Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 27th is Our Anniversary!!!

8 Years!

I love you Honey!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Things AKIC Did in September 2014

  • I had access to another person's We-Chat account and so I made some goofy postings to the Moments section: here We-Chaters can make postings for all their contacts to see. One I did caused a lot of reaction. Hoping for another Moments coup, I told the person to pose for a photo holding his nipples. I posted the photo and also wrote the following in Moments: What is the Sam Hill is going on with my nipples? They are tender and chaffed this morning. Alas, there was much reaction His girlfriend later deleted the post. She said it wasn't very professional.

  • There was a song played at the end of a Radio Free Delingpole podcast episode that was catchy and not familiar to me, and for the life of me, I couldn't find the song's name and artist. But I then used a Siri feature on Ios 8 which I had just downloaded. I re-downloaded the podcast episode onto my Ipod and then played it for Siri on My Ipad. Siri identified the song in about five seconds and I was able to download the song from Baidu.

  • I have realized that people take what is said on Social Apps very seriously. And I have a great idea for a movie. The promo goes like this: They didn't take social apps seriously and now they're paying the price....

  • I got Tony to do some homework. I then did some arithmetic problems with him. I ask him what twenty plus twenty is, he doesn't understand. I ask him what 二十几二十 is, he understands and says 四十。

  • I shot another commercial, that will be shown on the Wuxi Metro video screens, for my school. In it, I tell the pretty co-star that I am getting ready to do some backpacking next week, and then tell her how backpacking is an activity that is physically challenging, for which you should travel light, and wonderful for those on a budget (like me).

  • I have been earning extra dough doing video transcribing. I thought that in this day and age, that there was software that could do that for you. As it is, there is a demand for it and I feel like I have over-committed.

  • I bought the Happy Meal at McDonald's so I could get the Takara Plarail Train Toys for Tony.

  • I bought two of the same toy but didn't give them to Tony directly. I instead left them with his other toys so he could find them. The first toy he was happy to get. But the second toy brought on a strange reaction. He found this toy while I was at work. When I came home, Tony was upset with me. "I don't want this!" he said to me angrily. "I already have one!" I was surprised at his attitude, and chided him for his ingratitude.

  • I attended a reception at a Hotel located in the heart of Taihu New City (so said the hotel website) that was really far away from the downtown Wuxi. It was to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic in China. A bunch of foreigners, including the trainers at my school, attended. Most of the foreigners were businessmen wearing suits and ties. (I at least wore a tie with white shirt and black pants – the rest of my colleagues balked at the idea of dressing formal) I recognized only two of the foreigners but didn't talk to them. I felt intimidated by being with so many business types and couldn't escape this feeling of being frivolous English teaching riff-raff. The mayor of Wuxi made a speech thanking the foreigners for their support. Later, he came up to us and gave us a name card which I will keep as a souvenir.

  • After the reception, I returned home and stopped by my local mom and pop shop to buy some drinks. The female proprietor looked at Tony Baba (that be me), and asked why I was wearing a tie. Not knowing what Chinese to say, I showed her the card I got from the Mayor.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Things I was told in September 2014

  • A student told me that they had to write an exam on a Sunday evening. A Sunday Evening!!

  • A foreigner told me that he was accosted by a local woman on the street who told him he shouldn't be dating Japanese woman while he was with his girlfriend who was a local.

  • A student told me their favorite flavor of ice cream was rose. She insisted on this when I questioned the existence of rose flavored ice cream. She then denied that she meant strawberry.

  • A student told me that she had gone on an exchange trip to Denmark. I asked her if Danes struck her as being particularly happy, perhaps the happiest people on Earth. She told me that they liked to party till five in the morning and that she hadn't meet an unhappy one.

  • My wife told me that a man was arrested for peeing on a Wuxi Metro train.

  • Other students told me that parents letting their baby pee on the Wuxi Metro train had made the news.

