Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Does this count as irony?

So my hard drive died, and I thought all my stuff was lost. I'm still working on trying to restore my programs and files, but some stuff is probably gone forever.

I had already copied almost all of my home videos to cds, and was getting ready to do the same with my photos, when disaster struck.

The thing that I think might qualify as ironic is that I had already copied all of the photos that had my ex-girlfriend onto cds. I didn't want those photos on my computer anymore, but I didn't want to just delete them because they contain a lot of my history for the last three years. So the ironic part is that the only photos that didn't get lost when my drive died are the ones I don't even want to look at.

Life is funny sometimes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dead in the Water

Just a note to say it will probably be a while before I do any posting. My computer hard drive failed, so all my stuff is probably lost. I did a backup, but who knows if it will work.

It is weird being without a computer or internet access for the first time in a few years. Of course I can still use computers at work (like I am now), but that is only once a week, or I can use the library or something at school.



Friday, November 23, 2007

An Innocent Foot

I had to do it. This is the obligatory mug shot.

Mug Shot.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Little Known Iwo Jima Photo

Most people are familiar with the famous photo of the marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Few know, however, of a second shot taken a few moments later.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Secrets of Loch Ness Revealed!

It was a cold gray morning on the shores of Scotland's Loch Ness. I happened to be carrying my antique camera as I walked along the shore, when suddenly something broke the surface of the water. I was unsure of what it was, only knowing that it was of a monstrous size. Terrified, I fumbled with the camera and managed to snap this photo just seconds before the beast disappeared beneath the surface of the loch.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Toey Ramone?

I admit that this one is pretty stupid, but it gave me the chance to practice working with layers.










Monday, November 19, 2007

Foot of Darkness

Things haven't been very good for the foot lately, but the more recent problems don't come close to the hell it went through in the sixties.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Monster Mash

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Boxing Team Photos, and a Little Humor

My friend recently opened his own boxing/martial arts gym, which had the effect of consolidating my small boxing team into a larger group. Now we will be learning not only boxing, but we will combine elements of kick-boxing, karate, tai chi, and other disciplines. I'm not sure exactly how that is supposed to work, but as long as I'm getting some exercise, I don't really care.

The following are a couple of group photos of the teachers and students. You can see there are a bunch of different outfits representing different disciplines. We even have one guy who does something like Mexican big time wrestling, with the mask and everything!

--photos by Iutian Tsai (lower left in the group photos)

I Will Have My Revenge!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Toe Head

Sometimes it feels like this damned foot injury has taken over my whole body.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Foot Goes on Vacation

After all it has been through, I decided my foot deserved a vacation.

Foot Progress

In all the excitement over playing with Photoshop, I forgot to post actual shots of my foot's gradual improvement.

Please excuse the oversight.

As the caption says, the swelling is down a lot, even if it is much more colorful and still hurts. One milestone that I passed today is that for the first time since the accident I was able to get a sock on over my foot. I'm hoping by next week I can actually start wearing shoes again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful Colors

Have you ever seen such colorful toes? They remind me of how my eyes look after a late night at the pub.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jesus Heals

My friend, Bernie, sent me this photo. I have to say that I truly appreciate the sentiment. In fact, it reminds me that I used to have a little bottle of holy water from Lourdes. I don't know what happened to it, but I could use it now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Feet Around The World

Since I've been on the subject of feet for a few days, I thought I should include a link to my friend Jen's pictures. She traveled all over the place and took some great pictures, many of which include her feet. Take a look at Jen's feet.

No More Fiesta, and a Little Less Swelling

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mariachi Foot

It looks like my foot is getting better.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Foot

My friend, Bernie, made this for me.

Happy foot.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Foot Shot Number Three

The latest...

...but I don't see any improvement.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Foot, Twenty-four Hours Later

Here's the latest picture of my injured foot. I think that it has shrunk a little bit. I'll try to put a new picture up each day so we can all have fun watching the the healing process. Note the green color of my toes. Lovely.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Injured Foot

Here's how it happened.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Souvenir of Turkey

Monday, November 05, 2007

Foggy Sunrise in Seattle

A friend of mine in Seattle sent me this picture. He took it on the way to work the other morning.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It Had to Happen Eventually

After five years, one week, and one day of driving in Taiwan, I finally got in an accident in which I was injured enough to end up in the hospital. I've actually only had one accident before (a woman who was traveling parallel to me on my right turned left in front of me in an intersection--probably hard for Westerners to visualize), and I did hurt my hand, but not very badly.

