Tuesday, May 31. 2005
Funny: Taiwanese employees at my company who have English names, which they then write using Chinese characters, which are different to the characters they use to write their real Chinese names.

This place is starting to remind me of an episode of the X-Files. People are getting sucked up all over the place, like alien abductions, never to be seen again. I found out yesterday that Kally and Nini are slated to move up to the 6th floor this Friday, for apparently no good goddamned reason. I'm not sure what management hopes to achieve by moving everyone on the 4th floor upstairs, which is already over-crowded. I suppose it doesn't really affect me if I'm leaving soon, but I have a feeling it's fucking with the morale of the place.

Funny: I had a bunch of crap to post, and now I can't remember any of it.

I got my wireless router working: at my girlfriend's place. It works fucking perfectly. I know when I get it back to my place it will just crap out again. I dunno if I can still take it back and exchange it for a USB coffee warmer.

I've also got my GAS back - Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I'm seeing shit all over the internet I wanna buy, and goddamnit I don't really have the justification to buy any of it.

There, does that count as an update?

Missing home

Tuesday, May 31. 2005
I'm having a real missing home kind of day I think, or moment at least, and I'm wishing I was back drinking a beer and watching those sunsets sunsets sunsets over the beaches beaches beaches...


Monday, May 30. 2005
Not a lot has been happening here lately. Or so it feels.

On Saturday I made zongzi which are Chinese rice balls, wrapped in bamboo leaves. We stayed up till 3 am doing them, which made it feel vaguely romantic I suppose. I want to know that there's more to your mid-twenties than hitting the clubs and pubs every week. Funny how staying in and doing some as homely as making zongzi feels so sophisticated.

I also managed to lose my scooter keys. I've come to rely on it so much, not having the bike is a major hassle. It did make me think about the cost of renting and fuel versus the cost of buses, trains and taxis. I mean, public transport takes more time, but you can use that time to relax, listen to music, do some work on the computer or whatever, I guess. I think, though, that the scooter will win the economy game as long as I'm staying out late and using taxis; and it also wins the convenience game too.

Preliminary listenings of the new Gorillaz album Demon Days indicate that it is created from pure rock. It's official though, Copy Control CDs still suck.


Wednesday, May 25. 2005
A and B are really close friends. C is A's boyfriend. X is everyone's friend, and owns the bar. Y knows everyone and is noone's friend. Z is A, B, (sort of) C and X's friend, doesn't really like Y, and is B's boyfriend.

A, B, X and Y all speak both Chinese and English well. Y also speaks Russian, but who cares? C doesn't speak shit Chinese, and passable English. Z speaks shit in English, and appalling Chinese.

A and C are fighting.

A, B, C, X and Y are all at X's bar. Because A and C are fighting, and because A and B are really close friends, B won't talk to C. B and X are closer friends - closer than X and everyone else. It seems X is just content just to go with the flow. Y doesn't give a toss and just goes along with conversation. So A, B, X and Y are all chatting away in Chinese, and C is sitting there being ignored by everyone, unable to take part in the conversation.

Then Z shows up, and totally loses his rag at all this. "How fucking childish are all of you? How come none of you are adult enough to deal with this properly. A and B, you might as well be goddamn children, but X, I expect better from you."

If you managed to follow all that, not only are you a persistent reader, you also should have some idea of the way I feel sometimes.

Man, I feel like a woman

Tuesday, May 24. 2005
Okay, Ive been extremely tied up procrastinating, and getting used to this new thing called money. After nearly 8 months on a Passion Pop income, Ive finally been promoted to Jacobs Creek Brut 2003 vintage. Ive managed to land a permanent position at the UQ Fryer library after only two weeks as a casual. I now get paid to spend 22 hours of my life every week reading books. Life is good.

My friend Andy celebrated his 21st last Friday. I found out two days beforehand I was expected to come dressed as a superhero. After considering the recent cold weather (we seriously had about 1 metre of hail Thursday night), and the prospect of having to wear lycra tights, I decided instead to go dressed as a woman.

I now have a closer understanding to the relentless persecution and suffering women must face. I ran out of time to wax my chest, and boy, did I pay for this slight mistake Also, girls who I normally get along with quite well became really bitchy to me. Maybe they felt threatened by my unbridled sexual ambiguity. Or maybe it was when I said Get out of my way! Im a woman; I can do whatever I like! I cant believe I actually said that.

