33 is a Prime Number

I used to be gym regular back in college, but I hadn't yet learned how to work out properly, so there was a lot of wasted effort. It wasn't until about 2002 or 2003 that I started really doing it right, eating properly, beefing up a bit, all that crap. Man, I can't believe how far (backwards) I've come since those lofty fitness goals!

But now that I'm in Taiwan, and all that has gone out the window! If it's not one thing, it's another: it's frustrating that I can't get to the gym nowadays. That, plus all the cold weather fueling my craving for carbs and sweets and those hot, stick-to-your-ribs foods. That's bad news.

That said, this is a good age to be.
This is the primetime, baby!

I think men in their 30's start to have a clue of what's what. Before that, in their early- to mid-20's, they're still young, full of energy, but without the necessary guidance or direction. And almost definitely without really knowing what they want. (I'd argue that although being firmly planted in my thirties, I still don't truly know what I want, but I'm getting closer to having all the pieces of that puzzle.)

So really, I don't actually miss being younger.

What I miss about being younger is the carefree days of not giving a sh!t about anything with boundless energy! That, and being able to go clubbing all night without feeling bedridden the whole next day.

Bad Habits

Right now, my left knee is recovering since the week-and-a-half-ago, and it's starting to itch like crazy (which I'm told is a telltale sign that it's healing). I'm even able to walk without a visible limp again -- rejoice!

But this scab!

Okay, I'll admit something (again). I have a really bad habit, something I just never seemed to grow out of since childhood, which drives M nuts: I like to pick at my healing wounds.

I'm sorry, okay?
I just can't help it.
I just have to pick at it.

I like to feel like some very visible healing progress is being made -- and we already know how I like to stare at progress bars. And these scabs are nearly falling off on their own already, so what's wrong with offering a little helping hand, right?
Right. So there.
Just you try to stop me.

(At least putting this silicone scar bandage is preventing me from having direct access to it. That helps.)

Snowy City Zen

Vancouver seems to have gotten its fair share of snowfall this winter, and it's a pity I missed out on it.

It used to be, all the snow meant hours shoveling the driveway, dangerous driving conditions, miserable cold, all that stuff. I remember when my dad would see the snowfall forecast and immediately start preparing for it with the salts, the shovel, just to make sure we could get to work/school the next morning.

I called him about a month ago, and I brought up all the snow and how much of a hassle it must be.

Only, he didn't agree with me. He told me that he likes the snow and how nice it is. He likes how much snow there is, blanketing the city. And it really is pretty, Vancouver in white.

My dad is becoming more zen. Good for him.


I caught a glimpse of a crazy-sexy music video by Shayne Ward's song No U Hang Up (from his Breathless album). The next morning, I had the album in my iTunes. And this morning, while at work, I'm boppin' along to his album when I come across this gem: Damaged.

It's amazing how a simple song can throw me back seven years to a previous life.

How it can immediately put me back in the living room of the Emeryville apartment, having just uprooted my life in Vancouver and moved myself to the United States for a poor-paying job to ensure that I was closer to my girlfriend of seven years.

Images flash back in rapid succession from the moment I walked in the apartment that day after flying down, to the "it's not working" conversation.

Then there's the grainy mental film of me, curled up in the blanket on that sofa bed that chilly October morning, crying uncontrollably to myself and wondering how someone could do that to me (or to anyone, for that matter).

That's how I spent my first weekend as a resident of the USA: feeling damaged and cast aside.

But anyway, that was a previous life. Damaged, but now fixed, and all shiny and renewed. Here's to growth and to moving on!


I had another scooter accident: that pushes my running total of scooter incidents up to five now. It's okay, it was just an itty bitty one, really.

This time, it was just with myself.

I was on my way to work, annoyed at this rider who kept coming up on my right, so my attention was on him from the corner of my eye. When I turned my attention back to the front, the originally smooth-going traffic had stopped.

I emergency braked, and my front (disc) brake locked, and the scooter veered, leaned, and slid. Me too. Picked myself up, dusted off as cars detoured around me, and pulled over to the side for a breather as people waiting for the bus peered on half-interested.

All body parts still accounted for, I resumed my commute, punched in at the office, and went to a local drugstore for medical supplies. Back at the office, I emptied my little shopping bag onto my desk -- iodine, antibiotics, cotton swabs, bandages, and tape -- and proceeded to nurse my new wounds in my cubicle. I kind of felt like Mark Wahlberg in Shooter (after he was framed and had to make that getaway), except that his was scripted and all fake: this was the real deal, baby.

Anyway, the wounded include:

- me, in the way of a scraped left forearm and scuffed left knee and a rather bruised ego
- my puffy jacket, which is now losing feathers even faster through the gaping 1-inch hole (yeah, a whole patch of shell missing, not just a slit)
- my new Adidas shoes, where the left toe cap is scraped up
- parts of the left side of my scooter (which now match the right)

What's more, now my new jeans are scraped and torn at the knee as well! Thank goodness for the distressed look, so in a way, the scooter fall actually made my clothing more fashionable.

Money Back Guarantee

So I sent in a request to get a waiver/refund on some charges I had before, and after two weeks, I noticed that there wasn't an updated credit to my account. I emailed and asked about it, and this is the super helpful response I got:

Thanks for your email. Due to the volume of submissions we are unable to confirm receipt of each one. If you wish to receive a confirmation, please print one from the fax machine that you sent your fax from or complete the online opt out form. All who have submitted complete opt out/waiver forms will have the fees reversed to their account by the end of February.

Sorry? So my confirmation that you got my request form is my fax machine's little fax report? How did you leap that chasm of logic, may I ask??

I'm just going to take it to mean that as long as I sent a request form, they are basically guaranteeing that the credit will be applied, and that they have no excuses because they're that confident. Fine. I eagerly await my money back.

Rain Filter

I'm riding to work today, and it's pissing rain, but I live up the visor on my helmet anyhow ... and I take a big whiff. It's about the freshest air I've smelled recently (except for a quick weekend trip to Hualien/花蓮).

The rain here acts as a filter for the air, extracting dust and dirt particles (and whatever impurities and terrible free radicals that provoke women to buy those expensive skin care products) out of the air as they fall. It's kind of like the water in a bong, really, which filters out the harsh heat and smoke so it doesn't get to you.

The problem lies in that what you're left with after the high of having fresh air is ... well, the bong water. And in the case of Taipei rain, it's a whole city's worth of city-bong water flowing through the sewers in addition to all the warm garbage smells that waft through the sewer grates.

Fresh air today, horrified nostrils tomorrow.