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Whenever you hear the sound of a Chinese *GONG*, a cancelled TV show or animated character gets its wings.

Nathan’s Sphere (New site)

October 7, 2010

Hi there!

I’m no longer updating this site.  So please visit me at my new blog, Nathan’s Sphere at www.nathansphere.com.  Thanks!!

 

Young Oriental Models!

London 2012 Olympics Mascots Alien Robot Cyclops Things

May 22, 2010

Magical Quote:

“You have found a bonafide geek when he/she geeks-out on even those things that other geeks find stupid”

Why the hate??

London 2012 Mascots-Wenlock & Mandevill
Star Wars
Trash Compactor Monster

Why hate these awesome Killer London 2012 Olympics Robot Alien Mascots even if they’re a bad idea for an Olympic mascot and have narrow marketing potential?  So what if their design is stupid and will alienate millions of Olympic spendhappy people (especially my wonderful East Asian peers, babies, uncles and aunties that, for all sorts of historical reasons enjoy cute-looking things?

Why hate these things indeed, when they make Star Trek, Star Wars, and 1986 Labyrinth movie fans like me happy, while doubling to offer peace, prosperity, and all sorts of fun?

Okay, okay, okay….so they look like a mixture of the weird Star Wars garbage trash compactor monsters (see video link to see the scene!) something phallic (as nicely described by a certain perceptive friend of mine with the same birthday as me), and a bizarre killer alien robot cyclops eye creature thing…BUT…that’s part of it’s brilliance, yah?

Vancouver Olympics 2010 Mascots!

I mean, the cute fuzzy mascots from my hometown Vancouver Olympics 2010 (amazing, unbeatable Olympics, by the way) or even from my fellow Chinese olympic hosts in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic (good stuff, but poor kid singer behind the lipsyncer) were pretty cool, cute and marketable…but that’s exactly the point…We need messed up mascots that will eat you (and look like strange phallic trash compactor monsters)!!!

Now, compare the video showcasing these mascots (as statuettes, and later, with people dressed up in the mascot costumes) to the “Magic Dance” by David Bowie, his magical creatures, and all the other things from the “Labyrinth” movie.  Couldn’t you see these London Olympics mascots in the Magic Dance video?  I sure could.

See?  They fit, don’t they?  The Olympics mascots can totally belong, yah?

Conclusion:  I have none, except that I like these weird looking cyclops things and will cave in to London’s marketing strategy and buy some.

<GONG!>

~Absolutely Ridiculous!~

April 12, 2010

Bulldog guy

Absolutely Ridiculous!

“Absolutely Ridiculous!!”  It’s a fun combination of words to say.  It can be used seriously as a condemnation or judgment of some sort, as in, “Yikes, that lying politician’s speech was absolutely ridiculous…”; or as a compliment, “Dude, that Sedin pass and goal was absolutely ridiculous!!”; or literally as per it’s original intent “Hahahha!  That court jester is brilliant!  He’s absolutely ridiculous!”…and any number of ways.  Okay, now you owe me for this English lesson.  Yes you do…

Anyway, well, it’s been over a month since my last blog entry, and for good reason!  I had lots of deadlines to catch up on, as you probably guessed.  But it’s been a fun month and a bit, with brother and sis-in-law coming to visit, and Holy Week + Easter.  Obviously, it’s been fairly crammed as well, trying to fit in presentations and writing deadlines.  Anyway, you probably don’t care about my deadlines, but that’s okay…because “Bulldog” does.  Who’s Bulldog?  I have no idea.  Just a random Mascot handing out men’s moisturizer samples.  I don’t even know where my free sample is anymore.  But, I gotta admit, that’s a pretty cool costume.  Maybe I should consider looking for Mascot work, just for fun…Though my UK student visa says it’s illegal for me to acquire particular types of employment such as “starting my own employment” or “entertainment”.  Does being a Mascot count as entertainment?  It does to me…I mean, look at that guy( guy I think).  He was pretty entertaining…I was impressed.  haha.  But realistically, probably could be considered marketing…We’ll see how much time I have in the Fall, with hopefully acquiring some teaching work😉

Now, here’s a fun pic:

Young Oriental Models!

Why “Young Oriental Models”??  Well, recall one of my earliest (and one of the awesomest) blogs about the “shady” side of London?

