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My Favorite Foods in China

Taylor Liss
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Quincy
Massachusetts
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Sweet and sour pork 糖醋里脊 (táng cù lǐ ji)

Dry-fried Sichuan green beans 干煸四季豆 (gān biān sìjì dòu)

Stir-fried tomato and eggs 西红柿炒鸡蛋 (xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn)

Orange flavored beef 陈皮牛肉 (chénpí niúròu)

Lamb teriyaki 羊肉串 (yángròu chuàn)

Hot pot 火锅 (huǒguō)

Kungpao chicken 宫保鸡丁 (gōng bǎo jī dīng)

Scallion pancakes 葱油饼 (cōng yóubǐng)

Beijing roast duck 北京烤鸭(Běijīng kǎoyā)

Chinese sausage 香肠 (xiāngcháng)
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Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:05 am
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3 Cautionary Tales from China

Taylor Liss
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Below are three tales from foreigners living in China. Bad days in another country can seem especially difficult due to the differences in culture that exist. The people telling the stories below have had some especially bad days.

The first story is about stealing electricity in China and really typifies the real sort of East-West culture clash one can expect when abroad. It was originally posted on the blog Inside Out China written by Xujun and comes from their friend who is an anonymous expat writer in China.
Quote:
Who Is the Guilty Party?
by Anonymous

(Note: I got this from a friend in China who asked to remain anonymous. – Xujun)

[In translation]

CHINA — Two years ago, I bought a tiny flat from a stranger. While making some minor changes to the old interior, the electrician I hired found problematic wires, and that the electricity meter outside did not work. The electrician, who had more than 20 years of experience, concluded that the previous owner had messed about with the meter in order to steal electricity. He pointed to a jumble of wires and tried to explain – why this wire did not connect to the meter and that wire did not connect to ground – only to make me further confused. Finally I got the gist of what he was saying: the previous owner installed a very small switch inside the apartment, and reconnected the meter to the switch, which fully controlled the meter's readings. As the result, if he had used 100 kwh of electricity, the meter would only read 10 kwh.

This was the first time I heard of such a thing, so I was at a loss as to what to do. I asked the electrician, "Could you please rewire the meter to its original design for me?" He teased me, "Why should I? Isn't it better for you to save electricity cost?" I waved my hand and said, "Drop it, I'm a coward, I won't be able to sleep if I steal. The money saved this way wouldn't even be enough to buy me sleeping pills."

The electrician fiddled with the meter, but in the end couldn't do much to help, because there was a red seal in it that said, "Do not remove seal, Electricity Bureau only; otherwise bear full consequences." He said he couldn't take the responsibility.

I called the previous owner, who neatly denied everything. His voice was full of surprise: "Really? Really? I had no idea! How could it be?"

With no choice, I went to the housing estate's property management, hoping they would help me solve the problem. The director was a young man who looked like he was just out of college. He patiently heard me out and calmly said, "Things like that are not our responsibility. We wouldn't dare to touch that seal either. Why don't you call the Electricity Bureau, perhaps they will send someone for you? But…" he hesitated a few seconds and then said, "For this kind of thing, you know, the Electricity Bureau is very hard to deal with…" He stopped again, his expression looked restrained.

Coming out of the property management office with a foggy head, I ran into Manager Zhou of the real estate agency. After listening to my story, he warned me against acting rashly. "I have heard things like this before," he said, "the Electricity Bureau only holds the current owner accountable. Change electricity wires without authorization? Fine 5000 yuan. You don't pay? They cut your electricity immediately."

I argued, "Can't they be reasoned with? I haven't even moved in, how can it be my doing? Plus, if it were me who did it, why would I take the trouble telling them? It only makes sense for them to consider it the previous owner's responsibility!"

Manager Zhou laughed in surprise: "My God! Are you from an alien planet? China's electricity is a monopoly trade, they are the boss, who do they fear? What's there to reason with them? They don't care to figure out who's right or wrong; it is the most convenient to just grab you. You want to live in this house? Then you have no way to escape. Even going to the court it is 100% your fault. Believe it!"

I didn't believe, but I took his advice to make the call from a public phone a few housing estates away. I explained the situation to the Electricity Bureau. The woman who answered had a flat tone like machine: Please provide your name, phone number, and address.

With Manager Zhou wagging his head to signal me, I hurriedly said this was for a friend, who just wanted to know what she should do in this case.

The woman's tone was unchanged: 5000 yuan fine. After the fine is paid we will send someone to fix the wires.

