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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Human Cognome Project

The Human Cognome Project seeks to reverse engineer the human brain, paralleling in many ways the Human Genome Project and its success in deciphering the human genome. The HCP is a multidisciplinary undertaking, relevant to, among others: biology, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind. Analytical techniques used in the Human Cognome Project include:
studying brain biology and chemistry in wet lab experiments,
studying brain structure using frozen/ chemically preserved tissue sample scanning and imaging,
studying brain activity and function using electroencephalography, neuroimaging and invasive probes (commonly wire or silicon),
studying brain development though the field of morphogenesis,
studying brain disease, injury and dysfunction through the fields of brain pathology, neurology and psychopharmacology, and
studying psychology relative to brain structure and function through neuropsychology
This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completeness. Sourced additions are welcome and you can help by expanding it.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and other scientific research bodies have endorsed the Human Cognome Project.
Fundamental brain research as a primary enabler for creating augmented human intelligence and smarter-than-human strong artificial intelligence is recognized by many public figures, most notably entrepreneurs Ray Kurzweil, Jeff Hawkins, Bill Joy and Paul Allen, scientist Stephen Hawking, writer Arthur C. Clarke, and philosopher Max More.

Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance

Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance is a 2002 report commissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce. The report contains descriptions and commentaries on the state of the science and technology of the combined fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC) by major contributors to these fields. Potential uses of these technologies in improving health and overcoming disability are discussed in the report, as well as ongoing work on planned applications of human enhancement technologies in the military and in rationalization of the human-machine interface in industrial settings.


NBIC can refer to different subjects:
Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information technology and Cognitive science (see Emerging technologies)



http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_report.pdf

FM-2030

F.M. Esfandiary changed his name to FM-2030 for two main reasons. Firstly, to reflect the hope and belief that he would live to celebrate his 100th birthday in 2030; Secondly, and more importantly, to break free of the widespread practice of naming conventions that are rooted in a collectivist mentality, and exist only as a relic of humankind's tribalistic past. Traditional names almost always stamp a label of collective identity - varying from gender, to nationality - on the individual, thereby existing as prima facie elements of thought processes in the human cultural fabric, that tend to degenerate into stereotyping, factionalism, and discrimination. In his own words, "Conventional names define a person's past: ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, religion. I am not who I was ten years ago and certainly not who I will be in twenty years. [...] The name 2030 reflects my conviction that the years around 2030 will be a magical time. In 2030 we will be ageless and everyone will have an excellent chance to live forever. 2030 is a dream and a goal."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Point Counter Point

Point Counter Point, published in 1928, was Aldous Huxley's fourth novel. It is highly regarded: the Modern Library lists it in the top 100 novels of the 20th century.[1]
Consistent with Huxley's other novels, Point Counter Point has no overarching plot. Instead, the story is an intricate set of sub-plots revolving around several key characters each with a set of sub characters. Each character represents some aspect of life or is a stereotype of some sort from a rather vapid group in the twenties. The various character paths cross in varying circumstances. Much of the novel consists of deeply penetrating personality sketches and long intellectual conversations. When actions are described, Huxley analyzes every motive and internal emotion in detail, sometimes even jumping into a character's past to provide context. His characters decry the dangers of sacrificing humanity for intellectualism, and express concern about the staggering progress of science and technology. There are perhaps two main issues - the first is class and the reactions of people as the barriers break down. The second is sex where various possibilities and relationships are described. Philosophically, the entire book plays on the dichotomy between reason and passion. Huxley's "champion" of philosophical balance is the fictional character, Rampion, who was coincidentally inspired in Huxley by his encounters with D.H. Lawrence.

Sumerian literature

Sumerian literature is the oldest literature in the world. The Sumerians invented the first writing system, beginning with cuneiform logograms, which evolved into a syllabary writing system. The Sumerian language remained in official and literary use in the Akkadian and Babylonian empires, even after the spoken language disappeared from the population; literacy was widespread, and the Sumerian texts that students copied heavily influence later Babylonian literature.
Sumerian literature has not been handed down to us directly, rather it has been rediscovered through archaeology. Nevertheless, the Akkadians and Babylonians borrowed much from the Sumerian literary heritage, and spread these traditions throughout the middle east, influencing much of the literature that followed in this region, including the Bible.

The Ultimate Goal: Harmony with Tao (Wu wei)

The goal for wu wei is to get out of your own way, so to speak. This is like when you are playing an instrument and if you start thinking about playing the instrument, then you will get in your own way and interfere with your own playing. It is aimless action, because if there was a goal that you need to aim at and hit, then you will develop anxiety about this goal. Zhuangzi made a point of this, where he writes about an archer who at first didn't have anything to aim at. When there was nothing to aim at, the archer was happy and content with his being. He was practicing wu wei. But, then he set up a target and "got in his own way." He was going against the Tao and the natural course of things by having to hit that goal.
A dramatic description of wu wei is found in chapter 2 of Zhuang Zi:
A fully achieved person is like a spirit! The great marshes could be set on fire, but she wouldn't feel hot. The rivers in China could all freeze over, but she wouldn't feel cold. Thunder could suddenly echo through the mountains, wind could cause a tsunami in the ocean, but she wouldn't be startled. A person like that could ride through the sky on the floating clouds, straddle the sun and moon, and travel beyond the four seas. Neither death nor life can cause changes within her, and there's little reason for her to even consider benefit or harm.[1]
This passage is metaphorical. To a Taoist, things arise dependently. The soul and body go together, because if there were no soul, there would be no body and if there were no body, there would be no soul. All these arise dependently like this (this is the meaning of the Yin-Yang symbol; if there were no yin, there would be no yang and if there were no yang, there would be no yin). A person who follows the principle of wu wei thus realizes how ridiculous it is to cling to good and to obsessively stay away from evil. By realizing how things arise dependently, a Taoist is able to accept the bad and is then able to have no goal to aim at. When Zhuangzi is saying a fully achieved person is like a spirit, he is saying that a fully achieved person has accepted the bad things in life and does not strive to get away from them and instead accepts them.

