Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary Entry for February 17 to February 23, 2104

  • My first regular week of work since early January.
  • I spend my time trying to get back into my groove of talking to students and working on my projects.
  • I watched old World Series Games that I downloaded from Youtube.

Monday [February 17]
[Home Laptop]
  • It is a cold and wet day outside. I have stayed indoors except to bring Tony to school, then to receive him from school, and to check out the e-bike.
  • Tony is back to school and so we return to our miserable existence.
  • In the daytime, I spent my time with my Apple products. I listened to podcasts on my Ipod, read parts of some books on my Ipad, loaded, loaded e-books and video on my Ipad (that were downloaded from the Internet), watched the first inning of the seventh game of the 1971 World Series on my Apple TV, and then watched a two hour documentary about the pianist Glen Gould on my Apple TV.
  • The documentary of Glen Gould was interesting. But there was so much footage of him walking about being thoughtful and photos of him staring sternly at the camera that you had to wonder if his image of eccentric genius was a calculated pose. Be that as it may, I watched the documentary with rapt attention. A few things I learned about Gould will stick with me. The fact that his mother was 43 when he was born seemed to explain a lot about his eccentricity. I found his supposed desire for solitude to be inspiring. I was happy to learn that he felt guilt upon the death of his mother – he thought he had neglected her [a feeling I had with my father.]. When he died, much of his estate was left to the Salvation Army – If I ever return to Canada, I would like to volunteer for them, ringing bells trying to getting donations at Christmas time.

Tuesday [February 18]
[Home Laptop]
  • Snow! It started just after we got Tony up to go to school. As I brought Tony out to be picked up, the snow was sticking to cars. An hour and a half later, it was staying on the ground.
  • On my computer, I was disappointed to see that my Glen Gould download hadn't been completed. As I type this, it is 88.8 percent completed.
  • Tony was saying he was cold when I took him to be picked up.
  • Because it was snowing, Tony & I both carried umbrellas as we walked to the meeting point. And so I carried my lunch bag for him. As the car left to take Tony to school, I realized that the bag was still in my hands, and so I had to run after the car. The driver saw me just as his car got on the road. On a previous instance, the car had driven away as I was still holding the bag. That time, I realized when it was too late.
[School Laptop]
  • Not so much snow downtown.
  • I work 13:00 to 21:00.
  • I am not in the swing of things yet. And I hope the yet is true.

Wednesday [February 19]
[School Laptop]
  • My Glen Gould radio programs downloaded last night. I loaded some them onto my Ipod but their volume level was so low that I couldn't listen to them on the bus.
  • I work 13:00 to 21:00 today. Hopefully, my students will all show up. It was my luck, but I felt guilt, to have my students in 19:00 and 20:00 classes cancel. While I was able to get home early, it didn't make my day more pleasant. Jenny was drilling Tony on his subtraction and it was painful to watch and listen.
  • A new Apple TV is coming out. So what I have is already out of date. Oh well.
  • I downloaded from a Youtube a clip of the finale of the film the Graduate. There is a student Elaine whom I would like to show the clip.
  • Trainer at school says he has a stalker. This stalker sends him crazy love notes.
  • 13:00 no-show. Three no-shows in a row.
  • I am listening to the audio version of the Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. It is a book about a sinologist and all-around fellow named Joseph Needham. Needham was a Nudist – good, but a man of the Left – bad.
  • I read to Tony at bedtime. He likes these Thomas books I found on the Internet and loaded on my Ipad.

Thursday [February 20]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 10:00 to 21:00 today. As I have said before and I will say again, this is the longest day of my so-called work week.
  • I saw my old bus mate Sophia at the McDonald's this morning. She got a new job and works in the building that contains the McDonald's which I go to almost every day I am at school. Of course, I remembered her name as soon as she left.
  • I come to school with a depressed feeling – the sadness seeming to be more physical than mental.
  • I can't use We Chat on my school laptop. It doesn't have the physical memory anymore to do this.
  • Last evening, I had a student who told me she sees her daughter, who is not yet of primary school age, once a week on Saturday night. She told me that she and her husband have to work long hours to be able to afford the big house they need so they have the in-laws look after the child. I told her that it seemed so sad that she and her husband had to do this.

