Wednesday, 31 March 2010

#90: Bloody Schrödinger.

In the same way where when you start to think about the rhythm of your breathing, it's no longer natural. My Cantonese has gotten to the point where I can only speak it fluently when I'm not actually thinking about how I'm speaking. Eek. I need to bust out my HK movie collection.

The original analogy was that I can speak better Japanese when I'm tipsy...

...and it's true.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

#89: Ahh Kita-Narashino.

Covering for a friend this Saturday, which always goes through a few stages of process:
- The initial reaction of: "Nooo! Working on a Saturday!!!".
- Then the realisation of: "Wait, when was the last time I regretted working on a Saturday?"
- Finally the memory that: "By the time I mentally wake up, half the workday will have gone... Cool!"

The body is willing, but the spirit is sleepy.

Monday, 29 March 2010

#88: What The Hell Is An Imputation?

Doing my taxes makes me feel like such a grown-up.

Kinda depressing.

Then the refund thingy comes in.

Which I still don't quite understand.

But hey!


Sunday, 28 March 2010

#87: But You Can't Take The Sky From Meeeee...

Woke up to the sounds of myself vomiting down the toilet. That wasn't so fun.

On the other hand, the forced bedrest did allow me to have that Firefly marathon I've been meaning to get down to for a few years now. The entire series in it's proper order topped off with the movie? Definitely worth the stomach flu.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

#86: Hey! It's Those Guys!

I just realised that the two actors who play Jacob and Smokey Man in Lost, are also in Supernatural as the Devil and War respectively.


Friday, 26 March 2010

#85: The Odd Spark.

I have this one student in one of my classes, where when I first started teaching him 2.4yrs ago, he was the happiest kid in the world. Deliriously so. The kid exists in his own fantasy world and when I first took over the class, his quirks was just another feature of an already-quirky bunch of kids. His doodling style and his mannerisms made me wonder at times whether he's on a permanent acid trip... the kid is totally harmless, not a hurtful bone in his body. Just not quite in sync with the rest of the world.

The original class was a good balance of boys and girls, and the kids got on well with each other. They accepted each other. However as the evolving nature of classes in a cram-school tend to do - some students left, other students came in and gradually the dynamic changed.

The class now is the same size, but almost all boys, and almost all of them are good friends outside of school. It's become something of a boys club. This one kid I was talking about, he doesn't fit in. And by god don't the others make him feel it.

I absolutely will not tolerate vindictism in my classes. I've laid down thunder more times than I ever should have to do so with this class, and this one kid, he just takes it. As far as I'm concerned, he's the strongest kid in the world. So much more so than any of his classmates. He's already proved it more than a few times. But he doesn't help his own case when he's not in the present frame of mind 90% of the time.

So when twice a week you're in a class where 80% of your classmates take every opportunity to take a shot, and you only have one friend who will sit next to you (...mainly coz that particular kid's love of the teacher's approval outweighs his own annoyance of you). Then sooner or later something is gonna come to a point.

As the teacher I have to remain fair, as there is only so much that I'm able or allowed to do. After all we're talking about attempting to make 10yr old boys understand tolerance here, there's only so much reasoning you're able to do at their logic-level, both directly and indirectly.

Every week I've been watching this one kid retreat more and more into his own world. There's creating your own fantasy world, and then there's total rejection of reality. It's heartbreaking. It's also the makings of a sociopath.

As adults we're lucky in that we (usually) get to have the option to walk away when we find we're some place we don't belong. Classroom politics is tough coz you don't always have that option.

I really really hope his mother accepts our suggestion to move him into another, infinitely more accepting class.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

#84: Exactly How I Imagined It.

One of the reasons why I started noting daily-ly is coz I'm really bad at verbalising my thoughts into something coherent outside of my brain. This is something of an attempt to fix that.

Apparently I still have muchness in ways to go...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

#83: Already?!

I've only just realised that this my now my fifth year out of England. Everytime I think about it, seems like the chances of me actually moving back grows just that lil bit slimmer.