Entropy - Bad Religion lyrics

random blobs of power expressed as that which we all disregard, ordered states of nature on a scale that no one thinks about, don't speak to me of anarchy or peace of calm revolt, man, we're in a play of slow decay orchestrated by boltzmann, it's entropy, it's not a human issue, entropy, it's matter of course, entropy, enegery at all levels, entropy, from it you can not divorce and your pathetic moans of suffrage tend to lose all significance, extinction, degradation; the natural outcomes of our ordered lives, power, motivation; temporary fixtures for which we strive, something in our synapses assures us we're ok but in our desequilibrium we simply can not stay, it's entropy..., a stolid proposition from a man unkempt as i, my affectatious i can not rectify, but we are out of equilibrium unnaturally, a pang of conciousness at death and then you will agree

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Text Messages

I get some really awesome/hilarious text messages sometimes so I gonna post a few here before I delete them off my mobile.

1.) "Well. because you wear a nice hat in class, (it's my view). and you smile morethan before, and we all think the game was interesting" (Message from a student explaining why her and her friends thought I was 'cute' in class)

2.) "there is a bad guy in Heros, when he point somebody's forhead, he die. i just wish i have this power. when i point at cocoroach, they blast" (Friend in Beijing who hates cockroaches and loves the TV show "Heroes")

3.) "You are very lovely and interesting! I'm very happy!" (Message from a student named "Ivy")

4.) "Amy is arguing for lao tze over confucius with the taxi driver. I'm trying not to chunder and pulling on my 25 kuai cig." (Message from Slav, my English colleague/friend)

5.) "Me so hate japan, and so on" (Slav imitating a local resident)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Three Musicians


Las Meninas


Las Meninas (Spanish for The Maids of Honour)[1] is a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The work's complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. Because of these complexities, Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analysed works in Western painting.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

COLLAPSE


FLATLAND


Machine Learning Vids

http://videolectures.net/Top/Computer_Science/Machine_Learning/

Speculations on the Future of Science

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kelly06/kelly06_index.html

Pattern Recognition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_recognition

The Emotion Machine


Out of Control


Engines of Creation




Nanotechnology fascinates me. I've read about half of this book so far (on-line) but I really prefer reading physical/traditional books so I don't think I'll finish this one until I own a physical copy.

Molecular Nanotechnology

Molecular nanotechnology (MNT) is the concept of engineering functional mechanical systems at the molecular scale.[1] An equivalent definition would be "machines at the molecular scale designed and built atom-by-atom". This is distinct from nanoscale materials. Based on Richard Feynman's vision of miniature factories using nanomachines to build complex products (including additional nanomachines), this advanced form of nanotechnology (or molecular manufacturing[2]) would make use of positionally-controlled mechanosynthesis guided by molecular machine systems. MNT would involve combining physical principles demonstrated by chemistry, other nanotechnologies, and the molecular machinery of life with the systems engineering principles found in modern macroscale factories. Its most well-known exposition is in the books of K. Eric Drexler, particularly Engines of Creation. Detailed theoretical investigation, sections 4.3 and 4.4 below, have investigated the feasibility of molecular nanotechnology, but the topic remains controversial.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Herodotus Quote

"For if anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably, after careful consideration of their relative merits, choose those of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best"

Histories page 187

Update - April 2010


I'm currently reading the Introduction to Allan Bloom's, "The Closing of the American Mind" and I came across the following passage which I thought would be worth including with this entry/blog I posted in 2008:

...if the students were really to learn something of the minds of any of these non-Western cultures—which they do not—they would find that each and every one of these cultures is ethnocentric. All of them think their way is the best way, and all others are inferior. Herodotus tells us that the Persians thought that they were the best, that those nations bordering on them were next best, that those nations bordering on the nations bordering on them were third best, and so on, their worth declining as the concentric circles were farther from the Persian center. This is the very definition of ethnocentrism. Something like this is as ubiquitous as the prohibition against incest between mother and son.

Only in the Western nations, i.e., those influenced by Greek philosophy, is there some willingness to doubt the identification of the good with one's own way. One should conclude from the study of non-Western cultures that not only to prefer one's own way but to believe it best, superior to all others, is primary and even natural—exactly the opposite of what is intended by requiring students to study these cultures. What we are really doing is applying a Western prejudice—which we covertly
take to indicate the superiority of our culture—and deforming the evidence of those other cultures to attest to its validity. The scientific study of other cultures is almost exclusively a Western phenomenon, and in its origin was obviously connected with the search for new and better ways, or at least for validation of the hope that our own culture really is the better way, a validation for which there is no felt need in other cultures.

If we are to learn from those cultures, we must wonder whether such scientific study is a good idea. Consistency would seem to require professors of openness to respect the ethnocentrism or closedness they find everywhere else. However, in attacking ethnocentrism, what they actually do is to assert unawares the superiority of their scientific understanding and the inferiority of the other cultures which do not recognize it at the same time that they reject all such claims to superiority.

La Distinction

La Distinction, a sociological book by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002), takes as its basis Bourdieu's empirical research carried out in 1963 and concluded in 1967/68. The original publication took place in 1979 in France. Richard Nice translated the work into English, and it appeared in the United States in 1984 under the title Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. In 1998 the International Sociological Association voted it one of the ten most important sociological books of the 20th century.
In his often densely-worded prose, Bourdieu discussed how those in power define aesthetic concepts such as "taste". Using research, he shows how social class tends to determine a person's likes and interests, and how distinctions based on social class get reinforced in daily life. He observes that even when the subordinate classes may seem to have their own particular idea of 'good taste', "...[i]t must never be forgotten that the working-class 'aesthetic' is a dominated 'aesthetic' which is constantly obliged to define itself in terms of the dominant aesthetics..." (page 41)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Illusions and Ambiguous Figures


Further Musings

The Paradigm shifts and lifts the obstacles from the past off the beaten path.
Anomalies are swept under the rug and forgotten.
Security is restored and temporarily maintained….yet questions remain.

We look ahead towards the unknown briefly
Then return to the daily grind
As if nothing happened.
Generations forget…..


Appearance and reality
Share a limited correspondence
Limited by sense perception
And mental deception
We only fool ourselves

Judging books by their covers
Has become the norm



Existence or Essence?
Past or Present?
Reality or Imagination?
Moving in quickly or with hesitation?

Eternal questions fill the airwaves
Cognitive transistors act as receptors

Information is intercepted and interpreted
From a subjective point of view
Results will vary because the truth can be scary.


Creative
Contemplative
Some ideas are related.
Some egos are inflated.

Body
Mind
Some men have cognitive ‘eyes’
Some are completely blind

Truth
Proof
Standards of evidence differ
Who knows themselves?

