Merry Christmas to my few readers if you are reading this before Christmas because I managed to publish it before Christmas and you read it before Christmas.
In this entry, which is my Christmas present to you, I will tell you the topic of my next talk with #6 High School students, I will make confessions, I will tell you my plans for Christmas and early 2016, I will pass on what student Cherry told me about her grandparents, I will tell you my son Tony's favorite Christmas song, I will tell you what I find so amazing about going to Wuxi gas stations, I will tell you how I almost lost this blog entry, I will complain about Star Wars not being in China yet, I will answer a question a student asked me, and I will tell you some other things that you will just have to read the blog entry to find out about.
My next class or speech at #6 High School will be in January. I am starting work on it now. I will work on it 15 minutes a day till I have to present it. The topic will be School Days in Canada. If I do a good job of it, I may publish its text in this blog.
I sometimes lose the will to blog. I read so many other writers who do have things to say and so I feel (or realize) that I don't.
In early January, I am going to publish a list of books I read and a list of movies I watched in 2015. [Live Present Tense Blogging: I have watched 92 movies so far this year. I don't know if I will be able to make it to 100.]
If I had a social life, which to some means to have a life, I think I would have less of a will to blog. Gossip is boring. And most people have nothing to say that would deviate from they have read in the New York Times or have heard on the CBC or BBC.
Student Cherry had some interesting stories to tell me about her grandparents.
First, she had a grandparent who was a landlord. Whenever, the students tell me about having landlord ancestors, I ask if that status resulted in persecution. Cherry told me that her grandfather had tears in his eyes when he told her about Red Guards destroying his collection of old classic books during the Cultural Revolution.
One of her great grandfathers had three wives. The wife with the bound feet was the most cherished of the three. [This story came about when I asked her what half brothers or sisters were. I had never thought of it. But children born in polygamous families could be half or full siblings to each other depending on who their mothers are.]
During Advent, which is the time before Christmas and not the Christmas shopping festival I have been telling the students about, I have been playing Christmas music in our Citroën C3-XR. I downloaded, via torrent, a collection of Christmas songs sung by Frank Sinatra (the Capital Christmas Album, not the Reprise Christmas Album) and a collection of Christmas tracks recorded by the Rat Packers who could sing.
Tony liked listening to Dean Martin singing Let It Snow, and would ask me to play the track over and over again while not at all caring to hear the other tracks on the Rat Pack Christmas Album. Playing the other tracks, he would tell me they were no good. It was all very strange, but Tony is picky so I didn't think anymore about it.
But then I watched Die Hard 2 with him one evening. He liked the action and explosions of the first Die Hard so much that I, always catering to his enthusiasms, decided to watch the sequel. During the sequel's closing credits, they played a recording, not by Dean Martin but some by some singer, of Let It Snow. He liked the song so much because he had heard it played during the closing credits of the first Die Hard. I had never picked up on that.
I never have a hassle at a gas/petrol station in Wuxi. That is, I have never experienced the feeling of annoyance I have when trying to park or when driving about in Wuxi traffic, because there is never ever a lineup when I go to a Wuxi gas station. But it bothers me because it doesn't make any sense that that should be.
Not that I am complaining. In fact, I am rather grateful that I never seem to have to wait in a lineup for petrol in Wuxi, but that it should be so just doesn't compute in my mind. So many cars parked hither and thither, you would think that there would be lineups at the gas stations. But this is because there are lots of gas stations, Jenny tells me. To which I respond, Really? In our district, I see more police stations and government buildings than I see gas stations.
So there must be some fact of which I am not aware. Are there more gas stations than I know but I don't come upon them? Are there times when most cars fill up and I don't happen to be there? With my irregular schedule which isn't Monday to Friday, nine to five, I can go to places when they are not busy. So perhaps, local drivers fuel up their cars on weekday evenings.
I have voiced aloud some ridiculous theories that have lead to suggestions of theories that are more probable. I joked that all the parked cars, I see, are parked where they are because their owners were not aware that you need to fill them up with gas to get them to keep working. Make this joke aloud, I have, and some have responded that many Chinese buy their cars for show, don't drive them so much and thus don't need to go to the gas stations all that often.
Sights seen on a Wednesday as I made my way to school: old man on bicycle going through an intersection against the lights; car stopped for some indiscernible reason on a road that is already lacking space for through traffic; a car that should be parallel-parked but instead is more parked at an angle so that its rear end sticks out into traffic and causes congestion of a road that already lacking space for through traffic; and dirty pavement near the subway station requiring a good washing
I got this message from my Mom: I have not heard from you for a while. Could you phone. Mom.
Negligent son I am.
And probably a negligent father, now that I think about the anecdotes I told you about where I let Tony watch Die Hard movies which are coarse and violent.
