Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chinese Dragon Tattoo Gallery

About Chinese Dragon Tattoo - What Most People Don't Know But Should
By Fanyun Ding

Chinese dragon is a mythical divine beast originated from ancient Chinese folklores. It is now commonly depicted as a huge, serpentine, and scaled creature. Unlike "western dragon" that has been described as evil, Chinese dragon has long been symbolized as the power of auspice both in folklore and art. Created on the land of an agriculture-oriented country, Chinese dragon is believed to bring rain and water, which well explains the position it takes in Chinese culture.

For centuries, Chinese people proudly refer to themselves as "Long De Chuan Ren", or "Descendants of the Dragon". This ethnic identity is believed to originate from Huang Di, a benevolent, legendary emperor who was said to have been immortalized into a dragon. Since Huang Di is considered to be the ancestor of Chinese, hence the saying "Descendants of the Dragon".

Due to that Huang Di myth, Chinese dragon is also symbolized as an imperial power. For dynasties, emperors were referred to as "Long Zi" or "offspring of the dragon", who wore imperial robes with dragons drawn on and claimed to have a dragon birthmark as a divine authorization by heaven.

Chinese dragon is also among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, a special Chinese way of designating years. To be more specific, year 2000,1988,1976,1964,1952 or any year with a 12-year gap between would be year of the dragon. In order to be "like a dragon", there are more babies born in the years of dragon than in any other animal years of the Chinese Zodiac.

Given all the foresaid reasons, it is not hard to understand why Chinese dragon is so popular among tattoo lovers. In fact, if you happen to be born in those dragon years, it's much recommended that you get a dragon tattoo because you are born blessed to be connected with Chinese dragon.

Basically, Chinese dragon is being tattooed in two forms: picture and character. Some prefer to have their whole back area tattooed with a vivid picture of dragon, while others may be satisfied with the Chinese character of "dragon" tattooed within a one-inch square of area. For dragon picture tattoos, a careful selection of the picture as well as the tattoo artist would be enough to ensure a quality dragon tattoo. For dragon character tattoos, however, it takes efforts to find a great tattoo idea, since you have to take many factors into consideration, including the literal meaning, the "actual" meaning, and the "cultural meaning" of the word that you select. Well, that's just the tricky thing of Chinese.

Fortunately, there are many Chinese phrases that associate with the idea of Chinese dragon. Followings are three dragon-related Chinese idioms for your reference.

Shen Long Ma Zhuang/ Long Shen Ma Zhuang

strong and energetic with an impressive bearing.

Both Shen Long Ma Zhuang and Long Shen Ma Zhuang are legitimate as an idiom, as in many cases Chinese characters can be reversed in words yet remain a similar meaning, just like this one.

Literally speaking, Shen means "magical, with divine power", Long means "dragon", Ma means "horse" and Zhuang means "strong". In Chinese culture, horse is considered intelligent, powerful and friendly to human, which therefore is used together with dragon in this idiom to describe the state of being strong and energetic.

By the way, Shen would be quite a nice character to ink alone, which could also mean "Almighty".

Ru Long Si Hu: valiant and energetic

Both Ru and Si means "like" in Chinese, so this idiom literally means "like a dragon like a tiger". Traditionally, Hu(tiger) and Long(dragon) are used together in phrases, idioms, and sayings to display a status of being strong, in power, and dominant. Needless to say, this idiom would be definitely fit for males since it's full of strength and masculinity.

What's worth noting, however, is that Long usually appears before Hu in expression, and it would seem weird when reversed. That being said, it would be a great idea to add Hu to your tattoo if your former choice was to ink Long alone, yet the right way to do this would be to ink "Long Hu", not "Hu Long".

Huo Long Xian Jian: strong and vigorous

Literally speaking, Huo means "alive", Long means "dragon", Xian means "fresh", and Jian means "healthy". When combined together, they form a unique Chinese idiom, one with a new and congruent meaning. Great literal meaning, great actual meaning, and great cultural meaning, this one is definitely fit for tattooing.