  • We Chat silliness engaged in by me has my colleague being shunned by members of Wuxi's American Football team. Or so my colleague told me.

  • A young male student was upset because he learned that his school was going to have a sports day on October 1st. The day is supposed to be the first of a three day holiday for everyone.

  • A student told me her favorite movie was Roman Holiday. I have probably had a hundred students tell that this is their favorite movie.

  • The students told me that they had to go to work or attend school on the Sunday before the October holiday.

  • Someone keeps telling me and other people that he has broken up with his Chinese girlfriend, only to still be living with her the next day or week.

  • On the day that I heard about the riots in Hong Kong, I just so happened to have in class, a student who is going to go to Hong Kong to study. Talking to her more, I learned that she had spent a great deal of time in Hong Kong, even spending summer vacations there because her parents' Hong Kong flat. I asked her if she had heard about the riots. She told me she did and that she was surprised because she thought that the Chinese government was doing a good job of running the place and couldn't understand why the people in Hong Kong were so upset. I told her if I was in their shoes, I would do the same. Hong Kong, I told her, should be running China, not China running Hong Kong. She also told me that when she is in Hong Kong, she prefers to speak Cantonese because Mandarin speakers are looked down upon.

  • A student told me she will go to the M & Ms factory in Shanghai.

  • A student told me that she would never eat the street-made fried dough sticks, called youtiao by the locals, because she had heard that the vendors use soap when making them in order to enhance their golden brown appearance.

Things Seen In Wuxi, September 2014

Things I have saw in Wuxi in September, 2014:

  • A School Master with a loud hailer supervising rows upon rows of uniformed school children doing mass calisthenics on the school playground.

  • Hair salon workers standing in file, outside the salon, being spoken to (harangued by?) their manager.

  • Street cleaners wearing the hats I normally associate with Vietnamese rice paddy farmers.

  • A local man wearing a polo shirt so that was partially rolled up so as to expose his midriff.

  • A male holding onto to the forearm of his female companion in a caveman manner. Instead of holding onto her hand, he had grabbed onto her forearm in order, it seemed to me, to pull her about like she was a recalcitrant child.

  • A young woman wearing a t-shirt on which was printed the word "pervert."

  • Three security guards rolling a traffic cop's pedestal from the center of the intersection of Zhongshan and Xueqian roads at about nine in the morning. Despite the fact that the intersection has traffic control lights, the powers that be still see a need for a policeman to direct traffic during rush hours. Interestingly, the guards, when rolling the pedestal to a corner, weren't paying attention to traffic and vehicles had to swerve to avoid colliding with them.

  • Two young men together on a bicycle. They dressed in identical white dress shirts, black pants, and dress shoes. One was standing as he turned the pedals, with a look of exertion on his face, as the other sat on the basket clamp over the rear wheel.

  • An old man with a very distinctive scowl on his face getting off a Wuxi Metro train. He moved slowly and was one of the last passengers to get to the platform exit.

  • A man with shoulder-length white hair crossing at a pedestrian pathway on Zhongshan Road. He is too far away from me for I to be able to determine his nationality.

  • At the shuttle bus station that is by the Wuxi Metro Yanqiao Station, there are long rows of potted flower beds that have been erected seven feet above ground. One day while riding the bus, I saw about ten workers, wearing those Vietnamese style farmer hats, in a row planting flowers in these beds. To see them seven feet in the air, was seemingly to see them at a new and heightened perspective.

  • A man standing on a corner with a large turtle hanging from a hook. I assume he was showing it off because he wanted to sell it.

  • A very wide sign. It was wide because the title printed on it was very long. The sign was so wide I would have had to stand in the middle of the road to capture all its width with my pocket camera. Piecing the title together from the two photos I had to take to capture all the words: the sign says: National Center of Supervision and Inspection on Preoduct Quality of Overhead Gantry Crane Machinery: Equipment Safety Supervision Inspection Branch of Jiangsu Province. (the spelling mistake was on the sign!)