I darn near deleted this blog entry, losing a week's worth of thoughts. Recently, I have been working on my blog entry in my QQ mail and saving it in the draft folder. One day, while on the school's computer, I decided to clean out the my QQ mail draft folder. In it, I had 34 draft emails: two of which were still of any use; the others all having accumulated and been forgotten about. But in cleaning out the folder, I deleted the draft email which contained this blog entry. I thought that I could go to the deleted folder and recover the just deleted email blog entry, but I saw a message which said that deleted drafts were permanently deleted.
Desperate, I did some research on the Internet but I couldn't find anything to help me with my problem. But I then thought to go to my QQ mail app on my Ipad. Because the tablet wasn't connected to the internet, there was still a chance that it was in the draft folder there...
It turned out I was correct in my assumption but not without a moment in which I had to pray. The heading for the recently deleted email was in the draft folder on the Ipad's QQ mail app, but the contents of it weren't. My hope was that I could log the Ipad onto the Internet and get the email's content. Miraculously or so it seemed to me, the text of the deleted email was downloaded when I logged onto WiFi and I was able to forward the deleted email to myself and and thus retrieve the text.
There were entries that I would have forgotten if I hadn't been able to retrieve them.
I am a member of this site called Medium. It seems to be a social site where you can make blog like entries and have people comment on them.
I felt compelled to comment on an article, advertised via email, saying the Fascism was returning to America. It was one of these hysterical screeds written in response to comments made by Donald Trump about restricting Muslim immigration to the USA. I took a very opposing tact and said that Donald Trump was not a Fascist but that in the current climate of gutless politicians, he was looking like a Churchill.
[I say this hoping that Trump doesn't get the Republican nomination. This observer would like to see Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum get the nomination. Still, Trump would be a less repulsive president that the lying, corrupt, phony, cuckoldess Hilary Clinton. But that is not saying much.]
Student, a saleswoman, told me she had lost one of her customers. What had happened was that the government had introduced her customer to a competing company that just so happened to be a government company. The student suggested that her old customer was intimidated in taking the government company as her customer. No one wants to make Xi Da Da mad, she told me.
I was all primed to take Tony to see Star Wars 7 on December 18th, until it gradually dawned on me that the film wouldn't be in Chinese cinemas on that date. In early December, I first noticed that there wasn't a Star Wars promotion in the lobby of the Hui Shan Wanda Cinema when I went to see a movie there. Then I couldn't find any mention of the movie on the Wanda Cinema app. The publicity stunt of putting five hundred storm troopers on the Great Wall made me think, for an instant, that my fears were unfounded, but the article I read on the Internet about the stunt said that there was no planned release date for the film in China.
And so I thought: Agggh! What is wrong with the Chinese? They can't drive, they can't govern themselves like free peoples and now they won't show Star Wars 7 in their cinemas?
I have great hopes that this Star Wars movie will be better than the three recently made movies of the series which were horrible. [I have not shown them to Tony though I have been thinking about it lately. What has me not showing the three bad Star Wars movies to Tony is that he may want to watch them over and over again anyway.]
I may have to show Tony a bootleg copy of the movie if it doesn't come to China.
[Alas, Star Wars will come to China on Saturday, January 9th. I have told Jenny that she must buy Tony & I tickets so we can see it that very evening.]
I will be publishing a series of year end award articles on my Wuxi China Expatdom site.
A student asked if I would trade places with a Chinese person. I was canvassing for these sorts of questions because the topic of my English Corner was trading places.
I hesitated before I answered, but I answered truthfully as I could without offending them and without having really thought that question out for myself. I said I wouldn't unless I could be a Tang Dynasty poet.
I tell my rare readers that my true answer to that question is hell no!
[Thinking about it some more, I say now that I want to trade places with a Hong Kong Chinese person, a Taiwan Chinese, and an Overseas Chinese but not a Mainland Chinese.]
Hearing someone was able to go back to their home country made me feel so depressed that I had the sinking feeling in my stomach and I couldn't fall asleep.
Thoughts to combat the feeling couldn't cause the feeling to subside. There wasn't much for me to do, I told myself, but to be quiet, ride out the feeling, and pray.
[Live Present Tense Blogging] My plans as Christmas approaches are not forming. I'd hate to be asked by others what they are. It seems like I won't be doing any Christmasy thing on December 25th. We may just sleep late. We may go to a Japanese restaurant that date. Tony may not be unwrapping presents because I have yet to buy any.
Instead of seeing Star Wars in the cinema, we saw the move that did premiere in China on December 18th: Mojin: the Lost Legend. It featured burial chambers in deep caverns, Red Guards, bad foreign actors, zombie Japanese soldiers, tomb raiders, a Chinese version of Lara Croft who was delicious to behold, and an Angelababy in pigtails. More importantly, it had subtitles.
[Live Blogging] I have a plan for Christmas Day!
Christmas buffet at the Ikea!
Jenny has bought tickets!
Christ the King is born!
The Devil is forced to retreat!