Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Classics

Our Christmas party at school was all killer no filler. We had food, games, excitement and recorders. Here are some of the rascals by the Christmas tree.

Celine sported that sweet mask all night.

Kelly taking a bite out off the tree.

Lulu and Kiki holding it down.

I had to give Jimmy his monthly oral test two days ago and when he was done I said good work, and handed him his test and tape and said "carry on my wayward son" and he said "O.K Teacher Jon" and ran out of the room.

After the majority of the games were finished I got my band together to play some Christmas hits. The band consisted of about 8 students, Rick, Simon, Shelly, Rita, Eric, Jerry, Charlie, and Jenny. They all whaled so hard I couldn't even believe it.

Rick and Simon.

Jerry Wonder.

Rita, Jenny, and Shelly.




To cap off Christmas Eve night I went to Ximan Ding to meet up with a few friends for some Christmas celebrations. We went to this party where they were serving us unlimited Heineken's for some reason. I must have gotten carried away and drank far to many for my own good. On the way home I got out of the cab right in front of my house and said good bye. I knew at that moment I was feeling the effects so I decided to take a walk around the block to see if I could render myself into a state suitable for going to sleep. As I walked it seemed to be getting worse and worse until finally right out side of the Wish Sky Cafe I let it rip. So there I was on Christmas face down in the gutters of Jhonghe, what a classic. After I spued I felt much better, so I stopped off at the 711 picked up some chips and shut it down directly.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feel the Flow

I have snapped out of my funk and am starting to feel the flow of the Taiwan Christmas. At first it was a weird adjustment, like when you first use a different kind of toilet. It doesn't feel right but after you use it a few times its ok. For example, here is a kind of toilet I have encountered here, people take deuces in this.


Anyway, today I am going to be teaching one of my classes how to rock Jingle Bells on the recorder, and then we will be playing it at the Christmas party tomorrow evening. Just in case you have never heard it before, here is a clip courtesy of a one O. Pauk.

video

I was venturing through the streets the other night in Taipei with a few peeps and we came across an old tobacco factory, so we stopped the bikes and took some time to take some pics with the Christmas spirit in mind. This is my friend Kenny, what a solid cat.



If you didn't get my Christmas card here you go. This lady is Evens mom.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!


I also have some bad news to report today. Judy committed suicide two nights ago. I got up in the morning to find that only Ted and Tony were swimming in the tank. I thought, thats weird, I wonder where Jude could be. So I started searching until I found her corps under the couch covered in dust. I couldn't believe it, she must have jumped out while I was a sleep. Here is a classic track in memory of Judy's free wheeling life style, take a moment.



Also on the down side Eve busted her wrist on the slopes this weekend, so maybe you can sign her cast if you happen to see her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Breakfast

Crickey, I have had a little bit of a hiatus it seems. I think with the Christmas season in effect I have been feeling the lonesome effects a bit and as a result have just been keeping a low profile over here. Don't worry, everything is solid, I haven't gone mental or anything. Its a weird feeling flying solo through times when the maintenance is usually at an all time high with with the peeps you like maintaining with the best. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned that I picked up two more fish to keep Ted company a few weeks ago. I was looking at him one day and thought "man he's not looking so good". It seemed as though his bright orange tinge was starting fade and he had an expression on his face as if he felt like he had to take a giant deuce. I though a couple smaller friends might cheer him up, so I went down to the fish shop and picked up a couple of tiny orange fish with black stripes. Now Ted, Tony, and Judy are living in extreme harmony and it seems as though Ted's colour has come back and is even brighter then before. Almost every morning I get up and stretch, look out my window, assess the temp and hightail it over to Evens breakfast shop for some eggs. I have to say this breakfast shop is one of my favorite places in all of Taiwan.


It doesn't look like much from outside, but once you get inside every moment is quality. They have many magazines and newspapers to look at while you are eating. I usually just look at the Ikea catalogue because its the only thing a can understand, once and while there is a copy of the Taipei Times, which is Taiwan's all English newspaper. Pretty much everybody that comes in there knows me by now so I am constantly clearing up ongoing debates between local people on how to pronounce English words. Its unreal how bad most of these peeps want to learn English.
This is Evens, she runs the shop and is so solid.


The other day I went to the store with her to pick up a new mop, and she also gave me about 10 packs of Hi Chew and a free breakfast for my birthday. Her mom is always trying to get me to eat all kinds of weird food, sometimes I try it and most of the time it is succulent. This is Evens sidekick Peggy.


Peggy doesn't speak much English but always spots me walking in and dials me in with a steaming cup of coffee and I say "Shi Shi Peggy" which means thank you.


Evens and her pops are a classic duo. Her dad smokes cigarettes through one of those extender things, like Cruella Deville. I showed him my bike one day and he loved it. He kept on picking up the back tire and spinning it so the peddles would go around, its like he was hypnotized by it.


Here he is making some Tuna salad, and let me tell you it is sooooo succulent.

The appilances:


Monday, December 1, 2008

Nov Friderday

Oh, hello. It is starting to get colder here and there are hints of a familiar fall feel to the air. I have to say I have been soaking it up. So I have mentioned before that the last Friday of every month is Friderday and fixed gear riders from all over Taipei come together for a ride. This past Friday the festivities started at around 10:00 p. We all met up at a 7 11 somewhere in Taipei and road to a place called Danshui. If you look at the purple line on the map you can see where we went. We rode along a trail beside the Danshui river, there was about 20 of us and I think it took about 2 hours to get there.


