My Computer Died…But I’m Not Too Upset

Unlike my previous post, where I bemoaned the failings of my printer at work, today I will not be railing against my dead netbook.  Am I growing up and learning to not to be so dependent on technology?  Not really.  I’ll add some more filler to my statement.  My inexpensive, travel-only netbook died for the second time…but I’m not too upset, because unlike the first time it died, I didn’t have anything important saved on it.  My netbook did its job, and I’ll remember it fondly.

Netbooks aren’t great for anything heavier than internet browsing.  I realized that after I took it to Washington DC with me and had to write a 35 page thesis…on WORD PAD.  That really sucked.  But netbooks are great for when you’re traveling, because who wants to lug a laptop around in their bag?  Or when you’re too lazy to leave your bed but you want to watch some TV. 

The first time my netbook died was in Taiwan when I spent a summer studying Mandarin language and culture.  A typhoon decided to hit that summer, the strongest one Taiwan had experienced in 50 years.  Though I was never in fear of my life, it was still pretty intense; we couldn’t leave our dorm because of the heavy wind and rain, and trees and power lines were falling down everywhere.  My room was at the end of the hall, and some genius decided to put huge screens at the end of the hallway, instead of walls.  It’s nice when there’s a breeze.  It’s TERRIBLE when there are typhoons.  Our hallway became flooded as a result of it, and my doorstep was the worst off.  There was a little gap between the doorstep and the door, so the wind kept pushing water into my room.  I went through about 6 towels that weekend.  In retrospect, I should have just left my room, but I didn’t.

Clearly, the damp air, fueled by the small lake forming in my room, was too much for my poor netbook, and it died, taking along with it the photos from my first month in Taiwan.  I learned a lesson there: always back up valuables!  I was upset, but what can you do?  Life happens.

And now it’s time for a vaguely related tangent/story: One night, my friends and I decided it would be fun and thrilling if we ventured out into the typhoon.  It felt like we were in a disaster movie; wading through ankle-deep water, seeing flickering lights, avoiding falling branches.  It wasn’t very safe or smart of us, but hey.  That’s what you do when you’re young, right?  (Which I still consider myself, by the way.) 

The main building is built like a hollow cube; there are rooms along the sides, with open hallways looking down into a central courtyard.  There are two hallways on the ground floor that are “open”; one end opens into the courtyard, and the other opens out to the rest of campus.  I made the mistake of stepping out into one of these hallways.  The wind was so strong that the hallway acted like a wind tunnel, and I started to move against my will.  I should mention that the floors are marble, so that plus rain equals very slippery floors.

My friends jumped to my rescue- literally.  They tackled me to the ground, and for a few minutes, we huddled on the wet floor, screaming our heads off.  One of my friends’ sandals got sucked off of her foot; it was like a scene from a movie.  It slipped off and we saw it fly away, disappearing into the darkness.  And she never saw it again.  (Cue sad music.)

Homemade Boba + Country Rat

I was somehow slightly inspired a few nights ago to start writing again (by what, I don’t know.  It can’t have been the TV segment I briefly saw called 1001 Ways to Die, because I am now officially terrified of having my contacts fuse to my eyeballs.  Actually, there’s always a lurking fear that my contacts will slide to the back of my eyeballs but I won’t freak you and myself out anymore.)  I have a fabulous tendency to imagine all these great ideas for stories or scenarios, which means for a lot of started stories, but none are finished yet.  Someday…

But let’s go onto a new topic: food!  If there’s one thing that I love more that possibly music and sleeping, it’s food.  I would say that I’m a pretty adventurous eater.  I’ve eaten snake, rat, chicken heart, intestines…I’m more willing to eat guts than, say, insects.  But who knows?  Maybe crickets are yummy.  I love eating fried dace with black beans from a can; the fish is fried whole so you can eat the bones and fin.  So I guess a crunchy bug can’t be too different, as long as it has enough sauce on it.

One thing that I’ve learned to like recently is boba, also known as bubble tea (I will choose to ignore you if you call it that).  The literal translation of the Chinese name is “bubble milk tea”, the bubbles being of course tapioca pearls.  I didn’t really like it until I had some in Taiwan, where boba was invented, and now I love it.  I guess you have to go to a food’s birthplace to taste the real thing.  I bought a package of $0.99 tapioca pearls (because for a such a price, it’s OK to mess up), and it took me 3 tries to finally figure out that although the pearls are about the size of-well, a pearl- it takes about 75 minutes (at least for this brand and size) to have them fully boiled through and chewy.  I realized that this blog is a bit devoid of pretty pictures, and I will attempt to upload one every once in a while.  I wish I had a fancy camera, the kind that makes things look better that they really do in real life, but I just have to make do with my digital camera, which is still a great one.

You thought I would post a picture of boba, right?  Wrong.  Have a picture of the rat I ate.  I bet you wouldn’t know what it was unless I told you.

My friends and I were at a night market in Taiwan, and we wanted to eat the most exotic thing there.  We boiled down our choices to pigeon or rat.  We chose rat, on the theory that pigeons are rats with wings, and therefore have more body surface area to get dirty and diseased.  Fair enough.  We were told that the rat was caught in the countryside, aka not in a sewer.  Which is little consolation, since it is Taiwan, where a lot of pipes are too old to have toilet paper shoved through, so you throw your used toilet paper into a bin next to the squatter (literally a squat toilet).

Anyways, even our Taiwanese friends hadn’t eaten it before, and you know what?  It was stir-fried with so much basil that that’s all I tasted, honestly.  It was like mini basil-y spare ribs.  The only pieces on the dish that remotely resembled the rat were its claws- I didn’t eat those.  I survived two very tense games of rock-paper-scissors for that privilege.  I was told the claws were very crunchy.  Kinda like my dace, I guess.