In these four and a bit years, not counting my family, friends and my car... Is there any aspect of living in England that I particularly miss?

Nope. Not a single thing.

Yet I still won't discount the possibility. Huh.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

#82: Machine The Sides And Buzz The Top.

In England, my haircuts cost £7-£10 and I was generally ok with the results.

In Japan, they were 1200yen (closer to £9), and I was pretty happy - plus you get a nice lil massage afterwards too.

In Taiwan, a haircut costs me 150TWD (£3.13p according to Google), and they'll get it right 95% of the time. Though no massage.

However the best haircut I ever got was in Berkeley, San Francisco. It was by a Korean Granny who spoke no English, and had to get directions from her granddaughter.

I don't think I know how to say my cut in English anymore... (O_o)

Monday, 22 March 2010

#81: What Drives Progress.

You have days like today, when everything at work goes smoothly, the kids are great, the students work hard and there is no stress. Which means that the chances of me actually remembering this day in a few years are very slim.

And then you have those bitchy days when nothing goes right, kids are climbing up the walls and blood will be spilt at some point or other. Those are the memories that seem to hang around.

Funny how people generally are more likely to comment when things goes wrong. Ideally should be the other way round... only to fall into a state of apathy... heh. Ahh... now I get it.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

#80: Signs From Above.

So what does it mean, when the very weekend that we plan to finally back in on some regular exercise, do some jogging around the park... The biggest ever dust storm decides to descend upon the city?!

Ahh.. my metabolism has never been one for all this... fitness malarky. I'm an energy storer, me. The dust storm is the desert. I am a camel. Witness my hump.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

#79: Zephyr

There are moments in the middle of the night when you're just lying awake in bed, the window is open and you feel the lightest of breezes wafting over you.

I love that.

Friday, 19 March 2010

#78: Huffing And Puffing

This week I suggested to The Marshmallow that we start going running every Saturday. She agreed. Dammit that wasn't part of the plan!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

#77: By Proxy.

I have widgets that automagically pull news and facebook updates from rss feeds onto my desktop. In turn, my blogspot posts and twitter updates are automagically pulled by facebook into it's notes and status updates. Now I can also setup entire albums offline without ever touching the browser at all.

As a result, I actually hardly ever login to facebook itself.

No wonder I never realise facebook had changed it's style yet again until everybody starts complaining. Also why I've lately been getting a buncha queries by people wondering why I haven't been responding to their events... it's coz facebook doesn't have an rss feed for event invititations... yet.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

#76: Swirl The Broth.

I'm always impressed whenever I see a passenger on the back of scooter eating a bowl of pot noodles. The kinda innate understanding of fluid dynamics required to keep everything in the bowl while riding the bumps and swerves of Taipei is nothing short of mystical... go Chinese Kung Fu!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

#75: The Blips.

You see the turn approaching fast, a tight, mid/low speed right hander.

Coming in on the outside, your foot hard on the accelerator up until the very last moment. You move to the middle pedal in an instant and step down firm. ABS on the very brink of clicking in, the foot shifts over to the right, right edge of the sole just covering the left edge of the accelerator.

Your left foot covers the clutch the entire time. Left hand moves from steering wheel to gearstick.

Ball of right foot still on brake pedal and never changing pressure, you tilt the foot sideways, making contact with the accelerator pedal.

At the exact same time, the left foot goes down on the clutch.

The shaft disengages. Left hand shifts down into third gear. Accelerator pedal goes down just enough to bring back lost revs. Left foot goes back up. Everything meshes, there is no judder. Third gear engaged.

Still on the brakes, you repeat once more to enter second gear.

All of the above occurs within a second, covering a distance of less than ten metres travelled. As soon as second gear is engaged, your foot moves off the brake and onto the accelerator. Only then do you make the turn into the bend. The engine never leaves the power-band.

Everything is progressive, smooth. There is no stamping or yanking. Turns are fluid, pedal action is firm but gradual. Full throttle is only engaged after you clip the apex, you're back in third gear before the exit of the turn. Fourth gear comes less than three seconds later.


