A disturbance in the force

Thursday, June 30. 2005
I hate the weight of this. It feels like writing anything else would be a waste of time, but we can't just leave it here. I'm worried for you and your coworker, KC. I've got no yardstick to compare it to and tell you how it will all end up.

The strange thing is, last night, and this morning, I had an odd feeling that perhaps I had made a mistake, and that Japan was really where I belonged right now. Kinda strange. A disturbance in the force.

Since its ineption, the Dragon has been fighting a battle of its own, namely, what the hell does it actually do? The first time KC ever spoke of it, he mentioned "a place to tell the world what we had for breakfast". I don't think either of us were ever content just to settle for a diary; we wanted more. For me, it's a battle between putting up something which has some kind of meaning in my life and something to entertain an audience. The issue is already decided, I suppose, because largely there is no audience. (In a perfect world, there would be an audience, and what I put up here would satisfy both me and that audience.)

There's two things I'm I'm actually getting at here. One is that part of this post is specifically for you, KC, and for once I'm not disguising it as some public notice. I don't know clearly what's going on at your end; but keep your head above water. If your colleague is innocent, do your bit to see that justice is carried. Don't panic. Stay calm.

The second part is that I am going break a fourth wall as it were. I never really meant to imply that anything I've been through has been some kind of huge struggle. Stressful and tiring, expensive perhaps - but the consequences were never big biscuits. All purely for some kind of carthesis for me, or for your entertainment depending on who you are.

That said, and at the risk of turning this into sentimental drivel, I wholeheartedly agree with the second last paragraph of KC's last post. Go do it.

A pause

Wednesday, June 29. 2005
To consider the world from an upside down point of view. Because in a minute, an instant in a minute everything went totally crazy. Things all went wrong, all right and sense went missing. All was gone for a flash but heads were kept cool and hope was seen. Not much and a long way away.

I cant tell you much. The details, I fear for the first time about posting here because it might, just might come back to bite me. Or worse, the central figures to this whole sick episode. Its not about me anymore.

A co-worker was accused of abusing a child on Tuesday at our place of work. We teach children, so the kids are in and out all day long. The accusation is totally false but my friend remains (to the best of my knowledge) in the custody of the law. I am the main witness, as I was teaching in the room next door. I cant give any more information than this.

I am beside myself. Everything the had been built now looks so transparent, all that hard work and dedication. So little, it looks like now, compared to the fight to save it all. Any of it. I cant handle this. I was at the station last night, waiting to get my side recorded but was told to leave at one am, because there were not enough staff there to handle it at the time. I got home about two am. I didnt get to see my friend at all.

Everything Ive had to worry about up until now has been nothing in comparison, all that the J went through looks so petty from here now. Not to belittle what weve been over, but my perspective has moved so far these 24 hours, my head still spins.

Take what you have, be thankful for it this night. Hope it never goes away or gets taken. Fight for a truth and hunt out the liars who would take something valuable. How big, how small. Hold onto it. Give your friend a hug, tell a lover you love them. Tell you kid a story. Stay cool and spare a thought for the Omiya boys.

Good night.

Is anyone else hungry? 'Cause I'm gonna open this can of worms

Tuesday, June 28. 2005
This was sent to me when I was in HK by my old friend John, and is deserving of much prompter publishing here than I gave it. Release the worms.

Dear the J,

I have a confession.

Generally speaking, and solely out of the need to maintain my baseless superiority complex, I despise blogs or any such self-indulgent rants.
[Editor's note: The House is not a blog!]

At least in Theory.

For since you sent me the link I have become addicted to reading House of the Dragon.

And not just the new posts, the history too. I blame it on my cravings for intelligent meanderings, no matter how self-centered, engendered by the public servant sensory depravation kindergarten I'm confined to 8 hours a day. Sometimes I'm sure I can feel the BS coating my skin, but It's just my mind searching for stimuli, I'm sure.

But that is not what stirred my fingers.

