Friday, February 29, 2008

Dino's Road Trip

Saturday Taiwan Brewery.
Possible 2 to 6pm afternoon.
Debut of three new micro brews.
Could be one hell of a debriefing.

S h a n g h a i

The Bund........


The Tonka VII issue, vol 6


Tuggin ur way 2 a better boyhood...


Friday, February 22, 2008

We're being nice for a day

Do this. Find one or more actual policy statement for each of the presidential candidates that you agree with. Let's omit the wiseassing this one time. Also, no slogans or aspirations. See if you can do it. I took mine from the candidates' own web sites.

Hillary - Eliminate No Child Left Behind

Obama - Cut pork barrel spending. He starts with a concrete proposal and then gets a little vague: Obama will slash earmarks to no greater than year 2001 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public. His actual record is not bad. Most or all of his earmarks were for non-profit organizations. Hillary clobbered him with her earmarks. McCain had zero.

McCain - Cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. Not low enough for my tastes, but a step in the right direction. Ireland, anybody? 12.5%. Also, Taiwan's cabinet has just announced its plans to lower their rate from 25% to 17.5%, making it the second-lowest in the world.

Update - Thanks Red A. 17.5% is not the second lowest rate anymore.

Lantern Festival

The Rat is back.
The fireworks were terrific. I have never seen amazing horizontal fireworks. I took three pictures. Everyone and his dog had a camera running around. Most of these people seem to be taking video with their digital camera, so I guess you could look on youtube. I went to the weshin amphitheatre park. I didn't seen many lanterns. Apparently the show is at Taichung park.
I don't think I have ever been in such a large park with hordes of people. It was a family event but it was overrun by teenagers and Mickey Mouse lanterns.
I plan to go again some quieter night.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two Strange Things at Costco Today

1. New Balance running shoes Made in the USA...on sale in Taichung, Taiwan, shoe manufacturing capital of the world. How the hell any shoe factory remains in the USA is beyond me. I'd almost be scared to buy the shoe. It's like the French whiskey that was making the rounds at Chinese weddings for a while. (A word of advice, don't drink French whiskey.)

2. Some foreigner with a long pony tail wearing a beret. Maybe he's a wannabe Che kind of guy, but he was not wearing it at a rakish angle, but straight on, so he looked completely foolish. I mean, berets are supposed to be at an angle, right? Google seems to confirm this. Three pages of images and no one is wearing it completely horizontal.

Bonus Factoid: When I lived in Indonesia they sold a very cheap vodka called Mansion House vodka. List of ingredients was: Alcohol, water, vodka concentrate.


After two months of severe pain (and moderate pain since last March), I have given in. This Friday I will be having back surgery. I have tried Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Steroids, Epidural Steroid injections, Physical Therapy, Walking laps in a pool, all to no avail. So now I go under the knife to remove the disc at L5S1 from my sciatic nerve sheath and release the pressure which has been causing the inflammation which has kept me more or less bed ridden since Christmas. Read all about the procedure here and think of me at the Friday night poker game. I will be under the knife at 10AM, which translates to midnight on the Rock.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


As most readers know, I'm not much of a photo guy -- I haven't owned a camera since I lost my Kodak Disc (6th Grade?). However, when I was reading a story about the frontier town of Ade, Chad some regret took hold. I spent four days there camped on the Sudanese border waiting to get across back in 2003. Now all the people I met there are living a much different hell than I can imagine. I wish I had some photos of their faces from the days of relative tranquility. More importantly, I wish we'd give some of the $9 billion we spend monthly in Iraq to them.

I specifically remember an elderly lady whose sole occupation in Ade was to sell the equivalent of Soul Glow to a people who keep their hair short. She must have won the lottery on this gel; she had boxes of it, all the same brand. Her store sold nothing else, and to be honest I don't know how she got by just selling that. But she was nice and we shared beans and smiled at each other. Where is she now? Where is my photo of her?

Olympic Baseball Qualifying Tournament in Taiwan

Here is the schedule for the tournament. Games will be played in Taichung at the Intercontinental stadium and in Dou Liou (斗六) at the 朱丹灣 stadium. Yes, that Dou Liou in Yunlin county, south of Changhua county. The city web site lists the population at 103,00 and is known to me as the place I never thought about visiting. If you would like to attend the games, they do have a nice stadium. My co-worker told me that was why Dou Liou was chosen. It seats 15,000 and looks nice, clean and modern. Here is the web site with pictures, address and stats (Chinese only).

