Silicone Parts are Made for Toys

Okay, I have to admit that I like silicone. Silicone has a nice feel to it, a nice jelly-like bounce to it -- almost skin-like, really -- and it is durable and resistant to all sorts of abuse.

But can it really do wonders for scar healing? I've heard of silicone sheets and silicone gels which somehow promote the healing of flesh wounds and dramatically reduce the scarring imperfections. But there seem to be two very distinct and separate schools of thought: one who believe it to work (and don't really understand why), and the other who say it does absolutely nothing. Neosporin is obviously in the former category; my former dermatologist is clearly in the latter. I mean, normally, I wouldn't be this vain about it, but these are fairly visible areas on my arms and shoulders. I wouldn't want it to end up like my appendix scar.

So, in your experience, what are the best scar treatments around? Do these (pricey) silicone sheets and gels work? Or no?

So Emotional

Little annoying things were starting to happen to me, and to those around me: car accidents (minor), lost items, dropped possessions, those kinds of things. So I figured it was time to visit the 龍山寺 temple again.

As soon as I stepped inside of the gates, something came over me. Or rather, something surfaced from within me, and I suddenly wanted to burst into tears. Tears swelled in my eyes and blurred my vision; I had to stop walking towards the temple. This is particularly foreign to me because I've never had any reaction like this to anything even remotely religious before, and there I was, feeling like these things wanted to be released from inside me.

Of course, I held it in; nobody wants to see a grown man cry (not even if they say they do). I went along my business: making the offering, burning incense, thanking them for my luck and recovery from the scooter accident, and then praying for continued protection for me, those around me, and those near to my heart.

Even now, when I really think about it, i can feel tears wanted to well up again. That's new.

Back Up, A Day Too Late

Well, after much consulting with J, CY, and Mike after my initial pricing research ... I finally decided on the Seagate harddrive (80GB, 5400rpm, 8MB cache, 5yr warranty) for my Powerbook. I went to the local electronics market and found that some quick bargaining made the Toshiba one (difference: 16MB cache, 3yr warranty) about 10% cheaper. And since it had been a really tough decision before, this difference in pricing tipped the scales. Armed with my new drive and a new precision screwdriver toolkit, I spent a good part of Saturday installing the harddrive (based on the awesome PB Fixit guide), reinstalling my apps and utils, restoring my preferences and data to the new drive. Not very fun, and left my drive with a measley 13GB free.

But doing this on Saturday meant I wasn't up and running with the machine until it was too late to wish my good buddy jaojon (TP) a very happy 31st birthday. I've known this guy for some 23 years now; grew up with him a block away, and he's the one responsible for 教壞我 ("teaching me bad stuff") in my formative years. Anyway, this is really a long-winded way of publicly announcing that ...

- He's my good buddy of 23 years now.
- He's 31, so happy belated birthday to him!
- My being bad is pretty much his fault, but I still love him like a brother.

I'm hoping he reads this, since I know he lurks by every once in a while. Happy birthday, dude.

Heals for Reals

You know what? The human body is amazing. Especially mine.

I mean, when I think about it, it was just two weeks ago and my wounds are nearly done healing themselves up. I'm not wearing any bandages (except over the elbows when heading into public), and it's just the elbows (again) that are not yet done with the scabs. Everywhere else is busy growing its raw, new skin.

In some ways, you could say that the injuries were just scrapes, just flesh wounds. But if you had seen me that night, with all the blood and raw flesh showing, you would have guessed it was worse. A lot worse. And now, I'm a ton better.

Fashion Suspense

I've never owned a pair of suspenders before, and for good reason: there are only a few occasions where I think you can really pull them off. For instance, if you're ...

- a gangster in a zoot suit in the 40's
- an investment banker type even up to the 80's
- a swanky swing dancer
- a fireman (with or without shirt on)
- careful not to let anyone see/know you're wearing them.

And I don't think I could swing any of these. In fact, I'm quite sure I can't. So I continue to not own a pair of these.

[ Sidenote: if you Google for "suspenders" images, you get a whole 'nother set of suspenders results coming up. For the record, I'm not talking about those kinds. ]

Lookit Me

Eye contact is important in communication, and I'm not that good at it. My issue is that I don't keep good eye contact. When I'm talking, my eyes often get diverted to things down the hall, outside the window, on the desk, whatever. My dialogue doesn't suffer, but people might get the impression that I'm simply not paying as much attention as they would like.

And when I try to keep with the good eye contact, it feels a little awkward. So when I'm talking to some people, I don't know if my eye language is coming off as too forward, too shy/polite, whatever. Because sometimes it shows genuine interest in the other person's words, sometimes is shows they have your full attention, and sometimes it shows that you're really making an effort to get to know them. But, you know, sometimes it just really feels like staring.

