Gratitude: So much to be thankful for this week, and a few people to be thankful to. I should be very thankful to the friends of Jenny who put us up at their Jiangyin apartment on Sunday & Monday. I should be thankful that no one really cares if my weekly blog entry was published later than normal this week.
Acknowledgment: The Kaulins Family China, especially AKIC & TKIC, can act bad-tempered and be obstinate at times.
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: I worked five days, and then went to Jiangyin on my days off. It was the first trip I had taken out of Wuxi since Tony & I went to Shanghai sometime in April or May.
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，我们去江阴。我看了长江。我和很多酒。就，我的头很疼了！
Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary Being a reactionary now, I can say a pox on all houses – the houses being represented by Conservative and Liberal parties everywhere. Funny thing, David Warren, my current hero, says he is not much of a Reagan fan. This is a quandary for me because I like Ronald Reagan, and it is because of him that I took my path to becoming a reactionary. The worst I can say about him is that his victories appear to have been Pyrrhic.
I am Canadian! I just finished reading a book this week about General Wolfe who won Canada for the British Empire in 1762.
I am Latvian (sort of)! The Latvian in me, likes Reagan for calling the Soviet Empire what it truly was.
I teach English! Conversational English really. I don't get to teach much writing or reading.
I am not a freak! I don't share the vices of Anthony Weiner or Bill Clinton for instance.
I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week (or eight days):
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 #164 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 Epistle of Paul to the Galatians and am now reading the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
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.
The House of the Wolfings by William Morris. Finished. Great little book. If the makers of the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, want to make other movies, this book could be turned into an interesting movie. The Rock could be cast as Thiodorf and Angela Jolie could play Hall-Sun.
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. Finished. An interesting biography and an excellent summary of the British taking Quebec from the French. I will have to read more about the campaigns of the British in North America for this book has hooked me on the topic.
I have started to read Wanderings in South America by Charles Waterton. So, here I am reading a memoir of a Naturalist's wanderings in South America. Who would have thunk that I, who never had an interest in biology in his life, would be doing so? I am reading the book because David Warren referred to it in a recent blog entry. Waterton's descriptions are quite straight-forward and poetic in a way. I am taken by two human characters, he mentioned. One was of a solitary man who wandered the wilderness eschewing invitations to settle done in a village from the residents who had been feeding him food. The other was of a white man who fled civilization and his debtors to live by himself in a secluded spot of South American jungle. It makes me wonder if there are places in Canada that one can go to to flee the clutches of the Canadian nanny state.
I like to take photos
I like to make videos
I like to cut and paste quotations:
From Don Colacho:
2820 Unlimited tolerance is nothing more than a hypocritical way of resigning. [We shouldn't tolerate what is bad because it is never a virtue to do so.]
2821 Tolerating even stupid ideas can be a social virtue; but it is a virtue that sooner or later receives its punishment.[Take that middle-of-the-roaders!]
2823 "Social utility" is a criterion that slightly degrades what it seeks to justify.[The word social nullifies the word it modifies. Social utility is non-utility like social justice is non-justice.]
2832 More so than the immorality of the contemporary world, it is the growing ugliness that moves one to dream of a cloister.
2833 Something is modern if it is the product of the initial act of pride; something is modern if it seems to allow us to escape the human condition.
2836 Human warmth in a society diminishes by the same measure that its legislation is perfected.
2839 What concerns the Christ of the Gospels is not the economic situation of the poor man but the moral condition of the rich man.
2840 Modern Society works feverishly to put vulgarity within everyone's reach.
2842 The ignoramus believes that the expression "aristocratic manners" signified insolent behavior; whoever investigates discovers that expression signified courtesy, refinement, dignity. [I lack those three things, I will fully admit.]
2843 The Church's function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world. [It is the stick-in-the-mud quality of the church that is its appeal to me.]
2848 Nothing is more common than to despise many persons who should actually arouse our envy. [What this is another accurate observation of human nature for which I can say I am guilty. I can't say there are any people now that I despise who should actually arouse envy. The people who should arouse my envy have long ago escaped my life.]
