Sunday, June 29, 2014

Diary: June 24 to June 30, 2014

  • This week, Andis tries to name seven politicians that he admires.
  • Tony begins his summer vacation.
  • Andis takes the 617 bus to get to school.
  • Andis finishes reading a book about Chairman Deng.
  • Andis discovers a new use for an umbrella in China.
  • Andis notes a WWI anniversary.
  • Andis watches the movie Under the Skin.
  • A student tells Andis he hates the number 250.
  • Andis wonders when the Wuxi Subway will begin operation.
  • Andis goes to Wuxi Blue Marlin.
  • Andis stays up late to watch Holland—Mexico soccer game.

Tuesday [June 24]
[Home Laptop]
  • Tony has just two days more of school till his summer vacation starts. I look forward to not having, for the summer, to get up and take him to be picked up at 7:00 AM.
  • Mexico advances in the WC! Hurrah!
  • This week I will try to name seven politicians I admire.
  • It is easy to name the first politician I admire: Preston Manning.
  • For those rare readers of this blog who aren't from Canada, Preston Manning started a new party, the Reform Party, from scratch that became the official opposition in the federal parliament. The current Prime Minister of Canada was a member of that party.
  • You could say the Reform Party had parallels to the Tea Party movement in the USA though it is not an exact similarity.
  • Manning could have retained control of the party but choose to stand up for a leadership review which he lost. He was a Canadian Cincinnatus.
[School Laptop]
  • This week's shifts: Tuesday 13:00 to 21:00, Wednesday 13:00 to 21:00, Thursday 10:00 to 21:00, Friday 11:00 to 21:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00.
  • I took the number 617 and number 3 bus to get to school today because I felt like looking at some scenery, or at least something different.
  • Early in the 617, I was thinking how amazing it seemed that there was an area of the city with shops and businesses that I hadn't really explored but would if I had the time. [I have lived in Wuxi ten years and like to think that I have seen it all.]
  • I wish I could have taken a photo of a shop sign that said Samsung and was accompanied by the famous Apple logo.
  • The ride on the 617 was bumpy. The parts of Wuxi that the route took us through didn't seem to have been blessed with easy government construction money.
  • The skies of Wuxi were brown with smog.
  • I had to get off the 617 to catch a number 3 which would get me to school. I tried to get off at a stop that was early in the number 3 route so I could get a seat. The stop that I choose to get off the 617 was rather forlorn. It had no shelter or seats; just a dinky sign on the side of the road. The sign was placed on the side of the bicycle lane and so I was confused about whether to wait by the sign or cross the wide bicycle lane (where big trucks were being driven as well as bikes) and wait at a muddy spot between bushes on the narrow median that was between the bike lane and the main road. [The bus stopped on the road and not near the sign.]
  • On the number 3 bus, I saw another massive office complex under construction. Enough already!
  • Tonight, the high school students will learn the results of their university entrance examinations. If you want to pay for the phone call, they can find out at 5:00 PM. Otherwise, the results will be available on the Internet at 8:00 PM.
  • I just had a student who has spent the last year studying at Kent State University. She knew about the infamous shooting of the students in 1970 and told me that she was shown a video of about the incident when she first came to the school.

Wednesday [June 25]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 13:00 to 21:00.
  • I had a Chinese lesson this morning. My teacher Angel was grilling me on my tones which I haven't quite grasped. Embarrassing to say after ten years of living in China.
  • Tony's summer vacation starts tomorrow. So for two months, I don't have to get up early in order to get Tony to school.
  • Many students have told me that they heard that the Subway was supposed to begin operation on June 28th. Others have told me July 1st. So, I have no definite word about it.
  • I spent an hour participating in the taping of some commercial that will be seen on the subway (whenever it opens.)
  • I have downloaded Under the Skin. I have read the novel that the movie is based on.
  • I have discovered another use for an umbrella in China. You can use one to whack a person who cuts in from of you in a lineup. Just now, I had a woman squeeze herself in front of me when I was standing in line waiting to order food at McDonald's. There was but a foot between me and the person in front of me when the woman budded in. So I took my umbrella and tapped her on the shoulder with it. She looked back at me and went to the back of the line. Hopefully, she was suitably chastened....

