Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I bought a new one

Over the weekend I visited several shops and I bought this bike at a drug store across from Carrefoure on DaDwun. Baby store 2900, Carrefoure 2500, Bike shop near my house 3100. I paid 2500 and thought I got a better product. I prefer my old bike, it was dialled in and reliable. This shiny blue one is pretty but the chain came off on the second day. I used the money I saved to buy a few locks.
I need this kind of bike.
I need to be more careful about where I lock up my bike.
Bike thieves suck.
Replacing the stolen bike was a good idea.

For John

sweet dreams fella

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bread posts it (again), it must be true!

Either Bread's long-term memory maxes out at one year, or someone is in denial about MTM.

下 一 項

Official Northern Command Web Site (aka, The Eight Drunken Fairies). Good, cheap bear and good, pricey food. Photos of the facility as well as bilingual menu.

下 一 項

The Council of Agriculture's Easy Agritourism web site lists Taiwan's top 10 tours. The Chinese site is much more extensive, listing contacts, travel packages and more photos, but the English site has some valuable info as well. For example, when you choose a location and click on Travel Tips on the left sidebar you can discover that in Alisan plants can attack. Their bites may be mean, but they won't cause death. Also, you should refrain from being Mister/Miss-too-adventurous into the bush.

Under the Speaking Chinese section you will find useful phrases suited for each location, as seen in the example below. Be careful, though. The lady speaking likes to shout, and I really mean shout, at least one of the words for each phrase.

(The third one sounds interesting.)

最 後

Today, I found out how to say herpes zoster in Chinese. For those interested it's 帶狀皰疹 - dai4 zhuang4 pao4 zhen3 - ㄉㄞˋ ㄓㄨㄤˋ ㄆㄠˋ ㄓㄣˇ

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Interminable Winter

Woke up to two more inches of snow this morning, April 23. We've been above freezing for about five days since November. Global Warming is such BS.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dear Asshole,

Just like to send out a warm "Nihowdy-get-bent,you-fucking-jerk" to the man who stole my bike while I was eating dinner.
It is just not cool. I had so much fun with that bike, should I replace it? Should I tell a cop? Should I flood my neighborhood with M.I.A. posters. ex: Dear Shithead, buy your own bike. I need that one.
It is ironic to have my bike stolen just when I thought of a new use for it.If I had a car I could park anywhere and use the folding bike to taxi,ferry myself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

for John

The King says it, it must be true. This should put an end to your delusions of grandeur regarding Mary Tyler Moore's bosom.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Andrea Bocelli

I thought having already seen Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti with my wife would have earned me enough husband points for life. Honey, I need a week in Vegas with the boys. No, problem. More like, no way. I had to complete the classical music trifecta last night with the Andrea Bocelli concert. Worse yet, was that it was the same day as the Chili Cook Off. She presented me with a fait accompli - tickets purchased without my knowing and then springing the concert on me as I was telling her about the meat I needed from Costco for my chili. Refund them! Can't (though I think she conned me on this one). Scalp them! There are still a few tickets left, can't take the chance. Give them away? They're $2,400NT apiece ($80 US). Ouch. Okay, what time's the concert?

Traffic in Taiwan. Motorists are like spoiled children who have been told once by their parents ( the police ) not to do it and then continue to push the boundaries to see how much they can get away with until mom and dad react. They're still pushing. Generally, they'll do what the other kids are doing until someone starts doing something different and enough people are doing it, making it safe for them to join in.

This night, most motorists were driving in the lanes for cars and not the narrow motorcycle lane on the side. Having policemen standing in the motorcycle lanes and making the cyclists swerve around them probably deterred them. That, or they thought they couldn't get to an ATM quickly enough to pay off the cops after hitting one of the lane-standers. I am sure their tickets were more expensive than ours and they were not going to risk being late. All except one lone taxi.

This little-taxi-who-wouldn't was zipping in and out of the motorcycle lane, looking as if it was trying to score a hit on any type of vehicle. But the cool crowd that night was having none of it. He just couldn't convince anyone else to come and play in the motorcycle lane, so he concentrated only on the motorcycles. He would feint to the inside lane and let a scooter start to accelerate past him in the motorcycle lane and the veer back over to the side, forcing the scooters to suddenly veer away or stop and turn off their cell phone to ask the person on the seat behind them what just happened. When he had eased up beside me in the car lane, he started to try to squeeze me off onto the sidewalk. I maintained 40 kpm and a straight bearing. His rear door finally started pressing against my leg so I took the opportunity to slam my fist into the door and yell a healthy string of constructive criticism at him. To my surprise, another scooterist joined in on my side encouraging him to reflect deeply upon his actions. Usually, messing with taxis is bad. Messing with Taiwanese is bad. I blame it on their math skills. They see 1 to 1 as too simple. They need something more complex, like fractions. So, being their country, they get to choose - denominator or numerator. They inevitably choose the denominator and will visit your house in forms ranging from 1/11 to 1/23 and beat you to a 1/100 of your life.

