Posts

Showing posts from 2021

Serial Saturday #18: An Interview In Penghu

The two cars were speeding north toward their destination and Wei-Ting couldn't stop looking out the window. He had never been to Penghu before and was struck by the contrast with Kinmen. Where Kinmen was lush, green and almost choked with vegetation, Penghu was flat, green and full of wide, open spaces. As they passed some wind turbines, the land dropped away as they headed out over a bridge and Wei-Ting turned back to the conversation he had only been half-listening to ever since they left the airport.\ "They ran aground on the Kentei rocks just north of Niaoyu Island," the Penghu County Inspector who had met them at the airport was a rotund, middle aged man by the name of Hu Yaodong. '"Now, we've got a precinct out there, but it's too damn small for a mess this size, so we've been shipping them into the Baisha Precinct all morning." "What were they carrying?" Mei-Shan asked. "The usual," Hu shrugged. "Ton of ephedrine

Sci-Fridays #1

Image
Editor's Note: I love Science Fiction and Fantasy- they're probably two of my favorite genres and I consume just about any version of media- books, TV, movies, streaming that I can get my hands on. Sometimes, though, I'll have some thoughts that don't really fit into a blog post, so I've decided to launch a periodic (I'm hoping once a month) blog post where I nerd out about this kind of stuff. So, please enjoy this inaugural edition of Sci-Fridays! Star Trek Discovery Season 3: I approached Season 3 with a lot of optimism and it turns out that optimisn was right on the money. Personally, I thought the choice to send Discovery into the future at the end of Season 2 was brilliant- almost as brilliant and canon-subverting as J.J. Abrams decision to destroy Vulcan in the first Kelvinverse Trek- the inherent problem with Star Trek is that 50+ years of canon means that you're always getting something wrong and there will always be someone out there somewhere

Serial Saturday #17: What They Serve At 7-11 in Taipei

Wei-Ting looked around as they got out of the car. He hadn't been in Taipei for years- so he wasn't sure where they were. There was a gas station tucked under the elevated road across the way, but Mei-Shan and Shan were walking towards an entrance along the side of the 7-11 that led to a set of stairs. The apartment was on the second floor and Mei-Shan knocked three times before the door opened a crack and Wei-Ting saw the face of the young man in the picture. He was older now, of course and exhaustion was etched on his face. He opened the door the rest of the way and sighed. "I must be getting sloppy in my old age," he said. He turned and made his way back into the apartment. "Come on in." They entered the apartment with Shan coming last and checking the hallway before closing the door. The apartment was small, with a kitchenette, a bed shoved under the window and a couch, coffee table and television and not much else. The young man was moving around the sp

Squawk Box: The Right Stuff/Bridgerton

Image
 I didn't really know how to feel about the Disney+ version of The Right Stuff . My initial reaction was: "...but why?" and really, can you blame me? I mean the 1983 film is a classic- Sam Shepherd as Chuck Yeager? That whole opening sequence of him breaking the sound barrier? The rest of the cast of the movie: Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Lance Henriksen, Dennis Quaid, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright? Incredible! Plus, my memory of The Right Stuff involved watching it in science class in high school and the science teachers were cool enough not to be scandalized and fast forward through the Sally Rand fan dancing sequence (at least I don't think  they fast forwarded through all of it) which was totally educational, I swear. In short, this concept felt like: "Let's remake Lawrence of Arabia and turn it into an 8 episode mini-series and put it on Disney+" it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but happily, if you're into the early history of th

Tiki Tuesday #6: Navy Grog

Image
So, I was going to take a run at a Queen's Park Swizzle- but then I saw this picture on Reddit and realized that I had no mint and if you take away the mint, you're essentially making a Daiquiri and even with using snow instead of crushed ice, it was still a bit boring and would never look as good as that picture! I had plenty of grapefruit laying around the place and I scored a couple of limes and then I realized what I should make: The Navy Grog. (Historical tidbits: per Smuggler's Cove , Richard Nixon was a fan of these: Legend has it that he would slip away to the D.C. Trader Vic's, Sixteenth and K, housed within the Capitol Hilton Hotel. Often, according to Henry Kissinger, Nixon would insist on having cabinet members in tow. Later, during the Watergate hearings, story has it that after everyone had gone home, Vic's would keep the bar open with just one bartender, and Nixon would sneak in a back entrance at three in the morning, have a few Navy Grogs, and pour

Netflix & Chill #90: The Hundred-Foot Journey

Image
I don't know what it is about movies involving food, but I'm a sucker for all of them and The Hundred- Foot Journey is no exception. Described by Wikipedia as a 'comedy-drama' film it was directed by Lasse Hallstrom with screenplay by Steven Knight and released in 2014. (It's based off the novel of the same name by Richard Morais.) The film opens in Mumbai, where the Kadam family runs a prosperous restaurant. The second oldest son Hassan (Manish Dayal) is being groomed to take over from his mother (Juhi Chawla) as the restaurant's main cook. He accompanies his mother to the market to shop for sea-food and can smell to find out the best quality one. Following an election dispute, a mob attacks and firebombs the restaurant. Abbu Kadam (Om Puri) get the guests out, but Hassan's mother dies in the fire and the family flees, seeking asylum in Europe- first in London, then onto mainland Europe, searching for the best place to rebuild their restaurant. The brakes

