Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary: December 2 to December 8, 2013

December 2 to December 8 Highlights: History will note but one thing from this week's AKIC diary: the Wuxi Smog Crisis of 2013.

Funny how the week started with Andis complaining about how the weather was too warm for December.

Other than this, the exterior life lead by Andis Kaulins but was dull.

Thankfully, Andis has a rich interior life of an aristocratic gentleman. For as the famous sage Nicholas Gomez Davilla, aka Don Colacho, said: 1)The true aristocrat is the man who has an interior life. Whatever, his origin, his rank, or his fortune. and 2) In tedium freely assumed bloom the noblest things.

Monday [December 2]
[Home Laptop]
  • I don't work today.
  • In the morning, after getting Tony off to school, I take apart the train set that both he & I had set up the night before. I know Tony won't like this.
  • I then do some work on the laptop. I know Jenny won't like this.
  • My laptop work consisted of designing a new logo and new helmets for my Wuxi Peach Maoists fantasy football team (You can see the designs at my Wuxi Peach Maoists Site), and uploading Views of China from Casa Kaulins #41 to the Youtube.
  • My 2013 Wuxi Peach Maoists are on the verge of winning their second game of the season. Playing the spoiler, the Maoists are beating their division leaders and are thus preventing them from clinching the division title. Heading into their match-up with the Peach Maoists, which was the second last game of the season, the division leaders had a one and a half game lead over the second place team. Their loss to the Peach Maoists combined with a victory by the second-place team means that their regular season finale match-up with that second-place team will decide who wins the division and get a spot in the playoffs.
  • Jenny gives me heck for doing things on the computer instead of doing things around the house and taking a shower. And so I feel like a heel until Jenny calls me “Honey” when asking for for my help.
  • In the afternoon, Jenny & I go the Wuxi Hui Shan Wanda Plaza for lunch and some grocery shopping. I look to buy long underwear at the Uni-Qlo but there is none that would fit me. [Times like that make me wish I was five foot nine.]
  • I put together the train set for Tony before he would arrive back from school. In the morning and then at lunch, he had told Jenny of his strong desire to not have the train set taken apart. I didn't want to hear him whine upon arriving home from school because he would immediately notice that the train set was taken apart like he had done so many times before.
  • When Tony arrived home, he was satisfied with the work I had done.

Tuesday [December 3]
[Home Laptop]
  • I work today. 13:00 to 21:00. I will probably arrive at work at 11:00.
  • I have gotten Tony off to school. The car, that takes him to school, pulled up at the meeting point twenty seconds before we did.
  • First thing I did when I got back home was take apart all the toy train track that had been laid in the living room last evening. [If you visit the Tony Kaulins in China blogs, you can see photos of what he and I had done.]
  • The temperature could get up to 17 degrees today if the weather app on my Ipod Touch is to be believed. This is trouble because now I don't know how to dress for today. Do I wear a toque and a scarf? Do I wear long underwear?
  • Laying beside Tony in bed last night, I put my head down so as to get Tony to fall asleep. I thought I would be able to raise my head and read once Tony was asleep, but then I realized I couldn't.
  • After putting away the train set, I take a shower and iron my clothes for work.
  • All the while, I listen to podcasts on the Ipod. So far, I have listened to a talk by David Horowitz, the Three Martinis podcast and Vatican Radio. A Greek girl dies of Carbon Monoxide poisoning – a terrible symptom of the Greek economic crisis.

[School Laptop]
  • I took the 25 bus to work.
  • On the bus, I was listening to a podcast on my Ipod and I heard a woman talking so loudly and shrilly behind me that I had to turn around and take a look at her. She was talking on her mobile phone.
  • When I arrived at school, I turned on my computer, unpacked my lunch from my bag and put it in the elevator, and then walked to the bathroom (men's of course) entered the western toilet stall and took off my long underwear.
  • I helped Tony do some simple arithmetic homework last night. However, it wasn't so simple for him. My wife has taught him to do these problems (with numbers no bigger than ten) using his fingers. It was all I could do to keep my patience with him. As it was, I was asking him, contemptuously, if he was a dumb boy.
  • Later, I took a shower with Tony. I get annoyed with him then as he has to control the shower head flow. A few times, I had to wrestle the portable nozzle out of his tightly grasping hands.

Wednesday [December 4]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 13:00 to 21:00 today.
  • I take the 25 bus to get to school. Along the way, I see a media-conference style table at a corner near the Hui Shan Times Century (Tesco) plaza. Behind the table sat a bunch of cops in uniform. It seems that they were doing some sort of public safety awareness event.
  • I went to Ba Bai Ban to do my initial shopping probe of things that I plan to buy for Tony for Christmas. I am looking, as I have almost every Christmas, at buying Tony Plarail products like trains and fixtures.
  • I complained that the weather yesterday was too warm. Today it is worse.

