Vicious cycle

I’ve been having some major problems accessing WordPress lately, and thus have not been able to post anything for quite some time. Having an ISP in the States totally sucks. Republic Studios is having no problem whatsoever with its Hong Kong-based server. Too bad it’s expensive and I’m cheap.

So here are the things that all my loyal fans have missed during my bloggy absence the past two and a half weeks:

– I watched the Superbowl at Hooter’s.
– I laughed when I heard about latest porn movie entitled “Stimulus Package.”

Yup, that’s pretty much it. Sad, huh? It’s mainly because after gorging myself to the point of unrecognizable bloat before and during the Chinese New Year (Coco curry, anyone?), I came to the conclusion that I needed to get myself back into some semblance of health. After wracking my brain for about 3 seconds, I pinpointed the exact element that was causing me to feel utterly blobular and useless: the sweet sweet nectar of Dionysus. It was time to stop drinking.

Drinking is quite simply the raison d’etre for the slow-cooking destruction of my body. In Shanghai, being a teetotaler is nearly unheard of. Alcohol is the crux of almost every social activity. After having drowned in this boozy sea for over five years, I realized that it had come to define everything that I do.

There was a mad, vicious domino effect that it set off every time I went out to drink. Drinking led to smoking, and of course it led to more drinking, and then more smoking, and then suddenly it was 3 AM and empty bottles were clinking below my feet as I shuffled off to some late night snacking that usually involved a lot of fried foods and cheese. Five hours later and the world kept its pace while I moved slowly against it, wasting away what is supposed to be the prime of my life by simply using this time to recover from the night before. There were so many “night befores” that I’ve lost count. And stomach lining.

Anyway, I cut myself off, have started eating lighter and better (though that kimchi-only diet turned out to be slightly disastrous), and am going to the gym every other day. Sure, it’s only been about three weeks, but at least it’s a start and I’m already adjusting to my divorce from cheese.

Unfortunately, this decision has rendered me completely incapable of being interesting. I discovered this during a recent birthday party I attended, where everyone customarily toasted each other every few minutes, and I was left drinking tea and imagining life as a large and lumbering Galapagos turtle. Workdays that used to end with a nicotine-infused dizziness and hacking coughs now end with me being in bed at 11 pm, listening to National Public Radio and staring longingly at the Hooters that is below my apartment. This is no joke. I’ve exited a vicious cycle of physiological degradation and instead entered a vicious cycle of complete and utter boredom.

So yeah, that’s why you guys haven’t been missing much.

Taipei deliciousness (in pictures)


Lanterns at 新光三越


Fresh sashimi on first night in Taipei


小笼包 at 永康街


Noodles at 度小月


Glimpse of awesome CNY banquet dinner


Welcome home-cooked CNY brunch


Karen enjoying Taiwanese style fried chicken


Typical Taiwanese street food stall


Thick, gooey ice slushies


I had two of these, so damn good


Karen enjoying her tofu sticks


Red bean pancakes. Meh


Making the coveted oyster egg pancake


Jason’s steak looked so good, but he wouldn’t share


Big vat of dessert jelly


Christina and Jason settling in


Christina loved her nuts all night long


This almost killed me, it was so spicy


Darron and Karen


Random kid plopped down next to my dad to eat sushi


Darron enjoying his oyster noodles


2nd round of oyster egg pancake


Closing out last night with thick, beautiful sashimi


Steamed bass


Seafood station outside restaurant


Joyce and A-Ken taking me out for delicious midnight snack

These days

July was quite a month.

As most of you know, I have been working on starting my own business the past half year. In partnership with the true genius behind the operation, Clint Chang, Republic Studios (Shanghai) began 100% operation on the first of this past month. Prior to that, however, we had already delivered our first project to our first client.

Completely designed, animated, and even acted (those are his arms) by Republic’s co-founder and creative director, the video below was played on 10 screens adorning the walls of Bloc, the new club on the first floor of Volar. What a thrill it was to be at the grand opening, with that thing playing in a fantastic loop.

This past weekend I celebrated my 30th birthday at, where else, Bloc. It was a fitting night of utter and devastating drunkenness. What a way to close out July, and my twenties. And what a way to ring in what’s to come: surrounded by a bunch of great people saying “cool shit, cool shit.” No two words could be better.