Saturday, October 27, 2012

Good Eats at Good Old Days

Located at 85 Mei Tsun Rd Section 1 in Taichung, this simple, fast and cheap restaurant serves up some of the best BBQ pork rice I've ever had in Taiwan at a whopping 45 bucks.

The restaurant exhibits a simple modern design, maybe a shade hipster, but the food is honest, and it's a nice surprise to see so many young folks enjoying a great menu of Taiwanese classics.

Just a block north of Gong Yi Rd on the east side of Mei Tsun. Check it out! Hee Haw!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Echoes of the Scream

Like Santa's birthday on Christmas, Spring Scream happens only once a year and it comes and goes faster than you can say, "LOLZ". We prepare our gigs, our stalls filled with savory snacks, our silk-screened garments, our spazzed out costumes for on stage and off, our frozen portraits of Spring Screams past..and we slog through the time-stretched, torpid week leading up to this unique and cathartic experience... We arrive--hearts pounding to the soon to be heard thumping of bass drums, we await the entrance of longtime friends from around the world, nervously anticipate our performances, we crack our first cold ones...and it's on...and then...we poke our heads up once in a while through the fast-forwarding, time-dilated joy of a fleeting orgasmic festival that I wish could go on forever...and then we say goodbye...

And when it is all screamed and done, our bodies are baked and bruised; our voices torn to jerky shreads from pealing bursts of uncontrollable laughter; and our hearts broken as we kiss this beloved entity goodbye...for a time. We head back to our "real" lives and jobs like dry sponges, exorcised of the very salt of our souls, secretly hoping for after parties and faint little echoes of the Scream.

I would waste your ocular motility telling you how F'ing OSM Spring Scream was this year, how it keeps getting better, because we all know that. What I will share, however, is my greed for another mini-version of the festival half way through the year somewhere and when. I can only climb on the wagon so long, Charlie. I need a fix. I need Spring Scream to be a dual solstice, so that I might again creep out from my office tomb and roast my marrow with vein-melting, semster-palpitating live music. I implore the higher ministers with my chalice brimming with rubies and mead that this will come to pass.

Mingled with my so many great memories of this year's Scream is a sense of how relative the passing of time really is. Each emotion and activity we experience shifts the tempo of our so-called atomic counters. In anticipation, it creeps like eons, while in the throes of true bliss, it jettisons us through the flip book pages of the present. And for a short time, our memories hold like frozen frames of film, but then they too begin their sneaky transformation into the void, ever fleeting like an invisible pink unicorn.  I only hope that I can continue to refill that void with future ripples of the Scream...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Of Soup and Love, The First is Best

You've made it past the get-to-know-you coffee sessions, you've gone out for dinner, held hands at a movie--maybe exchanged a kiss--and now it's time to cook for them. First off, don't get the wrong idea about my rather old fashioned dating progression listed above. It doesn't matter if you're living in the 50s, or you've already snorted every powdered letter of the alphabet off their birthday suit, the point is: You've invited them over to your house for the first time--and yer doing the cooking, pal. So, you'd better buck up your ideas.

There are many things to consider here--before even thinking about what to cook and when to do it. First of all, you need to find out what they like and don't like. Find out if there are some foods they hate, or are allergic to, then proceed to step two. Now that you've got a little road map to follow, it's time to nix out some ingredients more suited for an old veteran couple that no longer care about the niceties of courtship. What I mean is, avoid food that creates gas, extreme bad breath, and potential diarrhea.

Sounds serious--but all too often a young man or woman will try to impress their date with spicy as fuck Indian food or beany Mexican, only to throw the night into a humiliating tailspin. So keep that in mind. Save the Spice Road for later. And keep it light. It is always better with any dinner party to run out of food, than to have tons of leftovers. It's also a lot less work, and in the end, it makes the cook look better. Another important consideration is to assess the relationship. There's no need for champagne and strawberries if you just met. Avoid creating an over-done scenario that makes both of you awkward. Same token: don't under-do it. Grill cheeses and pop could come off as pretty lame. So use your noggin, Kenny Loggins.

Once you have your ingredients in mind, it's important--if you do cook regularly--to choose a recipe you are familiar with. This is not the time for experimentation. Chances are, you will get flustered and run the risk of blowing the whole deal. Recipes are testy little things. They are not a perfect science, and almost always need some tweeking. So, choose a dish you know well. If you are not a cook, but still wish to delve into the romantic gesture of preparing dinner for your new fling, then plan ahead and try the recipe prior to the big night. Test it out on your buddies. Make adjustments. Get familiar with the process--and figure out how to create the dish right. Otherwise, you will show some pretty unsavory elements of your behavior--sweating and swearing in the kitchen. And, more importantly, you will come off as being indisposed and unavailable.

On the day, you should pre-prepare. Get your ingredients early. Don't forget beverages. Know where all your needed equipment is. Do your chopping and whatever else you need. Cordon off your spices and herbs for easy grabbing. Boil the water, or whatever else you need to do before the main cooking. Ideally, your date should arrive as the house is starting to smell good. Have a drink. Cooking should be done 30 minutes or so after they arrive. Maybe some cheetos wouldn't hurt. Joking--appetizers are nice though. A little time to relax is a good thing. The more prepared you are in the kitchen, the more relaxed your date will become. Remember: you may think you're nervous cooking for someone for the first time, but they could be even more nervous than you. They are the ones who have to react to YOUR food. It's kind of like that awkward feeling when someone gives you a gift. All eyes on you. And you prepare for the fake smile--the lie, "It's really really really good, seriously..." So, put your guest and yourself at ease. The more casual the affair, the less your date will feel like they have to lie to you if they hate the food.

