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Blah de blah de blah lackluster birthday

Ladies, and who am I kidding, no guy reads this, ladies. This may have been one of my most lackluster birthdays in a while. In any case I better catch you up to what I've been doing. Maybe I'll talk about the rest of Taiwan later. In any case, my life is boring. I went to Hangzhou with my friends once. It was boring. We just walked around then went to Lei Feng Ta. Which was cool. Got to  see all of Hangzhou with some of my closest friends. What I didn't know was that I was going again the next week. Which  was pretty cool too. Went through a cave and shit. Apparently my professor is an avid mountain climber and knew all the trails. Frickin' sweet. Anyway we played a game on the mountain top, maybe I'll remember the name when I am sober, the name was manhunt. God, I'm awesome. Anyway, work was dull, came up with some marketing strategies and shit like a boss. Also, on my field trip to Hangzhou I went to Alibaba the company and some Christmas tree factory, neither was particularly spectacular. In any case, I learned a new game, Random Words, maybe I'll talk about it later. Class sucks, had a Chinese presentation about male and female equality. That was kinda shits. In any case, my birthday was yesterday. It was alright. Last night we went to a dive bar then karaoke which was good except for the lady that picked and skipped songs arbitrarily which was irritating. It was my birthday. Fuck that chick. Anyway, my actual birthday I had to wake up for a bus at 8:30, I almost missed it. Woke up at 8:20 legit. Sucked, tried to hail a cab, failed, so we took a bus. Held up the trip like 20 minutes. Awful, but still made it. Bao Steel? Alright, factory was awesome, saw some super heated iron and felt the heat from meters away, super cool. Then bummed around all day. Should have went to work, but didn't'. Just fucked around all day. Went to dinner, a couple times, my friends paid last night and tonight. I have some good friends. Didn't get cake though. Kinda wish I did. In any case, tonight I went to M1NT. Most exclusive club in Shanghai, struggled to get in, struggled to get my friends in. Sucked. Turns out all the girls I was interested in were interested in other guys. FML? Yeah. Lil bit. Is okay though, other guy happened to be one of my good friends. GG on me. Did I mention I broke up with my girlfriend? Because I did. Yeah, life is kinda shitty right now. Just a little bit. In any case, I'm back home, managed to get my drunk roommate into bed, my bro made it to his room. I did good deeds man, I bought people shots, I tried not to hate too much on my own B-day which happened to be mostly about someone else with a B-day close to mine. I'll live. Is all okay. Is all okay...
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Taiwan: Day 1 - A day with Angela

I was supposed to meet her at 9. Guess when I woke up. The answer is 9. We decided to meet at 10 instead.

Anyway, my eldest cousin on my Dad's side took me to the station...

Interlude: There are ants all over this fucking room. It doesn't bother me so much as irritates me. I've slept on fucking benches before, I don't even know what's crawled over me. But still. Fuck these ants. I'm tired of seeing them.

Anyway, I met up with Angela, who well henceforth be known as Ting Ting, because that's what I'm used to calling her. So I step outside of the train station and I see my cousin on one of those friggin motorbike/scooter/mopeds that Asians love so much. My first thought is "Holy shit! Ting Ting's grown up! My God..." Tears of joy on the inside, man. Tears of friggin joy...Manly tears of joy of course. Anyway, she drives me over to her school, Yang Ming University. A really good Taiwanese med school...pretty legit. And I meet her boyfriend. First thing I think when I see him "Awww, they're the same age! How cute." Just kidding, dude's 22. He's older than me...mad cradle robbing, yo. It's cool though, he's a nice guy. In any case, we walk up a cliff to see the city, it happens to be right next to her school, and the view is breathtaking. I tried to take some pictures with me in them, but of course the only picture I don't look handicapped in is the one where I'm repping Pi. It figures that would be how it works.

