生日快樂臺灣!

For my non-Chinese literate readers – and really, what’s your excuse in this day and age? – the title of this  post reads “Happy Birthday Taiwan!”. Yes, today marks the 100th birthday of Formosa, my home for the past seven months and the next, well, who knows?

This past week has, unfortunately, been a catalogue of disasters. Something in the air has conspired to foil every plan and plant obstacles at every turn. Last weekend saw Scotland lose to England in the Rugby World Cup, followed by an ill-timed bank card failure and a near-combustion. Seriously. I’d forgotten to fill my scooter up with petrol and was running perilously low to empty on a hideously unreliable fuel gauge. En route to the supermarket, a mere two blocks from the flat, the engine conked out on me, leaving me to wander the streets in search of a 7-11 in which to buy a bottle of water so I could empty it and march to the nearest petrol station and fill it.

No problem, I had plenty time before work. However I reached the station and the pump attendant, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, decided to keep the pump flowing as he withdrew it from the bottle’s neck. In gale force winds due to a typhoon battering the east coast of the island. Cue a spray of petrol soaking my midsection and making for an extremely hazardous and foul-smelling walk home. Luckily I didn’t pass any smokers on the way although the winds sculpted my hair mad-scientist style, not unlike Doc Brown in Back To The Future. Joy.

The onslaught of misfortune wasn’t over though, not by a long shot. The following morning saw my waking up with an aching throat, fever and glands the size of tennis balls. Yup, some opportunistic infection had taken advantage of the sudden downward shift in temperature and the weekend’s festivities to launch an attack on my compromised immune system. The after-effects – blocked nose and fatigue – are still lingering one week on and putting something of a damper on what should have been a festive long weekend.

To add insult to injury I had to go and use my world-renowned poor judgement to ask a question of a good friend, a question I probably shouldn’t have asked. The upshot has been radio silence on the part of said friend, something I can only hope will not be a permanent situation. Cannonball receives -2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence and must henceforth wear the Mark Of Stupidity.

Oh well, enough of the moaning about bad luck and foolish timing. There are good things to focus on. I bought a bass! A beauty of an Ibanez and I’ve barely been able to put it down for two weeks now, slowly building up the callouses on my pads again and getting the fingers back to full stretch. In December I’ll be filling in the bass shoes for a friend’s band at a benefit gig for Taichung Paws and will hopefully soon have a band of my own with which to set the local scene on fire.

I’ve also finally hit on what could be a workable idea for a novel after a conversation with a co-worker about one of the stranger religious practices in this part of the world. Some research will be required first, not to mention probably some serious practice at writing fiction, but it’s a start. The seed is planted, let’s see the mighty oak blossom. It’ll be a violent, foul-mouthed, irreverent and sarcastic oak but an oak nonetheless. Or maybe an Ash…

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