Monday, February 27, 2006

To Whomever It May Concern:

*Read this page if you intend to MT in WoW =)

*Read this page if you like getting to the guts.

Note: *designates that the post may only appeal to some readers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Now, it's always been a dream to order live seafood and have it killed and cooked and brought to my table to be eaten. I finally was able to do that tonight. We ate at a rather upscale seafood restaurant today. This place did not have a menu. They basically had an indoor fish market with all manner of seafood on display in aquarium-like tanks. It was awesome, I chose a lobster that closest resembled Sebastian and had it for dinner. Mmmmm

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Part 3:

Another ceremony had the couple going from table to table with a lighted candle. Each table also had an unlit candle which the couple had to light. It was the job of the people at the table to try to blow out the candle before it could be lit. This went on for quite a long time as the candle was obviously no match for the breaths exhaled from the people. The bratty child who performed with my younger cousin tried his best to blow out the candle at his table. I guess his aim was pretty bad as he ended blowing nowhere close to the candle and the lighting of the candle at his table went much more smoothly than at any other table. Apparently, this made him feel like he was a loser and he started to cry...great...

In order to placate his rising feeling of inadequate manliness, he ran to another table where the candle was being lit and proceeded to miss the candle again with his feeble aim. Luckily the other people at the table were much better and blew out the candle. Taking responsibility for extinguishing the flame, the kid felt like he had proven his worth and went away.

Rest of the night was filled with some other activities that were not as memorable. All in all, it was a very good ceremony. Did I mention my feet hurt like crazy after it?

Part 2:

After the groom was allowed in, they had the usual exhange of pleasantries including having to eat some ceremonial soup-like thingie. After the exchange, the groom had to literally carry the bride off into the car in order to visit the groom-side family and friends. My younger cousin and I followed with them to see the groom's side. Fireworks signalled the symbolic "leaving" of the bride from her parents.

The wedding procession consisted of 3 Volkswagon Jettas with the usual plethora of floral decorations on the hood/sides/rear. Upon arriving at the groom's lair, we heard more fireworks signal the couple's arrival. Getting in the door for the groom's side was nowhere as difficult as at the bride's side. We simply walked in the tricks, no tests, no anything. So boring...

We had to again eat that ceremonial sweet porridge sorta thingie. It was nowhere nearly as good as the ones at the bride's house.

The wedding was at a hotel not far from the bride's house. The thing started at around 6 pm. They had the usual presentation of the couple, family giving speeches, etc etc. The food was pretty good, they had all the usual expensive foods expected at a wedding: Lobster, crab, random fish (I think it was oily blackmouth..), and a plethora of random meats. The bride threw the bouquet and some guy caught it (lucky him..). At one point in the ceremony, the couple had to bow towards each other three times. First one, whoever bowed the lowest was the one who had the deepest feelings for the other, guy won that one. Second one, whoever bowed the lowest was the "Man of the House." My cousin won that one easily (well...we all know who wears the pants in this relationship). Last bow determined the gender of the firstborn. If groom won: Boy, if bride won: Girl, if they both were equal: Twins. Outcome was twins.

There was another game where random bachelors from the crowd were selected and the bride had to face backwards. Through a series of questions, the bride had to determine which person was her husband. I was forced to partake in this little game. First question was everyone had to call out her [Xiao(3) Ming(2)]. After this first test, the bride was able to eliminate 2 of the 5 candidates. Second question was we all had to bark like a dog since it was the Year of the Dog. After this question, with much posturing and "secret" gesturing from the crowd, the bride guessed the correct person. For my participation, I was giving a stuffed animal dog as a present; it quickly ended up permanently in my younger cousin's purse.

After this, people were invited to perform and win prizes. My younger cousin performed a song which she didn't really know the words to. To help her along, she invited a spoiled and somewhat bratty child to dance on stage. Apparently, the organizers sensed this was a disaster waiting to happen, and quickly cut the song off halfway. Nonetheless, my younger cousin and the bratty kid both received more stuffed animals for their efforts.

Wedding Day!!!

