Wednesday, 30 June 2010

#181: Easy Sways.

Coming outta Toy Story 3 with The Marshmallow, I had this uncanny urge to walk around an actual toy store...

20 minutes later, I'd bought the Marshmallow this:

5 minutes after that, she'd bought me this:

...actually, wait, nope - she actually bought me these:

If anything's ever worth doing - it's always worth overdoing. ;)

Googling around, evidently these Nerf Mavericks are very, very mod-friendly... (^^)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

#180: Huh.

They have reliable ADSL in Argentina... right? RIGHT???

Monday, 28 June 2010

#179: I Scream, You Scream...

It was perfect weather for ice cream today...

...that's it. =)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

#178: Up And Away.

Somehow, so far, I've managed to gain a motorcycle licence in Chinese (Taiwan), a drivers licence in Chinese (Taiwan), a Japanese drivers licence (Japan) and of course - my faithful UK drivers licence in English (England).

I think I'm gonna go for a pilot and helicopter licence in the next country.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

#177: Road Signs.

I've just noticed on most days where I happen to fall off my bike, I usually also happen to have a thought that goes along the lines of, "Hmm, brakes are a little soft today..." at some point earlier in those same days.

My keen spidey senses are telling me that those two events might be related somehow...

Friday, 25 June 2010

#176: Friction Is Good.

Had two sets of newbie teachers observe two of my classes this week. The first set saw my most difficult class with the dysfunctional brats, the second set saw my best class where I can't fail - everything just works with the lil hyperactive angels.

Somehow, I think the first set of teachers got the better deal in seeing just how not to control a buncha bratty bullies. At one point I berated a kid for giving attitude to another kid, when he protested that he didn't actually say anything - I responded by saying, "Yeah, but your face? Not good".

Ahh, ever the role model.

The second teacher just saw me have a ton of fun with a class of geniuses, all of whom already knew where everything was and how everything went. I didn't need to explain any rules or games or even tell them what to do. We just launched from point to point to point, laughing at every step.

What's a newbie teacher gonna do with that?!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

#175: Bodies In Motion.

For some reason I always find it a bit of a conversation killer when telling people that I wanna drive across America... "Just for the hell of it".

Apart from the Grand Canyon and dropping by family and friends I have Stateside - I'm not actually interested in going anywhere in particular. It's all about the drive.

It gets even worse when I then start going on about how there's nothing more important than finding a car with a preppy engine and a manual gearbox. It takes a very special kind of audience to understand this kind of motivation.

My earliest memories have always been about the journey.

I know my Dad took us on a whole bunch of family holidays when we were lil tykes - a friend's villa in France, my cousin's flat in Hong Kong, the Lake District, Disney World Florida... yet my clearest recollections have always been the moments in transit. Lying on the backseat of the car looking up at the sky go by in the Lake District, The Beatles' Hard Day's Night slowly making me carsick (to this day I can't listen to that track without feeling queasy). The kiddies meal tray on the Cathay flight to HK, in particular the section with the Wotsits crisps in the corner. Eating my first ever hash brown (McD's) in the back of our rental minivan in America.

Can't remember the foggiest about the things we did when we got to wherever we were going. But the things we did on the way there? Those are what sticks with me.

But very few people seem to understand the full breadth of the reasoning; "I'm just doing it for the drive."

I guess that makes me one of the special ones... =P

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

#174: A Forgotten Favourite.

Searching my old xanga for an obscure reference to a now-saved-for-later post, I came across this old poem that I had originally instantly fell in love with. As applicable now as it always was then. Definitely worth a repost:

It's called flowers wilt.
It's called apples rot.
It's called thieves get rich and saints get shot.
It's called God don't answer prayers a lot.
Alright, now you know.

- Stephen Sondheim, Merrily We Roll Along

Captures quite sweetly that cheerful-cynical-bastard attitude that this cynical optimist loves so much. Me likey... (^^)b

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

#173: Amending The Plan. Revision XLVII.

One day, I will finally get over myself and learn that I should always trust my initial gut feeling.

All the biggest and best events in my life have stemmied from silly irrational impulse decisions, from choosing which college to go to, to the relationships I've had, to which countries I've been to.

My dad once taught me that when driving, if I'm gonna perform a manoeuvre - once I start, I'm committed - I should never hesitate. Whether my Dad really is some kinda genius sage of Great Allegorical Life Lessons, or just handing out some general road safety advice - the lesson stuck. And it applies, everywhere.

