Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 31 2002

My publisher sent me the rough draft of the edited…

My publisher sent me the rough draft of the edited copy of my book this morning. It’s tiny! Of course, the Chinese is single-space and much denser than the double-space English version, but still…it’s so thin! To be fair, Chinese books do tend to be thinner in general than English books; it’s just the nature of the market here: Taiwanese consumers just aren’t willing to buy thick books to read for pleasure. Perhaps large books remind people here of textbooks, and any other reading should be “light reading”. Or maybe they won’t fit in purses or pockets. In any case, I looked through it and didn’t find too many mistakes, at least nothing that couldn’t be fixed easily. Hopefully it will be out sooner instead of later, but they’re busy with one of their bigger authors, Jimmy the Cartoonist, and so everything else must take a back seat it seems. I’m not going to worry about it, though. I’ve done my bit by writing it, and now it’s up to the publishers to sell it.

From an article in the “Jesus, Look What the Fucktards are Up to Now” section of SFGate: “Mill Valley resident Penny Wright-Mulligan bought her first Hummer in October. She loves the macho frame and 316 horsepower V8 engine. And she doesn’t seem to mind that, on average, her vehicle gets 10 miles to the gallon — particularly when she has to shuttle four children between the ages of 11 and 16, and three dogs.”

“Large SUVs are the worst option, not just for society but for many buyers as well. Big SUVs are allowed to emit up to 5.5 times as much smog-causing nitrogen oxides per mile as a car, are allowed to get much worse gas mileage, are three times as likely as a car to kill the other motorist in a crash and provide no better protection for their occupants than a large car or minivan.”

“‘No nonmilitary vehicle can do what this does,’ said Tiburon resident Scott Tuck. ‘Things like self-inflating tires that keep going when you take a bullet are probably not necessary in Tiburon. But it has safety elements that, as a father of three, I do think about.'”

So these people have needs which require a station wagon or minivan, either of which would be just as safe or safer than a Hummer at a fraction of the cost, both retail and in gasoline/maintenance, but they still buy Hummers? Just what is this asshole, “as a father of three,” thinking about? If he’s that likely to be targeted in an assassination attempt, maybe he should, “as a father of three,” reconsider his profession.

And isn’t just having the name “Penny Wright-Mulligan” ludicrous enough? Do you really need to buy a Hummer for Soccer-mom duties to prove that you’re an idiot?

I’ve driven Hummers before (when I was in the army), and I don’t get it. Driving one of those things feels exactly like driving the 1969 Buick Electra 225 we had when I was growing up. The Buick probably even had more luggage space, as the Hummer is small and awkward inside, the machinery sticking up into the cabin. I don’t really care too much about people performing these acts of idiocy in the states, much less California, however. My biggest concern is that this lunacy will infect Taiwanese people, who love to follow to stupid foreign trends, and before long we’ll start seeing people driving and trying to park Mack Trucks on the narrow, twisty, already crowded roads here. Why am I worried about this? Well, let me put it this way: There’s a lot of new money in this town, a lot of insecure people out to prove, via their new-found wealth, that they’re better than everyone else. The most popular way of doing this at the moment is with a large, black Mercedes, and anyone who has driven or even walked in this city can tell you that those driving the ubiquitous Big Black Benzes are by far the worst, most inconsiderate, most dangerous drivers on the road. But according to the article, “The auto industry’s marketers say that SUV buyers tend to be people who are especially ‘self-oriented,’ meaning they are especially conscious of other people’s opinions of them and of fads in vehicle taste, but are less concerned about the effects on others.” Well, that pretty much sums up half of Taipei. Ironically, you may have to move out of the city to the poorer countryside, where an SUV might actually come in handy, just to get away from the pretentious boors who will probably end up buying them.

So it’s New Year’s Eve. I have no plans, really. I haven’t gotten much done this year. I got my eyes lasered, finished a book and got a Chinese publisher, got a DV camera, made one short film, helped other people make films, moved twice -into and out of the Chungking Mansions Taipei-, found a new sword teacher, a nice new job…so I guess I did do some stuff. 2002 just felt uneventful and slow, though. I’ve forgotten any resolutions I made last year. I doubt I’ve fulfilled them in any case, and I am loathe to make any more. Life is too unpredictable anyway.

posted by Poagao at 8:15 am  

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