So my preparations for the wedding didn't really work as well as I had hoped. I forgot to pack a dress shirt, tie, dress shoes, and black socks (go me!). How I did this, I am still trying to figure out. Had to go out at the last moment and buy all of these things. Shirt, Tie, socks: These were all purchased very easily; however, shoes posed a big problem. Now, if this were the US, it would be an easy task. In Shanghai, these shoes were impossible to find.

We looked all over for a store that had size (11 US ->>> 48 Chinese) shoes. Most stores only carried up to size 45 shoes which hurt my feet like crap after 10 seconds of walking. We finally found a pair that fit at the last possible choice for a store (turned out they were too big....irony...) These shoes soles were so thin that I could literally feel each brick on the ground as I walked over them. Needless to say, my feet hurt like crap after the wedding. As for the wedding itself...

The day began with all of us going over to my older cousin's (bride's) house. Apparently, there is a Chinese tradition where the groom has to come pick up the bride and it is the bride's relatives' part to block the door [lan(2) men(2)] and prevent entry until the groom has performed a series of humiliating stunts (I am all for public humiliation!). Of course, the groom can ("sometimes") bypass some certain stunts by giving out copious amounts of money [hong(2) bao(1)]. I was reponsible for the first door. Fireworks signalled the arrival of the groom and the game was on! I had originally planned to ask the groom a simple series of questions: Name? Gender? What is your purpose?. I decided to do this in English, just to add a further layer of frustration.

The groom was very smart apparently, as he immediately tried to offer me a bribe to let him in. Very clever, so I pocketed the money and immediatly locked the door. First question: Name?? He seemed to have no idea what it meant so I asked again, louder: Name?? His Best Man motioned to him to give out the cash again. Awesome, 2 hong bao in hand and he hasn't even passed the first question: Name?? I shouted again. My younger cousin decided that she wanted some money too so opened the door a slit; apparently, this gave the groom renewed hope that he might be let in and so immediatly offered my cousin a Hong Bao. Just like me, she immediatly pocketed this windfall and locked the door. At this point, apparently my aunt took pity and decided it was time to let him in. Grudgingly, I let him in the door.

My younger cousin was responsible for the second door (humiliation door). Groom again tried to play the bribe card and on queue, my cousin pocketed the money and proceeded to state the first task. He had to repeat 3 times this nice little poem my older cousin had composed. While I cannot remember the exact wording, it went something like:

Bride is always right, Groom is always wrong
If I think the Bride is wrong, then I am wrong
If the bride thinks I am wrong, then I am wrong
If the bride is wrong, but doesn't think she is wrong, then I am wrong
If the bride is wrong, and knows she is wrong, then I am wrong
If I am right, and the bride thinks I am wrong, then I am wrong
If I am right, and the bride knows I am right but doesn't admit it, then I am wrong

Second task was singing a song that my older cousin had selected. Third task was naming 7 things that the Groom was going to do to make bride's life easy. Of course, each article had to be approved by the bride, who was listening behind the door. The groom was only able to state 2 articles, before he tried to bribe again. When the Hong Bao landed in my younger cousin's pocket and he still had no hopes of progressing, he tried to break into the room through force. He was on the verge of breaking through, when I stepped in and performed an uber body block and regained agro. After assessing the 1 Hong Bao each penalty, my aunt again took pity and let him pass this test.

Fourth and Fifth tests were not very memorable. Sixth test was having to find 9 heart shaped stickers we had pasted around the room, remove them, and line them up in the shape of a heart. With some "help" the groom accomplished this rather quickly. Last test was he had to say "I love you" in Shanghainese 3 times. He had great difficulty with this as he had no clue how to speak it. He half croaked out the line three times in broken Shanghainese, but the bride was satisfied and let him in. My entire haul for the day was only 3 Hong Bao. My aunt just HAD to get in the way of my cucumbertrading.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Arrived in Shanghai yesterday by plane. The plane ride was quite pleasant; much more so than by train. The trip was also significantly shorter (2 hours vs. 8 hours) and the tickets cost the same! Have to thank my cousin for finding these wonderful tickets. When I arrived in Shanghai, I kinda expected it to be warmer than Beijing. Unfortunately, it was snowing when I arrived. It is still snowing....