These dragon-related Chinese idioms are the literary and cultural embodiment of dragon and they truly live up to the standards of a unique and smart Chinese tattoo. It will be so amazing if you find one that best fits your personality. A Chinese tattoo dragon can be much more than an ink, but a special identity that helps you stand out of the crowd.

Chinese Dragon Tattoo Flash

Chinese Tattoos - Meaning of Chinese Dragon Tattoos
By Declan O Reilly

Chinese Tattoos have always been hugely popular. At one stage they were the realm of criminals and the mafia. Now it seems even Hollywood celebrities sedm to have caught on to the mystery and allure of the Far East. While it is undeniable that classic Chinese tattoos have an attraction which can easily be appreciated regardless of whether one can understand the often subtle meanings or not.

Aesthetics should be the primary consideration when getting tattooed, and Chinese characters are very well suited to this purpose. While tattoos have always been conversation pieces, Chinese tattoos add another element, since the typical viewer will probably ask you the meaning, which allows the wearer to not only translate the characters, but to explain the story behind the decision to make such a lasting statement.

Meaning is an important question however and for this reason can make Chinese tattoos date very quickly. Often it is not quite what the wearer was told by the tattooist at the tattoo shop or the meaning can become irrelevant after a few years.

Hopefully the person being tattooed has done his or her research and consulted with a native Chinese speaker about the meaning before being inked. Some non Chinese speakers have unwittingly tattooed their bodies with Chinese symbols which when translated become meaningless.

The most common Chinese tattoos are ones that are supposed to represent ideas and qualities like love or strength. Keep in mind that the concepts are aimed at English speakers, and on that level "peace, love and happiness" are easily understandable.

But before you run off to the studio to get one done you should do your research. Selecting a Chinese tattoos deserves careful study and attention. It should have less to do with style and more to do with your character, work, and values. It's permanent, so it's a pretty important decision in your life. In the end, it is important to choose something of lasting appeal not something faddish.

Chinese Dragons

For centuries, the Chinese dragon has been a symbol of power and mystery. Depicted hn countless legends, both Eastern and Western, the dragon has provoked man to fear and worship it. In medieval Europe, it was a bloodthirsty, fire-breathing figure. Its malevolence and ferociousness struck terror in all. However, in Asia, it is the contrary. The mighty dragon is a mythical beast long celebrated for its benevolence, intelligence and good will. The Chinese dragon has been a common symbol of identity for Far Eastern cultures.

In fact, Chinese people all over the world are affectionately known as “lung de chuan ren”, or the "descendants of the dragon”. There are several distinct species of Chinese dragons. The Horned Dragon is considered to be the mightiest. The Celestial Dragon supports the heavens and protects the Gods. The Earth Dragon rules all of the earth. The Spiritual Dragon controls the wind and rain. The Treasure Dragon is the keeper of precious metals and gems. The Winged Dragon is the only dragon with wings. The Coiling Dragon dwells in the ocean. The Yellow Dragon is a hornless dragon known for its scholarly knowledge.

Chinese Dragon Tattoo Designs

Chinese Dragon Tattoo Designs and Meanings
By Graeme Wheeler

It is believed that the mythical creature developed its appearance from the totem poles of many different tribes in China. As the tribes merged, the different attributes of the dragon's appearance took shape. The Chinese dragon is believed to have evolved over time to incorporate the features of 9 animals to become the mythical creature it is today. These features include the:

• Horns of a deer

• Head of a camel

• Eyes of a demon

• Neck of a snake

• Stomach of a clam

• Scales of a carp fish

• Claws of an eagle

• Soles of a tiger

• Ears of a cow

Combine these features together and you have the Chinese Dragon, a very popular tattoo design over the ages and evermore so now.

It is common for many oriental pictures of the Chinese dragon to show a pearl or thunder-ball under its chin - representing good luck and wisdom. Some pictures also show Chinese dragons with bat wings, although dragons are able to fly without wings.

Chinese Dragon Tattoo Meanings

The Chinese dragon tattoo is centuries old which adds to its appeal and mystic. It is a symbol of mystery and power, wisdom and good will. These dragons are considered good luck and are linked heavily with the number nine, as there are nine sections to the dragon. Qualities include loyalty courage and strength.

