I'll See Your 1, and Raise You 2

At the end of each year, everyone does this look-back-on-the-year thing. Ho hum. I'm gonna do you two better: a single post that has links to the funny stuff that happened to me (or entries that still crack me up) in the past three years. So forget that stupid Dick Clark show on December 31, and cuddle up with this list. Enjoy!

2003: hospitals, ghetto peeing (and i mean a lot of ghetto peeing), pee holes, amusement parks, lost shoes, freestylin', flatulence, and progress.

2004: coffee cups, spam, nipples, salad, change, asparagus, skincare, chain thoughts, humming, fluoride and general brushing, noise from above, workouts, poo, Asian food, video games, faces, injections, scary bugs, and the feel of skin.

2005: more buttons (and even more), my sexuality (in some ways admitting to metrosexuality), twins, reflections, seating, beaches, sound and smell, new words, frolicking, showers, marketing, food poisoning, bargaining, mirrors, and potentially dirty cuffs.

What. Yes, that's it for this entry. Now go on, go outside and play. Happy new year.

Holiday Lessons

Over the past week, I've learned a few non-contiguous things. In the spirit of the internet and of general merriment, I share them with you herewith.

1. You can apparently buy drugs from a drugstore by the pill/capsule. Antihistamines were $10 TWD each pill, and the lady came out of the backroom with a tiny ziploc bag with two non-descript white pills in it. I took one, and it knocked me out until the next morning (11 hours later).

2. The classic versions of Christmas songs are still some of the timeless best.

3. Some party guests are comfortable enough with me that they can yell out whatever their impromptu demands. "Enough movies. Where's the music?" which, some 50 minutes later, became, "No more music! Movies!"

4. It sucks to work the week between Christmas and New Years.

5. 14 people, 3 trays of home toasted nachos (with the works), 3 trays of homemade bruschetta, and 1 turkey with all the fixings makes for a big mess.

6. Nobody wants to watch Home Alone, ever again.

7. There's a problem when your drinking games consist of less drinking and more dares, simply because the punishment of drinking is no longer considered punishing enough.

8. Two huge turkeys in two consecutive days is just two much.

9. If you are in your 8th floor apartment, and you spot carolers approaching and singing at the apartment complex across the street, do not scream, "Louder! We can't hear you over here!" They seem not to appreciate that bit of constructive feedback.

Alright, enough with the new stuff; next post will be about old stuff.

Year End Resolution

It's funny that sometimes a seemingly ordinary day can quickly turn into an extraordinary one. I got to work as usual, plopped into my seat, logged into my network, my mail, my MSN, looked over my tasks for the day, and then this came in.

"Hi, happy holidays to you. i think we should end this year on a good note. i think i'm now ready to be friends with you and i also think that "hating you" is not really helping me move on. i just need to let it go and move forward with no hard feelings."

I have to say, it was a strong move for her to do this. We had a nice chat, caught up on a few recent events, and then called it a day.

Nearly Forgotten

Wow. It's been a while since I've posted, and not only did I not wish everyone a bloggy Christmas holiday season, but I haven't even recapped what's been up lately! So here's to wishing you a very happy after-Christmas-pre-New-Years week! A little extra yippee for the Canadians who are likely enjoying crazy Boxing Week sales! I'm back at work today, so lots to catch up on. Be back later.

To All a Good E-card

E-cards are usually personalized in some way, but this one seems to do just fine without having to be dedicated towards any person at all. Here's The Snowdog by English artist Jacquie Lawson. Cute.

[ Edit: This Father Christmas video by Rare Exports Inc. is also well-done, but, shall we say, less cute. Apparently, these are professional Finnish actors in it. ]

Print This

I've always wanted to design graphics for printing shirts. It would be fun, but I figure nobody would hire me for that job, solely based on the facts that I am inexperienced and completely untalented. (Can't blame them.)

So now I'm thinking, maybe I just want to design a few and have them printed at some little shop for myself; kind of a one-off shirt idea, but have a few different ones. I came up with an idea that I'd actually wear, for all the people who keep staring at me and my brother, or even just me (for whatever strange reason):


That's it. Just "what." I think that's all I need to say, and even if they don't know what it means, I do, and that's enough for me.

If you could print a shirt with whatever you wanted, what would you print? Assuming, of course, that you will wear this out in public.


I like Fridays.

I get to wear jeans to work (although sometimes I let this trickle into Thursdays, and sometimes if I am feeling under the weather too). Everyone is generally in a chipper mood, even if there's more work to be done (oftentimes gotta-be-done-before-the-weekend tasks), because that light at the end of the tunnel is a weekend and clearly not a train.

But wait, there's more!

Friday afternoons are usually a little lighter in workload, and we can usually start being less productive starting about 5pm. And lunchtime conversation usually is lively with plans of whatcha-doin-this-weekend. And sometimes we even get to have a more leisurely lunch actually at a restaurant instead of ordering lunchboxes in. (We are like prisoners around here.) All this, coupled with a more acceptable late workstart time makes for a generally more enjoyable workday; it's not like we don't work on Fridays, but rather the mood is better overall. And then there's the good boy-do-i-need-a-drink-now justification for a trip to the local watering hole.

I sure like Fridays. Except when Captain Slackass uses his superpowers against me.

o, d, b.