In that blog, I wrote not only about some of the awesomest parts of this city, but also some of it’s “shadiest”, or most disturbing, namely a stairway with an eerie pink neon light that led to a questionnable back door.  The front open door, of course, had several poorly laminated signs (it was just plastic wrap really…probably something that would come wrapped around your Chinese coconut buns at T&T in Vancouver) advertising “Young Oriental Models”, “Beautiful models”, and whatever variation of that, etc etc. (see reference photos of “Shady-redux” and “Various Young Oriental Signs” below…Click here for a full recap of the original blog).

Shady-redux

What they do in this house, I won’t remind you, but leave for you to think about (once more), but it’s no Easter egg Kinder surprise what they do and certainly not about “professional photoshoots” (I can make all sorts of jokes right now, but I will not.  Just access the conniving jester within yourself…)

Sooooooooo….ahem, in the same spirit of “Robin Hood”, who “robs from the rich and gives to the poor”, we have collected (good word, right?) these signs.  So therefore, in an attempt to compromise their illegal operation (sounds so epic, doesn’t it?), I have “collected from the brothel and given to the brother”.   …errr, collecting just the signs, of course, otherwise, the sis-in-law would not be very happy.  (Don’t go there).

Okay, okay, okay, okay…fine…really, I just thought the signs were hilarious, but, you “could” say, I’m doing the city a favour by subtley rallying against escort services, right? Right???  Anyone???  (why do I only hear the echo of my own voice?) hahaha.

Wellllllll, few believed in Robin Hood’s methods (besides his Merry Men), and now he’s a legend.  And, hey, there’s Batman!  Vigilante…dark knight…And Superman!  Last Son of Krypton.  All protecting the citizens from the forces of the brothels…err…I mean, forces of evil (though, I shouldn’t say brothels are “evil”, just illegal, and incredibly misguided and exploitative…tremendously exploitative, how about…but evil, nahhh…because, when I think of “evil”, you know what I think of?  Dracula.  Dude, he was evil.  Or the Greek god, Hades. He’s not so cool either…How about Satan?  He’s pretty evil I think.  Or Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street…yup…pretty darned evil {you know there’s a remake coming out?} .

But city brothels=evil?  Nahh…THOUGH, having said that, I think some of the infamous brothels in countries like Cambodia are pretty darned evil, just exploiting the needs of often very very young girls they forcibly employ, often abusing them, beating them, and such inhumane treatment.  {click this link here for a Wikipedia short summary + references to articles about this horrible trend.   As for city brothels, at least it’s–generally–a voluntary means of employment, with some age requirements, some rules regarding “treatment” for the girls they employ (and gives the girls some easy money).  Of course, “voluntary” is up for debate to, because, I’ll leave it to your imagination or own research to consider the background contextual reasons and rationale for a girl to willingly employ herself as an “escort”.)

Anyway, I didn’t mean to leave you on a downer, so I’ll lend you a smile one more time as I finish, because I’m  a guy that says, “there’s a time for everything”..in the sense of there’s a time to be serious, there’s a time to just have fun, there’s a time to spend, a time to relax, a time to work, etc etc. So, of course, there’s a time to inform ourselves of the ills of humanity (and do something, even if it’s just supporting a support worker/helper/interventionist emotionally, or financially if possible), but also a time to celebrate it when possible, and certainly a time to enjoy it’s most bizarre and comedic moments of it.   And, for me, there’s just something

Example of stereotypical portrayal of Chinese (taken from a brilliant comic, "American-born Chinese", by a yes, American-born Chinese artist/writer, Gene Yang, that intentionally "uses" stereotypes to prove certain points about their pervasiveness in culture)

tremendously-laugh-on-the-floor hilarious about a shady brothel that is fitted with the “formulaic” pink neon light + being in the same building as a legitimate martial arts equipment supplier (The “Shaolin Way”), that is simplistic enough and dumb enough to exploit the  “exoticism” of “Orientals”, and attempt to advertise how wonderful, brilliant and unique their illegal service is through advertising themselves with poorly constructed, coconut-bun plastic wrapped signs made of coloured cardboard, felt marks, and cut-outs of cartoon-girl faces or magazine models.  As if somehow, somebody, will walk by and say, “Wow!!  This place must have actual, beautiful escorts!   And they’re ‘oriental’!!  they must be great!  Ohh, and they’re right beside a martial arts equipment store, which is also ‘oriental’…soo…therefore, this must be a good place!  And they have signs!!!  With pictures!!!  And a pink neon light!!!  Hey, let’s go up!!!”