Serial Saturday #16: Not Going Back To Kaohsiung

The rain was unrelenting, but Wei-Ting didn't care. He was soaked to the bone within seconds and had no idea where he was going or what the plan was, he just kept walking. He made it all of three blocks before he heard the car pull up beside him. "Kid!" Pei-Shan had rolled down the window. He ignored her and kept walking. "Kid, come on!" He kept walking. It was over. His career was done. His one chance at a different life. Gone. He'd have to go back to Kaohsiung and back to his old life. Maybe Pei-Shan still knew the names of those dirty cops in Tainan so he could avoid his old crew. He wanted to laugh out loud at that thought, but  forced it back down and just kept walking. "Kid! Would you stop for a second and listen to me?" He ignored Pei-Shan and kept walking. "Kid, if you're going to act like this every time you get suspended, you're going to have a bad time in this profession." He stoppd and turned on his heel, walking up to

"This Aggression Will Not Stand, Man"

Donald Trump should be removed from office as soon as possible.  Have I ever been crazy about President Trump? No. Do I feel like the Left lost it's fucking mind as soon as he was elected? Yes. Have the past four years been mentally exhausting as a result? Sweet Jesus, yes.  But: no one has been interested in why Trump was elected in the first place. No one has actually stopped and really fucking thought about this in a meaningful, reflective way. There are some commentators out there- (Salena Zito) that have expressed some interest in actually figuring out that question, but the vast majority of our Establishment has been satisfied with combinations of  "white people are fucking racist" and "True American patriots word salad word salad word salad" and as a result, no one has learned a fucking thing.  There's a quote from Talleyrand and after the Bourbon Restoration in 1830 (the French monarchy, not a delicious bottle of hooch from Kentucky- alas) he said-

The Year Ahead In Writing

Image
If 2020 has convinced me of anything, it's that ambition is not a sin when it comes to my writing, so I'm going to swing for the fences this year and see if I can get a bunch of projects- some larger than others- done- or at the very least into draft form. I'm willing to give "go big or go home" a try and see where I end up.  On the docket (tentatively, subject to change, etc) we've got the following: 1. Book Two Repackage: Book One got a shiny new cover and a new paperback release and Book Two is on deck for the same treatment- which with a little luck and some work I should be able to get over the finish line this month. So stay tuned. 2. Book Three Is Coming: It's close, I swear. I expanded the ending to close out some plot threads a little better than I had in the initial final draft. I've got to get a proper map lined up and then a cover and then I'll be looking to lock in a release date. Stay tuned for details-- but I'm thinking I can

Bookshot #138: Mistborn The Final Empire

Image
Brandon Sanderson is one of those authors that I've always meant to sit down and explore, but never got around too- but after finishing The Wheel of Time, I felt like I could no longer put it off. He did such a great job finishing out that series, that I figured I might as well take the plunge and start exploring his own work- and thanks to an Audible credit, I snagged Mistborn: The Final Empire and started listening. The story opens on a plantation run by a nobleman- part of the aristocracy of the Final Empire that rules over the vast underclass/serfs known as Skaa. The overseers on the plantation are cruel and one of them notices a Skaa that is less subservient than the others and wonders about it. That night in the Skaa quarters, he reveals himself to the other Skaa as Kelsier, the survivor of Hathsin- who kills the nobleman in charge of the plantation and forces the other Skaa to flee into hiding to avoid reprisals. Events flip forward a bit and we meet Vin who is a street urc

Serial Saturday #15: The Storm

The sky outside the conference room window was menacing as Wei-Ting and Pei-Shan stared at the eivdence they had pinned up on the board at the far end of the room. Neither of them said anything until finally Pei-Shan spoke. "So, what have we found out?" Pei-Shan said. "Her mom was the daughter of a Nationalist general and either defected or was captured and taken over there. Falls in love. Gets married. Has a kid, tries to come home and gets shalled by our military for her trouble. Fast forward to today. Kid make some kind of souped up VPN. Hops a boat out of there and winds up dead on a beach here with a knife in her belly." "You should have told me," Wei-Ting said. "Told you what?" Pei-Shan sighed. "That I feel on a grenade of a bribery ring to keep my sister out of jail and nearly went down with the other dity cops for my troubles? There's no good way to work that into a conversation." Wei-Ting said nothing and Pei-Shan growled.

10 For 2021

After a year like 2020, it seems crazy that anyone would want to make a list of New Year's Resolutions, but tradition is tradition, even if it seems like a fruitless endeavor most of the time. I was going to be super ambitious and go for 21 goals for 2021, but that seemed too much even for me. So, 10 is the number and I've got another post with my plans for writing this year coming up soon, so these Resolutions don't include anything writing related. 1. End the year under 200 lbs 2. Get another tattoo (I've known what I want to get for awhile, I just need to do it.) 3. I want to complete a 200 day Duolingo Streak  4. New deck! We got rid of (most of) the old deck this year, but in 2021 I want to finish out the project and get a shiny new one. 5. My Goodreads goal for 2020 was 40 books and I came up short by just a little bit, so for 2021: 40 books. 6. Get back to Intermittent Fasting and do it consistently and correctly for the year! 7. I've got a podcast, technical