A tale of curious feet and an itchy soul

So this is how you scratch your itchy feet?

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My letter to my dear old Bank

So I wrote this Letter to my bank after they gave me an email address to voice my customer complaints over that did not involve their public Facebook account. However, I am aware of their tactics and I will not be silenced dammit!

So this is what I wrote them

Dear Commonwealth Bank

So, I am sending an email to this address however I am pretty much expecting the same passing of the buck that I have received thus far in regard to the whereabouts of my credit card. I’ll start from the beginning.

 
I realized that my credit card had expired just as I was attempting to buy airline tickets to get back to Australia, so I immediately contacted Commonwealth bank to get one sent to me, at which time they told me that one had already been sent to my old postal address (which is of little use to me).
So I thought it would be a better idea to cancel that card and have them send me a new one. Because it would be more likely that my bank would be quite reliable when it comes to international postage.
The telephone operator told me that it would take 10 working days to reach me… it has now been more like 20 “working days” and still no sign of my Credit card. 
Now I’m beginning to wonder if the address that my card was sent to was the correct one, and that it was in fact even sent to the right country. I do recall the telephone operator confusing my Country of residence, to which I assured her that I was living in TAIWAN and not ThaiLAND. 
So I recently sent an inquiry over my NETBANK account about the actual address that my card was sent to and I haven’t since heard a reply. 
And after have a brief look at The Commonwealth Bank’s Facebook page, all that I can see are people who are similarly displeased with this organisations performance.

Perhaps if less time and effort was spent on Public Relations and more time and effort on actually improving customer service and company policy then we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

So, if you can tell me where my credit card is -TRUTHFULLY- then this auxiliary Facebook marketing service would appear to be more competent than the actual company it wishes to promote. 
Good for you, but bad for company image. 
Such a dichotomy, whatever shall you do?

Sincerely,

Quinn Seaton

Recent Developments

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted and a lot has happened so I will be brief.
Things have been going on in Taiwan, however I didn’t see it neccessary to publish my own little diary to all the people I know and do not know, hence why I haven’t posted in a while.
Secondly, my hard drive recently crashed and I have only just been able to restore it and recover some of my potentially lost documents/files and stories.
SO, because the idea of losing everything that I have ever written on my PC due to a technical fault and thus losing those many hours of imagination and work, I am going to post the stories I have written online.
Though most of them are incomplete, I have been working on and intending to develop a Sci-Fi series of stories in a contiguous setting. Most of which I’ll be posting on this blog.
Enjoy.

The great waterfall expedition

The first published video from Happy Bear Productions

 

 

I’ve just started using a new video editing software and I’m still getting used to it. Let me know what you think of this one :)

Okay, so the jokes up, who fell for it?

Go on, put your hands up. Who out there thought that I was really in trouble for a second there?

****

Queue tumbleweed

****

Okay, so maybe 5 people in the world thought I was in trouble and thus became thoroughly relieved and disappointed simultaneously to find out that, no nothing was wrong, I was just posting another silly video again.

So just to clarify, if you recieved an Email that looked like this:

 

Then, unfortunately you’re on the list of people who I thought cared enough to read the thing through but who weren’t so worried that the sight of the email would give you heart attack….

Granted, I decided to compile this list of people at sometime around 4or 5am after staying up all night putting the thing together after I finished drinking (that’s right, that’s what I like to do on a Saturday night…. god have pity upon my wretched soul…) so there were a few noticealbe holes in my masterful ploy. Most noticeably of course had something to do with the name that I decided to make the fake email account under… In all of my genius and wisdom at 4am with half a head full of beer.

I thought it would be a great Idea to call this fictional government official “Douchey Mcfacehead” definitely the name of someone with courage, dignity and esteem if you ask me. And as it turns out, when you send someone an email, this information (the name of the sender) is one of the first things that the receiver will read… even before the the subject of the email…

Which really threw a spanner in the works for me there…..

Yeah

So unfortunately Mr McFacehead’s cover was blown this time thanks to a distinct lack of forethought the splash I was aiming for ended up more like a slap in the face with a  limp fish.

