to forgive. So many went on to dominant positions in the world’s second-oldest profession.

Normal human beings,” I outrageously argued, “regardless of race, creed, color, or class, love pageantry, and babies. Let’s have more of both.”

I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and of any worthy thoughts that occur to me.
Monday [July 22]
[Home Laptop]
Not working today.

I looked out the window after waking up to see a group of people had unfurled a sign in front of the government building that is across the street from the Casa Kaulins apartment. Was it a protest? It seemed to be. The people were arguing with security and people who came out of the government building to talk to them. The group was taken inside the building, but twenty minutes or so later, they were back out front again displaying their sign. More security officials and black uniformed police types came upon the scene. An argument between the leader of the protest group and the head security guy took place. The sign was taken by the security officials. The protestors eventually got into their car and drove away. I took a lot of photos of the incident using the tele-focus feature on my old Ikon digital camera. I dare not be seen taking photos.

[iPod Touch]
I showed Jenny the photos I took of the incident in front if the government building.  She was able to read the sign which said that someone in the building had done a hit and run.  The group with the sign wanted compensation.

Tony and I just finished watching the 1976 film Gumball Rally.  Dated in a way that only 70s movies can,  I still enjoyed re-watching it.  I was satisfied to see that Tony enjoyed the movie like I thought he would. 

I am also watching Blade Runner.  Its style makes it a classic, even though I find the story lacking in drama.

Here is a theory about Chinese history I had never heard before. I was told of Chairman Mao's son dying in the war against American aggression in Korea. It is said that if Mao's son hadn't died, China could well have become a family dynasty like North Korea did become. This son would have been Mao's legitimate heir in '76. Mao did have other sons who were alive in '76, but one was simple-minded and I don't know what was wrong with the other one. Thank the powers that be that Mao's son did die in the Korean War. Thank you America!

Tuesday [July 23]
[Home Laptop]
I will work today.

It is another hot Wuxi summer morning. I wake up at 7:30 and can again feel the sweat beading in my pores.

I published this entry filled with expletives last night. Should I have? Well, Wuxi drivers are bad drivers. Of this there can be no doubt. And the Wuxi driver's lack of consideration for pedestrians is a damning indictment of the society that now exists in the city. I always worry about Jenny & Tony when they are in traffic situations. My biggest fear in life is losing them.

I am watching John Wayne's Hondo on the Ipad.

Tony had his haircut repaired. My wife took him to another salon yesterday to repair Sunday's bad one.

[School Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00. I arrive at work at 10:30. [LECTOR: Why do you say that? ANDIS: What? LECTOR: The I-arrive-so-early shit. ANDIS: Filler material, I suppose. It is not meant to be a proof of my virtue. If anything it is proof that I can be anal.]

Apropos the incident with the driver of the car that nearly drove down Tony, I remember having a premonition of them having trouble when they left the apartment. The last thing I told them was to be careful.

One-on-one classes with a student who will be studying in Sardis, British Columbia – a place I am familiar with, and where Tony & Jenny have been.

I almost forgot, as the many times I did when he was alive, that it is my father's birthday today. He would have been 81.

Can-Am Tourney #14 Chicago beats Atlanta 6-5 in the final.

Wednesday [July 25]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at school at 10:30.

Three incidents to report. First, a student told me that when she was young, she was walking with her grandmother when a truck ran over the grandmother, killing her. The student had no recollections of the incident taking place. Second, the husband of a cousin of Jenny, a man who I had seen a few times, a man who attended my wedding and Tony's 100 day party, is in jail for having run over and killed a child. The man, who had gang connections, had been driving chasing someone when the accident happened. Tony had played with the couple's daughter. Third, I took the 25 bus to work today and a collision resulted which resulted a mirror and frame being torn off the bus.

I phoned my Mom this morning. She will be placing flowers at father's grave to mark his birthday. The weather in Brandon, where she lives, is cool: 21 degrees Celsius. The city has sprayed for mosquitoes. She told me that there was extensive television coverage of the birth of the royal baby. She had watched an interesting documentary about the Gimli Glider: an Air Canada passenger plane that was forced to land on an old air strip because it had run out of fuel due to a confusion between metric and imperial fuel capacity numbers.

Here is a description of a foreigner that I will use in my beginner level introductions salon class:

Micheal Jones is a 52 year old engineer living in Wuxi. Currently, he isn't married. He has been married two times. With his first wife, he had a boy and a girl. With his second wife, he had a son. He now has a Russian girlfriend who is a dancer at many Wuxi hotels.

Micheal Jones is Canadian. His hometown is Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In his free time, Micheal likes to going to pubs, playing golf, swimming, playing X-box games, and dancing. He likes Chinese Food – his favorite kind of Chinese food is Sichuan. He says he can't go back to Canada because his ex-wives will try to get money from him.

I was listening to a podcast about Detroit and its bankruptcy. One thing I had been wondering about was how the city's hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings, were doing. Apparently, the Wings are doing quite fine because the city is putting in half the funds for a six hundred million dollar hockey arena. Talk about a mislaid set of priorities!!

Thursday [July 25]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 21:00 today. I get to work at 9:00ish. I will have three classes early today; from two to seven pm.: nothing; and then two classes to end the day. What a life!

I take the 602bus and then the 85 bus to work.

On the 85 bus, I saw an old male passenger and the back-of-the-bus worker (the 85 is a long bus) have a disagreement about the bus pass the man was using.

I got a ride home last night from a student who lives near the Wanda Plaza. I got home about 30 minutes earlier.

I finished watching the movie Hondo, starring John Wayne, last night. The movie was strangely sympathetic to the Apaches. John Wayne ended the film by saying that the Apache way of life was quite a life. Yet, they had a code by they were savages nonetheless.

I have been publishing model style photos of Tony here, here, and here. There are fifteen in all for you to look at. You are welcome to save them and add them to your collection of fab Tony photos.

