Sunday, 29 January 2012

I can

keep going because I believe in my ability to change for the better.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Over the holidays

I had a million things on the To Do list and only got through VERY FEW of them. Sigh. Here's some photos anyway. 

A bookmark in Moby Dick, featuring Totoro (龍 + 貓)

Cheese omelet for breakfast. 

Puppy and I, with chalkboard wall.

Stew ready for the freezer.

Work in Progress,

Delicious beef stew.

Chopped mushrooms destined for seafood stew.

It's been great being on holiday.  Now I must rush off to try and get a few more things done before the day is through. Epic dancing at Roxy 99 last night... consequently most of the day was wasted, in bed, asleep.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Hold it to the light

"And some weren’t surprised about what had happened, which was also something that I had to wrap my head around: maybe it could have been prevented."

Grace of Project Unbreakable tells her story

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Then & Now

"I'm sorry. I cannot help myself."

At 10 I wished you'd just be a bad guy. But now I know you were just a very flawed man. It's alright. I forgive you.

That was the most disempowering thing you could have said to me because it took the strength of my hatred away. Things became complicated rather than black and white. How do I love the sinner but hate the sin?

(I still have anger, but I will find useful ways to let it out.) 

Monday, 23 January 2012

He was a pretty big deal

"... He had a girlfriend in every major city. I talked to people who watched him buy diamond engagement rings by the dozens. He always had one in his vest pocket."

[via Radiolab, 'Loop the Loop']

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Expertly wrapped

... if I may say so myself. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012


... what is the meaning of the word?

I fear that you might fail me but I know I would never fail myself. When did self-reliance begin? Is there a middle ground? 

Over tea and toast

... the end of Midnight approaches. Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year holidays. Slept in till half past 12; long leisurely walk with the dog; breakfast at half past 1, and I'd be happy if I get through this in the next hour or so.

to have so much free time!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Do it for yourself

Don't sweat the little things, and don't flip the fuck out. You always make yourself apologize afterwards and that's more than a little mortifying. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


車子最討厭選舉期間了。競選車跩的二五八萬,還開的那麼慢。車子看到它們就不爽... 吵死了...馬路又不是你家的,你老闆還不曉得選不選的上哩。車子很高興老闆是不投票的。藍藍綠綠,都沒好貨,哼!... 凍蒜個頭... (其實車子不太了解競選是怎麼回事,只是純粹不喜歡慢慢壓馬路的競選車而已)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Righteous Anger

... of all varieties today. Firstly because it's election eve in Taiwan, and secondly because I saw an article which my friend Cara shared on Facebook.

On national identity. What is your fucking problem, yo?

You don't own designations. Don't say 'I am a real Taiwanese' because that implies there is such a thing as a 'fraudulent Taiwanese'. Just because someone's idea of where the limits of this nation begins and ends (or if it in fact is a nation) does not invalidate their status as 'Taiwanese.' A nation such as ours is as much based on difference as it is on consensus. Borders and nationalities are redrawn and reinvented time and time again. If you cannot propose a vision of the nation which co-opts my imagination, I consider that to be a failure of yours, and I look elsewhere.

Political parties and individuals who rely on stirring up conflict as their sole political platform should slap themselves. This is not a pan-blue or pan-green issue.

—What is your nation if I may ask? says the citizen.
—Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.
(God bless Project Gutenberg; via Ulysses)

Then secondly, an article by Margaret Cho.

When someone says something negative about my face or body I will always and forever just completely lose my shit, because I have so much hatred in me, a violence that lies just beneath the surface of my delightfully illustrated skin.
(via Margaret Cho's blog)

I know what you mean (and I don't mean that in a patronizing way). I respect your anger, and I think there should be more of it because those who don't understand where its coming from need to know.

Finally, right now.

