Thursday, April 29, 2004

Anyone out there going to be in Muncie, Indiana during the first 2 weeks of June? If so, stop by, and we'll have a drink. If you're going to be somewhere else in the world, lucky you.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Here are your random Taiwan moments for Friday. Enjoy.

1. For a while, I was really addicted to the game SimCity4. One feature of this game is that land which you zone for commercial use takes a while to become valuable and develop big buildings. I've often thought that Taiwan looks like a SimCity board. But I've noticed just how perceptive the game designers were.

Here in Taichung, a newly-widened road has been created in the past year. And now that there's lots of traffic cutting through what was recently just rice paddies and a few small factories, now there are used-car lots being constructed on every available piece of land that touches the road. My SimCities followed exactly the same pattern, often with several lots right next to each other. I thought they were exaggerating, or making up for a lack of unique graphics. But that really seems to be exactly what happens. Just throw down some concrete and put up a tin shack and some neon, and you're all set. I figure about 20% of these cars are stolen.

2. Every scooter license plate is three letters and three numbers. But since the locals don'r really know English, I often see lots of interesting combinations of letters, which are always good for a giggle on the way to and from work. It takes me back to the days of writing my 3 initials in a high-score video game list: ASS, SEX, JRK, SUX, DIK, TIT, and more. There are also lots of interesting initials that ring bells in my head: FBI, CIA, SNL, GOP, DDR, JFK, FAQ, NRA, PTA, ORG, and so on...

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For the next few days, I'll only be doing one thing, and it's not updating my blog.

I'll be watching The Simpsons.

They're never on TV here, and no DVDs were available until a friend had some sent over from Canada. Fortunately, our DVD player plays discs from any region (shhh...don't tell the U.S. government or Hollywood execs. I bought it off the shelf in a department store).

I know it's only season 3 (!), but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing. You'd be surprised at how much more you can complain when there's not only nothing on, but it's all in languages you don't understand.

I will not complain about Taiwan today.
I will not complain about Taiwan today.
I will not complain about Taiwan today.
I will not complain abo

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Random Observation for the Day

In America, and other Western countries, when you see a roadside sign with a blue square containing a fork, spoon, plate, and knife, you know that there is food up ahead.

In Taiwan, the sign is a bowl with chopsticks on one side and a spoon on the other.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Most Chinese people don't have much facial hair. Unfortunately, often times the only hair they have on their faces aside from their eyebrows is a few extremely long hairs growing out of a mole. I've been told they don't cut it off, or have the mole removed, because it's supposed to be lucky. The old men (and women!) I've seen with these horrible things don't look very lucky.

Forgive me if I seem insensitive, but ick.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Election, Part 3

Every weekend since the election, the KMT (losers) have held rallies in Taipei. Every one of them has ended in a near-riot. Last weekend, the police finally turned on the water cannons. The KMT are hoping to encourage civil unrest to claim that President Chen isn't doing his job. An editorial in the Taipei Times today suggested that the KMT even encouraged the military to launch a coup to remove Chen and install--guess who? They also suggested that some of the gangsters who were arrested at the rally last week with firebombs and other weapons were encouraged by the party to create the extra unrest. But for the most part, life goes on as normal around the island.

They want to have another rally/riot next week. And will they get a permit? Probably. The mayor of Taipei is also the head of the KMT. He's torn between his job as mayor and his job as chief of the losing party.

And in other post-election news, a team of experts from the U.S. was brought to Taiwan to investigate the pre-election shooting of President Chen and his VP in a motorcade. Their conclusions: That the president was definitely shot, that he didn't do it himself, and that the hole in the windshield was caused by the bullet that hit the VP in the knee. Those things seem pretty obvious to most everyone, but the conspiracy theories would suggest otherwise. And in a final insult, the KMT suggested that these experts, whom they themselves recommended, have been duped by the ruling DPP (Democratic Progressive Party).

I wouldn't write about this stuff if it weren't truly news of the weirdest kind.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

McDonald's Marketing Bastards
When I was a kid, there was a McDonald's commercial with a nervous girl getting ready for a piano recital. Her parents promised her that afterwards they'd go to McDonald's.

So anyway, she plays Fur Elise, makes a couple of mistakes, and then at the end plays the then-current McDonald's ditty on the piano. While she's playing the main piece, she makes up words. They went (something) like this:

"Oh boy I wish I was at McDonald's now, instead of here, playing this song
"I would have a big choc-o-late shake, and cheesburger, and also whoops and also fries
"And I would eat, my fries myself, and not give any, to my dumb brother"...

Cut to the present day. You can't put your trash out the night before in Taiwan (unless you live in a complex with a dumpster like many people), so when the electronic music rolls down the street, people stand outside and wait for the trash man to drive down the street.

Guess what fucking song the trucks play?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Man, until I think of something interesting to say, consider me on hiatus.