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青龍偃月刀

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On Vox: Change of venue Jun. 3rd, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

Over time my lack of writing and the departure of folks in my neighborhood has led me to reconsider my presence on Vox. Technical problems with the Vox Atom feed have also contributed to the change of location. Unfortunately, this will mean that my posts won't be appearing on my old LiveJournal... I'll have to see what I can do to pull in an RSS feed there.


From here on I'm posting at Qinglong yanyue dao. Spanish posts will appear at Yanyue dao. Both are hosted on WordPress.com.


"Mudanza de blog"

Voy cambiando donde escribo mi blog. Al pasar el tiempo, los que conozco en Vox se han ido y se presentan unas dificultades los Atom. Lo malo es que donde voy no se copian mis entradas al LiveJournal, pero voy a ver que se puede hacer para los amigos de LJ.

Desde ahora en adelante, voy a escribir las entradas en 2 blog separados: Yanyue dao tendrá las entradas en español y Qinglong yanyue dao tendrá las en inglés.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: The audacity of focus Mar. 29th, 2008 @ 12:10 am

While I've seen different sources call Obama's speech this evening "falling short of his goal" or "improperly targeted", I think the criticisms miss one of Obama's central points (and gloss over the value of the direct things he said about race relations in the US).


In speaking of how it is tempting to focus on the sound bites, the Obama's pastor said or Hillary's aide said or "white men will flock to McCain regardless of his policies"... or we can say "Not this time." We can focus on what the real issues are and not on the speculation, the sound bites and the expert opinions that seem to form so much of our discourse anymore.

In this and in the course of action he proposes in light of "Not this time" he's asking a lot from us. Look at people outside our insular groups as part of "us" rather than as "them" and see how similar their problems are to ours. 

In that sense, Obama's speech voices something I've been hoping we'd hear more articulately from candidates for some time. Let's talk about the real stuff, not all the crap that flies around a campaign. What I'm most excited to see in that respect is how Obama will meet the challenge he's laid before himself.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


Supposedly I look like... Mar. 21st, 2008 @ 03:56 pm

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Yad Vashem research - Geneology


On Vox: Trying to be christian: "Be thou clothed", part 1 Mar. 10th, 2008 @ 01:23 am
Organized religion can be a tough gig. More often than not, we see a lot of profession of faith or of religious principle followed by little action or by hypocrisy. Well, here's today's beautiful words that I hope I'll manage to follow through on...

A common problem among various congregations is that people stop coming to meetings for one reason or another (offended by someone, made a mistake and felt too guilty/embarrassed to return, fell away long ago and afraid of judgments, etc.).

  • Do we miss those that have stopped attending?
  • Do they know that we miss them?
  • What are we doing to make sure they know that?

In every country I've served in, I've visited with members who stopped attending church meetings and didn't feel like anybody cared. "If the members really loved me as much as they claimed, they'd notice I wasn't there and say something, wouldn't they?"

We often do notice when people aren't there. We ask our spouse or our friends "Did you see brother So-and-so?" Sometimes we even resolve to make a phone call or drop by to see how brother or sister So-and-so is doing. Then we get in our cars, go home, get distracted by the rest of life, and fail to make that phone call or visit. We may even repeat this cycle the next Sunday, feeling a greater drive. "I was going to call brother So-and-so last week and I forgot. I'll make sure to do it once I get home today." And the cycle repeats until we forget altogether who we were going to call.

It's possible I turn to James too often on this kind of thing, but let's look at James 2:15-16.

15 If a brother or asister be naked, and destitute of daily bfood,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye agive them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

This is the part where, in a typical sunday school lesson one of us would mention that sometimes what's most important to people is to know that we're willing to help, not that we smother them with our well wishes, or that one of us points out that sometimes just smiling and saying hello makes a huge difference. There are times these points are true, but let's not be satisfied with ourselves too easily. A chorus of "hello" rings empty if there's no notes to follow the promising introduction. "Let me know if you need anything" feels cheap if we aren't willing to develop sufficient trust with people that they feel comfortable sharing their needs with us. When we've developed trust, we'll stop speaking in Hallmark cards and start providing real help, because those we're helping will direct our action to their real needs. When we have trust, we can follow the guidance of the holy spirit without fearing we'll offend.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: Como son los gustos Mar. 8th, 2008 @ 11:01 am

For the past 2 years I've been using last.fm to collecting info about the music I listen to. Time to look at how things have changed over time...