In Kinmen, sitting up in bed wrapped in a heavy duvet. Outside the villages are Ming and Ching dynasty houses, red brick and swallow tail roofs, intermingling with anti-communist slogans, riddled with bullet holes; dilapidated, fallen, renovated; occasional two-story south east asian colonial style family homes, glazed tiles from Japan peeling off the walls, perhaps once richly coloured banners above and flanking doorways faded to pale pastels. Intricate geometric patterned wooden window frames, painted in azure and gold.

The economic boom that had been hoped for with the Three Small Links has passed Kinmen by unscathed. May it remain so, a sleepy, backwater, unprosperous island town, occupied mainly by the aged and the young, carrying the burden of history with apparent ease; tarnishing gradually, gracefully (and secretly all mine).

And you? What legendary things are you up to today?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


all I can say for now is 'if only.' but one day it'll make for an interesting place to begin.

before it is consigned to the oblivion

..of memory, here is an old email to someone. 
  1. does the occasional showers put me off from the idea of a long walk by the river? no. so might do that soon. need some trousers first.
  2. piercings: the pain makes me feel quite alive. not that i don't feel alive without it, but it is an enhancer. there were times in the past when it was the only thing i could feel, which was scary. let's not go there ever again.
  3. alive: someone was trying to jump off folly bridge on my way back to dan's. he was stood on the outside edge of the stonework, crying. a bunch of police trying to talk him off the edge. that's not cool dude... don't do it.
  4. lunch: focaccia with aubergines, tomato and melted cheese. salad with lime juice & olive oil dressing, plus grated parmesan. sliced braeburn apples. if only we had braeburns in taiwan.
  5. lisp: Dan continues to lisp 'Simon, I love you.' I suggested that he get to know you a bit better first, before these sentimental declarations.
  6. memories. dan and i remember different parts of the past and sometimes have to jog one another's memory quite a bit. just as i don't remember punching you on my living room sofa, unless you remind me.
  7. interventions: i know you're trying to get michael to move out but i'm unclear as to what your measures of success would be? what are you trying to achieve and how would you know when you've done it?
  8. future: self discipline. focus. beauty. just some catchphrases standing in for things i'd like to incorporate into the future. i can hardly wait. oh yes, those three, and a lot of silver cutlery.
  9. stuff: i can't imagine moving again. i have so much stuff now. i intend to keep ferrying things into my current flat so i can live the life i've always dreamed.
  10. come on over so i can make lovely meals for you and you can try out my silverware. we'll have heaps of delicious food and wine, and laugh a lot. consider this an open invitation.
that's all for now. have a lovely day.

i love u.


Geek Love

My lil' bro has three clocks on his dashboard. One of them is Taiwan. This takes Geek Love to a whole new level. Woot.

Monday, 9 January 2012


It's like throwing yourself backwards into the water. (You know you can't keep letting it get you down / And you can't keep dragging that dead weight around). Draw a line under it and carry nothing forward, trusting the tension on the surface not to break, not to let you sink down (like you were, a stone, tense and dense). Remember to unlearn, if you want to swim.


It's the idea of dread, and of affirmations, this morning, from a conversation that started at 6 am, which made me chase this down. May we overcome our challenges, unscathed and unharmed. 

Daybreak until nightfall,
he sat by his wife at the hospital
while chemotherapy dripped
through the catheter into her heart.
He drank coffee and read
the Globe. He paced; he worked
on poems; he rubbed her back
and read aloud. Overcome with dread,
they wept and affirmed
their love for each other, witlessly,
over and over again.
When it snowed one morning Jane gazed
at the darkness blurred
with flakes. They pushed the IV pump
which she called Igor
slowly past the nurses' pods, as far
as the outside door
so that she could smell the snowy air.

- "Her Long Illness," by Donald Hall

Friday, 6 January 2012

Other Lives

and of course 

When You and I Were Young, Maggie

I've known of the song for a long time, not sure how I came across it. Never heard the tune, nor read the lyrics, but something about the wistful nostalgia of the title always stuck with me. Then of course the name 'maggie' has plenty of personal associations. I'm pleased to have discovered today that the song's actually not half bad. One day when I can play and sing music, this will definitely be in the repertoire. 

