27 April 2015

APR: Week Four

Currently pushing: An article about Diplomacy from Grantland, "The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds." Also this from fivethirtyeight, "Designing the Best Board Game on the Planet."

While there was a lot that happened this week, the only thing of true importance was a board game, Pandemic. (Technically, it’s a digital board game because we played it on iPad.) In Pandemic, players team up to fight against four diseases threatening to overtake the world. As you assume the roles of medic, scientist, researcher, dispatcher, etc. you have to work together and cooperate, otherwise you’ll lose.

Actually, you’ll probably lose anyway. To date, I haven’t won a single game of Pandemic yet. The closest time we’ve come to eradicating all four diseases is one turn away, and then a rule we didn’t quite understand came crashing down and we lost. Again. Seriously, I haven’t been this upset at a game in awhile. For a few days there, we were on a serious Pandemic addiction. Now we are just looking for that elusive dedicated fourth team member to take us over the hump.

Also, Hearthstone for iPhone released, which is bad news. Part of my reason for getting an iPad Mini was to play games on it but if Hearthstone is going to be available on-the-go, that’s the option I’ll get with. There’s been talk of getting together after school to play some real live, physical, Magic the Gathering but now that Hearthstone has invaded my life, it’s actually better. Blasphemy, I know. But the fact that Hearthstone is free, and that it’s much easier to teach people how to play, leads to Hearthstone being my collectible card game of choice at the moment. I know playing any CCG is a dangerous road to go down given my past history but I’m doing it anyway…

Sometimes school takes us on field trips so last Friday we hit up the pineapple cake factory. Making pineapple cakes were much more fun and interactive than making tofu at Shenkeng. There’s the mixing, kneading, chopping, rolling, stuffing, waiting, and then packaging. Versus with tofu which is like five minutes of stirring and pouring and then voila. The final pineapple products were super legit too, so much so that my mom thought we had bought the cakes from a store.

School trips are super fun (with the right people) and you get a chance to visit things you never would have normally been inclined to. For example, when we went to Fort San Domingo in Tamsui last semester, I learned about the Spanish, Dutch, and British history of Taiwan. Without our teacher leading the way, I never would have known, or been inclined to, go to Fort San Domingo on my own.

Another field trip, of sorts, took place over the weekend as we finally got to go to a gay club in Taipei. The spot we picked was apparently catered toward the very young — let’s just say that if you were within the age range of 18-23 you got in free — but it was fun as hell. Maybe because we had a large group, maybe because I was just excited to hear some Taylor and Carly Rae on the dance floor, but Funky was an absolute blast.

The dancers that came on intermittently were amazing too, way better than the Luxy Girls or any of the other ladies that the big clubs bring on stage. Let’s face it, those girls can barely dance and are basically rhythm-less. Bleh. The dancers at Funky, on the other hand, were incredible and they worked that shit.

One thing that stayed consistent was how shy the boys/men are in Taiwan. I expected a lot of meeting people and chatting but shy Taiwan boys are shy regardless of their sexual orientation I guess. Or maybe everyone was just too young but overall the vibe was similar to any other club here, with guys plastered along the sides like mice. Anyway, forget the clubs in Xinyi, it’s time to explore Taipei’s gay scene and dance dance dance!

On Sunday, we shot through Young Art Taipei, which was held at the Sheraton Grande Hotel. That’s the innovative part I guess, with 80+ rooms open for visitors to cruise through and look/buy stuff. (And isn’t it great to be an artist, where “young” is defined as under forty-five?) Overall I didn’t think the pieces were that much different than stuff I saw at Art Taipei last year, but that made sense because most of the galleries presenting were likely the same. For alternative art spaces though, a hotel is a pretty neat idea.

And oh yeah, Avengers 2 was seen immediately upon release day, ahead of the rest of the world in fact. Somehow Taiwan got Age of Ultron a week early so I got to experience the vision that was The Vision before everyone else. Critics are saying that this second installment isn’t up to snuff but I’m not sure what people were expecting. With so many characters to service and the requisite city smashing that has to happen, I think Joss Whedon did a terrific job. Plus, getting Linda Cardellini and Julie Delpy some of that Marvel money is a-ok with me! Now to catch up on all this Joss Whedon and Black Widow business...