…..so yes, whether we think of this with serious disapproval, or with jovial laughter, it is one of those things that is best summarized with the words, “absolutely ridiculous”, in more ways than one.

Absolutely ridiculous, indeed~!!! (I suppose, so is my blog entry ;-)  hahha  )

(GONG!)

PS. By the way, here’s the new Robin Hood trailer, to inspire you about my inspiration. heh heh. in High Definition!!

Nathan’s Magical Tips! Dealing with your POST-OLYMPICS BLUES

March 2, 2010

Hamster wheel!! Whooo!

<GONG!>

NATHAN’S MAGICAL TIPS! DEALING WITH YOUR POST-OLYMPICS BLUES

Remember. Don’t do anything stupid.
But PLEASE, do something ridiculous.  But before you let your imagination go wild and find a carbon-steel wok to hit your head with, let me say…DON’T DO IT!!!  Just stop, listen, and read my “guided”, “nathan will keep you safe and sane” tips.  And hey, I’m a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association, so dang it, I’m a professional.  And shouldn’t you listen to a professional?  Okay, so without further ado, please read on!

Instant MAGIC! Tips to Deal With Your Post-Olympics Blues

1.)  Go dress up in a Luongo jersey and become a bonafide weirdo: bring a puck and stick with you, and walk around downtown, demanding that every stranger you meet take a shot on you.

2.) Go make you own giant hamster ball thing (you know that “zorbing thing”) out of old wrapping paper cardboard pipes and roll around your local playground while all the school kids squeal in absolute joy (but your spouse/gf/bf, family, and friends look on with confusion)

3.) Eat WHATEVER you want RIGHT NOW (as long as it’s legal). Oily, fatty, sugary, caffeinated, whatever (advice applicable only for 24hours.  After that, you’re back to your regular eating habits…hopefully, those are healthy).  Remember, no illegal stuff!  If you “trip out”, it’d better be from a really thick, sugary Slurpee and not from some weird drug you grabbed from Commercial Drive.

4.) Keep screaming and dancing until you annoy your boss so much he/she gives you a promotion. With a payrise, won’t you feel a whole lot better?

5.)  Go take the Millennium Line, and Pray that it’s a time machine. Hey, so what if you ride it for 6 hours hoping the train will somehow take you through time and space into either London 2012 or Sochi 2014.   At least you’re doing something.

Dear Lord...

6.) Pray for the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup every year from now, until 2012 or 2014. PLEASE PLEASE, Pray for the Vancouver Canucks.

7.) Dance like a psycho hockey enforcer at your local night club. If you’re a clubber, just dress up in your favourite hockey gear, make sure you bring a big hockey stick, and just keep dancing and swinging your gloves and stick until you knock everybody out.

8.) Dig up some old toys and make your own Olympics. Transformers, barbies, and all..make your own fun!!!

9.)  Come visit Nathan in London. The brilliance of this speaks for itself.

10.)  Take a random photo everytime you turn to your LEFT. Meh, why not?

11.)  Squeal like a Canada Goose everytime you turn to your RIGHT.

12.) Eat 10 Jalapeno peppers at once when you feel the most blue.

13.) Go to the beach at night on a really cold day, go skinny dipping, and then get arrested. I guarantee, the Olympics will be a distant memory by this time.  Bonus:  Even more memorable if you get arrested by a police friend of yours!  Whoo!

14.) Go drink 20 medium cups of Tim Horton’s coffee within 30 minutes.   You’ll be going to the loo (= toilet) so often, you’ll forget about the Olympics.

Ahhh...elephants...Can they do no wrong?

15.) Everytime you go to the loo, go decorate it with Luongo memorabilia. Get it?  “Loo” = Luuuuuuuu….  This is especially fun, if you do this AFTER you drink 20 cups of coffee and make yourself run around several blocks.  So you’ll be decorating MULTIPLE LOOS!!! LUUUUUU!!!

16.) Send your $5000 to Nathan in London. You’ll feel like a real Good Samaritan and really live out the Olympic spirit🙂

17.) Create a monstrous giant Gummi Bear and let it wreak havoc over the city. But not a “violent” havoc.  More of a cuddly, “Care Bears countdown” havoc.

18.) Buy some hamsters, dress them in Team Canada uniforms, and watch them roll around the hamster wheel, while you sing the National Anthem

19.) Go Ziplining at Grouse Mountain in your undergarments. “Nuff said.