Thursday [December 5]
[School Laptop]
  • It's my brother Ron's birthday today and so I will send him an email. Ron, my younger brother, 我弟弟, is in his forties, that much I will say. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and owns my Aunt Ritma's old house, where I used to live when I spent a few years of my life, wasted years as it turned out, in Winnipeg.
  • Ron likes the Maple Leafs (to which I say hiss!) and mountain biking (which can be done in Manitoba, believe it or not).
  • The house that Ron owns was built before the Cultural Revolution in China. My parents held their wedding reception in house's basement which seems unbelievable because it a small cramped space with limited head room.
  • I work 10:00 to 21:00 today. It is my long day. Other than having to leave Casa Kaulins early, I don't mind it. It gives me plenty of time to work on my pet projects (the things I would rather be doing than teaching, or talking to students).
  • I took the 602and then the 79 bus to get to school this morning. The traffic jams I saw on the way were quite the sight. Wuxi people are unable to stand in line in a civilized and orderly manner, and are always trying to cut off others and jump the queue. Put them in cars and the disorder then is really something to behold: Cars sitting every which way in traffic. Seeking to gain any advantage they can and not content to stand in line, Wuxi drivers are always seeking to get into another lane. Some are so impatient they will even attempt to make u-turns to get out of a potential jam ahead even if there are lots of cars queuing behind him. All these tactics are self-defeating and so an absolute smozzle results as seemingly everybody in traffic engages in the self-defeating behavior.
  • Listening to Ann Coulter makes me angry, defiant, combative in thought, and sometimes depressed because I am stuck with the sort of stupid people that she articulately and brilliantly puts down. [I was listening to If Democrats Had Any Brains, They would be Republicans.]

Friday [December 6]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 11:00 to 21:00.
  • Smog Alert in Wuxi. Can I call it the Wuxi Smog Crisis?
  • As a result of the smog alert, students are not doing their PE lessons out doors.
  • I bought a mask (口罩)yesterday. I don't think there is much efficacy in wearing it to combat the smog, but there still is much efficacy for me because my wife is insisting that I wear one.
  • I overheard some Reductionism today.
  • Yesterday, a Wuxiren, now living in the U.K., walked up to me and told me that while there, she was homesick for her home town and visited Youtube where she found my videos.

Saturday [December 7]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 10:00 to 18:00 today.
  • December 7, 2013. A day that will live in infamy? Let's hope not.
  • The Wuxi Smog Crisis is depressing. Is that the disaster that has been prophesied to hit China? Or was it Chairman Mao already?
  • It is gray and dull and smoggy today. Wuxi looks absolutely depressing.
  • The wife says we will be going to the Golden Grandma's at the Hen Long Plaza tonight. I warned her that it would be expensive.
  • I had an interesting V.I.P. Student this morning. He works in the automotive industry and has lived in Japan for eight years – he is a Wuxiren. He told me that the causes of the Wuxi Smog Crisis can be attributed to all the cars that the Chinese now have, the gas used to fuel them being of low quality, and the cars manufactured by Chinese companies not needing to follow high emissions standards that the car manufacturers of other countries can easily comply with. The student also said that if the Chinese car companies did have to higher emission standards, they would not be able to compete with foreign car manufacturers in China.

[Home Laptop]
  • The school gave us masks to wear in the horrible air.
  • After work, Andis met Jenny & Tony at the Golden Grandma's Restaurant in the Hen Long Plaza. This “golden restaurant” wasn't as good as the lower grade, non-golden Grandma's Restaurants in Ba Bai Ban, Nanchang Market, and the Suning Plaza – it was much more expensive and had a more limited menu than the other locations. It didn't serve a potato dish that was Andis's raison d'etat to go there in the first place. So, the Grandma's at the Hen Long Plaza is not so golden and the K family will never go there ever again, unless of course someone else invites us.
  • From the Hen Long plaza the K family walked to the bus stop where they could catch the 635 bus home. It took the K's twenty minutes to get to the bus stop, after which they waited twenty five minutes for the bus which then took them forty five minutes to get them home.
  • We couldn't get out of the Hen Long Plaza without Tony getting to look at some toys.
  • I couldn't help but notice that many of the stores in the Hen Long Plaza didn't have any customers.
  • I noticed that when I see a foreigner these days, as I go out and about, I feel embarrassed to be wearing a mask. I suppose it would be like being seen taking on the natives' superstitions.

Sunday [December 8]
[Home Laptop]

  • I don't work today but I am busy nonetheless, and I actually feel more busy than if I was so-called working. My wife is less prone to put up with idleness on my part than my employers would be.
  • The air has been very bad this week – so I was told by a Hui Shan local I know who can speak good English.
  • It a cool and sunny day out there. Going for a walk in the morning, I did see buildings that were less than a block away enshrouded in mist.
  • David Horowitz said, in a video I watched today, that abandoning the Left cost him all his friends. I could say that being a reactionary here is an explanation for my loneliness. And as far as it goes, there is some truth in this explanation, for it has put up barriers between me and many others in a profession that is disease-ridden with leftists. But I have to admit that I was a loner in my leftist thinking days. So what may be true for DH, is not a sufficient explanation for me.
  • I set up the train set for Tony. We should have gone out for a walk today. The weather was good for it. But Tony wanted to play with the train so he could reenact train accidents and derailments.
  • Damn! I have so many things I want to read. Right now, I am in the midst of reading a book of short stories by Flannery O'Connor, a long book on the JFK assassination, an apostolic exhortation by the current Pope, a book on Christianity by CS Lewis, and an book on the illogicality of Positivism. I want to read some Shakespeare, Canadian history, Chinese history, Hobbies and Walker Percy, to name but a few.
  • It is supposed to be colder and less smoggy tomorrow. Maybe I will be able to don my long johns and discard my mask.
  • I did some Christmas shopping on Thursday. I bought Tony a Plarail Train. The model S05 which Tony pointed to in his Plarail catalog.
  • Tony asks to play with my Ipad, and so Jenny orders me to take apart the train set. Tony was made to choose: play with the Ipad and have the train set taken apart; play with the train set and give back the Ipad to Daddy. He choose to play with the Ipad.

No comments: