Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Watching this video, you will wonder, briefly, if Chris Dane Owens “means it.” This is an ungenerous thought—dismiss it. You may also wonder why “Shine On Me” is modelled on early ABC and Spandau Ballet and padded out with an unnecessary layer of loud guitars. Irrelevant. What you need to know is that Mr. Owens will live forever—until the dragons rule the earth again (or the first time, whatever)—and that you are going to watch this video more times than you can imagine. You may dream of this video, but the dream won’t be as good because it won’t be this video.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I just reread an email from a professor describing the huge pile of snow most of you can probably see from your window. Now I feel a little sad. Talking to Taiwanese people about snow seems pointless-most of them haven't experienced it and waste their puffy down jackets on 60 degree weather. It seems fitting that the version of "White Christmas" we play over the loudspeakers every morning replaces all the words with animal noises.
That being said, the upside to missing friends and family is that at least there are friends and family to miss. Merry Christmas to all of you! Have a happy new year!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Shouldn't they have drills for these things?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
1. Direct daily flights between Mainland China and Taiwan began on Monday! (Take that, Chen Shui-bian, you old bastard!)
2. "Man Who Snatched Wig Will Have Toupee" (!!) Thanks to my roommate Katie for finding this one.
**BONUS ARTICLE: Did you know that adultery is illegal in South Korea?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
But for everyone else who requires a holiday gift of some sort, Roy Blount Jr., president of the Author's Guild, has a suggestion:
I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.
We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!
There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."
Enjoy the holidays.
Roy Blount Jr.
The Guild's staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We're spelling BOOKS!
Stolen from James Fallows's blog. Now pick up your wallets and go!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I was born with beautiful teeth. They're white and they're straight without the help of braces. My dental hygiene regimen borders on neurotic--I floss daily, brush twice a day, use listerine every night, and even wear a nightguard to protect them against nighttime grinding.
The only flaw: they're deeply grooved and therefore prone to cavities. According to my dentist, it's not my fault--the bristles of my toothbrush simply can't fit in these narrow valleys.
Today I went to the dentist for the first time in Taiwan. Apparently I have not one, not two, not three, but SIX CAVITIES! SIX! They're small, and apparently "not [my] fault" but still, six!
At least dental care is covered by our nationalized healthcare. My co-payment today was 100 NTD, or roughly $3 USD. Which is good because they only filled half of the cavities today.
3 down, 3 to go....
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The official Cape No. 7 Post commemorating the official Cape No. 7 Tour is currently in progress. The event was so monumentally Taiwanese that I'll need a few more days to really capture it in words.
Until then, it's worth mentioning that the children who came along made the trip undeniably awesome. Check out this video. Check out those elephant pants!
On a related note, I'd like to point out that if I were a 10 year-old girl, I would totally have a crush on Roy, the oldest son of my school's Dean of Student Affairs (pictured below on the left). He has Gap model good looks and is well dressed to boot (thanks to his mother). He thinks metal is sweet and easy listening is boring. When he throws rocks into the ocean, they go really far. He's nice to his little brother. His handwriting is especially tidy. A veritable dreamboat for Taiwanese elementary school girls.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Didn't see that one coming...
The drugs are being crushed and then smoked
Anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV/Aids are being bought and smoked by teenagers in South Africa to get high.
Reports suggest that the drugs are being sold by patients and even healthcare staff for money.
Schoolchildren have been spotted smoking the drugs, which are ground into powder and sometimes mixed with painkillers or marijuana.Aids patients themselves have been found smoking the drugs instead of taking them as prescribed.
When I return to the US, my suitcase will be full of poached stuffed animalz.
Photos to come. That's a guarantee!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Jesse Ventura + Adolf Hitler
"Pump Up The Volume" from Jock Jams would make like an appropriate soundtrack choice.
My first trip to a hot spring (in Pingdong County, that's the southernmost part of Taiwan, folks) involved dipping my feet into a pool of goldfish and letting them nibble the dead skin off my feet. Being eaten alive by worms would probably produce the same tickling sensation. The man sitting next to me attracted no goldfish, while a great cloud of orange fins grew at my feet. Is there something wrong with me?
Hot springs are one of those things that you're supposed to love about Taiwan, but I think I'll pass in the future. I'm not sure how I imagined it would be, but it closely resembled a swimming pool minus the chlorine smell which would have assured me of its sanitariness.
On a related note, I also was not crazy about the:
-slimy tiles lining the inside of the pool (related to the sanitation issue)
-required swim cap rule (though I should probably appreciate this)
Friday, December 5, 2008
In the airport terminal, you're neither here nor there, held in some in-between land designed to disorient. Osaka, Japan's Kansai International Airport feels like a space station. All things within its curved ceilings come perfectly illuminated and uniformly cast in colored plastic.
The facility also contains many mini things like tiny hand dryers (for this small-handed nation) and astronaut-appropriate food sources.
On the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, I stopped in the Detroit International Airport, where I have spent every Sunday after Thanksgiving for the past four years. The experience never changes from year to year--the same trilingual announcements (English, Japanese, Chinese), the same lazy people taking the tram to their departure gates, the same IN-HOUSE TIME WARP!
Except this year, my layover lasted for 3.5 hours, giving me enough time to walk past all 128 gates twice and buy $30 worth of American magazines, which seems extremely decadent when you realize that's about 1000 NTD. Esquire Magazine, I hope you're worth it.