The clothes did hurt a bit, but I wore four-inch heels for seven hours and it wasnt so bad. Attempting to walk down a slight gradient is incredibly scary in heels, but they make you feel very powerful: you can feel every bit of muscle flex from your arse to your toes. Add a beer in one hand, a huge cigar in the other and you feel like you could take on anybody.

People also touch you a whole lot more when you have breasts, or chicken fillets, to be more precise.

The weekend sucked nine times sideways

Tuesday, May 24. 2005
Click for a larger image.

Engrish Corner

Tuesday, May 24. 2005

Does this mean I can't use this mouse behind a firewall?

Hey! No kidding around, this stuff ain't jest fashion ok?

Touching base

Friday, May 20. 2005

Drifting in and out of range

[Written 14 May 2005]

Dont know where Ive been
Where Ive been headed
But the signal kept drifting, weak to weaker
And out of range for so long
Small messages to keep the worry from you mind
No reply needed, no reply coming
You dont worry because I dont let you
But Im drifting, or I was
So Im back in common space and I need to tell
Need to tell
What I saw out there, all the way out there
Where I didnt know where I was.

Things have been sporadic around here. The pieces, one by one, have begun to shift their shapes and rather than just looking like random rubble, they look like they might just fit together somehow. The pieces arent all there and the pictures dont match but sense is coming. Is the dark lifting or are my eyes getting used to the gloom?

A few things were written in theses in-between days. Ill have posted them first but consider them lead-in singles to the album Im about to drop. The fog lifted as I was riding Yukas bicycle from Gens place to Nishi Urawa and things came clear; I would go home and write and fit these things all together, neat and neat. The clearest thing Ill hit you up with first.

My heart, torn asunder. What do you want, by gods, what? I know youre alone, I know you like to beat like a runaway train thumps the rails and the adrenaline you would pump into my blood was for the longest time what kept you going. But youre confused, oh so confused and you need to take some time and learn some other ways of being. Thats hard. Hard doesnt begin to express it, actually, but calm amongst the stormclouds have helped me sleep these few weeks. This head has felt composure and the results are measured. Torn asunder, dont know what you need, but you know what you want and maybe, just maybe, there was some wisdom in all that talk that drove us all crazy, years and years crazy that wanting isnt the purpose.

Torn and driven, like a traveller lost and caught in a storm, too driven to pull back, driven to push on. Condemned? Damned? Courageous? Admirable, I want to say, and then try giving him what he wants just to see what happens.

Onward I push. May is here and five months in, 2005 doesnt look like being the success I dreamed of. I have low hopes to begin with so disappointment wont rain on this parade. But rejoice, because while I have no more five-year plans, the shorter ones are starting to show fruit and I feel crazy days await. The variables are almost all certain. By which I mean, I know what most of the variables will be (one major exception outstanding) but they remain variables because I have no fucking clue what theyll do. Crazy days await so I beseech you, the reader, be part of it. Keep reading and if I shout in you direction head on over. The waters fine and unexplored. When Kerouac Cat is on the floor, things happen that can fall either way. But mostly they fall good.

The one missing element know who he is and hes reading this, no question. I will put it simple so he can understand without any of my cloudy bullshit or his heady indecision to get us down. Get over here, get here now, get on down. Now.

Calls after midnight and these little 500 byte e-mails, Ive grown accustomed. A month now without Ethernet, set to end next weekend when I (somehow) dodge the beer cans and meat to move my shit into Naka-Itabashi when the next chapter opens. The J has been just in the corner of my vision, slipping every so often. I took control of this space by sheer volume of saved-up postings and while that doesnt render the other residents useless I can understand why they might feel lost in the flood. It took away the timeliness as well. Ethernet, grace me now

The aftermath of the train wreck gets worse and worse. The pictures are pretty much complete and let me tell you, they arent pretty. No sir, it got messy and no company ever want to see their internals lay exposed like JR is at the moment. The reality behind the fairytale, you might say. Ugly as sin. A big story, yes, and my reporting has been practically non-existent but the circumstance is unavoidable. Go read your news source of repute and judge away.