Thursday [June 26]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • Tony's summer vacation begins today. I get up at 6:30 AM – later than I would have been arising if Tony had to go to school.
  • It's pissing down rain. Maybe my 10:00 student doesn't show up.
  • I saw my sometime 635 bus companion Sophia this morning as I was picking up breakfast at the McDonald's that is near my school. I asked her how she was doing, and she said she wasn't well to which I quickly asked why...
  • She told me she was pregnant and was experiencing morning sickness – it was an awkward way to report such news. I had to ask her if she was happy about the fact of the pregnancy to which she replied that she was and then I offered her my congratulations. She is engaged to be married and her fiancee would like to have two children.
  • I will have to yield Sophia my seat on the 635 bus home for the next eight months.... But she usually goes back home in the daytime and so my chances to be gallant will be few and far between.
  • I watched all of the Under the Skin film that I downloaded yesterday. Here are my thoughts about it:
  • I had been waiting a long time to see the movie since I read about it in at a Catholic website. [Crisis Magazine in an article entitled life imitates art.]
  • I had read the novel. It made the female alien, who was preying on male hitchhikers, seem very human or at least full of human concerns.
  • The film was a very loose adaptation of the novel.
  • I experienced the feeling of the novel being better than the book.
  • I wonder how the film would have struck someone who hadn't read the novel. Reading the novel may have taken away some of the film's power.
  • So, I did feel a let down after having wanted to see the movie since I read that article about it in Crisis magazine.
  • I suppose the film couldn't be faithful to the novel because it was done on a low budget.
  • A lot of the film's shots didn't really advance the story.
  • The film didn't make me want to go to Scotland. The place seem damp and dank, full of people with barbaric accents.
  • While the novel engrosses us in the thoughts of the female alien. The film presents us an alien who is silent and dour.
  • The novel's way of trapping the hitchhikers with needles embedded in the passenger seat was better than the film's having the men follow the female alien into a pit of ooze. And there was no need for the film to show these men naked. It was gross.
  • The best part of the film was its hypnotic music.
  • I give the film a rating of three point five stars out of five.
  • The best recent film (film made in the two years or so) that I have seen this year is the Lunchbox.
  • A student tells me that a whole lot of businessmen, who were operating in the Hui Shan district, are in jail for having bribed the leader of the Hui Shan District. These businessmen are parents of his classmates so that is how he knows.
  • I have just spent two hours studying Chinese.
  • So give me a medal!

Friday [June 29]
[School Laptop]
  • Today's shift: 11:00 to 21:00.
  • I am just about finished reading a book about Deng Xiao Peng. In the concluding chapter (I am still in the midst of its appendix mateiral), the author makes the claim that no man in history could claim responsibility for improving the lives of so many people as Deng did in his days as the supreme leader of China. I dispute that claim on many grounds. First off, all Deng did was stop his country from being so stupid – this stupidity was brought to China in the first place by his earlier efforts in working for Chairman Mao. Secondly, it was people in the West who stood up to Communism that are ultimately responsible for the rescuing of China from poverty. The real heroes stood up for a system that produced people like Edison and Brunell who really were responsible for the material betterment of people all over the world and including China. Deng was merely artful in not letting the writing on the wall stop the Communist party from existing.
  • It's wet outside. Inside, I feel muggy.
  • It took me three frigging hours to get my USB Wifi device to work. The device has to be put in the USB slot in just the right way. Earlier, I had the device working if I pressed down on it but as soon as I released my finger, I would lose Wife and began to screw profusely.
  • Andis: The sky is black. Student: It looks like Obama. Andis: We would say it looks like rain.
  • A student told me that the subway will begin operation on July 1st. Or at least that is what she thought she heard on the local news.

Saturday [June 28]
[School Laptop]
  • This morning on the bus, I saw video which seem to be saying that the subway would begin operation on July 1.
  • Today's shift: 10:00 to 18:00. Afterward, I have to go to the pub with the trainers for some reason.
  • Last night, I very briefly saw what appeared to be a man giving the driver of a car a piece of his mind. The car driver's door was open and the man was speaking to the driver in a very threatening tone.
  • Tony wanted to make me a sandwich last night. Lord knows where he got that idea from.
  • Jenny tells me that Tony will be taking karate classes.
  • Good.
  • I finished reading the Deng Xiao Peng book. I started reading Pilgrim, a thriller novel, and the Twilight of Abundance – a dystopian look at the rest of the 21st century.
  • I am playing that same farging game with the USB device. When you have Wifi, it is pain to lose it, like it would be a pain to lose electricity.
  • Last night, a student told me that his least favorite number is 250 because it means dumb person in Chinese. That is, 250 or 二百五十,erbaiwushi in pinyin means dummy.
  • Oh my God! I forgot to list the politicians I admire. I have mentioned Preston Manning. Now here are four more: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, and ….

