Dream a Little Dream

Some nights ago, I dreamt something that really drove home that this issue is bothering me pretty deeply. Here's what I can remember (based on some notes I typed out just after waking from it).

In the dream, I had done something wrong; it was something bad/illegal. Anyway, I had been hiding (it) for a long time, all the time guilt-ridden, letting it ride heavily on my conscience. After a while, I thought I had put it behind me, given it closure in my life. And I had, kind of.

But there I was, cleaning up the mess I had made, returning whatever it was I had stolen or trying to fix whatever it was I had done. In the "scene", I was actually packing things up into a large suitcase, getting ready to move/run after I had returned to the scene of the crime. (It was right on the sidewalk, where I was packing up, strangely.)

And cops were swarming all over the place, working on other cases, responding to other calls. Nothing to do with me, and they weren't even suspecting me, but it felt like they were closing in on me (my own pressure put on myself).

My ex drives by, sees me crouched over the suitcase, fumbling frantically. She casts me a scornful look and says, "Looks like they're coming for you. Too bad we're broken up and you screwed up, or I would cover for you."

And she drove off. I couldn't blame her.

Youch. But hey, what do I expect, really. Even in my dreams. Except that, well, I could dream about anything in my dreams, and that is what my silly little peanut-brain comes up with. No wonder I haven't been sleeping well lately -- nothing like a haunting like that, huh? Happy Halloween.

Finish It

Complete this sentence.

"If you stare at it long enough, ..."

Happy Friday (and weekend)!


My last 15 hours, compiled into 15 easy steps.

- I miss North America.
- Tons of pressure from work yesterday, and employee morale is slightly lowering from the stress.
- Only got a half-ass workout, and nothing else was on the cardio TV except Gothika.
- Got home to find I left my A/C on all day. Again.
- Received an email I didn't like, which threw my mood off.
- Was tired and nodding off, but I had to do laundry (first load since coming back from my trip).
- I was short $35NT ($1.10US) from getting another stamp (collect X to get a free Y) at the supermarket.
- The dryer didn't dry my clothes completely, but I left my laundry card upstairs.
- My clothesline bar (affixed about 2m up above the doorway in my apartment) fell when I hung my moist shirts on it.
- Had to lay all my moist undies and socks all over the couch to dry, leaving me nowhere to sit.
- The cable TV signal just up and died on me. (This morning, it miraculously came back, so I was able to enjoy CNN over cereal.)
- Proudly wearing Uppercut's new Frank "B" pants (in Almond) today, but it's slightly raining outside. (Still awesome, though. I love these pants.)
- Almost stepped on my apple while riding my scooter. (Still good, though.)
- Last to leave work last night, first in this morning.
- Another day of work work work.

What does today have in store for me, do you think?

Cause and Effect

People don't seem to realize it, but sometimes being the person who does the (unintentional) hurting hurts as much as the person being hurt. This is, of course, difficult to measure, but that's not to say it isn't true. Sure feels true.

Close, But ...

So my flight landed in TPE some twenty minutes late, at 3:23pm. My aunt and uncle were ultra-kind enough to pick me up and drive me home, so it was about 6pm when I arrived at my apartment complex. I went downstairs to the mailbox to open it up and fetch my keys so I could go inside, but ...

No keys inside.

My brother and sister were supposed to leave the keys (my copy) I lent them in my mailbox so that I could use the mailbox key to retrieve and get home upon my arrival. Turns out, they delivered my keys to someone else's apartment -- my neighbour's, who wasn't home. This kind of thing is not supposed to happen amongst intelligent MEng graduates.

I sat in the lobby cursing them (all of the above) until 6:30pm, went out for some food and came back, and continued the cursing. (Unfortunately, my own little voodoo doll was in my luggage, and I didn't feel like digging it up.) I waited for another hour and a half before, at nearly 9pm, I got so irritated and pissy that I went down to the mailboxes and peered into the mailbox (8-2) that my brother put the keys in.

There is absolutely nothing worse than coming home from vacation and not being able to come home.

Turns out, it was still there; they hadn't opened that box up. (The neighbour is some city official, who knocked out three units on the floor -- 8-1, 8-2, 8-3 -- so they probably had all their mail at 8-1 and didn't need to check 8-2.) I looked around, bent the door open as much as I could, and fetched the keys out of the mailbox through the drop slot with a bent chopstick.

Just before 9pm, I was finally able to get into my apartment and get a break. Still livid.


Long day (again). Did some last-minute shopping for other people, made my final Apple Store purchases in SF, and flew in from SFO to catch the last half of the rehearsal dinner (but not the actual rehearsal).

Got called in on a last-minute late-night emergency: handmade dinner placecards hadn't been finished, and it was the night before the wedding! Hougee and I swooped in, got our production hats on, and rattled through the guestlist. We got a good system going, and were done by 2:00am.

Came home, packed as much as I could, because I won't have much time tomorrow night and I leave for TPE on Sunday morning. And I don't plan to be too sober after the wedding; I need to get my drink on, after the events of this week!