20.) Catch and Cook a Canada Goose. Self-explanatory

21.) Get rid of your Olympics gear by sending it to Nathan. Why sulk over something that’s over?  Why remind yourself of all the good times you had?  Get rid of those lousy Olympics mittens, keychains, mooseheads, jerseys, and expensive clothing by giving it to me.  Email me at n.to@gold.ac.uk to get my current address (feel free to include some money, if you like)

Don't do it!

22.)  Okay, fine.  If you MUST go against my advice, then I guess you can’t stop yourself from grabbing that carbon-steel Wok in your kitchen and hitting your head with it. It’s your life, eh?  If you do, you’re not allowed to say I didn’t tell you it would hurt a lot.  Because it will.  Remember, I’m against this idea, professionally and personally. At this point, if you do decide to use your right hand to raise the wok and whack your forehead with the wok, make sure it’s not hot, and not filled with sizzling oil.  if you’re really hurting, be sure to call 9-1-1.  In fact, if you’re not bleeding too much, you can email me, and then whenever I check my mail, I’ll call them for you via Skype direct-to-landline.  If you’re knocked out…errr…well, like I said, it was against my professional advice.😉

~~Okay, that’s all I got right now.  But if you thought of something I didn’t, why don’t YOU share what YOU’RE doing to help get rid of the Olympic blues?  Feel free to post comments and suggestions.

nathan

<GONG!>

This zorbing thing looks fun

How I’d Choreograph the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony

February 14, 2010

Gandalf saying, "You shall not pass!"

<GONG!>

Gandalf saying...something else😉

How I’d Choreograph the Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony

After viewing Vancouver’s strange, bizarre but still entertaining Olympics opening Ceremony,
many of you have asked how I might do my own version of the Vancouver Opening Ceremony, keeping with some of the themes they used in the real one.  Ok, when I say many, I

mean a few of you…Well, when I say a few, it means a couple.  Fine, when I say a couple, only one of you…Sigh, yes, when I say one of “you”, I actually refer to “me”, which means, I asked myself to design and choreography my own Olympics Opening Ceremony, if Vancouver impossibly got another chance to do that.

First, let’s recap what the actual Vancouver 2010 Olympics included, and I will then follow with a list of what I’d include instead:

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony design

-cool snowboarders down the mountain, making a giant maple leaf light up on the mountain.
-visual imagery of Vancouver looking like an absolute utopia, and a whole lot like Middle-Earth (from Peter Jackson’s brilliant film interpretation of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” {LOTR})
-a fun dancing clubbing party by representatives from Canada’s wonderful indigenous peoples
-a Gigantic, Polar Gummi Bear
-an arctic, Canadian Gandalf (character from LOTR)
-the same arctic Gandalf with his magical staff also doing the same “You shall not pass!” type of attack on the surrounding peoples
-a giant mountain that looked, at first like Mt. Doom, at the heart of Mordor (LOTR, again), with people flying
-cool Whales swimming through the floor (reminded me of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
-the Dark Knight, Batman, flying in a boat, over Mt. Doom, and with all the people on the ground watching (at this point, the mood was epic and dark)
-Batman, somehow becoming a fiddler Batman…and then a drunken, fiddler Batman, and all the people somehow became drunken dancers as well (don’t get me wrong, it was quite entertaining…just really bizarre)
-The tree from the James Cameron new movie, “Avatar” and all the Canadian Na’vi (the aliens in Avatar). (Yes, I learned later it was supposed to emulate Emily Carr’s art!), and more flying people.
-Canadian Peter Pan flying through the air, over golden wheat, and strange dark horses travelling across the wheat.
-And even more flying people, and more flying people, and lots of psychedelic lights, and other fun craziness.
-pretty cool Slam Poet
-3 out of 4 Torch metal poles (which still looked cool despite the malfunction)

Nathan’s Choreography of the Vancouver Olympics with Similar Themes:

Lego Gandalf

-First, keep the giant Polar Gummi Bear and the fiddler Batman + Gandalf.  Those were too bizarrely brilliant to abandon.
-Keep those in the scene, and instead of Peter Pan, have Superman fly in to attack the Polar Bear.  While they’re wrestling, have Gandalf approach
and try the “You shall not pass!” thing and magic.  As the ground is shaking with Gandalf’s power, then have the Fiddler Batman drop in.
-Fiddler Batman starts fiddling, but then all of a sudden, he spins around and turns into a Hobbit, while all the dancers become Pink pig-like Smurfs and fly up and down Mt. Doom.
-Then have Peter Jackson come in as the Slam Poet, but have him to “Slam poetry” off of some Elven song from LOTR.

