Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Week in the Life of a Reactionary Canadian Living in Wuxi, China: July 1 to July 7, 2013

Gratitude:  Thankfully, I have a family, a job, blogs, an Ipod, and an Ipad.

Acknowledgment: I study Chinese everyday and almost display some discipline as I do so, but I am not very aggressive about it. I have given up on trying to speak the language.
Requests: Visit these pages on AKIC Wordpress: About Andis & AKIC, the AKIC glossary & AKIC Links.

The AKIC Week in Brief: I went back to work just in time for the start of Summer which is the busiest time of the year for the school. Unfortunately, it wasn't as busy for me as last year when there was had lots of overtime. This year, none. Alas!
I have decided to change the format of the AKIC weekly, moving some sections to pages on AKIC Wordpress.

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

Starting this week, I will no longer put the glossary in the weekly entry.

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!  我是英文的老师。我喜欢啤酒。我觉得无锡有很多建设 – 我不喜欢这个。无锡现在不是漂亮。我不喜欢说的中文。我的翻译不很好。一我说的中文,就中国人说的“听不懂!”

Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary!  I am debating whether to drop the conservative label because in the Chinese context, it makes no sense. I want to see China become a consensual democracy and an end to the monopoly of power held by the Communists, so in the Chinese context, I am not conservative. The labels I give myself I am using in the Western context and so people should have a good idea where I stand on many issues. However much as I loathe parties of the Left, I find parties of the right disgust me as much with their cowardly accommodations to modern trends. The only joy I get from watching the political is seeing the bums lose – triumphs of my side only cause me a small glimmer of hope.

I am Canadian! I am well aware that the Canadian Football League season has started. I have been trying to find out about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers new stadium. My mother told me of media reports that getting to the place on game days was a pain in the ass. It was assumed that lots and lots of people would take buses to the games. Of course, the assumptions of the planners were wrong.

I am Latvian (sort of)! My name is Latvian. I loathe Russia, but not individual Russians like Solzhenitsyn and Dostoevsky.

I teach English!  In September, I will have been doing it for nine years. My philosophy of teaching? I teach my own way! You can't imitate others though there is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from them if they may have validity for you! You have to give them experiences in the classroom that they would not otherwise get! There is no point in doing things with them that they could do themselves without a teacher!

I am not a freak! There are in fact other people named Andis Kaulins in the world. Another Andis Kaulins has a site called I love the fact that reference to AKIC is made in the site's banner. And as far as I know, I am not related to the Andis Kaulins who is domiciled in the USA. [LECTOR: You are a freak!]

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 am current with Delaney's podcast (he completed episode #160 this week), I am getting ahead him 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 am in the midst of the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.

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 wish I could bury myself in this book at the expense of all else.

The Black Book of Communism. Finished. Some thoughts I have after having read it: 1) Why is McCarthyism portrayed as some sort of evil thing? For one thing, there were Communists trying to subvert the USA; and for another, Communists were that evil. They were as bad as Nazis. To not try to root them out would have been unconscionable. And how many people were liquidated in the McCarthyite purges? None. Some lost their jobs. 2) It brings one joy to read of the massacres perpetuated by your political adversaries. It shouldn't but it does 3) To be fair, many on the Left, socialists in fact, were victimized by the Communists too. Many socialists were earnest and well-meaning people. So, there is a distinction to be made between Communists and more democratic Socialists. 4) While the Left today bears no resemblance to the bloodthirsty Bolsheviks and Maoists and Khmer Rougers; it has become generally less earnest and decent. The Left is spoiled and though not seeking to liquidate their political opponents, it is intolerant of dissenting views. It could be said to trying to eliminate the same things from the world that the Communists were.

I like to take photos

I like to make videos

I like to cut and paste quotations:
The following are from Don Colacho:
2522 As it is unable to explain that consciousness which creates it, science, when it finishes explaining everything, will not have explained anything. [Evolution has been used to explain everything.]
2530 Most of the things man “needs” are not necessary to him. [He doesn't need to make bucket lists. He doesn't need to be in good shape. He doesn't need recreational sex. He doesn't need to have the latest thing.....]
2548 An excess of laws emasculates. [So true. Someone should tell modern legislators this.]
2553 Each day people are born more suitable for being boxed into statistics. [I can honestly say that I am not suitable for being boxed into statistics. I can think of anyone who is similar to me.]
2566 In solitude man recovers strength.[I'm feeling strong. I'm feeling strong!]
2569 An Outlandish idea becomes ridiculous when several people share it. Either one walks with everybody, or one walks alone. One should never walk in a group. [So! I have been doing it right all the time! There are nothing but groups in Wuxi, and I am not part of any of them. Yes indeed!]
2571 When he is stripped of the Christian tunic and the classical toga, there is nothing left of the European but a pale-skinned barbarian. [What Colacho says here leads me to reflect on the fact that many of the Europeans I have seen here in Wuxi – not all, but most – seem “off” to me. They seem to be of the EU generation – spoiled and looking for a party; liking their football and being hooliganish when doing so.]
2589 The dangerous idea is not the false one, but the partially correct one. [That is why the Left is so dangerous. They see problems and but have no idea what could or should be done about them.]

