Exit

Saturday, February 3. 2007
I'm leaving today, for Korea. The dog went to the boarding kennel last night. Hope he's ok. We're going skiing and I'm excited enough about that, although we haven't actually organised equipment rental or lift passes or even transport to the slopes.

We'll be in Seoul were I'll be fending off attacks from patriotic Korean men who think Dinna is Korean and I'm just another white guy stealing there women.

In the meantime, don't leave a comment. Our commenting script has been disabled by our hosting company as the spam being generated was causing server performance issues. I haven't reenabled it as I'm not sure it won't start again yet.

無名之懦夫 - Nameless Cowards

Sunday, January 7. 2007
Well as usual more time has gone by than I wanted since my last post. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all that. Things have indeed been happening here. KC has apparently caught gone mad and started using the word blog.

My bicycle got stolen from outside my work a week before Christmas. Motherfucker. You better hope the police find you before I do. I went and reported in to the police, who I have to say were very good about it. Police back home would have told me to piss off. The drove me to the station to file an initial report, then back to where the bike was stolen from, then back to the station to finish the report in great detail. They were so friendly it hurt.

Losing the bike has really pissed me off, and continues to piss me. The thought of my bike stolen and ridden, then sold by some arsehole is maddening but then there�s the two hours I spent looking for it and talking to the police that day, the hours (literally) I�ve spent waiting for buses that didn�t come or went to the wrong place and made me late. The parking situation around work has worsened since I last took the Husky and finding a park in the morning is more time wasted. God this pisses me off, and I�m reminded of it every day.

Christmas was low key - we didn't really have anything planned, so Dinna and I took advantage of the fact that Helen and Brian were away and used their kitchen. I cooked the traditional festive favourite of steak. I can�t remember that last time I cooked for Dinna, or even the last time I cooked.

New Year was great. Ish. Monday was unexpectedly a public holiday, so The Antagonauts played at the Living Room with Paparazzi band and Mister Green. Again, fairly low key but it was nice to be gigging on NYE. We missed the best Taipei 101 fireworks in the three years I�ve been here but I don�t regret missing the crowds there. We also didn�t miss the traffic � it was still hard to get a cab home at 3:30 am.

The same Friday of that weekend, Dinna picked up a stray Labrador that lives in our neighbourhood. She�d been eying him off for a few days and picked him up despite my protests. He is a strangely quiet dog (mostly) and was clearly dumped by an owner whom had given him some training.

We got him to the vet and found he is mostly pretty healthy, except for small problem with his hips (apparently labs and golden retrievers have a genetic predisposition) and heartworm. The heartworm is a problem � it requires more than NT10, 000 in injections to cure a dog as large as him. He weighs 35kg.

By this stage we'd already decided to keep him and after trying to think of names (my suggestions were Crankshaft and Piston) we chose 'Yingxiong' (Hero) even though he's not heroic in any way. Dinna balked at paying this much money and suggested maybe we could give Yingxiong to the pound or an animal shelter but I thought that if we'd pulled him off the streets, we might as well be good enough to actually help him. Besides, taking him to the pound would mean his destruction, undoubtedly.

(I found out this evening that Katrina had kindly put up a collection jar on the counter of Bobwundaye and put NT2000 in herself. People had put in another few hundred. Incredibly generous; I was touched.)

Today, the pathetic landlord of the other side of this building called the cops while I was playing drums at five in afternoon. Then, when I went downstairs, I found this note on door of my landlord's brother:



"Regarding your rooftop tenants playing drums, in this compound many tenants have expressed dissatisfaction at this and called the police to deal with this. Tell your tenants, 'Do not play drums at any time'. Signed, the landlord of the opposite side."


This is not the first time they've done something like this. After we moved an old bed frame over to their side of the rooftop (innocently thinking they did not use it and would not mind) a similar note was pasted on the same door. We moved the bed frame to the exact middle of the rooftop and nothing more was said. Then the wife also barged up one night when we were having a barbecue a few months back. Seeing we were only on our side and they had nothing to complain about, she left without saying anything. I believe it's that they don't like us, Dinna thinks it's that they don�t like our landlord. Fuck 'em; I'm not stopping playing for them. I don't normally play past six in the evening. Why the fuck should I put up with this when there are people renovating buildings at seven on a Sunday morning and crazy politicians going around at all hours begging for votes with bullhorns? No way. The 'many tenants' I suspect are bogus; be that as it may, these people could easily come up and talk to us themselves. Calling the cops and leaving notes on doors are the actions of nameless cowards.

Weather and garbage

Thursday, December 7. 2006
Months and months off and the most exciting thing I could think of to post is this. Weather and garbage. Says it all, pretty much.

