Thursday, November 3, 2016

October 2016 Notes

Taking Tony to school for 7:30 AM and later coming home after 8:00 PM to see Jenny still having him do his homework was more than I could stomach. How could I put up with this till June? Something had to give.

And boy, did it ever! On October 3, the third day of the Golden Week in China, I had Jenny demand that I move out because I told her to stop "overdoing" it with Tony. She said that I was being ungrateful of the sacrifice she was making. Hard to be appreciative if your full of fear of her temper tantrums.


We were able to reconcile but not till after the holiday had been wasted.


I can't stop blogging about the local driving.

I saw a big dump truck drive the wrong way against three full lanes of traffic. The vehicles got out of its way. The detail that made this bit of driving memorable – for I have seen drivers do so many things that I wouldn't do in a traffic jam – was the fact that the driver was talking on his mobile phone as he was doing so. Talk about nonchalance! Jenny, who tells me that she knows how the local drivers think, was wishing she had taken a photo.


Glad to see that Trump gave it to that woman about her rapist husband.

Supporters of Clinton [Are there really such people?!?] say that she is being held to higher standards.

Well, she is running for the Presidency of the United States of America!! This talk of it being unfair for her is only proving what her many detractors have always said: she is not Presidential material because they can't brag about how well she has stood up to this unfair attacks or any accomplishments she might have.


The Chinese are inscrutable. I screamed at this fellow in a van which was blocking my car and he just looked straight forward like he was deaf or had a stone face.


A student told me that she to finish her homework on a Friday night. The teacher wanted her and her classmates to email photos of the finished pages that night.

A common practice I learned from a math teacher at #1 High School.

And on top of that, the students had had a stretch of seven days in a row (starting on the Saturday previous to the Friday that the student had to have here homework done by) of attending classes and doing homework every day.


Young student was telling me about pieces of paper that could get you meat and rice. His parents had these pieces of paper as sorts of souvenirs from the old days in China.

I told him I had heard about those things. They were called Ration Coupons.


A female student has one child. Asked by me if she would have a second, she said she wouldn't because of the work involved in having them go to school.

With my Tony in primary school, her thought really struck home.


A student living near the Xi Zhuang metro station had some interesting things to tell me about the Xi Zhuang area. Xi Zhuang is two stops down the line from the Yan Qiao Station. I used to park our car at Xi Zhuang and then take the subway downtown. The station had lots of places to park unlike Yanqiao station.

Xi Zhuang's most interesting landmark is this ten year old empty shopping mall, complete a with 100 meter tall Ferris wheel. The owner of this mall, the student told me, ran away, leaving the property in limbo. No other developers seem willing to take on the property and so it seems doomed to crumble.

The second most prominent landmark in Xi Zhuang is the metro station. The metro station first attracted my attention because it when it was being built, it was surrounded by empty fields. Since the metro opened, those fields are still empty. The student told me that the Xi Zhuang government didn't have any money to build a planned shopping mall in one of the fields surrounding the mall. [I have posted some photos to my AKIC Wordpress Photo Blog.]

Thus the hoped for economic development hasn't taken place. And to plan to build a shopping mall when you already have a perfectly good one that is empty seems the height of economic folly to me – at least a little higher than building a metro station in an empty field.


Jobs people want in China, I asked. Teachers and Translators, said the student in response.

Lame answer! I told the student.


"I don't want vegetables. I will have meat instead."

That was a sentence a student made with the word instead.

In real situations, I tried to tell her, you would use instead with things that are better substitutes for each other.


Students think it strange that I would want to put margarine in hot rice. It gives it flavor I tell them.


Tony & I found a Iphone 6 on the road near our apartment one Saturday morning, as we were going to catch the bus that would take us downtown. I picked phone up, saw that it was fully charged and had 4G reception. I decided to take the phone to work with me, thinking that even though I was taking the phone far out of the owner's way, there wasn't much else I could do. My intention was to see that the person got their phone even though it may inconvenience them. I

While I was making my way to work, however, I turned off the phone so that if the person phoned me, I wouldn't be in the awkward situation of trying to use my poor Chinese.

When Tony & I arrived at work, I turned the phone on and handed it to one of the girls at work, telling her to wait for someone to call it. I was relieved, as I handed if off, to see that no one had called it yet and so they weren't thinking at that moment that their phone was lost forever.

The owner did phone about fifteen minutes later. He then immediately came to the school to pick it up and wanted to take me for lunch for what I had done.

I was surprised at how quickly the fellow came all the way from Hui Shan District to the downtown to get his phone.

I was also surprised at how grateful he was. Jenny later told me that often lost phones get sold in secondary markets. Was my doing the proper thing such a rare occurrence in modern Mainland China?

