Monday, May 26, 2014

Diary: May 20 to May 26, 2014

  • This week's question: Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list?
  • Andis sees an impatiently done driving maneuver get punished.
  • Andis rants about the current uniform styles of Major League Baseball.
  • Andis reflects on his father.
  • The weather gets hot in Wuxi.
  • Andis listens to some podcasts.
  • Andis reflects after reading an article on loneliness.
  • Andis says Coriolanus is his favorite Shakespeare play.
  • Andis has theory about Wuxi's bad drivers.
  • Andis watches a 1953 Alec Guinness movie.
  • Andis talks to a student about the JFK assassination and Lin Biao.
  • Andis takes Tony downtown on Sunday.
  • Andis is called Mr. Wuxi.
  • Andis actually meets a rare reader of his blog and is put on the spot for something he wrote.
  • Andis & Tony see a monkey.
  • Andis visits the newly opened Mr. PIZZA in the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza.
  • Andis like Chairman Mao is seventy percent right.

Tuesday [May 20]
[Home Laptop]
  • I have downloaded and watched half of the latest episode (s437) of Game of Thrones.
  • I have just published last week's entry. Editing the entry, I saw that I had nothing to say and that I wasn't saying it very well.
  • Sometime on the weekend, I was watching some highlights from MLB and I became disgusted by the uniforms being worn. The Angels wore these caps that look to have been designed by a graffiti vandal. And the bottom of the uniform pants for most of the teams are being being allowed to flare out, which seems ugly as sin to me.
  • Tony can take showers by himself.
  • This morning, Tony came up to me and gave me a hug and said “I love you Daddy!” I wondered why. What was his ulterior motive?
  • Watching the Rangers and Canadiens live on my Ipad.
[School Laptop]
  • This week's shifts: Tuesday, 13:00-21:00; Wednesday, 13:00-21:00; Thursday, 10:00-21:00; Friday, 11:00 to 21:00; and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00.
  • Construction is annoying on the stretch of Zhongshan Road near our school. Sidewalk and road is being torn up everywhere making for piles of rubble and sand.
  • I will determine this week's question, now. Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I want to go through life without ever having considered gotten a tattoo. I don't want attend a rap or hip-hop concert.
Wednesday [May 21]
[Home Laptop]
  • What can I say for myself?
  • I don't have much to say for myself about being China. I spend most of my time, consuming media on my PC and Ipad and Ipod.
  • Yesterday, I finished watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones (s4e7) and the 11th episode of Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation. GoT is keeping my interest though the last scene of s4e7 was predictable. You just knew minutes before that that lady would be pushed. The Worship of Nature episode put me off by Clark's stating at the beginning of the episode that in 1725 the Christian religion suddenly declined in England and was replaced by the worship of nature. Well, if that was the truth, what of it? That it should be so is a sad thing but not a disapproval of the Christian Religion.
  • I spend the morning causing trouble with my WCE blog.
  • HM's birthday tomorrow.
  • The anniversary of my Father's death is a week away. I was just doing a Google search to see what images came up when I typed his name and the word death. One photo that popped up was a old photo of Dad giving a medal to the captain of a championship team in a minor hockey league that he volunteered to run in the 1970s. My Dad had many flaws, but his volunteering spirit showed him at his best. I remember with bitterness how when things didn't work out, the people who didn't volunteer would criticize him. I observe now with bitterness that Wuxi people are far more likely to cut pedestrians with their cars (while talking on their mobile phones) or cheat in business deals than volunteer to help the community or others.
[School Laptop]
  • Attempting to cross the intersection on my way to the Casa Kaulins bus stop, a dickhead Wuxi driver didn't fail to surprise me by cutting me off. He was attempting to make a left turn and couldn't wait for me to cross the street. I told him to fuck off with hope that he heard me. I then gave him the middle finger gesture with hope that he saw me. What the fuck is wrong with Wuxi drivers? Has Chicomism made them selfish dicks? Or are they at a lower stage of civilization?
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I don't want to drive a car in China. [What I would like to do is drive a tank and run cars, preferably with Wuxi drivers therein, over.]
  • There are efforts afoot to form an American football team in Wuxi. From what I have seen their efforts at designing a name and logo have been pathetic. First off, they are wearing these shirts with the number 88 on them. 88 is Neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler! They are also going to give their team a nickname having to do with devils. I can think of four or five nicknames that reflect the fact that they are in Wuxi. 1)The Wuxi Peach Kings 2) The Wuxi Bad Drivers 3) The Wuxi White Elephants 4)The Wuxi Sweet 5)The Wuxi Tin Kings.

