Saturday, July 28, 2007

7th Annual Dragonboat Festival

An unforgettable festival this year; began with its ups and downs, and never before encountered challenges. The previous night, a rainstorm swept through the area, leaving much needed cooler weather (it was still cloudy most of the day), but also a swampy landscape in its wake.

Our first performance involved opening the marketplace, where all the vendors for food and goodies are. Due to a complete rearrangement of the entire festival, our walkaround with the lions to open the market place ended up about 1.5x longer than last year's xP

Shortly after the lion dance, we lined up for the opening ceremonies of the festival, which involves an eye-dotting ceremony for the boats and our dragon. This year nine dignitaries walked down to the dock to awaken the boats (some of which are very interestingly decorated). This included six that the CO Dragonboat fest has rented in the past years, as well as two Hong Kong style boats that were newly purchased this year.
(Hong Kong boats are the ones with the smaller, golden heads....)

Immediately after the conclusion of the eye-dotting, I brandished my "pearl" on a stick (to put it crudely) and brought the dragon to the field for the routine. The heavens were kind enough to leave us with a patch of semi-dry grass, but still slick nonetheless. In retrospect, I now understand those movements that Shifu Rama was making to me on the side to be cringes as I continued to lead all nine players in a steady jog.

The final stretch was in sight at 3pm, with the final 30 min performance of Lion dance and Kung Fu numbers. I enlisted to take up the task of Teaser in the silly yet very stifling Buddha costume. It took about 30 seconds into the performance when i realized: i have no clue what i'm doing. Thankfully, my role was not important, as the apparatus players carried out their routine flawlessly :D
(sorry the stanchions of the lion dance apparatus are barely visible..!)

The Kung Fu demo featured much more weapon forms and paired (choreographed) forms. Maintaining the energy was tough, but the crowd's response meant we were doing at least an acceptable performance.

The final act involved something we had not done in roughly 5 or 6 years. Last time I remember seeing it, i was still a tyke n00b with zero performance experience. Commonly known as the Bed of Nails: two people, bottom person (Shifu) with nails above and below him and another set pointing up for the top person (me) to lie on. 18" square cinder blocks are laid on the abdomen of the top person, then broken with a sledgehammer.

For those of you wondering, I escaped unscathed ;-P The only damage i suffered were some scratches to my steely abs (*coughcough*) when the pieces slid off...
(pardon my pastiness.....I'll remove this pic if there are many complaints out there...)

After trying out a single bed with some massive cinder blocks on, I must say I cannot even imagine how difficult the bottom role must be.

Lastly, it was back to Boulder to help unloading our massive truck, and a shot of medicine for internal injury, just as a precaution. Chinese herbal medicine + vodka = blech!!
All in all, quite the unforgettable day of performing, especially after a year away from home.

I have videos of the entire performance, but I'm not sure how long it'll be till i can sift it down into something shareable. find me sometime, and i can more than likely just show you :P cheers!
somebody's had too much red Gatorade!!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I haven't the faintest clue why, but for some reason the clump of a few tiny dead pixels on my screen is like fingernails constantly clawing on my mental/visual chalkboard.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Physical Fitness?

It's quite amazing how quick and effortless falling out of shape is. Amid training for the biggest [single] performance of the year, the Colorado Dragonboat Festival, I find myself with a level of physical ability that is very limited compared to where I was one short year ago..

Also, yesterday we went for a hike up Mount Sanitas ( For the Kung Fu people out there, it's the usual trail that Shifu takes us. Going up and down this trail in 50 minutes was very scenic and fun, but the most physically exerting activity I've done in a long time. (also, i think it's has been two years since i've been up this trail... =/)

However, the end result was more than rewarding (a few more pictures on Facebook. I was too lazy to upload them here... :P)
Now I'm ridiculously tired, but strangely satisfied... "runner's high", i suppose?

For those of you in CO reading this blog, I'm going to start the advertisement/pressure right now. Come to the Dragonboat Festival!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Chocolate Bag Escapade

Since today was the 4th of July, I got a much needed day off work. After sleeping in as long as I wanted (getting up at 8:30..) I decided to take on the task of trying a recipe that i'd been meaning to make for a good month now: the Chocolate Bag dessert
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Since i didn't have any special bags that Jackie Shen mentioned using on hand, i tried making my own out of wax paper. A 2x3 block became my mold for making the bags....
chocolate prep/handling equipment:
- makeshift microwave-safe double boiler
- brush

I quickly realized just how difficult handling melted chocolate can be. the first bag didn't hold up its form well, and this was the result i got after i put it in the freezer and peeled off the paper:

Though slightly discouraged, I decided to try again using a different method. Brown paper grocery bag lined with wax paper?

So far so good, i suppose. the brown paper was much sturdier... now to brush chocolate on the inside, and pop it in the freezer for a good 30 minutes or so....

and time to take a break. (note the unknown aftermath of my previous mess, still stuck on my cheek in this on it for the full size pic :P)
out of the freezer, and the unpeel. unfortunately, there were some thin spots, so the chocolate shell suffered some damage as i took the wax paper off... -__-
the making of the white chocolate mousse was an adventure of its own, but i finally got some right. (suitable for filling such a bag =] ) Now for garnish.... (blueberries, strawberries, fresh mint leaf from the garden, and chocolate syrup)

and done! Happy 4th everyone! (patriotic cheesecake courtesy of my mighty bro, Stone :D)

comments? suggestions?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

First Entry

As this marks the end of the first half of 2007, I've decided to try to make the most out of the last half.

...and how this works into a meaningful first post....I'm not quite sure.