Saturday, August 04, 2001
25 years ago, I would waste entire Saturday mornings glued to the TV set watching cartoons. Now I waste my Saturday mornings glued to my computer monitor. Is this progress?
15 years ago I took the Johnson O'Conner aptitude test. One of my highest scores, if not my highest score, was for something called "Ideaphoria", which meant the rate of idea flow, and was 'measured' by giving the subject a piece of blank paper and seeing how much they could write within a certain amount of time. I wrote something like "Well, here I am sitting at this here table in a room with no windows, and trying, without much success, to think of anything interesting to write about. This guy with the stopwatch is giving me the creeps. I wish he'd go away. What's with those glasses, anyway..." and that sort of thing. I covered both sides of the paper with such drivel, and recently it dawned on me that that was my first blog entry. Testing someone's ideaphoria isn't necessarily testing their idea flow, but really how much bullshit they can put out. It's not testing the quality of the ideas, just the quanity. In other words, your typical blog.
For some reason a lot of people have been looking at my photography in the last few days. This is a good thing, since having a place to show off my pictures was the original reason I came up with this site. And as much as I enjoy taking the piss out of A-listers, that's not why I'm doing this. Actually, I'm not entirely sure exactly why I'm doing this, but it sure as hell ain't that. That would be just too embarrassing. I don't care how many hits it gives me.
At sword class last night, our teacher asked us if we wanted to compete at an event in October. I am not really interested in competition, but most of the group seemed to want to do it, so I guess I will, too. It couldn't hurt, I guess, and it will probably help me improve my form. I don't know if I wil be there for practice all the time, though. After the play I had hoped to use some of my weekends for a bit of travelling, to Taichung or Kaohsiung perhaps, or even to Green Island and/or Orchid Island. I just need to get out of this city for a while. It's summer, after all! A lot depends on what happens with my employment situation, in that if I stay where I am I will have 2-4 weeks off for my annual leave, but if I change jobs I will have more time in general but no annual leave. But I'm not going to let it bother me tonight, oh no! Not tonight! Or today, either, because it's a beautiful, sunny Saturday, and I just have to be out in it somewhere.
Friday, August 03, 2001
I love the way getting on the Blogs of Note almost always results in a little Oscar ceremony-like speech by the blogger in question. "I'd like to thank Ev, my mother, my friend Alicia, without whose epileptic fits this blog would be nothing, and especially the 7 or 8 people who visit my site each and every day, rain or shine.*sniff* This...this is for you!" (cue blogger to burst into tears and have to be led off stage).
My speech would be something like "I'd like to thank Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., for without the assassination of these two men causing the rampant chaos and atmosphere of uncertainty in 1968, certain chemicals would have never leaked into my still-developing fetus and warped my mind in such a way as to produce such the social misfit you see before you today. I think Lyndon Johnson and at least two of the Beatles helped out a little, as well. I'm not sure because I didn't get out much back then."
Alright, enough blogging about blogging already. Sheesh!
I took the online test today for the job I am going for (I realize that I really mangled that sentence, which is somewhat inappropriate considering the job in question is an editing job). According to Murphy's Law, I should have had a flurry of urgent cases descend suddenly from all corners of the office, all of which had to be done in a year starting with '19'. Well, let me tell you, Murphy's Law was working perfectly this morning. Still, I managed to (just) finish the test, but there was not much time to proofread what I had just done. But what's done is done, so all I can do now is wait for the results. Wish me luck. I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to need it.
Our boss' birthday is tomorrow, so we just had a little celebration in the lobby and made little deprecating, unfunny jokes about her cutting the cake. I wanted to shout "Hey, how old are you now? 65? 70?", but I didn't want to lose my share of the fruit and sushi. I drew the line at singing Happy Birthday in Chinese and English while clapping my hands like some sort of anime character wannabe, though. The nice thing about working for a large company is that there is always someone else to lick the boss' ass. If the organization is too small, there's always the chance that you'll have to do it, and I am the world's worst ass-licker. No wonder I can't get a date.
Our rehearsal last night was rather unproductive, but it was nice to get together anyway. Dean wants to implement swordfighting in the play, but I doubt a director that refused to show the decapitation and bloody, severed head at the end would be too keen on adding any further violence. We're supposed to have a large crowd this weekend, as ticket sales have reportedly really taken off, and with Gavin at the door, we might just get some violence whether we like it or not. You would understand what I mean by this if you had ever met Gavin, who is shortish, red-headed, continuously in motion and almost the exact opposite of the shyest person you know. I would actually have a hard time imagining him staying at the door long enough to collect tickets were it not for the possibility for physical conflict to keep him there.