Sunday [June 29]
[Home Laptop]
  • and, and and Scott Walker from the state of Wisconsin.
  • I hate pubs. I hate pubs. When I go to them, I drink and I give in to the urge to smoke and feel like shit, both morally and physically. There has got to be a more civilized place to meet with people. There has got to be place, other than a bar, where civilized people can be found.
  • I type these complaints because I went to the Blue Marlin last night. I had to do so for work.
  • We sat on a patio next to a canal that goes through the Nanchan Temple Market area. Towards the end of the evening, the place was infested with mosquitoes.
  • As I was leaving the pub, a former student, her name was Rose, came up to talk to me. I couldn't recall her and I tried to finesse the fact by being overly jocular. As I went to catch my bus, I thought about what a dipshit I had been. I then put it out of my mind and returned to thinking about my petty grievances against the world.
  • Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Gavro Princip shooting Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The assassination then lead to one thing which lead to another, and some parts of the world are still screwed up because of it. Anyway, when quizzing the students about the date, I found one student had a vague idea about it. Another student told me that he thought World War One was a series of sword fights and that they didn't use guns during it.
  • No shifts today.
  • It is muggy outside. Walking briefly in the morning, I felt sweat and saw haze, and a lazy feeling came over me so I don't want to do anything today but read.
  • Because Tony hasn't been getting up early this week, I have missed making entries at TKIC Wordpress.
  • I published Dispatches from Akicistan #9.
  • I was crossing the street on a green light when a minivan cut a little too close when making a right turn around me. Farging ass-hat!
  • The Wanda Plaza Grocery had lineups at the checkouts that were twenty five persons long so I decided that I wasn't going to buy anything. I could go tomorrow when no one would be in the store, I reasoned.
  • The Twilight of Abundance book predicts that the Chinese will start a small war in their region in 2016 because they believe that Obama is weak and won't honor the mutual defense treaties that America has with some of China's neighbors. A bold prediction that I would bet against. I don't think the Chinese care so much who is the president of the USA. They are very self-centered people.
  • I had no control over today. I had no plan. I now feel very unfulfilled and ineffectual.
  • Chile and Brazil went to penalty kicks as I predicted.
  • I am still in a bad mood from having gone to pub the night before.
  • The problem with House of Cards is that all the characters are Democrats. The Republicans who do show up in the show are caricatures of what Democrats imagine Republicans to be.
  • And I do have to mention a politician I admire. Today's choice Rob Ford. Bad as he may seem. He is a four in world of ones and zeroes. You have to admire a man who has the guts to not make an obligatory appearance at a Gay Pride Parade in this day and age.
Monday [June 30]
  • No shifts today.
  • It's the last day of June. It's the last day of June! If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna swoom!
  • Get What?” you ask.
  • I watched the Mexico – Holland game last night. What a heartbreak for Mexico, but they have no one to blame but themselves. They took the 1-0 lead and proceeded to wilt or play very defensive. The Mexicans were hanging on at the end...
  • I thought Robben dived at the end and got Holland the game-deciding penalty.
  • I had predicted a Mexican victory in the school prediction competition. I was wrong about the first three games of the round of sixteen.
  • Tony likes watching Godzilla versus the Sea Monster.
  • I am making Tony lunch.
  • A rare thing for me to be doing.
  • One more politician whom I admire:
  • I should have penultimated my answering of the question with Mayor Rob Ford but I didn't and I am not interested in changing the sequence of this diary. I can edit yesterday's entry to improve the language but I won't change the fact of the entry.
  • You may also have noticed that I am trying to change penultimate into a verb.
  • I am stalling because no other politicians come to mind and I am trying to penultimatize.
  • I couldn't think of any and now I can think of many: George W Bush, John A. McDonald, Deborah Gray, Winston Churchill, Spiro Agnew, and John Howard.
  • Bush, a decent man, did what he thought was the right thing and was utterly lambasted by the Left and by some feckless conservatives. He has not responded with any bitterness to the many cheap shots directed his way by the demonic Left. [There is an argument to made that the Left resent him because he stole their foreign policy idealism. No doubt, the idealism was naïve but it was something the Left would have stood beside if it was their guy and not a White Texas Christian who was advancing it.]
  • John A was the first prime minister of Canada and a bit of drinker like Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
  • Deborah Gray was the first Reform Party member to be elected to parliament.
  • Churchill was Churchill. He took lickings and kept on ticking. His life story makes Barabbas Obama look like a pantywaist.
  • Spiro Agnew delivered the line about the nattering nabobs of negativism.
  • John Howard was an Australian admirer of the USA. Good on him!
  • Tomorrow: Canada Day. Canadians are boring but delicious.

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