All the missed opportunities I've experienced and witnessed have been because I second guessed myself, my hesitations often cost me dear.

And as such; from a random comment in the teachers room today - I'm amending that fluidic dictate that is The Plan.

It has always been my intention to switch life focus after I pass a certain age (way, way, way in the distant future). The flip will go from No-Holds-Barred-Relativistic-Freedom, to All-Out-Money.

After all, I still want eight kids and a car just for the weekend.

The first step just became clearer: After Argentina, I'm gonna do my final teaching gig in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, 21 June 2010

#172: Altitude.

One of the reasons why I like going to high places so much is that it has a knack for putting everything in perspective. Everything is just toy cars and model trees from that kinda height.

The challenge is in retaining that perspective after you get back down...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

#171: Blissful Peaceful.

The other thing I like about hiking, is the absolute stillness it can invoke in a self. When you get in your rhythm, you can walk forever and ignore the world.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

#170: Move Dammit!

My mind and my body very rarely agree with each other. I really have to kick it's arse sometimes. One of the things I like about hiking is that even my body recognises the fact that when you're miles away from any kinda civilisation, the only thing you can do is take it one step at a time... and you'll always get to your destination eventually.

Friday, 18 June 2010

#169: Happens After Every Accident.

You keep replaying the events in your head.
You try to think of what you could've done differently.
You wonder if you could've reacted earlier.
If you should've swerved to the left or the right, into the side traffic.
You keep wondering...

But in the end, what happened, happened the way it did.
Even the driver came out and said that it wasn't our fault.

All you can do now is be thankful that nobody was seriously injured and that it's actually a good thing that The Grandfather took the brunt of the force. Otherwise the energy that went into crumpling up it's front end could've been directed into our bodies instead.

So now, the combination of paintball, a sudden cold and a traffic accident has left my body literally battered and bruised both on the inside and the outside... And I haven't been training in for over half a year...

I couldn't be in better condition to tackle Taiwan's highest mountain tmw! (^^)v

Thursday, 17 June 2010

#168: Consistency.

Was getting strange messages on my phone, Twitter, Skype and fb wall all day today. Dunno what all the fuss is about.

I guess I've entered my tenth year being 19, but that's hardly new anymore - I've been 19 for the previous nine years already, ten is the next logical step after nine. It's mathematics, a fundamental law of the universe, can't really argue with the universe... (most of the time).

Today is also my ten thousandth five hundred and ninety second consecutive day of successfully being alive. I guess that's a minor miracle in itself, but I'm sure there some other people out there who are beating my current high score as right now.

Nothing special about today. Nope, nothing at all.

Huh, puzzling...

Oh! Almost forgot!

It's my sister 26th birthday today!
Happy Birthday Shireen, have a great one! (^^)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

#167: This Is Why She's My Marshmallow.

After the news that Toy Story 3 was sold out, we decided to just jump on the bike and ride into the mountains. With no destination in mind, we stopped off after an hour or so at a quaint lil spot called "Little Oil Pit", which despite the name... was quite a scenic little area.

While we were sitting there enjoying the rare sunshine and taking in the views, amongst the curious kiddies and disapproving old grannies - we pulled out our DS's and had a few games of multiplayer Puzzle Bobble.

I've found someone who feels just as at ease at bringing out a Gameboy in the middle of nowhere as they would at home. And it's magic.

When mountain hiking, it always amuses me to see other hiker's reactions when I bring out my DS along with my regular outdoorsy stuff, there's always the look of, "Why did you bring that?!"


I actually love hiking and going up high altitudes as much as I love my games and geekery. All I'm doing is combining my loves...

Think of your favourite dessert, a tiramisu, or a trifle, or something. Imagine eating that in your house, makes you smile, doesn't it?

Now imagine sitting in a meadow, under a warm blue sky, breeze blowing across the grass, and you're sharing that dessert with the person or the people that you love.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

#166: Damn You Geoffrey!

On the way to work today this song suddenly popped into my head... it's been stuck there ever since.

I'd like to share with you what's been running through my head all day:

There’s a magical place, we’re on our way there
With toys in their millions all under one roof’s called Toys ‘R’ Us!

Soon after bedtime when dark night-time falls,
Geoffrey & helpers stock up all the shelves,
From ceiling to floor; books, board games & bikes,
teddies, puppets & dolls,
bats, spaceships & trikes!

