Saturday, June 30, 2007


The title of this entry, Zheng Zhong Xia Huai, is a Chinese "proverb" which means to be just what one hopes for, or fit in exactly with one's wishes. Since that's mostly the way I feel about the concert last Saturday, I feel it's apt.

Caroline and I met up at Xinpu station and caught a cab to Xinzhuang. When we arrived, Nat, Charlene, and Sharrie were already there, out front with Wu Bai's parents having a chat. I haven't seen his folks since 2005, so it was a treat to see them again. Wu Bai's mom (whom we call Auntie in Taiwanese, sounds like Ah Mm) looked great, seems to have lost quite a bit of weight, and his dad (Uncle in Taiwanese, Ah Bei) looked the same as always. I love to watch Ah Mm smile, because she has the exact same smile that her son has. He definitely takes after mom, not dad. Sharrie went with them to have some dinner, and the rest of us went to another place. By this time we'd been joined by the rest of our crew, and after some lovely potstickers, we headed for 7-11 for drinks. There I ran into my friend Dan Qi, whom I haven't seen since April. Her hubby, who hates Wu Bai, had graciously brought her to the show and would sit in a coffee shop the entire time waiting for her. Then Tona and David from Singapore showed up, and then Hui Lian and Yumiko, also from Singapore. We all headed back over to the stadium to wait until show time, finding a sort of cool area where the air conditioning from inside was leaking out. I bought a little bit of the concert merchandise, but I wasn't awfully impressed with what they had this time, so I got to save some money!

This much-anticipated Wu Bai & China Blue 15-year celebration was certainly different, at least in the beginning, than other shows, for it seems that recently Wu Bai has been bitten by the dancing bug, and there were at least three numbers in which Wu Bai did not once play guitar, just sang and danced with the girlies. Unfortunately, he appears to have been only partially infected by said bug, and his dancing could still use a few years of daily practice! I do have to say that he's awfully cute when he's on stage surrounded by scantily clad, skeletally-thin women and so obviously nervous trying to match their fluid movements. I think for someone like him, who really is so painfully shy, to be willing to get in front of thousands of fans and risk their laughter is quite a feat. I know the man has rhythm, because I've seen him shaking his ass quite nicely while he's holding his guitar. But you take that security blanket away from him, and he becomes totally awkward (while retaining that Wu Bai adorable-ness that I love so much). He did a few songs from a tiny stage in the midst of the audience, with no guitar, and at one point he just picked up the mike stand and tried to play it! Definitely out of his element sans guitar. So after a couple dance numbers, Nat turns to me and screams at the top of her lungs in order to be heard, "Wu Bai cannot dance!" I screamed back, "I know he can't dance, but at least he's trying!" "But he CAN'T DANCE!" And then I noticed, not far above our heads and a bit to the right, the microphone that was being used to record the show. Oh peachy, two women yelling in English that The Emperor of Rock can't dance, that's gonna be quite obvious when they play that back. I shouldn't have told Dino, who just about busted a gut laughing when he heard, because he'll probably try to find that bit and point it out to Wu Bai.

But other than having to watch cutsie pseudo-sexy stick women drape themselves around the object of my adoration (one wonders what thoughts of violent death Mrs. Wu had running through her mind during these displays), the show was fabulous. When they began, Wu Bai wasn't on stage, but slowly emerged from a hole under the stage, holding an umbrella, to sing "Innocent Years." There was an extra guitar player in the back, near Da Mao, and a bald fellow out front playing. Didn't really pay much attention to them, as I tend to focus on Wu Bai most of the time, and I think we were at least four songs into the show before I realized that the bald guy was Xiao Zhu! Now, we've always known that he was balding and that's why we've never seen him without a baseball cap or a head scarf, but he's had the long ponytail running down his back all these years. Gone, completely gone, shaved that skull bare he did! You can bet that today, when we go see ABS at the Canada Day beach party, I'm asking him what on earth possessed him to do such a thing. I would have asked his wife, who was standing down in front of us, but it was too difficult to try to talk while screaming. Perhaps he just decided that's it's too flippin' hot to wear hats all the time and that if he shaved it all, no one would guess it was departing on its own already.