-THEN, the critical part is this….:  Suddenly, as the poem ends, and the heroes are battling the Polar Gummi Bear, Gandalf is doing his thing, and all the chaos is ensuing….the WHOLE STADIUM goes dark…for 10 seconds….Suddenly, you see the Polar Gummi Bear slowly start to light up again, with those blue sparkly star that made him glow.  So, one blue star of the bear lights up, then a second, then a third, then another etc. etc., until you can see the outline of the Gummi Bear again.  Then, in a complete shock to the billions of viewers around the world, you see each blue star from the bear slowl transform….into a FACE!!!!  But not just any face!!  Each face is a Chinese-Canadian!!  You find out the whole bear is made up of Chinese Canadians!!!   Then, all of faces smile, and then you can see each of the people making up the Gummi Bear all JUMP OUT at you!!!!

Flying Wayne Gretzky

As they Jump Out, the bear slowly   disappears!  …And you notice that each one is wearing a cape!  Suddenly, all these fiddles come flying out of nowhere and land in the hands of each person…and again, the drunken fiddle dancing continues!!  After that, they all gather in a circle, start jumping in unison, surrounding Mt. Doom.  The whole ground shakes, as does Mt. Doom, and you get the sense it’s going to Erupt. After you hear chants of “Go! Go! Go!”, the whole stadium shakes and it goes pitch black again.  Suddenly the Mt. Doom ERUPTS!, and instead of Lava, DIM SUM pops out and surrounds the whole stadium!  And then, as every member of the audience is getting a “siu mai”, a “ha gow” or “siu long bao” in their hands from Mt. Doom’s eruption, and you think it can’t get any cooler, it goes pitch black again…there’s a long drum roll that starts to build up…more and more instruments are added to build up the suspense (e.g. guitars, pan flutes, pianos, loud synthesized stuff, Fiddles)….when suddenly, a blinding light briefly shines from the middle, and Mount Doom explodes one last, giant time!!!

As your eyes start to focus, you see it’s a Giant Flame that is bursting vertically skyward and explodes straight through the BC Place Dome!!  And it keeps going higher and higher through the sky, then surpasses all scientific reason through the atmosphere, and goes straight into Outer Space!!!  You see all the Fiddlers with Capes all fly out at blazing speed, twirling around the flame blast as they all go out into space!  Where are they all going?

Pig-like smurfs on the moon?

Well, they’re all going to the MOON!  Because that’s where the Olympic Cauldron is!!!  As the blaze of fire is moving at ludicrous speeds to the moon, you see each of the flying fiddlers light the fiddles on fire, as if they’re torches!!!  Finally, in a glorious final scene, the all-encompassing flames hit this giant cauldron on the moon!!!!!!!   The flying fiddlers land, with torch -fiddles in hand, surrounding the cauldron. The flame on the cauldron calms and sparkles gloriously. The flying fiddlers all raise their fiddles high, when in the distance, you see hundreds of stars slowly move and converge into a shape…It’s not just any shape…They converge one more time into, yes, the POLAR GUMMI BEAR…..Then drunken fiddle-dancing ensues, the pig-like smurfs randomly appear again, and you see Wayne Gretzky doing the moonwalk, and then suddenly a giant squirrel comes straight at you and says, Happy Chinese New Year!!!

haha, what do you think? <GONG!>

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

<GONG!>

Brilliance in Stupidity & Talking Animals…Arguably

January 27, 2010

Bambi and a Skunk...They talk!

Brilliance in Stupidity & Talking Animals…Arguably

<GONG>

Arguably, this is my most ridiculous, random, and most inspiring blog entry yet.  And since it has absolutely nothing to do with London, it means it has absolutely everything to do with nothing else.

Which likely means, arguably, it’s one of the best blogs I’ve written….Arguably, indeed. but then again, that’s why I use “arguably” (and really, why anybody uses the word, “arguably”…arguably) because it’s such a subjective thing, isn’t it…arguably?  I quite enjoyed an earlier blog I wrote about the “Shady” side of London, and I write that because it has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m about to write about in the next sentence.  But that is….”arguably” my best blog…and to others, will “arguably” still be the best blog I have written thus far.  Okay, so what is it I’m going to talk about?  What am I hyping up?  Well, if you skipped ahead, skimmed a bit, or used your intellectual prowess to guess from the title of this blog, then you might guess what the next sentence–that I’m clearly stalling from writing–might say…But here it is….arguably (okay, I’ll stop.  It made zero sense to use that word here. ;-)  )

Ahh...Ducktales. Wonderful.

