Wednesday, January 27, 2010

American Pride (sarcasm alert)

Of course, stuff like this happens all over the world, so I'm not really bashing my home country, just trying to show the "lighter side", lol.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

San Francisco in Taiwan

I don't remember if I ever posted this, but here's a video I made for my friend, an award-winning photographer (don't be modest, Michael). He was kind enough to send me a copy of his book, which I took on a little tour.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The mall

Today I went to an optometrist in the mall. I'll pick up my new glasses on Monday. I opted for photo grey lenses since I don't wear my contacts anymore and therefore can't wear sunglasses.

Here's a shot of the mall (台茂 Taimall) exterior. Malls in Taiwan are pretty much just like the malls in the US.

Well, not exactly the same...

Yep, the mall has its own temple. Cool, eh?

Monday, January 18, 2010

3D is cool

I finally got to see Avatar at the IMAX 3D theater in Taipei on Sunday.

Wow! ô.ô

My next must-see film: Alice in Wonderland. It opens on my birthday, so that must be a good sign.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Well, I USED to be cute

Here's my school picture from second or third grade. I don't know why I'm posting it—maybe just feeling nostalgic?

Yeah, well, I USED to have hair, too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chinese study update

My main New Year's Resolution is to study Chinese every day, including writing. So far I've kept on task (patting myself on back).

Last week I concentrated on memorizing "banker's numbers." These characters are more complicated than the everyday use ones, and are akin to spelling out the numbers in English when writing a check. For example:

The normal number 1 is written . This can easily be changed to 2 (二), 7 (七), etc.

The banker's number for 1, however, is , which is nearly impossible to alter.

Here's a list in case you're curious:

  1 一 壹 yī
  2 二 貳 èr
  3 三 參 sān
  4 四 肆 sì
  5 五 伍 wǔ
  6 六 陸 liù
  7 七 柒 qī
  8 八 捌 bā
  9 九 玖 jiǔ
10 十 拾 shí

During my last visit to the bank, I was quite proud to be able to fill out my deposit slip from memory. However, that pride slipped into embarrassment; having recently moved, I didn't know how to write my new address.

So, that's what I'm concentrating on this week.

桃園縣 Taoyuan County
蘆竹鄉 Luzhu Township
段,號,樓 Section, Number, Floor

Do you see something not quite right?

Here's a screen shot of a sidebar ad I recently saw.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Photos from the Eureka earthquake

Photos that my friend took of his work after the earthquake yesterday. They had a lot of cleaning up to do!

Click for more pictures.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

6.5 Earthquake in Humboldt

Eureka, California (where I'm from) was hit by a 6.5 earthquake today (Saturday 4:30pm their time). Fortunately, no one in my family was injured or suffered any major damage. I've heard that the mall had some damage and injuries, but I don't know yet about other areas.

Thanks, Michael, for directing me to this video, from a webcam at the Arcata plaza. The camera distortion during the quake is trippy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let's hope I don't have to go #2

It's 10:00am, and I'm getting ready to go to work. I turn on the water. Hmmm.

This happened to me once before, last year, in my old apartment. Apparantly, an announcement had been posted in the elevator notifiying the residents of a temporary water shut-off. I assume that's the situation now.

I just now went to the elevator...ah, there's the notice:

Or, is it? Who knows?

And so, here's yet another reason for me to work on my New Years resolution to get off my lazy ass and start studying Chinese seriously.

Friday, January 1, 2010

How to start the new year...or not

In my case, I'm starting with a cup of coffee, and then it's off to do my laundry. Yeah, that sounds pitiful. However...

I'm thinking of going to Taipei later and attempting to see Avatar. Since all the tickets are sold out, I'm going to try to get my hands on some 黃牛票 (huáng​ niú​ piào) scalped tickets. 黃牛票 literally means "yellow cow ticket."

I've been told to look for older women hanging around the ticket area--they'll be my connection to complete the illicit transaction.

I was warned by some students that the scalper--upon seeing an ignorant wàiguórén (foreigner)--may try to charge me an exorbitant price. In order to prevent the little-old-lady from ripping me off, I was taught a useful word: 強盜 (qiáng​dào​) Robber!

Let the adventure (and new year) begin!

----------UPDATE @ 12:00PM----------

I'm starting this year with a bang, and I don't mean firecrackers.

On the way to the laundromat I got into a traffic accident.

I honestly can't remember all the details, but I do remember that I had the green light. As I was crossing the intersection, an oncoming car was starting to turn left in front of me. I couldn't avoid him quickly enough because I was holding my laundry basket and was using only one hand to drive. My scooter glanced off the front of his car and I went down. I wasn't hurt except for a gouge in my thumb. I didn't note any damage to the guy's car except my paint scraped on his bumper.

Through the language barrier we managed to exchange information. My hands were shaking while I was writing. I tried to call the insurance company but I got an automated menu in Chinese, so I handed the phone to my accident "partner" who listened for a bit and gave up also (frustration with phone menus knows no cultural bounds).

At the time I felt it was my fault since I couldn't control my scooter well due to the laundry basket. But, I was the one going straight and should have had the right-of-way (according to my American thinking; then again, this is Taiwan). So, I now feel it was pretty much 50-50 responsibility. Taiwan's insurance is no-fault, so I guess it won't be a problem. I'm sure the ever-present traffic cameras will sort it all out.

The guy is a real estate agent. He told me his wife would call me; I'm assuming that's because her English is better, and/or she has more free time.

The sucky part is that the laundromat was just on the other side of that intersection.

Even suckier (?) is that I discovered the washers there don't work on coins but on some kind of pre-paid card that I don't even possess.

The suckiest (!) part is that, after leaving that laundromat to search for another, I found one even closer to my apartment, so I could have avoided all of this if I had just spotted that one first.

PS. I just remembered that I got my very first speeding ticket on New Year's Day, 2008. January 1st is obviously an inauspicious traffic day for me.

[Ignore this. For my own records, before I forget: Accident @ 10:00am, intersection of 仁愛路二段 and 中山路. I was going north on 仁愛路 , X先生 was going south on 仁愛路, about to turn left onto 中山路. X先生 works at 21世紀南崁老加盟店(南福街19號)

Happy New Year!

I just counted down to 2010, content (and warm) in my apartment. I hope everyone who reads this has a happy and content new year. Goodnight