Next we just drive around to burn some time before going to the movie. We watched Seediq Bale, it's about hardcore Taiwanese aboriginals going apeshit on their Japanese colonizers. Mad decapitating going on. Taiwanese aborigines are hardcore. After watching Taiwanese people cut off heads, we went to the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial. Did you know that Chiang Kai-Shek drove a 3 ton, bulletproof, 7 seater Caddy? Neither did I. But it was cool. Then we went to the night market. I had... Big Sausage wraps Little Sausage, Stinky Tofu, Peanut-Ice Cream roll (this was super weird), and a sugar roll. They were all delicious. Except for the stinky tofu. That was less good. Anyway, by then I was full and so I just kinda souvenir shopped for a bit. Hurray. My day is over. Now I can sleep. Good night, kids. 
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Taiwan: Day 0 - flights and stuff

So I woke up this morning and headed out to the airport feeling super nervous about whether I'd make my flight. Ran told me I'd be fine, but this is China, I assume I'm fucked no matter what happens. I don't want to be fucked by China. Again. When I walked up to check in I was basically terrified of them telling me something went wrong and I wasn't going to be able to go to Taiwan. Just when I was about to turn on the waterworks over y sick grandfather in Taiwan, the man behind the counter looked up, smiled, and asked if I preferred window or aisle seating. I felt so relieved. Then after the half hour wait for checkin, travel inspection and security took like 20 tops. GG. Seriously, China does security right or something. Then I walked around to check out duty free shops. Soooo many cigarettes. Gotta pick up some golds for Mal and co.

Waiting for planes. The preflight announcement tells me that Cathay Pacific is eager to welcome, first class, business class, Marco Polo Club, and Emerald and Sapphire Lounge travelers. I guess economy class is unwanted. Makes me feel mad poor. As it turns out, we're not even allowed to look at first class so we can dream of sophistication. We have to go through our own economy class door. God, they really hate us.

A note about meals on Chinese airlines:

First of all, apparently meals on Chinese airlines still exist. That was a pleasant surprise. I had pork and rice while flying from Shanghai to Taiwan. It was sweet and tangy and not all that bad. Not like American airline food, sometimes I'd rather not eat it, because I know it's shitty. This was pretty good. I also had a warm roll with my airplane food for the first time. I'm not going to say freshbaked because if you're baking on a plane, you're probably high. LOLOL BAD PUN LOL. Anyway, as it turns out, not even being freshly microwaved or whatever can save those rolls. They are that shitty. The rest was great though, three pieces of fruit, melon, watermelon, and this gray thing with lots of seeds that I later determined to be dragon fruit. Also there was this delectable mousse cake thing. That was good.

HK airport has free wifi. It's awesome. Also, you can get a carton of Panda cigs for 400 HKD. I don't know what that is in US money. Also, second flight. I want their inflight music. I fucking love Chinese airlines now. Also, had a Adobo pork sandwich as my in flight snack. It was so good. I almost wished the fat lady sitting next to me didn't eat hers so I could eat it. Then I realized how stupid that sounds and stopped.

Finally got to Taiwan. My uncle took me for a spin. By which I mean a wrong turn, but it's okay, we got back to his house eventually. And then got dinner and ordered more potstickers than we could handle. We ordered 40. We ate 23. Oh well. In any case, upon returning to his house, I was flooded with memories from 6 years ago. Despite having just been there 2 years ago, the memories from 4 basically wiped the other ones away. I remember sitting on the couch listening to the rain watching One Piece on TV. I remember sitting there and eating sao bing, you tiao. I remember the day my dad walked in and my life got flipped around for a little while. 1 extra person got introduced to my life, and I knew a shit storm was a coming. But other than that. Everything was fine. Went about my business, got settled in, let my dad know I was in Taiwan, finalized plans with my cousin, Angela. You know, normal stuff.
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A Brief Recap

Can't remember the last time I wrote here, but I'll summarize the last two weeks. So here's everything in no particular order:

School is the same as ever, it sucks with the exception of Creative Writing. Already slid into the caffeine and nicotine diet briefly, that was all sorts of fun. I ended up going delirious for a little while. It was hilarious.

I went to a dive bar called I <3 Shanghai as well. Took absinthe shots. I actually got one bought for me by strangers. I introduced myself as Confucius. That was fun.

One of my friends, Connie, is the worst drunk. She spent one night rambling about Alexander Hamilton and how she hated Aaron Burr for killing him. Obviously I spent all night trolling her. Good times.

Then I had Brunch at Penta. It was alright. I had some real bacon for the first time in ages. It was delicious.