On the plus side, the internet connection here in Shanghai is pay by the month instead of pay by the minute. However, trying to cucumbertrade on a machine with 256 RAM and 32 meg onboard video is painful at the very least. More bad news is someone has entered the market in my absence and undercut my pricing, I shall attempt to fix this situation and send ninjas to ensure this person never tries again. Death? No, something much much worst for an internet junkie, I shall sever his broadband cable MUAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHA...maniacal laughter..

Shopping day is today, so far I have gotten 3 requests for the 5-member boxed set of plush 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots. Now in order to get the real products, I have to go to specially licensed Olympics dealers. Getting the "real" ones is significantly easier, but that would be wrong.

Wedding is tomorrow, apparently I have the duties of preventing the groom from seeing the bride or something or other [Dang(3) Men(2)]. I am supposed to bug the crap out of the groom and prevent him from visiting the bride to take her to the ceremony. Sends like fun, hopefully I can get my ground defense badge.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BF2, 1.2

BF2, 1.2 is out now. Apparently, a 80 meg download. Go nuts!

Holy FUBAR. Apparently there are some serious balance issues with this patch. Notables:

PKM/MG36: These things have been patched to have insane first shot accuracy. It is essentially a sniper rifle on single shot. The MG36 also has amazing 3 shot accuracy. Most people are saying how they easily get 5:1 K/D with these things.

L96: ZOMG, the accuracy on this is the same as the M24, same damage, but much much faster reload. This is the be all, end all sniper rifle. Accuracy of all sniper rifles have also been adjusted. Most people report sniperfests in all city maps.

AA: Very good, this is possibly the only non-unbalanced change to weaponry, although some formerly 1337 pilots complain how they can actually get shot down by AA now... go figure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Day 3

Went bowling today. The lanes we bowled at were extremely dirty and old. The electronic pin setter thingies kept breaking after about 3 bowls so we kept having to change lanes. The balls there were very very dirty. After the first game, all of our hands were black with who-knows-what. The lanes were not exactly straight either, the balls tend to roll to one side or another, depending on which lane it was. Despite all this, I managed to suck like crap and only rolled in the 70s. The spinning ball would not hold onto the lane like it usually does, it basically just heads straight into the gutter. The lanes also had those really really old graphics when you did anything. The main theme seemed to be that of the bowling ball being a gladiator of some kind, and the pins being useless foot soldiers. So a strike had the gladiator knocking the crap out of the soldiers. Spares had some soldiers standing, and gutters had random catastrophic events cause the gladiator to go poof.

After bowling, we went to eat the first (I am sure of many) meals of Peking Duck. Somewhere, I know my trainer is preparing some ultimate torture device for my eating this. The meal was uneventful, but when leaving, we noticed massive hordes of people outside, waiting to dine. Then it hit me, this was Valentine's Day. Now if you thought commercialism was bad in the US, it is about 1000000x worse in China. Normally, a rose goes for .50 yuan, on this particular day, they sold out at 15 yuan


Decided to start reading Angels and Demons here. My cousins here need to go to work so it is kinda boring. The book was good, finished it in 2 days. Went to Great-Uncles' house for dinner. After enduring the usual round of "Oh, how you have grown!!" talk, he decided to show us his state of the art computer. This computer was actually pretty good, dual pentium 4s. Only had 512 ram and most likely onboard graphics card (for those of you wondering, no, installing WoW on the machine did not cross my mind....yet) He was eager to show us his 1337 online capabilities so he decided to give us a demonstration. The network plug was unplugged so my mom decided to show her computer prowess by promptly sticking the plug into the hole designed for the computer lock. Of course, it was stuck in there now, since the little tang holding it in place couldn't be depressed. Wonderful start, at the end, I just yanked it out and nearly destroyed the plug, but oh well. Rest of the dinner was uneventful, the food was overly salty so much liquid was consumed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


The flight over to China was rather uneventful. The inflight movies were for the most part, decent. Although I ended up watching "Just Like Heaving" about 4 times.  Ididn't really get any sleep on the flight because the lady next to me liked to sleep talk. It wasn't so much as sleeptalking as it was sleep-sweeping the street....Arrival was fine. Had a nice dinner and went to bed. Hopefully Ican get over the jetlag.  Also, for some reason, this computer likes to inexplicably change my font....