We had very nice seats, quite close to the stage and off to the band's left. As I mentioned, there was a small stage, called the Rainbow Stage, in the middle of the standing rock area, and that was even closer to us. When Wu Bai was there, the fans could crowd around and even get their hands shaken, if lucky. We watched our friend Xiao Hu, arms leaning on the stage, right at Wu Bai's feet and gazing up at him in pure adoration, and were completely jealous. When Wu Bai sang "Only Love" all the house lights were on, and he could clearly see the audience. There's a part of the song that says, "I used to be alone, and was used to being alone. Why did you bother to give me that kind of kiss? Maybe I've awakened and shouldn't take this seriously - you stole my soul away." During the "you stole my soul" part, I was singing along and pointing at Wu Bai, and damned if he wasn't pointing right back at me. I don't think it was my imagination, either, because Charlene gave me a good hard whack on the back from behind, so she thought so, too.

The second part of the show was very cool, because it was a recreation of the old pub days at Live-a-Go-Go, back in 1994 and 1995, I think, when the band was first starting to build up a following. They even had shirts just like they wore when they filmed the Wu Bai Live DVD, those pirate-y looking ones. And Xiao Zhu wore his head scarf (thank the goddess). The whole stage extended out farther into the audience, bringing everyone even closer to us. As they were preparing for this part of the show, they showed the Wu Bai Live video, getting everyone all worked up. I sure wish I could have been there at the beginning, part of those intimate pub shows that made the band so famous.

There were a lot of encores at this show, and during one of them the whole band hit the stage to dance to "You are My Flower." Damn, they're so cute, really. There had better be a concert DVD for this one! The show ended at 11:30, much later than I'd expected (I'm not complaining!), and I was in a daze by that time, so thirsty but having to pee so badly. Caroline and I went to the ladies', and when we came out everyone was gone, except for David and Tona. It took forever to get a cab, and the MRT had already ceased for the evening, so I had no choice but to pay for a cab ride home. We dropped Caroline in Banqiao first, then headed toward Taipei 101, where David and Tona's friend lives. They'd brought their baby, Kimi, with them, and the friend was babysitting. Would have loved to have gone out to eat with them, but it just wasn't feasible. The cab driver had arranged for another cab to meet us along the way so I could make the switch, and I got home around 1:30 a.m. It was still incredibly hot outside, and my apartment was stuffy and muggy. And DZ was griping at me for being gone so long, as usual.

I spent the next few days running the show back through my head, getting silly smiles on my face when I thought about it. On Monday I met up with David, Tona, and Little Kimi, and we went for lunch at Shanghai Dumpling then to Coldstone Creamery for dessert. Wow, it has been so long since I've had really good ice cream (the cheap stuff doesn't tempt me one bit, and I won't pay the price for Hagen Daaz, however you spell it). Coldstone is actually affordable, as a bowl is around $3.35US for a decent-sized serving. Then I added another buck for the chocolate dipped waffle cone bowl. Ummmmmmm! Good thing it's so far out of the way and not easily accessible, because it could make dieting a bit harder!

Oh yeah, I've lost 12.75 pounds now, 5.8 kilos. Was hoping it would be more this week, because I've been doing a lot of walking (and sweating), but it didn't drop much. Perhaps next week will be better. I did go out for lunch twice this week, but I tried to just eat fruit in the evenings on those days. Since I'm going to the beach party this evening, I'll try to be really good the rest of the day.

I thought the school would announce the scholarship winners this week, but they didn't, so hopefully next week I'll know. I gave up my Wednesday night teaching, because it just didn't seem worth it to me. The students don't really have the time to study, and two hours a week just won't help them make progress. It's wasting their time and money and my time. I found a new pair of students, a brother and sister, and I'll start once a week with them for two hours, and they might bump that up to twice a week. The guy is a cutie, but of course too young for me. Still, I'd rather be teaching a handsome fellow than a butt-ugly one, ha.