In anycase, I thought it would be a crime to put all of that effort into somethign and then not share it publicly with my friends and family, so I’ve linked the monstrosity to this post.

So without encouraging any further prefrontal inhibition ENJOY:

 

Foreign Relations Update Web Log.

Music, bioengineering and discussing mail order cloned supermodel brides with your English class…

So I had my first lessons yesterday.

Rather, lessons that I was teaching.

I had the best intentions and all the world’s confidence.

Yet my multimedia failed to live up to my expectations.

And I had no idea what I was doing.

I was like the fool walking into the cockpit of an Aeroplane, as the unconscious pilots threatens to put the thing into a tailspin, taking hold of the controls and promptly driving the craft and everyone on board several meters into the ground….

So, suffice to say, it went swimmingly.

For the first lesson I was teaching intermediate students. That was… interesting. I wanted to teach them how to talk about music. The method prompting the madness being that if you want to talk to someone in English and make friends, Music is generally a good subject to talk about, as everyone all over the world listens to some kind of music or another. Otherwise they are possibly stunted in some way, at which point you may open their world to endless possibilities of audio goodness.

It started out how I expected it would. I talked too quickly and was quite a bit nervous. Instead of letting the students talk for a bit with me to introduce themselves and practise their english, I kind of forced the conversation into talking about Music. Unfortunately, my materials were something that I drew up myself and were pretty damn shocking. I stumbled through the scripted conversation about music between two strangers. And tried to turn the topic towards the universality of music, and played a video of Bobby Mcferrin crossing language barriers with the Pentatonic scale. And, of course, there was not enough sound and one out of three of my students understood what the video and/or the lesson was about.

My second class was even more… interesting… I had arranged to talk with the higher level students (the highest level achievable within the consulting company) about bioengineering and it’s implications for society and the world as we know it. I figured it’s a good talking point, as most people have an opinion.

However, the multimedia device this time failed to work altogether, apparently the computer had crashed earlier and it needed to be reset. Something that is well beyond my knowledge at this point in time (a’cursed multimedia teaching devices!). So instead, the lesson proceeded as a “make believe” session whereby I told my students about the state of the technology at present and what they thought would become of it in the foreseeable future.

Our brainstorming sessions resulted in these ideas:

– A means to prolong human life through cloning

– A winged, amphibious super soldier to fight all of man’s wars for him complete with the specific virus to wipe them from the face of the earth should some kind of revolt occur

– A company that performs resurrections through cloning techniques.

– Mail order cloned supermodel brides.

Upon the suggestion of the last one, I was a little taken aback, but a part of me shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, look at what porn did to the Internet! It only made sense.

I learned today though that the boy who suggested this was much younger that I thought he was. Not a bad way to start your English consulting career hey?

GEOENGINEERING

 

This is a serious issue that will doubtlessly play a very important role in the fate of the world as we know it in the foreseeable future.

It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s  real, solid facts. And who’s using it against whom or who has been using it all along to wet my friggin laundry every bloody sunday is not the issue here, despite my irrational irritations.

The real issue is very similar to the same issue posed to the founders of the first Genetic Engineers (i.e. Craig Venter and his fellow researchers) which is: if we do not put in measures to control this arising technology, where will we stop? We can already pull moisture from the sky with cloud machines,this is old technology.  And our understanding of nature and our planet is growing with every research paper written in the field of Environmental, Geological, Meteorlogical and  Biological studies.

An interesting point is that this video was recorded in 2007, 4 years ago…

With the information that is presently accessible to the masses it is a task hindered only by matters of credit to fill the sky with a cloud and cool the immediate atmosphere to the point where ice will fall from it. This much is common knowledge.

The next question I have lies in the ability to use the earth as an entire and complete system. This, will hopefully be the work of a group or a collective of those who have vested interests in the state of the global climate. A group who have known about the ramifications of using such technology and have taken into account the price of their actions. A group that will hopefully exercise virtue enough to take the interests of the sentient beings of this planet into account over the interests of their investment accounts.

