Sunday, June 17

You're Doing It Wrong

Saw a good minor example of "you're doing it wrong" today. After completing my duties at one of the local public facilities, just as I finish washing my hands and turn for the door, I see a guy burst in, wash his hands, then go into the cubicle. Wait, what?

Additionally, god I wish I'd had my phone on me this afternoon. I saw an awesome classic mullet. There're quite a few mullets around here, but they're mostly trendy Jappo mullets, all fashionable and shit. They're still mullets though. But this dude today, holy shit. Classic business-up-front, party-out-back mullet - flat-top, shorn sides, and hair going halfway down his back looking all unwashed and hell of icky. Fucking epic mullet, and I wish I could've shared it with y'all.

Friday, June 15

Party Like It's 1989

God fucking damn I love YouTube sometimes:

Tuesday, June 12

Strange Things in a Strange Land

Sometimes things happen, wherever you are, that just defy all logic, all reason. Things to which no logical sequence of events could possibly lead. I saw just such a thing yesterday, and I will probably never figure it out.

I spent the afternoon at the Starbucks by Daan MRT station finishing off some work. With that down, I headed out to the MRT station to head home. As I approach the station entrance, I see a huge crowd gathered around, and while crowds of people are nothing special in Taipei, this crowd was actually stationary and focused on something. Something probably connected to the wailing, screaming kid noises. Getting closer, I see the sight, the scene that just fucking bewilders me still.

A little girl, no older than seven or eight, tops, is lying, if you can call it that, on the top handrail of steps leading into the station, flailing and crying, her legs wrapped around the handrail for dear life. (Bear in mind, there are only a handful of steps, and the handrail's probably a meter or so above them, so that was odd in and of itself.) Next to the kid is a parent - a fucking whale of a parent at that, to the point where I couldn't tell if it was mother or father 'cause at that size it would have had tits either way - grappling with the flailing monster, trying desperately to wrap their offspring in a towel. A towel? Yes, for a very specific - I hesitate to say good - reason. Now this is the part that renders the scene utterly unintelligible:

The kid was soaking wet, head to toe, and buck fucking naked.

So to recap: In central Taipei, a city of roughly six million people, this kid somehow ended up:

  • At the MRT station
  • Angry/mental
  • Wrapped around a handrail
  • Soaking wet, and
  • Butt naked
I just don't know how in the hell that's even possible. Seriously, what the fuck. What sequence of events could possibly end in that result?

The world is a fucked up place sometimes.

Insert Appropriate Theme

I feel like motherfucking MacGyver. All set for the inevitable in-flight power drain problem.
Truant, you're the man now dawg.

Sunday, May 27



Tuesday, May 15

hahahaha oh wow

The new Blogger Analytics interface, despite a few issues, is quality entertainment. It now provides a list of keywords/phrases used by people that stumbled upon your site. Here's a selection of the best/worst for last week:

"that's no good for me"
- Why the fuck is anyone Googling for this? And what do you expect to get? More to the point, why would you want to get it if it's no good for you?

"medieval times making life simpler"
- Ah, the good old days, when you could own slaves, shit wherever the urge took you, and families got together for a cheerful weekend witch-burning.

"cryptic messages"
- I don't even know what the hell is going on with this.

"weird things people do from other countries"
- Well, at least it's appropriate. A little... vague, search-wise, and kind of mindfuckingly ignorant, but hey.

"black people 'when you see it' 'shit bricks'"
- Nigger stole my bike.

"eight year olds dude"
- I know, I know, but still.

"chargin mah lazer vagina"
- And I thought dentata were scary enough. I hope to every available deity I never come across (lol innuendo) a "lazer vagina," let alone a fully charged one.

Monday, May 14

It Was A Good Day (Week)

Pfft, as if a week off from this is anything new.

It was a good week. Got most of my work handled by the middle of the week, then made the most of the good weather on Friday, chilling out in the park, and then hitting up Yangmingshan Saturday afternoon. It's nice up there, nice and sunny, up above the smog and shit of Taipei, and full of people doing normal people shit you don't see in Taipei normally, like a family in the park playing backyard baseball. Nice recharge, and I'll slap up a few photos once I figure how to get the transfers off my phone working.

The nights were good too. Friday went out to Alleycat's at the invitation of Frost and got a nice dinner, chatting with people (and learning about the freakish genius of Blue Jam), before briefly going to the Taiwan Beer Bar and then to a place near the BJJ club called Playing, where me, Miltownkid, Pedro, and a few others hit up the hookah and potato wedges. Saturday, Bryan had a DJ gig at The Source, so from midnight till about 4 I was there making the most of the all-you-can-drink offer and spitting bilingual game like a modded PS2.