The Chinese Dragon is a divine mythical creature that warded off bad spirits. They have a strong link with authority in China. The Chinese proclaim themselves "Long De Chuan Ren" or descendents of the dragon because when the first Emperor Huang Di died, (considered by the Chinese as their ancestor) legend has it that he turned into a dragon and rose to heaven. This lead to the Chinese dragon becoming a symbol of imperial authority and power. The five toed Chinese dragon was reserved for the emperor alone. Peasants wearing such a symbol would be put to death.

These creatures have 117 scales, 81 of these scales are yang (positive) and 36 are yin (negative), so the dragon is yang creature.

The legend states that dragons originated in China and spread throughout the region, getting as far as Japan. The Chinese dragons have five toes, the Korean dragons have four toes and as you get further away, such as Japan, the dragons have three toes. It was not possible for dragons to go any further than Japan and lose any more toes.

Chinese dragons are believed to have a controlling force over water, such as seas, rivers waterfalls and the like. Water spouts are associated with dragons rising. When droughts or floods occur, it was common for sacrifices to be offered to the dragons to appease them. Legend has it that dragons have the ability to burst clouds and bring down the rain. If they are angry, they can cause floods.

The beauty of the design, combined with the stunning red, black and green colors make the Chinese Dragon tattoo design very popular.

Did you know that one out of every five people regret their tattoo design, according to a recent Harris Poll. If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, don't make these common mistakes - with this free tattoo guide and a review of the top online tattoo galleries.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Patience with cats and rain

Patience is the name of the bike trailer that we're using, and she continues to be remarkably useful and sturdy.

On Friday, I had to take our cat, Tycho, to the vets for tests and shots. Turns out the cat carrier fits perfectly into the trailer. I was worried that the ride would be too bumpy, so I lined the bottom with plenty of towels. But with the pneumatic tires, it's really not that bad. I also worried whether the cat would freak out at being in the trailer. Whenever we go for a ride in the car, he yowls and meows and lets me know that riding in a car is a weird, unpleasant experience.

Oddly, he didn't seem to mind riding in the trailer at all. He made one small meow at me, and that was about it. My theory for this is that riding in a car is an intensely strange experience for a cat--the air is still, so it seems like we must be inside a house, but yet there's a sensation of movement. In the trailer, it was clear that we were outside. He could feel the air moving, and he could see me right in front of him. He could hear the sounds of the world. He didn't seem to mind it at all. (And, for the record, it's a pretty short ride.)

Yesterday, I put Patience to the test in the rain. It was pouring out all day long, and I'd agreed to a handyman job out in Newton, 6.2 miles from our house (each way). I wanted to keep the job, and I thought I'd give the trailer and my rain gear a good workout.

It certainly got it. I loaded the trailer with my toolbox and other tools, probably 20-30 pounds of tools, and hit the streets. Remnants of hurricane Ida cascaded from the clouds. Autumn leaves blocked many of the storm drains along the route, making huge puddles and swiftly flowing streams covering the roads. Luckily, traffic was light. Still, I made sure I had all my lights and flashers going so I could be easily spotted.

I didn't mind riding in the rain. My jacket and rain pants kept me pretty dry, and my baseball cap under my helmet kept most of the rain off my glasses, so I could still see. Pulling the cart through the water and up the hills was a pretty serious workout, but within my abilities (funny how you tend to gloss over the hills when you drive a car, but I can tell you that between Cleveland Circle and Newton Center, Beacon Street goes up and down a big-ass hill).

I got to the job with my feet soaking wet, but otherwise dry underneath my gear. And the trailer kept my tools completely dry. Unfortunately, I got a little lost just as I was approaching my destination. I'd printed out a google map of the area, and it lasted just long enough to get me unlost before the rain dissolved it into a soggy clump. Getting lost in the pouring rain on your bike is not a happy feeling.

The rain came down even harder on the way home, and the front seam of the jacket leaked a bit onto my shirt, but the pants were great. I need to find some better waterproof shoes for riding at some point.

It was a good adventure, though I confess that I was awfully tired and wiped out when I got home and had to take a little nap in the afternoon.