This blog entry in a somewhat philosophical, mildly inspirational and wonderfully stupid way, will ask: What is it about our human nature that yearns to read/watch humanized, personified, goofy animals?  Another words, why talking unicorns, magical donkeys, fantastical camels, cooking rats, fishes that look like actors, and all of that?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should not be engaged by talking dogs (e.g. pick your show), mischievous bunnies (e.g. Tiny Toon Adventures), or life-saving little chipmunks (e.g. Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers),or wealthy ducks saving the world (e.g. Ducktales).  I’m just saying, that, if you pause and really think about it…..It’s absolutely stupid.  Don’t worry, I’m not saying you’re stupid, or that I’m stupid for growing up on this stuff too (and to a certain extent, still enjoy simple and/or complex films with talking creatures), but I’m just saying that it just is stupid.  Okay…I take that back…maybe we all are stupid. haha.

Consider this scene:  Humans sitting on a fluffy couch, gathering in front of a big box (or nowadays, a wide “panel”), to watch some fancy lights and sounds come out of it.  What’s more, we are watching animals, maybe dogs or cats, that usually, in real life just come up to us and lick our feet, but we’re watching these animals perform complex, sometimes supernatural feats, maybe offering a commentary on the society at the time, or teaching children about death, violence, love, hate, faith, power, drugs, sex, rock and roll, etc. etc.  Okay, I guess you might not find half of that in Disney, but you know what I mean.

Ninja Turtles!

At the same time…as stupid as it may seem, there is “something” that draws us to stupid talking animals, or creatures isn’t there?  There’s something about the “real” and the “unreal” that draws us, and certainly, when it’s a movie or show we really enjoy, is able to capture us into their ridiculous, stupid, but strangely appealing world.  There’s something brilliant about that, and something brilliant about animals drawing countless billions of dollars from humans with great (or much too little) amounts of money.

At this moment I’m thinking of a couple things.  Here’s the first:

I’m thinking again of “Ducktales” which I grew up with in the 80’s, or even the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, or for those real geeks like me, the “Thundercats” (of which I picked up a couple of inexpensive half-price T-shirts from Amazon.  Best purchase of the New year so far!).  I think of what possibly drew me to watch (with a deep, soul-wrenching “I want to watch it right NOW”) a silly old, wealthy, Duck with a magical “Number One Dime”, or a mutated turtle with amazing ninja skills and a penchant for pizza, or a magical, very humanoid looking superpowerful Cat with a magical Excalibur-like sword, that has a stupid (but paradoxically awesome) battle cry, “Thunder…thunder…thunderCats…HO!!!!!!”  I’m thinking of all their appeal growing up.  You know, I actually learned some life lessons from these cartoons, maybe that’s what made these so appealing.  What did I learn?  (Cue, the dreamy, synthesized, public service announcement music)…I learned about friendship, courage, budgeting (yes, budgeting, thanks to the richiest duck in the world, Scrooge McDuck of Ducktales…), the forces of evil (the enemies of the good guys), and all sorts of wonderful life and moral values.  Of course, I also learned about pizza, how cool it was jump around like a ninja, and dreamt of how cool it would be if a random turtle in the river could transform into a humanoid one and start doing weird ninja tricks…Then again, that might be scary.

Thundercats! Hooo!

But I think, above all, the sheer Brilliance of Talking Animals–as crazy as that sounds if you really stopped to think about it–is how they somehow, managed to “spark” our imagination…to inspire us with ideas, dreams, and impossible things…so that maybe, just maybe you, I, and each one of us might be jolted out of our learned adult limitations and realities of human living, and recall a time when we imagined that anything was possible.

Sure, when I make my return to Vancouver in the summer, and maybe go on a ferry trip to Victoria, it’d be kind of dumb to expect all those furry rabbits there (and wow, there’s really a lot of them) to speak to me…Maybe it’s even psychopathological to roam around Stanley Park, climb up some trees, and try to speak “chipmunk” or other animals languages to actual, real chipmunks.  I mean, imagine a (non-intoxicated) 29-year old, young adult male trying those things?   Or even crazier, imagine a sober 49 year old female trying those things?  What would be your first thought of them?