Ye Ying got her IELTS score last night, and this time she passed! I have mixed feelings - happy for her because she made it and will be able to go to Holland to study, but sad because she'll be gone and I won't get to see her for a long, long time. And she won't have time for our language exchange, because she'll be working more in the next couple of months before she leaves. But now her boyfriend, Xuan Yi, is finally finished with his thesis and will graduate, so he's going to start again in her place.

I can't believe this semester is almost over, only three more weeks left. I need to write a few more compositions to meet the teacher's requirement, and I'd best get my butt in gear! Sometimes it's just difficult to think of a topic, and I want to make my compositions interesting. I suppose I can just wing it, after all it doesn't have to win the Pulitzer Prize. I've been thinking about writing a letter to Wu Bai, so maybe I'll use that as an assignment, be good practice for me.

OK, enough, I have so much that I should be doing before I take off at 4:00, including studying for the test on Monday! Over and out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Deja Vu

Went out for all-you-can-eat pizza and fried chicken for lunch yesterday with three (very skinny) friends. Only ate a grapefruit for breakfast and wasn't one bit hungry in the afternoon and evening after stuffing my gut with pizza. Did more walking than usual to try to make up for it, too.

So, fearfully I got on the scales this afternoon when I got home. Normally, I only weigh on Saturday or Sunday morning, since I tend to get discouraged if I weigh every day and don't see any loss, then I eat because I'm bummed. But today, wow! I'm happy to say that I've lost 11.24 pounds which, gee, puts me exactly where I was on June 15, 2006. Yes, I keep a record of my weight, so I know just when I was the fattest. So at least I've gotten off what I gained during the last year (some of it came back with me from the US after my trip back!), and now I can work on the 14 pounds I gained during my first year here. And after that I will tackle the 10 pounds I gained between my September 2004 concert trip and my March 2005 arrival!

Then maybe I can actually buy some clothes that fit. And wear my Wu Bai & China Blue concert t-shirts. Yup, good incentive.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Countdown to Happiness!

Getting through the next few days won't be easy. The anticipation is building, fueled by the very short performance we saw Saturday night at the Golden Melody Awards. This Saturday, June 23, is Wu Bai & China Blue, yeah! An added bonus is getting to see Tona and David with their new little baby, as they'll be coming in from Singapore.

The awards show was tons of fun, got to see a variety of performances, including the classic band Wynners, featuring Alan Tam. The Korean boy band Super Junior was there, as well as a couple of Japanese cuties whose names I don't know. They all look around 12 years old but quite adorable. Jolin Tsai kicked off the night with an impressive number featuring dancers wearing Native American-style outfits. She was a co-presenter with Wu Bai and also ended up scoring the award for best female artist (Mandarin language).

Today is Dragon Boat Festival, so we have a two-day holiday (yesterday and today). I'm just kicking back at home, staying out of the heat.

I'm so pleased with myself, because I've lost 10 pounds since May 1! Yeah, yeah, I'm still 15 pounds heavier than I was when I got here, but hey, I'm working on it! Hopefully my determination will not waiver and I'll continue to get the flab gone.

I completed my application for the scholarship last week, and I think next week the results will be announced. I'm sure hoping I get it, as it's around $361US per month, which goes a long way here. That will pay for my plane ticket to Osaka, at least!

I will try to go to Hong Kong in November, too, because my friend Maddy will be going over with her good buddy Maxine, and it's such a good opportunity to see her. I think the last time we saw each other was February 2001 in San Francisco!

