Monday [October 7]
It is wet outside. But is it the result of the typhoon?
I am not going out today. Wuxi is ugly in the rain just like everywhere else I have been in the world.
Despite the rain, Tony was wanting to go outside and do some trainspotting. He was insane, we thought, but Jenny realized that he wanted to go out because he didn't want to stay inside and do reading practice.
I watched Contempt, a French movie made in 1963. Brigette Bardot plays the wife of a writer hired to make a script for a film based on the Odyssey. Jack Palance plays the dictatorial producer of the film which Fritz Lang, played by Fritz Lang, is directing. Bardot tells the writer she is no longer in love with him, and she won't tell him why. You think at one point that the writer's situation is mirroring that of Odysseus and Penelope as the theory is postulated by Lang and the writer that Odysseus got tired of Penelope and went to fight in the Trojan War and then went on his Odyssey. The film has wonderful shots of Bardot's buttocks and some Greek islands. Still, the film was artsy, slow-moving, and dull. I heard about the movie scanning a list of top films made in the 1960s and so I downloaded it.
And Contempt was directed by Jean Luc Goddard.
I can't help but have contempt for the people who like the film Contempt. They are film study professor wannabees.
Tuesday [October 8]
It pours for another day.
I am going to have to visit Tony at his school this morning. I forgot to give him his lunch when we met the car that takes him to school. I am going to have to take a bus or taxi to the school to give him his lunch. Annoying at the best of times to have to do this and this morning, it is raining heavily. If I don't catch a taxi, I am going to be soaked.
I got Tony his lunch. My journey, though trying on the patience, was not so bad wet-wise. I had to wait about twenty minutes for the 601 bus, but I was under shelter. I then had a ten minute walk in the rain to from the bus stop to Tony's school, and though it was raining, it wasn't coming down in a torrent. I flashed my parents identification card to the guard at the gate, and then walked to Tony's classroom – #7 on the first level. I spotted Tony right away in his class. He was seated in the front row, center seat in front on the teacher's desk. He spotted me before the teacher and walked over to get his lunch. He waved at me and it brought tears to my eyes.
I was then on the way to my school. I had to walk about ten minutes to get to another bus stop. A bus, I could have taken, pulled up to a stop just as I happened to be nearby. I ran to catch the bus, but the door closed and my tapping was ignored by the bus driver. I merely shrugged my shoulders and went on my way to a bus stop where I knew I could catch a 602. There, I waited about ten minutes. The 602 took me downtown. I didn't bother pulling out my Ipad from my soaked back pack. Getting off downtown, I waited for a 312 bus to take me to school. Off the 312, I walked to McDonalds for coffee and pie since I was too late for breakfast.
I saw a man wearing pants which weren't long enough to cover his ankles. I thought of how in my childhood, I would have been mocked by the other students for wearing such pants. And that joke was if you were seen wearing those pants was “Where's the flood?” Today, it would have been an apt question.
I saw a young sullen man playing with a lighter on the bus. He keep flicking it and waving his finger through the flame.
Wednesday [October 9]
I didn't forget to give Tony his lunch this morning.
Last night, I was talking to an engineer about fixing things. Around the house, he told me, some things that don't work will work if you pound them -- the most primitive way of repairing things. It reminded me of an incident we had with the Ipad2. Tony once dropped it on the floor hard so that the its picture was fuzzy. Of course, we were upset and wondered how much how it was going to cost to fix the device. Turning the Ipad on and off didn't help. The stress lasted for an hour till I decided to do some research on the Internet. In the search engine, I typed in "My child dropped the Ipad on the floor and now the picture is fuzzy." It turned out that this had happened to a lot of people who were suffered similar anxiety. I went to an Apple support forum, and I found a suggestion to pound the back of the Ipad three times -- this worked. The Ipad has worked just fine, no problems, since. My experience had two morals: if you have a problem you can research it on the Internet, and hitting a thing is often the best way to repair it.
I work 13:00 to 21:00.
I am supposed to have lunch with someone today. Not something I often do. I prefer to eat by myself.