2851 Political regimes become tolerable when they begin to hold their own principles in contempt. [China, for example?]
2853 The majority of the tasks that this century's typical ruler believes he is obliged to assume are nothing more than abuses of power. [Micheal Blomberg's big soda prohibition.]
2855 The majority of new customs are old behaviors that western civilization had shamefacedly confined to its lower-class neighborhoods. [Tattoos and Pornography.]
2859 So that one does not live depressed among so many foolish opinions, it behooves one to remember at every moment that things obviously are what they are, no matter what the world's opinion is. [This is a thought to sustain one.]
2862 History clearly demonstrates that governing is a task that exceeds man's abilities.
2866 Modern man believes he lives amidst a pluralism of opinions when what prevails today is a stifling unanimity. [Another reason for me to look down on people who call themselves middle-of-the-roaders.]
2869 Shows which are called technically "for adults" are not for adult minds. [They are really for adolescent minds, of that there can be doubt. I stopped watching adult entertainment in my mid-twenties.]
2871 They call crowning mediocre men "promoting culture." [Giving honors to rock stars.]
2872 In philosophy a single naïve question is sometimes enough to make an entire system come tumbling down.
2873 When we suspect the extent of the innate, we realize the pedagogy is the technique of what is secondary. We only learn what we are born to know.
2876 The will is granted to man so that he can refuse to do certain things.
2885 Public political discussion is not intellectually adult in any country. [Politicians certainly don't talk like adults. But what about the pundits and commentators? I am sure more of them don't talk about politics in an adult way, but surely there are a few that do.]
The Poet John Berry: "Rodents & rats live with the laws of supply & demand. Human beings live with the laws of justice & mercy." [That is ultimately the problem with Libertarians.]
I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and of any worthy thoughts that occur to me.
Monday [July 29]
Not working today.
It is 37 Celsius outside.
Thought: Shopping, Eating, and Vomiting are the three main public activities of Wuxi people.
There is decoration happening in a apartment next door. This particular apartment is technically in the next building.
The way of building apartments here is insane. Would Westerners put up with the inconvenience of always having to have the unit next door resound with the pounding of workmen every three months or so?
The plan for today is to go downtown. We will have a buffet lunch at the Jinling Hotel and then maybe wander around the downtown.
Tuesday [July 30]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at work at about 10:30.
It is another hot day with temperatures in the mid to high thirties Celsius.
It is my Monday work-wise.
Last night, I watched the 8th episode of the 5th season of the Wire. Two more episodes and I will have watched all the episodes that were ever made.
I took an air-conditioned 25 bus to work. The powers that be decided that the normal 25 buses, which have no a/c, couldn't be used in this Summer heat.
Apparently this is the hottest summer in Wuxi in twenty years.
Some local governments in China have debt as bad as Detroit or so I read somewhere on the internet. I wonder if Wuxi with all its torn down and abandoned buildings looks like Detroit.
Soyalent Green is people! It's people! I should sell that stuff in China or at least something with the name... Hopefully, they never get the joke!
I am thinking of making another blog in which I would just enter thoughts or rather attempts at profundity. It would be one of these anti-blog styles of blogs which are without links. As soon as I can think of a good title for it, I will start it. This would mean that this blog would be more of a journal with more descriptions of the physical aspects of living in China.
I also have this idea for a video in which I would make lane imitations of ten presidents of the United States. My Jimmy Carter imitation has already been thought of: I sing "I am a loser, so why don't shot me!"
Wednesday [July 31]
I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. I get to school at 11:00 or so.
I listen to a podcast about employers demanding workers but not being able to fill the positions because the unemployed just don't have the needed skills.
Lying beside a sleeping Tony in the morning is the highlight of my day. [Or should I say laying?]
Idea for blog title: Searching for courtesy, refinement, dignity.
Last night I watched the ninth episode of the Wire's fifth season. One more episode to go!
Another idea for a blog title: Trying to be an Aristocrat on the cheap.
I was going to go to McDonalds for dinner, but just as I stepped outside, it started to rain, and so I quickly changed my mind and went to the next door Dico's restaurant. And the rain came down in buckets.