Then back into BJJ tonight after a week off for work/injuries/dodginess.

It was a good week.

Friday, May 4

Reasons I Hate My Job

Perfect example today of why I want out of this buxiban gig. Unfortunately for the time being I need the money. Going to Norway ain't paying for itself.

After arriving a half-hour late for an hour-and-a-half appointment, she brings this much information:

Academic Background: Studied to first year senior high in Taiwan, moved to Canada, studied at UBC.
Applying for: Business
Goals: Europe is a hub of global business and a major player on the world stage. Chose to study in England to broaden her horizons beyond Taiwan and North America. Hopes to have a chance to develop in Europe and apply her studies to the workplace, and help develop trade links between China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Somehow I'm supposed to get a two-page long study plan out of that. For fuck's sake.

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63, also known as Tempting Fate

Is it can be Intertubes lawyering letter tiem now pleez?

(For the uninitiated - as I was until today:

Monday, April 30

Wednesday, April 25

Crackers Fit for a Fuhrer

It's no Dongda Hospital for Anus and Intestine Disease, but I finally discovered a new piece of quality English. I'm not sure if it's a pun, a bad idea, a bad translation, or completely innocent and anything wrong is in my mind rather than their product, though. Here's the source - a packet of rice crackers from Thailand:

It's not immediately obvious - which makes it even better - but look more closely at the top left corner:

Disregarding any possible Aryan connotations, the title is fair enough - this stuff is hell of tasty.

Pardon the Solemnity

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

I've Choked Bitches Out for Less

I think I finally became part of the club at training Monday night. Pedro was teaching us noobs how to do rear control (lol gay jokes). Then, soon after, we moved on to a submission from that position - something I'm sure you're all familiar with, the sleeper hold.

Now this guy I was training with, as Sinclair noted, clearly has some issues with his fight or flight reflex; that is to say, he doesn't seem to have one. First couple of times we practiced, he got a good hold on and I tapped quickly, but then after I tried it a couple of times, I'm holding it there, waiting for the tap, when suddenly he just spasms for a moment, then Pedro leaps up and pulls me off him.

I now understand why they call it a sleeper.

This guy had not only passed out, he actually began snoring, and not just nasally grunty type snoring, but Looney Tunes-esque, cheeks flapping around type snoring.

Pedro sorted him out quick, and we tried again. A couple of tries later and boom, same result. Right down to the snoring. Seriously, it's not that hard to figure out when to tap - when you start feeling a headrush, it's time to pussy out.

Tuesday, April 17

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

One of the latest mysteries of Taiwan - and presumably other countries, but I'm not in other countries - to rear its head and occupy my mind is this:

Why do convenience stores advertise on TV?

What's the point? No-one has and brand loyalty to any particular convenience store; if I want to go buy a Coke or whatever, I go to the nearest store, I don't home in on, say, 7-Eleven. The only times anyone specifically goes to store x are when that store has a particular thing others don't - for instance, as far as I know Family Mart is the only one that sells SkypeOut credit - or, for some people, if you want to collect that rubbish they give away.

I know it must serve some purpose, surely. There has to be some effect. But I don't see it. I just don't get it. I understand why fast food chains advertise - there's a genuine preference issue there; some people prefer Burger King, others prefer McDonalds, and the role of advertising is essentially conversion. But that doesn't work for convenience stores.

Monday, April 16

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Been working most of the night on an article for Taiwan Panorama and came across what might be the single most unexpected cultural (or rather, cross-cultural) reference in any Chinese-language text I have ever read. A section heading in the article reads:

馬蓋先的養成 (ma3gai4xian1 de yang3cheng2)

I read that and figured Ma Gaixian must be some dude's name. I googled it to be sure, and found out what it is. It is a dude. Very much a dude. And a dude that was apparently huge in Taiwan back in the day. That dude? See if this rings any bells:

(For those of you either too senile to remember that theme or jonesing for the original: here you go. And the clip's even rocking the old-school 2.)

Wednesday, April 11

Paisei Seems to be the Hardest Word

I finally had a student at the buxiban of the type that motivated the naming of this blog.

After being 10 minutes late for his first appointment last week, and 40 minutes late yesterday, this dumbshit managed to be a full hour late today. Both today and yesterday were 11am appointments, so after yesterday you'd think he'd figure out to leave home earlier. Apparently not. Instead, he demonstrated that most frustrating, quintessentially Taiwanese of traits: paisei.

