Saturday, August 28, 2021

New Job, New Apartment

I probably have no readers.

No one has complained about my not having blogger for a while.

Be that as it may, if there is anyone who is interested, I haven't blogged recently because I moved and started a new job.

How much I will blog in the future is TBD.  I will be busy with my new job and having my petulant 14 year old son as a roommate.

Questions?  Email me at andiskaulins@protonmail.com.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

I Am Not Scared of Any Stupid Virus!

My wife always scares me but that is a thing that been so for all husbands since time immemorial.


Covid-19 doesn't scare me. The worse it could do is kill me. What scares me is the response of bureaucracies around the world to it. Their over-reaction is soul-destroying. 


A life where one is scared of dying is a life not worth living. A life not worth living is bad for the soul.


I would rather catch the Covid than put up with these useless preventary measures.


Every year, viruses come and kill the old and the people whose health is in a very bad way. Some years, more are killed than others. It happens and science can do anything about it. So why does it think it can do anything about this virus?


Madness!


Madness!


Absolute madness!


Monday, August 2, 2021

A Frustrating Afternoon

The next revolution should not be about class or whatever normal revolutionists like to rally against,. It should be about bureaucracy Revolutions, as I believe Nicholas Gomez Davillia said, lead to bureaucracies. So it may well be asking too much to change the world without creating a bureaucracy. So what to do about the bureaucracy problem and the soul destroying effect it has on normal human beings?


I am too lazy to make an essay about that. And I have no ideas about how to destroy bureaucracies. I say just pray to Mary, Jesus and God every day. So no essay. I'll just tell how it hurt me and my son Tony one Monday.


My Chinese Driver's License expires in September, so I was hoping to get it renewed on a recent Monday afternoon. I brought Tony along, hoping he could act as my interpreter.


I got my wife Jenny to phone the authorities and find out what I needed to bring and where I needed to go. I was left with the impression that all I needed to bring was my current license and my passport. Entering the address, Jenny found for me, into my GPS app, it told me that it was a seventeen minute drive, not bad as drives in Wuxi have been for me recently.


Easy Cheesy I thought for a moment. I now wonder how I, living in clown world, could have been so foolishlyoptimistic. The afternoon was one frustration after another. I swore a lot. Tony got very annoyed with me and was crying on his mother's shoulder when we finally got home.


The drive to the Driver License bureau went smoothly until we got to a stretch of road where there was a traffic jam full of big trucks. I got stuck among them and so I couldn't see where I was going and couldn't determine whether I was in the proper lane. I had to follow along with them. The GPS told me to go straight along the road on which I was. Not being able to see far ahead me, I was perturbed to see that the trucks were going leftwards. It seemed construction was forcing them to do this. It got scary for me as two trucks tried cut into the lineup at the point where the lane went leftwards... I got through it , but when I finally got to the traffic light all the traffic was turning left which I didn't think I was supposed to do. The GPS however guided me along and it seemed I was on the way to the driver license place.


At the driver license place however, I came upon a lot of parked cars parked haphazardly, a complex with a closed gate and a lot of confused people. I was lead to believe by talking to Tony, Jenny on the phone and to people there that the computers there were down. So, I decided to try to go to another place in the city and get the license renewed there.


I drove away from the zoo, found a spot to stop, and dealt with getting an address for an alternate driver license bureau. This was yet another annoyance because the address Jenny sent me didn't come as a driver license bureau in the GPS app. I eventually decided to drive to the address and see what I could find when I got there.


The address was very familiar to me. It was where we bought our car and where we get it serviced. However, we couldn't find a driver license place by driving around and hoping to come across it.

I went into our car dealership and they gave us a better idea where the bureau was. This was good because I had been doubting that we had gone to right area.


However, the instructions we were given about the licensing place being behind a car wash, that we were familiar, didn't get us to to the driver license place right away. We still had to drive around and ask two people on the street to point us in the right direction. And there was no where to park near the license place and I had to find a parking spot that required us to do some walking. And I went to the entrance only to realize that I had forgotten to bring my mask, which has become mandatory to get through entrances these days. 


At this point, Tony was at his wit's end. He was frustrated with my seemingly being lost and his inability to be a good interpreter. If I didn't love him so much, I would have been very impatient with him in turn. I had to continually reassure him.


