March 4 to March 10
Gratitude: I am thankful for the warm weather we had this week.
Acknowledgment: I am a son-of-a-bitch. I can't tell you why exactly I am, but I am sure I must be. For instance,I always get a set on a crowded bus so, ipso facto cetabus perabus, there is something I am doing that must not be right and proper that an s.o.b. would do.
Request: Send me money. I have never asked before so I thought I would give it a shot. You can email me at email@example.com and we will iron out the details about how you can transfer the money to my account.
The AKIC Week in Brief: This is the week that my wife Jenny to order parts for our toy train set on Taobao. I also learned about an app called dotdotdot. Other than that, I went to work and returned home. I have been such a homebody lately.
What AKIC Is Reading this Week (The eleventh greatest Englishman of all-time introduced me to an app and site called www.dotdotdot.me. It lets you announce to the world what books you are reading. However, it needs to be able to interface with Ibook app as well as the Calibre e-book management program before it can be really effective in my eyes. I will persist, in this weekly AKIC blog feature just the same or I should say regardlessly or irregardlessly.)
Don Colacho's Aphorisms: there are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for myself. I read ten aphorisms at a time. I cut and paste the better ones – they are all profound actually – and I put them in my weekly blog entry.
Ulysses by James Joyce: I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly goes through Joyce's modernist novel. Delaney is making the novel more understandable and enjoyable. Delaney figures he will do his last ReJoyce Podcast in 22 years. Now that I have caught up to Delaney's podcast, I am getting ahead him as far as reading the book. I will be finished it, I figure, in the year.
The Holy Bible King James Version. The Gospels According to Saint Mark. I have been reading the KJV, all the while I have engaged in making these weekly blog entries– I hadn't till a few weeks ago made a point of announcing it.
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle. An adventure set in the Middle Ages. There is more to Doyle than Sherlock Holmes.
Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. Finished. I am a fan of Goldberg's columns and shorter pieces. The point he is making in LF, I first came upon in Hayek's Road to Serfdom – that Fascism and Communism were just competing types of Socialism and really both movements of the Left; and that the Left has always tried, erroneously, to make all think that Fascism was a Right Wing movement. The degree to which many of the Left admired Fascism before it was discredited beyond all repair by the Holocaust was somewhat of a surpirse to me however.
Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter. Finished. I look at Modern China in a different light after reading this book. The link between China and its past was severely broken in the late 1950s and 1960s. In Wuxi, I see things torn down readily without regard to their history and new "ancient" things being erected that in no way convey the spirit of countless generations.
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.
Penrod by Booth Tarkington. The misadventures of a young boy written in a florid and humorous style.
This Week's Don Colacho Quotes
1343 The new left gathers together those who acknowledge the ineffectiveness of the cure without ceasing to believe in the prescription. That is why so many of them admired Hugo Chavez
1344 Decadence does not derive from an excess of civilization, but from the…attempt to take advantage of civilization in order to elude the prohibitions of which it consists. To be a rebel, you need something to rebel against.
1347 It is never too late for anything truly important. Coming to the age of fifty, this short sentence inspires me... to be old.
1394 Specialized vocabularies allow one to speak with precision in the natural sciences and to disguise trivialities in the humanities. The Chinese do things different from us because they do. I have seen labels used instead "because they do" which just aren't very helpful.
Daily Entries (with links to photos in AKIC Wordpress)
Monday (the 4th)
I didn't work today.
Tony was sent off to school. He insisted that I carry him to the kindergarten van pickup stop, but he is now far too heavy for me to carry, so I had to make a deal with him – walk to the spot and I would let him lay his head on my shoulder and sleep while we waited for the van.
A&J went to the Jinling Hotel for a lunch buffet. They both ate their fill. It was supposed to be Italian month at the Jinling – at least that was what Andis gathered from the signs, but you wouldn't have known it based on the food on offer – there wasn't any Italian food at all. Andis would have protested if he had known before he came that the buffet was supposedly Italian, but he had been looking forward to the fare that was there on offer anyway. (Perhaps, the Italian theme was only for supper. Perhaps, the theme was just that a theme and nothing else as Jenny suggested.)
At the Jinling, Andis ate about five plates of food, one bottle of beer, and four cups of tea. And so he was sleepy the rest of the afternoon. – as was Jenny who rested her head on Andis's shoulder as they took the bus home.