And I still haven't written my speech yet. I have some thoughts and ideas, but nothing you could call a speech. And as of this entry, neither has the groom.

Face It

An Awkward day, with a capital A. I went to my ex-company in the Bay Area today, mainly for informal meetings with the managers. Of course, my ex also works there, so I had lunch with her.

It's the first time seeing her since breaking up, the first time in about 9 months, the first time since many things have happened. She looks great, she really does, but then that always happens post-breakup, doesn't it?

I think it was good, for her to say a lot of things that were on her mind, straight to me (or at me, as the case may be). Of course, nothing I said could make any difference. Nothing ever does when you're the accused. Still, I felt good that we left with some laughs in our conversation, but generally dark for the rest of the day (and night).

There's nothing like an ex's view on our relationship to make me feel terribly lonely in life. I want to cry, but something won't let it out -- that something seems never to want to.


Okay, quick. Words are not coming to me as smoothly as I would like. What should I say in my best man speech on Saturday??

In Somnia, Soon to be in SF

My flight is in four hours, which means I need to get up in one hour, and I can't sleep. My schedule for the two.five days in the Bay Area is really packed, and it seems that I will be utterly exhausted throughout all of it, with nary a rest until I'm on the plane back to TPE on Sunday morning! It also appears that my jetlag was never over, on account of the caffeine and alcohol I've had (in light amounts but fairly constant between them) since boarding the plane to YVR.

New Word

vacation: va-ka'-shən. (pronounciation key)
n., v. tr.

1. leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure.
2. the act of making something legally void.
3. seeing what rain is like in other parts of the world.

Actually, though it's been rainy on Sunday and Monday here in Vancouver, the skies have opened up this lovely morning. The sun is out, the air is exactly as crisp autumn air should be, and I think I'll go enjoy a coffee while cruising or sitting along English Bay.


I hate packing. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I feel like I want to have everything with me, so I can choose what to wear / use when I'm at my destination, but I can't, so I have to choose now, before I even know how I'll feel when I need it. So I keep procrastinating my packing. So I end up packing last-minute, like now.

Time Wasting Efficiency

So I was wasting time one day, honing my skills at it. And J just IMs me in the middle of our conversation:

he: survivor is on now, so I'm watching that as I talk to u
me: Haha ... multitasking.

That got me to thinking, we need to come up with a term that means "multitasking at wasting time", like doing many time-wasting things at once. I mean, it's strangely paradoxical because it's really about being time-efficient at time-wasting, the concept of which I think merits its own term.

So. What to call it?

That's a Wrap

A good wrap. I'm dying for a good wrap with salad and some meats. Healthy food. Please. But where? There are none in Taiwan that I could find so far, but I heard there's a new Californian wrap place in the Shinkong Mitsukoshi A4 building. So where are your favourite places for wraps in your area?

Coming Back to Haunt

It's funny (not funny-haha, though). It's hard for me to put things behind me, but on occasion, I really do try. But somehow it keeps coming back to haunt me. And this time, it's ganged up with other parts of my past, armed with yet other parts, and tag teamed me. Sometimes I'm not sure how to deal with this stuff, even though I should have known it would come sooner or later.

Note to self: need to find a large rock to crawl under, hide out.

Please Hold

So you're standing at a sight to behold, and you want a picture with you in it. Aside from doing the arm's length self-portrait technique -- which invariably results in a picture of half your heads or shows your arm telescoping in 2/3 of the picture -- what to do? Why, silly, you look around for someone to take the photo for you: an innocent passerby or some other unassuming tourist. But be careful: here's a true story.

My friend visited SF, and she had a Sony DSC-P5 digital camera. She had someone take a picture for her and a friend out by Fisherman's Wharf, and the guy dropped it on the sidewalk. Ouch. The zoom lens wouldn't retract, so pictures were perpetually zoomed in and off-center, and the camera wouldn't close.

So I think you'll agree, there's the innate fear of making sure we pick the right people to be our momentary photographers. And when I ask a stranger, I always look to see if I can find a "responsible" person -- you know, not a crack addict lying on the sidewalk. Even so, I worry every time I hand my camera to someone. Every time. So let's discuss the proper approach to finding the right person(s) to take a picture for you:

- Wrist strap. Okay, you say you almost always use the strap when you have your camera, but that doesn't mean he/she will. How do you make them? When I hand my camera over, I always hold the strap open as a clear and easy indicator they should "insert wrist here". It's easier than being all,
"Oh, could you please put the strap on? Your Parkinson's makes me nervous that you might drop it. I'm not paranoid, I'm just -- well, really, I mean ..."

- Speed kills. Hey, we live in a rough world! People are always trying to get something for nothing; I just hope it's not my something they're trying to get. So I try to make sure I find someone I think I can outrun, in case they try to take off with my camera. (What. Could happen.)

- Age gap. I try to pick someone in my generation, because chances are a little better they know how to use a digital camera. That is, at least they will use the LCD, instead of still trying to use the tiny little optical viewfinder.