When I came home yesterday afternoon I noticed a foul smell in the building. The people who live on the first floor had left a whole bunch of garbage in the stairwell outside their apartment. That's pretty gross, and it was several hours before garbage collection time of 8:20pm but fine. Except that garbage collection time came and went and the garbage didn't. It sat there all day today and finally left tonight. This is disgusting - I don't mind this sort of stuff but leaving stinky, rotten, food garbage in a public place on the first floor means everyone has to suffer the smell when they go out or return. Fuck that, you arseholes.

After two months of unreasonably good weather, the winter rain of Taipei had set in. Or so I had thought. Today (and yesterday, to a lesser extent) were so beautiful I could barely bring myself to go to school. Hope it lasts.

As you can imagine, a ton of stuff has happened in the (embarassingly long) interval since I last posted here. I'm going to leave it for the moment in the hope that I will remain motivated enough to turn it into a bunch of separate posts.

I'm at a bit of loss with the site. I think it needs a spring clean and I haven't updated Serendipity in forever. The trackback spam is really killing us. You've got to wonder what use it is to anyone.

Spare a thought for the Bancho, too.

Incessant rain

Sunday, September 10. 2006
It's rained the entire weekend. Not just drizzle but torrential, flood-making, ark-building rain. It prevented me from moving in to the new place, and today we made an unhappy discovery - two of the external walls leak. I suspected that the rood mgiht leak and was happy when I was apparently wrong, but no, Taiwanese buildings are shoddy.

On the up side I have finally played my drumkit this weekend, several weeks after purchase. It's all right. Expect photos of both it and the new place soon.

We got the ADSL hooked up yesterday, and then Dinna's computer decided to die. Not sure what the problem is but it's another hassle. Great. I'm pretty leery about taking all my stuff there - I don't need anymore damage due to liquids, thanks.

Oh, and Peter Brock died. I'll leave it to KC to write this one up.

Chop till you drop

Thursday, August 31. 2006
Yesterday my Taiwanese class was canned because my teacher has hurt her back. So instead I went to Bikefarm after work and did some more work on my chopper - I swapped the front end from the other Husky (which is spare because of the FZR front end conversion I did). So now the choppers has a good tyre, a front fenders and brakes that work. Then I put a small sissy bar on the back. That didn't go as well as I planned - it seems to have ruined the lines a bit, and it's currently too far back to make using anytime other than cruising practical. I'll get some photos together eventually.

In other news, the issue of whether I will teach the afternoon class is still up in the air, but I'm teaching one until they can find another teacher for it. I usually enjoying subbing a lot because the pressure of long-term goals is removed and you can have more fun. Yet after only two afternoons of it I'm finding myself sick of teaching it already. In a lot of ways the afternoon classes are better - the kids are a little older and you can communicate enough with them to have meaningful conversations, but it remains I'm sick of it.

Hope they find someone soon.

Wednesday, August 30. 2006
I've been back and still no sign of an entry on Bali. Slack. My photos are good though.

Work is back on and just as much fun as I remember. In other news, last night Dinna and I found a place to move in to, and I think she is going to do so tomorrow, it being expedient with her current landlady to do so. I'll let you know how it goes.

Bali tomorrow

Sunday, August 20. 2006
...so you probably won't hear from me till the end of the week. Expect photos, I guess.

Dinna checked herself out of Hospital on Thursday morning. It was a little ahead of schedule - she took the last course of medication home in a pill to be taken the next day. She seems fine, her fever has receded.

My arm is starting to heal up, though I visited the doctor myself Friday afternoon to have my left wrist checked out. Seems to be ok, just a little swollen.

Beach tomorrow. Yeah!

Grind, ground

Wednesday, August 16. 2006
The grind goes on. I visited Dinna twice in the hospital today. They're saying that at the earliest she will be out Friday morning, but that still seems to be subject to negotiation, depending on who you listen to.

After work finished today I ran off - I didn't want to get bogged down again arguing about my contract. To be honest, I'm not sure I can be bothered any more - the lull of summer is nice, but once semester starts again it'll be lots of hassle, even without the afternoon class.

Not much else to report, except I forgot to mention that I bought a drum kit on Saturday night. Very much a spur of the moment thing - it was there, it was too cheap to pass up. It's a Mapex V-series fusion set up, which funnily enough I had my eye on the same model back in Australia probably five years ago or so. I haven't taken collection of it yet, and here's the problem - I haven't told Helen and Brian about it yet either. I don't know if they'd have a problem themselves with me owning and playing a drum kit here, but I suspect they would be worried about pissing the neighbours off (even more). Also, my room is already filled with junk and there'd barely be room for the kit in here. Dinna has suggested I leave it in her apartment, but that's a mere four ping and I don't think she realises how much space even a small kit like this one takes up.