Thursday [May 22]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • It is hard for me to have talks with Tony. For four days a week, I can only talk to him in the morning when he is mostly inattentive on account of having just got up very early to go to school. I can't even get a yes-no answer out of him when I am taking him to be picked up and taken to school.
  • While waiting for the car that was to pick up Tony this morning, I saw a car get stuck when trying to back up. This car, the backing up car I will call it, came to a stop in the lane by a parking space (which was perpendicular to the lane). The backing up car had hesitated and so all the other cars behind it drove around it. That was about eight cars in total. And there was another car, the impatiently driven car I will call it, that also had to wait for the eight cars to pass as well, before it could proceed. What the driver of the impatiently driven car had done was impatiently try to drive around a car, on the passenger side, that had stopped because of the backing up car. This quick maneuver resulted in the impatiently driven car being blocked by the backing up car. Both these cars had to wait for the other eight cars to pass before they could go on their way. It was nice to see ass-hat Wuxi driver impatience get punished.
  • I am listening to the Tyranny of Cliches audio book, written and read by Jonah Goldberg. It is a sequel to Liberal Fascism. So far, I find I am preferring the sequel. This could be because Goldberg is more fun to listen to for long stretches than read. I read Liberal Fascism. For me, Tyranny of Cliches is essentially an Amen book chronicling the stupidity of Liberalism.
  • The construction on Zhongshan Road is creating these islands of torn up pavement that cars and buses have to swerve to avoid. I very much hate it in the evening because after school, when I am trying to get to my preferred 635 bus stop, the first bus I have to take will get stuck in a traffic jam and screw up the timing so necessary for me to ensure that I get a seat on my long bus ride back home.
  • I could be watching the third period the second game of the Black Hawks – Kings series but I will be teaching a class.
  • Dean!!! I just had a student named Dean in a class. He hadn't heard of Dean Martin and the Rat Pack. But why would I have expected him to? He told me that he had gone to Singapore to meet some girl he was having an Internet romance with but it didn't work out. The girl lost interest in him. Heartbreaking I can imagine but what can you do?
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I don't want to be divorced. I don't want to be an adulterer. I don't want to drive any expensive sports cars. I don't want to go under water diving. I don't want to go to Hawaii. I don't want to go surfing.
Friday [May 23]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 11:00 to 21:00.
  • I was listening to the Radio Free Delingpole podcast this morning, and a line came up which I must repeat to my rare readers because it is all so true. The demand of the Left for White Racists far outstrips supply.
  • The weather today is warm. Yesterday, two students talked about the warm spring weather making them sleepy.
  • Last salon I conducted a salon class about Global Warming. It isn't my favorite topic but this class actually had some students say some interesting things. One student said that much of the pollution in China is a result of foreign companies coming here to pollute. Whether this is true or not, I cannot rightly say. The first reaction to the statement made by the student that I can think of is that it takes two to tango. China wants the foreign companies here. The second reaction that comes to mind is that it is hard to believe that Chinese companies really care about doing something about pollution.
  • The next podcast I listened to this morning made mention of the Cultural Revolution. Said Mona Charen: it was a very horrible and depraved thing. I had a few students, when I first came here, tell me that it was a time of madness. My wife tells me how it splits people still in her village. There are people she won't associate with from her hometown because of it.
  • I have the feed of the third game of Rangers—Canadiens series on my computer. I have to decide if I should study Chinese or watch the game. Not feeling comfortable with choosing either, I will try to do both.
  • I wonder if the cultural revolution can explain why Wuxi people are such bad drivers.
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I have to be careful when I answer this question. I want to say things that could possibly be on other people's bucket lists. So! I don't want to visit Jim Morrison's grave. I don't want to drive an expensive sports car. I don't want to own a Rolex.

