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.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Big Picture Update

I have to start this off by saying one of the little charms of Taiwan is that instead of spiders on the wall everywhere, we have tiny spider-sized lizards (whch presumably eat said spiders). Don't get me wrong, there are spiders here too, but not nearly as many. You're just as likely to pee and see a cute little lizard on the wall as you are a nasty spider.
On to the birthday photos.

OK first I'll start with a couple pics from Kelly's birthday at TGIF and then I'll throw in a bunch of pics of my little monsters.
Here's me with the legendary birthday bunny ears.
Kelly (right) the birthday girl and Erica!
Kelly with the birthday bunny ears that time forgot.
Here's Josh (an old friend from Hawaii who also made the return to Taiwan this year, thankfully) and his lovely lady Becky, who is wearing the birthday bunny ears of unspeakable lore.

These are two girls from my Step Ahead 3 class. The little one is Irene. She is the smartest girl in the class and her voice is so cute that it makes me smile every time.

The following pictures are students from my Treehouse 5 class mostly. Last weekend we had a big show for the parents where I awarded lots of medals and trophies and certificates. After that, all the Treehouse kids put on plays for their parents. There were lots of plays with lots of amazing costumes. My class actually had two plays because it's so big, but unfortunately I was only free long enough to get pictures of the Ali Baba group...
There is some hope though. I believe I'll be able to get a copy of the DVD performance of the whole show, which was immense fun. I was later informed, however, that I "put the medals of the kids wrong" in the first group of kids I awarded. Luckily this wasn't a serious transgression. Also, most of us NST's made at least one or two minor blunders throughout the show. Patrick didn't come on-stage when his name was called, so Louise went for him. Louise and I didn't know we were supposed to pause for pictures once too, so we apparently botched a photo op. Anyway, some pics of half of my kids in TH5 are featured below.
These kids belong to another teacher but I thought I'd take advantage of the photo op. They did a great job in their performance.
This is Doris and Sam. Doris is a smart girl who went from Treehouse 4 to Step Ahead 1 for reasons unknown to me. She is far too smart for that class, but whatever. Sam is in my Step Ahead 5 class. He's a good kid.
Doris again. She's a real cutie!
Great group photo of some of my TH5 boys. Bee is in the front, Irwin to hi right,Sam behind them, and Morris and Barry to their left. This was in the changing room. They were all so nervous, but they didn't want to admit it.
Bee, Sam, and Morris. Morris (in the green) may seem cute here, but he's by far the most naughty individual I've yet had in any of my classes. This doesn't mean he's not smart! He does very well in class.
Irwin again. He can get in trouble sometimes, but he just likes attention. He always sits on my lap or hugs my leg.
Catherine and Barry. I'd say they were smart, but actually this whole class is pretty bright. Barry may be one of my best students though because he is totally unafraid of making mistakes.
There they are again! Jasmine is peeking in the background.
And this is Jasmine, a bit of a hellcat and one of the naughtiest girls in this universe, but exceptionally smart and lots of fun. Before class starts, she routinely chooses new adventures for herself, like wrestling with Morris, who is probably almost twice her weight and noticeably taller than her, or trying (and succeeding) to climb me like a tree. Right onto my shoulders. She is able to speak very quickly and comfortably despite her limited TH5 vocabulary and can usually find words to say what she wants to say. Definitely one of the top kids in that class.

I really should apologize for how little I've been updating as of late. Some new things in my life: I got the Sony Reader PRS-300 a couple weeks ago. It's awesome and I've already read A Princess of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes, Call of Cthulhu, The Terrible Old Man, and much of Ender's Shadow. That battery has only needed to be refilled once. Yes, that's right, it has a two week battery life!

I'm looking forward to my friend KJ finishing his military service soon. I want to start a game night with him and some other friends. That should be lots of fun.

April and I are both busy little bees. I either tutor or work 7 days a week, meaning, yes, I have no days off. This overworking isn't actually that bad but somewhere along the way (most likely when I was teaching April's sick sister) I picked up a nasty cold. At least we're hoping it's a cold and not the nasty Swine Flu which is all the rage here. Sure hope that vaccine comes! Anyway I have no fever to speak of, but I have a minor sinus headache and some major congestion. Going outside clears it up a bit which makes me think at least part of it is compounded by allergies to something in my room. I'm investigating that possibility now but no new substances have been introduced to my room recently and this sure feels like a cold. Could just be that the dust density has finally reached the danger point.

In any case, I have bought a mop from Carrefour and am already not looking forward to the related task ahead of me.

Additionally I have found the key to happiness: a burger place has opened up right next to my workplace. If only they served Macaroni and Cheese and Totino's pizzas.

In other news: To all people I recommend the show Supernatural starting with season 1. It is currently in its 5th and final season. Movies I've watched recently: Race to Witch Mountain and "Boss" (The original title is more colorful)... and that's about it. Although @Tim I swear I'm going to watch The Machine Girl very soon. It'll probably be a breakfast flick tomorrow.

Anyway that's all for now! I'll try to post again before too long. Tim, Mom, and Dad, April misses you a lot, just as I'm sure you miss her (and Mos Burger).

Monday, September 21, 2009

2 weeks later

Two weeks have passed since my last post. For those of you who care, I'm sorry about that.

Lots has happened. My students for Treehouse 5 just performed their plays and lots of students received awards at a special event last weekend. I had to dress up all nice and pretty.

I will post some pictures of my students later. Work has been good. It's getting better as I improve.

Let's see... What else...

Uhhh not much, really. I just wanted to give an update. Tomorrow April and I are going out on a date. Tuesday is our free day, you see.

Oh! Wait, there is one thing. I bought the Sony PRS-300. It's an eReader. It's amazing. I've been reading a lot recently. Now that college is over I actually enjoy reading again (because I can read whatever I want). I'll post pics of that as well.

Monday, September 7, 2009

April's Song

April also treated me to a song...
She sings it at the school where she teaches (she's also an English teacher). It's the first part of the tale of the Billy Goats Gruff.

I Like the Fat Rabbits

In this post I will be linking some pictures of my American School and Treehouse students, as well as a few videos.

As for my exploits:
-Opened a bank account... at the wrong bank. Apparently I can only be wired money to a certain bank if Hess is the wirer.
-Got paid. Then forfeited most of that money to paying off my debts. Freeeeedom!
-Had some stressful weeks but I'm now working my full schedule and I'm safe from the 1 month rule (if you still suck after the training is through they can fire you within a month of you starting to work).
-I've been lazy, playing EVE Online (cousins, consider joining Tim and me there), reading books, and trying to make new friends while failing to meet up with old ones.
-I'm going to try to introduce my friends to American board games in the future, like Arkham Horror and Munchkin... If they like them I figure I could do a game night thing sometimes which would give me an excuse to see several people at once. I also want to learn Chinese Chess and Mahjhang (again).

Well that's about it. Hope you love my kids as much as I do.