Nothing seems worth talking about. It only seems there are things to be entered in my diary.
Seattle wins the tournament #20 championship by defeating Charlottetown 4-1 in the final. Seattle became the first team to win three tournament championships.
It is hard to be courteous to the people you are familiar with.
I have to hope that this heavy rain stops by the time I have finished teaching my last class.
I can hear thunder and yackety-yack.
Thursday [August 1]
In one month's time, Tony will be attending Primary School.
How time flies!
In 23 days it will be Tony's sixth birthday.
How time flies!
I woke up at 6:50 this morning and I didn't feel at all refreshed.
McDonald's screwed up my order. I should have had coffee, not bean milk.
Are these two occurrences, I've just mentioned, omens for how the rest of the day is going to go for me?
I got Jenny & Tony, so things aren't all bad.
"Andis, you are ridiculous!" said the student. I was ridiculous because he had been pestering me with questions about NBA, and to get him to leave me alone I told him that one of the other teachers was a bigger NBA fan than me.
Seattle beats New York 4-0 in the Tournament #21 Final. It is Seattle's second tournament championship in a row, and their fourth championship overall.
My dinner time jaunt was a lot of walking for no reason and no sustenance. I was hoping to eat my favorite beef rice dish as a restaurant near the school, but I was told 没有 by the staff. The walk I had made to the restaurant had been for naught. I decided then to try the 7 + 7 cafeteria style restaurant near the school, but when I got there, food wasn't ready to be served, and so being impatient, I left and went to that old standby, McDonald's which I had initially vowed not to go to on account of their fucking up my breakfast order earlier today. I ordered the double cheeseburger which usually comes out liquidy 30 minutes after I eat it.
All the while I was walking around, I carried my umbrella. The skies looked black and the Internet said there was a chance of rain, so I carried it with me. My foresight was rewarded with a brief spit of rain that was enough to make me open the umbrella up, but wasn't enough to get me soaked.
I will watch the last ever episode of the Wire tonight.
Friday [August 2]
I did watch the 10th and final episode of the 5th and final season of the Wire last night. The ending wasn't completely satisfactory but then it wasn't completely unsatisfactory. I suppose its message, if it had any, was that the system was corrupt. You have to wonder if on the scale of things, a character like McNulty was a good person. He was a modern hero because he could do the poses, had the looks, and engaged in lots of sex with many women. Were the creators of the Wire, who I have heard are Lefties, patterning McNulty on Bill Clinton?
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today. I arrive at the school at 9:30.
Yesterday, as I told you, the staff at McDonald's screwed up my breakfast order. It almost happened today as well, but unlike yesterday when I was charged an amount I wasn't expecting to pay, I summoned up the courage to say something was wrong. It turned out that both today and yesterday, despite pointing at the picture of what I wanted on the menu then putting my finger on the picture of the sandwich I wanted for emphasis, they thought I wanted the sandwich that was in a higher picture on the menu. I had to wonder was going with the eyesight of the staff. [It could also be that I was the problem – maybe wearing reading glasses all the time is screwing up my sense of visual perspective.]
Jenny & Tony are going to Jiangyin this afternoon. I will meet up with them there on Sunday.
So, I will have two evenings by myself at Casa Kaulins. As much as not having them around will let me do some things I like to do without distraction, I really need them to be with me as much as possible. There are no other sources of companionship for me these days. That is, no one with whom I could in good conscience hang out.
Qualifications are dangerous things. The people who have them are lead to think that they know what they are talking about. [LECTOR: You are only saying that because you don't have any qualifications.]
Saturday [August 3]
I work 10:00 to 18:00. I arrive at the school at 8:30. I am such a keener.
Jenny & Tony went to Jiangyin yesterday and saw a rainbow. For Tony, it was a first. For Jenny, it was a rare thing. I haven't seen one since I was last in Canada.
I took advantage of J&T's absence from Casa Kaulins to leave the computer on all day and try to download some video via torrent. I have downloaded High Fidelity and some other obscure stuff that some sites, sharing my taste in movies, recommend.