Observing the passing scene from the bus, Andis happened to see ten security guards stand abreast on a road. At first sight of the black-clad guards, Andis thought they were meant to block the road. He then saw another guard, also clad in black uniform, order them to march. Andis lamented not having taken a photo.
Andis took a photo of a woman riding side-saddle on a passing bicycle. This practice is common in Wuxi. Trying the maneuver in Canada, the rider and passenger would most certainly be ticketed and fined and questioned by the police. For not only were there too many people on the bicycle, they were also not wearing helmets. The authorities here also try to clamp down on the the practice of bicycle carrying passengers, but only it seems they do so in the downtown of Wuxi. In the suburbs like Hui Shan District, they don't bother.
Tuesday (the 5th)
I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but I did. I was feeling cold and had a slight headache. This made the bed seem so much warmer. But I had to get the crew up so that Tony could go to school. My wife had to be coaxed, by me, to arise. As it was, she was ten minutes behind schedule; and just as we had gotten Tony to the door, so I could accompany him to where he would be picked up by the school van, he told us he had to take a poo. While he sat on the throne, the van driver phoned wondering where we were. Finished, out of the apartment and on our way to the van, Tony asked me if I had brought along the Ipod. Having waited twenty minutes for the van to come on Monday (the 4th), Tony must have been thinking that he could pass the time playing with it. As it was, the van was waiting...
I work 1300 to 2100 today.
My first class was with a student who is training to be an Olympic shooter. Her English wasn't very good. I had to force her to string out of sentence – she was all too ready to answer questions with yes's, no's, and nods.
I had to repeat (fail) a student even though she told me an interesting anecdote. She is studying to be a flight attendant, and so I asked her if she had any male classmates. She said she had one. Asked by me what he was like, she told me that he was fat. This prompted further questions. When asked, she said she didn't think the boy was there to meet girls because that he seemed to do was eat. I didn't bother to ask about his degree of effeminacy.
Wednesday (the 6th)
It's warming up in the Wux! Temperatures are going to get above 20 degrees Celsius. On the way to work, I saw one foreigner wearing shorts and another in a short-sleeved t-shirt.
I work 1300 to 2100 today.
The pieces that I said I needed for Tony's toy train set had been ordered on Taobao (a popular Chinese internet shopping website) and arrived yesterday. I had been hoping to receive them on Monday. As it is, I won't be able to set up the train set for Tony till late Friday evening or on Saturday after work.
From Baidu.com, I downloaded a few country songs. Not knowing what to look for, I chose, at random, some songs by Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton. I think I found a couple gems: Haggard's Mother Tried I found quite haunting and I was humming the song when I wasn't yodelling like Dolly Parton in Tennessee Homesick Blues – another gem of track I was fortunate to download.
I will be starting the second round of my Tournament #9 soon. I have finished the first round where eight groups of five teams played a single round robin. The fourth and fifth place teams in each group have been eliminated. The second and third place teams from each group, sixteen in total, will play in the second round. Eight games will be played. The eight winners of the games will advance the third round – the league championships, and the fourth round – the tournament championships.
I am learning my lines for a commercial, for the school, that is being recorded tomorrow.
Thursday (the 7th)
Tuesday evening was strange because there weren't so many people boarding the 635 bus (which takes me home after work in the evening). In recent months, it has come to be that there are usually many trying to board the bus and I so I always am anxious that I may not get a seat for the long 45 minute ride back home. Last evening, I had a premonition that the previous night was a pleasant aberration not to be repeated, and I was correct. There were a lot of people boarding the bus. In fact, there was a bit of a tussle getting on the bus. I got on and there was one seat left for the taking. I went for it and this woman tried to prevent me from taking the seat because she was saving it for a friend who got on the bus after me. I wasn't having anything to do with this. I took the seat forcing the woman to withdraw the bag she had placed on the seat. At home, my wife supported my action. "What a bitch!" she said.
Today, I work 1000-2100. It is to be the day that I take part in the making of some commercials for our school. Don't worry! You will be able to see them on this or one of my other sites. Here is a previous commercial I have appeared in.
Tony didn't want to go to school this morning. Apparently yesterday, the teacher gave him heck for not paying attention in class. I could understand his reluctance. Throughout most people's lives, there are many a day that we would rather just stay at home and avoid the world.