No, I reply to your rant of the 20th of March 2005, old I know, but not so old as the last time we shared a real conversation, and that is why I need to reply.

There are few people here (I can think of one) with whom such a conversation can be had. So I guess you'll have to read on, or shift-delete me for good :-) .

You wrote:

The desire for revenge; the conviction in the principle of an eye for an eye. It's one of the most fundamental human urges, right? Up there with the urges to breath, to procreate, to deny universal suffrage and to drive 5.7 litre V8 sedans.

Personally, I don't believe that the desire for revenge is a fundamental human urge.


I agree with you that Revenge in and of itself is not a fundamental human urge, and that it is undesirable.

However, you go on to assert that since we cannot get rid of these desires we are worse than animals and should be left to kill each other etc. (I like the way you position yourself outside, ;-) )

I contend that there is some hope for an education campaign but the premise that this should be targeted at the Desire for Revenge is flawed. As humans we are very much animals, no worse, no better, and it is this primal nature which gives rise to our deepest secret love:
Territorialism.

This, my friend, is indeed a fundamental human urge, and many of the emotions/desires to which we react are attributable to this base notion of ownership.

Among these Revenge is prominent.

When someone intrudes on our personal property we feel violated. In this instance I am using property to mean the people, places, things, ideas, or anything else that we feel (concious or unconcious) ownership over. This sense of violation leaves us feeling helpless, weak, like we
aren't good enough.

It is these feelings that lead to thoughts of revenge.

If this sounds crazy, think back to the last time someone dumped you for someone else :-) .

When this vengeful energy is targeted against a specific person, we feel the need to assert ownership over their property in order to redress the balance, and make ourselves feel better. However, often just inflicting this pain is not enough, we desire to publicly carry out our revenge, so that everyone knows the consequences of "messing with us". Is this different from a male lion killing a challanger in front of the pride?

(As an aside, don't you think that a pride is an appropriate term for any group of men? Particularly the young kind out on a Friday night binge.)

This energy, when it is not targeted at someone specific, allows no immediate release and instead festers. It is this kind of feeling that give rise to what is, on the surface, senseless acts of violence.

Everyone knows the pleasure of breaking something when they feel helpless, even if it's just a glass/window/computer. Horrific instances of violence are just an extreme of the same reaction.

These two states describe the events that you are decrying: one person kills for no reason, society punishes and kills that individual.

The first is the latter, the second the former (if you follow me).

The murderer feels sated, he has spent his vengeful energy and now, feeling empty without it, welcomes the punishment and death. Society, having punished and humiliated him, and depending on their religious persuasion, condemned him to damnation, also offers the spectacle "as a public deterrent".

On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed
(Shakespear Sonnet 138)


The murderer has simply given in to his base territorial urges, urges which society as a whole feels and acts on as keenly as any individual.

From this explanation we can see that any strategy to educate Revenge out of the populace must be based on decreasing our Territoriality.

Unfortunately this is something the church/hippies/poets/philosophers have been trying to do for centuries:

Jesus: "turn the other cheek/love thy neighbour"

Zen: "principle of non-attachment"

William Blake (as a representative of Poets/Philosophers): "The greatest act of kindness is to set another before yourself" (from Proverbs of Hell, in the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790 (I think) can't remember what plate/page)

And they have all failed so far.

I guess we could try to breed/genetically engineer this sort of sentiment into people: a desire to not care about being violated.

But, if Science Fiction has taught us anything (which is dubious) this will lead to a class of people who are violated left, right, and centre. Ironically, not by the strongest, for they can still prey on the weak, but by the very people who previously had no-one to take out their
helplessness on.

I submit.

I cannot think of a better way.

So while I began outlining how I differ from you in this argument, I have come to the same conclusion.

Guess I'll start passing out the clubs...

John

Missed missives

Monday, June 27. 2005
I wrote this on Friday 17 June.