After Dr. Wei took my stitches out (there were six of them, by the way), he said "Now, don't pull the wound apart."
"Why would I do that?" I asked.
"Well, I'm just saying..."
"Do people do that? Do people purposely pull their own wounds apart after they get their stitches out?"
"Just don't, ok?" he said, a bit miffed. "I have to tell you that in case you're dumb enough to do it and then sue me for not telling you the bleeding obvious."
Thursday, August 02, 2001
I'm strangely tempted to go to one of Taiwan's many nude beaches and take a few shots of myself for a chance to be on the cover of Playblog, but first I have to ask myself if I'm ready to inflict that kind of punishment upon the unwashed masses. That shouldn't be a problem, as inflicting punishment upon the unwashed masses is what this account is all about. However, I also have to remember that Taiwan doesn't have any nude beaches. Even if it did, I'm not sure I'd want to visit a nude beach that would let me in.
In other lusty news, Andy, the IT guy I have a small crush on, is wearing a muscle shirt to-day...lust from afar...lust from afar........drool from afar...
Our last rehearsal for the play is tonight, and our last two performances are this weekend. It should be fun, as we're likely to get larger audiences this weekend than last, unless another typhoon decides to come visit us. I am also getting the stiches out of my arm after my knife fight with Dr.Wei a couple of weeks ago.
The job I am going for requires me to do an take a test via email at a predetermined time, but since I have rehearsal tonight, I can't do it then. Instead, I will have to ignore my job for a couple of hours (an easy task...I've ignored it for days on end before) to complete the test. If I get this job, I'll have more time to do some things I really need to get done, such as finishing my book, travelling and doing film projects involving mass transportation and explosions (perhaps regrettably, not in the same scene). They're cutting it kind of close, though, since I would like to be able to give a month's notice, and it starts in September.
I wonder if Whiny Woman picks up on the fact that, every day when she walks into the office, sits down at her desk and picks up the phone, I always scramble for my CD player and stuff the earphones into my ears with the same combination of desperation and ferocity that a passenger on a suddenly decompressed airplane reaches for the oxygen mask that pops out of the ceiling.
Last night I watched Evolution on a pirated VCD at Dean's 70's Airport Disco/Loveshack. I realize that this is wrong and that it supports piracy, but since I liked it enough to want to see it in the theater when it comes out, and since a movie ticket at Warner Village costs almost NT$300, I consider my debt to society on this issue paid in full. It is a silly movie, but silly in a good, entertaining way, like so many of Ivan Reitman's films.
Wednesday, August 01, 2001
It's pouring outside. I can just see my motorcycle helmet filling up with water....I don't mind, though; I'm too lazy to carry it around with me all the time. This is one thing I've noticed: foreigners in Taiwan all carry their motorcycle helmets around with them. Why is this? Are they afraid of theft? Do they not enjoy the lurvely feeling of water dripping down their necks? Are they trying to show off? Showing off the fact that one rides a scooter in the country with the world's most scooters would be kind of silly, though.
One time Harry and I were at a restaurant, and we saw an unattended table with a motorcycle helmet on it. "I bet that's a foreigner," I said, but Harry was skeptical. "Not just that, but I'll bet it's a white guy with a Chinese girl. Harry shook his head at these seemingly wild guesses, but it turned out I was right. Probability was on my side, since it seems that many of the white guys in this country are accompanied by really loud Chinese girls. It's like a sort of law. "Excuse me, sir, but I must ask that you produce a valid ARC (Alien Residence Certificate) and ACG (Accompanying Chinese Girl)."
Tom proposed to me his theory this afternoon that Asian Bastard(now defunct), Drunkenstyle, Angry Asian Man and Little.Yellow.Different. were all the same guy, i.e. "Drunken.Angry.Asian.Bastard." Kind of like GM brands...essentially the same cars, but packaged differently...hmmm. I'll have to think about this one.
On a similar note, he also suspects that all the A-listers live in a house in Pacific Heights. I can imagine what it's like when they decide to add a blog to the exalted "Blogs of Note" list:
Meanwhile, back at A-list Manor...
Meg: I saw a blog today.
Ev: Oh, really?
Meg: Yeah. It was...strange. Just this guy, talking about all of these things and people. I had no idea what it was about.
Ev: We'd better notify Jason! Maybe he can make something out of it. And now, Meg...
Ev: To the Blogsofnotemobile!
(they slide down a fireman's pole to their computers, don tights and capes and, in a most heroic fashion, update the Blogs of Note. Enter 60's-style music and wacky credits)
Feeling much better after actually sleeping last night. I don't apologize for yesterday's morose entry; that's just the way I am sometimes. I see it as a bit of a break from my relentless sense of humor.