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie,
To watch the scene below -
The creek and the creaking old mill, Maggie,
As we used to, long ago.
The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie,
Where first the daisies sprung;
The creaking old mill is still, Maggie,
Since you and I were young.

And now we are aged and grey, Maggie,
And the trials of life nearly done,
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

A city so silent and lone, Maggie,
Where the young, and the gay, and the best,
In polished white mansions of stone, Maggie,
Have each found a place of rest,
Is built where the birds used to play, Maggie,
And join in the songs that we sung;
For we sang as lovely as they, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

They say that I'm feeble with age, Maggie,
My steps are less sprightly than then,
My face is a well-written page, Maggie,
And time alone was the pen.
They say we are agèd and grey, Maggie,
As sprays by the white breakers flung,
But to me you're as fair as you were, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Half a loaf

Do you buy things you need when you need them even though they aren't exactly what you're looking for? I tend to avoid that sort of thing. I've been needing a pepper-mill for. Oh. About a year now. Also some larger, more flat plates (not popular in Chinese cooking) for breakfast and such. Also a wooden or bamboo spoon so I can eat porridge right out of my non-stick pan.

I've basically been looking for all these things for a year, on and off at different shops. In the mean time I've done without. I've seen plates that were large, and flat, and expensive and ugly or just plain boring. I've seen pepper-mills almost none at all (also not popular in Taiwan). I've seen tons of wooden spoons and bamboo spoons but they weren't right somehow. I haven't been looking hard - just going down the checklist whenever I'm in the vicinity of these items.

Then the other day on my way to work in town, I passed by a restaurant supplies wholesaler. They had deadstock of just about everything. I bought a big old corning plate, a pyrex plate, a wooden pepper-mill (with a metal mechanism) and a bamboo spoon.

For a negligible sum of money as they were all dead stock.

It's just the way I shop, if I feel like I will have to be stuck with something for a long time... Don't like to commit too soon. Consequently my flat still has a lot of empty space.

Geometric dreams (Quick edit)

Monday, 2 January 2012

今天在林口的街上車子打著燈想換線,後邊的卡車卻沒有禮讓,自顧自的跟它擦身而過。車子發現這台卡車載著油桶,漆著老闆公司的行號,而且一定才剛剛跟著自己屁股從倉庫開出來。想到自己被一臺卡車冒犯了,車子氣急敗壞的大喊,喂! 我老闆是經理ㄟ! 你敢超我!! 但是卡車趕著去送貨,跟本沒發現車子在發飆。車子沒趣的換了線,等著要左轉,但是還是碎碎念著... 這群做粗工的就是不瞭解啦,一點歸矩都沒有。

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Taking stock

I find myself living on two different calendars. There ought to be days off around Christmas and New Year to indulge, take stock, reflect, write long catch up emails which have become a little bit of a personal tradition.

But I haven't, because in Taiwan our time off, end of year, 結算 and 掃除 actually comes at Chinese New Year.

For me this period has become a sort of run-up to. I am trying to get things out of the way, whatever needs to be done. I am thinking of all the people I have to write to, and all the things I am grateful for. I just haven't had time to execute.

This year unlike many many previous years there were celebrations on both occasions. A memorable (by being not at all part of my recollections) Christmas party (c/o DC & Linda), and an equally memorable (by being almost entirely sober) New Year's Eve gig (c/o The Muddy Basin Ramblers).

I particularly want to make note of the fact that I've been in Taiwan for 1 1/2 years and I honestly feel like I am home now. I have a working knowledge of the city's major streets (and a good few of the back alleys); I have traveled by public transit far and wide, early and late; I have a list of favourite restaurants and a list of more to try; I have fond and not so fond recollections at various drinking establishments (one day I may even have a reputation that precedes me); but most importantly I have friends old and new, who make this place what it is for me.

It seems that moving back here was the right decision.

The only thing lacking is your physical presence, my friend. But having you in my life is what makes it complete.