A whole lotta stuff happened, and despite my best intentions to get it all down, my procrastination gene (to borrow a term from my friend Richard) got the better of me. Had I got it down as it came to me, it wouldve made a lot more sense. Now Im wondering where to start.

Wednesday [of my week in HK] I encountered some hiccups. Basically, it seemed the Taiwanese office didnt want to give me a visa based on the papers I carried. Problem was I only had papers saying the application was in; they wanted paper saying I was permitted to work. They werent willing to grant me a tourist visa on the basis of those papers, unfortunately.

I really wasnt sure how to proceed.

Thursday, I went back early in the morning to apply for a tourist visa, without letting on that I was going to work. Risky, because the office is very small and there was a good chance Id been served, or at least seen, by the woman who served me on Wednesday.

Luckily, she was off attending other duties. As I predicted, the woman who did serve me pointed out that Id already been in Taiwan for a long time, and also that Id overstayed once.

I was there studying Chinese, and now Im going back to see my girlfriend.

I made the mistake of saying I was a writer; I shouldve said student. She hassled me about some proof of this. Of course I had none. Maybe I shouldve brought an mp3 player manual along.

I paid the express fee to have it done that day, and after Id handed over the cash she said to me, its not certain youll get it. Come back at 3:30.

I was feeling pretty damn nervous as I walked out of there, but then, Id felt pretty nervous walking in too. My options if this didnt work out werent good. I could stay in HK and keep trying, or wait for the work permit application to be completed (which would take two three weeks); I could head home; or possibly to Japan (which would not be well received by Dinna). No matter what Id be spending money all over the place and my limited funds were rapidly being used.

I went and killed the hours in between online, when I probably shouldve been writing this, then I headed back.

A compromise.

Id been given a visa all right, but it wasnt exactly was Id hoped for. It was a 30-day, non-extendable job. Sure, 30-days is enough time for me to get the work permit, but Im not 100% certain Ill be able to change it in Taiwan which could mean another trip in the near future, and more money down the toilet.

I luv the valley (straight)

Saturday, June 25. 2005
The major plot element was dental. I had spent the previous fourteen months with an I unsymmetrical mouth having had the right side wisdom teeth removed over the July holiday. It had been a gruesome operation, the bottom tooth came out with a abscess the size of a marble on the bottom. The pain had reached its zenith right before exams the previous semester and I had taken my major assessments on heavy painkillers. I dont remember most of them but the results were worthy. Beats me how it happened. The morning it started I woke up and couldnt close my mouth, for the lower gum had swollen to the point that I couldnt bite. Such pain.

It was back. The left side was acting up so I talked to a doctor and he recommended some antibiotics and painkillers. These were acquired but in return for their efficiency I would not be drinking for the duration of my stay in Brisbane. This was only to be considered a small handicap, for it soon gave rise to opportunity. A theory was quickly proposed and we set out to test it as hard as we could. Was alcohol a necessity? Could we get into trouble without drinking? Was it possible to go clubbing and have a successful night without being pissed? We now had to find out. From the unenviable position of not being able to drink, we found ourselves explorers on the threshold of a new realm. We had a mission. A mission we were obliged to fulfil for the benefit not only we would gain, but for the betterment of all humankind.

Or maybe just to salvage something of our otherwise trashed plans to get, well, trashed. Either way, no opportunities would be let slip.

Our Honda Civic Chariot was fired up with a mix CD of hip-hop tunes. The record will show that while I dont detest hip-hop, I once shouted in disgust when I played College Dropout having unwittingly downloaded it and I pray there is a special place in hell for people who make bad tracks using unexpected samples. Jay Z, Im looking at you. There will be a red haired Annie demon waiting to torture you for eternity.