I took a photo of a three-wheeled car! You at see it at Views of China from Casa Kaulins blog.

They say that today the high with be 41 degrees Celsius!

Despite the high temperatures, I went on a toy-hunting tour of the downtown which was disappointing not due to the heat but to the selection of toys. There were two places that I knew of in downtown Wuxi where one could buy Tomica toys, but after today's trip, I know there is but one. The place I was hoping to find some Tomica fire trucks not longer sold them. So, I went back to the store near my school with Tomica toys, and I found the selection to be quite disappointing. Now, I don't know what the heck I am going to buy Tony for his birthday.

Just as I had finished my toy-hunting trip, my wife phoned to complain that I had eaten all the bread at home, and so I had to go buy some bread at the 85 degree bakery. This would normally not be a problem but the 85 Bakery near our school is under renovation, and to get to the next nearest one would mean walking in the heat or taking a bus. I choose to walk to the 85 bakery at the Nanchang Temple, and was pleasantly surprised to see that there wasn't a lineup like there would normally have been at the 85 bakery near our school.

Hearing about Japan's population shrinking, I should tell the Chinese it would be a good time to invade their rival. But instead of using men of military age, I would suggest to the Chinese that they use girls of middle-school age in the invasion. It would be interesting I think to see how the girls would match up with the old Japanese people who would be forced to defend the island. [LECTOR: Unless the Japanese use the robots...]

Jiangsu may be the source of China's debt nightmare! It wouldn't surprise me in the least. It seems that there is too much building going on here. I can't go anywhere without seeing a new apartment block or office building under construction.

Friday Morning [July 26]
[School Laptop]
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today. I arrived at school at 9:30.

On the way to work, I listened to two enjoyable podcasts. One was an interview with Tom Wolfe, the famous American novelist; and the other was a Q&A session with Rex Murphy, the famous Canadian pundit. Both were well-read, humorous, and joyful.

From Wolfe, I am lead to consider the future of the U.S.A. There can be no doubt that the 20th century was an American century. If you don't believe this, you have to look at 21st century China. But what about America's future? Wolfe believes that there will be many American centuries to come. Why? America has no opposition. The current strong members of the opposition: China and the European Union have too many problems. China despite its economic power has no cultural power. Hollywood movies are watched by many Chinese – Chinese films, in foreign markets, are an acquired taste. But what about America's fiscal mess and the Obama presidency? I believe Americans can recover from these difficulties. They have before, and despite all their many problems, particularly moral, they have a loud, strong, and brash presence – to dominate is in their genes, as is their tremendous generosity. When there is trouble in the world, the world looks to what America. They don't look to China, the U.N., and the E.U.

From Murphy, I got three things for my mind to munch over. First, a love for Canada. Hearing people from Surrey, Ottawa, and Newfoundland talking was sweet. Second, a need to be skeptical. He was asked what advice he had for aspiring journalists. He said that journalists have to resist the urge to look at the world through their belief structure. Third, he talked about Obama's oratory ability. He said Obama was a good orator but had terrible speech writers who made bad allusions and had terrible grammar. I never listen to Obama but I do try to read his speeches. I find he has nothing particularly original or memorable to say.

My watchband broke this morning, and so out of habit, I have been looking at a white band of skin when I need to know the time. I will have to rely on my Ipod Touch to get the time, for the time being.

Tony got another bruise around his eye last night. Rare regular readers may remember that one Saturday night in the pre-Wanda Plaza era, Tony blackened his eye when he stumbled and fell on a chair when performing Ultraman fighting actions. The incident happened at a restaurant and so we had to take Tony to the hospital. Last night, Tony was jumping on the bed while covering his head with a blanket. I don't know where he got the idea to do this, but he had been doing this for a month despite my repeatedly warning him not to. I hope he learned to stop doing this as as last night he banged his head against a shelf that is bolted to the wall above the bed and so bruised his eye enough that he looked like a boxer.

Somewhere on the Internet last night, I read an article scoffing at the notion that foreign languages can be learned conversationally. That is, it was very dismissive of the idea of using conversation as the main tool in a second-language class room.

Why believe? Two reasons. One: because it is true. Two: because it is the most authentic pose one can have if it isn't. If it isn't true, our existence is so small and insignificant that we need the idea of it to make our existence meaningful.

In a word without meaning, poses are the only things that matter because they occupy the now which is all there is. A pose that shows others that one is so beyond the immediate now, but higher, is cool. A pose of faith is thus, paradoxically, the only pose one can take if one wants to be really so beyond everything that exists.

Saturday [July 27]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 18:00 today.

Nothing to blog about this morning that I feel I should blog about. I am a pissy mood and I will probably type something that I will regret, though to be honest that hasn't stopped me before.

I listened to a podcast that said truckers may soon be out of jobs as that profession will become automated.

What are they going to do? What am I going to do?

Last night, a student told me an interesting anecdote. His father had a boat, one of those long barge large boats that go up and down the waterways of China, and he had a dog. One day, the dog jumped onto a passing boat. Three months later, the two boats passed and the dog was returned to its original boat. The master of the boat, that had been passing, told the student's father that the dog hadn't liked what it had been fed for the past three months. (That was all the details that I could ring out of the student.)

Also one of the students in that class had a cat or dog named Ding Dong.

I am tired. The heat is getting to me. Thank God I will soon have days off.

[Home Laptop]
After work, I went to the Wanda Plaza where I met the rest of the China Family Kaulins at a Korean BBQ restaurant. I didn't think I ate that much but when I stood up to take Tony to the WC, I felt stuffed.

Having ruined a polo shirt on Monday by dropping greasy food on the front of it, I had my wife purchase me two polo shirts at the local Uni-Glo where one can also buy Sex Pistols t-shirts. It leads me to ask the following: Who would have thunk it: that I would be living in China and able to purchase a Sex Pistols shirt?