Top artists for 2006

  1. Matthew Sweet
  2. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  3. Gorillaz
  4. Dixie Chicks
  5. Cibo Matto
  6. The White Stripes
  7. Puffy
  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd
  9. The Darkness
  10. 菅野よう子

  11. They Might Be Giants
  12. Queen
  13. The Pinker Tones
  14. David Bowie
  15. Gnarls Barkley
A mix of power pop, classic rock, alternative, electronica, j-rock, and geek rock with dashes of country and hip hop.

Top artists for 2007

  1. Juan Luis Guerra
  2. Malpais
  3. Aterciopelados
  4. Joaquin Sabina
  5. Ojos de Brujo
  6. Ruben Blades & Willie Colon
  7. Puffy
  8. Ricardo Arjona
  9. Matthew Sweet
  10. Evanescence
  11. Chambao
  12. Si*Se
  13. Jerry Rivera
  14. Queen
  15. Jesse & Joy
A bit of a change, though I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone.

I was all about carribean music before arriving in Costa Rica, but I get a kick out of how my tico coworkers are reacquainting me with old metal and alternative stuff in english I used to like but never really got into the habit of listening to.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: Writer's strike continues Nov. 17th, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

Some quick coverage...


Now without further ado, check out United Hollywood for more information on the strike (check out the intro vids on the right side). If you're feeling especially gracious, check out Pencils2MediaMoguls and send pencils to the big 6 media moguls as a symbol of your support for the writers getting fair compensation for the content they create.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: QotD: WGA Strike Nov. 6th, 2007 @ 10:06 am

Film & TV writers are on strike, which means everything except reality TV could halt production.  Do you support the strike?  Are any of your favorite shows in jeopardy?

You'd be surprised how many writers work on reality TV shows. In fact, a significant number of those striking are writers that work on reality shows and a significant part of the WGA's negotiations are tied to compensation for reality show writers.

It's been great to see the solidarity among show runners and writers. Jon Stewart took time on Thursday's Daily Show to announce they'd be off the air for the strike and is paying the salaries of Daily Show and Colbert Report writers for a couple weeks, the performers on The Office are refusing to cross picket lines, Julia Louise Dreyfuss walked off the set of "New Adventures of Old Christine" and joined the picket line, Tim Kring refused to do a weekend rewrite pre-strike that would put a season ending on the last script that's ready to go on Heroes and has supposedly been removed from the project.

It's quite possible that all of my favorite shows will be hit hard by the strike, but I'm less concerned about losing my current favorites than being sure that writers big and small are able to enjoy the financial fruits of their labors. Some say (meaning Fox News) that the writers are a bunch of whining rich people who want more money... they apparently don't know any of the thousands writers depend on residuals to put food on the table.

While I hope the strike is short, it's more important to me that writers start getting residuals on digital distribution and get a sane percentage for DVD residuals. Given the contribution they make, .002% in DVD residuals an 0% on digital is shameful.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: Elsa Basil Oct. 5th, 2007 @ 01:04 am

It was my birthday Oct 3 and I decided to celebrate at my favorite club in San José. As luck would have it, a Nicaraguan singer songwriter came a playin', promoting her new album Para que no mueran las palabras.

The concert was great, the music enjoyable, and my terrible luck in celebrating my birthday continues. As almost always happens, plans made with the best celebratory hopes finished with me celebrating alone.

But the music was good, and my tablemates were interesting and nice enough people.

If you can chisel some out of your daily grind, make some time to give a listen to Elsa Basil and her sabor Nica.


Elsa Basil


Cumplí años el 3 de octubre y decidí celebrar en mi café favorito en San José. Por casualidad, una cantautora nicaraguense presentó como parte de la gira de su nuevo album Para que no mueran las palabras.

Estuvo chiba el concierto, muy buena música, y sigo saladísimo en cuanto a celebrar mi cumple con los amigos. Como siempre, los planes de encontrarme con los amigos para celebrar terminaron en celebrar yo a solas.