I managed to stay awake through dinner last night, after which Dean called and wanted to know if I wanted to see Tomb Raider. Hmmm....ok. I was never really into the game, since I am more of a First-person Shooter guy myself, but I was still curious, just in case they try to make a movie out of Unreal or Quake. It was interesting and even fun in a way that didn't put me to sleep, so it served its purpose as far as that goes. Nice gadgets, interesting effects and Angelina Jolie does actually look like a video game character, although to be completely honest it's hard to think of something more insulting to say about an actress' performance.
Whiny Woman is participating in a meeting in the office next to me to decide on a theme for an upcoming commercial. I am witnessing firsthand, as I do most days, the very core of the reason why Taiwanese commecials are so very awful.
I made the mistake of going to the gorgeous guy noodle shop again today. I don't know what I was thinking. Ok, I do know what I was thinking, but even so, it wasn't at all the pleasant experience my imagination had made it out to be. Useful mantra: lust from afar, lust from afar, lust from afar...
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Lord, I'm tired. I've been aching to fall asleep at my desk all day. This was my schedule last night:
2:46 am: After having visited every single site on the Internet, decide to call it a night and go to bed.
4:03 am: Realize that it's much too hot to sleep. I get up and turn down the A/C. But now I can't sleep, so I read something. Anything.
4:51-6:26 am: Watch the sun rise over the park. Wake up Jacques and Diva. Play with turtles. 'Ooh' and 'aah' over their new waterpark.
7:37 am: Try to sleep again and fail miserably. Tidy up room. Trim dead foliage from plants.
8:06 am: Take out the garbage and, in a fit of exasperation, come to work early.
9:00 am - 6:00 pm: Yawn.
I was listening to Lenny Kravitz's '5'. Just hearing 'Black Velveteen' and 'Fly Away' took me back to when I was in LA for the millenium, and I played those songs over and over as I walked up and down Manhattan and Redondo beaches all day and night.
Another CD making itself useful by keeping me awake today: Lo Ta-yu's album 'Hometown' today. This is one great album; my favorite song is 'Hometown II' where he goes through Taiwanese history in the lyrics. "Story of the Train" is good since I have always liked to take the train here instead of the bus. The video has him walking through train car after train car, each one full of both strange and familiar characters. One car, I remember, had 'Jiangshi", or Chinese vampires, with their arms held straight out, hopping to the beat. There's also a song called "From me to you to him" with Lo, Zhao Chuan, Emil Chou and Li Zong-sheng, who back then were all really popular. I know this really dates me, but I think it is really cool the way these guys do this song together, especially when Zhao Chuan does his screaming bit.
This album also reminds me of how much I've changed since 1991, when it came out. Back then I only one of my friends was a foreigner. I was an assistant cameraman at a Taiwanese TV company. I hardly ever even spoke English to anyone. I was hooked on the 8 o'clock soap operas like "Jing Cheng Si Shao"("The Four Gentlemen of the Capital City") and "Bi Hai Qing Tian" every night. I ate biandangs and dumplings almost exclusively. When employed, I made NT$15,000 a month and paid NT3,500 in rent for a closet-sized, un-air conditioned room in a 5th-floor walkup near Hsinhai Rd. For fun I would go out to the beach during the day or to pubs like Funky and Tchaikovsky at night. A lot of that time was spent in dire straits of one sort or another.
Yet, somehow, listening to this album makes me feel like I've sold out in the time since then, especially since I got out of the army. Like I've betrayed some part of myself or something. I know Taiwan has changed a lot since then; so have I, but it's still a strange feeling. Maybe I just need some sleep, but somehow I think I need something else as well.
Monday, July 30, 2001
On this typhoon-inspired holiday, I did: practically nothing. Unless you count sleeping, creating a little theme park in a washbasin for newly-named turtles Jaques and Diva, and eating pizza while I gasped in open admiration for the action sequences in Lethal Weapon 4. One cool thing about DVD is that I can skip over the mushy dialogue bits and get right to the whole purpose behind this kind of film, which is basically Jet Li and a kick-ass car chase/Pontiac commerical.
The director from the other night didn't call, so I assume he found someone else to help him out. I would really have liked to help him out; I would even have taken a couple days off work to do it. The thing with having a steady job is that, when an opportunity comes along, you're not free to take it. I worked on films with Edward Yang and his Gang when I was unemployed, travelling up from Hsinchu for a few months at a time...I guess being independently wealthy is really the way to go if you want to pursue a career in filmmaking.