Gallimaufry [I found this blog on wordpress thanks to David Warren. The author changes his URL all the time, so you will have to find it using a search engine.]
The surest path to isolation, loneliness and the indifference of others is to expect them to be human beings and to talk to them as if they were. [I posted this quote on the dotdotdot app. A person, with remarkably similar reading tastes to mine, said she had a hard time figuring out what the author of the quote meant. Telling to explain to her what I thought meant showed me I hadn't much of a clue either. I said something about treating humans as humans destroys their presumptions of being gods and thus they resent it very much.]

Do not accept anything as truth if it lacks love; and do not accept as love anything which lacks truth.--St. Edith Stein.

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 1]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

It is Dominion Day. I will wear my Old Navy 2012 Canada T-Shirt if I do get out of Casa K today. But having slept in till nine and now having a slow get-ready-for-the-day routine, I can see myself have a feeling that I have wasted the day and see no point in getting out of the house.

There are other Canadians that I know of in Wuxi but I don't associate with them. They are anti-American or Trudeau (Turdeau I should say) lovers.

Thanks to David Warren, I have found a new blog to explore and follow. It is (or was) entitled A Philosophical Journal and is labeled by its author to be a Pieperian Thomist Blog. The author keeps the blog simple. He doesn't include links, upload photos, and doesn't allow comments. His entries are profound in the manner of Don Colacho's aphorisms. [He also changes his blog's URL. As of this typing, the blog is called Conjecture, Insight, Intuition and Other Rambles]

I got burned with my infantile adding of comments to my blog. You may have noticed that that a Lector has been making comments at AKIC Wordpress. Anyone who does follow this blog should have figured out that Lector is really me, and I am having a dig at the person, whoever they may be, who makes those nasty comments directed at me and about the parentage of Tony. So what does that person do in response to this? They tried to make comments under the assumed name of Wuxiandis and Lector! That just won't do, so I trashed the comments. I don't what know I was thinking when I allowed this person's comments to be published in the first place. I will admit that this person had some issue with me, and that I, in the interest of fairness, let the comments stand. I said something way back when this set-to started that I shouldn't have said. By letting this person have their say, I figured that I was showing them in a bad light – an anonymous person making nasty comments about me while I had no knowledge what-so-ever about who they are other than a glance I took at them over a year ago. I then made the mistake of trying to fight back in kind through the blog. If this person wants to have it out with me, they can email me. I won't reveal their identity to the world. I will respect that desire for anonymity, but no longer will I let that person use that anonymity to attack me, a person who is very public in what he is about, personally. Let's make this war private!

I spend the afternoon of the last day of my vacation at the Wanda Plaza. We had lunch at a new restaurant whose name and whose geographical origin of cuisine I didn't bother to ask my wife, but the food was good. Tony and I wore our 2012 Old Navy Canada t-shirts. I took Tony to the two arcades so he could waste money on frivolous amusements for which he didn't seem able to grasp the purpose. We then went to the toy department of the Wanda department Store where Tony had been twice the day before because he wanted to play with a toy fire engine (129 rmb) that was there. Moments like that make one envious of people who don't have children. Thankfully, Tony has his wonderful moments, but they have to be paid for with excruciating moments of boredom.

Tuesday [July 2]
[Home Laptop]
I goes back to work today and boy am I excited about it!...... Not.

I will work 13:00 – 21:00. The one small blessing of today will be the fact that hardly anyone will ask me how my vacation was. If someone did ask, I would tell them that I stuck around the apartment.

I went to bed last night about 10 pm. I woke up at about 7:30 this morning. Nine hours of rest will see me feeling refreshed till I go outdoors where the heat will instantly sap me.

No one is reading my Casa Kaulins Blog. After having two days where I had 80 views and 85 views, my numbers fell to ten views and then five views and then zero views yesterday. I will carry on with the blog but seeing how I won't be around the Casa much in the next two months, I won't be adding that many entries to it. I will make one now that you can view here.

[School Laptop]
Back to work!