Right, yes, sure…quite a lot of possible thoughts we might have of them.  I’d probably take a picture of them, and blog about their ridiculousness (I think that’s a word).  But, if we think about it, it was only a couple decades ago that you or I might have tried those exact things (though I’m not very good at climbing trees), at a time when the magical, the unreal, and the impossible were acceptable things for us to imagine seeing, doing, thinking, and feeling, etc.

Tiny Toon Adventures

If I’m being optimistic about many of my blog readers, I think many of us have benefited from continually growing in a unique, adult vision of the world, and developing the wisdom that comes from it (or so I hope, for all our sakes! If not…well, that’s another blog ;-)   We must keep that, and continue to develop that…But at the same time…there’s something very powerful about the imagination we had as children…and something from that era of our lives, dare I say, that is absolutely and fundamentally necessary for us to continue growing as independent (and interdependent) humans, whether we be in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 100’s, 200’s (God bless you for reaching 200 years of age!).  What would it be like to nurture our capacity to imagine?  What would it be like, to be a wonderfully wise, well-lived 100 year old, who has lived through all possible seasons of life (e.g. good, bad, joyful, painful, amazing, terrible, disillusioned, wonderful, ugly, beautiful, etc. etc.)…but yet continue to imagine the most impossible things regardless of limitations and the awareness of actual realities?

Isn’t that insane?  Crazy?  Ridiculous?  Stupid?  Yah, probably…

But maybe that’s just it…Maybe there’s brilliance in the stupidest of things…
And maybe…even something tremendously valuable in our most ridiculous of imaginations, no matter how many years old and young we are.

Think about it😉

<GONG>

Home is where the congee is…

January 11, 2010

Mmm...congee

<GONG!>

HOME IS WHERE THE CONGEE IS…

“Home is where the congee is…”-Nathan To (yes, my quote!  don’t steal it without citing me. haha)

It’s been about a month since my last blog piece.  Clearly, I didn’t write a word while I was living it up in Hong Kong.  Not only was I livin’ it up, I was eating 3-5 times more than I usually do in London, and certainly, feeling very much at “home”, since my Dad was there along with some “relatives” (in quotation marks, because it’s the “Chinese” sort of close relatives, but not blood-related…too bad no sibling or sibling-in-laws, but we’ll conquer the UK in March!).

Graciously housed by the Lau family in beautiful Tai Po, New Territories, I set to embark on a month-long feast in early December.  For those concerned about my health from such month-long gluttony, Don’t worry.  I only gained a miniscule 5 lbs, thanks to Uncle HF & Auntie Emily’s gym in the clubhouse.  Pretty good considering how much I apparently shrunk after 3 months in London.  Shrunk?  Yup–I was actually surprised that everyone who saw me was shocked that i had shrunk so much horizontally since my 3 month stay in London thus far (Shrunk?  “Horizontally?”….just think about it. Email me if you’re still confused ;-)  ).  Apparently I inspired my “cousin”, Kara (Chinese style “cousin”, you know), and so, in addition to being a Food Critic, Tourist, Amateur Trigger-happy Photographer and Eating Machine in Hong Kong, I also served part-time as a “personal trainer”.  Who knew I shrunk so much?!?  I guess staring at myself in the mirror, it’s difficult to see your own shrinking.  I still have some shrinking goals before I hit 30 (Our 30’s are the new 20’s, right?), so we’ll see if I shock anybody back home in the summertime.  …(Completely RANDOM Aside:  While writing that one sentence, I thought of Milgram’s infamous “electric shock” experiments on obedience to authority figures.  For those who don’t know, this social psych experiment took place sometime in the early 1960’s.  Brief summary from wikipedia (naturally!):

The experimenter (E) orders the teacher (T), the subject of the experiment, to give what the latter believes are painful electric shocks to a learner (L), who is actually an actor and confederate. The subject believes that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual electric shocks, though in reality there were no such punishments. Being separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock levelSome test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment )

Great!  Now you’re reading to continue listening to me talk about all the food I ate in Hong Kong.