We got to the license bureau which was on the fourth floor of a building. At the entrance, there was some guy doing Covid checks. He wanted us to scan a QR code. What I do these days is show them a QR code that I have screenshot of on my phone. I have this Wuxi health bureau app that never works when you need it to. Scanning the QR codes they have posted at entrances has never worked for me. They also hassle Tony for a QR code so what I have done is show them a screen shot that my wife sent me. This had been working easily before but Tony was hassled and had to do some explaining before they would let him in twice this day.


We got in a lineup, waited for thirty minutes, only to learn that there was a document I needed. Wasn't much I could do but complain that the people my wife had phoned didn't mention anything about me needing to bring this other document – a resident permit or something.


I thought I was suppressing my anger well when I drove away, but more QR code Covid and other assorted bureaucracy got to me.


I sweated a lot in walking to the license place and while waiting in line, so I needed to get something for Tony and me to drink. However, it is so not easy to stop and buy a drink at a shop with a car in Wuxi. You have to go through gates and sometimes parking near a small shop is hard to find or restricted. So, I decided on going to Metro, what passes in Wuxi for Costco. There was parking there, and it was easy enough to get in and out. But I was hoping that there wouldn't be long lineups. (Annoyingly, I can't use the quicker self-checkout there because I can't use their self-checkout app for some stupid reason. ) When we got there, Tony & I got hassled at the entrance where they wanted us to scan their QR code. We had to go through the whole song and dance of showing them the QR codes we had and telling them how the QR codes they wanted us to scan never worked for us. We bought drinks. The lineup was not so bad. Tony worked with the app that paid for our parking. He told me that we were good to go. But when we got to the exit gate, I nearly crashed the gate. I then saw the a electronic message saying we owed 5.00 rmb for parking. I was furious and I swore as I handed over five rmb to the parking attendant. This scene upset Tony who didn't want to have any of the drinks we had just bought. My frustration at wasting time trying to renew my driver's license was taken out on the parking attendant.


I did drive from Metro to the entrance of the old Casa K apartment complex without incident. As we were approaching home, I told Tony that annoying as the day was, we were going to be safely home.


But there was another cruel surprise, courtesy the Covid bureaucracy. At the entrance, the security guys wanted drivers to scan QR codes. Annoyed yet again, I lowered my window and swore at the guy who pointed a QR code at me. He reeled back and shrugged his shoulders.. I gave my phone to Tony and got him to scan QR code and see if he had any luck. I made a show of getting out of the car and watching Tony see if he could have any success with the QR code. I got out because I wanted the drivers in the line behind me to honk their horns and force the guards to let me through. The guards did but not before Tony had to try to explain himself.


Tony was annoyed at me and he ran home ahead of me to get to our apartment. When I arrived, he was already in his bedroom crying on his mother's shoulder. I was feeling like a schmuck.


Tony was okay in an hour, and I didn't feel completely guilty. QR codery is an evil thing if you ask me. My real shame is that I go along with it as much as I do. And to be fair QR codery could be a useful thing if it didn't become a tool of the bureaucracy and a tool for capitalist to eliminate the human element in service.



Sunday, August 1, 2021

Can I Get Off Clown World?; Mattresses; Move Delayed;

The local authorities insist on having everyone in the district do a Covid test. So, in the public spaces near the Hui Shan Wanda Mall, they have set up these huge testing centers which seem able to accommodate thousands of people having to queues.


Summer classes and sports practices for children have been cancelled.


I pray that a lockdown isn't coming.





Scratch what I said about moving August 1st. The 29th floor apartment we wanted didn't have mattresses for the beds, and the landlord wanted us to buy them. There was then an ugly scene where my wife Jenny had to call the police to get our deposit back. Nothing I could do but stand and watch; my son Tony was very angry at the landlords and wanted me to punch them. I needed Jenny to confirm for him that it wasn't good idea.


I will be moving August 8th. We found a cleaner apartment in a nearby buliding on the 19th floor. That has two bathrooms. And I can see my school from my bedroom. The people at school, if they wanted, could watch me get dressed with a telescope or binoculars.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Covidiocy Returns to Wuxi; Read Poetry as if it is a Pop Song? Old Casa K's Upstairs Neighbors;


Driving into a parking garage under a mall that is near to the old Casa Kaulins, I had to roll down my window so a guard could point a temperature gun at my wrist.