There’s millions says Geoffrey, all under one roof’s called Toys ‘R’ Us, Toys ‘R’ Us, Toys R Us!

Monday, 14 June 2010

#165: Hey, Wanna See Something Cool?

You think if I used these pics as advertisements, I'd get more people to come paintballing with us? (^.^)b

Sunday, 13 June 2010

#164: Mr Brightside.

I was let down by quite a few people today.

Though it wasn't unexpected; what with the combination of the weather being it's usual cheerful weekend self (¬_¬), and some World Cup game ending at 4am the night before...

But when your own friends aren't able to show up to an event that had been specially rescheduled to suit their situations... yet the pub landlords who were actually hosting one such World Cup party themselves are still able to turn up - I know it's not personal, but still a lil hard not to feel just a bit of a slap in the face.

Anyways. Woosah.

Despite the heaven's best efforts to dump half the Pacific on our heads we still managed to have a wickedly manic wet and dirty day out in the woods. (^^)

Paintballing is one of those sports where if you don't immediately get it - just wait a game or two and then it'll click. I think that happened for a few newbies today... =D

Everyone needs to experience that "Ahh Just Fudge It And Have Fun" attitude, at least once in their life. If only to know that it exists, or just to serve as a reminder that it's there.

The day did also hold more than a few surprises - along with that ever-so-tasty-shaving-cream birthday cake served up by The Marshmallow... (Vengeance will be mine missy! Just you wait, sleep with one eye open... (-.O) )

Another great surprise was the participation of the father of one Jelly BooBoo, aka The Great Papa BooBoo. An unassuming fellow of a seniority that suggests at least twice the median age of our motley crew. This man, however, displayed an energy that I'd only previously seen before in my own Grandad Lee. That he was easily able to match us shot for shot along the front lines AND stayed with us all the way up to the very last game (of which only the most hardcore are willing to take part) - shows me once more that there really is no such thing as "Too Old For This..."

These are the people who make me say, "Daddy, if I grow up, I wanna be just like them!"

Saturday, 12 June 2010

#163: Countdown.

Huh, I've entered my final three months working in Taiwan.

Friday, 11 June 2010

#162: One Of Those More Meandering Moments.

So even if we couldn't take our physical bodies out of their existing paths through time... this limitation might only be limited itself to the corporeal elements. Our consciousness's, however, need not necessarily be chained to the same restrictions.

Obviously this is not a new concept, not even close, and the wealth of stories out there - in both fiction and factual studies - shows that this is already a well-explored concept.

But still... just think - maybe the reason why we've never had any evidence of time travellers from the future is coz we can't actually see them. WoooOOOooooo... Or even better... in the future, they've discovered how to piggyback their consciousness's through others and ride backwards through time in that way... reliving the past through our eyes. Unable to change anything, but able to get firsthand accounts of what really happened...

Somebody might be looking through your eyes right now........ =D
So if you ever see me looking at the mirror, and waving hello.

Now you know why.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

#161: Saving It For That Special Someone.

The Marshmallow and I are concert virgins - I've been to open-air festivals before, but never an actual arena with a main headlining act.

So when the chance to see Usher in Taipei pops up - on our 1yr anniversary no less - we could think of no more perfect person to go celebrate the date with. he knew that the day we became a couple was on the 4th July, I'll never know. It's uncanny, really. Can't think of no other reason why he'd be in Taipei on that date. Nope. None at all. Nada.

It's gotta be just for us. Only possible reason. Yup.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

#160: That Swishy Swooniness.

Gotta say (and I don't say it often enough)... but The Marshmallow looked mighty


in her new dress today.

Dunno whether it's coz I have such great taste in buying dresses...

...or that she just happens to look good in pretty much anything she puts on.

Probably the latter, but I'm gonna go with both. (Always order both!)


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

#159: A Disambiguation.

Strictly speaking, I'm not really an insomniac - I'm nocturnal, a creature of the night. Kinda like Batman, except without the abs... and the punching.

Not to be confused with NoKTuRNL, an Ozzie rap metal band, or Knoc-turn'al, a US rapper-songwriter, or even Nokturnal Mortum, a Ukraine black metal band.

I'm using the word strictly in the adjective sense... with a bit of Batman thrown in.

Everything is better with a bit of Batman thrown in.

Monday, 7 June 2010

#158: Simple Pleasures For That Simple Soul.