Tickets - I have found two ways to purchase tickets. Well, I found my friendly, reliable co-worker Johnny and had him find it. Nevertheless, you can purchase online at this site. It lists all the games and lets you start ordering your tickets with a click. It is in Chinese only. Be sure to read it carefully. Johnny tells me the site says that after you order you must wait 2 to 3 days for their confirmation.

The other way is to go to 7-11 and use the ibon machine. This is a new machine only at 7-11 that allows you to print, download pics, ringtones and other things, scan, pay bills and fines, reserve tickets for sports, travel and concerts and buy basic car and motorcycle insurance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kosovo's Flag

Looks like someone ripped a hole in it. I have to say Taiwan's shape is far more aesthetically pleasing than Kosovo's. Maybe Kosovo should consider some cosmetic border surgery to look better? You know, cut some flab from the sides and add a bit of Serbia on top?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some Place in China

It looks very beautiful.

Of course, the "five color pond" is created by different electroplating effluent being released.

or not.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kim Jong Il Is Born

For Red A

I have conflicting dates on when this PSA originally aired, but it was in '69 or the early '70s. I was just a very young boy, about 6 or 7, when I saw it and it only took me a couple of viewings to learn the words and start singing along - not that I had any idea what I was singing about.

I only knew that I wanted some. After all, it was for everybody, and all the people looked so happy having it. Don't hog it all for yourselves. I don't know how or when I found out the true meaning of the ad, but it's stayed with me for almost 40 years. Neither do I know why I got to thinking about it again recently. Maybe it was Valentine's Day or maybe it was talking to some coworkers about their New Year's vacation to the Philippines.

Regardless, watch, sing along and substitute any of your favorite afflictions for theirs. What is the role of the young girl and the children in this ad? Brought to you by the Ad Council.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I just received a complaint

Dear Nihowdy,

Why hasn't anyone on your blog posted something about the Edison Chen sex photo scandal?


Your readers


Dear Readers,

Thank you for your constructive criticism of Nihowdy's coverage of the Edison Chen sex photo scandal. Please find our replies below:

J-Hole: It was a bad day in the lunar calendar to have sexual relations, therefore I had to avoid the sex photos.

Kevlar: I was going to blog about those sex photos, but unfortunately my keyboard suffered some damage from repeated contact with sticky liquids.

P.I.M.P.: Sorry, its still snowing in Nunavut, so we can't access the smoke signal internet service.

Frenchie: Between pulling a double shift at the plant and mourning the Pats loss, I have no time to google for Edison Chen pics.

Bread: I am afraid of the lawsuits that would be forthcoming.

Esquire Willy: I only do airports and heavy machinery. Low and slow.

D-wayne: Northern Command. 4:20

Rye: Who cares about Hong Kong celebrity bullshit anyways. Wait, are the chicks hot?

Red-A: The wife just told me to download the pics and I have to figure out if any of them would be considered offensive by J-Hole's mom or AJ.

Hannibal: Do you know they have excellent microbrew in Colorado?

Wok 'n Roll

Wait for the singing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday J-Hole

Insert suggestions for Valentine's Day gifts HERE...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A horoscope that tells it like it is

So. How was your Saturday on December 22?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Unleashing The Tech

New game due out on Xbox, PlayStation and maybe other platforms this summer. Haven't gamed in years but looks good. Geek Boys - Karl, AJ - give a look and your opinion.

Here's a link to the official site with trailer.

Vanity Fair's tech review, yes Vanity Fair, reports this nice bit of info - In a particularly inspired casting choice, Matt Sloan, who is the voice of Darth Vader’s heavy-breathing, black-helmeted supermarket-manager brother in the popular YouTube parody Chad Vader, lends his pipes to the real deal.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chinese New Year

Today's Itinerary

5:00 a.m. Tian Shang Sheng Mu Temple (Taoist temple)
5:45 a.m. Tsai Shen Temple (God of Money)
6:30 a.m. Tu Di Gong Temple (Land God)

Hey, but we beat all the traffic.