I see more and more locals wearing masks.


I have been told more than a few times to put on my mask by security guards at the entrance of my wife Jenny's office building and of our soon-to-be old apartment complex.


I have also been told a few times very recently to raise my mask on my face so that it covers my nose.


I saw a family of three, all wearing masks, get into a car. (about whom, more non.)


Stopped at red lights, I have seen more and more drivers beside me wearing masks in their cars.


All of this because a person, with Covid, was said to have visited some popular spots in Wuxi. One has to wonder how a person really sick with Covid would be able to go out anywhere.


I made a joke about to someone on WeChat that everyone was going to have to stay home because a person with hangnail had visited a pedestrian mall in downtown Wuxi.





I was reading a poem by John Donne, I was liking it, and I thought to myself, I should reading this as often as I listen to pop songs I like.




August 1st, the move to the new Casa K will begin. New Casa K will be on the 29th floor of an apartment building near our (my son Tony & I's) new school. 


One good thing about the move is I won't have to see the old Casa K upstair neighbors anymore. These people earned the K Family China's ire by their stealing of water which resulted in a dripping Chinese  water torture like sound that drove my easily provoked wife Jenny to knock on their doors at 2:00 AM. These "neighbors'" when I saw them, didn't look very neighborly with their mean, unhappy faces whose most prominent feature was the hard cold glare of their eyes. And every week, we were also having to endure the sounds of the parents screaming at and beating their one child.


The piece of resistance which confirmed their stupidity for me was watching them as a family get into a car all wearing masks. Stupidity deserves itself.



Peter Hitchens and Simone Weil

Are these two intellectual figures closely related? Perhaps. They both take Christianity seriously. They both flirted with Communist politics. They both try to live a life of a common person. (Hitchens is very much alive. Weil is dead. I should say.)


They both have famous brothers. And whenever they are introduced to audiences that are assumed to not know them, their having these famous brothers is always mentioned. In the case of Peter Hitchens, it is always mentioned that his brother was Christopher Hitchens, the famous Atheist and Polemicist; for Weil, that her brother Andre Weil was a very famous mathematician.


For me though, I always forget about their famous brothers until I come upon these introductions. Christopher Hitchens has died and I suspect that in a few years, he will be forgotten. He never wrote a classic piece. Andre Weil to me is only known because of his sister. Otherwise, I would never have heard of him.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Driving Complaints

I hate driving in Wuxi. 


I'll say it again: I hate driving in Wuxi. If there are any regular readers of this blog, they know why. But if you are a new reader, I say this: Wuxi drivers are imprudent, impolite and impractical.


So, is are my latest of my recurring complaints about the local drivers:


  • They make left turns without looking. A few times in the last few days, I have had close encounters with drivers in big boat sized BMWs making turns into my path without looking. Hopefully, I startled and scared them with my angry horn honking and close approach to their cars.

  • They don't know how to merge. There are these ramps one takes to merge onto the elevated roads come into them at an angle. The road by this angle narrows to nothing. A couple times one recent day, I was not merging, but on the lane next to the merging lane (because of heavy traffic), driving past it as it were. Twice I was at a point along the merging lane where I thought that there surely wasn't enough space for a car to try to merge in but a car did try, incredibly to me, to merge in ahead of me or beside me. I had to honk at the car and force it slow down because there was no way I was going to yield because the driver was trying to cut me off and because there was no way I could move to the lane over from us because the traffic was that heavy.

  • They should use their turn signals more and their horns less. I will say, however, that more and more local drivers are using their turn signals, but far too many still don't. Years of praying the rosary still haven't made me want to tolerate this quirk. And as for using their horns too much: Just today, when I was walking from my wife's office building to the Casa K apartment, I was honked at by a driver as I was crossing at a t-junction. The driver was going to eventually make a turn from the side road to the main road. Now, I say "eventually" because the driver honked at me from quite a distance. He was so far from the intersection that I had time to slowly turn my head to look at him and to watch his car come to a stop. It seemed he wanted me to yield to him so he could barrel onto the main road without looking or making a turn signal!