Abstract
Straightforward
Approaches differ
Is everything arbitrary?


Biological entities
Products of arbitraty conventions and traditions
Looking for something to live or die for.

Praising/Glorifying the rich
Ignoring the poor

Various systems interpreting phenomenon
Intelligent machines living on cybertron

Is there a pattern in the randomness of what we call reality?
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.


People sleeping through earthquakes
People afraid to make mistakes

Fragile egos abound
What goes up must come down

Authority and power
Blend the sweet with the sour

Evolution evolves
Yet natures’ problems remain unsolved
Men wearing white coats guarantee resolve

People cling to their cause
But few of them pause
To take a second thought
Because it’s easier to be a robot



You’re not me and I’m not you
So, how can you tell me what I should do?
What works for you may not work for me
I want to sit down, you want to climb a tree.

Nature and nurture make us what we are.
So, how free are we?
And who can pretend to know?

It appears to be as random as a roll of the dice.
So, be sure to think twice before making judgement calls.
We’re cast into situations beyond our control.
And some of us are destined to fall.

So, is a hope a delusion or necessary for survival?
Pessimism results in religious revivals.

And society holds us libel for our actions
So, that’s a starting point


Let me ramble and gamble with the future.
Let me try something new.
Feels like it’s all be done before though.
Maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I try to express myself through symbols and signs
I make sounds with my mouth to express what’s in my mind.

However, my attempts at communication remain limited.
I’m often misunderstood but sometimes complimented/resented.


*******************************************************************************
How plausible is a technological singularity?
Some men of science support the notion
With the utmost sincerity.

The border between biology and tehcnology
Becomes grayer everyday
Which will eventually result in celebration or utter dismay.

Is this evolution’s solution? The next stage of progress?

Social issues in the People's Republic of China

Social issues in the People's Republic of China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Social issues in the People's Republic of China in the 21st century are varied and wide-ranging, and are a combined result of the Chinese economic reforms set in place in the late 1970s, China's political and cultural history, and an immense population. Because of the vast number of social problems that exist in China today (not at all exclusive to the following list), China's government has faced considerable difficulty in trying to remedy the issues. Many of these issues are exposed by the Chinese media, while subjects that may contain politically sensitive issues may be censored. Some academics hold that China's fragile social balance, combined with a bubble economy makes China an extremely unstable country, while others argue China's societal trends have created a balance to sustain itself.
Contents

1 Socio-economic imbalances
2 Population
3 Social safety net
4 Government and law
5 Crime
6 Social unrest
7 Health care
8 Elitism and discrimination
9 Environment
10 Education
11 Morality
12 Loss of culture
13 See also
14 References


Socio-economic imbalances
Rural-urban disparity and the wealth gap
Coastal-hinterland imbalance
Digital divide

Population
Overpopulation
Male-female ratio disparity from sex-selective abortion and other problems associated from the One-child policy
Uncontrollable flow of mass migration

Social safety net
Lack of pension system; Social insurance virtually non-existent
Unemployment
Lack of benefits for the retired

Government and law
Lack of democratic practice and power invested in citizenry
Government's abuse of power (滥用职权)
Useless positions in civil service and redundant government agencies
Corruption (nepotism, cronyism, wasting public funds, bribery etc.)
Face projects (面子工程), including building useless roads, buildings, and huge government squares
government-commerce relationships (官商勾结)
Lack of the rule of law
Corruption of the legal system (司法制度腐败)
Fusion and unclear definition on the powers of the government and judiciary

Crime
Corporate irregularity
Re-emergence of organized crime
Gambling and prostitution
Growth of pornographic industry
Personal safety risks (especially in public places such as train stations)
Massive counterfeiting
Corporate scandals (includes corruption in professional sports)
Increased instances of fraud and scams (including people claiming supernatural powers, cure illnesses, change names for better luck, etc.)

Social unrest
Media censorship
Challenges to authority
Protests against local government/businesses and ensuing persecution

Health care
Corruption (lack of healthcare cover, hospital overcrowding and low wages prompt doctors to seek additional monetary incentive from patients)
Underdeveloped
Lack of modern equipment in majority of rural areas
Privatization and double standards
Uncontrolled spread of AIDS and STDs
Sanitation

Elitism and discrimination
Regional elitism (particularly in Beijing and Shanghai)
Discrimination against women (although since the Mao-era the status of women gained significant ground)
Emergence of new class system

Environment
Sacrificing environmental needs for economic gain (includes Three Gorges Dam project)
Urban industrial pollution
Uncontrolled and unsustainable rise in urban vehicle use

Education
Competitiveness in schools (includes bribery to get into best schools)
Overt emphasis on exams (especially Gaokao, the university entrance exams)
Parental and peer pressure on youth
Lack of creativity and self-critical thinking
Lack of physical education
Rural-urban inequality
Privatization
Lack of job opportunities after graduation
Lack of strong relationship between state-funded research and the private sector, e.g. poor commercialization and technology transfer of university research
Lack of critical scholarship and monitoring of research quality
Lack of multi-lingual abilities to compete in the globalized economy

Morality
Norm that social competitiveness should be considered above all else
Loss of traditional Confucianism morals and beliefs
Inflexible ideologies taught in public
Money worship


Loss of culture
New generation of Chinese embracing anything Western (pop music, western clothing, going to Starbucks, etc.), thus losing Chinese culture
Buddhism becoming commercialized
Suppression of religion

Books




Eric Drexler is the man!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Drexler

Ray Kurzweil Reader -- Brilliant!!

http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=memelist.html?m=7%23713

"What the future will bring" by Ray Kurzweil

http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=memelist.html?m=7%23713

Who will rule the 21st Century?