I twisted my left ankle this evening. After having parked our e-bike in what used to be the office of the California Villa sales office, I walked through an exit and thought to take a look at a piece of pavement that had just recently been set. I had in fact driven over this newly set pavement, and I wanted to see if I had left any tracks. The new pavement was off to the right of my path, and it was also dark, so I made a misstep when stepping off a building sidewalk onto a lower pathway. The step was probably no more than six inches high and I have probably taken it hundreds of time in the five years I have lived at the California Villa. Tonight however, I, instead of stepping straight forwards with my left foot, stepped downwards at an angle of 45 degrees off kilter so that my left ankle buckled as I put my full weight on it, and I ended up stumbling onto the ground, dropping the bag I was carrying and the eyeglasses I had placed in my t-shirt. I swore as I was falling and I worried that the worst had happened. Thankfully it didn't and I lived to make my way back to Casa Kaulins. I don't felt much pain at the moment but I worry that the ankle may start to swell. As it is, I can't bend my left foot fully...

Sunday [July 28]
[Home Laptop]
It is 37 degrees outside, that be in Celsius.

It my day off from going to school.

How is my left ankle today? Sore if I put pressure on it, but I am not in agony.

What to do today? That is the question. I think I will go back to bed. I don't even know what I want do.

Two things: I need razors – I buy these Schick disposables; and I need a new wristband for my Swiss Army Watch – I wear it because it was the watch my father was wearing when he passed away.

I am spending the day at home taking photos for the Views of China from Casa Kaulins blog, watching the fifth season of The Wire (I have just watched the fifth episode), drinking hot tea (at 37 degrees Celsius), reading The House of the Wolfings, reading The Winning of Canada: a Chronicle of Wolf, and eating ice cream.

I should end this week's blog entry with this thought. I don't have the link but somewhere I read something that should guide my parenting of Tony. Most people these days, said the writer, want their children to be the richest, smartest, the most worldly successful, and best-looking when they really should only care if their child is a good person.

That is all I am going to want from Tony.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scenes from My Life in Wuxi, China #42

Another Week in the Life of a Reactionary English Teacher Who Comes from Canada: July 15 to July 21, 2013

Gratitude:  I feel gratitude for the feeling of gratitude I have.

Acknowledgment: Is there anything I haven't acknowledged in this blog? I have laid out my weaknesses for all the world to see. Unfortunately for this weekly feature, I don't have as many weaknesses and things to confess as I thought. I have run out.

Requests: Please visit Views of China from Casa Kaulins!

The AKIC Week in Brief: Another week of enduring the Wuxi Summer heat. I went to work and then returned home. On Sunday, I got a haircut.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things you don't know about, like places and people I mention, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China! 我在中国!我在无锡江苏!我的中文不好!我不会说中文!我认识一点点点中文词。我是英文的老师!我觉得我是不好的英文老师。

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary! I think the Democrats in the USA are beyond consideration; but alas, so are nearly 75 percent of the Republicans.

I am Canadian! I would vote for the Conservatives and hold my nose while doing so. I am one of those type of Canadians who despises Turdeau, the elder or the younger.

I am Latvian (sort of)! I say sort of because I don't associate with many Latvians and can't speak the language at all.

I teach English!  I do this because there is nothing else I could teach.
I am not a freak! I should say I am sane. To be sane in this world is kind of freakish.
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 the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #162 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished reading it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   I am reading a chapter a day of the greatest book of all-time. I have finished the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and have just started to read the Second.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place them on the Dotdotdot app.

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. Some decent people in the novel. Could they ever really exist?

The first encyclical from Pope Francis.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos
Here is my Youtube Channel and my Youku Channel. Here are three videos I uploaded this week: Views of China of Casa Kaulins #7; 17 Short Videos of Life in Wuxi, China; and 20 Short Videos of Life in Wuxi, China.

I like to cut and paste quotations:
There are from Don Colacho:
2678 There are certain types of ignorance that enrich the mind and certain types of knowledge that impoverish it.
2679 The modern machine becomes more complex every day, and every day modern man becomes more elemental.
2684 Life is a daily struggle against one's own stupidity.
2688 The modern mentality is the child of human pride puffed up by commercial advertising. [And the people who most hate commercial advertising, the ones most likely to show a childish pride when they talk of their hate.]
2689 To believe that an obvious truth clearly expressed, should be convincing, is no more than a naïve prejudice. [I get proof of this every time I try to reason with my son.]
2692 I have no pretensions to originality: the commonplace, if it is old, will do for me.
2698 Asking the state to do what only society should do is the error of the left.
2702 We are saved from daily tedium only by the impalpable, the invisible, the ineffable.
2714 Man is an animal that can be educated, provided he does not fall into the hands of progressive pedagogues.
2719 The authentic vocation becomes indifferent to its failure or to its success. [Is English teaching an authentic vocation? If what Colacho says is true, I hope it is.]
2720 Individualism is the cradle of vulgarity.
2728 Among those elected by popular suffrage only the imbeciles are respectable, because the intelligent man had to lie in order to be elected. [So, Obama is either a liar or hopelessly naïve.]

I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and of any worthy thoughts that occur to me.
Monday [July 15]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

I got up at 9:30 AM. It is 9:45 now. It is hot in the apartment. We have a fan going in the bedroom. But I am in the dining room, typing this. So I can feel sweat beading in my pores. I can also hear wind whistling through the apartment building. I would say that the sound I hear reminds me of the sound of movie wind, but this is just a wish on my part. The sound I hear and the sound I am thinking of have different qualities. I don't really know what they be, not being musical and having no knowledge of musical theory. The wind's pitch, I would say, is of wind whirling in through a small opening, not of wind swirling through the desert.