When we got there we maintained at Danshui station for while, ate some food and drank a couple of brews. We stayed in Danshui for a few hours before riding back, on the way home I have to say I was feeling the effects. By the time we made it back to Taipei it was about 4:00 a, and I still had to ride back to Jhonghe. I rolled in my front door at about 5:00 a, slept for a solid 2 hours and got up for work at 8 a. It was a ditty morning. At school I am teaching my class to sing Yellow Submarine, we are doing some sweet moves along with the words and singing the chorus. There is a concert coming up in two weeks that they will be performing at and I think things are looking pretty good. Also I think I might be teaching a Christmas carol recorder class. Everyone plays the recorder here and luckily I brought mine. I have been polishing my skills for when the time comes.

Here are some Friderday pics.






In the spirit of the winter season, check out this unreal cross cunting video.




Monday, November 24, 2008

Livin

Here are some sweet beach front pads.









Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Bootlegger

During our stay in Dali last weekend we encountered many different types of characters, the one that stood out for me the most was the guy that ran the local convenience, which was basically just the basement of his house. We ventured into his store around 7pm looking to purchase a few brown trouts to quench our thirsts. As soon as he saw we were buying brews, he started to tell us all about these different types of alcohol that he had in his store. After about 15 mins of him showing us all of these different types of Chinese wines, whiskeys, and beers, he decided to take us into his house where he had all of these giant cabinets full of different types of booze. He showed us a few different types of alcohol that I had never even heard of, and then he busted out this brown bottle with a yellow label with a pic of a tiger on it. The bottle came in a box and it looked fairly intense with the pic of the tiger and the sticky drip downs on the side of the bottle. He offered us a taste, and I was like ohh man I don't know about this, but naturally I tasted it. I put it in my mouth and instantly received a tingling sensation on the roof of my mouth and as I slowly swallowed the thick reddish concauction it burned the back of my throat and made me feel very warm. I looked up after I swallowed and everybody was looking at me as if something was about to happen, and I just said "smoooth". It turns out the drink was made out of tiger bone, and is called tiger bone wine. I looked it up on the internet and it says that tiger bone wine is highly illegal, but is considered a cure for arthritis in Chinese medicine. Here is a pic of the bootlegger, he had a mouth full of silver, and sported a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt.


The bootleggers parents.

One of the cabinets.



Before we visited the bootlegger, we passed through a huge temple. There were fireworks going off there and all kinds of strange ceremonial activities going on.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Northeast Coast, Guy

This past weekend I headed for the coast with a few peeps in the neighborhood. I packed up the essentials, including the Tivoli, a flashlight, some Hi Chew, and a few extra garments. We departed on the train bound for a place called Daxi which took about an hour and a half. We got off the train and walked about 6 kms to a place called Dali which is where we stayed for the night. That was a whole other experience that I will get into later this week. Right now I will tell you about our epic journey from Dali to Fulong on the Caoling Ancient Trail which began at approximately 1:30 pm on Sunday. The trail was built in 1807 as a transportation route between two townships. We had slight delays in the morning, Cianchino was so hungover from the night before that she couldn't even fathom embarking on a journey so epic that it would take us over a mountain, across some streams and into the misty sky's, so we made sure she was set to take the train to Fulong to meet us when we arrived. It all began with a long and winding staircase made of stone right next to an intense temple. Here are some guys on their way down into Dali.


We walked up up up and up for about an hour and half, most of the way was along switchback roads and steep stone stairs.

Representing.
Switchback.


Queenie feeling the effects.

Reagan also feeling the effects.

Half way up, Dali down bellow.

The gate to the top telling you to beware.


On top.

The Tiger Monument.
This piece was carved out and erected by a general named Liu Mingdeng circa 1867. It is a symbol that stands for a female tiger. There is a legend that says the General was out on a mission scoping out this trail because he had heard through the grape vine that it was off the charts. He brought some of his peeps with him and was almost to the top when he and his followers encountered mass winds and intense fog. He figured that the only logical explanation for this was that the gods were laughing at him and mocking him. The general, thinking that he could outsmart the gods quickly remembered a saying he had once heard. The saying was "clouds bring the dragon and winds bring the tiger". He thought that if he carved the symbol for the tiger on a giant rock that it would fight off the winds and guide them through the fog. I guess he was right, he made it though and the monument still works its magic today sitting 330 meters above the sea. Snap.

Silver grass.

There was a festival for this grass going on this weekend, I think it only comes out at this time of year.

A man fishing and a women maintaining.

Here are some smaller things that were encountered. The next pic is of a Neolucanus Swinhoei, its pretty much harmless and just roams around in the soil.

The next badboy on the other hand will murder you.

Finally on our way out of the brush, I rounded the corner and look what was sitting in the bushes. I thought at first maybe it was a mirage, but I rubbed my eyes and looked again and there it was.

A 1987 Toyota Camry, with a little rust on the gas tank and everything. I took a moment and thought about the last time I saw my camshaft getting towed away down King Street from my window at 420 Westside Suites after I sold it for a hundred bucks. What a way to end the voyage.

Also, there were three check points along the trail where you could get a stamp and when you finished the trail with all three stamps you got a sweet headband.