I've made a post like this before... almost exactly like this.

But I passed two Lupo GTi's today and Goddamn! It made me pang for my old car once more... (><)

Monday, 15 March 2010

#74: Tasty Macros.

If I ever get round to putting all my lil food pics online... I'm gonna call the site Food Porn.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

#73: Those Beautiful Hills and Valleys.

While oversteer is always preferred to understeer, I'd rather be underestimated than overestimated. In the middle however, it's only fair that you spend equal efforts on top, and at the bottom...

...and never forget to have a stab from behind as well. =)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

#72: Raw

It's no secret that at its very base, alcohol reveals the true nature behind a person. Just enough to tip over the edge of self-awareness, but not quite enough to give in to hedonism. At that point, you'll know who your real friends are, what their real ambitions might be, and more than anything else... who the horny ones are.

Apparently when I'm tipsy, my true nature is to cold read everybody. I counted five pairs who had the increased likelihood of sweaty nakedness tonite, including one nerdy looking guy who looked like he was about to pop coz he couldn't believe the cute girl was talking to him. Ahh... fond memories.

My girlfriend was sleeping at home and I was out in a bar with a bunch of single buddies. What else am I gonna do?!

Friday, 12 March 2010

#71: Man, I'm Gonna Miss This Place.

In London, whenever I wanted a decent milkshake at 3am I'd have to drive 30minutes into central to get to Tinseltown. As a bonus I'd get to have my windows smashed and radio or cousin's record collection stolen along the way, the thrill is in the surprise.

In Taipei, I can scooter 2minutes down the road, forget my keys on the bike and come out 30minutes later and it'll still be there. And I can do it all in my jammies.

Seriously, I could really live here.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

#70: So I Made A Program...

...and the question people were asking most was; Why?

I like taking pictures, I like sharing my pictures, I like tagging my pictures and I like captioning my pictures.

I have 131 albums on Facebook. I've tagged and captioned enough pics to get miffed enough at the constant switching between mouse and keyboard to click-face-scroll-choose-name-click-enter-click-face-type-name-enter to actually wanna upload less photos coz I don't wanna tag so much.

Oh I have to tag my photos. I can't upload a photo without tagging or captioning it... that would be preposterous.

So I made a program that catered to my needs. Coz I could.

I can now create an entire album and upload it with minimal clicking and faffing around between keyboard, mouse and name lists. Coz I can.

And that is the Why.
And this is the plug, check it out.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

#69: Gotta Keep The Quo.

Yesterday was a bit of a lengthy post. So today will just be a few words.

Bloody hell it was cold today. Did we go back a few months? Is my flux capacitor working now?? Brrrrr....


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

#68: I Love My Sister.

My sister and I, are complete opposite ends of the same stick. She recognises actual music, I do beats and RnB. She does humanities and history, I do science and engineering. When it was just the two of us - she'd do the cooking and washing, I'd do the cleaning and washing up. She acts with her heart, I ponder with my head. We fought and argued like crazy when we were kids, she'd hit me over the head with a fluorescent yellow tennis racket, I'd bump her head into a brick wall.

Yup, I remember that. Sorry.

If we weren't brother and sister we probably wouldn't even have met each other - our walks of life are that different.

Yet, if it wasn't for my sister, I probably would never have moved out to Tokyo before, and onto Taipei now. When telling my students stories of my family, one of my favourites is the one where my little sister goes off travelling all by herself a year before university. She circled the globe in nine months (I think) with nothing but her backpack and camera (I usually leave out the part that that's coz she'd lost everything else). The best part is after she came back and graduated outta uni, as soon as she was free she went off and did it all over again!

Were it not for her, I probably would never have had the spark to move away myself... though with less hitchhiking, and more flushing toilets. I remember when we were younger I got so annoyed when she used to copy me all the time. Heh. Funny that.