Who Will Rule the 21st Century?
by
Jack Welch
Straight-line extrapolation shows that China and India, with their faster growth rates, will eventually catch up to the U.S. in terms of pure economic size. But America has a final competitive advantage: its confluence of bright, hungry entrepreneurs and flush, eager investors; and its stable, highly adaptable system.
Originally published in Business Week magazine on July 2, 2007. Reprinted with permission.
We’re neither economic forecasters nor political prognosticators by trade, but you don’t have to be either to see that right now the U.S. holds a robust lead in the race for hegemony. Our economy is five times as large as China’s and 15 times larger than India’s, with about one-fourth the population of either nation. That gives the U.S. a real advantage in providing education, health care, and national security—plus all the other stuff that makes a country thrive. But “right now” doesn’t mean forever. All you need is a ruler to draw the straight-line extrapolation showing that China and India, with their faster growth rates, will eventually catch up to the U.S. in terms of pure economic size. For China, that would occur as early as 2045; for India, the date would be some 20 years later. Which is why you so often hear experts predicting that, by midcentury, the U.S. will be trailing the two new world superpowers. We'd say: Not so fast. Straight-line calculations about the U.S., China, and India are just that. They assume all three national will enjoy smooth upward rides. No recessions, no banking breakdowns, not political crisis, no disruptive social uprisings. Unlikely? For sure! With China's massive experiment combining communism and capitalism, India's entrenched bureaucracy and corruption, and America's long term entitlement obligations, it is far more probable that growth trajectories will zig and zag more than zoom. Further, straight-line calculations do not take into account relationships with other parts of the world, such as the Middle East, where changing alliances could have economic repercussions.Given that reality, then, what general scenario would you bet on for the next 50 years? Would it be America’s 3% annual growth or China and India at 8%? We’d take the U.S. for a simple yet incontrovertible reason. Its system—the sum of all its parts—works, and when it breaks, it bounces back fast. Don’t worry; we’re not breaking into The Star-Spangled Banner. We just believe U.S. economic dominance isn’t a function of how long the nation has been leading the pack. It’s about how America operates as a country. We’re talking, mainly, about freedom and stability. Political parties disagree, often vehemently, but the government never stops running. Generally speaking, the U.S. justice system is fair, and health care, while inconsistent in delivery, is widely available. And even though secondary education in America gets roundly knocked, we have without doubt the best system of higher education, turning out the world’s most skilled, innovative science and engineering PhDs. America has a final competitive advantage as powerful as it is unique: its confluence of bright, hungry entrepreneurs and flush, eager investors. Yes, China and India have ambitious people who dream of building their own companies, and, increasingly, more are getting the chance. (The U.S. venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers just opened offices in Shanghai and Beijing.) But neither China nor India comes close to the U.S. in terms of this “killer app,” and it will take years of venture capital flowing in before the Chinese let go of a rote approach to work and truly embrace entrepreneurial innovation. China has other challenges as well. Aside from its risky social experiment, it has an economy in which less than a quarter of its people truly participate, and its one-child policy is exacerbating the problems of an already aging population. India, meanwhile, will continue to struggle with its overwhelming number of have-nots and its aforementioned corruption. True, India is a democracy, but a democracy muddled by a profusion of divergent political parties. Now, we’re not saying the U.S. system is perfect or its economy invulnerable. If not dealt with, entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will create a budget deficit that will explode over the next 20 years. How America handles that problem via tax and spending policies will determine the strength of its growth engine. Fortunately, our stable, highly adaptable system has conquered enough major problems—from the Depression to the Cold War—in the past that there is more reason for optimism than despair. In the end, we’d make the case that American economic leadership will be with us for most, if not all, of the century. It will by no means “rule,” as it did at the turn of the 21st century. But it will remain ahead until other nations develop a total economic and social system that works as well. There’s a lot more to the world’s economic future than a straight-line extrapolation can tell you.


http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=memelist.html?m=7%23713

MIT OpenCourseWare

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wow

Using blogger.com I've actually found some other foreign teachers here in Wang Cheng (Changsha).

Amazing!

Wo hen gao xing!

2009

Recently, I received a job offer from Tianjin University which is located in Tianjin city and is right next to Beijing.

It would pretty much be the same gig as what I have here but for more money AND it's really close to Beijing which means I could go there on weekends.

I probably won't accept a new job until towards the end of November because this is the time when schools will be looking for teachers for the new semester.

Suzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai are still cities I am interested in but Tianjin wouldn't be too bad either....I think it would definetly be an improvement over Changsha.

I really just want to work for a school that has a lot of foreign teachers and foreign students so that I can have more of a social life.

Brandon

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nothing new to blog about...

It's raining today....again!

The weather has been so weird and inconsistent recently.

It will be hot and sunny one day and cold and rainy the next....the weather is totally unpredictable and it's kind of annoying because I don't know how to dress in the morning.

I'll look out my window and see that it's cold and rainy so I put on several layers and then go out and teach for a few hours.

Then after I emerge from the teaching building the weather has changed to, not warm, but HOT so I have to shed a few layers...ugh.

Anyway, I'm still just kind of counting the days (more like the weeks) until my contract finishes here so that I can take a higher-paying job in a different city.

I actually might consider staying in Changsha if I get a higher-paying job and if I can live closer to the downtown area.

Right now I'm kind of out in the rural part of town and it takes me nearly an hour on the bus to get into the city...so, I do have access to the city but I'd prefer to just live IN the city!

I'm starting to widen my net a bit as well....Shanghai is still my number one choice but I'd be willing to work in Ningbo or Suzhou (which are both close to Shanghai) or even Wenzhou.

Changsha isn't a bad city or anything it's just that I've already been here for nearly a year and I'm ready for a change....again.

I'll definetly be in China for a while but I don't think I could stay in this area for much longer just because I know I could make more money in another city (doing the same job) and be able to mingle with more foreigners and NOT BE POINTED AND STARED AT......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10 weeks to go

It's nearly 11pm on Wednesday right now....October 29th, 2008.

As of now, I have about 10 weeks left on my contract and I'm still trying to decide if I should renew for a second year or look for a different school to work for in China.

I'm really considering working at a high school or University in Shanghai if I can get a pretty good deal and considering how much teaching experience I now have I think I can.

There would be some advantages to staying in this school. I'm familiar with the area, familiar with the students, I have a few friends, I could get a raise, etc.

However, I think I'd be better off in Shanghai, in the long run, for several reasons: No one would point or stare at me, I could earn more money, I could meet more foreigners, etc.

Also, I enjoy teaching ESL but I don't think this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.....if I were to work in Shanghai for a few years I think I'd be able to find another field of work to enter into and earn a better living.

Working here in Changsha for nearly a year has been a positive experience overall but I'm ready to move on and I think Shanghai is the place to be if I plan on staying China for a long time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2 pics of me



The top image was taken in 2006 (during the summer I think) and the bottom was image was taken towards the end of summer in 2008.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today's Mandarin Exercises

我对他的工作表现很失望。
(I am very disappointed with his work performance.)
wo dui (toward) ta de gongzuo
biaoxian (performance) hen shi wang (disappointed).


