June 29, 2009

And the Dry Cleaner of the Year Award goes to...

Someone at the dry cleaner was bored and had a sense of humor.

Does this make it dry humor?

June 21, 2009

An Example of How I Can Tighten Up your Script, Just Like That

Example: One line from Three Amigos

There's a scene where they're discussing how to handle El Guapo, the bad guy who is coming to town to kill them all or whatever. Lucky asks Ned if he remembers what they did in Amigos Amigos Amigos, and Ned asks, "Do you think it will work?"

And Lucky says, "It's got to work. It's our only hope."

I'd have changed the line to: "It's got to work. It's our only idea."

June 18, 2009

Roadnotes: The Spider, the 9-21 Earthquake Museum, and the Flight Home

The following is based on events that occurred on June 1 through June 5.

The Spider
We're leaving and I'm out of the house when the sweetheart goes back for something and then shouts at me to come back in. I come back in and this is on the wall:

It's easily bigger than my hand. Covered in dust.

The sweetheart says, "It's not that big, really."

The Earthquake Museum
We go to the 9-21 Earthquake Museum, a place where they don't just show you a bunch of pictures. You walk around on the site of a school that collapsed. You look through the classrooms that don't have any walls left. You see the running track and its smooth curve interrupted by the earthquake's fault line.

You also get to experience very participatory exhibits, like the one where you stand in a sound-proof bubble and yell as hard as you can (to see if you can yell loud enough to get help if you are ever trapped in an earthquake). I didn't try my hardest, but I measured at 106 decibels. Is that loud enough? I hope so.

The Flight Home
The sweetheart takes me to the airport and I mention that I didn't get to see the ocean from the plane, since during my previous flight, it was completely dark. And I have a precious aisle seat going back, so I probably won't see much of it, still.

When I get to my seat on the plane, my neighbor says, "Would you be interested in taking a window seat so that my mother can sit with us?"

I say, "For your mother, I will do that."

I'm sad to give up the aisle, but, I think, at least I'll get to see the ocean, right?

When I get to the seat, I find out it's an emergency escape aisle - spacious and wonderful, and so spacious that anyone can get out of their seat at any time without bugging the other two passengers.


June 13, 2009

Roadnotes: Dragonboats, Asking Directions, Scenic Urinals, CostCo

The following is based on events that occurred on May 30 and 31.

A Hard-Worker and an Honest Face
While hiking in Hehuanshan, in central Taiwan, a man approaches us and says he can read faces. He says the sweetheart is tough and hard-working. He says I have an honest face.

The Bench on Top of the World
Still at Hehuanshan, the fog starts to roll in below us, turning an already scenic bench into the most spectacular bench in the clouds.

The Tree Tomato and Magic Tricks
That night, we stay at a bed & breakfast in the mountains, where our room has a tea nook with a view that rivals the one above. The owner entertains us with magic tricks and tells that the juice we're drinking is made fresh from the tree tomatoes that grow on a tree that we can see from the balcony. They also grow kiwi, mint, and about a thousand other things right there on the mountainside.

Sheep Show and a Yummy Leaf
Before we come down from the mountain, we take in a sheep show, where a sheep dog corrals a bunch of sheep so quickly that the people running the show have to make jokes for a half hour to make the show a half hour long. Then, we have lunch at a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant, where we eat a dish with a rare leaf in it that we will probably never get to eat again, since it only grows right there, as far as anyone knows. It was a yummy leaf.

June 07, 2009

Roadnotes: Dragonboats, Asking Directions, CostCo

The following is based on events that occurred on May 28 and 29.

Dragon Boat Races
In Lukang, we watch several rounds of dragon boat races, then wander through the streets to check out the rest of the festival. I had participated in dragon boat racing when I lived in Denver, so it was nice to see the real thing.

Asking Directions vs. Maps
Throughout our travels, the sweetheart relied heavily on asking directions from strangers. This worked pretty well. In Lukang, however, we ask directions from a man, and he goes straight to a map on a wall nearby, reads the map, and gives us the wrong directions. If this is what happens when people read maps in Taiwan, I can see why the sweetheart relies on verbal directions.

Scenic Urinals
The next day, we eat lunch at a classy Japanese restaurant. It's an excellent 7-course meal, and even the urinals have a scenic view.

After dinner, we have to pick up a few things at CostCo. Having never been to a CostCo myself, it's truly the most frightening thing I've experienced thus far in Taiwan.

June 03, 2009

Roadnotes: Hospital Care

The following is based on events that occurred on May 27.

Before I left for Taiwan, I had an ear infection and antibiotics to take. I was also deaf in one ear, apparently because of congestion and water in the ear and whatnot, although the doctor used a more technical term.

On May 27th, I was still deaf in one ear and I was out of antibiotic, so we went to a Taiwanese hospital to see what's going on. The doctor there said I still had a little infection, so he prescribed me an antibiotic and a decongestant.

Total cost: Even without Taiwanese insurance, it cost the equivelant of about $14 U.S. That's less than my copay in the United States.

The whole process was very efficient, too. They put you on a list, call a number, and wallah! You are whisked through the system when your number comes up.

June 01, 2009

Roadnotes: Hualien (communications from spirits and hitchhikers)

The following is based on events that occurred on May 25 and May 26.

A Plan for Avoiding Falling Rocks
At Taroko Gorge National Park, they take safety very seriously. That's why they have signs everywhere that tell you to keep moving--that way it's harder for the rocks to hit you!

A Spirit Talks to Me
While enjoying a peaceful moment of respect at a shrine in Taroko Gorge National Park, a thought popped into my head that we should hurry. I tell the sweetheart and we head back down the series of steps we had just climbed. We're thinking that it's because of the weather, because it can be nasty when it rains there and it looked like it could rain any minute. We get to the bottom just as a monk's bag of bottles to recycle breaks open, so we help her collect the bottles. Whatever spirit watches over that shrine definitely cares about recycling!

The weather stays nice, despite everyone around us telling us it's about to pour, so we keep hiking. While driving to the next trailhead, we pick up hitchhikers who are trying to get to a trail that's on our way. Oddly enough, one of them is from Seattle, though they live in California at the moment.

Hitchhikers Part II
Coming back from yet another short hike, we run into the California people again and they're looking for a ride back to Hualien, which is where we're staying, so we give them a ride again.

In Hualien, we take in the night market, and then walk around downtown. There, I trade in my flip-flops for Crocs. Yes, they look ridiculous, but they are SO much more comfortable than my $2 flip-flops. I didn't realize how difficult it was to walk in flip-flops until I switched.

Some More Stuff
The next day, we visit a Japanese temple and write a prayer on a delicate-looking piece of wood. Then we paddle boat across Liyu Lake. Then, we catch the train all the way back to Wu-Fong.

Coming up next: Hospital Care