Another important thing is to make your date feel useful without making them peel potatoes for an hour like some bastard sailor. Leave a few necessary, yet low strain jobs to make them feel like they're contributing. This is a funny one. Nobody wants to sit alone while you're flitting around the kitchen, and they don't want to stand there pretending to be learning how to cook something, and at the same point--they don't want to perform some tedious task you left unfinished. So, setting the table is a good one. A very good one; not only is it a manageable and easy task, you are giving them the authority to set the mood--hence, you are creating an atmosphere and mood together. Aesthetics are just as important as the food you are about to eat. Another good job for your date is opening the wine, or whatever you're drinking. Putting on some music. Lighting candles, etc. All very necessary--additions to the overall ambience, not missing components of your shoddy performance.

And finally, do the dishes--all the dishes, yourself. I recommend cleaning as you go to avoid a nasty pile-up in the sink, but everybody has their own style. Also, you should never clean up immediately after dinner. It's fine to clear the table and run some water over the plates, but now you should be getting on to some nice relaxing time together....provided you didn't kybosh the whole night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Truth May Be Out There...

There's been a lot of talk this year about governments releasing--or disclosing--their classified UFO files. And according to the milliards of sites devoted to the could be any day now, as it has been for years. Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, one thing remains to be seen: convincing evidence.

Go to any ET or UFO website and your bound to be confronted by a similar scene: Black background, neon green text riddled with typos, distracting flashing banners, and almost always some new-agey conspiracy book for sale--usually written by the website's owner. Or go to youtube and check out any of literally thousands of clips of UFO sightings, and you'll see little more than shaky, pixelated video--so shaky sometimes that it's not clear if the movement is being made by the little object in the distance or by the camera itself. Further still, are a whole other class of video made by amateur CGI designers, either attempting to make an object look as realistic as possible, or else trying to completely trick people. The latter--hoaxers in general--are the worst of the problem.

Skeptic or not, lets just pretend the government is withholding all kinds of files that could, in essence, change the way we think about ourselves and the universe at large. A global confirmation that we are not alone would most certainly shift our perspective in unimaginable ways. In short, we would no longer have the privilege of deeming ourselves the superior being of the universe. At once, we would be humbled--awed, and given new hopes for radically improving our lives on planet Earth...and perhaps beyond.

However, as long as the government conceals the truth--provided that there is something to conceal--they will continue to devalue the efforts of believers around the world. And believe me, it's an easy job to perform. It is the hoaxers, the bad websites, and the cheesy conspiracy literature that only strengthens the government's plight. The sheer lack of quality in aesthetics and writing alone are enough to undermine their efforts, making them look like hacks compared to better funded investigative reports.

It is actually quite sad really that the people out there who believe in the great unsolved mysteries share their beliefs in such an amateurish way. While their intentions may be noble, their presentation only manages to create more skeptics. And while it may be a shame that people are shallow, and only choose to trust information that is presented in a more...professionally aesthetic way, with so much information out there, we kind of have no choice but to expect a certain standard of production.

As far as video sightings and photos are concerned, it's a different matter entirely. I can imagine that if I saw a UFO today, my video capture of it would be rife with problems--even with the best equipment and a steady hand. This brings up one the greatest ironies of this whole debacle. Wouldn't seeing a UFO blow your mind completely? Would your brain not be whirling around, your heart pumping...and your camera hand trembling? And on the other hand, wouldn't having a tripod at the ready reveal a "set-up" video...a complete hoax? It would seem that it's basically a lose-lose situation as a shaky and grainy image may reflect some spontaneity and emotionally involved filming, the utter lack of clarity deems these videos immediately inadmissible. And on the other hand, a fixed HD shot of a flying saucer will at once be scrutinized for its preparedness and clarity--and deemed a hoax.

But...and this is a big but, pilots, astronauts and other government officials all over the world have said time and time again that 5 percent of these videos are "inexplicable." Tested with thermo-spectograph technology--similar to the image technology an airport may use to check if you have a fever--5 percent of these images have been proven to be "real" objects. Whether alien or terrestrial, however, remains to be verified. But again, the better the hoaxers get at generating convincing computer generated images, the further we get from discovering the truth. And additionally, the further the hoaxers are willing to go, and the deeper their pockets, even the experts become more skeptical--and more willing to call even the most convincing images hoaxes.

I think people should be responsible here. Some 13 year old punk may find it hilarious to chuck a plate off his roof and throw it on youtube as a "REAL UFO" sighting, but it is the responsibility of the viewer to shut it down by commenting on the video. There was a video that emerged 2 years ago--supposedly taken in Haiti. The first time I saw it, I literally shuddered. I couldn't believe it. It was a close up video of a massive flying saucer moving up the beach, you could hear the person filming it actually gasp. It was very convincing. But it was a viewer's honest comment that proved the video to be a hoax--noting that the palm trees in the image were identical to one another. So, on the positive side, I'm glad that there are some out there who strive to keep things real.

In the end, we will either step it up a notch and build a more mature and convincing case for the existence of alien life, or we will file the massive heap of documentation next to the Lochness Monster and Bigfoot. The choice is more ours than we think. And who knows, we may be in for an even bigger surprise later this year if the US government decides to de-classify its files. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the skies.  Here are a few links, both good and bad. Enjoy. The Disclosure Project UFO Evidence