Friday [February 21]
[School Laptop]
  • Tony was good yesterday. That what's Jenny told me. This morning, as I took him to get picked up to go to school, he was in a good mood because he knew it was Friday.
  • My shift today: 11:00 to 21:00. I go to the city hall, to talk about art, and then have three classes in the evening. [I think I will talk about my shift times at school. Not more will I call them work times.]
  • Last night, I boarded the 635 bus sitting beside a girl who beamed at me as I took my seat. She began to talk to me in English. Her English name was Muse. A good name I told her. Upon learning I was from Canada, she told me she liked Justin Bieber and Adele. Instead of telling her what I really thought of them, I told her I was too old for that sort of music. She also told me she liked Mr. Bean. To that I told her, in the most simple and diplomatic way I could, that most foreigners didn't care for his physical brand of humour and preferred most verbal humour. She told me then that the man playing Mr. Bean had a PhD. To this I expressed surprise. She helped me read aloud a passage from a page of the New Practical Chinese Reader that I had on my Ipad. This reading I found to be tiring, though not tiresome. I got her WeChat i.d. -- I was being friendly. I had a WeChat conversation with her with I got home. She asked me to looked at photos of her that she had posted on the app. They showed a pretty girl with a violin (she had told she played violin and that it was boring. She was good enough at it to play in front of audiences), her with her boyfriend, and a photo that I could only say was pornographic. This photo she had gotten from the Internet -- I assumed for I didn't look at it closely. She then asked me what I thought of her photos. I could only say interesting and made no reference to that photo – I would have liked to have told her that it was inappropriate.
  • I put on the Apple TV last night and so Tony & I watched a Youku video on the big screen. The picture was amazing both Tony & I thought.
  • It hasn't been so busy at the school and I have this feeling that I am not doing anything productive. I keep myself busy studying things but I ultimately leave school with a feeling of dissatisfaction. Did I teach the students anything? Am I doing anything productive? It seems that Tony & Jenny are busier than me.
  • Of course, I have to do something about this. But what? It seems I have missed the boat on a lot of things in my life and it is getting too late to correct the things I didn't do.
  • [Later] I went to City Hall. I choose to talk about Art. I didn't look at my watch and wouldn't you know it? The time ran. I hadn't bothered to look at my watch the whole class through.
  • If only all classes could be like that.
  • I read that the Physicists say reality is discrete not continuous. The smallest thing that there can possibly be is measured by the Planck constant or so that is how I read it.

Saturday [February 22]
  • My shift today: 10:00 to 18:00.
  • I saw three things:
  • Last night, as I left the school, I saw a poor man carrying a stick with bags on both ends on his shoulder. How did he end up that way?
  • This morning as I go to work, I see a man sitting on the street, his head against a tree. I assume he was drunk.
  • I can't recall the other thing I saw now. Maybe, I meant to mention one of my young students, who was very talkative and with with whom a class is basically nodding as he does a monologue. Toward the end of the class, he went on and on about the Japanese and their apparent denying of the Nanking massacre. To his credit, he did mention the evil that his government did in '89.
  • Maybe this was the third thing. Last night at bedtime, Tony was watching a train video on my Ipod. I lay in bed beside him turned away from him. I heard the audio from the video and then began to hear him snoring. I flipped over to see him fast asleep with the Ipod in his hand. He had nodded out while watching the video to my amusement.

Sunday [February 13]
[Home Laptop]
  • No shifts to report today.
  • The thing to do, last night, was stay at home where I loaded more books on my Ipad (including a novel on North Korea recommended by the Derb), put together a second video of Tony in Hong Kong (which is now on Youtube and is entitled Hanging Out with Tony Kaulins #5), finished reading Macbeth, finished the GA Henty Novel I was reading, blogged, and downloaded episodes of Kenneth Clark's Civilisation from Youtube.
  • I got out of bed at 10:30 AM. I had tried to organize and classify the books I have on my Ipad; but I found that some books could be classified in many ways or couldn't be classified at all. Some of the books I classified on the basis of the vague impression they left on me.
  • Jenny is making Tony do homework in the afternoon. Sigh.
  • [Later] As Tony was being made to do his homework, I put on the Apple TV and watched the opening innings of the fifth game of the 1969 World Series. The video I downloaded from Youtube which I can do in China because I have a VPN connection.
  • After Tony did his homework, the three of us went to the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza Starbucks. I read about some paradoxes in the Other Limits of Reason by Nolson S. Yanofsky. Is time and space discrete or continuous? No human knows for sure.
  • Dinner at Pizza Hut.
  • I type on the laptop. I watch the final innings of the 1969 World Series game. Baltimore's pitcher hit a home run! New York's pitcher had a double.
  • I await the start of the Canada – Sweden Olympic Hockey Final.

No comments: