Poagao's Journal
Saturday, May 12, 2001
I updated my Photographypage with several new photos, which are located at the bottom of the list. I also added the Penghu story to my Writing page and updated the News from the Renegade Province. Enjoy!

There's a tropical storm here for the weekend. Wouldn't really know it from looking out the window. It's offical name is Tropical Storm Cimaron. Maybe it's like the Cadillac Cimmaron, in that you really wouldn't know it was a Cadillac from the look of it.

Sword practice went well last night, I thought. I am starting to pick things up and I am able to remember more and more parts of the form we're learning. I am going to start practicing twice a week instead of once, because they have the class on Sunday mornings too, and maybe even join the Tui-shou class too. "You should go. Foreigners all love Tui-shou," the teacher said when inviting me. Someone brought a sword they had had made to class last night. It was beautiful, with real steel and a dragon-head handle, heavy and bright with Chinese characters etched into the blade. Maybe someday if I ever get good enough I can justify owning such a sword. For now, though, my practice swords are good enough.

Went out last night with Dean and met some people from the GIO. Man, they have it good over there. Lot's of money, not too much to do, excellent benefits...I keep kicking myself that I didn't go in there personally to hand in my resume so that they would see that I am an actual native speaker of English, and I would have at least gotten an interview. But that's ok; these kinds of things have a way of working out anyway.

Finally got my namecards done, anyway. When the boss's wife saw me, she asked her husband if I was an American or an Indian. I guess that, since there is an Indian food restaurant across the street, they get a lot of Indian people there. You may be interested to know that I refrained from making any smart comments, though. Yeah, I'm learning.

Thursday, May 10, 2001
I have learned some new words recently. Words like "Bobo", which I had thought was the main character in a children's book written by my friend Boogie. I'm pretty sure he even has a copyright to it, but apparently Vogue has appropriated this term to denote a certain class of people as an abbreviation for "Bohemian Bourgoise". Or possibly "Bourgoise Bohemian", I don't know. Either way, the whole concept makes me feel distinctly queasy.

Another term I've seen recently is "Dinky". This doesn't, as the dictionary would have you believe, mean "small" or "tiny" any longer. No. Now it is an abbreviation for "Double Income No Kids". So I am editing this report and I come across a sentence like "32% of dinky women preferred to eat out on weekends." and then the whole office is staring at me as I roll around on the floor, laughing my head off, gasping "Dinky women! Bwahaaaaaaaaaaa...! Oh, I can't stand it! Get outa here!"

Powerful stuff, that Spirit Ethyl Nitrate.

And now my portable CD player is on the fritz(I don't even want to know where that reference came from. Who was Fritz and why is anything that doesn't work supposed to be "on" him? Was his wife broken? What's up with that?) I would normally rush out and buy a Rio Volt MP3/CD player, but Amazon won't ship the damn thing out of the US, even though it is made in China, and they don't seem to be in a rush to sell it here, even though they would be making a huge amount of money. I guess I'll have to wait until the next time the US decides to kick my buddy Mindcrime out of the country and ask him to sneak one into Taiwan for me.

Just what the doctor ordered: the contents of the 200 ml bottole of "Kingdom" Mixture(or "Brown Mixture") of Compound Glycyrrhiza that the supposedly modern Western-tradition doctor at the Taiwan Adventist Hospital prescribed for my cough:

Glycyrrhiza fluid extract
Antimony pot. tartrate
Spirit ethyl nitrite
Opium camphor tincture

Damn! Sounds like the mixture from Ye Olde Alchemist as a cure for hogwarts and demonic possession! I have to say, though, I have grown quite fond of the opium, and the pot ain't bad, either. I don't even mind that it leaks and has eaten through the bottom of my backpack.

Last night I actually opened up the file on my computer where I am keep the book I keep wanting to write, and I actually worked on it a bit! It may sound trivial to you, but I haven't done that in years! It's over 40,000 words long so far and it has just been sitting on my harddrive for literally years. But I have been slow in realizing what it means to me, I guess, and I must finish it relatively soon, no matter what. It's just something that has to happen before anything else can, really, and I have long since run out of excuses. If I can check that off my list of things to do, I'll feel a lot better about the Next Stage, whatever it is.

I'd write more right now, but I've literally got shitloads of work to do right now.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001
Luke likes my site! Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But he's been doing this longer than I have, so go look at his site, which is at captainfez.com

Warm, grey and humid, weather-wise...went to the doctor last night and got the traditional bag o' pills so I can feel goofy for the next couple of days, which is fine with me, as long as it gets rid of this lingering cough and malaise. I decided not to cave in to the pressure and am going to make name cards with "TC Lin" on them. To whomever thinks I am keeping myself from stardom because nobody is going to like anything anyone Taiwanese does, sorry. I get enough crap in my daily life as it is, I'm not about to start serving it out myself. I have enough trouble dealing with my laundry; I don't need this.

Got some complaints that my links were hard to read, so I lightened the colors, and I also reformatted the menus so that people who use 800x600 resolution can view them better. I swear, the things I do for you people. *puts hands on hips and shakes head* Now I just have to figure out why my computer isn't getting along with my scanner all of the sudden and I can add more pictures and other stuff, including my Penghu story, which is over 3,400 words long, so long the newspapers wouldn't print it(as far as I know), so it's somewhat of an exclusive. Plus a new story or two for the News page. Yup, yer in for a treat, you are.

Monday, May 07, 2001
I HATE this pressure to totally surrender one's principals in order to serve mass ignorance and pettiness.

What am I talking about? you ask.

My name is TC Lin. Ok, TC is a nickname of sorts, as my official name is Tao-ming Lin. I was going to make a namecard for myself so I wouldn't have to use my company namecard all the time, as it lacks certain information(like my email address and this site's URL). But a friend of mine told me I shouldn't use "Lin". He says I should use my 'real' name, the name I was born under, since I'm not "really" Chinese, and people should know that, because as everyone here knows Chinese people are the scum of the earth while foreigners should be worshipped as gods. Nobody will pay any attention to me unless I play the foreigner angle for all it's worth.

He's probably right, of course. That is, of course, the reason why I didn't even get called in for an interview at the GIO, because I emailed my resume in and they thought I was just another Chinese person and didn't want to bother with me. As it is, I feel like I need to wear a paper bag on my head just to order a meal at a restaurant to get something approaching 'normal' service. It really grates on me, especially when I am required to play the part for whatever reason. I can't do it very well, and I feel like I need a shower afterwards.

Jesus...and I've been here for how many decades? I realize that, of course, there will never be a point, no matter what happens or how long I have lived here, that I will ever be treated as a normal person by most of the people here. I just hate having it rubbed in. I hate being required to participate in the idiotic delusion that foreigners are somehow inherently better than Taiwanese. Sometimes, more often as of late, I think about leaving Taiwan, even though this is my home. I know this place better than any other, but maybe it is time I considered giving someplace else a shot. I know that we take our emotional baggage everywhere with us and that I cannot run away from my problems, I would still like to see what life is like elsewhere for a while.

Ah, I'm probably making too much of this. Maybe Christoper Doyle wouldn't be famous today if he had written "KF Du" on his namecard; I don't know. All I know is, I'm not Christopher Doyle.

Another good weekend. The weather now is quite hot and summerlike, and it may just be here to stay this time. I went hiking with a friend in the hills near the Chingmei stop of the Hsintien MRT line. I had never been there before, but it seemed like quite a nice place. Relatively remote, in that there were the mountains and some semi-fresh air in the vicinity, but with a movie theater and some places to eat. I wonder what it would cost to live out there and what it would be like.

The hike was a good, easy one, but the weather was cloudy so the views of the city weren't great. I snapped a few pictures of a gecko with a strange-looking head(undiscovered species or just your run-of-the-mill waste-induced mutation?) and we descended on the other side of the mountain through a posh, recently opened apartment complex. Most of the rooms looked empty, even though my friend pointed out that the ghost money burner on one of the balconies was already in place.

Yesterday I had planned to get up early and go to sword practice, but when I got there nobody from my class was there, so I went to the beach again, since it was so fun last time, but yesterday, while tempting us with sun in the morning, turned cloudy by the time we got there. We swam a bit and then went to the hot springs at Mazu Keng(see my article on this place in the writing section). There were lots of people there and even more mosquitoes. I had elected to take the MRT to Tamshui again, but my friend Harry took me back to Taipei on the back of his scooter. I hate riding on the back of scooters. After a while I can't feel my behind, although it is probably good for my physique as it feels like I am in the middle of a perpetual sit-up the whole way.

The book I am reading now, Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar, is a happy travel book, one of my favorite kinds of book. A good author can make you look up from your reading and look at your own world with different eyes, and Theroux is just such a writer.

Life is strange beyond words

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