  • Eight people on the entire Wuxi Metro Train at 815 PM on a Monday.

  • Waiting for the shuttle bus that takes me to the Subway Station, an old man walked past and was looking at me, studying me closely; and so I stared back, looking him straight in the eye after having given him the once over. I detected the corner of a laughing smile on his face as he had passed by me.

  • While waiting for the shuttle bus to take me home from the subway station, I was Daydreaming and so the driver honked the horn at me to get me to board. I would have been her only passenger.

  • Taking the shuttle bus one morning, I saw, at an intersection, a driver perform a very quick left turn off a fresh green and thus cut in front of the bus I was on which was attempting to proceed straight through the intersection from the opposite direction. This wasn't worth blogging about. It was the driver behind the first left-turning car doing the same maneuver that was. The second left-turning car wasn't actually stopped at the intersection when the light turned green but was approaching it at full speed. The driver as well wanted to make a left turn and not wait for the bus to go through the intersection. So, making the left turn at a high rate of speed, the car missed hitting the shuttle bus I was on by a foot!

  • On the subway, there was a baby without diapers. I didn't pay much attention to the baby and its family, but I couldn't help but notice that when they got off at a station that there was a puddle where they had been sitting. Jenny confirmed my suspicions that the baby had taken a piss.

  • Taking the subway home on a Friday evening, I saw there were a lot more passengers than usual and I had people sitting next to me. I was reading, flipping through, you could say, books on my Ipad. I noticed a male sitting on my left, stare at the screen full or curiosity as to what I was looking at. A male on sitting on my seemed to have done the same thing, but then I heard and felt him thump his head against the side wall of the train. Why he was doing this was a mystery to me. I took a glance at him and he didn't appear to be mad.

  • On a Saturday morning, I was walking to a bus stop and saw a row of black cars with pink bows tied to the front outside mirrors. Someone in my apartment complex was getting married I thought.

  • Next day, I see the same fleet of cars parked on the road outside our apartment. Someone says something and the drivers got in the cars and headed off somewhere. Maybe someone isn't getting married from the apartment I thought.

  • I saw myself on Wuxi Metro television. As I walked in the station, I saw the video that had been taken of me and the redoubtable Edith, a study assistant at my school, doing a commercial spot for our school. And I was wearing the same green khaki colored shirt that I wore recording the commercial and so I felt sheepish.

  • Walking near a Primary School as the students are about to go home, I see a man walking down the street with no shirt on. I needed to put something in this blog and that is all I saw. Of course, he did stand out, especially to me because I was in the mindset that it was autumn.

  • I saw a foreign woman at a Wuxi City Hall reception wearing a nice formal dress. It was long and had a low back. From behind, I was surprised to see she had a huge tattoo. Is that what is cool in the West? I have been away over ten years now so what do I know? The last time I was there and living there, tattoos were the fashion.

  • At the same reception, I saw a Japanese man wearing a suit and white shoes.

  • I was walking back to Casa Kaulins because I was not willing to stand and wait twenty minutes for a bus. On the way, I saw many outstanding examples of bad parking. Several cars were parked a meter from the curb, some cars were at 45 degree angles to the curb, and one car was was parked perpendicular to the curve. Its driver was going into the space between two cars that weren't parked in the center of the lined spaces.

  • But what really got to me about the road I was walking down wasn't the bad parking, but the hideous ugliness of the scene. Cars and pavement and trash and crumbling buildings and gray sky.