I couldn't help but raise my voice: "But this wasn't my friend's fault! It was the previous owner, don't you understand? Wouldn't you be wronging a good person and letting a bad one go?"

The woman's same cold voice held to the end: We only hold the current owner accountable. This is the procedure.

I almost cried out: Fuck the procedure! Are you a robot?

I also wanted to say, Are you forcing an innocent girl to prostitute herself (逼良为娼)?

Manager Zhou looked at me sympathetically: "You really don't need to care, let it be. It's not just one or two households stealing electricity. To tell you the truth, the house I rent now has the same situation. In our building 60% of apartment owners do this."

I was speechless for a while. Then I said, "No way! Thieves are in the open, and a moral person must sneak around, this is turning things upside down! I don't care what others do, I must correct the meter. Please help me find a way."

Manager Zhou gave me a wry smile: "Never seen one as stubborn as you are. Go look in the famers market, there may be someone specialized in this sort of thing."

I suspected he was toying with me. I often went shopping in farmers market, how come I never saw such a person?


In a corner of the market, I asked a fish seller if there was an electricity master who could change wires. He pointed behind without lifting his head. A fat man wearing oil-stained clothes took the hint and came to me, asking directly: "Where do you live?" and then simply said: "500 yuan."

I glared at him: "Are you robbing me? At most 200."

He did not get upset, but smiled: "What a temper! 200 then. Deal."

The fat man made a call, lowering his voice to give the other end my address. He then told me "Go wait at home. Arrival within an hour."

In less than half an hour, a slight man wearing the work robe of Electricity Bureau arrived. Within a minute of opening the electricity meter, he was done. Seeing suspicion in my look, the man said: "Rest assured. Wires corrected and the seal replaced. I'm from the Electricity Bureau myself and have done this job often. There will be no problem."

I was curious: "You are often asked to change wires?"

He said frankly: "Illegal changes are naturally more than corrections. I do all. 500 yuan for an illegal change, not a penny less. For corrections I can give better prices."

I saw a big wad of seals in his bag and suddenly understood: When the electricity meter was changed in the first place, the seal must have been removed; why did I see one that was intact? The only answer is: the Electricity Bureau's staff must be the thief who steal what they are guarding (监守自盗). Who knows, perhaps the one who changed the wires last time was the same man today?

I sighed about the shadiness when I handed the man the money.

He said modestly: "We are just giving a hand to help everyone, otherwise what's to be done? Everyone needs to be fed, right?"


Nearly two years passed. On a hot day last month, the power went off at noon. I called the Electricity Bureau, and a worker arrived in 5 minutes. He said the fuse was burned and needed to be changed to a thicker one. Then he discovered something and said: "The meter has been messed around with."

The adage goes that "A thief's guilty consciences make him cowardly (做贼心虚)." I wasn't the thief but was cowardly all the same. I tried my utmost to deny.

The worker said: "Come and see – someone changed here. The ends are still here. We experts can tell with one glance. No need to deny. I'm going to call the Bureau and have them handle this."

He started to dial his cellphone. I was forced to ask pardon. I told him the whole story and hoped he would let me go.

I bet the man was just a big boy not even 23 years old. With plump cheeks and shining eyes, his face was full of innocent smile. He said: "I believe you. But the other guy did not do a thorough job. He must have been posing as an Electricity Bureau staff. Also possible he's a relative of a staff member, got the work robe, and used it to make money. You found me by calling the Bureau, so I can't be fake. I can redo the correction for you and ensure you can sleep in peace from now on."

Now seasoned, I asked: "How much?"

He said calmly: "At least 300 yuan."

I said: "At most 200. Please give me your name and cellphone number. I don't want to be endlessly extorted by you Electricity Bureau people."

He smiled brightly: "Don't get angry, we are only taking money to remove ill fortune (拿人钱财替人消灾)."

Two minutes later he declared everything was OK now. He left his cellphone number and told me to call him if there was any problem. "But there won't be any problem. Rest assured, there'll be problems no more." His smile was very warm.


The second story was posted on reddit.com by user S-hao in response to the question "What's a huge lie you tell everyday? and What's something you don't like to let on that you're incredibly proud of?" I feel it really shows not only what hospitals in China are like, but what sort of social constructs exist there as well.

Quote:
My gf skipped her med school graduation and pictures to help save my best friends life after he had a triple brain hemmorage from a skateboarding accident. She worked her ass off for years for that special moment, and gave it up without a second glance, and bc of her my best friend is alive and well. Been broken up for over a year, but she will always be my hero. She never mentions it.