I walked and rode the bus here in the typical high heat and humidity of a Wuxi summer. Getting on a 25 bus because it was empty, I tried to read with My Ipad, but the first trickle of sweat down my forehead indicated to me that it wasn't a good idea to read, so I put away the Ipad and listened to my Ipod: Vatican Radio and EWTN.

Men are religious. Animals are not. Man is more intelligent than animals, and yet some men say that people who are religious are stupid. How do they square that circle?

The thought of having to talk to other men feels me with dread.

I am glad to read that David Warren shares my feelings about Canada Day.

Wednesday [July 3]
[School Laptop]
I work 13:00-21:00 today. I get to school at 11:00.

I did a little bit of study on the bus ride to work this morning. I instead choose to take photos of the passing scene. From the 25 bus, I took photos of demolishment and subway stations built in the middle of nowhere.

I put money on my bus card today. (Using this swipe card gives me a discount on bus fares and means I don't have to worry about carrying change when I take the bus.) Today, instead of going to the pay station by the bus station where the lineup is short, I decided to go the pay station by Nanchang Market where it is always crowded. Nanchang's station was so crowded today that there were two long lineups coming out of the office entrance – I choose the lineup which would get me out of the hot sun and into the shade quickly even though this meant joining a longer lineup to get to the pay girl. That choice I made and I knew the consequences, but what killed me was that just as I was getting close to the front, two women had to do transactions that were more complicated and time-consuming than just topping off their bus card with money. And then this db butted in front of me – it wasn't worth my while to make something of it. I am very capable of restraint – especially in crowded situations. Actually, I am a paradigm of restraint. [LECTOR: Are you using the word paradigm correctly?]

Halfway through my English Corner, I am thinking to myself : “Damn me! My act is becoming tired and tedious!”

Annoying as Tony can be at times, I wish I was with him than with the lot I am going to be with for the next four of the following five hours!

I forgot to mention. Last night, I finished watching the third season of Game of Thrones. I was shaken a little though it turned out that the surprise was in the ninth and not the tenth episode.

Thursday [July 4]
[School Laptop]

I work 10:00-21:00 today.

It is U.S. Independence Day. I marked that occasion by posting a photo of my Old Navy 2003 USA t-shirt. I posted it because I remember being criticized when I first came to Wuxi, and was going to pubs, for wearing it. I of course ignored this directive, and was warned for being spotted wearing that shirt. I think the current president of the USA is popular with the people who would dealt that directive to me all those years ago. Anti-Americanism is a mental disease akin to anti-Semitism.

The McDonalds near the school was packed. I wondered why till I saw that the backroom I normally went to was being renovated and was thus closed. The 85 Bakery near the school has been demolished but will be built anew with more seating. In that interim, I will have to go without bread on my breaks.

I get the feeling that this week's blog entry is going to be shorter than last week's. I am a little bit busier, though not as busy as I had imagined, because it is Summer.

So far, I haven't meet any students that I dislike. The one student that all the teachers loathe was on my class list but thankfully didn't show up.

Woman and child stood near me. I didn't give up my seat. Shame on me.

Friday [July 5]
[School Laptop]
I work 11:00-21:00.

Not much to blog about during the work week. It's the same old, same old for me and I just can't bother myself to blog about the little details that struck me as being bloggable before but now seem tedious.

I took the 602 instead of the 602this morning. I needed a change.

I must always try to get a seat in the back of the bus. I don't need women and children standing beside on a long ride home after a day of work.

These people who work six days a week have nothing to talk about. Alas.... I have to supply the interesting aspects of a conversation.

No longer will I toss coins to stage my tournaments now that I have written a program in Python to do it for me. Part of my regimen now is to stage a forty team Can-Am Tournament once a day while at work. So far, Brandon has won two Canadian Championships – Tourneys 2 & 3. (Windsor won the first Canadian Championship. However, the ultimate tournament champions have been 1) Seattle 2) Kelowna 3) Dallas. [Dallas won the fourth tournament champion!]

It is raining today. I wonder if Jenny took herself and Tony to the kindergarten.

A kid in class tells me he likes VP Biden better than VP Cheney. I tell him that Biden is considered a clown by most observers, and is really Obama's trump card against impeachment. [Biden gets favorable treatment from the Chicom Media for saying he understood the one-child policy – and he is supposed to be a Catholic.]

Saturday [July 6]
[School Laptop]
I work 10:00 to 18:00 today. I leave the house at 7:30. I get to school at 8:45.

I took the 25 bus to get downtown. It was raining heavily and there were lots of available seats when the bus came to the stop near Casa K. I decided that I would walk the extra distance, once I was downtown, to get to the McDonalds for breakfast.