Responding to my question about what he was going to do this weekend, a student told me that he was going to his wife's house.
"Your wife's house?" I asked. "You and your wife don't live together?" The student looked at me strangely. It turned out that he meant he was going to his in-law's home. What he said wouldn't have sounded so strange to me if I was from a culture where divorce is rampant.
"Harry is from Germany." I screamed at the students.
"Harry is German!" said one of the students in response.
"Pat is from Thailand." I then said.
"Pat is a lady-boy!" said one of the students who had picked up on my deliberate choosing of the name and the country.
I don't want to be a victim. That is all I want... Well, not really. I don't want to have the mentality of the modern self-identified victim who exhibits a righteous and indignified fury that is more a yell of self-satisfaction and hatred than a moan of genuine suffering. I do want to be persecuted however. For if you aren't being genuinely persecuted in this day & age, you are doing something wrong.
"I would like to go to Canada!" said a female student.
"Why?" I asked.
"To see Justin Bieber!"
"To see Justin the Beaver?!?" I said, pretending I didn't know who Justin Bieber was.
"No!!!!" said the student.
"Who is Justin the Beaver?" I jokingly asked before confessing that I was just playing dumb. [Lector: Playing dumb? You are plain dumb, if you ask me.]
Sunday [August 4]
We are on the 16th floor of an apartment in Jiangyin city. From the apartment, we can see the Yangtze River. The apartment belongs to a friend of Jenny's who invited us here for the weekend.
J&T came here on Friday so I had to find my own way here. I took a bus which I caught on a roadside near the Wuxi Culture Park. Catching this bus was an ordeal because I hadn't done it before and didn't know what kind of bus I was to catch. It also didn't help that it was dark. So, two buses passed me by as I meekly realized I was letting them pass. When I finally flagged a bus down, I didn't know I had to give the driver exact change, and so had to look through my backpack for coins.
In Jiangyin, I had to catch a taxi to get to the apartment. Getting off the bus, I had to run a gauntlet of drivers trying to snatch fares. I then took a 29 rmb cab ride through dark and unfamiliar streets. The driver stopped on a dark road between two apartment complexes and asked if he was in the right place. I phoned to confirm but J's phone was busy. I handed the driver the money and hoped I was as I got out of the taxi. J and her friend had to come down from the 16th floor to find me。
Monday [August 5]
This week's blog entry is going to be published late. We are in Jiangyin this Monday morning while my laptop is in Wuxi. I may not get a chance to sit at it and complete my blog entry tonight.
We will go back to Wuxi sometime today.
One of the reasons I probably won't publish my blog entry today is that yesterday was quite eventful. The typing I will need to do to describe yesterday will take too much time if I try doing it on this Ipad.
Suffice for now to say that yesterday was going fine till Tony declared he didn't want to visit a museum because the noise being made by workers using some power tools was scaring him. For an hour or so, the wheels looked about to come off on what would have been a good day. It will make for a good yarn when I can type about it.
I am at the Jiangyin Wanda Plaza. It is bigger than our Hui Shan one. Be that as it may, it has the bland uniformity of shopping plazas all over China. I shan't explore it.
I loved watching Yangtze River boat traffic from Jenny's friends apartment! That I can say. From where I was watching it seemed remarkable that the ferries crossing the river did not collide with boats going up and down it. From my high-and-far-away perspective, it seemed that the ferries were in a collision course with many a ship.
We will be driven back to Casa Kaulins.
Wine doesn't agree with me. I had a dry retch yesterday after having drunk six glasses at dinner.
Dairy Fairy. Jiangyin's Wanda has a Dairy Fairy. The Hui Shan Wanda has a Dairy Queen. Strange.
I published a whole slew of photos at AKIC Wordpress while I was in Jiangyin. You can see them here more or less. I have provided the link to the first photo of the group. I leave it to you to explore AKIC wordpress to see all the others.
Actually, I am not going to type up an account of my Jiangyin Sunday tonight. It is late and I see myself being subject to frequent interruptions as Jenny is catching up on her apartment cleaning. And you can see the photos I took (see above paragraph) of Jiangyin till then. Photos say thousands of words.