The temperature was in the mid 50s, so the ride was surprisingly fine. I expected to be cold and miserable, but I didn't mind riding in the rain at all. (Tracy might just say that shows that I'm a little nuts.) The trailer handled beautifully in the rain--I'm really getting used to hauling it around. We'll see how it goes in the wintertime when it gets old out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One more quote from No Impact Man

In No Impact Man, Colin Beavan wrestles with the question of whether individual action has any significance in our current ecological struggles. His answer is both yes and no. He writes:
I'm not sure that reducing individual resource use is the entire way forward. At the root, religious philosophies say to do less harm, yes, but they also say do more good. There is a limit to how much less harm I can do. But my potential for good is unlimited. All of our potentials for good are unlimited.

The question becomes not whether we use resources but what we use them for. Do we use them to improve lives? Or do we waste them? My life itself is a resource. How shall I use it?
I agree with Colin that it will take both individual and collective action to effect that need to occur. Us giving up our car is certainly a tiny drop in the bucket, but it does have an impact, and it also increases the awareness of the people around us (and ourselves), and that can ripple outward in a powerful way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a few thoughts from No Impact Man

I'm currently reading and very much enjoying Colin Beavan's book, No Impact Man. Tracy and I were fans of his blog, even before the book and the movie came out

In his section on reducing carbon footprint and on stopping using fossil-fuel based transportation, Beavan offers these interesting statistics about cars and America:
  • American adults average 72 minutes per day behind the wheel of a car (twice as much as the average American father spends with his kids).
  • 17 percent of the average American's income goes toward the costs of owning and running a car.
  • Americans spend the equivalent of 105 million weeks of time sitting in traffic jams.
  • People who ride bikes or walk to work are 24 percent more likely to be happy with their commute than those who drive cars.
I think we'd qualify for being pretty happy with our commutes right now. And we're on our way to cutting expenses, though we've been doing a bit of investment in our bike infrastructure lately.

It's a very thoughtful book, much more than just an attention-grabbing stunt.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bike Trailer

At our 200 Foot Garden work day last weekend, I happened to mention to our neighbor, Alexis, that I'd been thinking about getting a trailer to use with our bikes. It would make getting groceries and supplies (including garden supplies) a lot easier. "Oh," she said, "We have one you could use. We haven't had it out for a while."

After a tiny bit more conversation, we worked it out and they dropped it off on our doorstep yesterday, just in time for our weekly grocery run. This particular trailer is from Bike Friday, and is a BicycleR Evolutions "Shopper" Trailer and is basically a large 24 gallon Rubbermaid container bolted to a frame with wheels.

The hitch hooked up to my bike with no problem, and once it was on, it was smooth riding. Supposedly it can hold up to 100 pounds, which would make it very helpful for getting pet and garden supplies. I gave it a ride to Stop & Shop and came home with 68 pounds of groceries (including a 20 lb can of kitty litter). When empty, it drove with no problem whatsoever--I hardly even knew it was behind me. The universal joint on the hitch rotates in all directions, so it doesn't exert any unusual force on the back wheel.

On the way home, fully loaded, it still pulled smoothly, though with almost 7o pounds in the trunk (plus 17 lbs for the trailer), I definitely knew it was there. I'm used to riding with a lot of weight in my basket and backpack, but this was a different experience. With the basket and backpack, the weight is a lot more uneven and the balance is thrown off a bit on the bike. With the trailer, the balance stays the same, but I just had to get used to this pull from behind me--uphill was a bit more work, and downhill required a little vigilance to modify the extra momentum. Keeping up a steady pace makes the ride a lot more pleasant, so you just have to shift your gears a lot more actively and consciously.

Overall, pulling the trailer is a little more work for the legs, but clearly much easier on the body overall, and definitely a lot simpler to handle loads with volume, extra weight, or large objects. I couldn't have carried this whole load home with just my side basket and backpack.

One of the coolest parts of this particular trailer is how easily it can be stored. We can just stick it on its end in our bike room, and you hardly know it's there (it's very lightweight), which is a big plus because the small bike room in our condo building sometimes has as many as 11 bikes in it.

It was also just fun to pull the trailer--it make me feel like a serious biker. I'm looking forward to many more trips with it behind me.