But I still dont despise the genre. Genre. The J was skipping through the disc looking for something when I heard the beginning of something funky, only for it to be skipped past in search of something less flavoursome. I beggared my driver to return to the funk, and my life changed. Also, we had a new theme song. This happens every so often, a few times a year maybe, when a moment and a feeling connect with just the right song. This year Porno Graffitti did it, that September The Roots did it. Rolling around, waiting for the deeds of others to push my plans into action, Cody Chestnutt informed my how hoe would push his seed into my bush, for life. Then he was going to name it rock and roll. I was sold and his guitar line drove the J and I through the mellow heat and wide streets, along the lanes and shady trees while we waited for the fruits to bloom and the rest of our lives to start happening.

Next: the experiment and samurai swords.

heart!

Saturday, June 25. 2005

House of the Dragon presents

Friday, June 24. 2005
The great new taste of Lemo: your favourite, full-flavoured Emo music, with a refreshing twist of lemon. Try it today!

Hyatt left today

Friday, June 24. 2005
I considered doing some kind of a tribute to him or something. Kerouac Cat and I both have a predisposition for writing obituaries for things. I guess it's our nature. This time I just want to tell you without the bullshit.

I haven't mentioned him on these pages before. Hyatt Lee is a fellow bar-fly at local hole-in-the-wall, Bob Wun Daye. We weren't friends in the sense that the only time we saw each other was when we ran into each other at the bar. We'd talk about this and that. I like Hyatt because he's got plenty of interesting stories to tell, and always came across like he respected me. Not many people do.

Anyway, he left. He's going back to the States to do a post graduate Journalism course. Nobody knows (Hyatt included) if he will come back. You can read his excellent (ex-)blog.

Cheers, Hyatt. Have a safe trip.

Long overdue

Thursday, June 23. 2005
Everyday since I returned, I've looked at this page, and on many of those days, I've started writing something only to decide I wasn't happy with it, and scrap it. On the days I didn't write anything, I stared frustratedly.

It's not that I don't have anything to write. Quite the opposite. The problem is that what I want to write requires preparation, some research - and though I'm not sure it's wise to confess to this here, those things are not my strong suite.

I actually wrote a longish post on the plane coming back from Hong Kong, but a variety of reasons have prevented me from acutally getting it up here. Yes, I'm back, and although I had some problems, I managed to wrangle a visa (of sorts) out of the government again. I was sustained by the Black Eyed Peas album Monkey Business when I was out pounding the pavement, and by the fraternity of KC, Xiao Gou and John while I was in the hotel.

So yeah. I staved off the demons, for the time being. Now I gotta get into gear while I wait for the next step: work permit.

I luv the valley (smashed)

Thursday, June 23. 2005
The coins felt heavy in my hands, the streets too wide and the accents like something from a deep, deep memory. This was where I was from, or part of it, this all was part of a deep memory. These things were sure true but the distant feel of it only added to the sudden shock of it all. I hadnt wanted to go, there were too many reasons to stay around and not enough worth going back to. Was that really true? It seemed it, it seemed it so much that the only way to get past one half-delusion was to get lost in a fantasy.

While I had time to sit alone, the weight of it all and the uncertainty drove a heavy pillar into my guts. The sheer weight of it, that I can remember clear as the bright blue sky that ruled over my transit time, I can say now that it drove my plans into reality but left enough resentment, caused by the pain of these feelings and my own reasoning, to bring so much down later. But that is the later and I wasnt alone all that often. The fantasy that I built wasnt so much a fantasy but the consequence free nature made it feel like it on more than one occasion. The weight of those coins as they came in and out of my hands was all, all over the other weight out there.

Thinking about this all now, its not easy. For two reasons, really. Time has passed as I never thought about and the exact order of things is somewhat hard to tell. I know what happened, when it happened; the order of things is not so crystal anymore. Time does that. I also cant believe just how vividly the emotions come back to me, how I was feeling and who made me like that. It plays tricks on you and I can sit here in this room and my heart feels as heavy as those coins did, it is night and the air-conditioner is on but I can feel the sun on my skin.

I saw the Js university, I saw downtown Brisbane. It was my country but not as Id seen it before. Id never been to this part of the country before and impressionable as I was, I couldnt imagine the impact. It was a beautiful city that September, everywhere I looked.