Saturday [May 24]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00.
  • I was annoyed at Tony last night. It has crossed my mind but last night it became very apparent that Tony doesn't talk much to me, and that we don't have real conversations. He will talk to his mother in Chinese and will often ask her what I had been trying to say to him.
  • There was an interesting article, that was became aware of thanks to a email update, in the American Spectator on loneliness. The modern mores have made Americans by and large a group of lonely individuals. Being Canadian, I am affected by the same winds of culture that Americans are; and living a life that has been plagued by loneliness, it would seem nice for me to blame my loneliness and isolation on the culture, and it would seem nice for me to say to if only the culture or the people I do run into were somehow better, I wouldn't be so lonely. But I do have a misanthropic streak in me that I think I would have had any age I would have lived. (though I could say that in a more enlightened age I would have more readily become aware of monasteries). Anyway, articles on loneliness draw my attention in spite of a somewhat spiteful desire on my part to embrace solitariness. [Should I have used spite in two ways in that sentence?] And there was a factoid in the article that really hit home with me. It said that the longer one's commute to work, the more one felt lonely or socially isolated. That is so true in my situation where I ride the bus for two hours a day to get to work and back.
  • No dinner yesterday. I decided about lunchtime that I would fast till I got home.
  • I also decided to make a point of sitting down at my seat for as long as possible, only getting up to go to classes. I remember reading Florence King extolling the discipline necessary to be able to sit for long times in one place without fidgeting or giving into an urge to get up and chat.
  • Coriolanus. That has to be my favorite Shakespeare play. I don't fashion myself to be a Coriolanus. Though he hated the mob and was no middle-of-the-roader trying to appeal to them, he earned his contempt for them through getting scars and exhibiting tremendous physical courage. I am fearful of confrontation and wouldn't definitely shirk from any physical threat to my person. I have to admire Coriolanus and envy his being able to adopt the attitude that he did toward them. The mob is full of meatheads and he was right to despise it. Are politicians who talk of the mob as if it was full of simple well-meaning folk who don't get high all the time or don't brag of debaucheries, speaking truthfully or cowardly kow-towing? I suspect the latter. Coriolanus is a play that tells us what is so wrong with the modern world.
  • I can see some Obamacolytes saying that Obama is like Coriolanus. Obama is the man of virtue having to deal with a mob of bigots and conservatives and homophobes and so on. I of course wouldn't agree with this depiction. I would say Obama does have an element of Coriolanus's despising of the mob, but what he really despises is the country he thinks he is serving so honorably. He despises America. As well a comparison between Coriolanus and Obama also breaks down on the fact that Coriolanus before confronting the mob, had performed acts of extraordinary physical. That couldn't be said about Obama who was elected on false hopes of what he could be. Furthermore, Coriolanus told the mob to stuff it and joined his sworn enemies. Is there any chance that Obama will quit the presidency of the country he despises and move to France or somewhere else in the European Union, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba,or North Korea? If he did, I would gladly said he was like Coriolanus for giving up a cushy life, is as much as that would be an act of courage that we can expect in this modern world.
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I don't want to see the Xian Warriors. I feel that place is probably a vulgar tourist spot. I don't want to go skiing in the Swiss Alps. I don't want to go golfing in Augusta.
  • I am almost finished watching this 1953 Alec Guinness move the Captain's Paradise. Great performance of Guinness who I am thinking I will honor by making him the King of the Wuxi China Expatdom. The perfect life says the Captain character played by Guinness in the movie? Two women of complimentary temperaments and the intellectual company of men. Says the Captain: The women who can bring home the groceries, can't bring home the milk. I am not exactly sure what is meant by that line but it seems funny and clever nonetheless. My life would be a one in three to the captain. But in the end it seems that the life that the Captain created that had those elements of perfection has broken down.
  • I will spend the day here, when not in a class, working on my blog thingies. I feel I have fulfilled my Chinese study requirement for the week and day.
  • I just spent an hour talking about the JFK assassination and Lin Biao with a student. The student mentioned some interesting factors in the mystery of Biao's plane crash. Biao had a wife who was ambitious and impatient, said the student, who forced Biao to reluctantly make a plan to bomb Mao's train. And Chou En Lai had the power over the use of air planes. The student said that Chou approved Biao using the plane but told Mao that Biao was escaping so that Mao would make the decision to shot the plane down.
  • I have had that humid feeling in class today. Summer is here.

