Monthly Archives: January 2021
Monthly Archives: January 2021
To a viewer unfamiliar with mahjong, the game and how to play it can present a bewildering spectacle, what with its walls of tiles, talk of prevailing winds and the constant clatter of pieces being discarded in turn by the four opposing players.
Appearances, however, can be deceptive.
This quintessentially Chinese game is, in fact, very similar to a number of Western card games such as rummy. The goal in mahjong is to complete a set with your tiles similar to a poker or rummy hand.
Anyone used to card games where a winning hand consists of a straight flush or a full house can easily get their head around the basic rules of mahjong.
The most distinctive pieces in a mahjong set are undoubtedly the tiles.
Based originally on paper cards, the tiles are now solid, chunky pieces with an image or character on one side (similar in a sense to a domino) and a thick backing of bamboo or, more usually these days, plastic on the other.
As is the case with a set of playing cards, the simples fall into suits.
Each suit consists of nine tiles numbered one through nine. There are four copies of each of these tile in a set.
The honor tiles are divided between dragons (red, green and white) and winds (east, south, west and north) while the optional bonus tiles (flowers and seasons) are used mainly for the purposes of scoring and gambling.
A mahjong set will also include a number of dice with which players determine who is to deal and where the dealing is to begin and a marker to show who is dealing and which round is being played.
Some sets may also include counters to help with scoring and racks into which players may place their tiles so they remain hidden from the other players.
A standard game begins with the players choosing a dealer either by means of a high-scoring roll of the dice or by the blind drawing of wind tiles (featured in image below).
The dealer is assigned the position of East wind and play proceeds in a counter-clockwise motion to the other players, each of whom is assigned the wind respective to their position in regard to the dealer.
When a round is finished, the position of dealer shifts to the player on the dealer’s right.
Once a dealer has been chosen and the tiles have been shuffled, each player takes thirty-six tiles and builds a wall in front of them two tiles high and eighteen tiles wide, see image below for what this looks like:
The players then push their walls together forming a square, the hollow center of which will be used for discarding tiles.
The dealer then rolls three dice and, counting along the row of tiles to his or her right, begins dealing from the tile which corresponds to the sum of the dice.
One by one, over three rounds, the players take four tiles at a time and one last tile for a total of thirteen tiles each.
Game play proper begins with the dealer taking an extra tile and then discarding a tile of his or her choice.
Except when drawing a tile during a turn, however, a player should only ever have thirteen tiles in their possession.
In mahjong these groupings consist of:
If the tile cannot be used to complete a set the player then discards it.
When another player can use the tile to complete a set, that player is allowed to claim it and take the next turn.
Otherwise, following a discard, play continues in a counter-clockwise motion until someone has completed a hand.
In Western games a winning hand is often referred to as a “mahjong” and the player will call it as such when he or she has drawn the winning tile.
It is the unusual set-up of the game which often seems so daunting to the novice player of mahjong. But once a player is used to the assigning of winds, the building of walls and the dealing of tiles, mahjong is actually quite straightforward.
Games can, of course, get rather complicated once you begin to grasp the possible strategies involved.
Systems of scoring too can render the game overly complex, but a player can always just adopt the simple option of scoring winning hands only.
Ultimately mahjong can be as simple or complex as you wish to make it and this is perhaps the secret of its enduring success.
For those of you taking Heroic Adventures to your local China town or further wanderings to parts of Asia, knowing how to play mahjong can be a way to make a healthy connection with locals and gain deep insight into local culture.
There are physical adventures, there are mental adventures, and then there is ayahuasca: a relentless spiritual-physical-mental adventure that may be one of the most intense ordeals your soul can choose to experience in this life.
If an ayahuasca ceremony is on your bucket list, you no longer have to go all the way to South America’s Amazon to reach your goal.
Thanks to religious freedoms in the USA, you can finally check-off this list item, the ayahuasca ceremony, without leaving the USA. There are a handful of legal ceremonies popping up in urban areas and far-out locations in scattered pockets across the United States of America.
According to our new section, the ayahuasca retreat directory, a Native American Church is offering ayahuasca in the United States for people interested in the sacramental ritual of an ayahuasca ceremony and the full-on spiritual practice of ayahuasca tea imbibing.