Pero vuelvo a repetir, estuvo buena la música, y los que compartieron la mesa eran gente interesante y genial. Si podés apartar un tiempito del diario vivir, da un tiempico a Elsa Basil y su sabor nica.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: Me pintó el camino Sep. 30th, 2007 @ 12:53 am


"El destino me pintó el camino que me trajo hacia aquí."

México, Ricardo Arjona


Si quisiera mantener el tono secular que trato de mantener aquí, esas son las palabras que usaría yo también. Pero si voy a ser lo específico y franco que quisiera ser, tengo que utilizar lenguaje mas religioso de lo que quizá se acostumbran ver aquí.

Yo no lo diría con esas mismas palabras, pero he sentido algunas veces que el Señor me pintó el camino... hace años al llamarme para servir en el Ecuador y conocer el valor de la cultura latina (especialmente ante los vacíos de la modernidad norteamericana), por los últimos 3 años al servir con mis hermanos latinos de la iglesia en el EE.UU., y mas ahora al llegar a Costa Rica, conocer a los amigos que tengo aquí, y volver a vivir en un país latino.

Cuando recibí el llamamiento para servir en el Ecuador no tenía idea cuanto me cambiaría la vida. Me abrió la puerta para los llamamientos que lo siguieron y a través de esos llamamientos, cambió los amigos que tengo, los pasatiempos, la música que mas escucho, como defino el calor humano, y lo que busco en los amigos y en una compañera.

Mi presidente de estaca cuando salí a la misión me dijo que no pasaba ni un día en que no pensaba de haber servido la misión. Por algún tiempo me sentía un poco mal porque no podía decir lo mismo. Sí, recordaba haber servido, las personas que conocí, y algunas de las cosas que aprendí. Ahora, no hay un día que no se basa en la misión en una forma u otra. Y al ver adelante en el camino, parece que cada día volverá mas relacionado con el simple hecho de que mi Padre me mandó donde el supo que necesitaba servir para poder seguir el camino que ya me había pintado.

No sé exactamente que vendrá con los siguientes pasos... pero creo que tengo una idea, y anhelo ver ese futuro.


Painted the road

"Destiny painted the road that brought me here"

México, Ricardo Arjona


If I intended to keep with the "secular" tone I tend to shoot for, that's how I would put things, but if I'm going to be properly specific (and totally honest), I'll need to use more specifically religious language than you may be used to seeing here.

I've felt many times over the past months that God painted my road... starting years ago when he called me to serve as a missionary in Ecuador, when I first encountered real latin culture and learned the value of it (and got a look into some of the things we may have lost in our modernity), continuing over the past 3 years calling me to serve with the latin community in Atlanta, and more recently in arriving in Costa Rica, getting to know dear friends and living once again in a latin country.

When I received the call to serve in Ecuador I had no idea how much it would change my life. Even after serving, I didn't understand how those years would influence the future. That missionary experience opened the door to further opportunities to serve with latin friends, over time changing the friends I have, my pastimes, the music I listen to, what I look for in my friends and in the women I date.

The Stake President that set me apart when I left for Ecuador told me that there wasn't a day in his life that he didn't think about having served a mission. I occasionally felt bad that I couldn't stay the same. Yes, I remembered having served, the people I got to know, and the things I learned, but I didn't think about it every day. Now I look at my life and find there isn't a day of it that hasn't been influenced by that missionary service in one way or another. Looking down the road ahead, it looks like each day will be influenced by that simple call to serve that God knew would lead to the road he'd prepared for me to walk years later.

I don't know exactly what's coming further down the road, but I believe I have a sense of what's to come, and I'm excited about that future.



Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: Traslado Aug. 28th, 2007 @ 02:35 am

¿Como estoy? Empacando... bueno... en unos momentos sí empacando.

Mañana voy para los estados. Ya me acostumbro tanto estar en San José que eso de "regresar a casa" me parece un traslado. Ya no es la casa Atlanta, no hay ese sentido de que "pertenecés aquí mae." Amo a los amigos allá y no quiero menospreciarlos, pero desde la primera vez que vine, me quedé encantado de mi Costa Rica.

