Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thinking Thoughts

On Starbucks: We have Ronald and the Colonel, so why does Starbucks hold back from marketing the mermaid? So many questions unanswered. They've got to pull in that younger demographic and Minny the Mermaid could do just that for them. There's also a certain sex appeal in her cartoonish toplessness that will bring in adolescent males and their goateed, pony-tailed dads. Starbucks has also gone ahead and transformed book shelves into trash cans. How quaint. I envision rich mahogany counter tops and suede tipped straws to be in their future marketing plans.

The opposite of smoke and mirrors is fire and brick walls. Which reminds me of a fire station, which goes to show that they're really not the type of people into mystifying others. Causing one to then wonder if a firefighter's bachelor party features a stripper in the firefighterfeminina outfit, is that warmly welcomed? Too close to home? A disgrace to the suspenders? Much like a witch using her broom to sweep up some newts.

I don't see foot-traffic ever solving itself. Seems to be the inevitable effect of population explosions and poorly designed urban walkways. Unless the moving sidewalk appears on the scene. Which it never does, no matter how many times we predict that it will be the wave of the future along with flying cars, which we've done for a solid half-century now. Do airports own exclusive rights to them? I want exclusive rights to the insides of bathroom stall doors. No finer place to inform and brainwash the masses.

Telling someone they're a drag is insulting to their feelings, transgenders and the dragon community at-large.

How about teapots with alternative whistles? The screech gets repetitive and it's been howling longer than Queen Elizabeth. I am here to offer you today-- steam engine blow and complimenting parakeet. Think about it.

What constitutes a triple take? Something that incredible, dreadful, or confusing? Could very well be, but judging by spectator reaction, I believe Roger Federer's serve and volley has already copyrighted the maneuver.

The Chinese word for pigeon is dove and for dove is pigeon. Which is ironic, because one is a bird of magic, bearing olive branches of peace. While its gray cousin is a bird of menace, which i want to club with an olive branch of pissed off.

How about a land vs water vs air beast battle for supremacy of earth? Humans are excluded and will shake hands with the winner and grant them rights for total rule once we bomb or greenhouse ourselves into extinction. Pan gave the sword at the end of Hook to Thudbut, which has me thinking the hippos will somedays rule the world.

Wink war wages on into its third week. Creepiness factor has hit an all-time high as the United Winkers Front have now changed tactics and are firing alternatively out of both sockets.

When I have a child and they want to date another person, I will permit it. I will, however, have a few relationship rules to be abided by. For instance, hand holding is straight out. There will be no finger-interlocking dirtiness under this roof, young person. Instead, acceptable practice will be an above-waist, above-chest straight palm press which will substantially substitute and still allow for the intimacy found in bodily contact. Also dating stipulations are buffer seats at the movie theaters, dessert shared on separate plates with separate utensils, and online webcam chats will be zoomed in completely on each other's eyes. They say they're windows to the souls, what's more romantic than that?

While upside down questions marks have their place in the spanish language, I would like to integrate reverse questions marks into the English language for unanswerable or rhetorical questions.

Studies have shown that wearing sunglasses and/or headphones in public places increases self confidence. My study shows that it increases acceptable headbobbing and the ability to check out whoever you please whenever you please.

I'd like to create a spin-off of the VW punch-buggy game. It's called the KIA poke-you-in-the-eye game.

Some days I wish I had a guy with a booming voice near me when I'm writing things down or contemplating stuff. He would melodically boom: "WORST IDEAS EVERRRRRR!" and then I'd present my idea for all to hear. Today's features are the informational taste site Lickipedia and undergarment brand Fruit of the Womb.

Ferns are the finest plants to hide behind.

One can't help but wonder if there is any sort of totem pole hierarchy. May God and Great Spirit help those lowly war birds sitting on dirt and bear dung.

Did druglords infiltrate the world of children's sweets when creating and dispensing pixie sticks? Powdered, highly addictive substance leading to jittery highs followed by an epic crash? One can only wonder if sweet, sweet candy is in fact that "gateway drug" Crime Dog McGruff was always been blabbering about. That goes for push pops and fun dip as well.

To promote jaywalking, public safety officers should create a video detailing why the J-walk has its place in society and how it stacks up against the likes of the C-walk of the hiphop world. And lest we forget the MJ moon-walk. I walk, U walk, we all walk for a cakewalk. And how bout those E-woks? Y walk when you can segway?

Jack has had his day. Jill, it's time for you to enter the 21st century. Army cadets will now wake up to 100 jumping-jills. During Halloween, children will be carving Jill-O-Lanterns using jill-knives. Merry Christmas, it's a jill-in-the box! Samuel L. Jackson will be forced to change his name to Samuel L. Jillson and will get really pissed off and curse very loudly.

If I were king, I'd push open one Emergency Exit door per day. There also should be doors for slight emergencies: left the oven on, forgot the dog in the car, caught shoplifting.

When I'm old, I will create a band and we'll name ourselves "The Seniles". During the holiday season we will release our smash hit: "All I Want for Christmas is a Clue".