没有收到他的礼物,我很失望。
(I didn't receive his gift, I'm very disappointed.)
Mei you shou dao (to receive) ta de liwu (gift),
wo hen shi wang (disappointed).


这个城市没我想象的好,我有点儿失望。
(This city isn't as good as I imagined it would be. I'm a little disappointed.)
Zhe ge chengshi mei wo xiang xiang (to imagine)
de hao, wo you dianr (slightly) shi wang.


我们分手吧,不要再互相伤害了。
(Let's break up, and not hurt each other anymore.)
Wo men fenshou (to split up) ba, bu yao zai (again)
hu xiang (each other) shanghai (to hurt) le.


大家一起学习,互相帮助,过得很愉快。
(Everyone learn together, help each other, and enjoy it.)
Da jia yi qi (together) xue xi, hu xiang (each other) bang zhu (to help),
guo (to spend) de hen yukuai (happy).


情侣之间互相信任是最重要的。
(The most important thing for lovers is that they trust each other.)
Qinglu (lovers) zhijian (between) huxiang xinren (trust) shi zui zhongyao de.


我来中国是为了跟我女朋友在一起。
(I came to China to be with my girlfriend.)
Wo lai Zhong guo shi weile (in order) gen (with)
wo nu peng you zai yi qi (together).


为了有个好身体,我坚持每天锻炼。
(In order to have a good body, I stick to a daily workout routine.)
Weile you ge hao shen ti, jianchi (to persist) mei tian duanlian (to exercise).

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Pali Canon

The Pali Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pali language.[1] The Canon was written down, transcribed from the oral tradition, during the Fourth Buddhist Council (in the usual Theravada numbering), in the 1st century BCE, in Sri Lanka[2] on ola (palm) leaves.[3] Passed down in writing and to other Theravadin countries, this originally largely North Indian[4] Canon is the most complete surviving early Buddhist canon and one of the first to be written down.[5]
The Canon was not printed until the nineteenth century, and is now also available in electronic form.[6]
The Pali Canon falls into three general categories, called pitaka (piṭaka, basket) in Pali. Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipitaka (Tipiṭaka; three baskets).The three pitakas are as follows:[7]
Vinaya Pitaka, dealing with rules for monks and nuns
Sutta Pitaka, discourses, mostly ascribed to the Buddha, but some to disciples
Abhidhamma Pitaka, variously described as philosophy, psychology, metaphysics etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tao Te Ching Chapter 1

The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.Always without desire we must be found,If its deep mystery we would sound;But if desire always within us be,Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place, it receives the different names. Together we call them the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.

This morning's Mandarin.

她昨天买了很多东西。
Ta zuo tian mai le hen duo dong xi.
(She bought a lot of stuff yesterday.)


你桌子上没有东西。
Ni zhuozi shang mei you dong xi.
(There isn't anything on your table.)


我没见过那个东西。
Wo mei jian guo na ge dong xi.
(I've never seen that thing before.)


她带了很多吃的东西。
Ta dai le hen duo chi de dong xi.
(She brought a lot of things to eat.)


我忘带钥匙了。
Wo wang dai yaoshi le.
(I forgot my keys.)


你带雨伞了吗?
Ni dai yusan le ma?
(Did you bring an umbrella?)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today's Chinese Exercises

比赛的时候他太紧张了。
Bi sai de shi hou ta tai jinzhang le.
Bi sai/ competition, de shi hou/when, ta/he, tai/too, jinzhang/nervous(He was so nervous during the match.)


她看起来一点都不紧张。
Ta kan qi lai yi dian dou bu jinzhang.
Ta/she, kan qi lai/to appear, yi dian dou bu/not at all, jinzhang/nervous(She doesn't look nervous at all.)


我一看见他,就紧张得连话也说不出来。
Wo yi kan jian ta, jiu jinzhang de lian hua ye shuo bu chu lai
Wo/I, yi/as soon as, kan jian/to see, ta/he, jiu/then, jinzhang/nervous, lian/even, hua/word, ye/also,
shuo bu chu lai/to be unable to speak(As soon as I saw him, I was so nervous I couldn't even speak.)


她应该快到了。
Ta ying gai kuai dao le.(She should be here soon.)


这件事他应该已经知道了。
Zhe jian shi ta ying gai yijing zhi dao le.
Zhe/this, shi/matter, ta/he, ying gai/ should, yijing/already, zhi dao/know(He should know about this already.)


我觉得你应该好好考虑一下。
Wo jue de ni ying gai hao hao kao lu yi xia.
Wo/I, jue de/ think, ni/you, ying gai/should, hao hao/carefully, kaolu/to consider, yi xia/a while(I think you should consider this carefully.)

E-mail from a student

Your lessons are still the one that helps me.

Your words are still fresh and warm.You've swayed my life so deeply.

You're still my best teacher.

Far across the miles, sending you wishes of love and peace on Teacher's Day.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ekam

Ekam Tamil: ஏகம் - "the supreme oneness") is the term used in Akilattirattu Ammanai, the holy book of Ayyavazhi,[1] to represent The Ultimate Oneness. In Thiruvasakam-2 it was stated that it was from this Ekam that all objects, including the separate Godheads, Devas and asuras, of the universe formed. As per Akilam, this state of ekam is beyond the consciousness and derived to beyond the state of changing and is the extreme state in which the whole universe exists.
In Saivism, Ekam is used commonly to refer to the oneness of God, but in Ayyavazhi the basic oneness is separately symbolized to be supreme and ultimate beyond all God-heads and powers.
The Ekam is said to be the supreme as well as the ultimate self from which the whole cosmos formed. This formless attribute is said to be defined from the human point of view. But this formless Ekam, without losing its constant and formless nature, is present inside every things in the universe. That is, it remains as infinite within every finite, formless within every definite form. It is the supreme absolute self in which all the substances of cosmos shares their existence.
The derivations of Ekam in Ayyavazhi scriptures are sometime close to the pantheistic form of theology. In the mythology of Ayyavazhi God-heads such as Siva, Vishnu are said to be the godheads who have power to rule this Ekam, varying from time to time, Siva until Kaliyuga and Vishnu from the starting of Kaliyuga. There are separate quotes in Akilam for focusing Siva as well as Vishnu as capable for position. But, still the Ekam is addressed beyond these god-heads.
But when Vaikundar, is jailed in Singarathoppe, he says "I am the one who created the Ekam and the one who is omnipresent everywhere". By this, the theology reveals Vaikundar (God) as beyond the attributes of Ekam, which moves the theology of Ayyavazhi more towards pantheism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekam

Muisca Mythology Link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muisca_mythology

Brahman

Brahman (bráhman-, nominative bráhma ब्रह्म) is a concept of Hinduism. Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe. The nature of Brahman is described as transpersonal, personal and impersonal by different philosophical schools. In the Rig Veda, Brahman gives rise to the primordial being Hiranyagarbha that is equated with the creator God Brahmā. The trimurti can thus be considered a personification of Hiranyagarbha as the active principle behind the phenomena of the universe. The seers who inspired the composition of the Upanisads asserted that the liberated soul (jivanmukta) has realized his identity with Brahman as his true self (see Atman (Hinduism)).
The word "Brahman" is derived from the verb brh (Sanskrit:to grow), and connotes greatness. The Mundaka Upanishad says:
Om- That supreme Brahman is infinite, and this conditioned Brahman is infinite. The infinite proceeds from infinite. Then through knowledge, realizing the infinitude of the infinite, it remains as infinite alone.
Note that "Brahman" is different from "Brahmin," the Priests/Holy Men. In fact Brahmin is derived from Brahman in the sense that a 'Brahmin is the one who knows Brahman'. The confusion between the terms can be dated back to the translation of the Upanishads into modern English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kalachakra Thangka


Lost Horizon

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, "Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia—a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. The story of Shangri-La is based on the concept of Shambhala, a mystical city in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

El Dorado Metaphor

In the mythology of the Muisca today, El Dorado (Mnya) represents the energy contained in the trinity of Chiminigagua, which constitutes the creative power of everything that exists. Chiminigagua is, along with Bachué, Cuza, Chibchachum, Bochica, and Nemcatacoa, one of the creators of the universe.
Meanwhile, the name of El Dorado came to be used metaphorically of any place where wealth could be rapidly acquired. It was given to El Dorado County, California, and to towns and cities in various states. It has also been anglicized to the single word Eldorado.
In literature, frequent allusion is made to the legend, perhaps the best-known references being those in Milton's Paradise Lost (Book xi. 408-411) and in Voltaire's Candide (chs. 18, 19). "Eldorado" was the title and subject of a four-verse poem by Edgar Allan Poe. In the 1966 John Wayne film El Dorado, most of Poe's poem is recited by the character nicknamed Mississippi [1] El Dorado is also referenced in Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. Within Conrad's work, the Eldorado Exploring Expedition journeys into the jungles of Africa in search of conquest and treasure, only to meet an untimely demise.
El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or "Holy Grail" that one might spend one's life seeking. It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success. It is used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or at least may not ever be found. Such use is evident in Poe's poem "El Dorado". In this context, El Dorado bears similarity to other myths such as the Fountain of Youth, Shangri-la, and to some extent the term "white whale" which refers to Captain Ahab's obsession in the book Moby-Dick. The disillusionment side of the ideal quest metaphor may be represented by Helldorado, a satirical nickname given to Tombstone by a tardy miner who complained that many of his profession had traveled far to find El Dorado, only to wind up washing dishes in restaurants.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Dorado

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Outer Space Treaty

http://www.state.gov/t/ac/trt/5181.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty

Mandarin


乎 [hū] 似乎 sìhu it seems; 几乎 jīhū almost
客 [kè] (=客人 kèrén) guest; 客观 kèguān objective; 客气 kèqi polite
苦 [kǔ] bitter; 艰苦 jiānkǔ arduous; 痛苦 tòngkǔ suffering
照 [zhào] shine; 照相 zhàoxiàng photo
费 (F費) [fèi] cost; 学费 xuéfèi tuition
热 [rè] hot
推 [tuī] push
突 [tū] charge forward, stick out; 突然 tūrán suddenly
选(F選) [xuǎn] (=选择 xuǎnzé) choose, select; 选举 xuǎnjǔ election
亚(F亞) [yà] inferior, second; 亚洲 Yàzhōu Asia
类 [lèi] category, kind, type; 类似 lèisì similar
复 [fù] (F復) 恢复 huīfù recover, (F複) 复杂 fùzá complicated, complex, (F覆) cover
备(F備) [bèi] (=准备 zhǔnbèi) get ready, prepare; 设备 shèbèi equipment
势(F勢) [shì] power; 形势 xíngshì circumstances; 姿势 zīshì posture
星 [xīng] star; 火星 huǒxīng Mars; 星期 xīngqī week
脑 [nǎo] (=脑子 nǎozi) brain; 脑袋 nǎodai head; 脑壳 nǎoké skull; 电脑 diànnǎo computer
故 [gù] cause, therefore; 故事 gùshi story; 故意 gùyì on purpose
句 [jù] sentence
显(F顯) [xiǎn] appear; 显然 xiǎnrán obvious
衣 [yī] (=衣服 yīfu) clothing [yì] wear (clothing), give (clothing) to others to wear

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Update on life

It's 2am on Sunday and I can't sleep so I'm playing around with my blog.

School starts tomorrow but I won't have any classes until Tuesday which means I can stay up late tonight.

Slav and Angela, the other two foreign teachers who were here last semester, are gone.

Slav went back to England and Angela went to Foshan in Guangdong (China).

There's a new guy here from Memphis named Brian and he signed a contract for a year so I have a semester to get to know him. There were supposed to be two other teachers here from Australia but I guess they weren't able to get Visas because of the Olympics or something.

So, it might just be me and one other 'laowei' this term which is kind of a drag because at the school I worked at over the summer there was a guy from Washington, a guy from France, a couple from Texas and a girl from Japan.

I hung out with the guy from Washington and the guy from France a few times and they're nice guys but both are at a LOT older than me....we got along but I kind of prefer hanging out with people in my age range.

The couple from Texas were only a few years younger than me but they spent most of their summer travelling around so I didn't get to spend much time with them although we did play Wii together once which was fun.

Then there was Kahori was Japan who I ended up hanging out with the most since she's near my age and I was the only foreigner there who could communicate with her in Chinese. For about a week and a half we pretty much spent every hour of everyday together and totally bonded but in a non-romantic way.....I feel like that girl is my sister! Serious!

