What is a wedding really about? That is, what is the day of the ceremony, banquet, and all that really mean, and who is it for? What would you consider most important during that event?


My camera dropped on the second day here, and now the zoom toggle is broken. I borrowed my mom's camera for a while, only to find that hers has the mode dial broken. What's with these Canons??

Now I have to rush to buy one while in North America. And none of the cameras on the market really wow me so far. Dammit.

Vancouver circa 2006

... is kind of the same as Vancouver circa 2005, or circa 2001, with just a few minor changes. Seems like whenever I come back and ask what's new, it's usually nothing. Well, nothing huge that I don't already know about. Still, it's nice to be home, even if not having a mobile phone sucks ass.


We all know the lame old jokes and quips that have been around since dirt. What we can't seem to figure out, however, is why people keep using them. And I think you know the kind of ancient half-humour I'm talking about:

"Give me a second."
"Okay: one. Second's up."

Classic jokes, these are not; they have just been around for a long time, and not because they were particularly good. No, nobody finds them funny anymore. Plus, I mean, if you're on the receiving end of one of these blasts from the past, what do you say to something in response? Can you combat fire with fire?
"Oh, you're so funny, I forgot to laugh."

Then suddenly, you've just responded in kind. Now don't you feel cool. Loser.

Turn, Turn, Turn

Funny that right around this time, so many of my blogger friends are commenting on the change in weather where they live. So, same here!

Weather's been cooling down in Taiwan as well, particularly in the past week (after the typhoon). What used to be constant 30C+ weather is now a much more manageable 28C highs and 22C lows.

Instead of crazy desert sun bearing down on us poor folk, we are now treated to a gentle sun wafting in through the windows, and a nice breeze. The breeze is actually cool air now, as opposed to before, when it was just "wind that's less hot than no-wind".

My south-facing office now has a direct injection of sunlight each day, and I have to adjust the blinds a little, but it's a welcome dose of natural light.

This is my favourite time of the year in Taipei, and I think it's because after the humid heat of the summer, the slight nippiness is welcome. Reminds me a bit of home.

Two Layers

I went to the eye doctor today. First, an aside:

That I went to an eye doctor in itself is probably a rather novel comment for a Taiwanese resident, since most people simply go to where they want to buy glasses and then the optical store will do a quick and easy eye exam for them, included.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have a thing against "mall doctors" -- those physicians who are somehow very closely related to retail establishments -- I like the idea that my optometrist is a separate entity from the eyecare professional who will be fitting my glasses for me. I like to know that each of them is not distracted by ulterior motives, such as performing a sub-par eye exam as long as they can sell me a pair of spectacles.

So I looked around for a hospital/clinic who would do the eye exam for me. And today, I went.

I went into the big hospital, filled in my patient record form (which asks alarmingly little about someone they're about to give medical advice to), and waited for my 11:50am appointment.

There was some big confusion about why I was there, which started with their first pointed question:
"What's wrong with your eyes? Are they uncomfortable?"
"Uh ... no, nothing. I want an eye check-up."
"So what's wrong with them?"
"Nothing, I haven't had an eye exam for some time, and I would like to buy glasses now."
"Oh, okay."

They led me into a series of rooms -- which, if you've ever been in a Taiwanese hospital before, all look like evil experiments could have been conducted in them some decades ago and have been scrubbed clean of evidence -- to do the standard tests. I did the "stare at the picture which they adjust to be clear with a machine" thing, the "puffs of air in your eye until you're visibly crying" check, "keep your eye wide open as we shine blinding light" activity, and the "randomly guess which way the E is pointing "game.

I basically paid $650NT ($20 USD) for them to do things to my eyes, talk to me like I'm an idiot, order me around ("sit and wait", "stand up", "wear this") ... and tell me my prescription strength is pretty much exactly what it was 4.5 years ago. I took my prescription sheet and ran.

On the way back to the office, I caved: I ate a bacon double cheeseburger. I figured my eyes deserved it, but I asked for only one slice of cheese -- you know, because that second slice would just be too many calories.

Apple Play-by-Play

Dammit. Apple is having their special event live coverage, and while is giving a per-minute update on their site, I can't stay up any later because I really should sleep. Plus, I want to actually watch Steve Jobs doin' his thang on-stage. I'll watch the streaming broadcast tomorrow instead, then.

Semi-Random Flashbacks

They've been getting "worse" recently. Every so often -- pretty much once every two days now -- during the most random of times, an image flashes across my mind in the most random of ways.

Sometimes, it's a picture of sunny Castro Street in Mountain View, California. Sometimes, it's an image of spanish Banks with downtown Vancouver, Canada, in the background. Once in a while, it's the view of thick fog rolling quickly over the peninsula mountains around Pacifica, California. At times, I catch a mental glimpse of SFU on Burnaby Mountain. Or even a scene around Sunnyvale's Chipotle and Starbucks.

What's not as random is what is flashing through: always a snapshot view of the more comfortable (more free) lifestyle that I used to have.

Clearly, it's a stronger urge that is trying to tell me how much I miss home. Hopefully, the vacation back to Vancouver and SF and LA will tone that down a bit.

Or Similar

So I went online and booked a rental car for my trip to San Francisco / Los Angeles in October. I think I got a pretty good deal -- under $100 USD for 5.1 days, plus taxes and fees. First common question:

"What kind of car did you get? You should rent a [insert impractically expensive type of rental vehicle here, like an SUV, convertible, dump truck, etc.]

No no, it's really just a simple mode of transportation so that I don't have to wait for the bus or Caltrain or whatever. And for the joy of driving, which I thoroughly love. Here's what I got.
Compact: Dodge Neon (or similar)

You see, it's that last part that worries me a bit. Because I wish they would just list out the possible cars they have. They're a car rental company, and they buy fleets of cars; I think they should have a really clear idea on exactly which cars they have. Shouldn't they?? Can't they just say it would be one of ... "Dodge Neon, Ford Focus, or Toyota Corolla"? Then at least I can know it's not some other car they consider "similar" but I wouldn't.

A little info, that's all I ask.

I Hate Mondays

I hate Mondays. With a passion.

I thought I would like today's a little more because today is the glorious last day that some of our HQ coworkers are in town -- they fly out tonight, one of them isn't coming back, and the other will be gone for almost two weeks. But it turns out that that little bit of joyous news isn't enough to overcome the dark Mondayness of Monday bearing down on my week.

It feels like it's the Monday of Mondays. The Monday of all mothers of all Mondays. And if you really think about it, that's a lot of Mondays of which this cream of the crop Monday has risen to the top. It's like the Fifth Element for Mondays, the ultimate Monday.

Well, at least it's not raining, even if it is scorching. And tonight, another darts match. Yes, the justification of my existence is now reduced to throwing little pointy things at a plastic board.

Forced Entry, Forced Exit

Not in much of a blogging mood lately, but have been trying to force myself to write something anyway. You know, just to keep my blog routine continuous (instead of some people who just disappear for weeks on end). This is exactly one of those entries.

After yesterday's spicy hotpot -- which, by the way, was absolutely delicious and was not too spicy after all and didn't cause any immediate stomach disagreements -- this morning I felt it. At first, nothing wanted to come out, but I forced a few chunks out while playing Bomber (pun not intended but serendipitously accepted). And every exit was a scorcher.

Thought you'd like to know that as I head into the weekend. Hurray for Fridays!