Saturday, January 28, 2006

21 January 2006 The Daily Dosage

I’m getting fat, I can feel it, the bulk at my waist—I don’t like the feeling!

I grow weary of the big city, missing the earth, the birds, nature in general! Here, besides the pigeons and some trees, parks, it’s all concrete! It’s all a buzzing bee hive!

However, yesterday I ended up walking maybe ten kilometers / six miles. But, nothing like riding a bicycle for exercise—it gets the heart rate up!

I was given 2 tickets to a Chinese movie, Stephanie’s mother had been given (by someone at the International Church). But, both she and Stephanie couldn’t attend, so I was invited to. I called Kevin and Ceres, to see if they wanted to, but both were going out of town. It would have been easier to find the theater, had they accompanied me, but I persevered. With Stephanie’s Pinyin name of the theatre Heng Shan (‘juchang’ for ‘theater’), I drew the Chinese characters on a piece of paper! I stopped to ask and luckily a Chinese man, who could speak some English could read my Chinese-drawn characters (I was so proud of myself!). He then asked the same two questions they always ask, ‘Where are you from?’ And ‘How old are you?’

It turned out that Heng Shan theater (∫· …Ω æÁ ≥°) is on Heng Shan – ∫· …Ω) street (lu – ¬∑). This makes sense, right? But, I didn’t know this. I just happened to see a street sign (thank God for those in English)! Of course, I knew I was on the right track because the Chinese man had said, something like, ‘three more streets and then left.’ You have to get lucky sometimes to get there on time.

Note: To get Chinese characters (on the computer), first you activate an icon to get MS’ IME (‘Simplified Chinese’ program), and then you type in the Pinyin (intermediate Roman-alphabet letters). Up pop the characters when you hit ‘return’… God, or the Chinese know if they are correct as there are options. You have to know which is the correct character, as Chinese has many ‘homophones!’

There are ‘homophonal’ characters…? Or, maybe the Pinyin is homophonal? Thus, it’s a matter of knowing what ‘Thank you,’ is in Chinese, as the Pinyin ‘xie, xie,’ is only an approximation!

‘Thank you!’ I’ve been trying to learn how to write this in Chinese. The Pinyin is ‘Xie, xie!’ When you type in these letters you get –ª–ª Gosh, this is so strange… these are the correct ones for a change! I thought I’d… Well, too complicated to explain—computers can mystify! I’m beginning to learn that ‘Pinyin,’ is more for speaking than writing…?

I’m going to try again, inputing the following Pinyin words for ‘Thank you’… ‘Xie, xie,’ see what I get… –ª–ª (AMAZING! The program corrected before my very eyes, as the first characters were wrong. The ones here are correct!

I’m learning, that learning Chinese is difficult for the same reason learning English is… It’s up for interpretation. I’ll bet the homophones, ‘there’ and ‘their,’ confuse Chinese students learning English too!

Chinese characters are basically pictographs that make up ‘thoughts’ (words). There are, and they are not ‘words!’ Supposedly each character has ‘sound’ and ‘meaning!’

Some times, one character adds up to an English ‘word,’ but sometimes it takes more characters. This is what makes it challenging. Additionally, characters (pictographs) are not syllables. The Chinese language has only 400 ‘syllables,’ but 50K characters. Beyond that explanation, and even more confusing, is the use of systems (interpretations) of these characters into our alphabet (understanding). I think it’s true, that to truly understand a ‘language,’ you have to have been born in that culture. Language is culture!

Will I ever know Chinese? Not in this life time. I will be happy to learn about it. My goal is to write a poem in Chinese!

On the way to the theater, the other day, I stopped again the second time, showing two Chinese people what I’d drawn, and again they could read. Yep, straight down the street ‘thataway!’ So, it is possible to navigate in China, and find out what you need to know… That is, if you persevere!

I walked on way past the Church, and finally a theatre. She too, when reading my note, directed me inside! Ah, success, arriving at 1315 (1:15P.M.) hours, for a 1320 movie (as on the ticket)… Stephanie had said 12 noon and 1330. But, it had already started…

I’m directed to my numbered seat, however, by an usher with a flashlight… Harken back to the days in the U.S. when this was so! Unfortunately, I sat in front of a mother with bored children, and thus a trying time.

Think about it… Going to a movie where you don’t understand the dialogue, trying to figure out the plot, the story, what’s going on. I think I did pretty well too, which confirms what I’ve been thinking for a long time (being a screenwriter myself). There’s too many movies where dialogue drives the plot! You ought to be able to follow the plot of a movie visually!

And now that’s become a goal, to write a screenplay where images, not words drive the story!

I don’t even know the name of the Chinese movie at the Heng Shan Theater (yesterday), but it was my kind of movie (Stephanie tells me this has become renown)… No FX, no violence, no overt sex, no wars, no weirdness! Just a story about people in a particular situation (this could have been a true story?). And my guess about the story without really knowing…

The protagonist, seems to be seeking (solving) something. I think maybe he was making a documentary about an ancient dance (had a video camcorder with tripod), that only a convict (in prison) knew. But, the convict wouldn’t do the dance, until the protagonist found his son. This he did, and loving the little boy in the process. It’s possible the convict was the protagonist’s father-in-law as he got emotional mobile calls from his wife. In the end the convict performs the dance, fulfilling the wishes of many. The last shot is of the protagonist staring out at the sea!

Now, I don’t know if I’m correct in my assumptions, as there was much dialogue! Talking, talking, always talking! Too much in movies… Thus, my own idea—less dialogue!

I walked back to a Giant Bicycle Shop I’d passed. I’m looking for cycling apparel, but guess what? They don’t sell such in bicycle shops in China. Interesting… I did see their ‘top end’ competition ‘mountain’ bike for sale, at 26,000 Yuan, or about $3K U.S. dollars.

All I want is Ms. Fiet’s wheel back together again right—long story of my incompetence!

I walked on and back to Dong Tai Lu, passing (and purchasing) some clothing items for practically nil. I bought long-sleeve shirts (underwear) for 10 Yuan / !.25 cents.

I was going to deal with the purchase of contact lens, as I’d put down a deposit, but decided against. I need a Chinese speaker along! They’re trying to sell me ‘Bausch and Lomb, ‘one-year’ contact lens, but it doesn’t say anywhere on the bottle/box. I’m leery, as so much ‘rip off’ in China. And no consumer protection. I probably made a mistake putting down 50 Yuan, but these were half the price of other similar lens I’d priced (500 Yuan / $60 U.S.). But, there’s probably a reason! You get what you pay for! I’m not the best shopper, actually!

I hate shopping, actually!


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