EDIT- full story for you guys asking questions:

We were living in China, and the night before her graduation, my buddies and i went out bombing some hills on our longboards. Around 4am, my best friend hit a speedbumb at about 50mph, and landed on his head. We were about 30 min. from the hospital, which was where she had been in med school and interning. We drove him to the hospital to find that there were no doctors in the hospital until 7am. As we are all covered in tattoos, and not to mention extreme amounts of blood from my friends eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and lacerations that covered his body, the people on staff would do nothing to help us.

China is still very conservative in some ways, and one of those ways is that they dont favor tattooed skaters. They thought that he was a gangster (which is a common association to tattoos is China). They wouldnt help bring him in, wash him up, do IVs, absolutely no response. I call gf, (who comes from a long line of doctors, and her parents are some of the most highly respected doctors in the country), who rushes to the hospital and goes to work like a champ. Beyond simply cleaning him, which was one hell of a bloody task, shaving his head, instructing us on how to keep him warm and alive, she started calling doctors at 5am to get some help. As all this is happening, the ER still wont lift a finger to help us.

At this point, my friend is convulsing, throwing up, and bleeding profusely through the bandages we had made. She finally wakes up the director of the hospital and gets him to start calling in surgeons to get to the hospital. His brain was hemorrhaging at an alarming rate, and in the two hours it took to get two MRIs before the docs showed up, the gf plainly stated that if he didnt get immediate treatment, he would die.

At this point we are moving his limp, bloody body from gurney to bed and back, having to push him all around this hospital getting registered and getting his paperwork ready for surgery. Again, gf handles all of this like a champ. There were 5 of us guys there, and she was directing us around the hospital by cell phone getting everything done. Not to mention, every last one of us , her included, had to empty our bank accounts to foot the bill before they would even consider surgery. In China, if you dont have the money for a surgery on hand, you are shit out of luck. We were able to scrape up enough to get him started. The initial bill was around 3500$.

When the surgeon showed up, he was hesitant to do anything because of my friends tattoos. At that point, friend had woken up and was going crazy. It took four guys to hold him down to the bed as he strained as hard as he could to get up. He had turned into an insane guy. The blood on his brain was seriously fucking his world up. He cried, pleaded, punched, bit, scratched, and strained for almost an hour. The whole time, we are holding him down so he doesnt do anymore damage to himself, fucking crying like babies. She got the surgeons boss on the phone and he ordered the surgeon to fix him up.

He goes into surgery 7 1/2 hrs after we arrive. At this point she had missed pictures and graduation. He goes into surgery for four hours, and she goes home to clean up and sleep. We sat in that hospital for 48 hours, covered in blood, sweat, and our own scabs, waiting for him to wake up. She waited right there with us from the time surgery was over until he woke up. None of the nurses were able to restrain him when he woke up due to brain damage and confusion. He recognized her, and she had to keep him calm, as he would go in and out of consciousness every 1/2 hr. or so.

After a month in the hospital, he went home, and it took him almost 1 year to recover. That was almost 2 years ago, and hes 100% My friend owes his life to her, and I owe my best friend to her.

Wear helmets.


The final story comes from NPR's "This American Life" and is the story of an American that was put into a Chinese prison. Not many people know what it's like on the inside of Chinese prisons, so his experience is very insightful.

You can listen to the audio here (click "Act One: Chinese Checkmate).
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Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:59 am
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The Rules of Being a Knight

Taylor Liss
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Massachusetts
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This seems to be the first mention of how a knight should be behave in Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur from Book 3 Chapter XV of William Caxton's edition. This is copied from the Penguin Classics edition (reprinted with Further Reading in 2004):

Quote:
. . . then the king stablished all his knights, and gave them that were of lands not rich, he gave them lands, and charged them never to do outrageousity nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no mean to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen succour, upon pain of death. Also, that no man take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law, ne for no world's goods. Unto this were all the knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young. And every year were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.

There is a note to this passage as follows:

Quote:
The passage which follows is an original passage of Malory's, notable for its outline of knightly behaviour. In place of always to do ladies, damosels and gentlewomen succour, upon pain of death, Winchester has: strengthe hem in hir ryghtes, and never to enforce them.

