Friday, February 27, 2009

S i n g a p o r e

1 of 3 Sovereign City-States

Knight's Cross with diamonds and swords

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It bit bird Brit

Pausing from reading a wiki article on Chinese, European race riots in Aussie. To find this word. gaoled

Here is the link to meriam webster

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hot Chocolate

I don't follow Taiwan news very much, so I was very interested to learn in today's Taipei Times that President Ma may have had a homosexual relationship with Chocolate, a black choreographer who was a quasi-celebrity in Taiwan a few years ago.

Yeah, its Chen Shui-Bian claiming this, so its most likely bullshit, but it was really fun to read this line in the TT...

'Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) yesterday dismissed Chen’s allegation that Ma and Mack had had intimate relations.

“Mr Ma is very masculine. It is impossible for him to have had an affair with this guy nicknamed ‘Chocolate,’” Chang said.
President Obama should be on high alert if Ma ever suggests they have a private meeting. 


Takes all kinds...........

I know nothing!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Now this is just funny

Click on the link to hear Obama talking jive. I especially like the last one.

My Tea Lesson

Tea is probably my most consumed beverage. Well, at least a very close second, then. That will change when I go home for vacation in summer and have an ample stock of Dr. Pepper and am without the convenient selection of Taiwan teas.

I prefer the traditional way of brewing - 老 人 茶 (Old Man Tea) or 功 夫 泡 (I'm translating this as Kung Fu Brew ). This involves a tea pot, decanter, drinking and smelling cups as well as tea tools. The common tea house (茶 藝 館 ) tea method in Taiwan is not as rigid as in Japan, but does have procedures to ensure that if you follow them, you can blame the tea and not yourself.

On Thursday, my Chinese class was moved from our regular bubble-tea house meeting place (bubble tea is flavored, shaken tea very popular in Taiwan) to a traditional tea house at my suggestion. In the past I would visit this style of tea house once every one or two weeks. It has a much more relaxing atmosphere, is very pleasant and amenable to studying or reading. Following are the steps to brewing a proper pot of Taiwan tea as taught to me by my Chinese teacher, David Huang. David chose Jin Hsuan Tea ( 金宣茶 - ㄐㄧㄣ ㄒㄩㄢ ㄔㄚˊ - jin1 xuan1 cha2 ), a tea that has a very subtle milk aroma. If the milk aroma is noticeable, additives have probably been used.

  • Water temperature is important. Tea houses supply large water pots for your use. David, the tea house menu and others I have spoken to agree that 80 degrees Celsius and below is the correct brewing temperature.

  • Fill the tea pot with the hot water and pour it into the other vessels. This is done for two reasons. One is to clean them of any dust and the other is to bring them closer to the temperature of the tea to be brewed. Pour back and forth among the vessels and then discard into the tea tray.

  • Fill the tea pot 1/4 to 1/3 full with tea leaves and add water. Swirl around and discard. This, again, is to wash the leaves.

  • Now we are ready for the first brew ( 第一泡). Add water and let steep. Steeping times vary according to who is talking. I've heard anywhere from 15-20 seconds to 1 minute. For the first brew, 1 minute sounds a little long for me. Brewing times will become longer each time water is added to the same leaves. We started with 20 seconds and it was fine.

  • Pour tea from pot into serving pot. The serving pot has a fine strainer to catch any small particles.

  • On the first brew with a new batch of leaves, be sure to take advantage of all that the tea has to offer. You will have two cups: one is shorter and rounder and the other is taller and narrower. The tall, narrow cup is the smelling cup (聞 香 杯 - wen2 xiang1 bei1 ).

  • From the serving pot, fill the smelling cup with tea and cover with the shorter drinking cup.

  • Let sit for a few seconds and then invert the cups onto the saucer with the drinking cup now on the bottom.

  • Slowly remove the smelling cup and breathe in deeply the tea's aroma. It is common to roll the smelling cup between your hands to warm them on colder days.

  • Drink, order tea snacks and enjoy. When the leaves have unfurled completely, dump them and put in new leaves. You can do this for hours, for a little really does go a long way.

Here is a link about Taiwan teas that offers insight into the different types of Oolong tea in Taiwan and how they are made.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taichung Anthropology Field Research

Class, this is your assignment.