I was to be taken to the university where I would look around while the J tried to ensure graduation was to occur, then he would go to work at the on campus noodle bar. My time killer was to be drinking with Dan, a little friend of the Js from around the place. Dan is the proprietor of dial81.com and currently listed as MIA but at the time he was awesome company. I was somewhat shell shocked at the time so dont mind me, Ill just sit here and not be a people person. Beer soon weakened the resolve and boom, talking shit. The J shows up and we are well on the way to being several sheets to the wind. There is live music and a party out somewhere to get to. All three of us end up twisted and wasted. I forget the event but it was something university related and most surely Asian related. Because there was hip hop and hip-hopping Asian girls and there were three drunk natives dressed like Fifty Cent getting Massive on the dancefloor. Any girl who wandered within their grasp was rubbed up and shown how its done. Dan didnt take much encouragement. The J was, as always, as easy to wind up as a German toy car. The ladies werent into our shit at all, but the scenery was worth it. We looked sharp and were in all likeliness sloppy as hell. The exact number and location of our complete adventure is the stuff of legend, legend lost like so many lemon slices in vodka based drinks. Lost like so many drunken stares at club girls cleavage. Gone like so many nights just like it into so many legends.

I have long considered that just having me around is the vital ingredient to Things happening on a night out. Nothing worthy of more than a morning after feeling seedy war story happened that night, nothing more than a whole lot of perving good fun. But the ball was just getting rolling. There would be pissing on an massive laughs to be had yet, and plenty thereof. So many drunken promises!

We finished up driving through a McDonalds and getting home before sunrise. The template was set for the tenure and I was liking it. Not a lost weekend or even a lost month, but one well preserved.

This was not to be, for nature intervened. It gave rise to the first great experiment.

Next time: how much trouble can we possibly get into?

I luv the valley (landed)

Sunday, June 19. 2005
September, two thousand and three. A marvellously lost month, time spent not so much treading water as drifting with the current. I was back in Australia after almost a year in Saitama, an event which Id known was coming and inevitable and yet avoided thinking about so I was furiously under prepared. Not in the sense that I had no plan, there was a plan indeed, but mentally, I found myself wedged in a very strange place indeed. The emotional bearing I was totally unprepared for.

The airplane landed at Brisbane International at some inhumane hour of the morning. The overnighter from Narita is torture at best, theres not even the common decency of a Ben Affleck movie and to make it all worse, something in the air gave me hayfever. I sat awake the entire flight unable to sleep or do anything about the symptoms relief was eight hours away, at least; I think I got my hands on the appropriate meds over ten hours after it began. The J had been there to pick my ragged arse up. I remember not knowing what to feel and out of sheer force of habit had bowed slightly to the customs man. But not knowing what to feel, as that big blue Brisbane sky and hot morning came to greet me, thats because that morning represented the end of my plan. Since high school I had a Stalin-esque five year plan and stepping out into the airport there in Brisbane represented the very end. The last full stop of the final footnote. The plan had come to fruition, the quotas met and the workers were happy. Now what? They asked. Petitioned me.

Dont know, is all I could give them.

What do you mean, you dont know? Oh, great leader, you have led us this far, we trust you to capitalise on this success My people, they are still waiting. But for then, I couldnt have had it any other way. Clear head, not a cloud in the sky and the J, in his uncles car. It would be almost another month before I had to face up to my family proper.

I was going to stay with the J for a week or two, head down the coast to my uncles place and bunker on there for a little longer before leaving the tropical north for the frigid south, complete with cold rains and grey skies, greyer faces. Time in the tropics sounded as good as it was likely to get for me and I wasnt in any frame of mind to complain. I felt like Id been beaten and the state of shock was not going away. Thinking of it now it is fortunate Id put the working plan together before leaving Japan, because I might not have held it together if Id let it fly. I was really spinning, all I knew is that I had some time to use and a list of people to see.