Since I've been back we've exchanged dozens of e-mails and had some nice chats on-line.

I'm glad to have her as a friend because we're able to practice our Chinese together and I also help her with English while she helps me with Japanese. It's great!

I'm halfway finished with my contract at this school and I'm pretty sure that once I finish this term I'm going to head to Nanjing, China because I like that area and it's really close to Shanghai.

By then Kahori will be back in Japan but maybe I'll go out and visit her for a few days.

Anyway, I figure if I'm going to spend another year in China (which is highly likely) I'll want to be near one of the more developed/modern areas.....I was thinking about Nanjing, Shenzhen or Guangzhou but after listening to a lot of people tell me how much 'better' Nanjing and Shanghai are I've decided that's where I'll go......and there's a lot of foreigners and foreign companies in Shanghai so if I end up staying in China on a permanent basis I might want to to try a different line of work someday.

I don't mind teaching English but I don't think I could see myself doing this forever and I could probably make more money doing something else.

But I think I could keep doing this for another 3-5 years and hopefully by the time I am in my 30s I'll have enough contacts/friends/guangxi and/or know enough Mandarin to get into another line of work.

I'd also like to buy a bass and start playing music again but there just aren't a lot of people in this area to jam with....I think I'd fair a lot better in the Shanghai area.....

Of course, I'm always changing my mind and my plans so 3-5 months from now I might be singing a totally different tune so we'll see how I feel once I finish my contract.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two films I can relate to!


After living in Asia for about 4 years I find that I can really relate to the foreign characters in these films.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brandon and Kahori in Jiangsu Summer 2008!


Peng you jia you!

Geng duo Hanyu/Han zi

希望 xīwàng hope, wish
建议 jiànyì suggest
制度 zhìdù system, institution
请求 qǐngqiú ask, request
交通 jiāotōng traffic
爱人 àirén spouse, lover
认为 rènwéi consider, 认识 rènshi recognize
算了 suànle forget it, never mind
科学 kēxué science
社会 shèhuì society
技术 jìshù technique
艺术 yìshù art
结果 jiéguǒ result; 结婚 jiéhūn marry
成功 chénggōng succeed
思想 sīxiǎng thought
意思 yìsi meaning
青年 qīngnián youth; 青蛙 qīngwā frog
部队 bùduì army, 队伍 duìwǔ troops
资本主义 zīběnzhǔyì capitalism; 投资 tóuzī invest
变成 biànchéng become
花生 huāshēng peanut
学院 xuéyuàn college; 医院 yīyuàn hospital
语言 yǔyán language, speech, word
往往 wǎngwǎng often
发展 fāzhǎn develop, expand, grow
领袖 lǐngxiù leader; 本领 běnlǐng ability
传统 chuántǒng tradition
保护 bǎohù protect

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kahori, wo de Ri ben de mei mei!



Recently, Kahori told me that if I was an animal I would be a bear. I thought that was cool. She also told me that she's reluctant to go to England because she thinks the locals will 'throw bananas' at her......but I've never heard of English people throwing bananas at Japanese people.
Today (August 25th) I had to say good-bye to her and take a train back to Changsha....I just arrived and I already miss her so much.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wo bu yao hui qu Changsha!

This is my last week here in Jiangsu and I'm kind of bummed because I really like it here.

This area is nice and peaceful, I like my students and I've made a few friends here at school.

Changsha isn't a bad place but I feel a lot happier here and I wish I could stay but I've got to go back and finish my contract.

At least I am halfway done with my contract now which means that around the end of 2008 or start of 2009 I can re-locate to another city for 6 - 12 months and maintain my nomadic lifestyle.

I think one of the things I'm going to miss the most about this place is a Japanese girl named Kahori who I befriended a week or two ago.

Her and I have been hanging out a lot recently to practice speaking Mandarin and I really enjoy her company.

She'll be here for one more semester and then she's going back to Japan for a month after which she'll go to England for a year to study English!

It's going to be a little hard for me to say 'good-bye' to this girl but at least I have her e-mail address so that we can keep in touch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tetragrammaton - The Mars Volta

Tell me it's over, Rusbel awaits I've been to the surface
And nothing is there, Eyelids sank muffled
In the nerve aura sound, But when she awakes
Will she still be with us?

My heart is darkclots, Leap year is late
How did you get here, Ask all but the bail
From a Christ that went hissing
Constricting his cells
We summon by candle by book and by bell

Glossolalia coats my skin
Glycerin and turbulence
stuffed the voice inside God
Mirrors to the animals

The sermon goes mourning, Pricking it's hail
Slothful the child, That preys on the seed
Shall behead the drought, Wound under sleeves
I hope you have room, In a thicket of vines

Give me a moment, To clean what you've stole
The streets will hang high, Stretch ribs and let taste
We'll cover the smell with silver nitrate
Mending the cuts of your prosthetic faith

Glossolalia coats my skin
Glycerin and turbulence
Stuffed the voice inside God
Mirrors to the animals

Then so long, Dear minemonic
Assume the form, You've given me and I'll spill

Now hold on, Just hold my hand
Say that they made you
But you brought your own leash
Tell me no more no, say I'm the last one
Outside, By the drift, You read my will
Of thread and itch, Failure to comply
As failure to decease
And still you won't know everything
I've built the fall

Sulking drained the fall of my pale will
Swarming by your steps
Licking the ankles of blasphemer guilts
It only meant to drape a plastic
Over the stuck pig scalp of head
To cover the sock where to flatline had spread
The kiosk in my temporal lobe
Is shaped like Rasalyn Carter
She says my map is home again, But torn face down
I have only but a million blemishes
To tell you all about

In the end they just gagged me
To make him come out

Gas me the hind, Of your five legged snare
Tooth picks the eye, But no things there
Down drags your waltz, Cross the alter top
From a sleep that, Depravation knew
Trespass your form, I'm void of dusk
I'd ask to look, But the mask stays on

You'll levitate, Teutonic print
Cruelty is the wrath, Of my instrument

In the end they just gagged me
To make him come out

You locked the cuffs
Arsenic erupts

Will you drink the shadow
Of my red hair

You and your falst, Witness to God
You've one in the chamber,
But your finger got stuck

Let slip the sound, Of a cry for help
But all was lost, On the night you walked

Palms speak through eyes
Serve your memory lost
I cantaminate with insignias

In the end they just gagged me
To make him come out

Glassolalia coats my skin
Glycerin and turbulence
Stuffed the voice inside of God
Mirrors to the animals