For the uninitiated, paisei is basically Taiwanese for "sorry," but in Taiwan it's become a state of mind. To be paisei, basically all you have to do is make a completely unmeant apology by saying paisei a couple of times, bow a little, and smile relentlessly. Don't actually apologize though, and never mean it. Basically, it's like groveling and retardation mixed into one delightful ball of shit.

So this guy comes in an hour late, sits down, and utterly refuses to comprehend why I told him that being an hour late for a 40-minute appointment was unsatisfactory and to make a new appointment. He ended up making an appointment for 1pm tomorrow. Let's see if he's learned his lesson.

Monday, April 9

Goddamn Fucking Domain Squatters

Looks like the ownership of the host domain for that song got snatched up by a bunch of squatting faggots. Here's a new link, hosted on Rapidshare this time:

Beefy feat. Drown Radio - The Sound

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' (What)

Went down on Saturday to the Taiwan Brazilian Jiujitsu Club to check out the free into lesson-thing with Pedro the Black Belt Pimp. One of the only adjectives I can think of to describe that stuff is "rapey". There's something inarguably rapey about throwing someone to the ground, pinning them there, and straddling their chest. Despite that, it was actually pretty fun, and finances allowing I might give that shit a shot.

In other news, have a free song. It's genuinely free too, like being given away by the artist and shit, and I've been listening to it heaps this past week. Be warned - heavy concentrations of white rapping nerds ahead.

Beefy (feat. Drown Radio) - The Sound

Thursday, April 5


After a quick tweak to Google Analytics, I'm now able to get referral URLs telling me where people are coming from to get here. And it's taught me something scary: apparently this blog is in top 10 results (number seven right now) when people Google for "Imma chargin' mah lazer" and "Imma firin' mah lazer" (number eight for that one). To celebrate this oddity of Googlage:

Temporarily Stairs

An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an "Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order" sign, just "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."
- Mitch Hedberg

In Taipei Main Station on Monday, I was heading down to the MRT Blue Line, making my way along with the crowd to one of the escalators down to the platform. I get there, and just as I'm about to step onto the escalator, this stupid fat bitch in white turns around and starts walking back up and off the escalator. It was at this point I realize the escalator's not moving. OK, that's a surprise, but I don't see why it merits getting off the escalator. But then she one-ups that; she walks across about a foot, and starts walking down the stairs instead.

Um..... yeah. OK.

Monday, April 2

I Scoff at Your So-called "Rule of Law"

Finally, today, proof that Taiwanese are not devoid of a sense of irony. I hope.

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is to appear in court for a hearing tomorrow, said yesterday he would run for president next year even if the court were to render a guilty verdict.

"If the first trial finds me guilty, I will still run" said Ma, who is set to register his candidacy for the KMT presidential primary soon.

"They would not get what they want by trying to use litigation to beset me, or even knock me down," he said.

Ma is suspected of embezzling NT$11 million (US$332,425) and was indicted on Feb. 13 on corruption charges.

Source: Taipei Times, April 2

Now a Taiwanese politician ignoring the law and common sense is nothing new, but bear in mind, this man has a Bachelor of Law from National Taiwan University, an LL.M. from New York University, and an S.J.D. from Harvard. The man understands the concept of "guilty means you did bad shit". And the idea that a convicted criminal, especially one convicted of stealing public money, should not be running the country should not be that hard for a Harvard graduate to fully comprehend.

Reading The View from Taiwan the other day, I found a link to this blog post, wherein the blogger in question wonders aloud why so many foreigners in Taiwan seem so pessimistic about the place. Protip: Bullshit like this is why.

Wednesday, March 28

Allahu Snackbar

After hearing about the place in the weekend from my flatmate Bryan, I finally managed to hit up Sababa Pita Bar today. Apparently they opened back in October or November, but this is the first I've heard of it, which is surprising. It's absolutely excellent.

The food is all nice and cheap, with pita sandwich type things costing NT$98 (NT$148 with chips and a drink), and the "cigars" - Middle Eastern spring rolls, basically - are delicious, particularly the Moroccan (spiced mince with pine nuts). I went down this afternoon and tried the chicken souvlaki pita and two cigars - the Moroccan and the Egyptian (spicy cheese). NT$244 in total, and a hell of a good feed. Tasty, freshly made, friendly service (with staff that actually speak English, rather than just pretending to)... top shelf the whole way. It is a little small, and their hours need some work (11:30am-9:00pm), but those are minor issues. They also do take-out and sell pita, hummus, tahini, and such in bulk. Strongly recommended for those of you in Taipei.

The restaurant's address is 1F, Alley 54, Lane 118, Heping E. Rd. Sec. 2, but the easiest way to get there is head to the corner of Fuxing S. and Xinhai, turn right onto Xinhai, right again at the Hi-life convenience store, and then first left. There's a map on the site that makes it clearer than that muddied-up pile of shit description though.

