Friday, February 29, 2008

I Love My Catherine

About two-and-a-half years ago, I stumbled into a convenience store blinded by thirst and exhaustion. That morning I had arrived in Taiwan after a seemingly endless plane flight from the U.S. After several minutes of hemming and hawing over the bizarre selection of beverages I lurched over to the counter to pay for my iced tea. This, my friends, was a pivotal moment in my life! Behind the counter was this cute-as-can-be Chinese girl with a smile that could light up a room. As tired as I was, I managed a smile and tried to take in as much of her as I could. Being the nerd that I am, I am sure that I acted pretty dorky and didn't leave much of an impression. Most of that day is pretty fuzzy in the memory-bank. I quickly went back up to the hostel I was staying at and told the owner that I was determined to get to know the sexy woman working at the Family Mart downstairs. For the next several months I made it a point to make frequent trips to the store whether or not I needed anything, just to get to know Catherine. I amassed an impressive collection of teas and chips in my

After my extended stay at the hostel, I moved across town to my current apartment. Although I couldn't see her quite so often, my resolve remained strong.

It took me more than a year after that first encounter to finally ask her on a date. Again, I am not the smoothest operator when it comes to women...I think that's painfully obvious to those who know I was so unsure/nervous because of the language and cultural barriers.

Obviously, she took a chance and allowed me to take her out to dinner and to a local festival that was going on at the time. That dinner and festival was a year ago this weekend.

This past year has been remarkable.

She is my inspiration, my heart, my sunshine, my love.

She walks in beauty,
Like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Country For Old Men

And the Oscar for Best Picture goes to...The Coen Brothers latest effort, No Country For Old Men.

This should be a slam dunk! Catherine and I went to see it last night at our favorite theater. Wow, Wow, Wow, the Coen Brothers continue to impress.

What an incredibly well written story accompanied by perfect casting. The story is portrayed by a cast with great chemistry.

It's a story of a drug deal gone bad in the West Texas wasteland. A hunter, played convincingly by Josh Brolin, finds the cash involved in the botched drug deal and decides to keep it, a big mistake. He is then hunted down by the insanely frightening bad guy, expertly portrayed by Javier Bardem.

The casting, except perhaps the mother-in-law character, was right on. I can't remember a more chilling killer than Bardem's character.

The use of language/idioms really made the film. The sheriff and a side character, played by Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson respectively, had countless memorable lines, not to mention the twisted logic articulated by Bardem.

I expect No Country to win a handful of Oscars. Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem should be easy choices.


A caution to those who are skittish about blood. There is no shortage of splatter in this one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Huh? How Do You Pronounce That?

I was able to covertly take this photo the other day on the subway. It was just another commute to work until the little girl and her mother sat down next to me. I was standing up near the door when I noticed the curious name-brand on the little one's shoes. As nonchalantly as possible I managed to take out my camera and snap a few pics of her well-worn sneakers.

Sometimes, Chinese name-brands just don't translate too well when they are printed in This is the best angle/resolution I could get considering I had to do it surreptitiously.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Complete Bullsh*t!!!

Bullsh*t, damn, sh*t, son-of-a, unfreaking fair!!!

This morning, Catherine was denied a visitors visa to go the the U.S. I am so mad right now I can't think straight. I waited outside in the cold for 3 freaking hours while she waited for her interview...only the interviewee is allowed in the building. Damn them and their stupid regulations! The interview lasted all of 10 minutes and the result was a pathetic refusal form-letter.

I think it's probably a good thing that I wasn't permitted to attend the interview because I am fairly certain that idiot would have had that form-letter for lunch!

They just screwed us out of an important part of our plans/life. This was vitally important to our future together and those a-holes just snatched it away from us...ARG!

This mess cost me about NT$13,000 (US$400). I hope the idiots at the A.I.T. office choke on that money.

Angry? Yes! Sad? Very! I had great plans for the two of us. I so looked forward to introducing Cath to my family, friends and places that I love. It's gonna take a while for me to recover from this tragedy.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sicko (Part 3) A MUST SEE

The final installment. I have been mulling over my eventual return to living in the U.S. There are lots of factors that make moving back to the States more or less appealing. I miss my family and friends and want to get back into life there. Health-care is one of the main reasons I am skittish about going home. Taiwan is not a perfect place, but they do a few things very well, including health-care. Life is a lot less stressful when you don't have to be afraid of getting sick. Here are the final 4 clips from Sicko. Please check out to find out what he is up to.

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Feel free to leave a comment about your feelings. Any parts that you felt were particularly shocking or perhaps hard to believe? I look forward to hearing about how this film impacted you.

Sicko (Part 2) A MUST SEE

Parts 5-8 of the great documentary. Michael Moore has amassed an incredible amount of evidence showing why the U.S. needs to act now.

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Sicko (Part 1) A MUST SEE

Thanks to YouTube, I am able to post this remarkable narrative. It exposes many of the issues involved in a broken system, the health-care industry in The United States. It's investigative reporting at its finest. Please take the time and watch this if you haven't already. Watch it again if you have seen it, it's worth your time. The film is split up into twelve 10 minute segments. Each post will contain four portions.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Frito Bandito

Big score this week at the supermarket. I was perusing the aisles at the "City'super" grocery store when I came upon a glorious sight...Fritos! The folks in the adjoining aisles must've thought I had won the lottery by the sound of my enthusiasm. Fritos are truly a comfort food that takes me back to my childhood. My father was always munching on them. Needless to say, I grabbed a bag and have since given it a good home, my belly! I shared them with Catherine while explaining to her how big a score this was. She wasn't quite as titillated as I was.

Next up, some French onion dip to go with these little morsels of corn chip gold!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Huh? Signage Madness!

OK, this one had my head spinning. Catherine and I were running some errands over by her school when I came upon this jewel. Is it a restaurant or an art gallery?....hmmm Can't believe they managed to misspell both words.

"Egyption" and "Dali"...and the judges say PERFECT!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Lunar New Year! Today is the first day of the year according to the lunar calendar. It's the year of the rat; which means, according to legend, it should be a good year for material prosperity. I have taken a few shots of some of the small displays I have come across in the city in honor of the holiday.

It's the year of the rat, hence the cartoon rodent depicted on the pillar.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Funny Stuff

A very funny commercial for an insurance company, I guess. Not sure what the heck it has to do with insurance, but enjoy!