Reworking my entire library of music! I’ll try not to overdo it and run out of steam though. So I’ve decided to only tackle one letter of the alphabet a day. Luckily I’ve been good with organizing it lately… it’s the stuff I’ve had since before highschool that’s really worrying me. Time to sift through the Aaron Carters, the Sisqos (Thong Song anyone?) *shudder*
No. What really makes me shudder is when I get to the anime and Asian music. Ugh.. working with Chinese characters is not something I call fun. But at least music always follows the same patter: Artist - Album - Song.
I haven’t really decided whether or not to keep the stuff that I literally never listen to… Some stuff I have incomplete albums of so I’ll just have to redownload that.. but it would make my life really simple if I just went “highlight… DELETE”. I think I’ll completely wipe itunes clean too… sync my ipod first, listen to music on that while I’m working on it, so I can have an organized slate as I go.
Man, I’m gonna be such a happy camper when this is all done.
*ahem… NEW FOXY SHAZAM ALBUM ROCKS.
It’s the Year of the Dragon! The beginning of the new year is marked with a 15 day celebration!
Here are some traditions and myths surrounding the festival (that I was brought up with):
- at the family reunion dinner, many different dishes must be present because they represent the goodness that we want to come to us.
- red pockets! Little red envelops with money in them are given to children (or basically anyone who’s not married yet… normally once you get married, it means it’s your turn to hand red pockets out too). I always save my favourite envelopes for the year… they always happen to be the Hello Kitty ones or the Disney ones… or they’re just colourful… likeeee
- a little bowl with a pair of mandarin oranges and a pair of red envelopes with a little bit of money is placed in each bed room of the house
- 4-character sayings wishing people happy, prosperous and safe new years are displayed everywhere on red scroll paper. i.e. one over the entrance of a house symbolizing safe travels
- an upside down “福” written in gold on a red background is taped to the door. It is pronounced fu and means fortune or luck
- the 15 day celebration is filled with traveling to the homes of family and friends, and eating lots of food (all of which have some kind of meaning… especially the snacks). It’s noted that the elders never travel and the younger generation always visits the homes of the older.
A candy box!
Traditions of the 15 day festival
Preceding Days - on the 3rd day before the new year (28th day of the 12th month) it is custom to clean your entire house, doing so sweeps away the bad luck from the previous year so that you can start fresh
- on the night before the new year, it is “mandatory” to have dinner with your nuclear family
- before going to bed on this night, we put a pair of red pockets under our pillow and those stay there for the duration of the celebrations
- people typically wash their hair on this day… (see Day 1)
Day 1 - wearing red brings good luck
- no washing your hair so that you don’t wash away the luck
- eat only vegetarian meals
- Lion’s Dance!
- visit the homes of the most senior and eldest members of the family
- businesses are closed
Day 2 - businesses open and prayers are said to… wait for it… bring good luck
- wives visit their birth families… of course these are really old traditions
Day 3 - known as 赤口, this is the day of the “God of Blazing Wrath” and a bad day to visit or socialize with family and friends
Day 5 - we eat dumplings on this day for good luck! yum ^^
Day 9 - the Jade Emperor’s birthday
Day 13 - another vegetarian day… we’re supposed to cleanse our system from the copious amounts of food we’ve been eating for the two weeks prior
- the God of War, Guan Yu’s, birthday
Day 15 - Lantern Festival!!! People walk the streets at night holding paper lanterns because they believe that the spirits of their ancestors return to “the other side” on this day after the celebrations. The lanterns are there to light the way so that the spirits don’t get lost.
- we eat tong yuen on this day… so yummy ^^
- It is said that in the first village, on the night of the eve of the new year, a monstrous dragon would attack and eat people. One year, the villages decided to fight back against this monster since they knew some of its fears. They waited until the new year because it lived inside of a cave just outside of the villagers and any one who ventured out there to try to slay it never returned. The monster only came out to feed. It was very afraid of the colour red, loud noises and flashing lights. So the day before the new year, the villagers painted the doors to their houses red and the men waited for the beasts to come into the village. Once the monster reached the middle of the village (because it was afraid to go into any of the houses), the men pounced. They lit firecrackers, banged pots and pans, waved torches at it and finally chased it into the ocean where it drowned.
-> this explains why we have the lion’s dance each year, with the distinctive drums and cymbals music following it. (the lion = the dragon… I don’t understand the translation either..)