Thursday, March 22

Wednesday, March 21

Both Sides Now

Finally got off my ass and made it back down to Riverside for the first time in a while to check out one of my favorite indie acts here, Coach. Unfortunately, first I had to sit through the support act. (pic related)

The first act of the double-header, and as such the first hour of two, was a band I'd heard of only in passing, The White Eyes. As it turns out, there's a reason "in passing" is the most I've heard of them. They represent almost everything that is epic fail in Taiwanese popular and youth culture. The music is technically tolerable, but they desperately, desperately want to be punk, except for the fact they have none of the talent, emotion, experience, or linguistic capability necessary to do so. The guitarists do nothing more than thrash out the same piece of shit "melody" that they've robotically memorized for EVERY. SINGLE. SONG., while the "vocalist" - in the loosest sense of the term - screams incoherent English lyrics into the microphone. Even better, she seems to have decided that punk = British, so she does all this with an amazingly affected pseudo-English accent and peppering her songs with Britishisms like "bloody," despite clearly not understanding them. This leads to her sounding like the bastard love child of Sid Vicious and Mushmouth, but without the eloquence. Even worse, they have no stage presence. None. Zero. It was the loudest hour of boredom ever.

tl;dr: The White Eyes are fucking lifeless, soulless, poor excuses for robotic punks.

But then Coach came on, and renewed my faith in Taiwan and Taiwanese music.
These boys know how to put on a fucking show. Talking shit to each other and the audience between songs, getting the audience singing along - no mean feat here either, each of the instruments working together instead of sounding like a bunch of showoffy fucks, and a lead vocalist who stalks and bounces around the stage like he owns that shit. The sheer energy they put out in that hour had everyone in the crowd enjoying themselves. Good thing, too, since last time I saw them they put on a decidedly average show, and sounded like they were going soft. Turns out that was a slump, at worst.

You'd think in a culture so oppressive of creativity, independence, and individualism, Taiwanese youth would freak the fuck out like their Japanese counterparts do. But no, most just buckle under the pressure and become robots capable of little more than soulless memorization and repetition. Thank God there are some who manage to come out of the process with some sense of themselves. That minority give me faith that perhaps there's a chance Taiwan's going to end up alright after all.

For your listening pleasure (and as a reward for getting through all that crap): Coach - Ballet Girl (mp3)

Sunday, March 18

Lords and Ladies, Welcome to Medieval Times!

In yet more proof that flying to Taiwan must at some point involve a trip backward in time - it's the only explanation for much of the weirdness here - this story from Saturday's Taipei Times talks about protests over the closure of Losheng Leprosarium in Taipei County.

It's not the protests, nor the closure of the leprosarium that has me confused. No, it's much simpler than that. What the hell is a (presumably) developed country in the 21st century doing with a fucking leper colony? I thought that stopped getting taken seriously around about the time they stopped bleeding people to cure diseases. How on Earth does a country responsible for making some of the more high-tech components for iconic 21st century products like iPods, Wii's, and big-ass TV's simultaneously also have such archaic ideas about, well, anyone who's even remotely different to the hoi polloi? This is madness!

Friday, March 16

A New Low for the Taiwanese Media

One habit I wish I could break is watching the news channels here from time to time. As anyone who's seen them will know, I use "news" in the loosest possible definition. For the uninformed, these channels make Entertainment Tonight look like BBC News in terms of content, ethics, style, and general value to society.

That being said, one of the channels - I forget which - hit a new low, something I had previously imagined impossible. But they did it. They reported, po-faced and with dead seriousness, a televised assault by Donald Trump on another celebrity. That celebrity? The video below (in particular the last 30 seconds) should make it crystal clear:

Again I ask: Seriously, what the fuck? How is it the Taiwanese news media manage to be more naive and gullible than a 10-year-old child?

Wednesday, March 14

My Karmic Checking Account Runneth Over

The universe apparently approves of my actions of the past couple of weeks. At Chinese New Year, and after some inspiration, I've finally gotten around to trying to get my work shit serious. I've got some nice pimp business cards (not quite American Psycho, but fuck it, good enough for me), signed up on a couple of professional translation community sites, hooked up my own website (in good time, in good time), sorted out my resume, all that shit. And in the space of two weeks I've landed two new clients - through recommendations, so I must be doing something right - with a potentially fucking awesome job waiting approval. The goal is to be able to ditch my buxiban work - or most of it - by the time my ARC is due this December, and live off freelance and Sinorama Taiwan Panorama work. Once that shit's golden, it might be time to consider hitting up Taichung or Kaohsiung instead of Taipei, rocking the cheaper rent and nicer weather, and rolling like a motherfucking P I M P. That said, leaving Taipei could suck for all kinds of reasons, but whatever, I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