I figure that if your eyes start watering or drying out, you've definitely established eye contact for too long.

Adult Male Deer

I come to you, asking for help. Here's my question:

What kind of a stag party should I arrange?

It's in Vancouver, mid-October. The request from Mr. Groom is to keep it clean; we're not the type who enjoy strippers anyway. (Honest. They don't necessarily like it, and they're not into you; it's their job.) Instead, it's just us guys hanging out together again, so I'm thinking it should be a very MEN kind of day. Steak dinner, then sipping brandy (or whatever your choosing) and smoking cigars, talking shop while sitting in big fat leather armchairs. But before that, what shall we do during the day??

[ Sidenote. Today at lunch: filling BBQ pork with rice and 3 sides for $75 NT ... and then Starbucks macha tea frapuccino for $130NT. That's messed up. ]

My Live Progress Bar

As my scabs form fully to cover the open wounds (ie. no more plasm clinging to the bandage), I'm able to cut away more and more of the white bandages. It's like icebergs melting away on my arm. Gives me a sense of daily healing progress, like my body is accomplishing something. :-)

Helps also that the minor scabs are coming off nicely, revealing the fresh new skin underneath -- the kind of skin that shows new growth, and that those beauty products seem to want you to feel like you have (though without the horrific accident to cause it).

But whenever there's a slight breeze across me (like air conditioning), whenever my skin tightens (or goosebumps), or whenever I flex the arms in a certain way, my scars hurt. It's like Voldemort is in the vicinity or something. Weird.

And what is it about scabs that just make you wanna ...

Marketing: Not Just About Slogans

Recently, over dinner, something popped in my head (this happens often). It was a little clip from a Friends episode (this happens more often than it should). This time it was Chandler, trying his hand at off-the-cuff slogans when he decided to take up marketing:

"Cheese. It's milk that you chew."
"Crackers. Because your cheese needs a buddy."
"A grape. Because who can get a watermelon in your mouth?"
"The phone. Bringing you closer to people ... who have phones."
"Bagels and donuts. Round food for every mood."
"Pants. Like shorts, but longer."

And I thought, "You know, I could probably do that." I peered down at my dinner, and several popped out in rapid succession:
"Curry: looks like poo, but tastes much better."
"Taiwan: dirty, smelly, hot and unbearable, but at least it's cheap."
"Spandex: show the public where your fat is."
"Alcohol: makes life prettier."
"Air conditioning: because sometimes ... it's too hot."

I dunno. What can you come up with?

Heal, Boy, Heal

A visit to the local hospital (三軍總醫院) yesterday landed me some more drugs, and I bought some extra supplies: gauze, antibiotic-soaked non-stick gauze, elastic "fishnet" sleeves, some red medicine (優碘).

Another uncomfortable night of sleeping on my front, and waking up unable to get out of bed without considerable pain on each of my wounds. But each day, I get by with less and less dressing, and I think I'm actually healing now. Been reading a bit about scrapes, and I'm hoping this black area on my left elbow isn't an infection. Wounds are starting to solidify, and as they dry, they're shrinking. I think this is a good thing, as far as recovery goes, but sure hurts like the devil when they're tightening my range of motion and gripping on the gauze (that supposedly I leave in and will dissolve or fall off when I'm all healed).

On TV, I've seen clips of heroes getting scraped and cut while saving the day -- think "Die Hard", "Lethal Weapon", etc -- and suddenly I feel bad for them for after they have to nurse all those injuries. Even the flesh wounds must be incredibly painful.


Been a long week, let me tell you. I needed to go out, have a decent time, and get to know my colleagues on a more social basis. So last night, around 9:40pm, I was heading to the night market to meet up with one of them there.

I was going through the tunnel south on KeeLung road, and pretty close to the right side of the tunnel. There was a girl on a scooter front-left of me, and I figured I'd move over to the right a bit more. You know, follow the rules of the road, observe, assess the situation. What I didn't expect was for anyone to actually be in that tight space to my right, and he was (I guess) trying to pass me on the right.

And that's when the fun began: our handlebars clinked, and I lost control.

My bike wavered, wobbled, and slid on its right. Luckily, my leg wasn't caught under the scooter as it fell over. Instead, I did the shake, rattle, and roll -- probably not unlike what you see in movies, actually. I have injuries, but it's all scratches and scrapes across my back, shoulders, and my elbows are banged up. And asphalt is embedded in my pants (and skin). Neck and waist are sore and a bit stiff, but that's to be expected. I need to buy a new helmet, of course -- because this one's had an impact and the gouges to show for it -- and my t-shirt is wrecked.