I just read an article in the Guardian, the so-called middle of the road newspaper, praising cynicism. Thinking of Don Colacho's admonition, aphorism #1437, that cynicism is not a measure of astuteness but of impotence, I looked at the article skeptically. The author of article did a lot of “well,” “on the one hand,” and “of course,” like someone thinking aloud who should have thought quietly first. The author even wrote something along the lines of how cynicism could help us see the real nature of the problem, and thus enable us to find solutions for them. And so I thought of DC aphorism #1448: Propose solutions? As if the world were not drowning in solutions! Colacho would have this author for lunch! Reading the comment sections, one commentator nailed what was wrong with the article: the author was mixing up cynicism and skepticism. Properly defined, cynicism is impotence. It is bitter resignation to our existence. Skepticism combined with a proper Christian faith is a better way to deal with the world. We are fallen creatures after all.

Tuesday [July 16]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00-21:00. I arrive at school at 10:40.

I finished watching the 1990s movie Grosse Point Blank yesterday afternoon. I had watched it along with another 1990s film Reality Bites which I reviewed last week in AKIC July 14-21. Of the two films, I prefer Grosse Point Blank. GPB had better music (A lot of classic 80s alternative music), a better story, and more interesting characters. It tried to be more entertaining than iconic. Cusack's killer character was more interesting and enjoyable to watch than the Ethan Hawke intellectual slacker character in Reality Bites who, I wrote last week, really grated on me.

I phoned my mother last night. She didn't have much news to tell me other than to say my Aunt Dzidra was still in the hospital, and that she hoped that the authorities would spray for mosquitoes which are quite bad. The mosquitoes in Wuxi are paper tigers compared to the ones in Brandon, Manitoba.

Tony will get to be a model this afternoon. An ex-HyLite employee phoned me yesterday and told me that a clothing company wanted to pay us to take photos of Tony. They will come to our apartment this afternoon with their stuff for Tony to model.

Left Wing intellectuals love to use that word collective. To me, the word collective has come to mean dictatorship by the Left. Everything they say must be decided by the collective.

Wednesday [July 17]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00-21:00. I arrive at school at 10:30. I will give myself an hour to do what I want to do on the laptop. The first thing I want to do is blog, like I am doing right now.

I listened to a podcast about Russian History this morning while going to work. In particular, the episode I heard was the first of series about the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. I hadn't been aware till I listened to this podcast of the role the Mongols played in Russian history. I knew of the Cathars' role in Chinese history and I can't help but find it quite fascinating.

I have also been listening to reaction to the Zimmerman verdict. The verdict of the jury was no doubt correct. A Canadian reaction I listened to this morning, said the incident was the result of Florida's de facto segregation of blacks and whites, and its gun laws. My student from Malaysia tells me that there is segregation of Malaysians among their three main racial groups. Some Chinese students who have attended high schools in America tell me that the blacks segregate themselves from the other students in their school. So in the cafeteria the blacks sit at their own table. The blacks are approachable but prefer to stay apart is what the Chinese have told me when I asked them if they did try to mingle with the blacks. Martin, the deceased in the incident, would not have died, the Canadian said if Zimmerman hadn't been allowed to carry a gun. If Zimmerman hadn't carried a gun, and all other factors would have not changed, there was a good chance that Zimmerman himself would have been killed or crippled for life by Martin. I read a comment on David Warren's site, of all places, where someone said that a person being racially profiled would have been justifiably right in kicking the shite out of Zimmerman. But to unwrap the rights and wrongs of the incident would take more time than the hour I have allotted myself to blog this morning.

Cross my fingers today and hope Tony can get the modeling gig. I didn't know the full details of what was to happen yesterday with the company and Tony, and so I incorrectly thought that the company was coming to take photos of Tony that afternoon. In fact what happened was that the company people came over to our apartment to see if the clothes fit Tony. The modeling session would take place on Saturday and would involve modeling winter clothes. Other children, who were said to be professional models, were coming out for the shoot as well. We don't know if Tony will be chosen to take part in the session. My wife told me that she would get word today.

Funny how when I oversleep, I get to school earlier. Oversleeping makes me focus on getting ready for work as soon as possible. My schedule is really not all the busy. The only thing that I don't like about my routine is the long bus rides.

Good news! I have just got a call from my wife confirming that Tony got the modeling gig for this upcoming Saturday. I think Tony has learned to be a ham for the camera and that is really all the skills that a professional child model needs....

I had a student tell me that while on a very crowded bus, he stepped on the toe of a old man who asked him for money in compensation. The old man was very loud and so the student gave him 10 rmb! I couldn't believe that the student would have done that. I suppose that the students here in China are so easily cowed by the system and haven't been taught to stand up for their rights. They are taught about obligations, which is not a bad thing to be taught about, but they should at the same time be able to understand when they are being cheated. I don't think that the system here teaches them the latter lesson.

In the same class, a student told me that he had six a.m. Math classes during the Summer!

Thursday [July 18]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at school at 8:45. I have a 10:00 class where I will have fun with vocabulary.

Last night, I had a student whose hometown was Tang Shan. Having confirmed that this was the Tang Shan that experienced the devastating earthquake in 1976, I asked the student what stories he could tell me about it and if he had lost any relatives because it. He told me that he was born in 1981, and that none of his relatives had been killed because they lived in the countryside in one floor buildings; not in the city where the collapse of tall buildings produced most the quake's victims. He was asked all the time about the quake by others when they learned he was from Tang Shan. He then said he was impressed that I had some knowledge of it. Moving to China had caused me to know more about the place, I told him.

[LECTOR: I'm back!!!!! ANDIS: Where have you been? LECTOR: No where! I am a solipsistic being who only comes into your consciousness because you choose to bring me into it. ANDIS: What do you have to say for yourself? LECTOR: Nothing. I am wondering where you are at these days. ANDIS: So am I. I can say that I am doing my thing, going to work and then going home, and doing it all over again. LECTOR: Where are you going? ANDIS: It doesn't matter. My concern is with Tony and where he will go. LECTOR: Do you really mean that?]