HK Food eaten highlights:

Wealth/Fortune Chicken (formerly Beggar's chicken) and my golden hammer

Congee, of course!  Peking Duck (lots), “Fortune/Wealth Chicken” (though, historically called Beggar’s Chicken, I’m told), Teppanyaki, Siu Long Bao (lots), Squirrel Fish (sweet and sour), Ha Gow, Siu Mai, Chicken Feet, Congee!, Soy Chicken, Awesome Chinese Egg dish thing, Massive amounts of seafood, Wonton noodles, a wonderful buffet on top of a Revolving Restaurant, a wedding banquet, Haagan Daas ice cream…and lots lots lots lots more food.  Those are just the ones I can remember!   Thanks again to everyone who treated me to a wonderful Feast or Special event and/or packs of haw flakes–DAD, Uncle HF & Auntie Emily, Kev (“Cuther”) & Shu Ying, Kara, Uncle CY & Auntie Alice, Jason, Uncle Yiu & Auntie Pat, and everybody else!  I hope I did not forget anybody?

Shanghai Food!

Thanks also to all my old friends (you’re old, not because you’re old, but old because I’ve know y’all for a long time), who hung out and/or treated me to good food.  You know who you are.  I’m gonna advertise you, so that others from Vancouver can come visit and g

et the same treatment from you. wwahaha ;-)  Chinese Eric, BonBon, JoeJoe (and your hubby), Adela Hamburger Helper, Karenlo (and Sam and little baby Evan).  Please contact them if you want a feast too.

Mainland Trip Highlights

Now on to one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.  I went on an awesome trip to Xian with Dad, and a pretty good Chinese Tour, I gotta say.  Funny tour guides and a good group of people touring along.  Xian was breathtaking! I’m just gonna list out some of my highlights, and not describe as much, b/c words can’t do the experience justice (and, again, I’m feeling a bit lazy. haha)

Terracotta Warriors! (not bad for a pic from my little Canon ELPH 7.2MP, eh?)

*Terracotta Warriors (wow.  I stood there for like a total of an hour..not at once, b/c I also had to follow the tour around the exhibition, but I went back later to the primary viewing area of the warriors and just stood there, gazing.  I dreamt of coming here for maybe decades after realizing it existed…<maybe during elementary school?>). Click here for links to info about Terracotta (from China Tourism site)

One of my Fave pics during the HK trip! Dad & I posing by a cool-looking rock on Hua Shan

*Hua Shan (Amazing mountain range, and made extra famous by its being mentioned as the site where these awesome powerful martial artists had a legendary, powerful battle…Of course, this mention came from a martial arts novel by Jin Yong, “Legend of the Condor Heroes”.   The timing of our visit was perfect. It had just snowed on Hua Shan before we arrived in Xian, but was really sunny when we made our own visit.  As a result, the snow adorned the mountains beautifully, and the clear, sunny skies just made for an amazing view of the whole mountain range)  Link to Hua Shan page.

A glorious shot of Hua Shan (not from my camera, though...I think this shot was taken at a much higher elevation than we were at)

Leather jackets!

*Huaqing Hot Springs (site of Lady Yang Statue) Link

This was a pretty cool place too, being the site famous for Imperial Bathing Pools of Royalty and royal ministers and officials, if I’m not mistaken.  It’s also famous for having a large nude statue of Lady Yang Guifei bathing in a pool.  Naturally, there were a lot of folks posing with the statue.  Oddly, there were an awful lot of Mainlanders in leather jackets surrounding the statue, taking pictures and posing with it for excessive amounts of time.  And if one group left, another group came to do the same thing.  What does that mean?  I’ll leave that to you.  All I know is that they were Happy.  Quite Happy.  ….That’s just an observation ;-)  hahaha.

Do you see our Happy Mainlander friend ? He's Very Very Happy.

Hmm…I think I’ll just list the rest of the sites I visited + links, and link to a picture album a bit later, b/c my dissertation is calling me🙂

*Mausoleum of Western Emperor Jing, Liu Qi. Apparently, it took 28 years to put this together  Click here for link to info about the Mausoleum.

*Big Wild Goose PagodaLink to info

*Small Goose Pagoda (lots of cool older folks exercising in various forms of martial arts around the surrounding park.  Some folks did a form of “Badminton Tai Chi”. Actually looked pretty neat.  Will try to remember to comment on this later)  Link

*Tang Dynasty Music & Dance Show (this was pretty fun)  Link

*Stele Forest Museum (Giant ancient stone tablets with Chinese script and records) Link

Ok….there’s a lot more too we went to, but I gotta look through the pictures again and sift through their Names and compare that through research with my tour book and the Chinese tourism site…which takes too long. haha.  So, let’s just say I went to a lot.  Perhaps when I post the pictures, I’ll offer some more detail.

…ahhhh.. Home is Indeed where the Congee is.

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