“The tea, known as Ayahuasca, is revered as sacred by Church members. It is a sacrament serving to heighten spiritual understanding and perception, and brings the practitioners closer to God and the Divine.” — Chief Minister Steve Hupp
It seems that the religious protections invoked by the religious freedom in America have made it possible — for people acting under the auspices of a church — to recruit new members to the church’s spiritual practices, where, as a potential member, you can partake in the ritual drinking of ayahuasca.
In other ceremonies that take place in the USA, invoking religious freedoms, take the UDV, for example, where it’s typical for UDV ayahuasca sessions to include dancing all night, wearing pure white clothes, and singing Christian songs. That’s right, the UDV is Christian. During a ceremony you’ll be immersed in an alternative Christian world that — to outsiders, the uninitiated, fundamentalist, or bible pounding puritans — may seem like sacrilege.
For the Native American church in Kentucky, you’ll have contact them to find out exactly what their ceremonies entail.
This is the most unusual US ayahuasca experience to come across Heroic Adventures’ radar, and it happens to be located in the same state as one of North America’s most famous horse races, the Kentucky Derby.
Yes, you read that correctly, Kentucky.
Save the South American journey. Instead, buy your plane ticket to Kentucky.
In all fairness, probably not everyone is as excited about an ayahuasca adventure in Kentucky as they would be taking the sacred medicine, say, with a Shipibo medicine man in South America — but, the novelty of the offer can’t be disputed.
Imagine it, you can fly from New York City down to Kentucky in a weekend. After drinking ayahuasca and having a lifetime’s worth of spiritual bombardment entering your consciousness, you’ll be a new person when you go back to the office in New York on Monday.
It’s time to take a Heroic Adventure not to the Amazon but to Kentucky.
Compare the first photo from the Amazon, below, to the second photo of Kentucky, below, it would appear there is a spiritual connection between the two… Well, at least, they both have a lot of nice green plants.
And, a caveat from a reader:
I’m not one to normally send feedback on posts, but this feels especially warranted. I appreciate you giving information to the public about Ayahuasca ceremonies being held in the U.S. I believe it’s a positive move forward that Americans will have Ayahuasca as a more accessible possibility. However, as someone who has experienced Ayahuasca, I really advise against saying things like “Imagine it, you can fly from New York City down to Kentucky in a weekend. After drinking ayahuasca and having a lifetime’s worth of spiritual bombardment entering your consciousness, you’ll be a new person when you go back to the office in New York on Monday.” That’s a very, very scary thing to advise people to do. When you take the medicine, it stays in your system for a much longer period than the one or two days you’ve actually consumed it. You need to have preparations in place for how you’re going to reintegrate into your daily life after the experience, and making it sound like it’s a “no big deal, let’s go do Ayahuasca this weekend” kind of thing is not only dangerous but it’s furthermore disrespectful toward and completely underestimating the power of the medicine.
I’m not trying to be a heckler, but please understand that this is powerful stuff. For the sake of your readers, I hope you reconsider the phrasing of your post and add in how important it is to seriously consider whether they’re ready to take the medicine, as well as how important it is for them to do their research regarding preparations before and after the experience.
Thanks for your time,
(updated August 26, 2015)
In the Fall of 2015, a website popped up touting the First Ayahuasca Church in the USA that is open for ceremonies to anyone. Now this is a distinct organization front Mr Hupp (in the article above). After this article was published detailing why this church is not legal–it seems the site went offline, maybe it will emerge again–for your own investigations–here is the link: https://ayahuascahealings.com.
And to see the site in it’s original splendor, the Internet Archive has a stash of how the site last looked on November 20th, 2015, available here: Ayahuasca Healing Internet Archive Snapshot
A curious story in the world of spirituality, religious rights, internet marketing, and law.
(updated April 23, 2019)
A light set of poles with a name taken from the look of the poles when they are getting into their folded position.
The quick extendability via push button makes for an impressive action but with this novel touch comes some tradeoffs in functionality.
These Black Diamond Distance Z trekking poles are dependable under extreme weather conditions and for use on rugged terrain. The shafts will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces and will not corrode or chip apart.
Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles are a product that uses high technology and a design that is made appropriate and suitable for the use of any trekker. The poles are structurally sound and are made of carbon; each pole weighs 9 ounces and is 13 inches long when folded.
When extended, each pole reaches 52 inches. The retraction of the poles is dynamic and can be extended by pressing the grip. The lock snaps in place immediately as soon as the desired length is achieved.
The tips are coated with rubber and can be changed depending on the terrain. The Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Poles comes with baskets that can be attached to stop the pole from sinking in snow or mud. The tips are cone-shaped and are faster to extend than poles with flat tips.
The grip is made of mesh and foam that will absorb sweat and is comfortable to the hands. The foam on the grip will make handling more secure. The wrist straps reinforce the hold on the pole, ensuring that the poles are always within reach.
The product is made of carbon and is very dependable on long distance trekking. The product can be used in any kind of weather and can even withstand the extreme temperature in the Swiss Alps.
The structure will not bend or be scraped when hit on hard surfaces. The user is secure and can rely on the product for support. The poles adjust to the size of the user because the poles are readily extendable.
Black Diamond carbon poles have grips made of foam that are soft to hold but keeps the hands from slipping. The product remains stable in the hand when going uphill and is a firm support when going downhill. The wrist straps are made of mesh and keep the poles from slipping from the user’s hand.
Aside from being firm, the pole’s tips grip well on any kind of surface. The poles will hold well on rocks, snow or mud and will keep the user from being knocked off. The retractable poles are easy to maneuver. The product extends and locks with a push from the handle. The cone shaped poles make it easy to glide through the shaft.
The poles’ length is not only usable by tall hikers, but the quick release is dependable for use on challenging terrain. This feature is great especially during emergencies when the user is out of balance and needs instant support.
The poles can be extended to 52 inches and are long enough to build a stable footing for the user at any time that it is needed.
The poles have three shafts that are adjustable. They are connected by rubber tubing that is sturdy. The connectors are a plus because they will not rust or corrode when wet and stop the poles from extending smoothly.
The product is reasonably priced for the quality and the high performance that it delivers. The product can be used in singles or as a pair because the handles are not specifically designed for left or right-hand use.
Because of the rubber connectors, the poles tend to retract under extreme pressure. The connectors do not support the poles well and at intense impact, the poles fold unexpectedly.
The locking mechanism is not tight to give way for easy extending, which makes the product unsafe and can pose a potential danger to the user. The poles frequently unfasten even when used on muddy surfaces. The joints are not strong enough to withstand extreme stress and tend to unlock, according to several users, at times during a hike.
The Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Poles are handy and lightweight. The poles are easy to carry and pack in a bag and will not cause arm or hand strain because of the stable and comfortable rubber grips. The pole length is adjustable.
The cone-shaped shafts make the shafts extend smoothly and without any problems. The wrist straps are good and hold well when the user is sweating. The product will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces. The tips of the poles have good surface traction and slipping is avoided.
However, the product has a weak locking feature. The connectors of the poles give out when extreme pressure is applied. The lock disengages unexpectedly when the poles are used with force.
Foxelli is a company that is famous for manufacturing quality outdoor gear and has produced a trekking pole that is made of ultralight carbon.
Ultralight trekking poles are known for the balance between strength and weight. Finding a reliable set of these poles can be hard when there are so many options on the market, but the Foxelli Trekking Poles is one set that continues to be ranked as one of the best poles.
In today’s review, we’ll break down the various specifications that these trekking poles offer in an attempt to help you understand whether or not these poles are the right choice for your hiking or walking needs.
These trekking poles from Foxelli are an ultralight pole known for their carbon fiber core, all-season terrain pole feet, and high-comfort corks. But are they the right trekking poles for your needs?
These trekking poles are great for nearly any type of hiker. Owed to their ultralight and adjustable design, they can be used by everyone from kids to adults. These poles even work for those who have had previous leg or knee injuries because they offer good balance and support.
However, if you want a set of poles that have shock-absorbing features, this is not the set for you. While these poles help to absorb some shock and impact as any trekking pole would, they do not have a specific bonus feature to aid in this.
This complete trekking pole package comes will all of the following accessories to make using them easy no matter where you will be hiking:
Now that you know what the pole set will come with, let’s talk about the specifics of the poles themselves so that you know what you can use them for and what they are not good for.