I gave money to a beggar yesterday. As I walked past, I dropped a coin without stooping into the plastic container that the woman, with child, had placed in front of her as she sat on the sidewalk. The coin I dropped into the container from high up didn't bounce. I speculated that the woman choose the particular container so as to prevent dropped coins from bouncing. The first thing you learn when taking up begging...

In my office, directly behind where I sit is an air conditioner. You would think of it as being a great convenience, but it has it down points. For one thing, the unit can raise a breeze that shuffles my papers; and for another it can make the office a little too cold which can cause me to have a sore throat. This air conditioner has a defect peculiar to itself as well. Twice this Summer, I have been working away in my office only to suddenly realize the machine is leaking water as I see I am sitting in the midst of a puddle. Yesterday it so happened that my backpack was sitting in the midst of the puddle and I had to take quick action to ensure the books and gadgets in it did not get damaged from the water. The handyman fixed it like he had fixed it once before so I expect there to be a third puddle sometime this summer.

Friday [July 19]
[School Laptop]
There was another puddle later in the day. I am talking about the office air conditioner. They tell me that someone will come to repair it eventually.

Tony's modeling session has been delayed for two weeks for a strange reason. My wife tells me that the company told her that the clothes to be used in the photo session were out of town, and that every other child involved in the shot was affected as well. We will have to wait and see if that is in fact the case. There might have been some other reason.

I was very tired last night, having to drag myself through the last hour of my last class of the day which was between eight and nine o'clock. At the bus stop, I had to lean against a post to prop myself up. The nights of no sleep; due to Tony rocking and rolling in bed, and the high heat, had finally gotten to me. I had been feeling quite energetic till yesterday when earlier I had felt a need to nap and experienced an inability to concentrate on my reading.

My 635 bus mate gave me a Chinese lesson last night. I had imagined that I was going to swear off having a conversation by citing fatigue. I did learn from her that the tiger hadn't changed his spots.

Yesterday evening, I asked the following question in one of my classes: Would you ever consider moving to Africa? One of the girls, a young and frail girl just finished primary school, said she wouldn't because she “didn't like black people!” This caused the rest of the class to giggle. She couldn't tell me why she didn't like them. Another student, who is going to University of Washington (Bruce Lee's alma mater), answered similarly. I told her not to say those opinions in America because it cause lots and lots and lots of trouble.

Saturday [July 20]
[School Laptop]
Speaking of Bruce Lee, it is the fortieth anniversary of his premature death today. Lee, my favorite Chinese person of all time after my wife, is younger than my father. When Lee died in Hong Kong, I was living in the province of Quebec. I was about to become a grade three or grade four student at a school in CFB Valcartier. I have vague memories of boys in my neighborhood looking at fliers from a local drive-in cinema. It was probably in these fliers that I saw images of Bruce Lee for the first time.

I work 10:00 to 18:00 today. I arrive at school at 8:30.

Bruce Lee's death happened about 28 years after World War II!

I have several ideas for videos to make including meet 100 Chinese people and a day in the life of an English teacher. I would make these videos using the Vine app. The Vine app makes seven second videos. These short videos can consist of one shot or multiple shots already spliced together.

Hopefully, the a/c in the office will stop leaking. A tech just came into to replace its hose.

[Home Laptop]
I went to the Wanda Plaza after work today. We had dinner at the Pizza Hut. Our seats were right against the window and so we, particularly I, were a sight for the passersby, many of whom stared at me or did a double-take on my account while I was eating my pizza. If it wasn't for a reflection in the window, I would have had a great close-up photo of Chinese male midriff exposure.

My last class of the week was about dealing with foreigners. I asked the students what struck them as being strange about foreigners. A few of them asked why it was that many foreigners were anti-American. I gave them a list of reasons like jealousy of American power, snobbery, and hatred of neighbors. I thought to ask them to think of the causes of antisemitism and reflect on how they were similar to the causes of anti-Americanism.

22:52 Jenny tells me a bomb has exploded at the Beijing airport.

Sunday [July 21]
[Home Laptop]
I woke up at 10:00 this morning. Not my habit to sleep in so late.

It is wet outside. After a spell of two weeks of nothing but heat, the rain has finally come.

The K family will go downtown. I figure I need to get a haircut. There isn't a hair cutting shop in our area that Jenny likes.

I downloaded Enter the Dragon, the Blues Brothers, and Hondo w/ John Wayne. I am currently downloading the 1976 film the Gumball Rally which I think Tony might like it.

I was watching Blade Runner on the Ipad. Tony, however, was more interested in watching the first episode of the first season of Breaking Bad. He laughed at it like he was watching Mister Bean.

A problem I have discovered with my getting 100 person to say hello video. I really need these 100 people to take the video themselves. Taking the video myself may result in videos a little too long to a little too short.

After eating at Pizza Hut last night, it was raining so I took a motorcycle taxi home.

17:54: We have gone downtown. I got a haircut; Tony got a haircut. Tony, however, put up quite the fuss when having his hair cut. He was as adamant that he wasn't going to get a haircut, as Jenny was that he was going to get one; and unfortunately for Tony, it was a conflict that at this stage of his life he was going to lose. He cried during the haircut and cried for an hour after he got a haircut; and the haircut he did get was so bad that he will have to get another. Tony also forfeited any computer or Ipad privileges he had for the foreseeable future.

I was just watching the suppertime news. I saw video of flooding. I was surprised to learn from Jenny that the flooding was in Wuxi on Hubin Road. Apparently, it had rained very heavily last night. I must have slept soundly because I hadn't known how it heavy the rain had been till Jenny told me about it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Week in the Life of a Reactionary Dude Who Lives in Wuxi, China: July 8 to July 14, 2013

Gratitude:  I should be thankful for the same things I was last week. I have a wife and a son.

