Monday, December 29, 2003

Attention pop-up bastards.

I do not want smileys.
I don't want to gamble.
I don't want anything the GAIN advertising network is selling.
That about covers it for now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas.

I have 4 days off. It's Christmas morning. No one's going to read this. All is right with the world.



Saturday, December 20, 2003

Fill 'er up!

I just went to the dentist this week. In Taiwan, there are dentists on practically every other block. I picked the one closest to my apartment. It turns out he didn't really speak English. And I thought going to the hair stylist was scary with my limited Chinese ability.
I haven't been to the dentist in over 6 years. But now that I have government health insurance, I decided it was time to go. Things have changed a lot since I last went. They can take live photos of your teeth. Imagine a toothbrush-shaped webcam. There was a flat-screen panel above the dentist's chair. I got to see all my cavities.
All 6 of them. (!) And now those pictures are saved on his hard drive.
He's going to fill my cavities in multiple visits. I'm not 100% sure about the quality of work I'm receiving, but the office was shiny and clean, and hey, it's cheap. It costs about 4 US dollars per visit. And there's very little waiting. my first visit was a walk-in, and he saw me after about 20 minutes. My next appointment to fill some cavities was made for the following day. I could have been finished today, but I decided I'm not going on the weekend.
And even though I am still apprehensive, I find myself thinking: Walk-in appointments? Next day dental work? Four dollars a visit? Evening service? Saturday service?
Someone back in the states has done something very wrong to mess up health-care the way they have.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Christmas Jones

Only 2 people live in this house: me and my boyfriend.
Only 3 people have bought the presents under the tree: the two of us, and some small things from my mom.
Every day Tim asks me if we can open a present. He's been asking me since the first one appeared two weeks ago.
He shakes the presents like he was 7.
He shakes the presents for me.
He even shakes the presents for me that he wrapped himself.
This is totally killing him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Christmas Cards

I just spent 45 minutes and 50 dollars at the post office this afternoon. That's over a dollar a minute. Tim and I mailed off 30 Christmas cards and 4 packages. That's not including the stuff that's getting delivered by
I'm sure the cards will surprise people, and then they might feel some guilt about not sending one back. I always forget about that, because I do it more to encourage my own Christmas spirit in this non-celebrating country than for the benefit of the recipient. But for the most part, the same bunch got cards last year, so if they don't send one, I can't say I'll be surprised myself. I'm guessing we'll get about 3 more cards, for a total of 6.

Christmas has been a bit expensive so far, but cheaper than back in the states. There's not much worth buying, and no catalogs to pique my interest. And no wide-lapped Santas to tell my wishes to. I'll probably be wearing a Santa suit on December 24 at my school. And I only weigh 150 pounds (or so).

If you get a Christmas card from me, you should feel guilty, dammit.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I turned 30 years old today.

But in my original time zone, I'm still only 29 for 2 more hours.

And in Taiwan, I'm 31.

Have a good friday. I'm already drunk.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Something else I don't understand

My apartment building has a common area for recycled materials and trash. It's outdoors, and open to the street. Last week, they built a cage around it and gave every apartment a key to open the door leading in.

Why are they keeping the trash locked away from the neighbors? I thought maybe they wanted to keep the neigbors from using the dumpster, but I mean, come on--it's better than just throwing their trash on the street. It's also a pain in the neck to get a key before I can take my trash out. And furthermore, the recyclable stuff gets picked up by miserably poor people who get a little money for it. Now they can't get in.

I need to start attending the tenants' meetings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Wow. Taiwan is actually in the news.
I'm not political, but I have to point out that Taiwan is not part of China. I actually don't think it ever has been. I think the Taiwanese could bounce the ball back to China by saying, "Sure, we'll happily reunite with China as soon as you have a real election."
The more interesting news was the 6.6 earthquake today. I was at the gym on the 15th floor of a big hotel. I noticed everything moving around before I felt it. It's a weird feeling. It's a little bit like standing on a waterbed, but you have no reference point to compare with. Nothing happened, of course. All the shoddy buildings fell down in the big quake in 1999. All I got was a 2 minute reprieve from the treadmill.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Yesterday, my school played host to a small contingent of out-of-towners. They were from other kindergartens in other parts of the country. All afternoon, they walked around the school with their cameras out. They stopped and stared in my classes as I was teaching, 10 at a time.
I'm not a bad teacher, but something about having random strangers watch you do your job is a little disconcerting. It made me want to turn to them and say, "Fuck off! This isn't a free concert!" But from 4 inches away, I ignored them through the glass. Imagine a horde of Japanese tourists descending on a midwestern town and taking pictures of the gas station attendant. That's how I felt.
And, I have to wear a Santa hat, all day, every day until Christmas.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Taiwan's Holiday Spirit.

A few years ago, Taiwan attempted to move from a 48 hour to a 44 hour workweek. The theory was that you would work a half-day on Saturday. Business owners were outraged, saying that all that overtime pay would bankrupt them. Presumably, they would just go on working their already overworked employees the full 48 hours and then be required to pay the extra 4 hours as overtime pay.
So the government, in an attempt to satisfy them, canceled some of Taiwan's national holidays. Never mind that when holidays fall on weekends here, you just don't get them. Never mind that most businesses do not give employers any additional paid holiday time. Never mind that there were less than a dozen to begin with. Never mind that the tourism industry (which is mostly domestic tourists) was suffering due to Asia's financial woes and a massive earthquake in 1999 that devastated lots of tourist facilites in the mountains; leaving few days for overworked people to travel.
They canceled some holidays anyway. Among them, Consitution Day.
Taiwan's Consitution was promulgated on December 25, 1949.
So, in fact, they canceled Christmas.
This year, I'm taking Christmas off anyway. And since it falls on a Thursday, I'm taking Friday off as well. Fuck 'em.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

My school has a maintenance/handyman guy who also drives one of the 3 school buses. Today they had him cutting the lawn. With hedge trimmers. The ones that look like big scissors. What kind of bullshit is that? It seems a little like painting a room with an artist's fan brush. Or opening a wine bottle with a hairpin. Hmmm.. perhaps I need another drink.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Question of the day:
What do you get for Christmas for someone who has everything they need?
I'm open for suggestions.
Hint: Gay man, touch of style, likes the outdoors.