The J drove me and my luggage back to his place. Id been there before, in the summer of 2001 as I contemplated the gap between high school and the rest of life. His family are no strangers to me and I like staying with them. Somehow I come across as quiet and stand-off-ish a lot of the time, by no intention of my own. I tend to get treated as the strange friend because of this but Im nothing but grateful for the hospitality. The first time I must have traded all of ten words with Xiao Gou but this time around hed turned into quite the striking young man. Boys a world apart, they are.

Brisbane was hot and sunny. Humid but not enough to make things hard. The stage was set.


Next time: Shaking Brisbane and Meeting Dan

I luv the valley (setting up)

Sunday, June 19. 2005
I luv the valley, Oh!

The J was ultra-busy. His last hear of university was reaching the apex, the crunch zone and culmination all at the same time. Between working and getting everything together so that he might graduate he had to fit me into the workings. In a display of planning and micromanagement I could never undertake he managed to juggle me and helping me get done what I needed to get down as well as juggling the debris of his own life. I managed to get done all I needed to, he managed to graduate and there was time a-plenty in between for bigging it up, pushing seeds, messing with the traffic commission, raging the valley with some Massive Asian Pride and some Chinese noodles to take on home.

This week on the Dragon: September 2003, what happened and where it left us.

Check this out

Thursday, June 16. 2005
Sorry. Dont know what came over me. The Dragon in the Dragon, Dragon style, keep it real J, lets not forget what brought this all on in the first place. Youre on the other side of something and words crossing that void, they sound different. Different from when my brain put them together and sent them out of my mouth just as those words you put together and let off dont sound the same in my ears as they once did in your head.

Ill be here when you get back. I just hope I dont need to cross over there too.

He dont seem to say much, but Xiao Gou is one crafty kid. Concise and what might pass as witty a combination lacking in writings under the KC banner. The power of DNA, wrapped in a brown t-shirt. Ha ha ha.

Old ladies behind the counter, chatting when inappropriate; the old junior high in the public housing shadow; make her happy, son. Viva Mexico and shy boys.

Saitama Shintoshin. Will one day be the site of the worlds tallest building (cunningly named Saitama Tower, I pray the creative juices were all spent in the architecture part of design) but currently features little more than a huge arena that hosts little more than fights, an overpriced shopping centre and the John Lennon memorial museum. I dont know either. I hope they get to put the tower there, because it would finally put Saitama on the map for something positive, rather than having more public housing buildings than any other prefecture. Id personally look upon it as a great big middle finger to Chiba, because they got the airport all those years ago. Ha, Id say, it still take us almost three hours to get to the airport but we have this gigantic phallus. It would be satisfying.

More realistically, the chances that both construction being approved and the building still being number one upon completion are about the same as Haneda taking direct flights from Sydney but at least Ill have my phallus.

I was there last night. Youth will always have an excess of hormones and no productive place to expend them. Its natures way. It mostly leads to explosions of some kind. Im also reliably told that ten percent of our fair species will come to appreciate members of its own sex over the course of time. More power, I say, while being in no real place to comment. I did see two high school girls sitting behind a fence, a relatively sheltered position right in front of the Super Arena, necking like, well, high school kids.

Ill find some time to tell you all about these lost few weeks. I think I havent been as liberal with my talking as I need to. All out of excuses, too.

Yumcha for one, please

Tuesday, June 14. 2005
Well, some of us know the answer to yesterdays question: Im sitting on the Hong Kong Airport Express writing again, and will post from the YMCA in Kowloon. Id like to reflect on the things that have changed, and the things that have stayed the same since last trip.

The acceleration of this trips preparation surpassed even the hurriedness of last time; yet the amount of trepidation I feel is significantly less. I bought a ticket at around 2 pm, and was on the plane by 6 pm.

Customs was just as fast, the escalators were just as crowded as last time, but there was no anxious lingering in the arrivals lounge trying to figure out exactly what the hell Im going to do.

