Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I wish it were a mystery

From the grocery store around the corner:

Would Magic Molly eat it?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mystery Meat

Found at the Kaohsiung Lantern Festival on February 13:

Seriously, what are these?  They're too small to be chickens, but would Taiwanese people really eat roasted pigeons?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recommended Reading

10-word summary of this article from the LA Times:

Methane bubbles under the melting Arctic might bring our demise.


When I left Taiwan on January 20, it was still chilly enough to wear a jacket.  One month later, I'm wearing shorts and sweating through my shirt at work.  And it's only March.

Tomorrow's forecast: 31 degrees celcius (that's 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit for the philistines who won't do metric.)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Puppy Love

What happens when you try to take a webcam photo with a dog around.

Friday, February 20, 2009


This is not my crotch. It is Gao Xiao Gao's crotch--she sings for an indie rock band in Taipei called The White Eyes.

The White Eyes played a show last night at a place called the Underworld near Taipei Normal University*. I won't pretend I know how to write about music or concerts, but the energy level at the show seemed comparable to the other two shows I've seen in recent memory (Dengue Fever in July and the What Cheer? Brigade sometime last spring). All 40 of us who crowded into the smoky lair of Underworld bobbed our heads at the very least, and most people danced. I felt like I was 16 again, lying to my parents about "sleepovers" so I could catch punk shows on campus or begging one of my acquaintances who house-sat for Karen O., the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to steal her underwear when no one was looking.

I'd been whining about not being able to see live music more since I arrived on this island, and I'm glad that a) I finally saw a show and b) it didn't suck. Hopefully more is yet to come!

*Note on culture: In spite of the East Asia's affinity for conformity, the term "Normal Universities" is not meant to distinguish Normal Universities from "weird" universities. "Normal University" is actually an old-fashioned term for teacher's college.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Count Your Blessings

It's already Tuesday, but I've still got a "case of the Mondays." I guess it's kind of like a hangover without the liver damage. After my month -long winter break during which I promised myself to make the most of this final semester in Taiwan, I find myself sliding back into my old habits and attitudes; it seems that the good will and positive thinking built up over a month of seeing old friends, travel and meditation depletes itself pretty quickly.

I know that giving thanks is usually an activity reserved for Thanksgiving, but it seems like an appropriate time to take stock of the little things that bring me joy out here.

1. The Internet: thank you for bringing me Skype, GChat, the online graduate school application and The New Yorker.

2. My roommates: Good company goes a long way, and luckily for me, good company is never far away.

3. Emails from Paul: "so i spent valentines day [at my sister's college] with my mom; it was nice to know you are never too gay to be oedipal."

4. Employment: the only thing worse than being employed is being unemployed. Truth.

5. Coworkers who send me photos like this:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be Mine

Taiwanese people celebrate not one, not two, but three Valentine's days--the Taiwanese one in August, the American one in February and the Japanese one on March 14, which is really like Valentine's Day part II.

Having surpassed the two-year mark in singledom, the holiday no longer registers in my brain. When I remember to think about it, it's mostly with indifference--I like couples and have nothing against love or the expression of love. At the same time, it amuses me that greeting card companies have convinced people spend lots of time, energy and money on a holiday that commemorates the death of a martyr who was stoned, clubbed, then beheaded. All in the name of love! But I digress...

As it turns out, I should probably be more sensitive or aware of holidays that might mean something to someone, especially when a whole island of those someones have so much love to give that its expression overflows into three, non-consecutive days each year. I absentmindedly scheduled three interviews with local Brown applicants at the Starbucks around the corner from my apartment today. When I arrived, there was a line stretching out the door. Must be the Saturday afternoon crowd, I thought. After reaching the front of the line and ordering a drink, the barista asked if I wanted two. "Two?" I asked. "Why would I need two hot chocolates?"

"It's buy one, get one free!" she exclaimed. I briefly considered--after all, why get one when you can get two? Then I looked around. The closet-sized lobby was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with caffeine-deprived-but-giddy couples. I was the only one alone.

"Oh, it's Valentine's Day! I just need one, thanks," I replied. Her smile softened into a countenance of deep, profound pity. I almost changed my drink order just so her face would re-inflate to its former perkiness.

But, beLOVED reader, spreading misery makes no one happy, so I'll end this post with the wise words and clever crafts of Ms. Alexandra Kleeman:

"...given a choice, it is usually better to be enthusiastic about something than unenthusiastic."

and so I SHOUT (emphatically, of course)

image stolen from