- The cycle of the 12 animals for the Chinese zodiac is: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. The legend says that the king of the heavens (The Jade Emperor) challenged all of the animals to a race and the first 12 to cross the finish line would represent the years. The rat was the sneakiest of the animals and told the cat the day before the race that it wasn’t happening for another week. The cat was very gullible and didn’t know that the mouse was tricking it, so it spent the day of the race napping in the shade. The ox is the hardest worker of all the animals because it helps man with farming and tilling the soil.
I don’t know much about the rest of the legend regarding how the other animals crossed the river.
Anyhow. The ox was at the front of the race the entire time and in the final stretch of the race, they had to cross a river. All of the animals had difficulty with this, but once again, the ox pulled through. Just as it was about to cross the finish line though, the rat revealed that it’d been hitching a ride behind the ox’s ear and stole the first place spot. The Jade Emporer was, of course, witness to all this but he said, “A race is a race. All of you tried to win with physical strength, but the rat’s cunning intelligence pulled through.”
The elders say that these attributes were passed down and that explains why the cat is so lazy and why the rat is so sneaky.
Want to know which one you are? Find your corresponding birth year below.
Rat - 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Ox - 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Tiger - 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Hare - 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Dragon - 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Snake - 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Horse - 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Ram - 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Monkey - 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Rooster - 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Dog - 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Pig - 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
According to Chinese seers, chickens have very good luck this year.
Keep in mind that the Lunar year runs from approximately February to February. (It’s actually earlier than usual (according to the Gregorian Calendar anyway) this year)
Honestly, this blog could go on and on… especially about the different dishes we eat and what they represent; all of the 4-character sayings, their meanings and back stories; what to say, what not to say; what to do, what not to do… you get my point. So if there’s anything specific, go ahead and ask me. Also, thanks for reading!
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!
I used to be a big PC fan, but lately my attention has largely centred around console games. Back then we had our Starcraft, Tycoons, Age of the Empires, Sims, Counter Strikes… these games, for the most part, didn’t require a super machine to play. Accessibility seemed more important then than it is now for PC game developers. The PC has evolved into this amazing piece of software, arguably the most powerful gaming platform with endless possibilities.
To be fair though, game developers also have more capable platforms to work with. So accessibility no longer means within one platform - it means the ability to make games look, play and run the best over the span of multiple platforms because console hardware can now keep up. This of course reaches larger audiences… but in a different way.
I think my affinity towards console gaming stems from an equal playing field. People’s set ups around the world are pretty much identical. TV, console, controller and you. Sure, there are deviations with the kind of TV you have or the speed of your connection, but for the most part… offline play anyway (okay.. sandbox games too, but you know what I mean), everyone essentially has the same experience. With the PC, they have gaming keyboards, mice or headsets, gaming computers or laptops, and then within those you have your graphics cards, sound cards or RAM. Now brings in the issue of “can your computer run this game smoothly and not burn itself to a crisp?”
I’m currently using the laptop my brother bought 3 years ago because it can run more games than my old laptop that I bought just under 2 years ago (I couldn’t even run Mass Effect). My laptop is constantly on top of a cooling fan, (the old one too… but run Starcraft II for more than 45 minutes? *tsssss) so that removes the portability aspect of my laptop. I can’t run games like Batman: Arkham City or Skyrim… see, at least if a game is released for a certain console, I know that I’ll be able to play it. I have a computer, but there’s all this extra stuff I have to know about before I should even consider buying games.
So then we have sites like “Can You Run It?” which gives you a list of games to choose from, pick the one you’re searching for and the site will run a diagnostics on your machine, telling you if you meet the basic requirements for running that game at its lowest settings. It shows you on a gradient scale, so that you can also see if you can run the game on its highest settings.
Where do I think things will go from here? PCs will only get more and more powerful. Their capacities and memory storage will continue to grow. On the console front, they’ll mostly be playing catch-up with the PC. I think they’ve given up on that though, and turned it into a war amongst themselves. “Who can create the coolest, more expensive new toy that everyone will drool over?” sort of thing. I don’t worry about the PC gaming industry though… the public constantly wants more and better and faster, so it’s not like PC developers will be making power-draining games so fast that people can’t catch up with their hardware. At least with consoles, you’ve got a 5-10 year turnover period before each company starts churning out another generation.
I do think that this makes console gaming a little more attractive to the less loyal, fanboy heavy gamers though. So maybe that’s the most dangerous part for the PC gaming industry.
EDIT: Of course, for the most part I’m talking about more mainstream games. There are a lot of gold nugget indie games, and those pretty much work for any PC you can guy today… however, they don’t draw in as much revenue as the big game stuff, making them somewhat less of a player in their power to dictate a platform’s future.