Of all the people in the world, my sister is probably the one who's seen me most at my worst and most heartless. Yet she's still the one who reminds me about family events and birthdays, who'll still offer to get the gifts and cards on my behalf. We'll go a year and not say a word to each other, and yet just carry on like it was just a weekend passed when we meet up.

I'm a pretty terrible older brother, there will still be many, many times I'm sure when I will piss my little sister off.

But there is very little that I wouldn't do for her.
Sis, I just wanted you to know that.

Monday, 8 March 2010

#67: Pitter Patter.

It's raining outside, normally I'd enjoy the sounds and just stick my head under the covers with a book. But I'm hungry. And there's no food in the apartment. And it's raining outside. Grr. Where's my brolly?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

#66: Haiyaa, Pow Pow.

I realised today that I love paintballing not coz of the fact that you get to shoot your friends in the head, although that is fun too.

It's coz there is no other situation where a I would be allowed to do a ninja-roll and strike fear into the hearts of my enemies... before they shoot me in the head.

You just don't get those kinda opportunities in everyday life these days.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

#65: Admit It: You Know EXACTLY What I Mean... Right?

One of my best pre-teen memories is the one where I once spent an entire day behind the TV, figuring out just how to wire the TV, two VCR's, the Sky box and the Chinese Channel together all through the one co-ax aerial line.

There was an art to it, you had to get both VCR's recording off the two satellite boxes as well as off each other. Lord forbid you ever lose the ability to record the Chinese Channel... and everything has to be accessible through the TV at the end. Ahhh, good times.

You shoulda seen me when SCART cables came out.

Friday, 5 March 2010

#64: A Worthwhile Cliché

As delightful as The Marshmallow makes my every day, it's not the reason why I'm with her.

I'm with her coz I'm a better person when I'm with her, than when I'm not. Simple as.

Corny. But true.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

#63: Let Me Tell Your Future...

When I was in secondary school, it was a time before Facebook questionnaires, before Blogthings quizzes, before's Purity Test, hell, before >>>>>>>>>>>'s in Fwd:fw:fw:FWD:fwd:fwd:s became a nuisance.

In an effort to find out just what their lil darlings might be good for in life, some parents paid £20 for their kids to give up a free period and take an aptitude test. Four to six weeks later(!) they would receive in the post(!!) a big yellow envelope containing a printout(!!!) of ten potential career paths their blessed ones would be ideally suited for.

It's uncanny, really, I always manage to remember my list quite distinctly...

  • Computer Engineer

  • Civil Engineer

  • Aeronautical Engineer

  • Electrical Engineer

  • Mechanical Engineer

  • Chemical Engineer

  • Structural Engineer

  • Materials Engineer

  • Agricultural Engineer

  • Systems Analyst

Can't quite put my finger on it, but sensing a definite theme running in there. Hmm...

Good thing "System's Analyst" was in there, or this English Teacher might've felt a bit limited in scope!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

#62: A Real Product Of Society.

London makes me lazy. In that there exists many obstacles between one's present position, and one's goals.

Tokyo makes me jaded. In that I lived there just long enough for absolutely everything, to become predictable.

Taipei makes me empowered. In that anything I wanted to happen, I found I could actually make happen.

I wonder what South America will make of me...

Gassy, probably.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

#61: Not Even A Mouse.

At the beginning of Roald Dahl's The BFG, he talks about a time in the night when everything goes completely still, The Witching Hour. It's like all that is living goes silent and the is turned over world to those things that exist only when you believe hard enough.

It's also the best time to go blasting through the roads and picking up a snack at a soy-milk store.

It's always been my favourite book.

Monday, 1 March 2010

#60: Pat

At one point during the fireworks festival, after a particularly heavy bombardment, I spotted my friend with a curiously glowing hole 3cm wide in the towel taped to the back of his helmet. As I was patting out the flames on his head, I felt my own head knocking forward and turned around to discover some bloke indicating that my helmet too was on fire.

So there we were, three guys in the middle of a thronging horde still reeling from a battering by ten billion mini-rockets, furiously patting each others helmets out...

This story is gonna need some revision on retelling.