That, and I've got no way of transporting it adequately now. I'm thinking of building a trailer for the bike.

It's not a bad dilemma to be in.

Down again

Monday, August 14. 2006
What a shitty day. Dinna is still in hospital with kidney problems and a fever (she got transferred to the Gongguan branch of NTUH, and her sister came an visited from Zhanghua). I came off my bike this morning - my own fault. I rode too fast then had to hit the brakes suddenly. Amazingly, I locked up the front wheel. Normally these things happen in slo-mo but this time the bike was down in a millisecond. I grazed up my right arm and knee, as well as corked my calf and sprained my left hand. I'm ok though, pretty lucky really.

Then work decided they wanted to give me hell over resigning my contract. There are two; I don't really want to sign the one for the afternoon class for bunch of reasons, like it's a complete frustrating waste of time and effort, on top of which they've reduced the hours from eight to six without reducing the workload. I was told that I had two options: sign both contracts or sign neither. Not really sure where all this will lead.

After that I went to the scrap yard for some parts for my bike. The boss there is pretty cold, but he wasn't there today. He wife was, and she is a bitch. Not friendly, and certainly not fucking helpful. She pissed me off so much I stormed off - not something I do often in these situations because it doesn't look good.

After that I went to Bikefarm to let off some steam. What a fucker of a day.

Update: Predictably, I'm feeling pretty sore all over after the fall. Godamnit.

Utter Incompetence

Monday, August 14. 2006
My girl is in hospital right now. She started complaining about lower abdominal pain on Wednesday, which hadn't let up by Friday. She saw a useless doctor in a clinic near her work who told her that it was 'nerve pain' and prescribed some basic painkillers, which did not work.

Friday night she had a bad fever, which didn't improve so Saturday morning I took her to her regular hospital. The doctor there was not the one we've dealt with before. He was a jerk. He sent her to have a urinalysis in another department and the girl in the lab told her that the results showed nothing and maybe an ultrasound was in order. Dinna went back down the doctor and when she told him about this, he told her that she could ask the lab assistant to do the ultrasound. He's lucky I wasn't in the room at the time.

I cannot believe that he could say such a thing. Not only is it incredibly poor bedside manner, but also it doesn't look good to disrespect the staff in your own hospital.

He ended up prescribing more painkillers and a bunch of other stuff (five varieties, in total). The drugs had a limited effect and Saturday night the fever was just as bad, if not worse.

So this morning we cabbed over to the Emergency department of National Taiwan University Hospital. They put her on a drip, gave her bunch of medicine, a couple of injections, an x-ray and recommended that she stay over night. Some with her kidneys, they were saying.

Then I got a call from her just before, asking me to bring her some clothes - they are transferring her and recommending her to stay a week. This could be a problem - we are supposed to be going to Bali in a week. But more to the point, I'm wondering where we would be if we had just listened to the first two incompetent asses. Nerve pain. What the fuck does that even mean anyway?

Black Eyed Peas tomorrow fuckers

Monday, July 24. 2006
Awww yeeah another week goes by and I didn't write the things I promised. Instead I'm here to remind you that I'm going to see BEP tomorrow night. I hope they play some old shit (though I know they probably won't).

Also going to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 tonight, after my singing lesson. Oh yeah. I started singing lessons last week.

G'morning

Tuesday, July 18. 2006
One week today till the Black Eyed Peas. Woohoo! Also I'll be playing this Saturday with Sons on Pablo - if you're in Taipei and want to see me looking nervous on drums come on down. I'll post details later.

Stayed tuned today for my update about a weekend in hell, then later in the week when I write about why, as of the eighth of this month, I am the last dragon standing.

Blow

Thursday, July 13. 2006
After a week of flawless weather while my parents were here, the weather has returned to its usual pattern of rain. As tropical storm Bilis approached Taiwan, the weather literally changed every half an hour - from walls of pouring rain to boiling sun in a matter of minutes.

According to forecasts we were going to get a typhoon holiday day tomorrow when the storm actually hit Taiwan, but it has become apparent that although the storm is already here it has blown itself out. This is a let down - I was looking forward to a long weekend after putting up with riding to work everyday in pissing rain and wind.

My parents left Taiwan on Monday, after 10 days here. It was a great week; I took time off from work to hang out with them. We traveled a little and I took photographs with the camera they gave me. Yes, I am finally able to take pictures again. I'll post some as well as a rundown on what we did later.