- Common ground. If they're tourists, or avid amateur photographers, they probably have their camera out. If they have the same camera as you -- or the same series, or even just the same brand -- then bingo! They're a leg up on anyone else, because they at least know where the zoom is and how to use it (kind of).

None of this guarantees anything, but it puts me a little more at ease than randomly selecting my next loser. We talk more about this later. Let me know what factors into your photographer picks!

To The Bone

You know what sucks? It sucks scootering in the rain with your rain jacket on, and still getting soaked completely through your shorts, right through to your underwear. And your shoes. And your hair, because your helmet was left hanging from your scooter out in the rain last night. And still having another 40 minutes on the road before you can get home. I wish I had a car.

Here, Fishy Fishy

This past weekend, I really wanted to steam a fish dish, but I couldn't find Chilean sea bass at the local market. I could only find some frozen filets, but I wanted fresh. And I didn't know if this was because (a) they didn't have any, (b) I was looking in the wrong supermarket, or (c) I had no idea how to say/read "Chilean sea bass" in Chinese. (I have since learned that it's "智利鱸魚" in Chinese.)

A little research turned up that the Chilean sea bass' proper name is "patagonian toothfish" (dissostichus eleginoides) and in fact isn't really a sea bass at all. And because it's a deep sea fish, there's pretty much no way to get this fish fresh; they're frozen upon catching them.

"There’s a 90 percent chance that the fish was frozen first. Most of the Chilean sea bass that is caught these days is landed in some of the most remote waters of the planet and frozen aboard the boats. The quality of most of this fish is excellent, as is the quality of most of the refreshed fillets that are sold to buyers who think they are getting fresh."

I'm one of the people who was buying "refreshed" fish from Ranch 99, thinking it was fresh. I couldn't tell, and I have to agree that the quality of fish was quite good. Anyway, I learned that the WWF and other organizations are warning about severe overfishing making the species quickly threatened: illegal catch is ten times the legal catch! It almost makes me not want to have any. Yeah, almost.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium -- I love that place -- has a long "Seafood Watch" paper about this, and says, "Striped bass, Pacific halibut and white seabass are your best choices." The National Environmental Trust (NET) also has this PDF report called "Black Market for White Gold", and offers that "The closest alternatives to Chilean Sea Bass in terms of taste and texture are cod and Alaskan halibut."

Maybe I'll give those a try sometime, but -- believe it or not -- I couldn't find black bean sauce anywhere around here. Means I'll have to figure out a new sauce to make, like a red and yellow pepper coulis or something. Huh.

Scrubbing Songs

Cleaning ID3 tags is a huge pain in the ass, and extremely time-consuming. But not cleaning them and allowing my iTunes to have messy song lists and missing album covers is a bigger pain in the ass. So I'm stuck cleaning them.

What's the Capital of the State of Disarray?

Something I learned this weekend: I'm only really motivated to clean my apartment up when I have guests coming over. (Though it should be noted that this is not so much cleaning up as it is cramming all my junk into hidden cabinets.)

I mean, almost all of us have somewhat messy houses; it just depends on your tolerance for such things (and such things building up). I notice that, like a frog in gradually heating water, I have pretty high tolerance for messiness accumulating in my apartment.

And here's what I figured out happens (to me and others). When there's one thing that should be moved / put away, your brain sees it and registers, but no action is taken. Then after some time of actually being there (each time triggering your brain again as a little flag), your eyes tend to "overlook" it and your brain tends to ignore it. Like when a pressed nerve starts to numb out, and your body acclimatizes to the existing stimuli. Or like banner ads.

And then more stuff gets ignored, and so on and so on.

Look around. What's around you that you've been "meaning to" clean up or put away or file or whatever, and you haven't? And over time, it's just become part of that room's "decor"?

I'll start.

At my work desk, it's this plastic bag sitting behind my aloe vera plant.
And this pile of publication PR forms for if my company wants to place an ad in the local industry magazine.
And these 5 business cards from local restaurants that I enjoyed.
And this blue Post-It Note that has outdated testcase figures on it, stuck just to the right and behind my laptop.
And the two foot odor removal insoles that came from the hotel room in Tokyo, which I thought would be neat to keep at home for future use. (Yes, it's actually on the desk.)

If I were blogging about this at home, the immediate list would be tons longer. Now you.


ICQ was the sh!t. And then AIM caught on. And all of a sudden (for me), Yahoo IM was the bomb. Now, most of my friends are on MSN. Many of them are on other networks, but MSN seems to be the dominant one. At least, for now.

Thing is, I don't know why MSN is popular. The software is messy, ads all over, and doesn't seem to have much in the way of user friendliness. MSN doesn't have the store-and-forward feature -- meaning you can send a message to someone who's offline, the server/system will hold onto it (store), and send it along to them (forward) when they log on next. YIM and ICQ do it; MSN and AOL don't.

And yet, most of my (online) friends are resident on MSN as their primary instant messaging address. So. Why MSN? Just because everyone else is?