I spent the week dreaming wide awake. Dreaming of the summer air and the never ending road, of love thats not forthcoming and what it was like to have hair. Seeing how things might be, with a little effort, seeing what my contemporaries have built. I was a tourist and now, I dream of my tourist days. Sleep has been hard to come by and this shortage shows no signs of abating. The drought will only grow worse, the signs tell me. I wrote a love letter to someone. Someone. Everyone? No. All of them? Maybe. Be my Easter Bunny, Ill be your Christmas Tree. Ill be your cloudless sky and you can be my green soft mountain. Break and enter me like a thief. I loved you from the start To you, strong and perfect and useless. Grace and follow, following grace and I follow you, all I want is what youve become. I roll along without control, be my valley and I can slow to contentment. Ride me to Armageddon and well light the fire at the end of the world. The end of the world!

You, who will complete me or you who will complement me? Maybe you, you will complicate me but heaven knows I hate simplicity. But maybe you all caught my eye and Im selfish and impossible and you blind me because I am weak, weaker, weakening my eyes give up and he takes over, torn asunder. Violator! Who am I talking about? I figured it out.

Happiness, it all comes down to, happiness, but oh, the work that goes into that Do you know it? Do you think the same way? Are we even reading the same book, let alone on the same page, the same line, same words I cant begin to imagine what it might take to make you happy but oh, oh my word, Id like to try. And I half want a reason to stay here. My intentions are far from pure and I need that, I need to know the foundation is solid enough to keep the house standing through the strongest doubt. I think Im short there.

To get this all sorted, or some approximation, I need to talk to you. I know what youd say, too, and I know it probably wont help. But giving voice to theses thoughts gives them life and life evolves and you never know, something real might just be born of them.

J, the last time I fell, that was a phantom feeling. I was remembering what it felt like to feel that way. Hits hard, hits too hard and right where my defence is open right about now. This time of year, too, this time of year. So telling you let me open the door and now I know. Im feeling no better but thats just the way of these things. I just wanted to hear my voice telling you. Theres more, too, theres always more and it wont end, not any time soon. Hear the call, its a two way happening.

I just framed these words and these in-between days. Where do I go next? I ask too many questions. This one I just answered. I go wherever I choose. Come with me. You and you. You and you.

Signal grows weak again. Time to sign off, Im drifting away again.

Invisible and elusive

Friday, May 20. 2005
Last night I played around some more with my damn wireless router. I actually managed to get the WLAN working for a split second - long enough to open the Dragon, in fact - before I started getting timeout error messages. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not my own incompetence but really some problem with the product. The behaviour certainly seems erratic.

Ironicaly enough, I heard the Cat (finally) bought himself a wireless card for his laptop, and is signal jacking like there's no tomorrow. Ha.


Thursday, May 19. 2005

There is beauty out there
I just lost sight of it for a minute

Its just gone midnight and these times
These single nights dont seem to be in sight of ending

The Weekend

Wednesday, May 18. 2005

Heating up

[Written 8 May 2005]

Early on a summers day
Shower, feel wet and get dressed

Step out and feel the sun, already hot
The humid air clings but the morning wind pushes
Against you skin and you feel ready to go

Go where?
Somewhere, anywhere, here, there, to you, to her
Sweat and water, heat and sun

On my way to somewhere else.

Intolerable Cruelty

Tuesday, May 17. 2005
I suppose it was a pretty big weekend, but only the beginning and the end are really worth documenting. And the middle, which I've already mentioned. The beginning and the end are the tasty, meaty, slabs which go around the pedestrian bread of Saturday, like some perverted backasswards sandwich.

And I will document them in reverse chronological order, like some perverted backasswards... never mind. (Aside: Have you noticed that somewhere along the line, never mind became one word? I'd blame Nirvana, but they weren't really around when it happened. At least, I don't remember them being around.)

Sunday night, we went shrimp fishing.

Like most of the shit I put here, this probably requires some explanation.

Shrimp fishing is the pastime of the most Taiwanese of Taiwanese Tai-ke generally meaning Han who moved to Taiwan from Fujian province before Chiang Kai-sheks KMT exodus in 1949. Stereotypically, these guys wear blue slippers, loud suits, chew betelnut and drink Gaoliang and the famous formaldehyde-washed Taiwan beer.

Held in a fair degree of disdain by more educated KMT elites, the Bamboo Union (Taiwanese organised crime) is made up of Tai-ke (though not all Tai-ke are gangsters).