Each pole only weighs seven ounces, which is incredibly light. Because of the carbon fiber core, the poles don’t need to weigh very much to be supportive. You’ll find that this light weight makes them easier to carry, use, and maintain over time.
Another thing worth noting is that this is a set of adjustable trekking poles. This means that you can use the easy-flip locks to lock and unlock the poles. When unlocked, it is simple to adjust the height of each section so that you can get the perfect height in place for your trekking experience.
Extending the product is easy because it is released by a single switch. The Foxelli Trekking Poles lengthens fully in one release.
The collapsed length is 55 inches from a folded 24 inches, which makes it fit any suitcase or backpack.
The main grip on this set of poles is an anti-slip cork grip. This cork material is known for being best in hot weather conditions when your hands might be sweaty—the material can be comfortable no matter what. The cork also stays relatively dry even when raining, which is a huge benefit.
One unique feature of this trekking pole is that below the cork grip, there is an extended EVA foam grip. When you are facing terrain changes or touch trails, the foam gives you more support. This is not a feature that you normally find in many poles, so the Foxelli Trekking Poles really stands out in this area.
Finally, many will enjoy the included pole feet. By adjusting which feet you use on the pole, you’ll be able to find a different type of balance and grip depending on the terrain. Many of these baskets and tips are included with the poles, so you can choose whichever you prefer.
The pointed tips come with a detachable rubber boot. The product comes with different types of tips for rugged or muddy terrain that will not slip off. Traction is better with the product because of the pointed tip which can be used without the covering and still remain intact.
The tips are made of tungsten and can pierce through hard soil or snow. Traction is increased when the rubber coverings are used and surface tension is increased.
This product provides good support to the user and lessens the stress on the arms, knees and legs. The user will exert less energy and will finish the hike in a shorter period.
The user can also maneuver quickly and extend the length of the poles with one switch. The cork grips are sweat-absorbent and are supported by a foam grip for a stronger hold when the incline becomes more difficult.
Trekking poles are a great way to make your hike more doable while also preventing your body from being injured or overly fatigued while you are out on your hike. Generally speaking, you should put weight on your poles when descending and use them to help stabilize you on rocky terrain.
This video provides a great overview of how to begin using your first set of trekking poles:
Foxelli trekking poles are a durable and trekker-friendly product that is designed to adapt to the terrain. The material of the poles is pure carbon and ensures the durability and strength of the product when it is used with great stress.
Large-sized hikers can use the product as it can support big weight and the length can be adjusted to fit the user. The product is reliable to catch the balance of the user and will help in relieving pressure on the back, knees and legs.
The tips of the pole are pointed and are made of tungsten. The shape and solid structure of the tip will provide ample support and will pierce through soil or snow.
The baskets that come with the product act as reinforcements so that the poles will not sink into the mud or add traction to the poles as they run on the ground. The tips are also designed to absorb shock and will give the user added comfort.
The grips on the pole are made of cork. The material follows the shape of the user’s hand and will not cause arm or hand strain when the product is used for a long time.
For added support when going uphill and for the user’s added security, a grip made of foam is attached underneath. The wrist handles will ensure that the pole is not dropped and stays within arms’ reach.
The handles are useful to people with knee problems or who are recovering from a muscle injury. The cork grip has more gripping power than foam or rubber.
When the product is used for long distances, the product will not break or corrode. The carbon material makes the product impact resistant and will be able to withstand extreme weather.
Aside from the sturdiness and the secure grip of the pole, the product is covered by a three-year warranty to ensure that the product will last for a long time. The manufacturer guarantees full cash refund or a product exchange in 120 days.
For trekkers who go on light hikes, the product will appear as if it is similar to other poles in the market. The durability of the product will be tested if it is used in extreme conditions and on challenging hikes.
Some people find that they do not like cork grips. If you don’t like that you need to hold these poles lower in order to use the EVA foam grips, the XinZHiYuAy Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles offer a very similar set of features with foam grips instead of cork grips.
If you aren’t ready to invest quite this much into your trekking poles yet, you may be satisfied trying out a basic, aluminum set of trekking poles instead. The Far See Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles is a reliable option at a lower price point. With these, you can decide if trekking poles are right for you or not.