The Oxford World's Classics edition Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript (2008) has the following:

Quote:
Then the King established all the knights, and gave them riches and lands; and charged them never to do outrage nor murder, and always to flee treason, and to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen and widows succour; strengthen them in their rights, and never to enforce them upon pain of death. Also, that no man take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no love, nor for no worldly goods. So unto this were all the knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young. And every year so were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.

a note to this entry is as follows:

Quote:
the oath sworn by the knights of the Round Table is closely similar to the charge given the new knights in the fifteenth-century ceremonial for creating knights of the Order of the Bath. The 'certain points that longeth unto this high and worshipful order of knighthood' there include, after injunctions to be faithful to God and the king: 'Ye shall sustain widows in their right at every time they will require you, and maidens in their virginity, and help them and soccour them with your goods . . . Also ye shall sit in no place where that any judgement should be given wrongfully against anybody to your knowledge. Also ye shall not suffer no murderers nor extortioners of the king's people in the country where ye dwell, but with your power ye shall let do take them [have them captured] and put them into the hands of justice.' (From Viscount Dillon, 'A Manuscript Collection of Ordinances of Chivalry of the Fifteenth Century', Archaeologia, 57:1 (1900), 27-70 (67-8).)

If we were to make a list of the rules to being a knight, it might look something like this:

1. Never do outrage nor murder.
2. Always flee treason.
3. Give mercy to those who ask for it.
4. Always give ladies, damsels, gentlewomen, and widows succor, and strengthen their rights.
5. Never force yourself upon a lady, damsel, gentlewoman, or widow.
6. Never take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods.

(EarlyBritishKingdoms.com has a similar list.)

Interesting note: Pentecost was originally a holiday celebrating when God gave Moses his laws on Mount Sinai. It later came to celebrate when the holy spirit descended upon the apostles giving them ability to speak any language and spread the Gospel. This seems a very fitting holiday to celebrate King Arthur giving his laws to his knights. Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter (the prefix "penta-" is Greek for "five")
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Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:01 pm
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Chinese Classics, Round 3!

Taylor Liss
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I should be working on my final paper, but I really wanted to do this and here it is! This is a breakdown of all the significant English translations of one of the four great Chinese classics, Outlaws of the Marsh / The Water Margin / The Marshes Of Mount Liang / All Men are Brothers.


There's also a pretty good review of the Tuttle version to be found here.
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Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:56 am
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Using KMPlayer to watch a movie with 2 subtitles at the same time

Taylor Liss
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I recently picked up two television series box-sets in Chinatown that I hope to use to help improve my Chinese:

荃加福祿壽探案 (Super Snoops)

點解阿Sir係阿Sir (Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir!)

Both movies are from Hong Kong, which means that they take place in Hong Kong and were filmed in Cantonese instead of Mandarin. I spent my whole day today trying to find a good series that was filmed in Mandarin and that had English subtitles, but alas, such a thing seems to evade me. So I'm settling for watching a Cantonese show dubbed into Mandarin.

I want to work on my Chinese and still understand the plot, so the issue became how to watch them while having both English and Chinese subtitles at the same time. Luckily, I figured it out, and I'm going to relay my method to you.

The first thing that is required is a media player that supports dual subtitles. For this job I chose KMPlayer. The next step was to extract one of the subtitles from the film so that I could add it in on top of the other while it was playing. Luckily, I stumbled upon this guide which explains how to do so using a program called SubRip. After extracting the subtitles as an .srt file, I had to integrate them into the video (no easy job).

Here's an overview of the steps to get the video and subtitles working together:

After opening KMPlayer:
1. Press Ctrl+D to open the DVD in the disk drive.
2. Alt+O to load subtitles and select the .srt file
3. Right click ---> DVD controls ---> Subtitles ---> Chinese

There, now both subtitles are integrated into the film. But you may notice that they are overlapping. Well, to fix this you need to do some modifications to KMPlayer:

1. I right-clicked, went to video (advanced) ---> Video renderer ---> VMR9 renderless (HQ subtitles)
2. Then I right-clicked, subtitles ---> subtitle effect ---> use background
3. I pressed ctrl+[ or ctrl+] to move the subtitles up or down
4. Then I pressed F3 to shrink the video area and then pressed alt+f1 and alt+f2 to change the font size until I got it to a size I liked.

And the result looks like this:

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Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:53 am
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My girlfriend just found this at a book store in Chongqing, China

Taylor Liss
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:50 am
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Tools for the Chinese Learner

Taylor Liss
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Here are my favorite tools for learning Chinese.