I took the 25 bus to work. As I got off, I saw an old couple trying to get a lot of fruit off the bus. They had carried a milk carton, a basket, and a bag of fruit on. To get all this off the bus took them more than one trip. The sight of the woman not quite successfully holding all the oranges in her arms – some rolled on the bus floor and the road – was forlorn.
Tony went to sleep late last night and his parents were annoyed with him. One time, he got out of bed and left the bedroom. He ran into his father who asked him what he was doing. He told Dad he was going to pee. He walked into the bathroom where his mother was. She asked him, in Chinese, what he was doing. He told her, in Chinese, that he was going to take a pee.
He talks in English to his father; he talks in Chinese to his mother. That's my boy!!!!
In China, it's not what you know, it's who you know. So, someone told me at lunch.
Thursday [October 10]
I work 10:00 to 21:00 today.
Jenny says she will pay off the mortgage today. We will have a little celebration for this later this month. Ah! The sacrifices we made to get this accomplished. My contribution to this feat have been my riding the buses for two hours a day to get to work and back, and staying away from expensive Wuxi Expat activities.
I been told that if you can only get a working visa from a consulate in one's home country, and thus you can't get this visa in China. Then, other people tell me that it can be done. Someone is lying to me.
The grade one students are learning pinyin. I know this from Jenny but had it mentioned to me again by a parent of a grade one student who I had in a class last night.
This student told me her son was eight years old and so I thought he was in grade two. When she told me her son was in fact in grade one, I had to ask for her son's birthday. It was in October 2006.
Tony was born in August 2007 – something I always make mention of when Jenny is displeased by his progress relative to the other students as school. Tony will always be behind in mental and physical development in his class because he is youngest in his class. He will be in class with boys and girls born in October of the previous year! Of course, it also doesn't help that he has got me for a father.
I am wearing a green short sleeve polo shirt on 10/10.
I took the 602支 bus and then the 81 bus to school.
I listened to a podcast yesterday where Conrad Black, a Canadian I admire, talked about American history. America wasn't just lucky because of its geographical location, he said. It also had great establishing founders who stuck, incredibly well, to the founding principles of their regime. George Washington could have easily established a regime where he had complete control but choose to retire once his presidency was finished.
This didn't occur with the current dynasty in China were its founder stuck to power to the bitter end. It can be said that later the dynasty changed this and has given its supreme leader a fixed term of office. However, just imagine how much better China would be now if the dynasty's founder had retired in the mid-fifties before the Great Leap Forward!
I am not sure if I completely agree with the previous paragraph. The dynasty was rotten at its core and probably would have gone through its convulsions in the late 1950s or 1960s whoever was in charge, it could be said. Just like it wouldn't have mattered if Trotsky had prevailed over Stalin. They were both monsters.
There are snakes in Wuxi! Real snakes, not just the figurative personality snake types that I have met and written about through the years. I have never seen any, but now I am going to look for them. I just happened to have had some students who like to go fishing and so I asked them why the nighttime fisherman, I have seen, use blue lights. None of the students told me that they fished at night so they thought the night fisherman needed the blue light to see. Now what does this have to do with snakes? I just asked a student this morning why he didn't fish at night and he told me he didn't because of bats and snakes. The bats he said can interrupt your peace and quiet by swooping near you; the snakes can creep you out. I mention to the student that I had never seen a snake in all my time in Wuxi and I had to ask where they could be seen. In the grass, said the student and some of them could be a foot long. But they weren't poisonous.
I can count my friends on one fist. Fact. It says a lot about me. Am I desperately lonely? No. Any time I meet new people I don't feel I have been missing anything but not having met them sooner.
Friday [October 11]
I work 11:00 to 21:00 today. Not many classes to teach however.
Last night, I listened to the ReJoyce Podcast on the bus ride home, and so I am inspired to do today's diary entry in a Joycean manner.