Something I learned during our quality system training: if you stare at the Powerpoint slide of Arial font characters, and you unfocus your eyes a little bit, these letters ...

o d b p q

... exhibit the large "o" parts of their letters a little more. It's like suddenly, you notice the round holes more throughout the page. It's neat. Or maybe it's not, and I was just really bored during training.

Just a Little Bit

I'm just a little bit miffed right now at the apathetic attitude of one engineer at work. I like to think that I'm pretty patient with this thing, and I try to be a good and nice boss and a fun coworker to boot. But I'm at the end of my rope now, and I'd kind of like to make a loop out of it and snuggle it around his neck. This dude is young, but still, the "young and stupid" excuse should only be used so much, and not this much:

- You don't run up $9000NT ($300US) mobile phone bills month after month making personal international phone calls. (I have since gotten into the habit of handing him his detailed phone bill to get him to pay it directly.)
- Once reprimanded several times, it is not acceptable to simply using the landline to make your personal calls instead. Guess what? I'll be leaving those bills on your desk as well.
- In our line of work, there's never "nothing to do". The industry is changing, and a lot of the weekly changes affect you, so you can't sit there and tell me you have nothing to do, unless you know absolutely everything. Which you don't.
- Even if you think you have nothing to do, you can't leave at 4:45pm without telling anybody. If you want to take advantage of your own unproductivity, that's one issue. But I won't have you countering the general atmosphere and morale of the other employees who see you leaving early.
- There's a $100K US project with a schedule conflict, and one half of the conflict is some maintenance that you have scheduled with our vendor. I don't want to lose this project, and I would like you to at least make the effort to call the vendor and even ask if a reschedule can be possible. I certainly expect you to do it after I straight-out ask you to. Twice. With still no action whatsoever, even knowing the urgency I'm posing here.
- Don't take my niceness to be your God-given right. You may have some experience, but you are not indispensible in that role or in this company. And I will forever value the right attitude over that measley year of experience you have. Remember that. Because if you forget, I will soon make an example of you to straighten out anyone else who's thought of being as slack-assed as you.

I don't slag my coworkers except on rare occasion. But this really took me over the top. I've worked really hard on this project and put part of my vacation request on hold to see if I should stay in the office over Christmas for it. I will not have this punk fvck it up just because he's young and incredibly selfish.

Mr. Bigglesworth

I had never known Taiwanese weather for anything other than sticky humidity and sweltering heat, but this winter is really something else. It's chilly enough to need a thick jacket and a scarf, especially walking out at night, but it's doubly worse when you're on a scooter because of that damned wind chill.

That's all fine and dandy, because you can just bundle up when you head out. But at home? There's no heating built into the homes here (unless you're super-ultra-mega-rich), and dammit, in the office neither. In fact, it almost feels colder in the office than outside! I have resorted to wearing fleece jackets and sweaters while in the office -- it's like a ski lodge here.

Hmmm, maybe a little booze will help the work day go by warmer (and better).

Love What You Do

Do you like what you do? Wait-- what do you do, anyway??

Bah, Humbug

It's not Christmas.

Christmas has malls full of decorations in festive greens and reds, Christmas music everywhere, jingling Santas, those annoyingly bell-happy Salvation Army people. Christmas is full of happy kids all around, and busy people with shopping bags, wrapped up with coats and scarves, and tufts of fog from their breath outside.

It's not Christmas. It's not Christmas. Not yet, anyhow.

I bought myself a 4-foot (plastic) tree, and loaded it with ornaments in silvers, golds, and reds, and tinsel and stuff. And let's certainly not forget the little white lights that glow and fade, wax and wane, blink excitedly, and chase each other around the tree. And tealights from IKEA in red, green, and white, which burn and waft aromatic apple cider and cinnamon scents across my apartment.

And I've added some 10 albums to my iTunes, chock full of Christmasy music, even if some are repeats. Now, it's time to gather all the Christmasy movies I can get my hands on, and then have a Christmas Eve party at my place for those of us who don't have our families together for the holiday.

So Much Stuff, So Little Trunk Space

Lesson learned: shopping at Costco on a scooter is a lot less fun, because you have to worry about how the hell you're going to get it all home.

This also extends to shopping at supermarkets and everything else, further exacerbated by that trunk area getting hot after longer rides (because it's directly overtop of the 125cc engine). That means frozen foods or chilled fruit don't fare too well in there. Perhaps I can rig up some kind of container to take advantage of the heat, and cook stuff while riding?

What I miss most, though, is the convenience of just chucking stuff in the trunk or back seat of my car, and keeping it "with me" whenever. In a car, I kept three bins of stuff -- flashlights and whatever, bottled water, gym stuff, anything. It's really my second home. Now, space is a premium, and I have to carefully budget what I throw in there. Everything has gone mini now: tiny flashlight, the most compact raincoat I could get, little sample-pack sized things, etc.

Can't wait to have a car again.

Off the Cuff

Point of enlightenment: it would be a Bad ThingTM to be wiping your butt and then accidentally get some poo on your dress shirt cuff. Because that smell doesn't really come out except with thorough washing, and you'd be sporting some serious eau de toilette for the rest of the day.

(No, I didn't have this happen to me, but the thought of such danger did dawn upon me as I was wiping my ass this morning. I mean, at least with streak marks, they're hidden.)