Monday, January 4, 2010

It's been too long, sorry

OK so, where to begin. Well, I'll start with a few videos.

Fireworks for the New Year at Miramar.

My student, Kitty

And Jason

Me meeting my friend Carl (who visited) at the MRT

And a video review of Avatar by an 8 year-old Taiwanese girl is coming soon!

Things have been good here. We had a parent teacher conference today. It went well. I've been playing lots of video games, guitar, meeting friends, and studying Chinese, so life has been busy. Happy new year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bacon Popcorn

On the top we see bacon flavored popcorn. On the bottom is strawberry flavored popcorn. On the left is "blue steel". Almost. I need more pucker.
This is my guitar. Behind it is the amp. On the chair you can see the effects pedal. On the fridge is a bottle of Sake April's dad gave me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The News

A couple updates:
-This coming Sunday is April and my 3 year anniversary.
-I bought a new guitar (electric).
-Work is going fine but unfortunately I had to trade one of my classes for another. On the plus side... I now have 2 days off per week!
-I am looking for new tutoring gigs.
-I moved out some unused furniture and suddenly my room is spacious, but I am in need of a chair and some posters to cover the totally nude white walls.
-My finger-picking technique has vastly improved.
-I'm crazy hungry.
-Shows I've been watching: Supernatural, Castle, Dollhouse, Dexter... I recommend Castle to anyone who is a fan of the CSI type show. It's that, but better (and with Nathan Fillion).
-I've been listening to: Taproot, Dio, Cream, Symphony X... among others.
-I've been very busy decorating my room the past few weeks and have gotten surprisingly little accomplished, but all that will change soon.
-Buying construction paper couldn't be more of a nuisance.
-Socks are gradually disappearing. I don't know where they go! The laundry machine is like 30 feet from my room.
-I'm heading out early today because I have to eat before I plan the week with my CT.

Sometimes it just works better to do updates this way. Sorry for the lack of narrative style!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Sometimes I wonder if this sort of thing is intentional.
This is Irene (left) and her friend. Not the evil Irene.
Linda, Lisa, and Ingrid.
That's my Lisa raising her hand for no apparent reason...
Jasmine, Smile, and Morris. Jasmine looks so cute in her witch costume.
Hsuan in her vampire costume.
Daniel, a handsome young man.
Cute little Kitty. She only agrees to be photographed if she can do this pose.
Tiffany! She's so smart!
One and Kitty discussing politics on our trick or treat stroll.
The one with Tiger ears is Angel. She is such a sweetheart!
Crazy Kitty again. In the background you can see Irene, the devil's daughter. She delights in the suffering of others and literally grins ear to ear no matter how she is punished. She even laughs adorably and points whenever another student is crying. She cackles happily whenever she sees a teacher begin to weaken under her evil clutches. She is unbridled chaos made flesh; the incarnation of sheer madness. And she was a fairy princess this year, complete with little wings! Cute.
Smile and Eddie (Eddie is in the back)
My fellow American, Patrick.
This is one of the CTs at our school.
Eddie again.
This is a Canadian teacher, Rihanon.

So there was a big Halloween celebration this weekend, as you can tell. It's been busy. Anyway, I'm too exhausted to include any more info for now, so this will have to do.

Also, if you don't know the rock band Dio, familiarize yourself with their/his (Dio is also the lead singer's name) music. Awesome.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not much new

These are pot stickers. There are some freaking great pot stickers nearby but the sauce always makes me gassy.
This is a restaurant that April absolutely loathes for its tacky appearance. It is like 5 minutes from here on foot, on the same street as us. I have no idea what they serve.
And this is a lake that the Neihu Line passes by on its route to my work.

It was nice to talk to the family last weekend. Still thinking of you guys!

Not much is really new here. I just wanted to post something just to say I did. Today Jasmine (from Tree House 5) climbed me again, which was amusing and helped get my energy up for class. She is a great climber, but (thankfully) one of the tiniest kids in that class. She's also the most talkative. Well... the loudest, at any rate.