This time I was fortunate. He had pulled over to the curb and I pulled up beside him. Again, not the recommended move. The car was loaded. But it was loaded with Ma and Pa Chang and four more of their kin. My wife, yes, my wife, started into them before I could. I joined in explaining the obvious violations they committed. It wasn't to them. They gave us a big smile, bigger nonsense and then we scooted away.

From this point, things were different. For a two-block radius around the stadium there existed a traffic paradise. Cars obeyed the signals - and the several hundred cops - respected the pedestrians and followed the rules. It was as if the traffic cop honchos decided to give this enforcement of law thing a shot for once. Unless they conscript half the population into the Traffic Corps, I don't see this being replicated on a larger scale. But finally, we were in.

We had tickets midway down the first base line on the lower level. The stage was in the outfield section, straightaway center. Behind the orchestra and chorus was a big screen. There were two others flanking the stage. A final two more were posted at the 325 mark on the sides. Things seem to be starting on time. This announcement was repeated often. Welcome to the Andrea Bocelli Tenor Concert. Dude, beverage photoGRAPHY and foaming are not allowed. Thank you for your cooperation. I had to listen several times before I discovered that dudes and foaming were okay, but not food or filming. PhotoGRAPHY was a coin toss.

From left field comes a group of about 10 people to applause from about the same number. Woman behind me to her child: That's Ma Ying-Jeou. Ma Ying-Jeou. Do you see Ma Ying-Jeou? Oh, you don't know who he is. Well, I know who he is, but didn't know until today's paper that he was actually there. Whoopee! Celebrity proximity!

Warm up for the orchestra. Wow, this is really running smoothly. Now the conductor, Marcello Rota, enters. Thank goodness for the big screen, because people in the outfield look tiny from the first base line. If he pursed his lips, he could be the Italian Mr. Bean. Looks like they are starting. The program states the first number as one for the chorus. It's got a long Italian name and I'm not going to type it. Anyway, the show is starting. What! What the hell is this? This isn't any classical song from Nabucco! People are confused just like me, and about 10 seconds into the song, it hits everyone at the same time and...we...stand up. This, people, is the national anthem! Last heard by me at a movie theater years ago. No one ever sings this...wait, we are singing it now. Everyone. We finish. There is a lot of happy applause. The mood lifts and brightens noticeably. Well, I'll be.

Rota escorts Bocelli onstage and before we can rev up our anticipation, he begins. Songs are performed, Bocelli is escorted offstage, others - Maria Luigia Borsi, Gianfranco Montresor and Heather Headley - are rotated on and off. There is no time wasted. It is not rushed, but, however, proceeds at a brisk pace and never stagnates. The music. I cannot accurately comment on this type of music. I can say that it all sounded like what I thought it should. Bocelli's voice was sharp, clear and strong. The others as well, though I thought Montresor's baritone, while accurate, just seemed a little muddy compared to the clarity of Bocelli's tenor. The orchestra ( Evergreen Symphony Orchestra ) and chorus (Taipei Philharmonic Chorus ) were both tight and strong. This first half was over and we had a brief intermission which was timed to the second.

I recognized more songs in the second set. I also saw what I believe to be was my first classical music video. During a duet with Ms. Borsi, the screen behind the orchestra was showing Bocelli and another woman, maybe Borsi, in a video for the same song. Bocelli was standing on some red-carpeted stairs in front of a palace, library or someplace with columns and hundreds of marble stairs. There wasn't much to the video. Women would come to him, spin, wave their arms and he would extend a hand, tilt his head and occasionally turn his torso. Not much he could do being blind in the middle of all those stairs. Nonetheless, I'm counting it as a music video.

Equally impressive, to me, was the production quality. For the 15,000 in the stands and probably most of the 1,000 on the field, the screens were absolutely necessary. I have not seen camerawork, fade shots and shot selection this good on any TV show in Taiwan. If the oboe was being featured, the camera was already there with the shot. We got close-ups from different angles of the same person, overhead shots into the tuba, smooth pull-away shot, and great crane shots ( Johnny LaRue 萬 歲 !).

Call it the Italian in them or the KMT in me, but this was a well-run enjoyable event. I apologize for not commenting more on the music, but visit their sites and listen. They all have extremely incredible voices. That I do know. My wife loved it. I did also. I thank Mr. Bocelli for coming to Taichung ( his only other Asian venue is in Seoul) and sharing his music and now making my beard acceptable to my wife.

