Sunday, July 21, 2013

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.

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