No, no, this time I knew to head straight for the Airport Express, ride to Kowloon where I will catch the hotel shuttle bus to the Kowloon Hotel, then walk down to the YMCA and book a bunk in the dormitory. Ill also purchase an access card for wireless. The pattern is all but set in stone.

Last time I rode this train, I mused the British mustve been unhappy to give up Hong Kong. I now know that although the locals (both of Chinese and European origin) felt a good degree of trepidation, for the British government, handing Hong Kong back was a good solution to a sticky problem: What to do with the place once the 99-year lease was up. In handing it back, I think they generated a lot of goodwill with the communists and freed themselves of the hassle of administering it all.

Hong Kong still reminds me of Cantonese movies: endless spreads of high-rise, high-density apartments. I guess Ill never know if living here is as unpleasant as I imagine it is.

Something else that struck me last time too, which I never mentioned, is the fact that you see all kinds of currency that is Hong Kong Dollars. I realised after awhile that Hong Kongs special status means there is no central bank, and notes of currency are literally issued by individual banks.

I recall mentioning to Alex about a month or so ago, it doesnt matter how cool Bluetooth hands-free headsets for your mobile phone are, you will always look like a tool when you wear one. Theres a bloke on the train making my observation into a maxim.

Im also noticing the number of people talking Chinese or whatever dispersed with English I hear Cantonese with health and safety in the middle of it, and what I presumed to be a Taiwanese Mandarin (though it couldve been Singaporean or Malaysian) phone call which ended with thank you thank you.

And so we return to the pattern: Tomorrow I will go to the Lippo building, which houses the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office. There will be no foolish wandering up and down the long lengths of Harcourt Road. I will go straight there and deal with what I must.

Later:
This is scary. Last time I was here, I didnt even realise there were dormitories till the second day I moved out of the more expensive hotel room I was staying in. This time, somehow, the dorms are full and Im in a hotel room again. I was even checked in by the same guy who checked me in last time.

Its raining in Hong Kong. Id hoped to get away from that in Taipei.

Weather Report

Sunday, June 12. 2005
You don't need to consult the weather forecast to know that in June, Taiwan is going to to be very wet. Not like here, where all signs are pointing to a long, hot, and very dry spell. This just in from Major Boredom and General Apathy.

Today, just to make me realise how insignificant my problems are, I proofread a document (presumably) produced by anti-dictator revolutionaries in Burma, stating their adherance to the Geneva Convention.

So, the predicament (I know I've laboured ineffectually over this in previous posts, this is a little clarification):

If you have an extendable visitor visa (as I do) and you are applying for a work visa, you are eligible to extend your current visa while you are waiting for the application to process.

As part of the requirements, you must submit a health check with your work visa application. Most official sources say it takes 10 - 14 days to acquire one, though it's possible to get them done faster. In my ignorance, I didn't know any of this and so did not have one ready, and now I'm paying the price. I'm going to be able to pick up the health check 8:30 tomorrow morning - tomorrow is also the last day of my current visa. So then we take the work visa application in, and after that, I try to extend my current visa. Nobody really seems to know if it'll work or not. If it doesn't, I'm paying for more classes then booking a flight to HK for that night. Not a prospect I'm relishing.

I hate this kind of uncertainty. It gnaws away at me, and compounds with other issues so easily. I've had 6 months of not having to worry, and now it's back again. I hate it. Even HK can't excite me now; the only things I can really do there on my own are drink and shop. I don't want to shop, and I don't want to piss up what little money I have left.

Finally, a word to all potential muggers in the Taipei-Neihu area: don't mug me, I spent my last NT500 on more passport-sized photographs today (after spending NT280 on the weekend which mostly turned out to be shit). I'm carrying NT10, and I promise you it won't be worth your time.

Stayed tuned - tomorrow's update will either be triumphantly posted from Taipei, or despondently posted from the YMCA in Kowloon.