Wait till I get my hands on you
I won't forget a face that left me
Just you wait
Till I get my hands on you
I can't, You won't remember

Unwrap my corpse, And let it thaw
In the eye of the needle, I can't get out

They'll check my wrist, I'll faint a pulse
I'm not the human, You thought I was

If you pet the night, Sixth pentacle dice
If you roll the seven, St. Michael dies

They'll be no ransom, Don't shut my mouth
I scaled the answer, You're afraid of

Wax Simulacra - The Mars Volta

Came back to doubt yourself but broke in two
They find it punctual with idle tooth
I'll find something to shake by the roots

I crawl along the ceilings in your room
The cold is spinning thread to answer you
I need something made of freewill

[Chorus:]
Am I waiting now?
Does my waiting howl?
Am I waiting now?
Does my waiting howl?
[x2]

I bring an avalanche of toltec bones
Contaminated cravings if you choose
To play something that aches for a spill
Leave out the meat for that contact high
Inhale the vapors and let the hangman smile
For that something to shake by roots

[Chorus]

Bring me the tame
Witness germinates in the child
That word of mouth stutters
Blink at the lonely dice
[x2]

Don't know

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jim Lee rocks

I love this guy's art.

Recently, I've been tempted to order some trade paperbacks on-line.....especially stuff by
Frank Miller (Batman, Daredevil, Sin City) and Jim Lee (Batman, Superman, X-Men).

I'd also like to re-read the original TMNT comic books (Eastman and Laird) which I haven't read since I was in 4th or 5th grade.

Illustration from 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms'

I hope that someday I can read this book in Chinese....but, for now, I'll settle for the English translation!

A bit of Mandarin...

1.) I want to learn about Asian culture, especially China and Japan (probably should be 'Chinese' and 'Japanese' instead of 'China' and 'Japan').

Wo yao xue xi guan yu (about) Ya zhou (Asian) de wen hua, you qi shi (especially) Zhong guo he Ri ben.

I'd been wanting to learn the words for 'Asia(n)' and 'especially' for a few days and now that I finally remembered to ask someone I'm making this digital note to myself so that I don't forget!

Here's another phrase with a few other words I still need to memorize:

2.) Speak loudly so that everyone can hear your voice.

Da sheng de shuo zhe yang (so that) mei ge ren ke yi ting dao ni de sheng yin (voice).

Japanoise!!!


Mars Volta, Mr. Bungle and Melt Banana are three of my favorite 'avant-garde/experiemental' type bands....I'm not really sure which genre(s) each band belongs to, nor do I care.

Anyway, just for fun, I thought I'd post the album covers from two of my favorite Melt Banana CDs.

Their music is so insane and distinct from what I grew up listening to in the U.S. that's it hard for me not to enjoy them.....although listening to them all the time, everyday, would probably drive me, and most other people, insane.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tai ji

Taiji (太極) is a state of being from Tao and Wuji. It is a state of absolute, and of infinite potentiality. In Tao Te Ching, Tao manifested as One, which is Taiji[1]. In a Taoist guidance book, the same verse was amplified as out of Tao came Taiji, which then split into yin and yang or Two Aspects, yin and yang slitting into the Four Realms, Wu xing the Five Elements, and from there the world was created[2].
Taiji was a state in which the world became intelligible before creation. Taiji may be equated to the One, Oneness, Unity, as in attaining One or Unity (得一) [3] and as stated in the Tao Te Ching[4].

Wuji

Wuji (無極) is the primordial state of non-being, a state of Nothingness and boundlessness or that which is without Bounds or Limits. Wuji like Tao, is and lies within all of the universe and in the human anatomy. It is the central definition to what Tao is in chapter one of the Tao Te Ching.
In Xiuzhen, Wuji or Dao is a state of Hunyuan Yiqi (混元一炁) in which Hunyuan is the Chinese equivalent of primordial, Yiqi is the one qi the original state of qi, together Hunyuan Yiqi is loosely the primordial qi. The state of Taiji is Xiantian Yiqi (先天一炁), or pre-birth qi. Note the word Qi (炁) differs to blood circulation in qigong.

Danny Elfman = Musical Genius


I wish I owned this software!


Looks like a lot of fun but a bit pricey and I just don't have the time to toy with it now....but maybe someday......

One of my favorite animated films


I'm looking forward to the live-action films based on this animated classic.

Who cares?

I keep reading about how the little Chinese girl who 'sang' at the Olympic Opening Ceremony was just lip-synching like 'Milli Vanilli' to which I reply, WHO CARES?

So, what if she was lip-synching? What does that matter? Is that somehow against the rules or 'integrity' of the Olympics?

This is one issue where I'm going to side with China.

Also, from my experience here, this is common to a lot of Chinese entertainment/media.

I have seen a lot of Chinese TV shows and movies where the actors' real voices are dubbed over by different people because one person has the proper 'look' and the other has the proper 'voice' so that's just how it's done here.

Anything wrong with that?

Absolutely not.

I love Steinberger

I just love them for the design and not much else. I prefer playing on a musicman stingray or warwick but steinbergers are fun just because they seem so 'post-modern' to me.

Parmenides


Parmenides of Elea (Greek: Παρμενίδης ο Ἐλεάτης, early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Greek city on the southern coast of Italy. He was the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, his only known work is a poem which has survived only in fragmentary form. In it, Parmenides describes two views of reality. In the Way of Truth, he explained how reality is one; change is impossible; and existence is timeless, uniform, and unchanging. In the Way of Opinion, he explained the world of appearances, which is false and deceitful. These thoughts strongly influenced Plato, and through him, the whole of western philosophy.

Walter Kaufman partial bibliography

Original works
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
From Shakespeare to Existentialism
Critique of Religion and Philosophy
Tragedy and Philosophy
Hegel: A Reinterpretation
The Faith of a Heretic
Without Guilt and Justice
Cain and Other Poems
Existentialism, Religion, and Death: Thirteen Essays
The Future of the Humanities
Religions in Four Dimensions
Discovering the Mind, a trilogy consisting of
Goethe, Kant, and Hegel
Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Buber
Freud Versus Adler and Jung
Man's Lot: A Trilogy, consisting of
Life at the Limits
Time is an Artist
What is Man?

Two books I'm interested in reading