Amazing Year Day 12

20 Mar

Today our school held its 2nd Annual Career Day. While this day was intended to benefit students, I also walked away having learned valuable lessons on the future of careers, how to stay positive, and how to forge a career in the changing landscape of creative arts. Special thanks to our Rotary sponsors, all of the speakers, our Interact Club president, and the faculty and staff who made this year’s event a sweeping success!



Amazing Year Day 11

19 Mar

Sadly this has turned out to be the less reflective and “amazing” of all of the days thus far. On a bright spot, I was able to attend to some long-standing work-related tasks. For recreation, I did continue my viewing of the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Sadly, I’ve never read Douglas Adams’ masterpiece, but having heard such positive praise from Neil Gaiman and having seen the quirkiness of the characters/world I’m interested in reading his work now.

That’s it for today… I leave you with a photo of Cheese Balls. You’re welcome.


Amazing Year Day 10

18 Mar

Today was one of those lazy Sundays spent on daydreaming and mindless internet searches. It’s important for a writer to spend time filling his/her brain with creative ideas both internally and from others. The majority of my day was spent coming up with various walk-through attraction ideas for amusement parks. A few of them led me to revisit Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge for animatronic character ideas and episodes of Tanked as I looked at creative ideas for fish tanks. I’ve come to realize that I simply LOVE fantastical creatures and fish aquariums. The former is a main reason why I love fables, children’s literature, action figures, cartoons, professional wrestling, and dark rides. As for the latter, I usually have one dream a week where I install a massive tank in my dream house. I need to make creatures and aquariums a bigger part of my daily life.

Today I finished two graphic novels: Ragman and Wonder Woman / Conan. Sadly both were big disappointments. Ragman’s flaw was that writer Ray Fawkes never got into showing off the powers of the ragged cloak as he was too distracted by showing Ragman’s apprehension and internal dismay over how his fellow soldiers died. Cameos by Etrigan and Ystin were a pleasant surprise, but ultimately their medieval roots didn’t fit in with the “Egyptian” esque motifs. Etrigan also wasn’t used properly and was even overshadowed in rhyme by Z’Dargill, the big bad of this six-issue miniseries. Even the art fell flat, as this new mummy-look lacked originality. One would think that Wonder Woman would shine in this mini-series by veteran Wonder Woman scribe Gail Simone, and she did, however that was part of the reason why Conan fell flat. Simone didn’t delve enough into the mind and soul of this male warrior. The highlight of this “epic” was the villainous crow sister duo Corvidae. A visually stunning book, yet Wonder Woman / Conan only needs to be read by die-hard Wonder Woman fans.

I’m making more of an effort to look for the absurd; after all I am a fish-out-of-water in a foreign land. Luckily, Jaewon and I spied four peculiar items on the shelves in our local Carrefour (a major French supermarket chain popular in Taiwan).

To finish off the day I needed to think of others and finally edited one of the manuscripts of my fellow kid lit authors in our “Early Bird Critique Group.” They have played a crucial part in my evolution as a published writer. Recently, despite still waiting for my critiques on their manuscripts, they were so kind to offer insightful revision ideas on of my newer projects. It’s so rewarding to find fellow writers out there and to work together!

Amazing Year Day 9

17 Mar

Another day altruistically given to our AAIA Lions as we participated in Day 2 of the World Scholar’s Cup Taiwan regional round at Kaohsiung American School. Special thanks to the other teachers for dedicating their weekend, and to all of the students who diligently prepared and earned silver and gold medals.


Amazing Year Day 8

16 Mar

Today was dedicated to the service of learning as we led 33 of our students to the World Scholar’s Cup regional round at Kaohsiung American School. It was a full day from the bus departing at 8:30 a.m. until the final curfew check at 12:30 a.m. It was great to see many students accept the challenge and push themselves academically.



Amazing Year: Day 7

15 Mar

When Jaewon and I moved to our new apartment we soon felt the area’s mystifying pleasantness. We couldn’t put our finger on it, but something was “just right.” This week a piece of the puzzle unveiled itself as the street in front of our complex welcomed a quaint parade of blooming sakura (cherry blossom) trees. We may not be drinking sake with friends over a blue tarp, but for a couple that dearly misses Japan, it feels good nonetheless. Happy cherry blossom viewing everyone, wherever you are!


Amazing Year: Day 6

14 Mar

In an otherwise standard day, I would like to point out some things that I have observed.

I spotted a hippo at my local dental office. This honestly brightened my day more than any tooth whitener on the planet. Yes, I take photos of any HIPPOS I spy. If I were to visit the Nile, I’d never make it out of there.


I am not a healthy consumer of edibles and liquids. However, having avoided ALL sodas/pops/carbonated beverages for over a month, I can proudly say that I am LESS unhealthy. #winning

Coke Bottle

Goodbye Coke. You are only eye candy to me now.

The cereal world in Taiwan seems to be undergoing a revolution. Rice Krispies  have arrived, among other questionable varieties. Viva la breakfast!