Esta vez la ida es mas difícil por haber encontrado mas amigos y tratar de tener una vida acá. La vez pasada solamente pasé con gente que ya conocía por el trabajo o familiares de amigos en Atlanta. Ahora tengo amigos nuevos que voy a extrañar pero demasiado. Pasé esta noche con una familia que realmente voy a extrañar... no conocí a los chiquitos de verdad hasta hoy (los había visto y saludado, pero ni es lo mismo ni es igual), pero ya los quiero. Sí que nos divertimos esta noche. (Y ojalá que no probamos demasiado la paciencia de Cata.)

Tan bien que me ha tratado este país y los amigos aquí, ¿cómo puedo irme sin pereza? Realmente, lo que me alienta es recordar que al llegar a los estados voy entrenando a una compañera que podrá tomar mi lugar en la oficina en el EE.UU. y que con esto podré hacer el traslado para quedarme donde quiero estar... (y quizá parece mentira al verlo de afuera, pero) donde trabajo mejor, donde descanso mejor, donde soy mas amistoso, y donde (por lo menos por el momento) me siento mas como yo mismo. Siento que no es el viaje ir a Costa Rica, sino ir al EE.UU.

Por el momento no voy a elaborar el camino que me trajo hasta este punto, pero será algo interesante para otra ocasión... y tiene mucho que ver con hablar sobre como me ha llevado mi Padre paso por paso donde El sabía que me convenía.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: My heart says "no" Aug. 26th, 2007 @ 09:01 pm
As much as I may ever want to claim that I make political decisions in a rational, logical, dispassionate manner, I've encountered at least one in my time in Costa Rica where my emotions and reasoning are together to the point where I wonder who's influencing who.

In October, Costa Ricans vote in a national referendum on the Tratado de Libre Comercio with the United States (CAFTA). Their neighbors have been quick to ratify it, but as evidenced by the Monumento Nacional behind me, Central America has had its troubles with US influences in the past. (Nevermind the US backed Contra rebels, US facilitated assassinations of past Central American leaders, and other challenges to local sovereignty.)

I've looked over the treaty and there are provisions that I think are too broadly worded or vague and fail to protect the interests of the Central American signatories. Further discussion with friends here have uncovered other unsettling things, and frankly, I prefer not to trust US based multinational companies any more than I have to. They've proven too untrustworthy in the past. (Put quickly, if a corporation's reason for existing is to make money for it's stockholders, it's in the corporation's best interests to offload costs as much as possible to outside entities and exploit resources to the greatest degree possible. I wouldn't trust a person whose entire purpose was to saddle others with their bills and take everything they can get, why should I trust a corporation with the same stated purpose?)

That's what my heart says. My brain says many of the same kind of things, pointing to hardships in NAFTA signatory states that have resulted from that treaty (Jamaican agribusiness decimated by dumping of US products) and concerns about established institutions in Costa Rica that would be forced to change by secondary effects of CAFTA (the influence of pharmaceutical IP provisions on the use of generic drugs in Costa Rica's social (medical) insurance).

With any treaty there are things to be gained by signing and things to be lost. My concern is that Costa Rica and other Central American nations don't end up losing more than they gain. At this point I'm hoping to get more information about how the benefits and the costs finally balance out, and more importantly, that the Costa Rican populace will be sufficiently informed about the treaty to make an educated decision the day of the referendum.

Mi corazón dice "no"

Aunque quizá quisiera pensar que llego a mis opiniones políticos de una manera razonable y despasionada, me encuentro ahora con una situación en que me pregunto si mis emociones o mi razón me llevó a mi opinión.

En octubre, los costaricenses votarán en un referendo nacional sobre el Tratado de Libre Comercio con los EE.UU. Los otros países centroamericanos lo ratificaron rápidamente, pero como recordamos al ver el Monumento nacional en San José, centroamérica ha tenido sus problemas con influencias del EE.UU. (Aun si ignoramos la cuestion de los Contras en Nicaragua, el asesino de líderes centroamericanos, y otras amenazas a la soberanía centroamericana.)

