Super McBlogosphere Version 2.0 Ultimate Edition

I will think of a better name for this blog one of these days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Cry for Help (Suicide Attempt @ 大蹈程)

Everyday, as long as it's not raining, I commute to work by bicycle. I take this beautiful scenic bicycle route following the Danshui River along the east side of Taipei City. I highly recommend it, riding in the morning makes me feel much more awake when i start the day, and it mellows me out after work in the evening. It's even more beautiful when the sun goes down.

This morning's ride was a bit different than my usual ride though. The weather was great, a bit hot, but nice clear blue skies. . . similar weather to the last time something like this happened. I'm almost at my office, waiting for a traffic light to turn green when an older lady comes up to me and tells me something in Taiwanese and points towards the river. I don't understand Taiwanese so I ask her to speak in Mandarin. Then when she started speaking in Mandarin I realized, my mandarin sucks, i can only understand half of what she's saying. . . but it doesn't matter because when she points again, I finally noticed what she's talking about.

There's a person covered in mud at the ledge holding onto the railing, . Honestly, from a small distance away the person looked like a drunk homeless guy, so I was hesitant to do anything. I was thinking to myself, I was already late for work. Someone else will help that guy. But then I slowly walked closer to the mud covered homeless guy and realized that he was actually a young girl. . . i'm guessing maybe 20 years old. Difficult to tell since her muddy hair was covering her face. Another older guy was also walking towards her and he started trying to talk to her, asking her if she's okay and holding onto her arm so she wouldn't fall/jump in again. She didn't respond, she only started to quietly cry.

I'm not sure what my plan was at that moment but I climbed over the railing and jumped down onto a large flat rock sticking out above the mud. The ledge was probably a little less than one meter above the muddy bank of the river, the only danger of falling would be getting my shoes and pants dirty. I think my plan was to push her so she'd be more safely on the ledge because at that time half her body was hanging off the side. But another older guy followed me over the rail and while standing on the ledge he tried to pull her up but he could only get her halfway up before I helped out and pushed from below. The original older guy then pulled from behind the railing and we got the girl over the railing and back on dry land.

By that time there was 5-6 people surrounding her and someone called the authorities. So I went to the nearest water fountain and tried to clean off the foul smelling mud from my hands. Just so happens to be an small empty bucket next to the fountain so filled it up and put it front of the mud covered girl who still didn't say a word, just quietly crying. And a lady watching the scene told me I was really nice and thoughtful. . . i wanted to reply with "I know!" but instead I thought it'd be better if I just nodded. After that I got on my bike and went to work smelling like smelly river water but feeling pretty good that I helped someone a tiny bit. . . someone that maybe didn't really care for the help but hey, probably better than doing nothing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drunk Cockroach

Last night I saw a cockroach drinking from a discarded beer can. I kind of regret not taking a picture of it. It's exactly how you would imagine it would look like. The beer can was tipped sideways on the sidewalk and a big ass cockroach (the nasty kind that flies) had it's head inside the opening. It's butt was angled upwards and moving up and down a bit, it really looked like it was excitedly enjoying beer for the first time. I wonder if cockroaches can get drunk. . .

Anyways, speaking of getting drunk. I got pulled over Saturday night for drunk driving. . . well technically drunk riding as I was on my motor scooter. That was an interesting experience to say the least.
A little background on how the Taipei police catch DUI people. Mostly during weekends but sometimes on weekday, checkpoints are setup randomly at key points around the city, almost always at on ramps to bridges and highways. You have to slow down and let the police take a look at your face and smell for alcohol.
My girlfriend and I were on our way home from a Mexican restaurant/bar. We were supposed to go there and watch the World Cup semi-final match or something like that with some friends. When we found out that the match starts at 4 AM, we said F that and we left. On the way home we passed by two police DUI checkpoints. No problem at either one, police let us pass. I told GF "Wow, crazy amount of cops tonight." When we were at the most 2 minutes away from our destination, unbelievably there was yet another checkpoint. While we were approaching it I jokingly told the girlfriend "Watch, we're gonna get stopped."

Two seconds later. . . the cop takes a look at my face, same as the two checkpoints before except this time I get asked "How much did I drink tonight?" I responded "Nothing" but I did not say it in complete confidence. I was lying. I think he knew it. I'm such a bad liar.

He tells me to turn off the engine and show him my license and registration. I'm a bit nervous now. He looks at my license/registration and asks me to walk over to the patrol car. He asks me again "How much did I drink tonight?". . . this time I said I had one or two sips of beer. I changed my story, unsurprisingly he doesn't believe me. He takes out the breathalyzer machine. He asks me "Are you sure you only had one or two sips?" trying to pressure me into confessing. I say "Yes, only one or two sips."

Now I'm really nervous. This little machine in front of me will decide if I will forever have a criminal record, if i will be fined a huge sum of money, have my license taken away, and have my motor scooter towed away. As I blow into the breathalyzer I'm thinking "What if it's defective? What if it's been tampered with?" I mean the difference between being fine and going to jail is miniscule, only a small fraction of 1% BAC (Taiwan's limit is 0.055%).

I hear a beep. That means I can stop blowing. I nervously wait for the readout on the small digital display. It feels like forever, but in reality it was probably 3 seconds.

Eventually, it flashed "0.000%"

Hahahahahahaha! Cop loses, I win! I actually only had at the most 1/4th of one beer, almost two whole hours before the breathalyzer. I was only nervous because I have very low tolerance for alcohol, a 12 year old girl could probably out drink me. I look completely wasted when I've had one or two drinks even though I feel fine.

There was a million funny things I could've said to the disappointed cop. But (very typical for me) I couldn't think of a single funny thing to say. We just rode off, relieved, tired, excited and glad that it was over. Definitely an interesting experience.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Role Reversal

While eating dinner one night, I noticed how things are different. I was eating at the dinner table and my mom was in the living room playing Wii and I asked her when she's going to eat dinner. She said "just one more game."