Sunday [May 25]
[Home Laptop]
  • No shifts today.
  • It is humid. I went for a walk and now I am all in a sweat.
  • Last night and this morning, I watched Magnum Force, a classic Dirty Harry movie. The film had a great look and feel and sound. Clint Eastwood was the epitome of cool. The film ended rather improbably however even if it did allow a great shot of Clint saying that a man had to know his limitations.
  • I watched the highlights of the Champions League Final. Having watched a lot of Stanley Cup playoff highlights, I can say that football or soccer does allow a spectator time to see the buildup to a goal as well it being scored. Too often in hockey, the goal is scored and you have to watch the replay to see what happened.
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? I don't want to attend the NFL draft. I don't want to meet the President of the United States. I don't want to attend a major tennis event. I don't want to attend an Olympic event. I don't want to say I have cooked a gourmet meal. I don't want to go to the Red Light District in Amsterdam. I don't want to see the lady boys in Thailand. I don't want to smoke Cuban cigars.
  • [Later] In the afternoon, I took Tony downtown so I could buy myself something from Burger King and buy Tony a toy. We took the 25 bus and it got stuck in traffic downtown. It gave me time to think about an email I got from Arielle. Once Tony & I were off the bus, we walked through the Nanchang Temple Market area, browsing at toy shops along the way, to get to the Nanchang Jie Burger King or Han Bao Wang as the locals would call it. I ordered an Italian Triple Stacker with fries and two drinks. I ate the sandwich, Tony refusing my offers to try it, and shared the fries with Tony.
  • Leaving Burger King I ran into a couple of Americans who are teaching English at a program or school that is on the campus of Jiangnan University. One of the teachers insisted that I was mister Wuxi. I denied it and now wish I could have said something about my 49 year old body being a long way from some Adonis like muscularity it may have had in my early twenties. And I said that if I was famous, I would rather have money; the fame having not earned me any benefits. The other teacher said he was a regular reader of my blog, and had seen videos of Tony on the bridge deck during a session of trainspotting. He mentioned my having written something about not liking to talk to foreigners. I scoffed in response and talked about how I hated to see other foreigners in my territory of Wuxi. Of course, the truth of the matter is that I write things in a spiteful mood and don't have the good sense to not publish these spiteful things. The only thing I can truly say in my defense is that my reactionary posture and misanthropy is a mental pose or delusion that is almost always instantly disarmed by friendliness on the part of others. [If you are reading this, Andy, please make a comment or send me an email.]
  • The two gentlemen taught writing and what they told me about it was just as I imagined from the few times I have students ask me to edit some piece of writing for them.
  • While I was talking to the gentleman, a man dragging a monkey came by asking for money. I gave him two rmb.
  • To be continued, tomorrow.....

Monday [May 26]
[Home Laptop]
  • I will continue on with what I did yesterday.
  • After talking to the two gentleman and seeing the monkey yesterday afternoon, Tony & I walked from Ba Bai Ban to buy a toy. Tony of choose a Ultraman toy that cost 99 rmb and earned the wrath of Jenny when she found out how much I had spent on it.
  • When she asked me how much the toy cost, I told her 60 or 70 rmb. Later when she found the receipt and saw that I had in fact spent 99, she was annoyed. I defended myself using the formulation used by the Chinese Communist party in their assessment of Chairman Mao. I was 70 percent right, not a liar, I said.
  • From Ba Bai Ban, Tony & I took the bus back to Hui Shan where we meet Jenny at the recently opened Mr. PIZZA in the Wanda Plaza. As far as I can tell, Mr. PIZZA is a pizza restaurant chain started by Chinese. All the people featured in their ads are Chinese. I believe that Mr. PIZZA is in fact Chinese. The food was not bad though I did come in with very low expectations. The pizza was like Domino's. The fried chicken salad was big and could be a meal itself for just 20 rmb. The only thing that I found off-putting about the restaurant was the showing of video of Mr PIZZA personnel participating in some pizza dough spinning competition. Not a real useful skill and I don't see how it makes the pizza taste any better.
  • The K clan then went to Tesco to see if we could find a bike for Tony to ride this summer. The one bike we would like to have wasn't in very good condition – its brakes didn't work and the training wheels were wobbly.
  • When I got home, I phoned my brother in Canada. We switched from phone to Facetime on our Ipads for the rest of our conversation. Our reception of Ron was great. We could hear him and the video never got stuck buffering. Ron, however, kept telling us that video of me on his Ipad was periodic.
  • Today, it is scorching outside. Waiting at a bus stop, I was suffering. I found Wuxi summers to be unbearable.
  • Can you tell us some items that you would put on an anti-bucket list? Today. I can't think of anything to put on the list.

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