Thursday, January 29, 2004

Very cool word of the day: hebetude, noun: mental dullness or sluggishness.

The office has been so chilly that I've taken to using a space heater. The problem with using the space heater is the heat lulls me into a hebetudinous state. But if I turn off the heater, I become seriously cold.

You just can't win.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Our office's email systems have been downed by the latest computer virus, the timing of which is probably just as well for Taiwan's first day back from the lunar new year holiday. I've not spent so much time away from the office while in Taiwan, spending a luxuriously leisurely holiday puttering about.

In the past week, I've had several good climbing sessions, took a BodyBalance class at my gym, hiked Four Animals Mountains with Karen, had a Lunar New Year's eve dinner with family, and visited the excellent Museum of World Religions in the Taipei suburb of Yonghe.

The weather has been quite cold--the coldest in the past 11 years--and so Saturday night Jonathan took Evelyne and I to a public hot spring in Xin Beitou. Less than a five minute walk from the MRT station, for NT$40 (a little over US$1), I took in the waters and was finally able to feel warm for the first time in days.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Some random notes:

+ Perhaps I'm extra-sensitive from growing up in drought-ridden California, but people in Taipei sure are silly. For the past two years, the country starts worrying about draught in late spring, and restrictions are put in place. Two years ago, they actually shut off the water every five days to conserve water. Not so fun in the middle of the summer, when you're hot and sweaty, and want to get all that grime off.

There's talk again this year about the possibility of a draught, although it's been raining all day. The kicker is, there's a guy outside my office building right now watering the plants and the pavement. Hello! It's raining already!

+ Lunar new year's eve is on Wednesday. I'm very fortunate that the Taiwan markets are closed, so even though the official holiday begins on Wednesday, our department is off this week.

+ I've decided to use this extra time to go on a detox program. The changing weather (warm-cold-warm-cold) makes this an ideal time to do this. So this week, I'm eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. No meat, no fish, no dairy, and no grains.

I hosted a dinner party Saturday night to kick-off the program. My friends were impressed with how tasty the food could be. On the menu were braised pumpkin, stir-fried greens with tangy miso dressing, and pan-fried tofu. For dessert, we had pears poached in cranberry juice, cinammon, cloves, and a splash of red wine. The poaching liquid was later reduced to make a glaze for the pears.

I've had such the relaxing weekend: just puttering about the house organizing and cleaning (which is what one is supposed to do before the start of the new year) and taking care of myself through diet and plenty of rest. I'm also catching up on my weekend. Sometimes burrowing at home is just what I need.

Friday, January 16, 2004


So the contact info I have listed on this here blog goes to the email account associated with my hosting company. Which I check only occasionally. Having a dedicated email account for my blog seemed like a good idea, to keep everything in one place. I also got off the web some encoding software that would enable people to email me easily, but keep the spammers at bay.


I finally logged into my virtualberta account today only to find over 600+ messages in my inbox, the vast majority of them spam. (On a side note, I had checked my account not that long ago, and the folders were empty then, and today's check made it seem like I had over half a year's messages in there, so something must be wrong with the email system. Regardless, I shall continue.) I was trying to do some cleanup and accidentally deleted *all* of the messages.

And there is no way to retrieve them.

I very much wanted to respond to all of the very nice personal emails people sent me about my blog, but I can't do that anymore. I feel really bad about it, but in my post tai qi quan-induced calm, in the greater scheme of things, this is not really a big deal. Still, I'd like to thank those who did write.

So, dear reader, if you've ever sent me an email through my virtualberta account, I haven't replied not because I'm trying to be mean, but because I was a technological doofus. Please accept my apologies. And try to write me again -- I've activated forwarding and I will get back to you. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Today's Word of the Day is tergiversation, noun: the act of practicing evasion or of being deliberately ambiguous, a word that describes something I'm sure everyone has done at one point in their life with their parents.

I can see myself as a parent, "Don't tergiversate me, young man! Did you brush your teeth?"

Monday, January 12, 2004

I was busy running about the house yesterday, getting multiple things done at once: laundry in the washer; uploading, downloading, and syncing on my computer; eating breakfast; straightening up. Anyways, more Yu Lu hike photos are available on Sony Imagestation (or you can click on the animated gif below).

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Amazing how quickly time flies by as I've gotten settled back into my usual routine. One sign of the holidays that still remains, though, are the Christmas decorations. Yes, Taiwan is not a Christian country. Nevertheless, there is a huge Christmas tree, replete with wrapped presents, and poinsettia galore in our office building's lobby. All of which just serves to rub in the commercialism of Christmas here.

The oddest sight I've seen this season, though, as to be at the Angkor temple Banteay Srei. In one of the more remote Angkor temples that was only fairly recently demined, this tourist entered the complex of finely carved pink sandstone carrying what appeared to be a Playskool boombox. Playing hip hop. Now, this I can imagine seeing in Compton. Perhaps on Telegraph in Berkeley. But in Cambodia?!?

Anyways, today I took a break from studying and went hiking through part of Yu Lu trail in Yangming Mountain. Apparently, fisherman used to haul their catch from the sea near Jin Shan Mountain on the north-east coast of Taiwan for about 7-8 hours down the trail through the mountains to sell it at the Shihlin Market near Taipei. I'm impressed by the effort; and mildly concerned about how fresh that seafood must have been after a nearly full-day hike.

My friend Karen and I had a great time getting out of the city, though.

Near the end of the trail, a tree provided a perfect, albeit wet, resting spot.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Happy New Year and a happy belated birthday to both Melissa and TC!

I had the perfect vacation in Thailand and Cambodia...until I got to the airport Sunday night. Lo and behold, the flight was overbooked, and there was no way Thai Airways was letting me on my flight that night. They put me up for a night at the adjacent Amari Airport hotel, and I on my way back to Taipei the next day on the first flight out in the morning, where I got food poisoning...and spent the next two days sleeping and throwing up (thankfully, more sleeping than throwing up). On the bright side, at least I got sick after my vacation and not during, and I had felt like I had eaten too much (pants feeling snug), so not eating for two days sorta felt cleansing.