Acknowledgment: I am not a generous person with my time and my money. Tony only ameliorates this tendency somewhat. Also, my belief is but luke-warm.
Requests: Visit the newest Views of China from Casa Kaulins blog.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was sunny and hot all week, but unfortunately, it was a Wuxi summer heat combined with a humidity and so the week was an ordeal. All I did this week was work and sweat, and yet strangely, I felt serene. The students only momentarily annoyed me – none brought out my usual feelings of loathing.

About AKIC: If you want to learn what Andis & AKIC are all about, you can visit here.

If there are things you don't know about, like places and people I mention, you can go here to find out what they are all about.

AKIC Weekly Features:

I in in China!  这个星期的天气是太热了。我不喜欢无锡的夏天。

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary!  A week of not having to think about Obama is bliss for me! Palin in 2016! The only political thing that annoyed me this week was the latest econtalk podcast. (A previous one annoyed me as well.)

I am Canadian! I have lived in Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. My sister lives in Chilliwack; my brother lives in Winnipeg; and my mother lives in Brandon. I spend a few moments this week contemplating the Montreal Expos not winning the 1980 National League East pennant.

I am Latvian (sort of)! My mother has been able to make a return trip to Latvia – one since she and her family had to flee the Soviets.

I teach English!  At my school, we are at our busy time of the year as students, on vacation from their schools, lounge around in our A/C.
I am not a freak! But then again maybe I am. I have my uniqueness and my eccentricities of genius
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 the whole novel covered in about 22 years.  Delaney completed episode #161 this week and is working his way through the chapter that introduces Leopold Bloom. I am getting ahead Delaney as far as reading the book.  I will be finished reading it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   I am reading a chapter a day of the greatest book of all-time. I have finished the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and have just started to read the Second.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place them on the Dotdotdot app.

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. I like Pickwick's servant Samuel Weller, and I like this novel. For as the Pope said after reading the Bible cover-to-cover for the first time, the novel is one good book!

The first encyclical from Pope Francis.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos
Here is my Youtube Channel and my Youku Channel. Here are three videos I uploaded this week: Views of China of Casa Kaulins #7; 17 Short Videos of Life in Wuxi, China; and 20 Short Videos of Life in Wuxi, China.

I like to cut and paste quotations:
This week's Don Colacho quotes. I wasn't able to pare the list down to eight:
2591 The relativity of taste is an excuse adopted by ages that have bad taste. [This explains tattoos.]
2603 A decision that is not a little crazy does not deserve respect. [This is an age that doesn't go in for boldness, which thinks to be classified as a moderate is a virtue.]
2610 “To belong to a generation,” rather than necessity, is a decision made by gregarious minds.
2613 The common man lives among phantasms; only the recluse lives among realities.
2615 Only the unexpected fully satisfies. {Three on Tuesday!}
2629 Nothing makes clearer the limits of science than the scientist's opinions about any topics that is not strictly related to his profession. [Einstein was a Socialist.]
2632 A valiant and daring thought is one that does not avoid the commonplace.
2634 Our neighbor irritates us because he seems to us like a parody of our own defects. [That can explain some aspects of anti-Americanism. American culture being so visible, many can't resist the temptation to mock it. But in doing so, these people mock themselves.]
2637 Modern man is ignorant of the positive quality of silence. He does know that there are many things of which one cannot speak without automatically disfiguring him.
2641 The most notorious thing about every modern undertaking is the discrepancy between the immensity and complexity of the technical apparatus and the insignificance of the final product.
2642 When it finishes its “ascent,” humanity will find tedium waiting for it, seated on the highest peak.
2655 There is something definitively vile about the man who only admits equals, who does not tirelessly seek out his betters. [Does this apply to me, or doesn't it? That is the question I have to ask myself. Keeping to myself on the pretense of seeking solitude, I don't seek to deal with people who are really my equals; but I also don't tirelessly seek out my betters out of shame.]
2661 Few ideas do not turn pale before a fixed glare. [So true!]

Eccentricities of genius…EXCERPT FROM Dickens, Charles. “The Pickwick Papers.” [I can use that phrase to justify all the strange things I do..... like this blog and my other blogs!!!]

From Heretics by GK Chesterton and his essay about Rudyard Kipling:

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person. Nothing is more keenly required than a defence of bores.

The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. [Why is it that I like to take photos of the peasants I see in Wuxi and never of the Expats who get to travel all the time? And do you notice that travelers have to go to localities to see things? They figure by looking at the local they are bigger. But as GKC says, they have to be part of it, to be bigger than what they are.]

The man standing in his own kitchen-garden, with fairyland opening at the gate, is the man with large ideas. His mind creates distance; the motor-car stupidly destroys it. [The Chinese had a genius for building walled little properties, but they appear to be losing it as more and more of them have cars so they can visit tourist sites which are nothing but walled properties of notables from their past.]

I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and of any worthy thoughts that occur to me.
[This journal records the events that I can talk about. In fact, a lot happens that I can't talk about, though I try to allude to these happenings with my thoughts which I will record in this journal. As well, I don't blog about people I happen to know. I scrupulously try to avoid mentioning names, except if I happen to have something good to say about them. [LECTOR: You rarely have anything good to say about people, I notice. ANDIS: Uh-huh!]]

Monday [July 8]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

It is going to be another slow day. The heat is already too much I feel as I type in this sentence in the morning.

Tuesday [July 9]
[School Laptop]
I will say it again. It was a slow day yesterday. Because it was so hot, I and the rest of the Kaulins crew stayed in doors. Tony watched Youtube videos on the Home Laptop. I read Pickwick Papers and other articles on the Ipad.

In the evening, I took Tony, via E-bike, to the Wanda Plaza. There, I went to the Bread Talk and bought myself a loaf of bread. Tony asked for a cheesecake, and we bought and then ate it in the shop. I then took Tony to the KFC to buy a drink – the McDonald’s already having closed. The lineup at the KFC was long enough that Tony could play at the restaurant's playground. I then went to the Xinjiang Restaurant to buy some bread – three rmb for a 10 inch round pizza-crust-like piece – I bought two. Tony had hoped to go to the Toy section of the Wanda department store to look at the 129 rmb fire engine but, thankfully, the store was closing its doors.