She wore knee-high stockings. Got to get that image out of my mind pronto. Must write down the script for “Getting a Hotel Room.” Officer! Officer! There's been a hate crime! The hotel man won't let us have a room because we're gay married. Breakfast at McDonald's. They didn't give me ketchup today. Yesterday they gave me ketchup and jam. No point making a fuss. He took his hands from the keyboard and rested his elbows on the desk, and thought. What will I write now? I just typed what I thought when my elbows were resting on the desk so as to support my contemplating head. G.A.R. What to be thankful for today? Breakfast. What to confess? I can admit my duplicities, only my personality faults. What to request? What is good for Tony and Jenny. I wonder what Tony is doing now. What do his classmates talk about? Is he picked on? Wife broke my tea mug. She thought I would be angry. I said you will have to buy a new one. Pretty magnanimous of himself, Andis thought as he decided to switch mid paragraph from interior monologue to third person narrative. How about a mid sentence shift to interior monologue? Andis could have monologues where he thought of himself in the third person. Like in the sentence just previous. Let's check the baseball playoff scores! Tigers leading the A's 3-0 in game five. In 1972, the A's beat the Tigers in the fifth game. Her blouse is baggy. Can only imagine what her bosoms are like. I must do a report for the class I did last night. I saw a foreigner walk down the street. He wore a cap. His goatee was gray. I thought he was some asshole from years back I saw. It wasn't. Jenny didn't officially pay off loan yesterday. She has to do some paperwork and get stamps. I should swear. Paperwork. Paperwork. Punish the innocent and those who can pay off their debts. Finish looking at 141 flashcards. Andis hears a sound from the office. The chopping of the chopper in the forbidden zone. He pulls his wallet from his backpack and unzips a compartment with some Canadian coins and a small key. He takes the key and opens a drawer. He lifts up a yellow Lipton tin container and opens the lid. He takes a five rmb note bearing a picture of the chairman from the wallet. He takes two one rmb coins and a five mao coin from the container. He puts the coins in a coin purse he has in an outside side pocket of his backpack. What will I buy Tony for Christmas? He has too many toys. Maybe I should buy Jenny something. But what? They both have all the things they need. Short but wide skirt. She totters on her high heel shoes. Still. Nice to look at. I must fondle the wife tonight. I got to think dirty if I want to write Joycean. How to make interior monologue seem third personish. Hud. I'll remember you Honey! You the one that got away! Andis reflected he could never say that. Nada chance! Ha! Back to the Flashcards. Elementary Chinese Readers. Chapters 40 to 44 to review today.
The phones rings. It is Jenny. He answers. She is speaking to someone, not to Andis. Her phone made the call. Hang up.
He is coming soon. Do I bother to make a greeting? Do want to. Let's do some pinyin typing. Page 128 in the NPCR I believe. Suck on a Halls first. Got a sore throat. Open the file on the desk top. Turn on the Ipad. He goes to the Ibook App. In the Chinese study collection, he selects NPCR lesson 20. Control – Space turns on the Chinese keyboard.
Check the score.... Tigers lead 3-0 in the ninth.
Time to cut and past a Colacho aphorism. 335 The prophet who accurately foretells the growing corruption of a society is not believed, because the more that corruption grows, the less it is noticed by the corrupt. So true. Think of the example of Rock and Roll.
KJV time. Revelations chapter three. Church in Sardis. My sister lives in Sardis.
Flash card time. Do a hundred.
Catechism time. Read it on the Ipad Dot Dot Dot App. Hail Mary. Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mother, Mother of God. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. I must remember this.
Someone enters the office.
Silence. Don't Look up! Continue to read the book! Concentrate. Good.....?
Nose itches so bad. Need ointment or water put on it. Can't go a minute without rubbing it.
Dryness. Not only in my nose. Dryness in thought and prayer.
Pick up to-do list. Andis writes four beside Catechism.
Why am I breaking up my thoughts into paragraph? Andis decides, in the third person, that he will go back to typing his interior thoughts in a big paragraph. Unless of course, something external happens.... It doesn't. Flashcards. Get 76 out of 100. Not good. Yeah! Andis hears. Chatterbox. 200 more flashcards. 42 wrong! Ouch. Read Taki's. Sugar Babies want arrangements. Some people at work have that kind of arrangement. I keep mine proper and above board. I am better that way. Finished the flashcards. Looked at 1,400. Write four by words on my to do list. Now where is my Ipod? Andis searches his backpack. Not there. It is in my pockets? Andis stands. Yes it is. I have stood at my desk for nearly two hours now. Got to get up and go! Get up and go! I got to get up and go! Rutles.