This time, I was following a woman who was going very slowly, and was weaving from side to side. I usually feel it is safer to have people like that behind me, so I carefully moved over and waited for her to weave to the right so I could safely pass her. When my opportunity came, I sped up and moved along side her, at which point she weaved right into me, forcing me into the guard rail. I didn't go down, but my leg got pinched between the scooter and rail. She, on the other hand, freaked out and lost control, and ended up dumping her scooter.

I was considering just continuing on and leaving her behind, but I knew I couldn't do that, so I stopped and limped back to where she was. She seemed okay, but she blamed me for going too fast, which is impossible, because until I tried to go around her, I was going the same speed as she was. We argued a little, with me saying that she should not weave back and forth, while she insisted that in Taiwan one must drive slowly because of so many people. I finally just decided that arguing was not going to help, so I just gave her my phone number and left.

After I went to work, I went to a private lesson that I give, but they insisted that I go to the hospital, so I did. There I got x-rays and a cast. Luckily, if you can call something like this lucky in any way, no bones seemed to be broken.

One of the loneliest feelings that I've ever had was in that emergency room. It is right up there with when I had surgery back in the States, and at least there I could talk to the doctors and nurses. When I hobbled into the hospital on Friday night, I had no idea what to do other than to go to the registration counter, which I did. By this time, the pain was getting pretty bad. I'd been stupid enough to "walk" around on my injured foot for over three hours. When I got up to the counter, the woman, who could see that I was in pain, said something to me in Chinese. I couldn't understand. She repeated two or three times, then said very clearly in English, "Are you in pain?" I said I was indeed in pain, and then she said something else and pointed down the hall. Again, I couldn't understand, even though I know all the words she used. I think the pain was making it hard to concentrate. Another receptionist told me, "Go straight," and pointed the same direction. I thanked them and started off to where they were pointing.

About ten or fifteen meters along, I approached another counter, and the nurses (or whatever they are) looked at me as if they were really amused by what they were seeing. At first I was annoyed, but as I passed them, I suddenly felt all of the emotions I'd been holding inside since the crash come flooding up through my chest. I started to shake, so I held onto the wall, and then my eyes and nose filled with liquid and I realized that I was about to start bawling. Just then I heard,
"小等一下." I looked up, and one of the women who I thought were laughing at me was bringing me a wheel chair. I'm sure now that what I thought was their amusement was really just the Chinese way of smiling in an uncomfortable situation.

I ended up being able to keep from crying.

I got in the chair, which was a little too small (when I put my feet on the footrests, my knees were almost up into my nostrils), and was wheeled into the emergency room. There I was treated kindly by everyone, although one nurse crashed a rolling chair into the back of my wheelchair, and a candy striper dropped a bag of ice on my foot from a tremendous height. We all had a good chuckle over my pain from those two incidents, doctors, patients, and nurses alike.

At one point I decided to call the Taiwanese woman who handles my insurance, and she ended up coming to the hospital with one of my Canadian friends. She took care of all the paperwork, and then he took me home and then went out to get me some groceries.

Now I'm stuck at home with a cast on my foot. There is nothing wrong with the rest of me (other than whatever might have been wrong before the accident), so it is a little frustrating that it is so difficult to get around, even in my own apartment.

I've learned some important lessons:

1. Don't drive in Taiwan.

2. If you have to drive, be careful. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security just because you haven't been in an accident "so far."

3. Keep your apartment clean and stocked with basic food and water. You never know when you might suddenly become dependent on others for supplies, or when others might end up coming by for visits.

4. I need to develop a plan for getting out of Taiwan.

Number four is not just because of the accident, but I think the accident has made me realize that the longer I stay here, the greater chance that I will die here. Compared to my home, this is an unhealthy and dangerous environment. Crime might be worse in the States (I've never been a victim), but here in Taiwan, you take your life in your hands every time you walk out of your door. The concept of safety just doesn't exist. Add to that the pollution, the lack of sanitary conditions, and the stress of living in a foreign environment, and it just doesn't make sense for me to stay any longer than necessary to finish my degree.

I don't mean to sound like a candy-ass. I actually really like living here in Taiwan. It's just that, I'm past the age where one believes he will live forever. To be honest, I'm not very excited about life these days, but on the other hand, I'm not in a big hurry for it to be over. There are a lot of ways you can die: you can fall in the shower, a safe can fall out of a plane and land on your head, or you can choke on your own vomit, just to name a few. You can't control everything in your environment, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to at least minimize the most obvious dangers.

Of course all of this could just be the pain pills talking, or the post-traumatic effects of being in an accident. Who knows? A week from now I might be right back out there living on the edge.

I mean, how long do you want to live, anyway?