The Remaining Few

When the majority of us started blogging -- which happened more or less around the same time in mid-2003, or 2004 for the latecomers -- we were all posting quite regularly. Every morning, I was treated to observations, thoughts, emotions, and stories from so many friends (mostly centered around the West Coast). I felt connected to those friends (both real and online) across the ocean and in distant lands.

But then, suddenly
something happened. And what now?
Everyone stopped.

Now it seems like there's only a handful of us who are still writing with any frequency at all. What happened?

It can't be that nothing's happening in your lives. There's always something happening. And even if there isn't anything significant, there's always some thought or observation that must be interesting -- you can't all be as jaded in life as I am! As for having "no time to blog", it doesn't take but 2 minutes to throw up a few sentences and then be off.

Because now, my morning blog roll consists mainly of opening all the blogs and then closing 75% of them when I see that your 3-month old entry is still the latest one.

Shifting Gears

[ I just remembered that I have tons of drafted blog topics. I mean tons of stuff that I started and was saving for posting at another time. Basically, I could have absolutely nothing new happen in my life for about two years, and still post a new topic or thought every day or two. ]

Here's something I found in my drafts, originally written January 28, 2004. It was when I guess I was wondering what else was out there in the world for me. And I was starting to feel a little depressed with what I had -- or hadn't, given my mindset at that time -- accomplished in my life.

moving to another city.
am i afraid of starting over?
of losing my friends here?
and what of my lifestyle?
we're creatures of habit.

Interesting. And here I am, two and a half years later, living across the ocean in a vastly different world ... and contemplating the

Interesting indeed.

Weekend Past

Social gatherings -- and meeting over meals or drinks (alcoholic or non) -- is now becoming an expensive pasttime.

I'm sorry, but fondue bourguignonne isn't "real fondue" in my book, no matter the authenticity nor deep, rich culture that it may have come from. I mean, we're really just deepfrying our own food. That doesn't really justify the inflated price, does it?

Okay, the souffles -- two: pineapple-vanilla and chocolate -- were pretty delicious, and the chocolate fondue was quite nice as well (even for a non chocolate fan). But the lobster bisque was some kind of mutant version -- either that, or the lobster was not feeling well at time of death. Okay, I know what you're saying.

"Well, duh, no lobsters feel well when they're dying. They're dying."

You know what I mean.

Anyway, I'm sorry, but I'm a fickle consumer. And if you're going to pass yourself off as fine dining, you'll have to serve up more than decent old-fashioned decor. This place didn't rank for me. That meal was not worth $1600NT ($50US) per person, in my silly little opinion, and I felt a bit like Rachel/Joey/Pheobe at Monica's dinner at "somewhere nice".

Or maybe it's just me, because two people at the table were making those extra-animated-so-everyone-is-clear-I'm-really-enjoying-this-food sounds. Maybe it's just me.


It's Friday, it's sunny, and the weekend is really approaching fast. I'm wearing jeans at work with my Nike polo shirt (bright taxi-yellow). I have a matching Nike wrist band, also crazy burn-your-retinas yellow. Coworkers are coming over tonight for some pizza, beers, and chatting.

Oh, and my new Adidas kicks are really really comfy and nice and cool, on account of the holes that are all over it, which Adidas has branded as "ClimaCool". Not as cool as I'd like it, but better than nothing.

Anyway, it's a nice day and I'm pretty happy about that.

The Commute

After my move, here are the stats for my weekdaily commute. I used to live about 3.5km from work, taking about 11-15 minutes on my scooter. Now I'm slightly further away (5.5km), and it takes between 15-23 minutes to get there.

Of course, as my luck would have it, my first day going to work from the new apartment was the fastest. All the planets aligned for me, and the traffic lights all turned green like I was Bruce Almighty. Fooled me into thinking my daily commute would only be 15 minutes!

All said and done, the time isn't too bad. But it sure would be a lot better if I were in the safety (and climate controlled environment, with music) of a car for that time. Problem is, if I were in a car, my commuting time would likely double.

Anyway, I gotta get to work now; off to the aforementioned commute!

A Trip Down Haircut Lane

Saturday was a day at the beach. Weather was good, and I'm really pale. For some reason, my pale parts just don't tan.

Yesterday, I went to a hair salon and paid the most I've ever paid for a haircut: $720NT / $22USD. (Okay, that's not really true: I paid $25 for one in Oakland once, but never went back again, because neither the cut nor service were any better than my regular $10 place.)

As a kid, I got my haircut in the back of the garage on a MDF stool seated atop an old pale-green chair, with my dad manning the electric shaver.

It was there, huddled under the single lightbulb illuminating the garage in a dim glow, that all three of us kids got our haircuts, well into high school. (Yeah, even my sister, until Mom wouldn't let Dad cut her hair anymore, and insisted she take Nel to a commercial hairstylist place.) When us three kids were done and off showering, Dad would take the seat, and Mom would give him his haircut.

It was also there that my dad and I had basically 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted father-son time. It was a clean stretch of time where he could impart his thoughts and plans on us, teach us things that don't conveniently come up in conversation, and pass on a generation of knowledge.

Some time in university, I started going to a place on Main Street, and the haircut didn't come with any useful conversation.

I guess some of the best things in life are for free.

Double-Agents and Networking

Recruiters. I have a rather negative view on (job) recruiters, but that's for another day. (Like, not Friday.) Have you (or someone you know) ever gotten a job through a recruiter?

Social networking sites have been the rage over the past two years, but social networking has been around for as long as societies have been. We all know (or have heard of) people getting jobs because they "knew someone". Have you ever gotten a job from a personal network?