Visit a location titled "ORGASMO Cafe" at the corner of Chung Gang Rd. and Dong Hsin Rd. (It might still be Han Ko Rd., but I think its not.

Investigate and report what sort of products, services, and clientele visit this establishment.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

D o n g g u a n

Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival


Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wanted Wiener

Oh, I wish I were an ......



Just for fun.

L u g a n g

CNY w/th family.......

Momma bear.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Long Horns Go Go Go!

This is your year Long Horns!

Lantern Festival pumped up!

Sin non Bull Lanterns are everywhere. Big year for Taichung baseball.

This year the festival is in the updated,re-renovated Taichung Amphitheatre Park. Best festival I have seen since the year of the goat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

B a l i

Layin sum pipe on Kuda beach.....

Pappa bear?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sitting at Southern Command for an afternoon beer with D-Wayne ( out on limited parole ), waiting to glean the latest from Taiwan's finest English language news sources, I had a serendipitous occurrence. The public pay phone had been taken away due to lack of use. A telecom serviceman came to remove the base plate, wires and blue and white sign from S.C. I asked if he could give me the sign and he said that he could, but first he would replace the light bulb inside. Now I have a fully functioning public telephone sign (It lights up!). Now, where to place it?

The first item that caught my attention was that the South China Morning Post was planning to publish in Taiwan. Well, I thought, not bad. Since 7-11 stopped carrying The Taiwan News I have been bereft of a decent crossword puzzle as well as any editorial that does not come from The Guardian or KMT central. However, they plan to start online and then possibly move to a print medium and articles will be mainly in Chinese. Still okay from my perspective, but I went online to see the type of content offered by the SCMP. The opinion stories went like this: Twelve-step programme for those addicted to greed; We must have crowds to cheer on marathon and Green economics. You can get about two sentences for free, after that, buy a subscription.

Well, I must say, I can get enough of that for free. Just yesterday, the Taipei Times opinion page again addressed the pressing matters of the day with Luminaries on the red carpet are going green. I learned...

  • A "dapper rapper" called Andre 3000 (beat box? software upgrade?) states he/she/it would spend his/her/its last day on Earth eating "a great meal - some broccoli probably, because I'm a vegetarian."
  • Taiwanese celebrity ( basically, anyone with a microphone or anyone photographed without underpants ) Barbie Hsu, or Big S, informs us that "I first went vegetarian when I realized I wouldn't eat my dog." Barbie, let me help.
  1. Think about having sex with Carrot Top.
  2. Drink a Coors Light.
  3. Read the MC Hammer story
  4. Congratulations! You have just rid yourself of all earthly desires and have been fast tracked to instant Nirvana!
  • If you are a vegetarian, vegan rocker Morrissey quipped, you can look incredibly healthy, and if you eat animals, you can look as if you were dying.
  1. Rocker?
  2. Vegan rocker?
  3. Ted Nugent
  • Lastly, the sports section reminded me that Taiwan still has professional basketball, of a sorts. If you want to keep up with the other guy who cares about this, here are the teams. The first name is a translation of the Chinese. The second is their English name, according to their website and/or newspapers.
  1. Taiwan Beer / Taiwan Beer or Beermen
  2. Taiwan Leopards / Mobile Leopards
  3. Yulon Dinosaurs / Yulon Luxgens (a car made by Yulon) or the Dinosaurs
  4. Bank of Taiwan / Bank of Taiwan
  5. Dacin Engineers / Dacin Tigers
  6. Pu-Yuan Architects / Pu-Yuan
  7. Kinmen Distillery / Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor

Sunday, February 08, 2009

That's My Boy!

Ass Crack Bandit & Son Strike Again!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Candid Camera

Al Capone, Taiwan Style

Traffic Cam

I spent some of my holidays running around Kenting and Alishan. I am not driving a corvette but I struggle with speed and downhill stretches of dry pavement. I saw a lot of signs telling me about the cameras, and the speed limit. Alishan speed limit is between 30 and 25 kmph, and impossible task with the turns and tailgators (tailgating?).

Has anyone else noticed this type of camera? It has that single purpose day and night, bird house style.