Lingoes
The first is Lingoes: a dictionary that works through your mouse cursor. Simply highlight any Chinese text you don't know and it will instantly translate it for you.


Installing it is a little tricky, but here's a rundown:
1. Follow the link I've provided to download Lingoes.
2. Download the appropriate dictionary for translation. I recommend this CEDICT Chinese dictionary although there are numerous different dictionaries you can search for in all sorts of languages.
3. Install the dictionary. Do this by first making sure you are on the "guide" tab. Then click the "Dictionaries" link under "options." Then click the "install" button and find your dictionary. If it asks to enable "index groups" and "text capture groups" I just say yes.
4. Set up the dictionary activation to your liking. Click "configuration" under "options" and go to the "text capture" tab. "Mouse activation mode" is when the program will engage when you highlight a word in the dictionary. I set mine to "mouse over" without extra buttons to make it so I don't have to press any keys on my keyboard.
5. In the taskbar (bottom left of your screen) right click the Lingoes icon and make sure translate selected text is enabled.
6. You're all set! Give it a whirl! It's really an amazing piece of technology!

Dimsum
Dimsum is another free piece of software that I have been using since I first started learning Chinese. It has so many amazing tools I don't know where to begin. For starters, if you don't have Lingoes, this program does mouse over translation of any words you copy and paste into it. It also can convert chinese from simplified to traditional to pinyin if you need it. Very useful if you just want to know how to read a paragraph out loud without having to mouse over every word. It has a very comprehensive dictionary built in and you can search by radical, by components, by english, by chinese, by actually writing the character yourself... it's amazing. It even has an abacus, and family title generator built in. This is especially useful if you don't know what to call your father's mother's sister in Chinese.


Google Pinyin
The third tool I use is Google Pinyin. This is simply a program that allows you to type in Chinese on your computer by writing in Pinyin. After installing the program, press shift+alt to activate it, and press those keys again to turn the program off when you don't need it. The only time this becomes a problem for me is when I am playing computer games and accidentally turn the program on, but it shouldn't be a problem for most people. Another thing to note: if you want to type words that have the "ü" tone like "nǚ" (女), you should type a "v" instead of a "u" in the pinyin.


Anki
Anki is a flashcard program that utilizes "spaced repetition." The basic idea is that when you normally use flashcards, you often review words that you have already memorized. This takes away time from words that you actually need to spend time on improving. What anki does is after reviewing a flashcard, it asks you how difficult the card was. If the card was easy, it won't show you this card again for a few days. If you don't know the card very well, it will show it to you again sooner. It's very useful and creating flashcards on your computer is very quick. Best of all, if you have a smartphone, they have a free program that allows you to download your flashcards so you can review anywhere you want. They even sync the cards on your computer and phone to the same server so you are always reviewing the cards that are most important.


Hanping Chinese Dictionary
This is smartphone app that you have to pay for but I feel is worth every cent. It's a very easy to use dictionary that allows you to search through English, Chinese, or Pinyin. Highly recommended. They also have a free version, but I'm not sure if it uses adds, or is trialware.


Go Keyboard
Go Keyboard is an input method editor (IME) that I use on my android phone to write in Chinese using Pinyin. You can download an extension that allows you to actually write characters into your phone as well! It's free and combined with the Hanping Chinese Dictionary, makes an effective combo for language learners on the go.


Let me know if you have any other awesome Chinese tools!
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Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:55 pm
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Tonight I was initiated into 一貫道 (Yīguàn Dào). A strange experience.

Taylor Liss
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This happened in Quincy, Massachusetts on December 20th, 2011.

Yīguàn Dào is a sect of Daoism. You can find more on the wikipedia page.

The story: A few weeks ago I was on a train heading home from class when I overheard some girls talking in Mandarin. Naturally I wanted to practice my Chinese so I decided to chat them up. We ended up exchanging QQ numbers and going our separate ways.

Today they contacted me about going to a party they were having. I asked if it was a 酒会. They said no, they wouldn't be drinking. I asked if it was a 舞会. They said no, they wouldn't be dancing. They said it was just going to be some people hanging out and talking. Since I'm on winter break and have a lot of free time, I decided why not. I decided to bring one of my good friends and we set out to have a fun night.

Well we got to the house and as soon as they opened the door we realised something was up. Almost everyone in the house was wearing matching suit and tie (even the girls - except they wore skirts). On everyone's tie was the symbol you see on the wikipedia page. We took off our shoes and put on slippers before stepping inside.

