Sloppy Zhang

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About Sloppy Zhang

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  1. I've been around here and there I check in every once in a while to see what's going on. Good to see the old faces are still around.
  2. Great posts as always Taomeow!!! To the original poster or anyone else interested in learning Taoist Meditation, Bruce Frantzis has a Taoist Meditation Circle online group. It's $8 a month and lasts for 16 months. It lays the foundation for building awareness, lengthening your breath, and introduces the basic energies of the internal organs. It's a great foundation for the meditative aspect of his other practices, and if you have the extra money, his Energy Arts Training Circle programs have some more advanced meditation stuff in there. But it all starts with the basics, and it's cheaper than Netflix too
  3. On this subject, we just had an email go out with our 2016 numbers, including the top performers in our frontline helpdesk teams. These are world-wide team members, and are highly diversified, even in our US office, between women and minorities. 90% of the top 10 were white men. 100% of the top 10 were men. Just something interesting that I noticed. Is that its role, though, to represent modern reality? That argument may hold true in a white-dominated society, but what about in, say, certain Asian cultures where "white traits" are considered more beautiful and desirable in models/actors? Does that reflect modern reality in those countries? Race is interesting in America, and personally, I'm not sure I like the direction it is going. Before it seemed about integrating everyone of a different racial background into one cultural group, where we learned about and celebrated different cultural histories. But now people don't even like to use the term "melting pot" because it connotes a loss of cultural identity! They instead like to use the "tossed salad" metaphor (not kidding... and yeah, double entendre) where you can still pick out separate cultures. People are afraid of things like "cultural appropriation" ("Taco Tuesday is offensive and reductionist to Latin American cultures you bigot!") And if you don't fall into a certain racial divide, you are almost precluded from making any comment on it, regardless of that idea's merit ("well you aren't Asian so you aren't fit to comment on how an Asian would perceive this"). From my perspective, it seems to be causing more divisions and tribalism than it promotes unity and education. Which of course carries over to representation in media, and the ensuing discussions. Well I came in at the end so I cheated
  4. See, I find this argument very interesting. If you'll let me switch gears a little bit (since I've never worked in Hollywood, I don't know...) to corporate hiring. I've been on the hiring panel for many interviews in my corporate life. Within my field (IT management) we hire overwhelmingly men. It's not that we turn away women... it's that we aren't getting a lot of women resume's coming in. Additionally, it is overwhelmingly white. Not to say that we consciously hire minorities. It's that the overwhelming majority of the resumes that get submitted to our job postings are of white men. So, moving further along in the interview process, we want the best candidate for the job. Who has a technical background? Who has an education? Who has prior work experience? We use a lot of proprietary software in our line of work, so it's not like we don't train you on the job, we do. But our stuff is just so damn technical, if you don't have a technical background, you aren't going to have a very fun time (believe me... we've tried.... it's not fun for anybody). So we find a resume that has 10 years prior experience in corporate IT, military background (networking in the military), associate's degree (not bachelor's) in a technical field, pursuing classes for a four year degree, and just passed a professional IT certification. Awesome candidate. What's his name? John fucking Smith. And before you know it you have an enterprise networking team of predominantly white men. (who are all super nerdy and love having conversations about the latest Marvel shows, and also into craft beer, so we can go out and drink after. Win win.) Did we, at any point, consciously choose for or against a certain demographic? No. But blow that up, what do you get? I've happened to work with phenomenal women in the field. As well as phenomenal minorities (including myself!) I've also happened to work with incredibly terrible people of all types. In some cases they had the background we wanted, in other cases we didn't. So... I don't know what I'm saying. It's hard to say. You can't always play by numbers. We certainly have a bias. We have a bias against people we think can do the job. And ultimately, we're a business. We need people who are worth the investment (time, money, effort in training). It sucks, but that's how it is.
  5. The other week I went with my girlfriend to see Beauty and the Beast (which also included some diversity) and we saw the "Fight like a Girl" trailer for Transformers..... she found it incredibly cringey...
  6. Well I gave my review of Iron Fist earlier in the thread that no one cared about, so I was more addressing the overall conversation of various race casting (or lack thereof?) in the media. As thelearner mentioned above, media is expensive. Each decision really is about financial gain vs financial loss. For example, earlier we talked about Dr. Strange and how the Ancient One was cast as a white woman. At that point, your equation becomes: If we cast a white woman in the role, white women will be excited to see themselves in a leading role and buy more tickets. Asians might be mad that we "whitewashed" a character, and buy less tickets. How many new tickets will we sell vs how many we lose? We can cast an elderly Asian man as the Ancient One, and thus have Asian representation in an Asian film. However, will this cause Asians to actually buy more tickets? Will they get angry that we are "typecasting" an elderly Asian man as "the ancient one"? Will women object to a lack of representation as main characters in the film, and not buy tickets? Again, how many news tickets does this help us sell, vs the risk of having people sit out the ticket purchase? As to why this happens... does it even matter? If you'd like to see it changed, is media even the best way to do that? And if media IS the best way to do that, what incentive do media companies (who are businesses with the mission to make a profit) have to implement said change?