Shrimp fishing itself is something that I dont think you could do anywhere but Taiwan. This is the setting: Youre in a big shed with a high tin roof. Theres a square concrete pond filled with murky water, and somewhere, shrimp. They give you a line with a couple of tiny hooks, some liver, white bait and shrimp meat. You sit in plastic chairs around the pond and drink Taiwan beer and eat betelnut while you wait for the shrimp to jump on your line. Insanely boring or an interesting chance to observe Taiwanese culture while getting knocked up, depending on your attitude.

Around 10 pm the six of us were piled into the five-seater car of Xiao Lus friend, Bala (大哥 to me) and headed on up to Dazhi. I wanted to do it in true Taiwanese style and buy a slab of Taiwan beer but that was vetoed in favour of Coronas. No betelnut either. Oh well. We stocked up on fried food and pearl tea too.

The place we go to is exactly as I described; theres also a kitchen somewhere, a small breeding tank (the shrimp, not the people), a filthy toilet, and a fridge loaded with Heineken, Kirin, Taiwan beer as well as all the tonics that these guys like to drink.

OK so its not exactly pretty, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. My definition of fishing previously had always been you get on a boat or beach, drop a line in the water and then go to sleep. Shrimp fishing, it seems, has a real knack to it, and one I dont have.

I managed to pull in three squirming blue crustaceans. Xiao Lu got about 10, and 大哥 got god knows how many. You could do worse I suppose. We sat around drinking the Coronas and talking, moving spots occasionally and changing partners.

Theyre only shrimp, but this is not a hobby for the fainted-hearted. Aside from any pain inflicted in the landing the things, theres the cooking. Heres how you do it; dont bring the kids:

1. Rip the claws off your still live shrimp.
2. Insert a skewer through the head and body of your still live shrimp.
3. Roll your still live shrimp in the big tub of rock salt.
4. Place your still live shrimp on the grill. Cook until dead, remembering to turn it over halfway through.

Yes, dear reader, they do kick, and I cant say I imagine that being slowly cooked on one side is a pleasant way to go.

Note: I played up the old-new Han thing here. More accurately (that is, according to people who live in Taipei) Tai-ke is anyone living outside Taipei.

Friday night, and the Brass Monkey had their annual Baboons Beach Party (The Baboons are a local rugby team, sponsored by the Brass Monkey.

There were free margaritas for girls in bikinis and although it was raining enough of them turned out. I dont really know what the hell tequila has to do with the beach, but there was plenty of it going around. So much, I think I intoxicated from the amount of tequila I inhaled in the damn place. You can probably imagine the rest well enough for yourself, so Ill skip to the good part: NT$5000 for the sexiest beach girl.

The line-up really made me laugh. There was one white girl, Canadian or American, and a whole bunch of Taiwanese, a good number of whom I knew by proxy. They get up there, one by one, and Max, the manager of the Monkey and at that time drunk, introduces them. The DJ plays a track and they shake their moneymakers (for lack of a better term) until the music stops. I got the impression that Max hadnt really planned this one too well.

So we get through all the girls, including the one who took her shirt off in front of everyone and danced in her bra. Ace. Apparently its going to be decided by crowd reaction (excellent, so its the girl who brought the most friends) and were going to take a break right now and be back with the semi-finals!

In the break, the lone white girl, Christine or something, comes around to our table to solicit our support. Will you guys cheer for me? I dont want take off my shirt.
I suggested that perhaps she was aiming at the wrong demographic, as two of the guys at our table are gay and Im spoken for. Apparently, she thought I thought she was trying to pick me up. Yeah right. It takes more than a bikini and a cowboy hat. I repeated myself and apparently she didnt think it was funny. Tough titties, I guess.

So were back to the second round and Max is really reminding me of an old boss of mine. My old boss had a habit of getting a few too many rum and cokes under the belt then getting up on stage for official promotions. We couldnt get it down to two, so weve gone with four, and were gonna have another dance off.

Dance dance dance. Now were down to two, and I can sum it up like this (again, I know both of them via proxy): Big tits, chubby, soon-to-be-married; and skinny, ugly and dirty.

Were gonna take a break, and when we come back the girls will have picked a song and will shake their arses for that NT5000.