If my child comes home from school and asks me to explain the extinction of dinosaurs, I would tell my child that Dinotron cheated in school so everyone in Dinotopia started a war and they all died. That would also couple as my bedtime story for that evening. In addition, I'd teach my child that when drawing landscapes, to be sure to be astronomically accurate in his depiction of the sun. Being a star, it will be drawn as one, not some ridiculous smiling circle covered in spikes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taiwan by Scooter

Welcome to Taiwan. Home to roughly 23 million who have chosen to cohabitate their island with roughly 23 million motorbikes. Mopeds, scooters, Vespas, motorcycles, crotch-rockets, however you want to term them, are overwhelmingly the vehicle of choice for locals and English teachers alike. Adaptation and assimilation certainly take some time in Taiwan. Daily challenges include accepting the ubiquitous aroma of "stinky tofu", appreciating karaoke booths as a continual source of entertainment, as well as embracing the ever-enjoyable squatter toilets.

Above all, the biggest hurdle one may encounter is the role of the scooter in daily living. Unless you reside in Taipei or Kaohsiung, Taiwan's two largest cities equipped with pristine and punctual transit systems, you will most likely reach the realization that said vehicle must eventually be tamed and mounted.

Undoubtedly, talking yourself into a scooter purchase is not easy. To do so, one must forgo all previously held biases against puttering around on a device that junior high school students can legally drive back home. Instead, the surprisingly numerous advantages must be considered. When attempting to live green, a newly acquired motorbike is a fresh step forward in terms of fuel efficiency. Parking is readily available while day-long excursions spent gulping mountain air and dodging stray dogs has never felt so exhilarating.

In most cases, licenses, insurance, and road tests are typically bypassed for an under the table transaction from a departing foreigner. Motorcycle virgins, myself included, often hop on their first solo ride and wait for the Che Guevara within us to take over. Even those with extensive experience must come to terms with the fantastic mess that is Taiwanese driving. Therefore, a few simple rules of the road should be taken into consideration before those wheelies start a-popping.

1. Sidewalks are fair game. Pedestrians, take note. The three meter wide stretches of cement bordering shops and kindergartens alike can only mean one thing: right hand passing lane. This acceptable activity also promotes both high speed window shopping and the possibility of nation-wide Seven Eleven drive-thrus.

2. The horn is your best pengyou. That's right, the BFF feature of your scooter turns out to be its quack or yelp (depending on your model). An essential component of a three hour trek down the coast or a two minute jaunt for some dumplings, the horn should be deployed to announce your presence when passing through all yellow and red lights, four way intersections, and one-way alleys. A quiet motorist is a crippled motorist.

3. Dress to impress. Fashion meets function when it comes to your driving wardrobe. Helmets are required by law, yet apparently so too are tinted visors, Hello Kitty face masks, elbow-length riding gloves, and the ever-popular oven mitt handle grips. These confusing pieces of attire are mainly designed to shield delicate skin from the tropical sun. Not surprisingly, these well-protected drivers can easily be mistaken for high-fashion motorized street ninjas, which unfairly further tarnishes the reputation of street ninjas worldwide.

4. Don't limit yourself. How indulgent one feels pulling up alone to a scooter standstill flanked by a scooter bearing family of four plus dog to the right and one to the left balancing morning milkman, complete with crate, bottles, and toothy grin. While arguably less mysterious, the compactibility of Taiwanese passengers demotes clown cars to a vehicular wonder of the past.

5. Respect your elders. As in most Asian countries, the senior citizens of Taiwan are held in high esteem within society, a well-deserved honor. Elder motorists apparently also hold a distinguished spot upon the roads they rule in style. Without ever so much as a temporary glance in a side-view mirror, they weave their way through standstill traffic, challenge oncoming vehicles, and basically roam wherever they please. Along with the reverent bows and honorific titles, the elders have earned these roads. A motorized grandpa should not be taken lightly.

Embrace these few peanuts of advice if you so choose. Also remember to take the road less traveled simply because you can, even if those roads happen to be windy in both the long and short vowel sense. While guardrails are not always easy to come by and reckless driving is, a slightly fortified and engined bicycle is simply the optimal way to journey across this delightful Asian isle. Giddy-up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

honoring sundays

notebook passage 434
FongYuan park
January 2010

Hide and seekers roam the tranquil hill garden in which i have chosen to do my sunday afternoon basking. the incoherent mandarin playground murmur and distant siren wails serve as today's soundtrack. this is a warm sun today. much appreciated. butterflies flutter by as ants tickle their way across exposed forearm. one of the finest things about writing is the ability to allow pleasant idleness to segway into brief dozing periods. you can come back to the pen without feeling the least bit guilty. a young lad proclaims himself king of the 3 foot mountain until older sister wants a piece of glory. the pure bliss in having no undesirable future concerns or regretful thoughts is unparallelled. this is where true peace of mind begins its development or finds itself again. on cue, i have suddenly become the backstop for a pickup game of youth baseball. the bees and trees whisper that it's time to roam. nature has a clever way of offering these heads-up signals. i go.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

coffe shop observations

notebook passage 113
august 2009
starbucks patio, taipei

we sit camped beneath sun-devouring umbrellas. drinks drippingly melt as passers-by offer, return, break a shared stare. going somewhere, some going where? sunday urgency dictates the walking pace of most. sobriety is a common weekend waking theme. business exchanges and map consulting surround my circular work station. pink personal umbrellas are working hard this afternoon. 101's celebrity status grows with more camera flashes. young women pass, hand in hand. a positively warm sunday.