I was reading my lines as the commercial was recorded. There were no second takes. I am not looking forward to seeing the final results.
Friday (the 8th)
I work 1100-2100 today.
Tony & Jenny went to the Big Buddha today. Tony calls it the Biggest Buddha. Of course, he is incorrect. It isn't the biggest Buddha though it is the biggest Buddha he has ever seen. He made a point of telling me that I wasn't coming. Now, I don't mean to say that he didn't want me to accompany him. He was just making an observation. I make a not of him saying this in my blog because I like him to hear him talk about things or make observations that I have hitherto never heard him say before.
Saturday (the 9th)
After work last night, there were a lot of people downtown, even for a Friday night. The first bus I took, to get to the bus stop to catch the bus I take home, was slowed down by a constant flow of crowds crossing the street. The traffic cops tried in vain to make pedestrians stop and let some vehicles pass through. I ended up arriving home twenty minutes later than usual. I was so late that Jenny phoned me asking where I was. I told her about the crowds and she told me that they were out because of Woman's Day which I knew about but had paid not much heed.
Back at home, I set up the train track for Tony so we could use the new pieces of track that had arrived on Tuesday.
I work 1000 to 1800 today.
Hugo Chavez died this week. I am not sad to hear of his passing away. That the Left does mourn is inconceivable to me. You would think they had learned some lessons from history by now, but many on the Left are just pure stubborn. Chavez was a dictator, who because of oil resources, had a license to print money.
Stomping Tom Connors, a Canadian musician who has made the best and only recognizable hockey song ever died this week. A shame. He was a Canadian patriot in the best way.
Listening to the latest John Derbyshire podcast, I learned that the comedian George Carlin suggested that the United States should be put an umlaut about the "U" in its name so people would be more scared of America. I wonder if I should do the same with my name. Maybe it would get me more respect. Andis Ka��ülins in China! Are you scared!!
This morning, I was sitting on the #81 bus on the second deck towards the back – the stairwell was at the front. My stop was coming so I got up to quickly get downstairs and be by the exit – but there was an old man, who was clutching seats on both sides of the aisle, in front of me with the same intention. He was walking too slowly and I could see that at the rate he was going, both of us weren't going to make it downstairs and get to the exit in time. The bus driver won't wait for stragglers to get off the bus and I didn't relish the propect of having to walk an extra block to get to school. As the old man got to the top of the stairs, I grunted and he let go of one of the seat tops to let me get pass him. I rushed to the door where passengers had almost all gotten off. Thinking of the old man, I stood by the exit door, which almost closed on me, so that the old man could get off as well.
In the English Corner I did last night, a student said his hero was himself – an answer one could expect from an adolescent. I remember in high school joking that the Ayatollah in Iran was my hero. I was at the age where it was it uncool to say you admired anyone.
In another class, a young boy shocked me by telling me his favorite book was Gone with the Wind. When asked about his favorite books, Ray had first told me that he couldn't name the book, and would have just left it at that; but I insisted on him telling me the details of it. The book was set in America, he said, and the North and the South went to war. I quickly thought of Gone with the Wind, and he confirmed it. He said it liked the book for the accurate portrayal of the characters.
Prompted by a David Warren blog entry, I watched a video of this now-famous Korean orphan Choi Sung Bong who has an amazing tenor voice. It brought tears to my eyes and I hoped his story was true, that his suffering has come to an end, and that celebrity-status doesn't destroy him.
Sunday (the 10th)
I don't work today.
I spent Saturday night at home. I was going to break open a bottle of Glenmorangie Whiskey that I had. (It was a gift from a friend of my wife.) However, I didn't have any ice in my fridge.
I now have ice in my fridge so I will be able to break the bottle open tonight.
For Tony, it was an evening of vomit and poo. He got sick in bed, and later pooed himself in bed.
Tony is okay now. But he doesn't want to go outside and is constantly moaning for my Ipad-Mini.
The last two times, I went to work, I happen to see myself on the Bus Video Screen. A commercial I shot nearly a year ago was being shown.
Tournament #9: I played games in the League 2 playoffs. With the first playoff round, finished, the 16 teams (of the original 40) in the tournament championship have been determined. But before the tournament championship commences, the two league champions must first be decided.