  • On the last day of September, I was walking down a street towards the McDonalds on the corner of Zhongshan and Xueqian Road. The Number Two People's Hospital was across the street. In quick succession, I suddenly heard the screeching of a car coming to a quick stop, the sound of a collision, and a collective gasp of people seeing what was happening. I turned to my right to the cause of the sounds and the gasps, and saw that a taxi had hit an electric bike. The e-biker was a woman and she was knocked off her e-bike so that she was sitting on the pavement, one leg straight on the ground and the other bent under her buttock. The accident happened at a spot on the road that was combination pedestrian crossing and car turning spot – Zhongshan Road otherwise has barriers dividing the opposing lanes of traffic. I have often tried to cross the road at that point and it is a place with a high probability of accidents because pedestrians and e-bikes and cars come into conflict. They all ignore each other. (And to think, if I hadn't decided to go to McDonalds, I would have been crossing at the spot where the accident happened.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

September 2014 Thoughts and Observations

Thoughts and observations from September 2014:

  • For some extra money, I am listening to, watching, and typing out the words said in these lectures from a left wing and sort of religious organization, Sojourners they are called, at Georgetown University. If I wasn't being paid to do, I wouldn't. Be that as it may, it is interesting and good that I do listen to what the other side of me politically has to say. It seems to me that those lefties say a lot of things that are not true or at best half true, and they have no idea what it is that the right or conservatives really believe. I don't really feel that they challenge my views in the least.

  • I am a big fan of breakfast. I would wear a shirt with the words breakfast printed on them if such a thing was available.

  • I thought to check up on the standings in the Canadian Football League, and I was stunned. What I mean is, that for the CFL, which I hope will always be with us, the standings were an embarrassment. The league has a five team Western Division and a four team Eastern Division. Looking at the standings on their web site , the West division is usually at the top and the East Division is on the bottom. I first noticed, as I looked at the league site, that the last place team in the West division of the league had a 6 – 5 record, that is a winning record. A lot of losing teams in the East Division I thought, but I didn't expect to see what I was to see. Scrolling down to the East division, I saw that the first place team had a 3 – 7 record, that is three wins and seven losses, four games below .500! It was unfortunate that there were no sports fan in the office to whom I could show these standings.

  • I am reading The First Circle by Alexander S. Reading it on my Ipad, I highlighted the following passage: in that moment of weariness and self-satisfaction, the temptation is greatest to give up, not to strive for the peak of quality. Try as I might to make the writing in my blogging better by reading and rereading and rereading and editing a piece as many times as I can, I do experience that moment of weariness and self-satisfaction, and just say "fuck it" and press the publish button. I got to stop doing that.

  • I look at myself being nearly fifty years old. How old is the "I " that is looking at himself being fifty years old?

  • I had a student tell me that her favorite animal was a fish. She then told me her favorite food was fish. She liked eating her favorite animal. There is nobody I like enough to eat.

  • A local acquaintance of mine was asking what I thought about the Scottish independence question. I told him what I read David Warren said, which was that the English would be crazy to want to keep the Scots and that the Scots would be crazy to want to break away from the English. But why do they want to leave? the acquaintance asked. I said that they wanted their own country. Like the people in Quebec? He asked. Sort of, I said. And the acquaintance mentioned people from Jiangying, a district of Wuxi. Jiangying people, he said, say they are from Jiangying, not from Wuxi. All the while, Wuxi people who don't live in Jianggying district think Jiangying is part of Wuxi. There is local pride, of a sort, in China. (Jiangying or Jiangyin?)

  • The sensible part of me desires a No vote in the Scottish Referendum. The monster raving lunatic joker part of me desires a Yes vote.

  • I am the andis in outlandish.

  • I like Vincent Price movies. I have watched three this month and they are all just wonderful.

  • Here are some WeChat moments I would like to publish using other people's WeChat accounts: 1)Sunshine and Lollipops. Bubble Gum and Ice Cream. Happy, happy, happy, happy day! 2) I got drunk, went to a toy store with my niece, and bought four Barbie dolls. Am I a good uncle or what? 3) I think that ______ and I are better together! (WeChat is a mobile social app that I and many of my students use.)

  • This is not the only blogging I did for September. Expect more entries in the next few days.