Monday, September 30, 2002

Andy stopped by Taipei two Fridays ago when he came to Taiwan on business for Henkel Consumer Adhesives. We quickly caught up and I learned all sorts of fascinating facts about tape. So folks, the next time you are in need of duct tape, get the brand with the cute yellow duck with the green sash on it. It's the best.

Benson was so kind in chauffering me around Taipei over the weekend so that I could gather materials for the baby shower I threw for my friend Maria yesterday. We ate assorted bagels with cream cheese and lox, basil egg salad, cheesecake with blueberries, watermelon, freshly-squeezed watermelon lemonade, and Maria's delicious blinis with salmon caviar, raspberry jam, or honey. Maria is so big, and absolutely glowing, and baby Max slept quietly in the womb as we celebrated his impending arrival.
Being the aesthetic perfectionist I am, I just changed my commenting system. Of course, I haven't done anything particular interesting for my readers, like update my blog with stories about my oh-so-interesting adventures in Taiwan. But I will. Soon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank everyone who made this moment possible...

being part of TC's Cast of Characters is quite a priviledge and honor. Hugs and kisses to all!

Friday, September 20, 2002

I completely agree with an article, "Nu Shortcuts in School R 2 Much 4 Teachers," that appeared in the New York Times today. While language should be fluid and constantly evolving, I find many of the shortcuts used in electronic communications (i.e., "ur," "cuz," "OMG," "props," "peeps," "luv," etc.) annoying, infantile, and gauche. Using them while sending short messages over a mobile phone--in which text entry is quite laborious--is understandable, but in formal writing? Even when I write email, using standard English is vastly more elegant and thoughtful. And yes, people are free to use language in whatever way they want on their blogs. However, that the annoying bloggers mentioned in Ernie's blog entry a few days ago use such language in their writing only serves to underscore the point Ernie made about their characters.

My other thought about this is, why are the people who write in this manner often Asian-American? Gah! You know whom I'm talking about; I'm sure you've seen heard on the street.

Monday, September 16, 2002

I, along with 15,197 other people, made the swim across Sun Moon Lake yesterday. For the record, I was at least 20 minutes faster than Taipei Mayor Ma. The swim was actually quite pleasant: the lake was free of debris, calm, and the temperature just right. My fellow swimmers were more annoying: everyone had to swim with some sort of floatation device (usually a rescue tube), so most people hung off of the tube and slowly kicked. I swam through the crowds.

On the way down to Taizhong Saturday morning, I realized I had forgotten how loud Taiwanese people are. I took part in the swim with a tour organized by the Xindian Carribbean Pool, and on the way down, my fellow riders insisted upon loudly singing karaoke. This was at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning! I felt like throwing things, but thought that saying "shhh!" and glaring at the two locals talking in rather loud voices behind me was enough Cranky Foreigner Behavior.

Friday, September 13, 2002

I'm now back in Taipei. I couldn't think of what to write for awhile, while reorienting myself to the time zone and catching up with projects at work. But I finally thought of something! One nice bonus to going home is that my parents always have lots of prepared fresh fruit available. I think it's the single life--it's harder to get your fruits and veggies when there is only one person to shop for. I mean, I'm never going to be able to finish an entire watermelon by myself before it gets spoiled. I'm trying harder, though, now that I've returned to Taipei and feel the difference in my diet, to get my five a day. My efforts have been mitigated, unfortunately, by the deluge of mooncakes flowing into our office, as Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching.

I will mark Mid-Autumn Festival by swimming across Sun Moon Lake this Sunday.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

A change of pace for this particular entry, from ruminating to "awww, how cute!" I could not resist putting this photo of my nephew Oliver and me online. He's such a sweet little boy, and I love talking with his mom, my cousin Evelyn, about children, parenting, and relationships. I always feel that my faith in the goodness of humanity and the beauty of relationships between people is strengthened whenever I talk to Evelyn. I had lunch with Evelyn and her boys, Oliver and Ethan, on Wednesday. Afterwards, Oliver gave me a kiss goodbye. I bid a quiet goodbye to a sleeping Ethan.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

The United States is the land of extremes: an education system which produces both the brightest and the most shamefully unprepared and ignorant students of any advanced nation on earth, McMansions dotting the increasingly homogenized landscape, super-sized fast food meals, croissants the size of salad plates, "family-sized" pizzas the size of an auto tire. I once read somewhere that living in this culture makes it almost impossible not to be overweight. Today while eating brunch, I overheard on the television news that McDonald's is now changing the way they prepare their french fries so that there will be no trans-fatty acids, making it easier for McDonald's french fries to be a part "a balanced diet." My first thought was, Americans are just going to hear this and justify eating super-sized fries as "being healthy for me"--or at the very least, "guilt-free." Whatever happened to moderation and eating wholesome, minimally processed foods? My second thought was how poor the quality was of this so-called broadcast journalism. In so many ways the segment sounded like an advertisement for McDonald's. I've never really noticed how poor reporting is on television, mostly because I rarely watch television, but this quality was espeically noticeable to me on this trip. But I digress.

Just moving about this bit of L.A. I'm struck by how large so many Americans are. While at Old Navy today, I first mistook the "performance fleece vests" for blankets--they were so large! But I'm not entirely surprised. I had some shopping that I wanted to do, and REI turned out to be a quick fifteen minutes away from my home--but that's fifteen minutes by car, including time spent on the freeway. Certainly quite a different experience than my life back in Taipei, where a fifteen minute walk from my home takes me to the gym, past a couple of lively street markets and stalls...or my life back when I lived in Cambridge, MA, where a fifteen minute walk from my apartment led through the quiet, tree-lined paths of Julia Child's former neighborhood and Harvard University on my way to the T. Southern California seems to be so embedded in its car culture.