Sometimes I tutor my girlfriend in Mandarin. Last time I tutored her I was about to pass out. It was awful. Her Chinese or how I felt you might ask? Both. If she reads this later, I say this out of love <3.

It seems I haven't gone over my trip to Nanjing yet either. Well funny story about it. Didn't make it out. Instead, I got the money for my tickets refunded and went ahead and bought some Johnny Walker Black Label. Spent the entire day drunk. That was fun. Not really, but it was better than wallowing in self pity. I think this was the night something else happened too. I don't remember what it was, but either way, between three people we finished that bottle of black label.

I smoke a lot now. In no particular order, here's a list of interesting cigarettes I've had: 

1. Zhen Long - the true dragon! The filter has a kinda Vuitton motif, being checkerboarded with two shades of brown. It's such an old man cigarette

2. Sobranie - It's okay. Not very good.

4. DJ MIX - Strawberry cigarettes! Would be alright, but the ones I had were stale as shit.

5. Peel - Orange menthol flavor. Tastes like tictacs

6. 555 - British American tobacco! It's actually very good.

7. Black Galleon - Sweetened filters. It's kind of a novelty. Also not that good.

8. Akuma - See above.

9 520 - Can you say bitch cigarette? It's got little hearts in the filter... SOOOO CYOOOT.

Soon, I will smoke the Panda cigarette. 80 kuai... YEAHHHH

As for me, I am now in Taiwan. Most everyone else is in Gansu (the Gobi desert), Guilin (no idea where that is), or Beijing. All sorts of funnn.  
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Unoriginal Title

In the past couple of days I've introduced my girlfriend to the joys of Fantastic Mr. Fox and done nothing particularly spectacular. Oh except get an internship and have an interview for another one on Friday. Should be fun. Turns out getting to the first interview takes almost half an hour by taxi. It kinda sucks. Too bad getting there by public transit/walking takes an hour. Maybe I'll invest in a bike if I take that internship. Otherwise, it's going to be a lonnnggg semester.

Somewhere along the line, I think I've gone from wanting/needing only a close group of friends to get by to only wanting to have a reasonable degree of comfort with everyone. I guess I've traded a close cluster of bros to a large group of acquantances. I don't know why. I guess I just wanted a place to belong no matter where I was. Was this brought about as a result of a distancing from my old friends? Do I just want to "fit in?" Maybe I'm just overthinking things. Either way, I've set it up so that I could probably slip in and out of 4 or 5 groups of people here in Shanghai with ease. Maybe more. In any case, I do have a few groups I keep closer to my heart, but still. I gotta decide if I'm okay with how things have been turning out.
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Yet another day

These title get worse and worse. Just like these blog posts. I read over what I wrote last time and I sound like a juvenile idiot. Not okay.

Anyway, life goes on...got pretty trashed on Saturday, as such, I stayed in. Smart move following a dumb one. Shouldn't have worn a red shirt that day, got to experience comparisons all night long. Fun. Sunday was pretty boring, I was in a thinking mood so I did my creative writing assignment. Went alright. Also proceeded to have the most passive agressive fight ever. Thinking back on it, it was hilarious. I can't really tell who lost. But it does involve KFC, so...I have no idea where I'm going with this.

New paragraph! I had a test in Chinese today. It was kinda cake, but I did write a word wrong every time. It's hard transferring from traditional to simplified. Hopefully my teacher doesn't screw me over on that. Otherwise, all I did today was go to Carrefour, the local department store, and pick up random necessities. Like gummies. I need them to live. Not true, on the way back I did ignore a little old lady who needed help up the stairs. Once I realized what she was asking I had already walked away. It was actually pretty terrible. I felt terrible. I think I'm beginning to become innured to pleas for help. I automatically switch into "asking for help on the street? Must be homeless." mode. Activate blinds. I do not want to be that person. Shiiiit.
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So...been a while...

Well. Class is boring anyway. Not like I did anything special besides suck at Chinese on Wednesday and Thursday... oh wait that's a lie.

