BLOG OF POOTENHEIMER... Fear it, Love it
It's a nice day! But I'm stuck inside...
I like nice days, but they're nicer when you can be part of them. I went out to lunch to get some of the day's niceness. Today is Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day! I know some of you probably DON'T like it, and it's a silly holiday, but I have a poem for you.

Roses are #FF0000,
Violets are #0000FF,
All my base are belong to you

Isn't it nice? And if you laughed at that, you're a NERD!

Yes, well. The news of the day is the turnout of the lion dances. There are four I have to talk about! That's a lot. The first one was on Wednesday, at the Royal Dragon. It was cool! We got to turn the eyes on, which is nifty. So we started outside, played a little bit, then went in and got to cause a ruckus with the crowd. My mom and my sister showed up, so that was cool. I played with a lot of the kids, and most of them really liked it. The offering was interesting. To explain: the offering is usually a bit of lettuce attached to the payment for the lion hung from a string, usually from a high location. The lion has to figure out how to reach it. In this case, we had two benches placed, so we jumped on the benches and then I jumped on a pot that was placed on the benches. I got the offering there, and then the lion chews up the lettuce and spits out three times. It's traditional, I don't completely understand the motivation for the spitting, but I think it's good luck for the people/things that get the lettuce thrown towards them. I heard later a bunch of the kids ran up to grab the lettuce. So we did a good dance, and the owner was happy with it, which was cool. We also got more photos taken for some sort of periodical, and we all signed a waiver to let them use the pictures. It was cool, though.

The next dance was on Saturday morning, at Nam Hai. It was crazy! It was drizzling lightly that morning, so the weather wasn't great, but wasn't too bad. We had three lions there, and a good amount of people watching. Sihing plays the drum with the rest of the music crew to get some attention for a little bit, then we start the dance! It begins with the traditional bow in, then we try to do a leg stack while the other two lions each put a leg on a pot. The bad thing is that our shoes were kind of dirty, and the pants we had to wear had sequins all over them, so trying to do the stack was hard. Oh, the leg stack is where the tail sits in a horse or a bow stance (bow is front leg bent until thigh is parallel to the ground, back leg is straight, both feet angled forward) and the head jumps onto one of the tail's legs with one foot and raises his other leg high. When I tried doing it, I kept sliding, but we pulled it off, although it COULD have gone better. So we go from there, go inside, do our stuff there, come out, and then the fireworks/firecrackers are set off. Six strings of them. 96,000 fireworks. It's the loudest thing I've heard in as long as I can remember. Maybe ever. Sadly, I forgot my earplugs, which sucked. So all the lions had to play the fireworks, which meant biting at them, stomping near them, all that. I have burn-holes in the pants I was using, and had some nice marks on my arms and face. Plus my ears are still recovering from that. It took a while, and was rather tiring. After that it was time to get the offering! Actually, THREE offerings. Each one higher than the next. So the first lion goes up, does a shoulder stack (seated on the shoulders) and gets it. The next lion goes up, tries the leg stack on top of a pot (tail putting his leg on the pot, the head jumping on that leg), doesn't quite make it, does the shoulder stack and has the tail stand on the pot. And then it's OUR turn, with the bright gold lion. We have two benches up there. Remember, now, remnants from 96,000 fireworks are all over the place, so we have our shoes caked in mud AND firework pieces. We start by approaching the benches, I "paw" at them, put a foot on it and then jump away, to show the lion's apprehension to trying such a crazy stunt. Repeat it, with the music helping to show the challenge being met. Then JUMP onto the benches, first head up as tail moves forward, then tail up as head moves forward on the benches. And we try the leg stack! It's still very very slippery, so I slid off Kaleb's leg the first few times. We try three times and ALMOST make it. I tell him, "Again!" and we do it again. And make it! Unfortunately, since you have to jump up AND back to stack, we're too far away to reach the offering, so I had to come down and then do a shoulder stack. But we did that all right, got the offering AND applause. It was cool!

Man, it wasn't easy. But we finished the dance after that, and got applause on finish. I had some friends come to see it, too. Thanks guys! Two of them got pictures, I'll have to post them when I get them. I don't have the pictures now, but I do have some I'll put up later, either today or tomorrow. And afterwards we got congratulations, and the owner was happy with our performance, which is very good. We even had some young girls come up and ask for our autographs! Yes, very nice.

After that it was kung fu demonstrations, but it had to get cut short because of weather (the rain starting to come down a bit more). We still did get to do the bending of the rebar. Now to understand how impressive this is, do this: take a finger and place it in the indention where the base of your throat is, right over your sternum. There's a dip right there. Push. Harder. Notice how that's not really comfortable? Well, the rebar is placed so each end is put against that spot, one for each of the two people bending it. In this case, it was Sihing Justin and Sidai (younger brother) Eric. From there it's walking towards each other until the rebar bends in half. It's not easy, believe me. But they did it!

Yeah, and that was the START of our day. I won't dull you with detailed descriptions of the other two dances, but they went well. The second one was just me and Kaleb, one lion, and it was a lot of fun. At a jewelry shop and a bridal shop. I think I startled a poor girl trying on some bridesmaids outfits when we walked in there. It was funny, but all in all we got a good reception there. And the third one was two lions, the other being Shannon and Eric, at a Chinese Buffet restaurant, way out south on Memorial. It was pretty much raining by then, so the hardest part in that restaurant was walking on the marble floor with wet shoes. We were sliding all over the place, and the stack to get the offering inside was VERY hard. Kaleb's feet kept slipping every time I landed on his leg. Finally we did it, though, with a few people's help by putting their feet next to his so he wouldn't slip. Success! And we had lots of people give us thanks afterwards, telling us they really enjoyed it.

After that I took a couple of the guys back to my place, we hung out and played some games, chilled a bit before passing out. All in all, a good day. Challenging and rewarding. And if you didn't come to see one of our dances, you missed out! Definitely different from anything you've probably seen before. You'll see pictures when I get them up, though.

Yesterday was mainly recovery day. Relaxing, playing some Resident Evil 4 (such a GOOD game), eating lovely food. And then to church! Where I did not sit with the choir at Newman for the first time (not including Wednesday) in approximately EIGHT YEARS. It's a weird thing, to sit back with everyone else and only watch/hear. Although I'll say I had something like five people who I normally don't talk to very often come up afterwards and ask me why I wasn't playing, which made me feel a bit loved. If no one had noticed, that might have sucked. But yes, they did, and I explained to them. I may try playing at a different church next weekend, to get a taste of different styles of music. It'll be a surprise! And maybe some people at THAT church may recognize me. And be confused. But change can be good. We'll see what happens.

Oh, and on that topic, my picture made another paper, the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic. There was an article on TEC in there, and they had a huge picture of me and a friend of mine named Tressa next to it. Weird. I really don't think I'm photogenic, but hey, whatever works.

And now a time for a random... ad.

And now it's time for random... linking! I've been doing meditation lately, and it's actually doing some pretty cool stuff for me. If you know what you're doing, it CAN do cool stuff. Oh, and a bonus link, while I'm on my paranormal kick: do people really have psionic abilities? Ways to link to each other, even without realizing it? Why not do a study or two?

Oh! P.S.: Blogger has updated their comment code, so now you can actually put your name into your comment (if you choose), even without having an account. Yay!
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as of 10/23/03

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