Mobile Phones, as this incident shows, have become an addiction. It was like I picked up a bag of cocaine and the user coming from thirty miles away to retrieve it.

The man had lost his phone while driving his e-bike which explains why I found it on the road.

My reward for returning the phone was a big box of Three Squirrels brand nuts.


Big Bridge Fatigue blues.

During my first stint at Big Bridge as a High School History teacher, I came down with a flu whose symptoms were extreme fatigue.

I came down with the same bug at the Primary School this month.

As on the first occasion, I got through without having to call in sick after thinking that I would have to and so I maintained my streak of never having ever called in sick this millennium. I spent the day sleeping and not eating.


I published a photo in the AKIC photo blog where I called a driver, of the car parked next to us in our apartment garage, an idiot. Look at the photo to see why.

I should be thankful I have a post on the other side to park beside. I wouldn't want to park between two drivers who are dumber than posts.


As October closed, I was praying for a Clinton loss. Bad as Trump is, he isn't as corrupt, conniving and unaccomplished as Bill's wife.


In my sour moments, I really think I hate the mainland Chinese. I think how ugly and cloddish are the men, how plain are the women, and how their children are barely removed from monkeys. But I have been living here for 12 years and so I sometimes forget my misanthropy.

China is a great place to be a misanthrope, I'll give it that.


Going to pick up Tony at school can put me in a sour mood. From the photos I have taken of pick up time at Tony's school and have published in my photo blog, you can see that many parents drive like inconsiderate idiots when they come to pick up their children. And when I hear someone say look at the laowai while there, I get the impulse to teach Tony swear words.

Let's get the f*** out of here!

Homework is ****!

Stop honking your horn *********!


Tony wanted to dress as a German soldier for Halloween.

I wanted to dress as Hilary Clinton.


In the West, they put fences by roads.

In Communist China, they put fences on roads.


I have renewed acquaintance with some old friends in October: Peanut Butter & Jam Sandwiches and Couscous. The latter comes out quite nice when I use to the rice cooker.


Now that the Chicago Cubs have made the World Series, they no longer have a point to their existence. Suffering, if I understand David Warren right, is good for our souls. Now that Cubs fans aren't suffering, they will soon become soulless, like Red Sox fans.


On the second last Monday of October, Jenny was tiger-mothering Tony till 11:00 PM and so I couldn't sleep.

Next morning suffering from a tired induced grumpiness, I snapped at this old woman in a bakery who put her tray in on the counter in front of me as I was trying to order coffee. My screaming at her made her pull it away. But I couldn't resist the urge to call her bitch.

Thinking about the incident afterwards, I could say that the woman wasn't budging in front of me as so much as she was trying to put her tray in the space that was there on the counter in front of me. This seems from my observations of the locals a not unusual practice. Unfortunately when she put the tray in front of me, I was tired and not able to control my impulses which were set off when she got into my space as she placed the tray on her counter. And I have had locals, who were behind me in lineups, in train stations and at McDonalds, reach around me with cash in their hands in some bizarre attempt to get quicker service.


A student told me that he hated his boss for not accepting the excuses that he had given him for being late to work.

The student was late once every week. His excuse was the traffic.

The student told me this in the midst of a group discussion so I had to let it pass with much comment.

I will comment now. I would like to think that my rare readers would realize how weak the student's excuses were. But in my days as a supervisor I met far too many people with the mentality that this was a legitimate excuse that you could use on a continual basis for being late for work. So I will state what would seem obvious to me. Maybe, that student should leave for work earlier.


We, that be Jenny & I, celebrated our 10th anniversary on the 27th. [If you visit my photo blog, you will see a picture from the day in 2006 when we went to Nanjing to get the marriage certificate.]

Apparently, we have beaten the odds by making it to our 10th anniversary. If anyone would ask how we did it, I would offer only a reactionary observation: asking how a marriage has lasted is a stupid question that a modern would ask.

When it comes to marriage, heed what the Catholics say about it.


Two months of teaching primary school makes me wonder what child labor is considered a bad thing.

There surely is an advantage to using all the energy they have for some productive purpose instead of wasting it on educational endeavors that won't benefit them in the future one iota.


"Where you from?" I asked the male foreigners who happened to sit across from me and Tony on the Metro.

"Tajikistan!" one of them said.

I heard what he said, but since it wasn't the answer I was expecting, I asked him to say it again.

I learned that the two gentleman were studying Chinese at the Zhangnan University.

They asked me how long I had been in Wuxi. I told them 12 years. I pointed to Tony, who was sitting beside me, as I told them my reason for being so long in Wuxi was that I married a Chinese girl.

I then pointed to Tony to tell them how his Chinese was already so much better than mine.