Foxelli Trekking Poles are known as one of the best ultralight trekking poles around, and you can see now that there are many good reasons for that. The product is reliable and durable because it is made of pure carbon.
The product will not break or corrode if it is used in summer or winter. The product can even be submerged in water and will not rust. The carbon material makes the product light and easy to carry.
The handles are firm to hold and will stay secure in the hikers’ grip. The cork material of the handles will absorb sweat and will not be slippery even when used in rainy weather. The product can be easily retracted or released with one switch. Adjustment of the length can be done in a short span of time which will help the user gain balance.
The product performs well in aggressive terrain and is even proven dependable for users who are disabled or injured. These poles are durable, lightweight, and uniquely designed for a great hike no matter what terrain you will be dealing with.
Additionally, they can be adjusted for various heights. What’s not to love about these Foxelli Trekking Poles?
These poles are built to last and come complete with accessories to cater to any kind of hiking at any type of climate. The poles can withstand and will not break in extreme hot or cold weather. The manufacturer offers a one-year limited warranty.
Are these the right trekking poles for you? Read on to discover if a set Hiker Hungers poles fit your trekking style.
These are highly dependable poles and can bring reliable support to users who are hiking on light to advanced terrain. The product offers good support when snowshoeing and will not bury deep into the snow. The length is appropriate for tall or short hikers.
Hiker Hunger poles are made of carbon fiber that makes them lighter than aluminum poles. They weigh only 7.6 ounces per pole and can stretch as long as 54 inches from a 24-inch folded length. The poles are strong and resist shock and the tips are pointed for greater ground impact.
The tips come with interchangeable accessories such as rubber pads, rubber tips and snow baskets.
The grips are made of cork that follows the contour of the palm and fingers and are supported by foam to sustain hold at challenging terrain. The tips are made of tungsten which makes them very solid when hitting tough surfaces and will not chip or corrode.
The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles comes in three layers of metal that can be extended and retracted quickly.
The joints can be locked by an easy switch mechanism. The folded size is compact and travel-friendly because it can easily fit in a backpack.
The light weight of the product makes it easy to transport. If the poles are to be transported alone, they come in a sling bag that makes it easier to carry.
The poles are made of pure carbon which makes the structures sturdy and will not break when hit on hard surfaces.
The carbon material can also resist heavy weather like snow or rain and will not sink into the mud because of the sturdy mud baskets.
The product is easily folded and extended and will easily adapt to the needs of the user. When going uphill, the poles can be extended quickly to support the weight of the hiker. The support is stable even when the path is muddy or slimy because the rubber grip of the tips provides good traction.
The tips of the poles are pointed and can pierce through dirt more efficiently. The poles offer a good balance to the user and will help prevent slipping on loose gravel. The support that they give is tremendous so that even large-sized users can depend on them.
The sturdiness and reliability of the product are highly rated. Users with poor knees and with balance dysfunction can use the product for support when hiking.
The pole can help hikers cover great distance with less effort and in less time. The support is useful when the trek becomes exhausting and going downhill becomes a challenge.
The locks on the product can be easily flipped and switched to fasten. The locks are reliable and will not lose hold even under extreme pressure. The product can be extended or folded quickly.
The hold on the product is firm because of the comfortable cork grip and supported by foam lining underneath. The wrist straps are made of foam and mesh and will not slip from the users’ wrists.
Customer support is efficient and will replace the product or parts right away. The one-year warranty is honored by the manufacturer.
The product can break when subjected to extreme stress. The carbon material has a tendency to malfunction if the stress applied is stronger than what the design can tolerate. The pole is not supposed to be used as a stand for heavy equipment and is not meant to be a lever to lift heavy objects.
Like all poles, the product will break if subjected to extreme pressure. It is not to be used as a construction tool or support for heavy lifting.
The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are reliable and the carbon material makes the pole fit the need for support and balance during a trek. It is portable and very light. The poles can be easily extended or folded because they easily slide through the shaft.
The product is complete with all the necessary accessories to fit any kind of terrain. The grip is firm because of the cork material and there is a foam support underneath it when the added strength is needed.
However, the pole has a capacity only for support for hiking and will break if overwhelming pressure is applied.