NEWSFLASH: A second dentist has offered his opinion (also known as a second opinion) and believes he can place a crown on the tooth that recently received an eviction notice. Hooray! My wallet is breathing a sigh of relief.

Amazing Year: Day 5

13 Mar

Today was the day I heard the news, and from a dentist, an endodontist to be exact. Prognosis negative. Even a hero of pristine white monuments far and wide was unable to save my little guy. It’s sad to see another tooth bite the dust. So I wrote a poem in memory of my friend who I abandoned for most, okay all of its life.

Bye Tooth

The truth is

you’re not even alive

you’ve been a dead corpse

for many a month

a tombstone reminder

of what once was

it feels just like yesterday

okay not really

that you were a budding flower

in a bountiful garden

where the waters flowed

with sugar

and more sugar

I don’t even want to write this

stupid poem

but tooth, you weren’t


you just wanted to live

(tear break)

as long as I did

I couldn’t even give you that

thank you for your service

little guy

for all those raisinettes, and dead cow patties you chewed your way through

for when the chocolate got hot, and the icees ran cold

we will build a bridge in your honor

or drill a hole with a tooth that won’t die like your pathetic…

sorry that was uncalled for

you’re the victim here

I am the villain

(dessert break: nutella with crackers)

sorry I’m just too focused on the nutella right now

bye tooth

Amazing Year: Day 4

12 Mar

Today was destined to be one of those mind-boggling workathons. A 13-hour shift filled with meetings, deadlines, and mentoring. It still renders me delirious how a plan can come together. Last year at this point, our World Scholar’s Cup squad was just two teams, and six students. We’ve evolved to bustling gargantuan force with 11 teams, and 33 students. Nearly all of them eager to pledge their time to hone their debate skills and research. It’s tiring work, but I’m happy to lead them. Thirty years from now when I hang up the boots, I think creating student-driven clubs will have been my legacy. The students need an outlet for expression, leadership, and growth and it’s a joy to see them blossom.

Following the tiring shift, it was time to unwind. I learned back in Florida that when you feel you have no time for anything then it truly is time to just STOP! and refuel. I did. Sort of. A pleasant midnight stroll on deserted streets felt like an eerie vacation. A trick. A mirage. I had secret plans. Work. Obtain new ID photos from a curious 24/7 booth.


Then it was on for some play. It was Monday after all, the day I plunge into one of 52 Pep Talks for Writers. 


I enjoy books which have a calendar-friendly collection of installments so that I can have something to look forward to each day/week/menstrual cycle. It also prevents me from rushing too quickly. It’s important to allow the little nuggets of wisdom to dissolve into my soul. This week’s lesson was all about reaching out to find or become a mentor, and the importance of sage advice. Turning on the reflection lamp, I thought about all of the personal and professional mentors I’m grateful for. Here’s to hoping a shoutout to all these eclectic path makers get their own post soon. In the interim, Neil Gaiman will serve as my fantasy (double meaning intended) mentor.

“We all need someone who helps open the door to a bolder, truer vision of ourselves.” – Grant Faulkner


Today also marked my first entry in a new journal titled Great Thoughts Notebook. The idea from was flash-fiction marvel Stuart Dybeck’s entry in the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, another delightful ditty I dive into in careful increments. Dybeck beckons us to find the “lint” of our childhood and from there to find our stories.


Day 4 already. Wow. Here’s a final photo, a family photo (of sorts): my most recent notebook buddies complete with a complimentary shot of some socks (my feet are inside them…. cliche, right? I prefer footless sock shots).

“A notebook is a net for collecting stray perceptions, dreams.” – Stuart Dybek


Top Left to Bottom Right: Children’s Literature Vol. 17; Short Fiction Vol. 2; Kid Jokes; Poetry, the Worst; Great Thoughts Notebook; Comic Drawings; Thoodles; Young Adult Literature.

Amazing Year: Day 3

11 Mar

My good friends Mike, Bob, and I, among other special guest stars, loved to aimlessly drive around the not-so-mean streets of the northern Buffalo suburbs doing what we called “Rediscovering Western New York.” It actually amazed us how we were always able to find new residential pockets, or obscure places in an area we called home for most of our life.

I’ve been in Taiwan for nearly six years, and I can honestly say I have yet to truly discover it in the first place. But at least in my immediate surroundings of Linkou, New Taipei City, I thought it was an appropriate time to whip out the new camera and hop on one of Taiwan’s friendly-neighborhood bicycles and “rediscover” my borrowed home.

On the writing front, I came up with a new story about a ghost writer and started etching out its core ‘plot.’ I’m beginning to gravitate towards more simpler, cliched topics in the hopes of adding my own take on what has been done numerous times before. It’s exciting to get started with short fiction. I’ve learned my lesson from picture books, and hopefully it won’t take 10 years to get published. Regardless, if I enjoy writing every day then it’s worth it!