Men in a River

When I first moved to Taiwan I remember watching on National TV as three men clung to a rock in a rising river while the local government, the army and the hospitals determined whose duty it was to save the men. They eventually drowned as we all sat there captivated and disgusted. Even the helicopter filming never thought to fly down and save the men, apparently that would have been bad TV. Does anybody remember this incident? Can somebody find a Youtube link? I tried, but alas, no luck. I think it was down in Tainan, but I'm not sure. Much appreciate the help.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Northern Command notes last night -

John is eschewing tomorrow's chili cook-off on Soho St in favor of seeing blind tenor Andrea Bocelli in concert at 6 pm. This will be his 3rd tenor concert in Taichung, the first two being Carreras and Pavarotti. Rock on Opera John! Make sure you request Con Te Partiro. It's one of his best. Listen to how the crowd goes nuts for this tune!

If that doesn't get you going, here's a link to the techno version

I saw D-Wayne earlier in the week and he's going to be at the chili cook-off for sure. And just so everyone knows he's gonna get "...fucking hammered!"
Anyone for an over/under on how many of the 9 bands he moons?
Let's set it at 3...

Finally, we voted against any more pics of two faced babies on the blog...

Poor John's been afraid to come here all week.

Oh, and Aaron, can you lend John Civ III? Poor bastard tried to load Civ II the other night but couldn't play because it had no sound....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In search of a new drug

If you haven't heard, Kevlar gave up smoking.

If you ask him about it, all he'll say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time and that now he needs a new drug.

Help Kevlar choose a new drug.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tasteless Post

Following a Fark link to a story about a female teacher who has been caught having sex with a student for the second time (different kid, too) I see this pretty amazing link within the story.

Click here for the photos of female teachers around the country who have been accused of having sex with students!

Yeah, it does need that exclamation point. 65 photos in the gallery!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Got home tonight around 7pm. Stopped to watch the aforementioned/photo'd turkey do an elaborate dance only to be shunned by the five females hanging in the yard. After thirty minutes, he gave up. Doesn't he know persistence pays off (occasionally)?

The coolest part was watching his face turn from red to a cool white and back again. He also kept his feathers up the whole time (no comment necessary) thereby giving me multiple opportunities to film some unsuccessful turkey foreplay. Unfortunately, I still don't own a camera.

Monday, April 14, 2008

One Dollar Koi

Cool Origami
At this web site can be found
in dollars not yen

Olympic protest news you probably already knew

From the Big Lizards blog, a post of a possible Chinese agent provocateur in the Paris incident in which a wheelchair-bound woman, who was carrying the Olympic torch, was pulled from her wheelchair by a Tibetan protester. Japan-based bloggers found a very different, interesting picture of the man who committed the act. Read all to see the Chinese bloggers' reactions.

Note: Link from Big Lizards to Japanese blogs offers one or two extra pictures, but the language is all Japanese.

Friday, April 11, 2008

North Korea Videos

There are about 14 in all. I haven't had a chance to watch them since I am at "work" but I suspect I will enjoy them.

Some people want to climb Everest before they die. I want to visit the last totalitarian communist regime with the added bonus of being Korean - a country that knows how to do chauvinism and xenophobia the right way!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Medical Marvels

I thought the story of the two- faced baby was so interesting I had to post after Red A's report on the lady and the lizard (good name for a short story). While searching for a good photo I came across several other wonderful stories.

Click here if you'd like to learn more about the world's smallest girl. Scroll thru some of the other interesting photos on this link.

Honestly, what about this story? A woman takes hormones to become a man, then gets pregnant?
This is not a hoax, but maybe old news. I just heard it a few weeks ago and you can check out the story here.
More on story here.

Who could resist mini muscleman Romeo Dev?

Finally, check out this couple . In love with strange tastes to say the least.

15 Years in Taiwan

and I still see things that are completely surreal.

Today I was driving to work and I saw a woman walking down the street wearing one of those flower-print face and head coverings that female construction workers sometimes wear here.

So far, so normal.

Then I noticed she had a large lizard perched on the back of her head. The lizard was about the size of an iguana but thinner and its head and body was about 10 cm into the air.

Both parties seemed pretty happy with the arrangement, so it must be a pet lizard, but it still made me do a double take.

I wonder if its some new fad that's just come over from Japan.

Wish I had a photo, but I was driving.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Must Be Nice

Check this out. Two hours for a passport.


Ponce drinking mescal again

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Topless in TO

The Blue Jays wore their old powder blue road uniforms for the home opener against the Bosox last Friday night.

