Back Me Up

Two days after the shock, we were walking around a popular area (通化街) of Taipei where people routinely walk on the street -- the actual street, not just the sidewalks -- and cars need to be especially wary of pedestrians.

A car came out of an alleyway, with lots of people walking in front of it. As is customary in Taipei, the car edges forward, hoping to create a break in the flow of humans to turn left onto the street.

Just as I was walking by, however, the driver didn't seem to want to come to a full stop for me. I kept my course, and she did too, barely nicking me. It was a close call, and too close for my comfort (and patience at the time).

I was ready.

I turned after just passing the corner of the car, bent down slightly, and slapped the hood with my hand. I stared right into the driver's eyes with a look that probably conveyed that neither she nor her passenger should get out of the car and confront me. Not right now.

And secretly, I was hoping they would. I was ready to get into a scrap. I needed a punchbag, and someone I didn't know, and anyone who had wronged me (even so minorly) would do just fine.

They didn't get out of the car, avoided further eye contact altogether, and we parted ways.

Right behind me, there was my brother backing me up, ready to join in on the fistivities.

That's family, baby.

I Feel Like ...

So I'm back at work for a bit, and my iPhone starts playing this random song*: Ludacris' "Slap" (lyrics here). I so echo that ... perhaps I should make it the theme song for my next little while!

* I have a lot of random songs that I haven't cleaned the ID3 tags for yet, so I'm discovering songs in my own library! My poor memory also helps to create the illusion of constantly having new music in my library, even if I have none.

Going Home

So here's the deal: I'm heading back to Vancouver for 6 weeks or so to take care of a number of arrangements and events. It's bittersweet, really. Stressful. Time will take care of all this sooner or later, but it's the process that's painful.

One day, I'll be less cryptic. (But not today.)

Do It. Do It.

Pick up your mobile phone.
Dial your parents' number(s).
Tell them that you love them.
After that, do whatever you want.
But do that first, y'hear me? G'on.
The internet will still be here after.

Constant Thoughts

It's been like this since Thursday.

When I wake in the morning, it's her. The last thoughts before I sleep are about her. I just can't stop thinking about her.

I have a pounding headache that just won't away. We all do. It's starting to create a permanent furrowed brow on my face.

I walk around with a dark cloud hanging over me. Even when I'm smiling, there's a somber tone to it. I'm almost sure people can see it pretty obviously, but in certain ways, I don't give a sh!t.

I'm more inclined to pick fights and feel justified for it, as if I will be able to redeem everything by making sure someone else suffers too.

And yet, this all pales in comparison when I think about how he must be doing with all of this going on.


Four hours, beginning to end, is all it took.
I'm shocked, utterly shocked to my core.
Tons of random thoughts and memories running through my head.
None that I want to share with you at this point.
And yet, strangely, a feeling of peace has taken over me.

Personal Computer

Many days, I spend all day at work on the computer, and then I go home and spend all night on the computer. And I do it day after day, week after week. Heck, it's been years now that I've done this.

And only a little while ago, I stepped back and wondered why this was.

What do you need a personal computer for?

That is, what is it that you do on your computer at home that you couldn't really do with any other method: phone, fax, work computer, actual face-to-face?

Other People's Crap

It's T-shirt weather today. The sun is out, there's a slight breeze, and it's nice and warm (23C). What a refreshing change from all the bullsh!t -- other people's bullsh!t, no less -- that I'm having to deal with in recent days. Seriously stressed out.


Look, I don't mind when people are irrational in their thoughts or decisions. I don't care if people want to do things that jeopardize themselves or ruin the way people see them or whatever.

As long as it doesn't affect me.

But now it's having an impact on me and my plans. And that's pissing me off.

Born Every Minute

I'm a regular person; I have strengths and I have weaknesses.

I'm a sucker for Apple stuff. That kind of attention to detail, that consideration for the overall user experience, just makes me want to throw blank cheques at their coffers.

I'm a sucker for a good burger. It reminds me of a sunny afternoon, whether just grilling in the backyard or at the beach, or sitting outside a deli and enjoying the sights of the park.

I'm a sucker for a sweet smile and a kind word. After all, in this world where everyone is getting increasingly grouchy, who isn't? You'd be surprised how far a kind demeanor can really get your these days.

But I'm definitely not a sucker for girls who are trying to be all cutesy/whiney. At this firm, there are tons of girls like that. They plead with you to work faster and meet their deadlines so they can look good in front of the customer. No, sorry, it doesn't work on me, sorry. Plus, those deadlines are usually just fabricated anyhow, so I make sure to check first with the client directly. Never trust a cutesy girl; as one of my ex-bosses warned me, they are trouble!