Saturday, March 10

Monday, February 19

Bah Humpig

I feel for any of you who're stuck with watching Western media over Chinese New Year, because their bullshit is grating already. First is CNN's constant reference to the "Golden Pig" year being "rare" - bullshit it's rare. It's no more rare than October 10, or any other date or time you can predict 100% accurately in advance and that happens regularly, once per cycle. In this case, it's exactly the same time every 60 years, just like every other combination of zodiac and element in the Chinese system. Is April 3 "rare" because it only happens once every 365 days?

Second is their harping on this. Yes, it's definitely a superstition in these parts - and people are retarded superstitious - but here's a reality check on all that "Golden Pig babies are destined for good fortune" - people born during the last Golden Pig year include:

And that's just getting into the K's. Destined for good fortune my comically oversized ass.

Saturday, February 17

Hey I have a question

Which circle of hell is reserved for people who ogle a cute chick's tits while her elder brother is seathed right across from them?

(There would be a picture of tits here but I'm too lazy)

Saturday, February 3


There are moments when this country doesn't so much annoy, frustrate, or amuse me as it does just fucking boggle the mind. Moments like today, when I saw the bus-side ad for the movie Ghost Rider, which included the standard note about who was performing the Chinese-language "theme" for the thing. Now Taiwan's remarkably thin on anything even remotely approaching masculine musically, but surely they're taking the piss now.

The performers of the theme song for Ghost Rider are 5566 - these guys:

For your reference, this is Ghost Rider:

Seriously. What the fuck people.

Tuesday, January 16

More Mixed Eggs

General frustration time: Imagine an English-speaking country where most people couldn't tell the difference between "thank" and "sank". Welcome to the English equivalent of Taiwanese Mandarin. It's even more frustrating when you encounter a dumb fuck who can't even recognize the difference in writing. Jesus Christ I need to find more work so I can do less of this godforsaken buxiban shit.

Friday, January 12

Reasons Why Not, #1

So yesterday (local time), the pretty bastard piece of kit on the left was announced. And already in the Herald I see a story reflecting one of the reasons that despite the frequent idiocy and frustration Taiwan provides, I'm in no hurry to return to NZ for any substantial length of time:

Running Apple's new iPhone could in the future cost New Zealand users hundreds of dollars a month. And it could be 10 years before the mobile broadband needed to run the phones is affordable.
Full story

Meanwhile here in Taipei, I've got an, IIRC, 8M-down broadband connection at home, no data cap, flat monthly rate of like NZ$20 a month, and a city mostly covered by a (non-free) WiFi network, and shittons of WiFi hotspots, free and pay, throughout the city. That shit is going to be no concern. The only major concern is going to be the whopping fucking US$500 price tag. Fuck that noise. I may want an iPhone, but not for that price.

Wednesday, January 10

lols cryptic messages

See what I did there, bitch?

Monday, January 1

Mixed Eggs 101: Giant Enemy Crabs

To usher in the new year, I scored a minor victory for all frustrated Chinese-speaking foreigners in Taipei tonight. After choosing to piss away some money on a mediocre steak dinner at the Outback Steak House, I made my way to said location. The staff were friendly and the service was decent - nothing short of a minor miracle for the Taiwanese service industry - and so I did the standard being nice and friendly back thing, as you do.
Now, being the Outback Steak House, where they seem to pride themselves on their English, the whole proceeding took place in English, and the staff are by and large pretty good at the language, so no problem there. But as my dining progressed, I began to overhear the staff behind the bar - where I was sitting - cracking jokes and commenting about the foreigner there. Nothing offensive, aside from the fact they were doing it all in Chinese. This is by no means an exclusively local habit - lord knows there's a shit-ton of foreigners about that talk shit about locals and assume they speak no English, myself occasionally included. But the difference here is we're not in the service industry, and not at work at the time. So I just sit there, eat my food, read my paper, and keep listening, never even hinting at the certain piece of information they lacked.
My meal finished, I paid my bill and began to head out. I decided, though, to leave the staff with a parting gift. I went up the bar to the lass who'd been doing most of the serving, and in a perfectly deadpan tone, told her (in English), "You might want to tell your coworkers, some of us foreigners understand Chinese," after which I turned and headed out, but not before seeing the realization dawn on her face. As I headed to the escalators, my ears were met by gasps of shock and embarrassment. lol losing face to a foreigner.
Weak point attacked for massive damage.