Last Wednesday my class and I went to the National History Museum to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit. It was a disaster! There were millions of school kids there, and it was almost impossible to get close enough to anything to see, and the kids were running all over the place, crashing into us. Or seated on the floor in front of exhibits while getting a lecture, effectively keeping anyone else from viewing it. What a waste of time and money. Extremely small exhibit, too, truly not worth the NT$150 we paid for our tickets. I mean, the main museum charge for students is only NT$10, for crying out loud! Later we found out that the afternoon was basically child-free, as one of the other teachers took her class there, too, and she said it wasn't crowded at all. Our bad luck to have morning classes, I guess.

Another countdown is to July 21, when the new (and final, boo hoo!) Harry Potter books is released. That's gonna cost me at least $30US, I think, but I don't care, I'm buying it! Hopefully Page One will have it on a 20% discount. Also, author Darren Shan will be making a visit to Taiwan in July, and if Caroline goes around to see him, I might tag along. Haven't read any of his books yet, but would really like to. Argh, my list of books I want is so very long. Hm, maybe if I get that scholarship I'll go on a book-buying spree at Page One! I picked up quite a few used books a couple weeks ago at Whose Books, which was nice.

That's about it for me, not much going on here. Hope everyone is well and happy, just like me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Confirm File Delete

Had to steal this one from a friend's blog, because it's such a nice idea. If only we could.....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Safe for Another Two Months

Got my visa extension yesterday, no problems, so I'm good through August 20. The guy said it should be no problem to extend another two months, through October 20, and then I'll have to leave Taiwan to get a new visa. So, I'm hoping it will work out to go visit Luke and Kayun in Osaka! My semester ends October 12, and the next one starts October 22, so I'll use that week to get the visa.

The ticket for the Golden Melody Awards arrived today, so that's all set. Hope it's not pouring that day, because we want to go early and watch all the stars arrive. Be no fun in the rain, that's for sure.

And ABS will be playing a beach party on June 30 for Canada Day, so of course we're going to that!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Just for Laughs

Found this great website with crazy cat photos. This one is one of my faves:


The captions are hilarious. Spend an hour looking and laughing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Plum Rainy

Let's see, it's been steadily raining for about a week now, with very few breaks. We've gotten 5 inches of rain so far today, and I was wading in deep puddles getting from the bus stop to the MRT station at Jiantan this afternoon. This is the 梅季雨, the Plum Rains season. The nice part is that the weather is much cooler, even though it's still quite warm during the day. I'm continually drenched with sweat, and I'm really tired of my paper sticking to my arm when I'm in school and trying to write. Still, I'll take this over California winter rains any day!

Observation: no matter how flippin' hot it is (with a RealFeel of 103 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit), you will see these teeny, tiny Asian women wearing long-sleeved sweatshirts, denim jackets, and other various forms of warm clothing. I'm not sure if it's because they're so damned skinny they freeze to death when the air conditioning hits them or if it's because of their unreasonable dread of a single drop of sunlight falling on their skin. There was actually an article in the Taipei Times awhile back stating that Taiwanese women were often deficient in vitamin D because of their vampire-like dread of sunlight. When my teacher went to Thailand over Chinese New Year and came back with a beautiful tan, her Western students complimented her on how lovely and healthy she looked, and her Asian friends started back in shock and exclaimed how dark (and therefore ugly) she was. Me, I'm envious of the beautiful color of her skin when she tans. I just end up turning a very funny color when exposed to sunlight, not pretty at all.

Got my official grade from last semester, and it was 93. I surely hope this means I will get the scholarship next time. Gimme money, gimme gimme gimme. I'm doing OK so far this semester, getting in the mid to high 90s on my tests (Wang Laoshi doesn't actually give a grade on compositions). I truly enjoy her classes, and I'll be sad when the semester ends on July 20. She'll be going to the actual university to teach beginning in September this year, so maybe I'll be lucky enough to have her again when (and if) I start at Tamkang proper.

Was going to go apply for a visa extension today but because of the torrential rain decided to wait until Monday and hope it lets up. If they say "no" then I guess I make an emergency trip to either Singapore or Osaka for a new visa. Osaka will cost more, but if I go there I can see Luke and Kayun, and everyone says it's never a problem to get a visa in Japan. Some folks have had issues with the Singapore office. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

More than minor annoyance: my friend Carol was kind enough to do some shopping for me, as I'd checked the US Postal Service's shipping rates online and decided just how much I could spend for some stuff. She ran all over and got the things I wanted and then went to ship it, only to be informed that as of May 14 the post office has discontinued economy surface shipping internationally, everything is now priority mail and hence much more expensive. Like costing about $5US per pound expensive. WTF? So poor Carol had to return a bunch of the stuff, since I wasn't willing to pay $5 to ship a box of low-fat Cheez-its! As it was, it cost me $37 for the small 7-pound box I got, but at least that was all stuff I just can't get here, important stuff like earplugs, ibuprofen, and hair color in lighter shades.

Hm, what else? Well, next Saturday I'll be going to the Golden Melody Awards, IF I get my visa extended and don't have to leave the country. Wu Bai's official website was giving away 50 tickets, and of course I got one. Being a foreigner does have its perks. Wu Bai & China Blue will be performing, and Xiao Zhu has been nominated as best producer for an indy band. Hope he gets it. Then the following week is the concert, also looking forward to that. The new CD came out today, and I was going to pick it up this evening but decided it wasn't worth a trip out in the rain. I'll go get it next week.

The diet is going well, losing weight albeit slowly. I've lost 8.4 pounds (today, Saturday, was weigh-in day, so even though no loss last week, at least there was this week!), and I feel better already. If I could get more exercise, I'd lose more, but until my foot is better, I just can't walk much. If I ever manage to get the home gym I bought in November put together, then I could use that, but I haven't found anyone who can help me yet. So, it's still in pieces in the spare room. What a waste of money, huh? I guess I should just sell it.

On Wednesday I got together with Sherry, the woman Hiyoshi used to teach Japanese to. I hadn't seen her for over a year. Last week I got on MSN, which I hardly ever do, and she was there, so I started to chat with her. Apparently she'd called a few times, but every time must have been when I was out of the country, because my phone never showed any missed calls. She thought maybe I'd left Taiwan. She's the one who told me about Hiyoshi's baby, and she said he had never contacted her, either. Because she's going to Tokyo next month, she called him to ask him a question, and then he told her about the baby. I was very happy to connect with Sherry again, because she's really cool. Hopefully we'll be able to meet regularly now. Oh, and here's an example of just how straightforward the Taiwanese are. We were at Sherry's house chatting, and her husband was there working (they have a home business). I was bemoaning my weight, trying to refuse the snacks Sherry was pressing on me, and she said I hadn't gained weight. Then hubby piped up with, "Oh, yeah, much fatter than before!" Gee, thanks, I needed that. There is such a thing as too much honesty. Never mind, continue to diet.

Next Wednesday our class is going to the museum to see the special exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors. If you don't know what they are, just click the link. Someday maybe I can visit the museum in China to get the full effect of the magnitude of this amazing project.

Can't think of anything else right now. DZ is fine and is still misbehaving whenever she gets the chance, although she hasn't torn up any posters lately. Life in Taiwan is still great, despite the summer heat and all the rain. I still love Wu Bai as much as I ever did, despite wanting to give him a good hard whack on the head sometimes. And...that's all. :)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Well, That's One Little Mystery Solved

OK, folks, you remember the saga of Lisa and Hiyoshi and how I (and other friends) just couldn't understand why they were getting married when Hiyoshi didn't even know if he loved her?

Well, I just had a long conversation with a friend I haven't seen in a long time, the woman Hiyoshi used to teach Japanese to. We'd go to her house and sing karaoke and have a good old time. I lost touch with her after Hiyoshi started seeing Lisa. And she just told me that in April Hiyoshi became a father to a little girl. Hm, let's see, they got married in September, had a baby in April. Guess we now know why they jumped into that marriage, huh?

And why do I have the feeling that Mr. Naivety himself was totally set up for this one?