Al repasar el tratado, he viso cosas que me preocupan. Secciones que dejan demasiado espacio para interpretar lo que quiere decir el tratado o que carecen en proteger los intereses de los países signatorios centroamericanos. Al platicar sobre el tratado con amigos costaricenses ellos me han hablado de otras cosas, y en fin, prefiero no confiar en la bondad de las empresas multinacionales mas allá de lo necesario. Han probado algunas veces que no son dignos de confianza. (O para decirlo de otra manera, si la razón de existir de una empresa es ganar plata para sus accionistas, una empresa enfoca todos sus esfuerzos en minimizar los gastos y maximizar las ganancias. Esto toma la forma de hacer a otras entidades pagar los gastos al grado posible y explotar recursos (con preferencia de recursos baratos) al grado posible. Yo no confío en gente que se porta así, ¿para qué voy a confiar en otra entidad que se porta así?)

Eso es lo que dice mi corazón. Mi cerebro dice muchas cosas semejantes, señalando a países que han experimentado dificultades como resultados del TLC entre los países norteamericanos (como los agricultores de Jamaica que no han podido competir con productos agrícolas del EE.UU.). También me habla de los cambios que resultarán en instituciones costaricenses. (¿Qué significan las provisiones sobre la propiedad intelectual farmacóloga para el uso de productos farmacólogos genéricos por el seguro social nacional?)

Con cualquier tratado hay lo que gana uno y lo que sacrifica uno. Mi preocupación es que Costa Rica y los otros países centroamericanos pierdan mas de lo que ganan. Espero aprender mas sobre los beneficios y sacrificios tocante al TLC, y mas que esto, que la gente costaricense se eduque para poder votar de una manera informada al llegar el día.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com


On Vox: San José de improviso Jul. 20th, 2007 @ 12:47 am

A funny thing happened last week. After about 2 weeks back in the states, I got asked to return to Costa Rica. The coming home culture shock was basically over, I was getting settled in for a few months stateside before I could head down again... and within 3 days I'm on a plane to San José.

It's not like I'm going to complain. Everybody knows I love it here. I'm still a bit more socially dependent on my coworkers here than I'm used to, but that will come with time and such tools of modern life as the cell phone and a better understanding of the bus system... maybe the occasional use of a car.

I'm just surprised it's happened this way. I figured I'd be sitting in Atlanta planning the next time I could make the trip, try and figure out if I'd try to rent an apartment this time so I could have a home life and see how I face the bendito SJ traffic. Here I am, we're working hard (the business reason I was requested is to help us beat a rather ambitious deadline), and I'm going to be here for a while (6 weeks... minus this one that's almost over).

Not what I expected, something to be happy about, and hopefully I can get this work stuff finished up in time to have some fun with my coworkers before everybody's night classes start up again and go play with my non-work friends before they head to the states on vacation.


Suddenly San José

Pasó algo interesante la semana pasada. Después de unas 2 semanas en el EE.UU., me pidieron que regresara a Costa Rica. Recién me ajusté al estar en los estados, me preparé para pasar algunos meses en el EE.UU. hasta que pudiera regresar a ticolandia, y de pronto estoy volando para San José. ¡Que vacilón!

No me voy a quejar (de ninguna manera). Todos saben que me encanta Costa Rica. Dependo mas en mis compañeros del trabajo en cuanto a lo social que es mi costumbre (la mayor parte de mis amigos aquí son los compas), pero con tiempo, un celular, y un entendimiento mejor del sistema de buses, me sentiré un poco mas autosuficiente y mas cómodo.

Es sólo que me sorprende que pasó esto. Me imaginaba en Atlanta planificando mi próximo viaje, decidiendo si trataría de alquilar un apartamento para tener mi hogarcito y ver como encaro el tráfico bendito de San José. En cambio aquí estoy, trabajando, hechandole ganas, y estaré unos 6 semanas (menos esta que ya se acaba).

No me imaginaba aquí tan pronto. Pero aquí estoy, por dicha. Ojalá que pueda acabar este trabajo con tiempo para divertirme con los compas antes que regresen a los estudios y con los otros amigos antes que se vayan para el EE.UU. (¡Caramba, que coincidencia!)

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com

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