In the 9th some topless chick jumped onto the field with a guy and sprinted into the outfield. He was also topless.

Video here from the 1st base side and here from what looks like the upper deck in right but is the best shot of security tackling the male "streaker".

Olympic Protests

Here you can see the phalanx of Chinese security guarding the Olympic flame.

Miss Huq, one of 80 torchbearers said: "The men in blue perplexed everyone. Nobody seemed to know who they were officially or what their title was. They were very robotic, very full on, and I noticed them having skirmishes with our own police and the Olympic authorities before our leg of the relay, which was confusing.

"They were barking orders at me, like 'Run! Stop!' and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, who are these people?'

"They kept pushing my hand up higher when I was holding the torch, so they were...interesting."

Some guy named Lord Coe called them "thugs" in the article.

Might I suggest if the Chinese must have blue-suited paramilitary guards escorting the Olympic flame, they should have used female air force officers instead of males as the security team. No one minds getting pushed around by a hottie.

Yes, Ma'am, I have been a bad boy and welcome your punishment.

p.s. I can't decide if I support some kind of boycott or just don't care. Any opinions?

This photo finds me and some friends hanging out on my porch drinking martinis. Harry Fritz is a professor emeritus at the U (History) and has written several books on Montana history. Helia is an immigrant, US citizen, and only Persian chick in Missoula.

Harry knew how to call turkeys, and thus the male gobbler in the center of the photo is fanning (for Harry, not the hen). Click on the photo and you'll notice the turkey's head has changed to red, indicating the beginning of the mating season (normally their heads are blue).

Senator, Congressmen Please Heed the Call

Obama was in Missoula on Saturday. We were about 15 ft. away and were able to shake hands following the speech (notice how I framed him and the Montana flag together with my great photography skills). Love him or hate him, the man can speak. He had 8,000 of us eating out of the palm of his hand for the better part of an hour. Almost makes you believe in America again, especially when he discusses the chances of a black man with big ears running for president in Montana being not so high. Sadly, his race was noted at various events, as our resident White Supremists picketed the event in Butte and wrote graffiti on the local law offices of the Obama campaign.

Montana holds its Democratic primary on the June 3rd, the last in the nation along with South Dakota, meaning candidates (and spouses) are actually campaigning here. This week we saw Hillary, Bill, and Barack visit our fair state. No word on when Gravel is coming.

The Tonka IX issue, vol 8

Thai Tonka , building a better lady boyhood:)

Would u believe?

W U X W u x i

Did You Know?

  • Over 19,454 passengers can travel out of WUX every week.
  • The longest flight from WUX is 1,160 miles.
  • There are 15 nonstop flights per week departing from WUX.
  • There are over 14 international flights per week from WUX.
6 carriers servin this location each week.
1 of them is CUA (China United Airlines).
I wounder if they r a member of Star Alliance?


W u x i

Next stop..... W U X A P

forty four


45 minutes outside Shanghai


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Let's take a little walk...

I know Bread's been to Spain....did you walk this path?

The wikipedia entry for this walkway is interesting as well.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tibet WAS,IS,and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China

Supposedly, it was this video that lead to the establishing of the anti-cnn web site by Chinese dissatisfied with CNN's and other western media outlets' coverage of the current events in Tibet. The web site sucks. Not because of the content, but because of the quality - and the use of simplified characters. Especially that. The use of simplified characters is right there with A-1 on you steak in terms of dumbness.

I only watched the first video which purported to show the anti-Chinese slant used by the media when editing. The last part of the video features an Indian TV interview with a Tibetan(?) woman. The English and Chinese subtitles match. However the women's spoken words do not match the Chinese subtitles. My problem is that her mouth doesn't seem to match the words she is supposed to be saying. It very possibly could be the video quality. She, whoever she is, also seems to have a stronger northern retroflex than what I remember hearing from those speaking Mandarin in Guangdong. Yes, I know the two are distant. Maybe others could help out in pinning her accent down, again, if that is her actually speaking in the first place.

But now on to the video. I watched and learned several important things. First, they use they same National Geographic map of the peoples of China that I had in high school. Can they tell me where I can get another? Secondly, whenever they get around to updating this video's title to include Taiwan, they need to change their maps. Not one of the three (well, the first two are a little difficult to make out, but the Ching Dynasty map is very clear) show Taiwan as being part of China. Thirdly, Europe is going to be very crowded. Fourthly, we must deal with a lot of things. One of them being (Fact 1 ), Tibet was,is and always be part of China because there are 56 ethnic groups in China.

Next is , well I sorta got lost thinking about my map. Watch it all. Lots of pretty pictures, except when talking about the Dalai Lama's Tibet.