Sunday, October 12, 2003

OK, that's it. It's been four months since we moved to our rooftop apartment and we still don't have an Internet connection at home. It's driving me crazy! I miss all kinds of things on the weekends! I'm going to tell Bill to take care of that right away... ;) So, what popped up this weekend? A gallery of KniTattoos, curated by the Noro-knitting wonder, Rachael. It was only a matter of time. Further proof that knitters rock, I guess. I'm planning to get a digital camera sometime this month (birthday present to self), so maybe I'll send in a few tat shots.

Speaking of tattoos, they're not so common here. I was actually a bit stunned by the sea of ink I encountered in Vancouver on my recent visit. Bloody tattoos everywhere! Ah, kids these days... Anyway, tattoos are still somewhat linked to criminal activity in Chinese culture, or, at the very least, "badness." Mine are covered during the week, because I don't show them at work, but I often wear tank tops or sleeveless T-shirts on the weekends. I'm used to stares (I got my nose pierced in 1989 and my first visible tattoo in 1991), but it's different here. In Canada, people don't bother to stare much anymore, but if they do it's usually with what's-your-tattoo curiosity. They actually look at the tattoos themselves, and I even get compliments from strangers. In Taipei, people stare with clear disapproval or apprehension -- a what's-your-problem curiosity. Of course, as a white woman, and a tall one at that, I'm stared at here regardless of whether I show skin. But it's an odd feeling to have an elderly woman frown at me and shake her head. I'm a harmless vegetarian knitter, for pete's sake!* Anyway, I was in my boss's office one day last week talking to him and his wife. She noticed the small tattoo on my ankle and we started talking about tattoos. I showed her one of my arms, and she said, "But you look so conservative! We think you're decent!" So she and I had a conversation about fashion and contradiction. Cultural exchange, baby.

Brainylady's tattoo advice: By all means, get one if you want one, but think long and hard before getting words, because for the rest of your life you'll have to hear people saying those words out loud and then asking, "What does that mean?"

I've almost finished the body of my chunky top-down pullover. It has become a simple two-colour sweater: a slightly dark red, and a slightly dull brown. I was really looking at the brown, to come up with the right description for you. Coffee? Not quite. Chocolate? Too light. Then I saw it. I use cream in my coffee. In a case of total emergency, I'll use milk. Cream turns one's coffee into a, well, creamy coffee colour. Milk turns it into a grayish brownish colour. That's the colour. I don't really know why I chose it, but it grabbed me when I went to the yarn store on the weekend. The yoke of my sweater is all red; then there is a wide brown stripe, a small red stripe, a slightly wider brown stripe, and then red ribbing for a few inches. I think I'll use a tried-and-true mathematical formula for the arm striping so it looks random but somehow right. Despite my wacky colour sense, this will be a cosy sweater; the yarn is wool/acrylic, thick, and soft. If it's ugly I'll just wear it at home.

One of my coworkers has been away on maternity leave for two months. (Only two months! But that's another story.) Last night I dreamt that I was talking to her outside on a quiet street in the dark. She told me that her baby boy's name is Kai-shui, and that her labour was terrible and lasted 24 hours. In the dream, her English was perfect. (In reality, her spoken English is so-so, and we barely even speak, so she certainly wouldn't share labour details with me.) When I got to work this morning, she was here. Huh.

* I've always said that I should learn the following phrase in Mandarin: "Please take a photograph, as the image will last for a longer period of time." Actually, if I notice someone staring, I try to catch their eye and smile. That usually scares the crap out them. Heh heh heh...

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