Well, Skinny and Sexy gets up and licks her fingers and shows us stuff we probably shouldnt see. Then Big Tits gets up and shakes her tits, predictably.

Cheer for this one. Cheer for that one. Skinny and sexy wins, mostly because the vote is rigged, by someone I know. I will name no names.

So then we have the dilemma we always have: do we go home, or stay on and party with friends who will soon be finishing their shift behind the bar at the Monkey?

As usual, we compromise: We dont leave straight away, but dont stay long enough to party with friends. Everyone loses.

You know, I only drank four Coronas the whole night, and you wouldnt believe how shit I felt the next day. The lesson kids is, dont snort tequila.

Oh, and the one representative of white womanhood, who was too stupid to roll with punches when she was trying to garner support? Of course, she didn't even appeared in the semis. Ha.

Searching for blessing

Tuesday, May 17. 2005

Following you

[Written 6 May 2005]

So much for playing the victim, so much for that
I have been seeking advice and
They tell me Ive been hard done,
That should this be judged Ill have already won

But they arent her rules
Shell never darken my towers again?
Thats why they say this makes us all fools
Id do anything to let her in.

JR make it hard to do two things. The first is feel safe in their hands, the other is feel bad about all the yen I ripped them out of over the week. Scratch the second one. All the yen Ive ever wriggled out of giving them. The actions of their employees on the day of the crash make me struggle with the incompetence. But that isnt the biggest part. I know that all the head bowing and apologies now will mean nothing next week, so much smoke in a hazy world and while nothing will bring those souls back to their loved ones, the spiritual value that JR seems to be giving them is a pittance. An utter pittance.

Golden Week has already faded. I was a mere twelve hours short of an entire seven days on the road, my favourite place to be, which in ordinary circumstances would mean I would be absolutely drooling at the prospect of getting it down to tell you all about it. But complicated is not even adequate a word to sum up what happened. I feel myself holding back when trying to tell the story. So I think a sketch for tomorrow and patience to see what flesh I can grow, yes; simplicity is not the antidote to vile complexities such as these and the fates have descended upon me more than I am able to deal with. For now. I need time, proper rest and most of all perspective.

No, most of all I need to talk to you.

Thats for now. Ive been spreading the word of what we do here among some of my closer friends and I kind of wonder what they think of it all. This is a little bit constraining but my existentialist self knows that restraints just show that we exist. Just dont want to step on any feet, know what I mean.

Till the morning.

Beginning, Middle, End: Middle

Tuesday, May 17. 2005
I bought a wireless router on Saturday evening. I spent all Saturday night trying to make it work. It didn't.

I could get it to broadcast the WLAN, but if you tried to access an IP it just timed out. I couldn't make Helen's computer communicate with the wired outputs either, though I think that was a problem with her computer. None of this was helped by the fact that all the firmware and documentation was in Chinese. I mananged to upgrade the firmware to an English version, and I managed to find an online pdf version of the manual in English, but unfortunately it appeared to be out of date and completly lacking a troubleshooting guide.

Anyway, at the end of the day, it was frustrating, and I still don't have sexy wireless access at home. Boo. Further efforts on Sunday proved fruitless. So now I have a useless router that is no good for anything but connecting my laptop straight to the ADSL modem, something I could do with a router anyway.

Next I guess I'll try their "24-hour, multi-lingual support", but I'm not convinced I can access easily from Taiwan. Somedays, I hate technology.

Right now

Monday, May 16. 2005

I need to reach you

[Written 5 May 2005]

But I cant reach you right now, I cant find you. I dont know where youll be either but I need to talk and youre not here. Youre not here and I dont know what to do and I dont know what else to do.

I had a dumb ass weekend and a week of rolling around trying to figure it all out. You know why I had the time I did over in Nagoya and Im couldnt be happier to say I left that time over in the west, what I would do if I had to deal with it all over here. But man, this leaves me in a state, what a state and like always, like fucking always I wasnt even trying. Not even.

Coming back from a journey, no matter how small or big, always leaves me feeling empty inside. I always feel down, so down and climbing out of the hold always takes more effort than it is worth. It seems like that now. Ill get over this but now, in the now, I really could use your help.

So much for the write up I need to do, looks like it wont be getting done tonight.

Tonight, tonight and the rest of my life.