Then things got really weird. Against one wall in the living room was a MASSIVE shrine to the Maitreya (弥勒 -Mílè - the fat buddha), Guan Yin, and another guy. We were immediately asked to sit down, and four or five suites gathered around us and began talking frantically about the Dao and how it is the ultimate truth encompassing all other religions. Me and my friend were significantly freaked out. I don't remember much of what they said, but it wasn't much of a conversation. Instead of talking with us, they were talking at us. We just smiled nodded and laughed when appropriate. Once we got the gist that we were being recruitted for their religion (which they stressed was not a religion), I tried to explain that we thought it was just a party with friends and weren't really interested. They didn't take no for an answer.

They showed us a strange buddhist picture with Jesus Christ, Buddha, Lao zi, Confucius, Mohammed, Guan yu, and other deities all chilling out together. Once our initial shock wore off, we started to see that they were zealots, but friendly zealots. I tried my best out of politeness to listen to the points they made and some of what they said made sense from a philosophical point of view.

They argued that all the religions taught the same thing fundamentally, and each was just catering to a different demographic of people. They said that you can pursue the Dao while still being a Christian and that they were both compatable. They explained that their shrine had a statue of the laughing buddha simply because that is what Chinese people were use to seeing and Chinese people were the main source of visitors for their "temple". They explained that you could put Jesus or Mohammed on the altar and the lesson would be the same. They also said that they were building a real temple down the road (something we later saw was not a fabrication).

The mentioned reincarnation and the soul and how we can one day be reborn into heaven if we purify ourselves by following the Dao. After the long-winded "conversation", they asked us to register to recieve more information. My friend politely refused and I gave them my house phone number (not often used) and my secondary email address. They then asked for a donation, saying it wasn't mandatory but that it was used for printing books (which they would be giving me later). I'm a poor student so I gave them $5.

They then asked us to participate in their "recieving the Dao" ceremony. My friend was still freaked out and politely refused. I figured what the hell and said I'll try anything once. Soon after, the ceremony started. We stood on the side and watched while the masters said stuff in Chinese, placed fruit, lighted incense, and bowed a lot. They had leaflet made of rice paper with some stuff written about me and the other people "recieving the Dao" that day and burned it on the alter.

Then my friend had to wait outside because anyone not recieving the Dao was not priviledged to see how the ceremony worked, or to learn the secrets of the Dao. (Protip - you can find them in the "initiation" section of the wikipedia page, but I won't mention them in detail here out of respect for their beliefs.)

After the ceremony, we were treated to a vegetarian dinner and finally had some normal talk about life and what we were doing. The small talk really made us a lot more comfortable and I wish they had started with that first instead of the crazy rants about the true meaning of Dao.

Oh and they invited us to dinner in the future and to a number of their events. They also REALLY wanted my friend to come back and "recieve the Dao". I don't think he will though...

And they gave me a booklet and a laminated card with information about when and where and from who I recieved the Dao. They even gave us a ride to the train station. All in all, they were very nice people, but weird as hell.

TL;DR - I was tricked into partying with some Chinese girls, turned out to be a Daoist recruitment session. People turned out ok in the end.

Pics:
•Book and card - http://i.imgur.com/o4qRc.jpg
•Back of card - http://i.imgur.com/vpEqQ.jpg
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:15 pm
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More Game of Thrones

Taylor Liss
United States
Quincy
Massachusetts
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You guys know how much I love this.

Here's a map available for purchase by Ron Guyatt. It's one of the most complete maps you can find. Here's the whole map:


and here's a closeup to show just how detailed it is:

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Fri Dec 2, 2011 6:17 am
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Movies and Shows about Chinese Chess

Taylor Liss
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Massachusetts
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I thought I would share with everyone my collected knowledge of movies and TV shows about Chinese Chess.

The first and the third are movies I found while browsing a bookstore in Chongqing, China.

This is 棋王,"Chess King"


I believe that this is the IMDB page for it, but the only review on there has nothing to do with the actual movie.

IMDB also has another movie with the same Chinese name but titled "King of Chess" starring Tony Leung.


Another movie I own is called 黑炮事件, "Black Cannon Incident"


There is also the amazing Chinese anime titled 象棋王, "Chinese Chess Master"




EDIT: I forgot about this one! A TV show called 棋战士,"Chess Warriors" starring Dickey Cheung


You can watch the first episode for free here and find the Wikipedia page here.

Anyone know any others?
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Thu Dec 1, 2011 1:27 am
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