notebook passage 237
November 2009
outdoor cafe, Fong Yuan

the intersections is flanked with fried chicken and fruit juice stalls. echoing its friendly yet relentless tune againt apartment windows is the daily garbage patrol. plastic bags devoured, it continues on after a momentary, non-melodious pause. seemingly no different than a stop by this town's residents into their beverage shop of chice. headphones drop, brakes are pressed, good and currency exchange hands. a split second of absorbing one's surroundings. receipt is grabbed and this vehicle sculpted in human form carries on in its mindless, unwavering pace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

new with the old

"to look forward, one must look back."-author, me.

this makes very little sense the more i look at it. but figured quoting myself is a good way to establish andy lovley in the proverbial community. giving lao tzu a run for his money might be one of my more ambitious new year's resolutions but i like to start decades in style. also, in accordance with the prophecy-excuse me, proverb, i decided to spend the next week bringing the passing thoughts i often jot down in my all-purpose notebook to the blogosphere.

here goes.

notebook passage 371
late july 2009.
long island-massachusetts drive home from a family wedding.

music on a backseat misadventure changes everything. wrinkled formal-wear worn through the previous night positioned to my right. bottle of wine and banana to my left. a boat tugs through the river below. and then it's gone. next. a lake grasping whatever sunlight it can from an overcast afternoon onto its still surface. roadside trees see the most and are seen the least. perhaps they like it that way. blur is the common theme. first rail, then sign, then abandoned diner.

notebook passage 616
october 2009
park bench musings

it is quite simple to see how contagious a continuous smile can become. what keeps us from not naturally carrying one as a daily routine? children, the younger they are, seem to be society's only natural possessor and initiator of the smile. one may wonder if we are all possibly that neutral with our feelings? or is it instead a fear of expressing such emotions and possibly appearing quite insane? society will classify a constant smile as "mad" (which makes one wonder about the decision to equate lunacy with angry rage--if anything, many of those suffering from mental disorders appear to be quite pleased with their current state of mind). this method of thinking seems backwards in itself and speaks more to the glorification of widespread social misery and unsatisfaction. comfort zones may certainly need some readjusting, but i'll be opting to forgo grinning and bearing it and spend my time grinning and sharing it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

channel yes news

i propose a news channel that is totally committed to positivity. by that i mean its reporting will be based solely on stories of accomplishment, generosity, and humanity's successes rather than its failings. we have ample news agencies who capitalize on our interest in inter-personal drama, human-induced terror, and the sufferings of mankind. silver linings are not always present and quite often it's the completely silver clouds we ignore and instead keep our gaze on darkened horizons. this is not a case of naivety or an inability to cope with modern societal concerns. rather, this is but a counter-balance of wide-spread fear mongering. an escape from pronounced pessimism. a right for what's wrong.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ode to the quake

need an evening jolt? head to starbucks. currently serving seasonal favorites rasberry mocha, hazelnut latte, and 6.8 tremors. that was the situation this evening as i settled in for a hot cup of bitterness that usually is a pivotal sparkplug to me introducing pen to paper. i've experienced these babies before so i wasn't completely taken off guard, but i was amazed at the reaction by those around me. these were taiwanese, who usually brush off earthquakes like february mosquitos. however, shoppers were bolting for sliding glass doors and shrieking behind clothing racks as the building wavered. a solid half minute came and went and then normalcy returned. a few nervous giggles were shared and people continued on their way.

i could leave things at that, but, for some reason, during the whole commotion my eyes could not stray from the tall, determined coffee barista sporting wavy red locks. she did not flinch. not once. while her coffee brethren were clutching roasters for support or preparing to hop a counter and flee to the hills, she maintained her brewing of a previous order WHILE punching in the request of a dazed customer. this young lady either has nerves of steel or was presently sampling a tripledose of vicadin. i was impressed, awed, bewidldered, and slightly aroused. so much so that i wrote her a poem.

where were you barista two
when walls began to shake
women shrieked and coffee shuffled
symptoms of a quake

you did not duck
you did not hide
you did not fling
apron aside

while you were brewing coffee
like an other-worldly champ
i was slowly noticing
my boxers growing damp

i'd like to tell sir starbucks
about your dedication
i've only seen that sort of calm
on those on medication

i credit you barista two
this was no doubt exciting
i'd like to have the recipe
what coffee wave you riding?