On Thursday, I got a girlfriend. I'm dating now...WHHAAAAT?! Ahh that's how alcohol works I guess. Anyway, yeah. As it turns out my friend, Zen, is turning 22 on Sunday. So from Thurs-Sat we're drinking every night. It's been going according to plan for the most part. Thursday, I go in, get drunk, peak early, and head off to Bar Rouge...one of the classier joints in town...think M1NT if M1NT were a lounge. It also has a phenomenal view. Unfortunately, I just got drunk, sat down, on a couch, and made out with my now girlfriend...little bit of a waste, but still fun nonetheless. Afterwards we went to M2 for some more drinking and dancing...and then I found out it was about 1:45 and I had an internship fair tomorrow. Did I forget to mention that? I think I forgot to mention that. I make bad life choices.

So the lady friend and I head back to my room...for some not funny business. I'm serious. No sex. Anyway, after tossing and turning for a few hours, I figure, hey, screw this, I'm going to do some reserach on these companies and buy some red bull. I had three red bulls over the course of that day. It was unpleasant. But I did have 5 interviews, and I did not fall asleep through any of them! Accomplishment? I think so. I did, however, fall asleep through volunteer training for Stepping Stones. That was sort of unfortunate. Good bye internship opportunity! Fortunately I have a couple that didn't seem like complete bombs...so we'll see how this semester goes. Also... more drinking last night! Umm...I think my life boils down to drinking and class right about now... I think it'll get more interesting as time passes by. I'm not really good at this doing interesting things game. I'll get around to it though.

Unrelated note...I am smoking orange menthol flavored cigarettes. They taste like tic tacs. WHAT UP?!

Also, what I wrote in class the other day is posted below this. Check it out.

Also, I have a 450 word essay due in Chinese, plus a test. How many ways can you spell fucked?
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What I wrote in Class

As cliché as it sounds, she was my princess. She was absolutely beautiful. She was like a single dandelion blooming in a field of grass. A single flash of color, of uniqueness, of a genuine will to live among the ordinary and banal. She was a weed. And I could not get rid of her.

She grew into my life and refused to let go. Before I knew it, it felt like she sustained my life the way a river does a forest. When I was with her, it was like someone took any sense that I had and went at it with an eggbeater. I was an idiot around her – the Pinky to her Brain, the sheep to her wolf.

Still, now that I think on it. It started innocently enough. It started with a lottery ticket. Not just any lottery ticket, mind you. It was a winning lottery ticket. The prize wasn’t anything particularly spectacular, but, you know, 150 dollars is enough for dinner for two at a fairly nice restaurant.
I remember the first date clearly…the smell of roses in her hair, the way the champagne seemed to slide through her lips, the half-assed grin I wore every time her hand brushed against mine. Despite the way things just seemed to turn south from here, this night will forever be remembered as perfect to me.

I had just met her a couple days before. We had class together. She was that friendly, charismatic chick who talked to everyone and naturally drew people in. I was that awkward kid who sat in the corner pretending to sleep so I could avoid as much human contact as possible. We didn’t really talk that day.

The first day we actually communicated was the day I bought that lottery ticket. Let it be known that I do not play often. Just once in a while when I get incredibly bored and need something to do. I guess I could’ve taken up smoking as well, but at the time I figured I’d rather gamble strictly with money, not with my health.
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What the hell, Intermediate 2?!

YUNO TELL ME I HAD TO LEARN 50 PHRASES FOR FIRST CLASS?! That sucked. I sat at the table for four hours memorizing that stuff. Though I did have a beer in the middle. Funny how much better studying got when I was no longer completely sober.

Also, update on my drama queen moment. Apparently, Frank didn't leave without saying anything. He just peaced early. Guess it's just everyone else that left me at the club. Which is more acceptable to me I suppose.

Now back to the rest of my day. Ate at the ECNU cafeteria for the first time. It was pretty good. More importantly, it was mad cheap. So cheap. I ate for a dollar this afternoon. Rest of the day was alright. Law wasn't as boring as I thought it'd be. Creative writing was fun. I wrote something in that class. Post it up later. woowoo
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Best day ever

Yesterday here's how my day broke down. I woke up. I ate. Then went back to sleep. Then I woke up again, ate again, and went back to sleep again. Good times.

Today, I went to my first class in Shanghai. Elementary Chinese I. I had to stop myself from laughing on multiple occasions. Yeah...they were pretty bad. I'm kind of a terrible person. Suffice it to say that now I'm in Intermediate 2. 
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