There are two key ingredients that will make or break Argentina for me.
1. Whether I can get a preppy lil car with a manual-gearbox in decent condition.
2. Whether there will be corners that will allow me to get my Heel & Toe on.

Actually, that has never changed in all the countries I've been.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

#157: Equally Lopsided.

In the far-off distant future, one of the things I'm gonna start saying to all eight of my kids - just before they're old enough to understand - is the concept that there is a real balance to the world, but not to mistake that equality to fairness. That image of the Scales of Justice is kinda misleading - what is fair is not the same as what is balanced.

Hmm... I reckon six years old will be a good time to start teaching them that. Yup, I'm gonna have me some enlightened lil brats.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

#156: I Have The Cure For Hiccups.

Get a big glass of water.
Hold your nose.
Start drinking.
Swallow ten times in a row, HARD.
Release your nose.

Boom, hiccups gone.

Friday, 4 June 2010

#155: Natch, We're All Stardust Anyways.

I enjoy being the observer, especially when it comes to late-night discussions. For me, the topic is often irrelevant. For me, the interest comes from the insight gained in seeing a myriad of alternative perspectives coming together at their most raw level.

Late-night conversations are my favourites because it's when people are at their most honest, everything tends to come out unfiltered - for some people this might mean no change at all, for others they'll find words they never knew they had in them.

What this means is that everybody is on the same, base plane of discussion. And the spark generated on this level playing field is always fascinating.

I believe in a great many things:
- I believe that all moral arguments can be argued backwards to a common point of insignificance.
- I believe that the point is not whether both parties can agree on each other's points, it's whether they can agree on where the line can be drawn.
- I believe that in the end, the line is unimportant.
- I believe that after given a valid amount of thought, to have no standing either way on a topic, is a valid opinion in itself.
- I believe that it's not always necessary to stand on one side of the line or the other. Coz; What line?
- I believe that all self-aware humans are fundamentally selfish.
- I believe that this is not a mutually negative or positive thing.
- I believe that while the appalling and horrific things that people have done for selfish reasons are kinda obvious. People have also achieved incredible acts of kindness, charity and social marvels for selfish reasons.
- I believe Selfish -> Self-Serving -> Self-Preservation -> Zoom Out -> Foundation Of Society.
- I understand that people need to hold strongly to their beliefs. Just like how I hold strongly to mine.
- I don't believe that you need to agree with how I believe.
- I don't believe that I need to agree with how you believe.

- I believe that I'm pretty bad at verbalising my thoughts.
- I believe that all these beliefs make me a pretty bad late-night conversationalist.
- I believe that's probably why I try not to open my mouth too much.
- I believe it's also possible that I don't know what I'm talking about.


Thursday, 3 June 2010

#154: "Well, When You Wake Up In The Morning..."

Today, I had to explain the meaning for the colloquial form of the term "morning glory" to a 14yr old boy...

Recognising that this is probably one of those situations where TPR might not be the most appropriate (I'm a professional, init) - I finished the above sentence by gradually angling my pencil towards the ceiling. He knew instantly what I meant.

Ahh these kids, they sure do grow up fast!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

#153: Abre Los Ojos.

You can always tell between those who have worked (or have had parents who have worked) in retail, and those who have not. The difference in attitude is immense.

A person will never fully appreciate the full vitriolic nature of the human bean until they have gone through the trial of the part-time position in a general-public-facing position. Public-relations positions in corporate offices don't count, I'm talking real Joe Public consumers, not targeted clients.

The world would truly become a more understanding (if resentful) place, if it became mandatory practice for everyone to spend at least one summer holiday working in a local cinema/restaurant/convenience store/coffee shop/cafe/supermarket/takeaway/video store/take your pick.

I'm serious about this. Wars could be prevented.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

#152: ♪說到就做到...

Of the few morals that I do live by, this would have to be one of the ones that I adhere strongest to.

No idea why, just seems right that if I say I'm gonna do something - then I owe it to whomever I'm talking to; to carry it out. Otherwise I'm losing trustworthy points, and I'm not exactly rich - so I'll take whatever credit I can get. (^^)v

Since I'm usually talking to myself, then really I live to this so that I can live with myself. It all balances out ya see.

As a carryover though, it means I tend to lose respect very quickly for those who consistently fail to follow through... like very, VERY quickly. Erk. =/

Sheesh, on reading that back - Where did people get this impression that I was laidback?! (O_o)