Part of my plan for this post was to mention the Black Eyed Peas are coming to town, and that I don't have tickets, but wasn't so concerned because I wasn't that rapt about their latest album. (I bought Monkey Business at the airport the last time I went to Hong Kong on a visa run so I must admit that some songs have a special place in my heart; I was listening to them as I anxiously awaited my fate on the island and around Kowloon.) However, it transpired this afternoon that Dinna has actaully bought tickets for both of us and Xiao Lu - it's his birthday - and I have to say I am pretty excited about it. The tickets weren't cheap - more than AUD100. A ripoff for one act but I think the seats are pretty good.

I've been drumming a lot and enjoying it immensely. The typhoon weather prevented a scheduled rehearsal with the Sons of Pablo tonight, which I was anticipating but the break has given me some time to get some of my shit together.

I think that's about all I've got for tonight. Kerouac Cat appears not to be dead (though Europe is fucking him in the arse), and John is settling into London in his own way apparently. There is more good in the world than I thought.

Subcontracting

Wednesday, July 12. 2006
You know everything is falling apart when all the work gets subcontracted out to third-world nations like England. John noticed that noone does any work around this place anymore and took it upon himself to submit the following, which I think might be a transcription of Kerouac Cat's suicide note (after I threatened to have one of my goons rape him and send pictures to KC's mother). Also, I apologize for the woeful capitalization in this, but you've got to understand John is an English major. Cheers John.

A Fond Farewell

I thought i'd write, i thought i'd let you know...
or rather you did.

Months of silence

i thought i'd lanced the sore, cut you off
and limped on, one hand clutching the place you used to be.

And you had to spoil it, throw me a line, nothing more than a hello, how are you,
that i can't even read without breaking down.

I read half, i'm sure that in a few days i'll be able to read the rest...

So here's the reply you won't be getting:

I'd love to tell you I'm fine, I'd love to tell you that i don't spend most nights drunk,
and high, careening through the old dart with people i barely know in places that i shouldn't
be. I'd love to tell you that every day i don't wake up shocked that i woke up.
I'd love to tell you that i don't sometimes forget that you're gone and think to tell you something,
then torn from the dream "i waked, she fled, and day brought back my night".
I'd love to tell you that i don't compose the letter of explanation I'll never write
or send every morning as i stumble home through a silent city.
I'd love to tell you that this is not my life... It's just a fond farewell to a friend.

i'd love...but i'm too tired.

So i'll ignore your missive.

Stone Cold, but i can't get any distance while we talk, even from the other side of the world.
Because i can't read a line without being reminded of how i love everything you are.

And this will take pride of place in my Patchwork Cloak of Guilt that I flourish melodramatically at
anyone who'll look.

I hope some day hence i'll be together enough to explain, I hope you'll be together enough to forgive.

But if I don't, then i don't;
and if you won't, then you won't.

Farewell.

Good weekend

Monday, June 26. 2006
I finally took delivery of the Cub 90 motorbike I bought for Dinna's birthday (way back in May!) this week. Unfortunately there are a few problems with brakes and other things which I had to sort before I handed it over to her. I replaced the brake pads and tighted some nuts and bolts on Friday night. The previous pads had been tightened down way beyond the limit and then sat for so long they disintegrated. The pieces looked like little toxic stones. It's not finished but it's rideable now. I gave to to her that night; we had some riding lessons around Saturday noon. She's already using it by herself - she went to the gym that evening and then to buy dinner Sunday without me or my permission, even though she cannot yet ride properly nor has a license. If I still had a camera I'd post some pictures. It's a cute bike.

Saturday night we had a band rehearsal that was definitely our best so far. The band really gelled together and I don't think we played a bad song all night. If we could iron out some bugs in other areas we'd be doing great.

Sunday I slept in a little later than I wanted but Dinna and I still made it to the beach at Baishawan. While it was pretty disappointing (lots of rocks, fairly shallow and warm water, and a fast-lowering tide, it was still better than sitting around in the city all day. I think next time we'll try Green Bay instead or go back to Fulong (we went there last weekend).

On the way back we looked at two apartments in Xinyi area of which one Dinna is pretty keen to move into very soon. I want to look at more before making a decision.

Sunday night Will and I had our weekly rehearsal. Bit disappointing because we'd hoped to workshop some of Paul's songs but he was too hungover to come. Not much of an excuse if you ask me.

My parents are going to be here Friday and staying for ten days. I don't really feel organised enough for them but I'll get it together somehow I suppose. It's complicated by the facts that Jeremy is going away again, leaving me in charge of answering the Bikefarm phone until his wife Patty gets back, and that semester is finishing at school so things are going to be busy before then.