Happy Chinese New Year

Well, it's Day 1 of the New Year and I'm already breaking about 50% of the taboos for the New Year holiday according to The China Post's Must-Know List of Taboos for Chinese New Year.

New Year's Eve - I took their warning that everything must be cleaned by this day (including the eldery), especially when coupled with their first item that All brooms, brushes, dusters and dustpans must be put away to mean that no cleaning should be done on this day. I argued with my wife fervently, even showing her the article and quoting from it. She then doomed us by crumpling up the newspaper and throwing it outside on the porch - Trash is treated like treasure, and horded; it should not be taken out of the house. And then we cleaned.

Day 1 - It's early and I've already washed my hair. Looks like I'm in for (another) bad hair year. But on the plus side, I don't see myself killing any animals, giving away meat or eating gruel. No. The last two are pretty much a lock.

If you are not able to purchase or set off fireworks where you live, do what the Taiwanese government encourages you to do: Play their audio file of firecrackers popping. That's right. Firecrackers are dangerous, loud and they create a lot of trash. Play this file and they're only loud - if you have good speakers. The page is only in Chinese. If you must hear this, click on the above link and look for the blue box in the middle-left of the page. Next to it you will see two files with some Chinese characters. Number 1 is 35 minutes of continuous firecracker popping, accompanied with festive music. Number 2 is the same, without the music. 35 minutes of firecrackers. No bottle rockets, roman candles, twisters, or ufos. 35 minutes of listening to smoke bombs would be better.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Joys of Winter

For many Canadians, winter is considered a dismal time of year. Days in and out of slushy weather, grey skies and temperatures so cold your nostrils will freeze together when you breath in. For some they call it the winter blues.
For me, I have learned to appreciate this kind of weather….for the time being. Today in Kitchener it’s been snowing like mad. I think the forecast has predicted 25cm of snow or more. I’m not sure how much it’s actually come down but I’m sure it’s reaching that mark. Big fluffy flakes of snow in slow motion, picturesque tree lines dabbled with streaks of white and cars driving at a snails pace. I was out shovelling my mother’s drive and while looking around it dawned on me. For the average working class citizen winter brings the blues (if you aren’t into your winter sports) however, for the average retiree winter is heaven.
Take my mother’s mate as an example. He’s retired and doesn’t have much to do. Of course my mother carefully prepares a list of things for him to do before she leaves for work. But as any man might confirm after a while they become tiresome. Unload the dishwasher, hang the shelves, clean out the basement, take out the garbage. The list is probably growing repetitive and tiring. But a predicted big dump of snow will light up Ken’s eyes. “It’s gonna be a big snow tomorrow boy” he’d say repetitively throughout the evening. “Have you seen the weather forecast? At least two feet!” and he’d wander around the house like a small kid waiting for Christmas morning.
The following morning I’d hear “I told you so! Look at it!” taking credit as if he were Nostradamus. Anyways, getting back to my point, I get home from work and start shovelling the little snow left around the cars on the drive and I see Ken all the way down the street with his snow blower. He’s done the sidewalk on either side of the street and is continuing to blow out our neighbour’s drive five houses down. LOVING IT!
The next thing you know our other neighbour gets home from work. I hear the deep purr of his ATV 4X4 and he comes ripping out of his driveway looking to plow away the scraps Ken has left over. He plows down the street towards Ken and I see them talking. This is what I believe they are saying.
K: Look at all this snow! Can you believe it?
N: It would have to happen on a Friday eh?
K: No shit, I’ve been out here all day! Got your drive plowed out just in time!
N: I tried to get home as soon as I could.
K: I knew it was gonna snow like hell eh? You remember last winter? I haven't seen snow like this since then.
N: I know! There was this one time it snowed so much…….
My neighbour sees and area across the street not quite fully plowed, roars away in his ATV and cleans it up as fast as he can. A frown comes over Ken’s face as if he hadn’t done a good enough job and motors his blower back to the house. I continue shovelling the little scraps of snow around the house thinking…..I can’t wait to get me one of them toys and I wonder who will wake up first.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A good screen grab of one of my favorite pieces of art, Grote Tandaanval, by Joop Westen Weide.