Monthly Archives: May 2004

My Second Favorite Band…

…in the whole wide world (after Satanicde) is Cookie Mongoloid:

Cookie Mongoloid is Sesame Speed Metal! See the Cookie Mongoloid in all his blue, furry, googly-eyed glory backed by the baddest of gender mixed metal bands as they decimate and regurgitate your childhood favorites in an abrasive metal wrath. See their harem of gothic gyrators, the Cookies, demonstrate such elemental concepts as up and down in a blaze of lights, smoke and pyrotechnic cookie shrapnel.

Hey, Kate: What am I, Chopped Liver?!?

New Yorker:

Two years from now — give or take — Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of the gossip Web sites Gawker and The Kicker, will publish her first novel. Around the same time, Glenn Reynolds, who writes the political Web log Instapundit, will also have a book in stores. So, too, may writers from the blogs Hit & Run, The Black Table, Dong Resin, Zulkey, Low Culture, Lindsayism, Megnut, Maud Newton, MemeFirst, Old Hag, PressThink, I Keep a Diary, Buzz Machine, Engadget, and Eurotrash. Suddenly, books by bloggers will be a trend, a cultural phenomenon. You will probably read about it in the Sunday Times. And when that happens the person to thank — or blame — will be Kate Lee, who is currently a twenty-seven-year-old assistant at International Creative Management.

Lee spends the majority of her workday in the manner of any agent-to-be: reading manuscripts from the slush pile, vetting contracts, negotiating rights, checking her boss’s voice mail. But she spends approximately an hour each day reading blogs. She scans a dozen first thing in the morning and keeps tabs on another twenty-seven throughout the day, though any of these may lead her to countless others. Reading blogs on company time is hardly unheard of, but Lee does not so much read as prospect, sifting through sloppy thinking, bad grammar, and blind self-indulgence for moments of actual good writing. It’s too soon to say how this will pay off, but she represents writers from the first six blogs listed above and is in talks with writers from the rest.

Back from Taipei

We’re back in Kaohsiung. We had a great time in Taipei.

While we didn’t have time to visit the National Palace Museum, as I’d hoped we would, we did check out the excellent Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Chang Kai-Shek memorial and estate, snake alley, and Taipei 101 (which, unfortunatley, has been constructed but is not yet open to the public).

Taipei is a massive, sprawling, international city, yet with its tree-lined streets and wide sidewalks and interesting neighborhoods, it remains charming and accessible. And the subway, called the MRT, is clean, efficient, and wide-reaching.

More on Learning Chinese–and Teaching Through Earthquakes

1) A follow-up on my Chinese language woes, which I mentioned last week: I’m happy to say that on Tuesday, Jill and I had our first class at the Taipei Language Institute’s Kaohsiung branch.

Our teacher, a Taiwanese woman in her fifties, ruled the classroom with an iron fist. We practiced the four Chinese tones until my tongue was numb. We repeated various sounds and words over and over and over again, and maddeningly, there was no context for their meaning. I’m actually convinced our teacher had us speaking Vulcan.

2) Yesterday, I taught through my very first earthquake–a 6.5 tremblor. It actually didn’t feel like much. I wouldn’t have known anything was happening unless my students, enthusiastic six-and-seven-year-olds, hadn’t started saying “teacher, teacher!” and moving their hands back and forth to indicate the ground was moving. I thought they were doing some sort of odd dance. They kept saying the Chinese word for earthquake. I stood at the front of the classroom with a beguiled grin on my face, oblivious to the earthquake until it had passed.