Van Halen's Panama suddenly blares from the mobile phone. Who's phoning? Jenny. It must be official.
- I did the paperwork.
- So it's official?
- I get 1500 of the 2700 guarantee money.
- You must mean the deposit.
- Buy bread and some doughnuts.
- I will buy six doughnuts.
- If they have them.
No need to blare the good news to anyone... Enjoyment should come from the thing. Not from a desire to tell everyone about the thing.
Andis stands up and is about to go. No. You have to enter the web link. He sits down. Put in on your bookmarks bar. Universalis. Apropos of nothing. Need to have the mental resources to survive solitary confinement in the gulag. Link is entered. Now I can go....
Down the hallway. Down the stairs. Past Reception. Out the door. I have two things to do. Of the first, I can't speak. Andis then goes to the bakery. He pulls a loaf of white bread and a loaf of brown bread on the shelf. It's doughy but it will do and besides Tony likes it. Are there doughnuts? Yes. Six brown doughnuts covered with sticky sugar. I will eat two at school and take the other four home. Hopefully, Jenny eats them much more quickly than she did the other two. Did she like the doughnuts or did she like torturing me by not eating them immediately? Andis goes to the payment line. Three ahead.
Andis checks his pockets. My pockets are empty. Just phones and keys. Wait a minute! There are three green yuan notes in my wallet. He pulls two out and gives them to the cashier along with the a red hundred yuan note.
Back to work. Up the stairs. Past the salesgirl office. Eleven must have the day off. Too bad. They showed the commercial we did together on the bus this morning. Jessica must be on her honeymoon. Nicole, slight but pretty, sits in the chair normally occupied by Jessica.
Time for a doughnut. I defy anyone to say that they aren't as good as freshly made! One of Homer's best lines.
First charge the phone. Connect it to the laptop. Oh! It has a webcam function. Let's see if it works. Yes. Now. Donut. Yes!!!
That's enough Joyceaning around.
Saturday [October 12]
I work 10:00 to 18:00. Thanks to the National Day holiday day-off reshuffling, this Saturday, unlike normal Saturdays, won't be so busy. I have three instead of my normal five classes; and there are only four students all told in all the classes.
Tony's school, unlike most others in Wuxi, doesn't have classes today. I had a nice look at Tony, Tony gazes back at me moment in the morning.
I was on the 602支 bus. Above my direct line of sight, I caught a kid doing a double-take because I happened to be on the bus television. I returned my gaze to my Ipad where I was reading.
I listened to a China History Podcast yesterday. Laslzo choose to do a podcast about a Chinese billionaire named Y K Pao. What I will remember from the episode was Laslzo mentioning that Pao always carried English tapes with him in an attempt to learn the language but never ever coming close to mastering it. Sounds like me always reading my Chinese textbooks.
I can't hide anything from my wife. Hide some money and she will find it.
After a meager supper, I took Tony to the Wanda Plaza. He played a smash em up truck driving game three times. We then looked at toys where we could. I saw some foreigners, perhaps from Denmark. We went home.
Sunday [October 13]
I don't work today. Hurray!!!!
I went for a walk this morning. I learned that some guy named Suning has bought a whole chunk of land in an area that is near the Tesco Plaza and across from the street from the Australia apartments. He will open up a community (a bunch of high-rise apartments) and another shopping mall. They will build the mall even though the area has a Wanda Plaza and the Tesco Plaza is adding a second phase.
Tony phoned me. He was at the dentist with Jenny. I had phoned Jenny hoping she was finished. When she didn't answer my call, I figured she was on the chair and so I put my phone back in my pocket. I got a call about a minute later. I answered Honey! But it was Tony calling. We had a nice little conversation and Tony told me that Mom was busy.
I took Tony out in the afternoon. We went to Wanda to play the truck game. We then went to the Huijiang Bridge. We saw two trains but neither ducks nor goats. We returned home where we picked up Jenny and returned to the Wanda for lunch. We saw Bill who asked if I knew where to buy vitamins. I told I had no idea. We went to a restaurant that we hadn't been to before. The food was okay but I was served warm beer with ice cubes.