So, that's me. What are you a sucker for?

Phone Home

In her rush to get to work one morning, M accidentally left her mobile phone at home. This got me to thinking, what is a mobile phone? As in, what does the mobile phone really mean to us these days?

Let's say you accidentally forgot to bring your mobile phone with you one particular workday. And let's say you don't really have any solid plans after work -- like, you want to hit the gym as part of your routine, but it's not like you had a client dinner meeting that you could never ever miss.

What impact would this have on this particular day in your life? What would you (have to) do about it?

For me, it used to be that it just meant I didn't have my phone with me. No biggie. And in the very beginning, I had everyone's phone number memorized anyhow; I was faster punching the number in than finding it in the StarTAC's phone memory.

Then in SF, my routine was solid enough that I would still go through with it as usual: work, gym, dinner, home. All the people I needed to talk to at work were accessible in the office. All the people I needed to talk to socially were online on MSN, YIM, or email, so that wasn't really an issue either. Sure, I loved my Nokia 8260, but I could still get through the day without much trouble -- I even memorized a few of my most frequently-used phone numbers.

But all that changed.

After moving to Taipei, I stopped memorizing phone numbers (mostly). I started to put more calendar information into W800i. I still didn't have a landline, so that didn't change, and I could still reach everyone by email/IM. Except, I spent a lot more time away from home (which was somewhat out of the way) meaning I had to do without my phone for a longer period of time without contact. [shrug] I guess that was alright, except that my mobile phone was a major communication device at my previous work: clients and partners would call me and expect me to be instantly reachable. (Yeah, that part sucked.)

Then the iPhone came.

And now that I'm all iPhoned up, this little beast carries all my contact information (even from past companies, whom I would never call on even a rare basis), my calendar schedule, my music (for listening to while at work), and a movie or so (in case I have a long waiting period to endure). It's definitely the digital counterpart to my life: there's a lot more going on now. And I have basically forgotten all mobile phone numbers except my own and a handful of others.

But even today, if I left it at home by accident, I wouldn't make a special trip home just to fetch it again unless it was on the way. With my trial .Mac account, all my basic contacts and calendar info is synced online, so I can still contact people as long as I'm at a computer with a net connection. I just can't be reached by anyone (except again by email or Gchat).

Maybe one day, I'll try leaving the house without my mobile phone. And see how naked I feel, or whether I'll actually enjoy the burdenless feeling of being tech-naked and frolicking in the sun.

That would truly be wireless freedom.

Bubble Boy

Great, yet another sandstorm hailing in from China. It basically means that the already-polluted airs over Taipei will have sand particles thrown into the mix.

I've noticed a rather disturbed downward trend in my health since moving to Taiwan.

When I got really sick last winter (2007), at the lowest point, I could barely walk half a block before my asthma kicked in and I'd have to stop and puff. I started getting allergic reactions to even the slightest foods: a doctor told me to avoid chocolate, seafood, and various types of nuts, while a Chinese doctor give me another whole list of foods to abstain from: beef, certain vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.

It was also around then that I started developing a mild allergic reaction to certain metals, but only when my health was in bad shape (i.e., when I had a cold). When I get sick now, I have to remove my watch because my left wrist gets itchy after a while.

And after a bad bout of food poisoning early during my residence here, I discovered (in a most unfortunate way) that I'm very allergic to Tiger Balm.

The latest substance that I seem to be allergic to now is ... essential oils. Like the ones you put in the diffuser with water, and then light a tealight underneath to make your place smell habitable. Yes, I know you're not supposed to put it on you, but there was a mosquito in the place that we couldn't confirm if we killed or not, so the next step was to have the smell of lavender on us so it wouldn't come after me as I slept.

And now, I have rashes on my wrists and ankles.

I swear, it's only a matter of time before I should really just confine myself to a little bubble dome just to stay healthy.

On another note (also somewhat related to bubbles), I've recently taken a turn back to enjoying a regular dose of bubble tea. It's really too bad that, at a hefty 500kcal per 500cc cup serving, it's a craving I'll have to curb quickly.

Stretch and Twist

You know you're getting old(er) and (increasingly) out of shape when, after sitting at your desk for half an hour, you lean back in your chair for a nice big stretch and yawn ... and twist out your back under such incredible physical strain.