The other day I came across a couple of interestingly marked cars. The first one was this ridiculous, illegally parked Lexus SUV with a Buddhist swastika on it. At least I assume it was a Buddhist swastika, since you don't see many real-life nazis running around these days, and you really would think they'd buy German. Even so, I have to admit that I can see the Lexus SUV (the pretentious, fake one, not the real SUV they make, the one based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, which is actually one of the best off-road vehicles you can buy) as the vehicle of choice for the discriminating nazi. I can certainly see it better than I could see it as the chosen mode of transportation for your average Buddhist. I would also think that Nazis are more likely to park illegally than Buddhists. I could be wrong about this, though.
Another disturbingly marked car I came across recently was a Zace truck with the words "Super Dadi Belong to Baby's World" written on the sides and back. I can only hope this guy is not a chauffer, as this doesn't exactly instill confidence in his level of maturity. I also hope that "Baby" is his daughter and that she is less than two years old. If she were, say, 17 and her father picked her up from school in that car, she would probably evaporate in embarrassment right then and there. This would actually be cool to watch. I'd buy tickets.
Toraji is taking its sweet time, which is ok by me as we appear to be getting tomorrow off work, so I can stay at home and typhoon-watch. Only about a dozen people braved the weather to come to the play, which is just as well as I came dangerously close to fumbling a line. In fact, we forgot so many lines between us that we finished early. Still, it was fun. Waiting backstage gets a bit tiresome at times, though. Hopefully the next two performances will go even smoother, as long as people don't stop thinking about this play in order to think about the next one.
I've added some new art to my "About" page in the form of a banner, drawn by my friend Simon, who is an artist/web designer. Very cool.
Sunday, July 29, 2001
Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later...just wrote a nice long post, only to have it disappear. Fuck. Usually I can hit the "back" key and get it to return to my post, but not this time. Vanished without a trace. Damn.
Opening night went very well. I think we were all relieved to find out that we could actually do the play from start to finish and have it make sense, in spite of the inevitable hiccups. The copious amounts of Jim Beam we were passing around backstage didn't hurt, either. There was a sizable audience, and titters of laughter during serious scenes involving blood and death indicated that Taiwanese attended as well as foreigners. This phenomenon would be alarming in another country, but in Taiwan people tend to laugh when they feel awkward or uncomfortable, so our desired effect was acheived.
It looks like Typhoon Toraji will be attending tonight's performance, however. I don't know if this will work as our theater is rather small and we might have a problem seating a major atmospheric disturbance. Plus our bouncers suck. They let a lady in for half price just because she came late. Just imagine what they would tell Toraji: "Hey, I know you! You're that typhoon! Hell, just come on in!"
After the performance most of us went out to Kevin's place in Mucha for a party his roommates were holding. As usual, the moment I got out of the cab the smell of fresh air out there caused me to wonder if living in the city is the best idea. I didn't know many people there, but soon more cast members arrived, including The Common Man, whose car broke down. He was looking for a place to stay as he lives in Keelung. Kevin even admitted to reading this journal, which surprised me.
Later on, Ronnie, who used to work at the News, called and told me it was his birthday, so I should come down to the Watershed, which is a surprisingly small bar near Hsinyi Road. I did, and soon found myself being excluded from a group of drunk people discussing George W. Bush's handshake style. Ronnie was rather toasted by that time, and I was tired, so I left.
Shawn has emailed me the following suggestions for naming my turtles, who are now watching me type this with an understandable amount of facination:
Bud and Lou (Shawn and I played Libyan terrorists with the code names Bud and Lou in a student video back in the late 80's for Mrs. Bell's high school history class)
Aeryn and Crichton (from Farscape, of course)
Fric and Frac
BlodBlod and Tweeter
PB and J
Rice and Noodles (I don't know if I want to make culinary reference when talking to turtles)
Trite and Banal (most people probably think this about my writing already. Do I really want to rub it in?)
Wit and Sarcasm (my muses)
Hmmmm. I was going to call them Green and Blue, but then I it just occurred to me that they're both green. Maybe Jogger and Sunbather, since that pretty much describes their behavior so far. Jogger keeps trying to get out of the bowl and, like some sort of yuppie, is far more active than a turtle has a right to be, while Sunbather just stretches out on a rock and waits for the rays. Maybe I need to get a bigger, sunnier bowl, or a real Turtlarium.
I've been trying to get permanent links up and working, but every time I try to insert the right code, my text disappears and leaves the links. Sorry if it looks like the text has been disappearing and reappearing.
Tom and Ed are doing a Blogathon today. It looks rather grueling. Go feed, parasite-like, off of their sweat and blood.