  7. The film industry is a business. Business is all about what works, what is the cost, what is the return on investment? A Hollywood exec knows how much Transformers is going to net them based on past performance. Even if the movie is TERRIBLE, they will get X amount of tickets sold on franchise name alone. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will net them Y amount of ticket sales even if it sucks. Megan Fox up on the screen earns Z amount of ticket sales. Studios, like businesses, are less willing to take risks. They go with what they know. This is human nature. As with business, innovators can enter the market and disrupt current models. The Saw franchise, for instance, had a very minimal budget but performed very, very well. Get Out also had a low budget and far exceeded expectations. When Deadpool came out, execs weren't sure an R-rated X-Man movie would do well. Then it far exceeded expectations. Logan was a huge hit. Now there is an option for Fox to make money off of a lackluster franchise (compared to what Disney is doing with the rest of the Marvel line-up) by potentially starting a new line of R-rated comic book stories. My point here is this: the media is a business. Businesses will make money. They won't change unless there is a dollar incentive. You want under-represented groups? You need to give the dollar incentive. Marvel sales of comic books were down after including more "diversity" in their super-heroes. The primary demographic for comic books (young, straight, white, males) weren't interested. If you want to see more innovation in ANY industry, YOU must introduce that. Or wait around for someone else who does. If you don't want to, you are certainly entitled to your opinion... but realize nothing is probably going to change.
  8. I didn't do much of the partner practices during the seminar itself. But that's just me being weird about who i'm sharing meditative space with and not wanting to open up too much In the times I have done it with a partner, I'll say I got some good stuff out of it. I'm not a master and neither was my partner, but it definitely had a different quality to it. Were we at the 2x or 4x mark? Probably not, just needs more practice Well, as I mentioned up above, there are plenty of meditation masters that ascended quite fine without sexual practices As far as secret Taoist groups, well, to be fair, he did live in Taiwan/China for several years and became fluent. Get yourself the Rosetta Stone China package and start looking for jobs in Taiwan or China
  9. I was just at a two day course, so we didn't get way into it and I'm not a regular practitioner or an expert so there's the disclaimer. The biggest hurdle (at least in my opinion) is that it truly is a two person practice that requires two practitioners to actually be doing it. At least what Bruce seems to be teaching is it's a two way street, and not something you can do one sided (though I'm sure there are those practices out there). From that standpoint, it seems to be more of a "performance multiplier" than anything else. As in, regular meditation will give you 1x the performance. Having a second person help you dissolve a blockage gives you 2x the performance. And adding sexual energy gives you 2x the performance to that, for a total of 4x the meditative ability to dissolve a blockage. I'm not sure if there's something you can only get from a partner practice that you wouldn't get out of a normal practice (aside from the obvious stuff). But from a long term meditation standpoint I'm sure you'll be fine because there are people who become enlightened without practicing sexual meditation. But again, who knows
  10. (spoilers below) I felt like Iron Fist is the weakest of the Defender's lineup. For sure the setup was challenging- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, while each fantastical in their own way, were gritty and at least somewhat grounded in a plausible reality. In comparison, a Kung Fu master (and a scrawny one at that...) is a bit of a stretch. When he first encountered the hatchet gang, I thought things were going to go well. He demonstrated a flowing technique, and while it was a little fantastical, not *too* outside the realm of possibility. But as the show went on, his fighting style seemed to get more and more "brawl"-y. And I understand why- they were trying to show his deteriorating mental state, his mind full of doubts. Etc etc. Which brings me to my first problem- he spent 15 years in a monastery and never learned to resolve any of his issues. What was the point of all of that meditation??? As a meditation practitioner, this frustrated me! Danny seems to have no ways of dealing with his anger issues, even from episode 1. I'll admit, everyone thinking you are crazy is infuriating but still.... calm down. When it comes to the Hand, I actually liked what they did. We find out there are multiple factions of the Hand. We get some lore around Madame Gao. We already know she's a villain from Daredevil, but now we see a trickier side. She DOES play the kind grandmother, because she is trying to lure Danny in. And in a world where everyone is lying to him, perhaps the most manipulative thing she can do is tell the truth and be his friend. But things brings me to my second problem- Danny is "sworn enemy of the Hand", but we as the audience know more about the workings of the Hand (from Daredevil) than Danny does! Granted, he says in an early episode that he just assumed the Hand stories were some boogeyman fairy