Our appearance was noted by the many other shoppers in the mall. We were the only pair of foreigners and we stood out like sore thumbs – Tony was a particular source of interest.

Two men on a E-bike noticed and I could clearly hear them speak of the Laowai.

I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at the school at 11:00. First thing, I do is GAR; then I write this blog entry.

I took the 25 bus, sitting on the side of the bus that wasn't shaded. The other side, the passenger side, was where everyone else sat. I didn't suffer so much when the bus was moving. It was just when the bus stopped, to pick up passengers and the like, that I could feel the heat.

When the 25 was by the Baoli Mall, I saw an older man, of peasant stock, standing in front of a car that had been stopped at the light. Out of the corner of my eye, the man had caught my attention by pushing against the car and then striking the car's hood with open palms. As I passed close to him, I wanted to take a photo of him defiantly standing in front of the car and not letting it move forward, but the camera app on my Ipod didn't open fast enough as the bus drove away. I can only speculate what it was that the driver had done to anger the man, and how it was that the situation was resolved. I suppose the driver could have backed up and tried to speed around the man, but there were probably too many other cars around for the driver to try this. Had the driver hit the man with his car?

I moved my Views of Casa Kaulins Blog from blogspot to wordpress yesterday. You can visit both blogs. I will use the blogspot blog to publicize the Youtube videos. If you explore both sights, you will see a lot of how China is developing. You can see BMW cars, peasants on bicycles, and machines from the 1950s still being used.

Wednesday [July 10]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at school at 11:30.

I haven't called in sick for a day of work since I moved in Wuxi in September 2004. No drunken nights, no hangovers, no stomach problems have kept me from my duty! Knock on wood.

Tony borrowed a toy last night that really got him excited.

Econtalk had an interview with a self-described moderate middle-of-the-road political scientist who claims that what he called radicals, wingnuts, and activists kept Parties from winning elections. “If all the people with unacceptable opinions would go away, we would have government that was satisfying!” was his basic lament. Doesn't he realize that people with opinions can influence what happens. The squishes become putty in the hands of Stalinists who slowly mold what accepted opinion should be.

Another hot day.

July 11 [Thursday]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 21:00 today.

Last night I was on the bus, witnessed something, and then typed the following about it into my Ipod:

E-bike on fire!  I am on the bus.   Bystanders take out cameras to record images.  No time to take out my camera.  The bus passes too quickly.  No need.  The bike is completely engulfed in flame.  That image will be sheered in my brain.  I shudder at the thought of my wife & son riding our e-bike. [When I arrived home, I told Jenny. She told me that this sort of thing has been in the news almost everyday. The hot weather is causing cheaply built E-bikes to burst aflame. Riders on the bikes don't notice till the flames come.]

It was uncomfortably humid at the bus stop this morning. I could feel the sweat beading all over my body. Shade was no relief – I should have had a hand fan. I suppose it is the hottest day of the year.

Last night, a student talked of temperatures as high as 39 Celsius.

This morning, I took the 602bus, transferring, after a ten minute wait, to an 81 bus that was so crowded that I couldn't make my way to its second deck. The ten minute wait was an ordeal, as was standing on the 81 bus where a short old woman kept elbowing me in the crotch.

The McDonald’s near the school had closed off the room where I used to always eat my big breakfast. The room seems to have been taken over by the next door Gome Appliance store. This changes my morning breakfast routine. No longer will I be having the big breakfast – at least not in Summer while the place is so crowded with children.

Two birthdays coming for which I must make preparations. My late father's birthday is on July 23rd. My son's birthday is on August 23rd (sadly, Tony was born on a dark day in Latvian history for it was on that date the Molotov and Ribbentrop signed the infamous pact that doomed the Baltic States to subjugation.) For my father's birthday, I will publish a good photo of him – in fact there are many to choose from. (After seeing my father's photos there are none of myself of which I can be proud.) I also hope to do a good write-up about him. God! How I miss him! His voice which I took for granted while he lived, would be sweet poetry to hear now. As for my son's birthday, I will look for a suitable fire engine toy. I had been hoping to buy him some kind of fire station. Having just gone to the Ba Bai Ban toy store, I didn't see anything that quite fit the bill, though if worse come to worse, there are a few toys there that would please him.

Walking out of the school at noon, was like, to use the over-used expression, walking into a furnace.

For supper, I have just gone to Dico's: a KFC like chicken restaurant, from Taiwan, that is next door to the school. The place always give me strange service. My orders always seem to be a problem for them. Their staff also look to have no clue about what they are supposed to be doing. What takes one worker to do at McDonald’s, takes three at Dico's. Today, the service was alright, however the floor by the counter was sticky and was enough to pull my slip-on shoes. “While you are stuck here, perhaps I could interest you in our newest dish....”

July 12 [Friday]
[School Laptop]
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at school at 9:15. Boy oh boy! Am I a keen worker!

Last night, my 635 companion was asking me the following questions: Does this last for two months? Why would you choose to live here? She was talking about Wuxi's unbearable summer heat. Her questions threw me off because I am usually the one who is asking the Chinese person about local conditions. After she asked me these questions and I regained my sense of balance, I asked her if this was her first summer in Wuxi. [Asking a question that I know the answer to is my way of saying I have regained my balance. Yes!] She confirmed my suspicion. She is from Shandong, and she told me that she wanted to get back to there now that she had spent a summer in Wuxi. She mentioned a detail that I hadn't thought of. Sitting on the bus seats, she said, she had to sit straight because they were much dirtier in Summer due to..... sweat. I didn't ask her if she meant sweat, but it got me to thinking about a bad aspect of public transportation.