Him? He walked away with a little scratch on his bike, and he had a cut on his right hand.

I was going a pretty good clip. Probably 70kmph -- wait, no, probably not -- probably 60-65. I mean, that's not extreme, because I noticed that a lot of traffic flow is around that range anyhow. And he was going faster.

But the guy was nice during the aftermath; stayed with me, called the cops, went to the hospital with me and stayed until I got out. He had been hit by a car before when he was on a scooter, so he was pretty understanding and he was nice about everything. (That's pretty good, as far as Taiwanese people are in accidents.)

M nursed my wounds and I crashed at her place (instead of going all the way home), and I took this morning off work.

Anyway, this constant pain all over my body is a pain in the ass. Sucks. But all in all, worst hurt in this was my ego.

* "Scoter" is a common misspelling of the word "scooter" here. So common that one of our clients' project codenames is "scoter", even though they say it as "scooter". Just waiting for project "umbrerra" to come along now ...

Saving Myself

Immediately after it happened, I stumbled, tumbled, and then rolled a few times. It's interesting that during the rolling, I actually had the presence of mind to protect my head, tuck my chin, and perform all those safety evasive actions they tell you to. Didn't think I had it in me, but I guess you never cease to amaze yourself when times call for it. I guess tucking my chin wasn't going to do much, particularly inside the helmet, but better than letting my head bounce around needlessly, right? Injuries could have been a lot worse, but because of my absolutely amazing survival reflexes, they're not. I suppose your mind just switches back to Primal Instinct Mode and natural responses take over. Pretty neat.

Peace Unto You

It's been a hectic week -- three client meetings a day, every day, scattered across this county, and then playing host to my three visiting colleagues -- and it ain't even over yet. I need some rest.

But let's imagine to another time, a funner simpler time. When are you most at peace in mind, body, and soul? Is it when you are doing something, some activity? Is it a certain time of the day/night? Or when life is crazy like it is for me this week, what do you do to get yourself to that "happy place"?

And Then Slapped Again

My Mac won't boot up.

Chapped and Slapped

Lesson learned: do not launder your jeans and some new T-shirts after having some drinks. No matter how cool that combination washer/dryer unit in your hotel room looks. No, not even after you've figured out how to operate the all-Japanese-button thing. Because there's a good chance you could leave your lipbalm in your jean pocket, which will work its melty little way through all your stuff, and there's no way to pull off that look after. So not only can I not unchap my lips, but I get slapped with the penalty of wrecked clothing.

Idea gathered: this could be an effective way to ruin someone else's clothes if they piss you off somehow in the public laundry facility at your apartment complex. (Hmmm, save for later.)


_so here I am, in the _apple store on Ginza, in _tokyo, Japan. _This place is absolutely packed, so even though the rent on this storefront much be absolutely impossibly high, they:re probably raking in a good amount of money. And far as I can tell, the store itself is actually quite small -- a lot smaller than their silver crunchy coating would suggest. _apologies for the weird typos and stuff, because on these versions of the Powerbooks, they moved stuff around from where (I think) they:re supposed to be.

[ edit: I was wrong. There:s 4 floors in this place! first floor is all the stuff you find at the front of the other stores; 2 is where the iMacs and PowerMacs live; 3 is a theatre for workshops and tutorials; 4 is the iPod area with Shuffles and kids stuff and other accessories. Fun fun fun. ]

[ edit again: Okay, now I:m in the Shibuya Apple Store and just spent about an hour and a half listening to a live session from People to People as part of the Apple Store's "LIVE: a month of great music" program here. Happened across it as I was strolling through the area and heard this wicked beat coming from down yonder. Anyway, time to find some chow and people watch around here. ]


You know the story -- it's been on CNN for 23 out of every 24 hours. Well, I just got in touch with my friend phasedOUT, who lives in the city with her extended family. She is, though she's lost everything she's ever owned, thankfully okay and all of her family is accounted for. Our wishes go to those suffering from the wrath of Katrina. Damn her.

Don't Mind If I Do

Okay. Girls tend to dress cute so they look cute. This implies that they look cute to someone else, who is doing the looking while they are doing the ... being cute. I have to say that Japanese girls are very good at this. I mean, very good at it. But regardless, here's the question: if a girl goes to lengths to be noticeable -- either by being super-cute or by being outrageously noticeable -- is it okay to give her a long look? (And by this, I don't mean like a wolf staring down a helpless sheep.)

I've noticed that in Shibuya's Center Gai and Koen Dori, this seems completely okay. In fact, they seem to welcome the attention. But let's take normal girls today. Think it's still okay by them?