tale... but even still, he is supremely naive in all of his dealings with the Hand. And on that note, he seems to learn more about himself from the Hand than he did in 15 years in K'un-Lun. You're telling me they never taught him how to replenish his chi after using the Iron Fist? Seems kind of important. He apparently doesn't even know he can "double fist" it (so to speak) until he sees an old video from the Hand. And yes, I know he abandoned his post and probably had years worth of training lined up while guarding the pass. But they never taught even the basics of chi management in preparation for the huge chi injection he would receive?? Finally, at the end of each of the other seasons each hero "came into their own" by the end, or at least made peace with their situation. Daredevil gets his suit. Jessica Jones hangs up the sign and goes back to work. Luke Cage is resolved to sorting out his problems. While some of them had rough patches, or even tried to deny their own identity, by the end they made peace with who they were as people, if not as a hero. Danny, on the other hand, never really makes that jump. In fact, the final scene he is going BACK to K'un-Lun because he hasn't been able to grow into his own at all. To me it feels like we only got "half" a story arc for him, and by the end we should see him (like Daredevil) at LEAST grow into his costume, even if he hasn't mastered his powers yet. I too watched Into the Badlands before this show, and initially I was glad they didn't go full "kung fu" style in Defenders, as it wouldn't have matched the gritty realism of, say, Daredevil... but now I'm not so sure. At least we could explain it by him being a kung fu/chi master.
  11. I used to do a lot of dream work and kept up a very detailed dream journal. I was able to recall a significant amount of dreams each night (to the point where writing down all the detail was kind of a chore). Correspondingly, in my day time practice I was becoming more aware of the thoughts I had throughout the day. In the end, I realized the vast, VAST majority of my dream content was just leftover or recycled thoughts, either from that day or from the past week. For example, I'd see someone in my dream and think it was a big deal... then remember I glanced at their name when scrolling through my phone contacts. Okay, just subconscious processing of stuff. I've had some interesting dream phenomena from time to time. For the record, I DO think dreams can be used from a spiritual development standpoint. However, I also think that you need to have spiritual development enough to be able to distinguish between, say, internally generated mental thoughts and externally generated psychic thoughts. And that takes a bit of work. If you aren't at that point (and I myself, am not) I would suggest not attaching too much to dreams, if something stands out hold it loosely in your awareness, and if something happens something happens. If it's real, it will stick around/keep coming back.
  12. Well, it sort of depends on what you are looking for. I personally really enjoyed the Daoist Sexual Meditation book. I also got a bit of a tune up from a live seminar last year. One important thing to keep in mind (and I'm not sure how much he mentions this in the book, I'll have to check) is that the book is about Daoist Sexual Meditation, and not Sexual Qigong. If you are looking specifically for Qigong, look elsewhere. That is to say, Daoist Sexual Meditation will help give you the extra juice to dissolve and resolve blockages. He talks about the Dissolving method in his other books, "Relaxing Into Your Being," "The Great Stillness," "The Dao of Letting Go", and "Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body" (if you can only afford one, get the Energy Gates book). Sexual Qigong is more about energizing the body, increasing sensation, increasing sexual performance/duration, etc etc. At least, that's from the perspective from the tradition of which Bruce is a lineage holder. Other traditions may have different definitions of things. But from what I recall at the last seminar, that's how Bruce broke it down.
  13. Duplicate.
  14. Wandered back to TTB to check up on things and I see this :( We were both in some heated threads back in the day, but she always kept her cool. She will be missed.
  15. For me, if I need to sneeze, I sneeze. If I need to wriggle, i wriggle. The way I see it, the point is not "to sit in meditation for 30 mins" or to "hold posture for 40 minutes" or whatever. The point is to do the practice right. As you get more practiced, and as others have said, as you go deeper, doing the practice right carriers you further and things like sneezing and running noses don't come up. Using myself as an example, as I'm doing my practice the first few minutes is usually me and my body getting settled. I work out physical and mental kinks here and there. So the posture I start in isn't the posture I finish in. I don't start really getting into it until I get into it for a little bit. Once I get into it, things like sneezes and wrigglings fall by the wayside. Not because I am forcing myself to not do those things. But because I am focused on my practice, and they just don't come up. At some point I come out of it. Sometimes this is after a few minutes. Sometimes this is after many minutes. But my goal isn't to add minutes each time, or beat myself up over losing minutes. My goal is to do my practice a little better (or at least not worse!) each time. And let whatever else happens happen.