Disrobe Now / Shark Bytes

I retracted a previous post, at least until it all blows over. Anyway, to fill the void ...

Have you ever been asked, in preparation for a medical exam, to disrobe quickly? I mean, really quickly? Like in under 10 seconds?

Me neither. But if I were, now I'd know how.

And this is too cool: they have a Roboshark at the National Aquarium in the UK. (Okay, they've had it for a long time, but I only learned of it last month.)

Less-lame posts to come shortly.

Being the Bad Guy

What a morning. It started practically at midnight, when I checked my work email to find a serious email/letter (paraphrased) from management:

The management of [ye olde company] has decided that [manager] can't enter company premises, with immediate effect. You are to restrict his access to the premises and network, and get all the company stuff back from him. Inform the employees.

Okay, maybe a little background is in order here about the recent unrest underground. I won't point specifically to the entries, but I'll tell you the first one was (exactly) mid-May and each one afterwards followed almost exactly every seven days.

So anyway, this morning, I strolled into the office and started the tasks:
- access card disabled (but not deleted)
- email acct password changed, all emails fwd to me
- called him (he didn't answer, SMS'd me back)

And he's still being a prick about it all. Ah, well. I've never done something like this before. What other steps should I be taking? Some advice here, please!

Shoes of Notre Dame

Question. I'm assuming the blame lays with the shoes, but are all women's feet somewhat deformed?

What Do They Do?

Let's try this. Your five closest friends: do you really know what they do in their careers? (Family and spouses/partners excepted.) And I mean in more detail than Friends know their friends*:

Ross: What is Chandler Bing’s job?
Rachel: Oh gosh, it has something to do with numbers.
Monica: And processing.
Rachel: He carries a briefcase.
Monica: It’s umm, it has something to do with transponding.
Rachel: Oh-oh-oh, he’s a transponce—transpondster!
Monica: That’s not even a word!!

I mean, like do you know the industry, company (and company function), and his/her function in that company? One step further, do you know what their a-day-in-the-work-life-of is like?

Because I don't. And frankly, I'm kind of embarrassed by it, because I feel like I should. They are my five closest friends, after all.

* Incidently, some people know the craziest Friends trivia.

Successive Vacations

So you-know-who is back in the country now from his vacation, and was supposed to come in today, but hasn't.

He apparently called one of the other folks and said he's moving to a new apartment so won't be in. (Would have been nice if he had at least mentioned it to me.) He also mentioned -- again, not to me -- he was thinking about going to Kuala Lumpur for another vacation almost immediately, for an unspecified duration.

Back-to-back vacations.
Hmm, that's rather interesting.

It seems he's already opened his package (which a colleague dropped off at his home) and has accepted the terms.

Going Up, Up in the World

I hate when little kids step into an elevator with you, and then proceed to play with all the buttons, meaning that your ride to the 10th floor now includes a scenic tour of every other floor up to it. Sure, it's funny when Will Farrell does it in Elf to make a Christmas tree shape with all the lights, but then I didn't have to endure stopping at all those floors.

So the next time you step into a newer elevator -- let's say, built in the past few years -- try this.

1. Press a floor; it should light up.
2. Double-press it again (like a double-click).

Does the that floor's light go out (turn off)? It does here in Taiwan.

I never knew about this option before when I was living in North America, but it seems to be built into every modern elevator here in Taiwan. I wonder if I just never knew, or if it's some kind of requirement that elevator riders place on their lifts here. Either way, it sure helps for when your finger slips to the wrong floor.

Blow An O Ring

Goshdarnit, I've always wanted to blow my smokey little o-ring. With some coaching from Mike one starry little stag night, he told me the trick was in how you purse your lips and pop your jaw. I managed to get some decent ones coming, but it was still hard. Anyway, that guide will have me blowing like the best of them.


Discomfort Zone

I've slowly begun to realize that my constant strive for trying to push the edge of my world, to expand my horizons, and to step out of my comfort zone are actually becoming counterproductive. Instead, I'm starting to find it's making me uncomfortable with wherever I am, with whatever I'm dealing with, because it's outside my normal comfy little bubble. And that's just leading me to be rather unhappy all the time, particularly with work.

And that's a big problem.

I mean, I don't regret that I've had the chance to live in three different countries extensively and to get to know those areas pretty well and understand how each runs with different societal systems. It sure makes me appreciate the various aspects of the myriad regions. But with each stride into another unknown (to me) territory, I can't help but feel I'm getting further and further away from where I really want to be (and won't admit to myself), like I'm deviating more from what I imagine my life plan should be.

So the question is, do I continue to push this personal envelope until the manilla glue flap bursts? Or do I put a stamp on the corner, hide back in the envelope, and mail myself back to the cozy retreat of a life familiar to me?

Not really sure what the answer is.
And not even really sure how to find it.

Monday, Part 2

Holidays falling on a Wednesday are bittersweet. On the one hand, you get the day off and I mean, hey, that's always welcome. And then you get the Tuesday before it, which becomes almost like a Friday-came-early.

But the problem with having a Wednesday holiday is that your Thursday afterwards -- which used to be like a precursor to the much-appreciated Friday -- now has the heavy shadow of being your second Monday of the week. I mean, two Mondays in the same week? That just plain sucks.

Though I suppose in the end, its graveness is slightly lightened by the thought that the very next day -- which was so close to being the second Tuesday of the week -- is actually a real bonafide Friday. And hell, that's a pretty damned nice feeling.

After all, I can't tell you how many of my Mondays through Thursdays are kept bearable just by the thought of the approaching Fridays.