At the McDonalds, the staff was annoyed at this older woman, who I could tell by just looking, had never been to McDonalds before in her life. She seemed to ask the same question over and over again. When she received her order, she still wasn't happy, and a manager and a staff member kept pointing to the menu posted on the wall, and telling her that she was getting the proper order. The woman was bothering the staff in the middle of a morning-time rush, and so the manager couldn't keep her poise.

My sometime 635 bus companion told me that the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza roof leaks when it rains, and so the staff have to put pails in the hallway to catch the water. Miss 635 even told me she had been sent photos of it. It all goes to show that the Mall had been built too hastily as I had been observing at the time of its construction.

A story of Tony behaving strangely. There is a place in our second bedroom slash office that Tony can hide from his parents when he wants to do something secretly. This large bunk bed desk unit, we have in there, has a stairwell which can't be seen from the the room's entrance. Tony was hiding there with Mom's Ipad, and when I came to see what he was up to, he quickly minimized whatever he was looking at, and told me to go away. There was a video he was watching, which Mom found when checking the surfing history, that he shouldn't have been watching. This is the second time this week that Tony has been trying to hide something from his parents. Earlier, in the week, he pretended to be doing some printing exercises by waving his pencil over exercises that had already been completed.

Sunday [July 7]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. It is cloudy and muggy outside as I type this. I don't know what I will do today. I have some things to do on the laptop but I don't feel very motivated to do them. The weather makes it hard to sleep, and I didn't sleep well last night.

After working yesterday, I took the 25 bus to the Wanda Plaza where I was to have lunch with Jenny and some friends of hers. Boarding the bus near the school, this little old women tried to butt in front of me. I stopped her by putting our my arm and blocking the entrance. Old people in Wuxi are the worst when it comes to queuing. The woman and I did get seats as it turned out, so the confrontation was unnecessary. I will also mention that the women didn't seem put off by my blocking her. Her attitude must have been that she would be aggressive and take her chances that no one will object to her behavior.

Anyway, I got off the bus at the Wanda Plaza, and it turned out that my timing was impeccable. I got to the restaurant, a Xinjiang Restaurant, just as Jenny and Tony and the others were seated. They had waited for a hour. I just had to ask the waiter to take me to 八号 – table eight. Our group was the largest I had been part of for the longest time – twelve of us, seven adults and five children, sat around a table which was really meant for eight. So while the food was good, the table top was cramped. I had to keep my plates, dishes, and beer glass in front of me. I had to keep track of my plates, dishes and beer glass as well since with so little space it was easy to grab the things of the person next to you. One couple was going to go to Los Angeles on Monday for two weeks. [and I know someone who is in Tibet now.]

An apartment near us is being decorated, and so we have to listen to some machine grinding all the day long.

I have moved Views of China from Casa Kaulins to Wordpress. The blog looks nicer on that platform.

A tale of Tony behaving strangely: This afternoon, Tony became whiny when I took the laptop from him and tried to get him to use the Ipad Mini. He was watching Youtube on the laptop and didn't like using the Ipad Mini because the videos were always stalling. His whining caused Jenny to declare that he wasn't going to have either the laptop or the Ipad, and so Tony became more inconsolable. Jenny then tried to coax him to come with her to the Wanda Plaza where she was going to buy some vegetables. She managed to get him to change his clothes so he could accompany her, but he was still very upset about the laptop being taken away, and he insisted that he didn't want to go to Wanda. So, she decided to go by herself causing Tony to fall on the floor and cry when she left. Two minutes later, he changed his mind and decided that he wanted to go with Jenny, but Jenny forgot to bring her mobile with her, and so there was no way I was going to catch up to her because she had taken the e-bike. (I was trying to do some work on the laptop while this was all happening.) Tony then put on his shoes, and told me that he was going to find Mom, but instead of running after Mom, he stood in the hallway outside the apartment. When I tried to open the door of the apartment, he blocked it. This went on for about ten minutes, and Tony came back into the apartment, sat down and bawled his eyes out some more. After five minutes of this, he declared that he wanted to find Mom again, and put his shoes on again and left the apartment. This time, I got dressed and accompanied him. As soon as we got out of the apartment, Tony insisted that I carry him to the Wanda Plaza. I refused and so for two minutes, I made my way towards the Wanda Plaza while Tony with his arms outstretched, tried to block me and get me to pick him up. Eventually, he gave up. I stopped at the small shop and bought a drink. This upset Tony and he screamed at me saying “Mom said no buy drink!” I was able to drink half the bottle of ice tea before Tony grabbed it from me and took it back to the shop where she surprised the proprietors by placing the bottle back on the shelf. I had to buy him a bottle of Cola before he would left me get the drink back. We eventually found Mom.....

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