If someone could go back in time and tell the 12 year old version of me that my mom would one day be playing video games (and to the point of not wanting to eat dinner). I'd never in a million years have believed it. Come to think of it, back then my mom probably wouldn't have believed it either.

It's funny because I've stopped playing video games. It's not because I don't have time. It's more that they literally make me sick. Last year I tried playing Halo 2 (maybe 3?) and I got motion sickness after 20 minutes. Recently I tried playing a game called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (what's with these long ass names? What happened to names like Q-Bert, Dig Dug, Frogger) Anyways, that game also made me sick after about 30 minutes or so of playing. I'm thinking maybe the graphics in these new games are too realistic. The last games I played for longer than 5 minutes were Grand Theft Auto 3 and the original Counter-strike circa 1999.

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on the left, Counter-Strike on the right

I guess this is like a forced retirement from gaming. Oh well, there's always doing something productive with my free time. Yeah right!

I'm glad there's still Solitaire and Minesweeper.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Date Night

Saw Date Night (約會喔麥尬) last night. Note: Chinese name translated back into English is "Date Oh My God!"

The most interesting part was that the ending surprised me. Not because there was a big plot twist or anything, but because it was kind of abrupt. Which was good because the story was beginning to surpass my tolerance for stupidity (as illustrated in the graph below).

I guess I've become accustomed to watching overly long, drawn out stories in movies. Is this a recent trend? Do people feel like they're not getting their moneys worth if the film ends too early? Most new movies end with me only having one feeling at the end. . . a feeling of relief. Relief that the crappy movie is over, quickly followed by disbelief. . . disbelief that I paid money to see this crap.

Anyways, Date Night was not one of those movies. Overall a pretty decent movie I guess. I LOL'ed a few times. Yes, it's not very original and the story gets stupid sometimes but as long as you don't think too much, it's pretty enjoyable.

3 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interesting Sign of Economic Recovery

I work in the FPD industry. To call business slow would be a huge understatement. Although, recently it has been picking up. And as a whole the Taiwan economy is picking up as well.

I occasionally ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) train. These trains are fast. They top out at 300 km/h and takes about one and a half hour to get from the top of Taiwan to almost the very bottom (Taipei <-> Zuoying). Which roughly the distance between NYC and Washington D.C.

When the THSR service started a few years ago, like everyone else I was like WOW! After every business trip I'd think to myself "I can't believe I'm home already!" Fast forward to now and I've already taken it for granted. The rides feel like forever. Now, I'm complaining how there's no personal video screens, no music, no internet. . .

Reminds me of the video clip below:

Last week while riding the THSR to a customer site I noticed something very special.
The old ladies are back!
Let me explain. You basically only see two types of service people on the trains. Flight attendants which are usually young attractive girls, and garbage collectors which are usually older ladies. When business is slow, as it usually is in a recession, they layoff the garbage collectors and make the flight attendants collect the garbage. Conversely, when business picks up they hire back the old ladies and let the flight attendants do what they do best. . . look pretty and push those overpriced refreshment carts.

So. . .
Young ladies picking up garbage = Taiwan's economy doing bad.

Old ladies picking up garbage = Taiwan's economy is recovering.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dances With Wolves. . . IN SPACE!

Saw Avatar in IMAX 3D over the weekend. Very cool experience. It had better be, I spent NT 400 ($13 USD) for the ticket. For a country where the average salary is half that of the US, that's something like the equivalent of $26 USD for a movie ticket. In Taipei, almost everything is dirt cheap but there are a few exceptions that immediately come to mind. . . movies tickets, mixed drinks, and mexican food. Don't ask my why, I have no idea. . . although I blame the Mexican food one directly on Taco Bell. There is not a single Taco Bell in all of Taiwan. Damn you Taco Bell! Why have you forsaken us? Taiwan is a real country, with real beef burrito needs!

I wanted to write a review about Avatar, but I'm too lazy for a real write up. . . so here it is in a recipe format.

  • 5 cups of Dances with Wolves
  • 3 tablespoons of The Matrix
  • A pinch of Return of the Jedi
CGI the crap out of the ingredients, and serve piping hot in IMAX 3D. . . and you have a pretty good movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Annoying Commercial

I hate this commercial. Especially the last part, it makes me want to punch her in the face. But sadly, I think it's not her fault. I believe having the voice of a 10 year old girl is considered sexually attractive with young men in Taiwan.

Some background on this commercial. It takes place in an internet cafe. I don't know if any still exist in the States but they are very common in Taiwan. They are usually open 24 hours and are the preferred hangout spot for young men. They typically provide free unlimited soft drinks and the fancier places have free snacks (chips, popcorn, warm bread/butter) and newspapers/magazines. Actually, I'm not sure if they still do this anymore, I haven't frequented an internet cafe in many years. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't let people my age in. I'd have to find my college student ID and change the 2000 and add a little tail to the last '0' so it looks like 2009.

Which reminds me, I remember they had police curfew checks at these internet cafes. At 10PM or 11PM policemen would come in and ask to see everyone's ID cards. Anyone under the age of 18 would be shot. . . or fined. . . or politely asked to leave. One of those, i forgot which one. Anyways, this always made me a bit nervous because my online game name is "Ronald McCopKiller". They never usually look at the computer screens though.

Back to the commercial. The product they are selling is an energy drink. Similar to Red Bull. The last part of the commercial, the girl says "Won't let you fall asleep." I know I'm old, because that seems absurd to me. A product that prevents you from falling asleep?!?! Ludicrous I say! Sleep is pretty much the best part of my day.

Here's another similar commercial. Equally annoying.