I've decided to cancel my card from the US so I am not tempted to make anymore frivolous purchases. This decision was sparked by my noticing a charge I don't recall authorizing, and I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I am, however, in the market for a Taiwanese credit card, but that reality is possibly months away. There's a ridiculous requirement that I be working (and have money deposited by my work into my bank account) for three months before I'm eligible for a card in Taiwan.

April still found the most amazing card though. Every 25 NTD (1 USD = 33 NTD) gets you 1 mile on a flight originating from a Taiwanese airport (meaning about 5400 NTD spent will get you a free flight to Kaohsiung. Less than 3000 will get a flight to Tainan or most other cities). You also get 10% off everything in the Miramar mall if you spend over a certain amount. On top of that, the mall's movie theater costs only 240 NTD per movie with the card rather than 270 NTD. If you buy a large sized popcorn with the card, it will be the same price as the normal popcorn.

Recently I started reading a lot more, since I now have the Sony Reader. I just discovered that I still have access to thousands of academic journals via the use of my Winona State Alumnus account, so I downloaded a few interesting ones on PDF and threw them on my device.

It's official, by the way, my buddy Austin Eschweiler is planning to come to Taiwan next year to spend a year in Taiwan earning money to pay back some of his student loans, also working to improve his Chinese. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to have student loans. Sorry Austin. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

What have I eaten recently? I've been experimenting with new foods every day from the menu at Jim's Burger. Today I had a Mexican Burger which was delicious. I also had a Smoked Chicken Caesar Salad. Yesterday I had the French Toast Breakfast, complete with eggs any way you like them, sausages, cooked ham, french toast, apple slices, orange juice, and a salad. Beyond that, it's the same old Chinese food, but a recent favorite of mine is Hun Dun, which is like "What if we took the fried wanton wrapper of a crab rangoon and put dumpling meat inside instead?" The result is scrumptious.

In my schedule I have a hard time finding time for language exchange or getting out there and practicing with friends, since everyone goes to school or works during my typical work hours. I have, however, devised an ingenious plan which guarantees at least some progress. I will learn 3 new words a day. Over one month, that's about 90 words. Over a year, it's well over 1000 words. Over two years, that's 2000 new words, not to mention anything else I pick up.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bizarre Dream I had last night!

Last night I had a curious dream.

You see, recently I watched Terminator Salvation again (on bootleg). I also just added two girls to my American School class. There's a little backstory.

So, onto the dream. I was teaching my American school class, and we had several new students. The new students (in the dream only) were a couple grown men with apparently no background in English. This would never happen in real life of course, but whatever, it's a dream. I'm teaching the class and a young woman also joins the class partway through.

It's at about this point I notice I'm teaching in a very white, modern looking department store which is empty except for us. This doesn't upset me because my in-dream self didn't notice, so it mustn't have been important. Then, inexplicably, I'm Christian Bale. No idea why. Didn't notice in the dream, but I'm suddenly and irreversibly Christian Bale, teaching a group of children and adults ESL.

The class starts to get a little crazy. Even the adults are running around like children, dancing on the desks, and also attempting to steal produce from the department store. It's at about this point I wake up, bewildered.

The dream escaped me for a while until I got to work and ACTUALLY thought to myself "Oh that's right I have those new students". I quickly did a mental double-take and realized the whole thing, Christian Bale-ness included, was just a dream.

The end!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Taiwan - 1, Peter - 0

And why not?
This Taiwanese soft drink boldly commands you to "enjoy your life", but what makes it noteworthy is that it is a beer flavored green tea. Whaaa? Indeed, it's true. I wasn't sure if I was going to even try it or not but I figured something like this begs for experimentation. Actually, it's really not bad at all! This was in direct contrast to my imagination's idea of what any union of beer and green tea could be like.
Anyway, just thought I'd share this somewhat bizarre soda with you.