There had been a battery factory fire in Wuxi I learned from a student who I teach Tuesday and Thursday and is an engineer. The conversation came up after I told him about the E-Bike fire I had seen on Wednesday night. He told me that the fire at the battery factory was so all-engulfing that the firemen had no choice but to let it burn itself out. Water wasn't sprayed on the factory but on the buildings next to it. He also told me about a forest fire in Sichuan where the authorities decided to burn a two kilometer wide swath of woods in front of the fire's path. There was no way they could put out the fire. The only thing they could do was to stop feeding it by burning wood in front of it – sounded like Russia's scorched earth way of dealing with invading armies.

This morning, Tony was up early. Seven AM! It would have been nice but Tony got it into his head to ask me to let him use the laptop. To coax me to do this, he showed me a photo I had taken with my Ipod where he was playing on the computer. He then tried emotional blackmail on me – crying and whining as maudlinly as he could . I refused him, and then had to ask him to go back to bed. Maybe, there was a method to Tony's madness. I want to sleep in, thinks Tony, so I will make my parents want me to go back to bed.

It isn't the hottest day of the year. Yesterday seemed hotter to me.

Saturday [July 13]
I didn't sleep well last night on account of the heat, there only being a fan on, and Tony doing gymnastics while sleeping. How I was able to be up at six AM is a mystery to me.

I work 10:00 to 18:00. Regular AKIC readers may have noticed that I am inserting colons into my times. I think it looks nicer.

I just listened to the latest episode of Radio Derb. He mentioned that a woman in France had married a bridge: The Pont du Diable or something to that effect. AKIC devotees, if there are any, may remember that I liked to publish stories of Wuxi Expats marrying inanimate objects in my satirical Wuxi China Expatdom blog. I had a German marry his long underwear, an English Teacher marry his Thesaurus, a woman marry the Ling Shan Buddha, a male expat marry the Taihu tunnel, two expats experience overlap as they felt in love with overlapping sections of the Wuxi Metro line near the Boston Glory apartment complex, and an American marry a box of ball-bearings. One of my favorite WCE headlines was Wuxi Expat Marries Battleship. And of course, I had expats marry the Moresky360 and Hongduo buildings – two of Wuxi's many skyscrapers. Anyway, the point of my telling you this, beside getting you to visit the WCE blog, is to show how prescient I was in making the Wuxi China Expatdom the first jurisdiction in the world to grant licenses to human – inanimate object marriages. It was a great take on the current gay marriage silliness.

I do get these email updates from MLB that tell me the score of the previous day's baseball games. Not really having skin in the game – that is, I don't have a team to cheer for, I do like to try to answer their trivia question of the day. I am proud to say that I answered two questions right. I knew that Fred Lynn was the only player to hit a grand slam home run in an All-Star game, and that Gary Carter was the last player to hit two home runs in an All-Star game. Knowing the last fact made me emotional as I recalled Carter's recent premature death.

I waited twenty minutes for the bus this morning, and still got to work at 9:00.

When I arrived home last night, Tony continued to ask me to let him use my laptop so he could watch computer game firetrucks – firetruck simulator.

As I left the apartment this morning, I saw a frail old man climbing the stairs to get to an apartment that was above ours. He had a cane, was bow-legged, hunched-over, with an expression of exertion on his face. He was accompanied by two middle-aged men who I could hear blurt waiguoren as they got a floor above me.

No gay pride parades in Wuxi. What does that tell you?

Our school also doesn't run sexual harassment seminars. The foreign males don't need this sort of training because they already know how to sexually harass the pretty young things that work here. We would have to run these seminars for the males who seem like dead stolid stiffs when it comes to women. Or do I have the wrong idea about the objectives of sexual harassment seminars.

They were lining up properly at the McDonald's this morning, and so they were lined up right out the door. Good on this Chinese lineup and this group of Chinese.

Sunday [July 14]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. My wife talked of going to the Xinjiang Restaurant at the Wanda Plaza for dinner.

It is hot again and I have turned on the A/C in the study where I am working on this blog entry.
I finished watching the first episode of season five of the Wire last night.

The K family went to the Wanda Plaza last night. Andis saw a male foreigner in the Mall and may have been seen by him, but the foreigner went on his way. He had a fat head, was accompanied by a tall Chinese woman, and wore blue jeans. Andis notices that foreigners more often than not try to not notice the other foreigner if they happen to run into each other.

Andis has seen two foreigners in Wanda. The other was a woman who he sometimes sees walking down the road that runs in front of Casa Kaulins and is often shown on Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

Andis was in the H&M store in the Wanda. (It wasn't his idea to go there.) A boy saw him, walked by and screamed laowai twice to his father. Andis got annoyed and screamed laowai back at the pair. If he could have spoken more Chinese, he would have said something along the line of “That was f***ing rude, you DBs!”

Tony got out of bed, looked out the window, and saw a police motorcycle. He has just run into the office to tell me this.

Tony, I notice, says thank you with a Wuxi accent.

This afternoon, I watched the film Reality Bites on my Ipad. I had originally seen it in the cinema in Winnipeg, Manitoba when it was released some twenty years ago. I remember not being impressed with it at the time – it was trying too hard to be iconic, for the so-called generation X. I also found Ethan Hawke's performance to be off-putting. His cleverness didn't seem to be very clever to me at all. Watching the film again didn't change my view of it. I had to wonder how it could be said that the movie was iconic, and yet it was said to have been by someone from National Review! Wiona Ryder falling for the Ethan Hawke character in the end seemed to prove the adage that women prefer bad boys to good boys. Ben Stiller's character, despite being so corporate, was the good guy of the story. Ethan Hawke would have been a character worth cheering for if he was like Don Colacho. Colacho was a bookworm who looked down on the modern world with real intelligence and from a medieval viewpoint – not from Hawke's character's anarchistic and fashionable pose.