Friday, February 06, 2009

An Open Letter...

to the sneaky bastard that videotaped me dropping a cigarette butt on the ground while riding my scooter, and taking said video to the cops, who then sent the notice to my house (including stills of the video), costing me 1600 NT and untold grief from my wife.


I hope you enjoy the cup of coffee that is your reward.

Taichung voucher drawing

Like most other cities in Taiwan, Taichung is holding a drawing to encourage people to spend their vouchers in their area. If you qualified for the vouchers you can enter the drawing. Here is what's what with that.

  • First, you need to spend at least $3,000 worth of your vouchers ( it doesn't have to be at one place at one time ) and save the receipts.
  • Check your receipts. The ones printed by the cash registers should have the correct info without anything needed to be added. They will have the voucher characters on them (消費券).
  • Some printed by the cash registers will not have this. Have the clerk write them along with the voucher number(s). A store chop might also be necessary.
  • Hand written receipts need the store's official chop, the uniform invoice number of store, store name and address.
  • Attach receipt(s) to entry form and mail in or drop off at almost any store in town - convenience stores, Costco, Carrefour...

There are 3 major prizes.

Third prize is for 5 plane tickets to Hangzhou and has already passed.

Second prize is 3 Hyundai cars. The dates for the drawings are 2/15, 3/01 and 3/15. Make sure you have dropped off your entry the day before the drawing.

First prize is an apartment on Wen Hsin South Rd. It's about 50 ping and valued at around $13 million NT. Be careful. The entry form states that the drawing goes until 3/29. However, this is not accurate. On 3/22, the government will draw the names of 10 lucky souls who then have to wait until 3/29 when the gov holds the final drawing for the lone winner. So 9 people get the opportunity to sweat it out for a week before being disappointed. So, if you haven't entered before the 22nd, you're out of it. Entry forms are supposed to be available at the same places you can drop off your form, i.e., practically any store.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Vouchers III

A picture is worth 36oo words.....


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Vouchers - How have you spent your vouchers or how do you plan to do so? Comments, please.

I have yet to pick mine up but have a couple of ideas.

  • Freeze-out poker with vouchers
  • A cash trade with any ARC holder who didn't qualify and wants the excitement of stimulating Taiwan
  • Buy gift certificates without an expiration date (can you do this?)

Karate Kid remake - D-Wayne and I have been discussing the remake with Will Smith's son, Jaden, as the Kid. Jackie Chan is said to be the favorite for the Mr. Miyagi role. This would mean shifting the Japanese story arc to a Chinese one ( patriot Chan would never play a villain or a Japanese - the same in many Chinese eyes).

Problems, problems, problems have I with this. First, acting ability. Pat Morita could bring it all: The Hip Nip stand-up comic, Ah Chew on Sandford and Son, Arnold on Happy Days, Ohara on Ohara and of course, the Colgate Wisdom Tooth. Jackie Chan's acting ability is best described with a little help from The Blues Brothers:

Casting director: So, Mr. Chan, which acting methodology do you subscribe to?

Jackie Chan: Oh, I do both kinds. David and Caruso.

Secondly is drunkenness. When Morita's Miyagi was drunk, he was like one of your friends whom you feigned listening to while directing him to his bed or a park bench and your worries were over. Chan's drunken martial artist is more like the grinning village idiot hopped up on Gao Liang, prompting Moms to cover their children's' eyes and walk them quickly away the twirling bowl-cut drooling guy.

Age and physique. Chan's too young and he too fit looking. He would need to go on the Dennis Quaid Doc Holliday anti-fitness regime to have any hope of pulling it off. Pat Morita was short, 5'3", (5 inches shorter than Chan) and not intimidating. If it had to be a Chinese actor, then I would suggest 元華 / Wan Hua, the landlord in Kung Fu Hustle. He's got the physique, the age (59) and the martial arts skills (part of the 7 Little Fortunes ). Better yet, if no suitable Japanese actor is found, have him play Japanese. He's done it before. In Fists of Fury, he plays a Japanese guy who makes Bruce Lee crawl on the floor like a dog.

If Mako were alive, he would be a no-brainer for Miyagi. However, he is not. So, suggestions please, along with explanations supporting your choice.