kongming

Zhuge Liang as played by Lu Yi for the 2010 version of Three Kingdoms. Roughly two hours, no real reference used (though pictures of the actor in the part in other poses were consulted). There is a lot more detail in his show outfits that was not captured here.

Really need to start working on my (im)patience and doing projects of longer durations again……….

The sky’s a curving vault of blue,
The level earth a chessboard,
Where men their black and white divide,
Disgrace or glory to decide.
For the winners, peace and comfort,
For the losers, tiring toil,
In Nanyang, someone lies secluded.
Securely sleeping. Stay abed!
—  poem included in Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, translated by Moss Roberts
Lanterns

I don’t ask for much and my dreams are fairly mild: so long as I’m happy and financially comfortable, my family is provided for and healthy, and I someday get to launch those hot-air lanterns up into the sky from a beach like they do in Thailand or Japan wherever, I’ll be fulfilled in life.

So far, things are going smooth. I’m not writing for TV or movies - a dream I simply chose not to chase because, ugh, such a hassle - but I’ve got a career I enjoy and side projects that keep me creative and doing all kinds of cool things. That’s a track I’d like to stay on, so long as it someday takes me to a place where I can light a fire underneath a paper hot air balloon and watch it soar up into the night sky, and maybe be hammered at the time because let’s face it booze just makes everything better, besides operating machinery.

They did the lantern thing at the end of Hangover 2, which sucked except for the scene where they all launch the lanterns into the sky from the beach (they are actually called sky lanterns). Wikipedia tells me they are also known as Kongming lanterns (first sentence!) and that these bad boys are indeed big in Asia. I hope I don’t have to go to Asia in order to fulfill my single lifelong dream of launching a little balloon, yet I’ve never seen them for sale at Party City (not that I’ve looked) so I may have to go overseas to reach my goals. That would really put a kink in my life plans, because a trip to Asia is about 20 hours, fairly expensive (more than $200) and you probably have to get all these shots, and I hate needles.

Sure, I may not yet be a published author with a lakehouse like Richard Gere in one of those romantic movies with Diane Lane (where like his desk looks out over the water from his Pinterest-worthy attic office), and the book I started six years ago is still lost somewhere in my Dropbox. But I’m doing just fine. My lifestyle allows me to buy good clothes, have a cozy home, and subscribe to Amazon Prime, which at only $80 is actually worth it if you order enough stuff (you have to buy all your toiletries and small, individual items under the $25 free shipping minimum in order to beat their system). Still, even with all the weddings I’ve been to over the years, I’ve not yet gotten to light up a Kongming lantern surrounded by my best friends, close family, and more than likely a few people from high school or college who I absolutely hated. Regardless, I feel like we would all be one as we peacefully watched our paper lanterns turn to stars in the night sky on the beach of some Chinese province that I can’t pronounce. Someone will probably be puking from all the booze though. 

And hopefully the sky lanterns wouldn’t accidentally crash in mid-air and cause a huge Kongming balloon catastrophe. If that happened, then yeah, at that point I guess you could say my whole life would be ruined.