What will happen in the years to come? What will the history books write of this chapter of human evolution and technological progression? What will they say of you? Will you be another of the lumpen proletariat, swayed by the whims of a bottomless advertising budget? Will you be the inverse, the nut-case, the conspiracy theorist, the old man shaking cats at passers by cursing their hearty contentment for food in the belly and pleasant enslavement to debt and taxes? OR will you be the emotionless dragons, the monsters, writhing in debts insurmountable, toying with the lives and well-being of millions over winning out in a game of numbers that ultimately signifies nothing? Will you be the brainwashed few with no real perspective for right and wrong but a driving need to accomplish all that you can for the sake of those who praise you? Will your words and equations never make it to peer reviewed journals for the sake of their utter secrecy?

Will you be the one of the many, who sleeps for the fear of a conspiracy crashing upon their heads? Who daren’t wake to see the age unfolding around them, to see the times changing, to see the lies as they present themselves? Will you be one of the many whose minds remain split, forever seeking the truth, forever trying to prove to themselves the reality that lies just beyond a small mental switch? Will you be one of those who knows in secret the strings of the world yet dare utter their name only with the reverence of Beelzebub himself?

Will you speak the truth as you know it in righteous earnestness? Will you state your opinion without fear of persecution? Will you hold your truth like you would a child, defending it from predators and extinction yet nurturing it enough to allow it to grow, loving it yet knowing it may leave you to perhaps one day return?

Think on this.

TED Blog | Geo-engineering to slow global warming: David Keith on TED.com.

 

Taiwan east coast, this is the real Taiwan…

Taitung Surf shop front

A driftwood paradise

On the other side of the mountains, across the gorges and ranges that have still not been fully explored by the like of man lies the true Taiwan. This is where Taiwanese traditional culture is still rich and thriving, where the people live simply and humbly, where the likes of Fast food and Media saturation is yet to bloat the bellies and minds of the locals. This is where I found myself so very removed from the convenience and comfort of a very western Asia, this is where I think I discovered Taiwan for real.

So, to paraphrase: what began as a brief Hiatus down south turned into something amazing.

First of all, I was only intending to go south briefly to get some SCUBA diving in. It was only supposed to be a brief trip down south, check in, go diving, shoot back in time for some on the job training on Wednesday. How very naive, and hideously unorganised I was.

I ended up staying in Kenting, the southernmost town in all of Taiwan for a little bit more than a week. I met a lot of people and made heaps of friends, all of whom I will see again, if I haven’t done so already. I departed Kenting with the idea in mind that I’d surf all up the east coast. However late rising and prevailing weather conditions persuaded me to do otherwise.

I departed Kenting and headed for Taitung. Actually, I headed for a little village a short ways north of there called Donghe on the recommendation of a friend of mine. So after a bus, a train, a fumbling about a train station with 30kg of luggage about my back and neck and then another bus, I found myself at the  Donghe village council building. Gracefully, I whipped out my phrasebook approached the woman sitting behind the reception desk and asked, “Chicken, sweet okay sandal exit upholstery mother? Pencil climb house floor sea?” in my Mandarin Chinese.

After a solid minute of blank looks and sentences that washed over me like waves crashing on rocks, she turned around, desperately seeking her English speaking co-worker. After a bit of intelligible conversation and small town hospitality with the likes of a couple of phone calls and a cup of tea, one of the locals who works at the surf shop in Donghe rocked up on her scooter. I had my doubts that the little 50cc moped could carry me her and all my cumbersome crap to the hostel… But we got there in the end.

After putting my things upstairs and having a brief look at the surf I met the others at the Surf shop and we had an awesome traditional Taiwanese dish called “sao jiu zi,” (literally: fire wine chicken). Cooked on an open fire in a half an empty steel drum and consumed while seated on the mishmash of old car seats and bits and pieces of old furniture next to a motor cycle workshop. The workshop belonged to the brother of the woman who owned the Surf shop. We got along pretty well. His English was good enough that we could communicate, even when under the influence. The evening continued and I took up the Djembe drum I saw in the corner of the surf shop earlier and smashed out a little rhythm, and tried to teach the others how to play “Australian style,” as they showed me some traditional Taiwanese style drumming. It was awesome.  I can hardly remember calling it a night.

The days I spent in Donghe were slow and a bit sleepy, but I think I deserved some of that. My body was beginning to get a bit fed up with all the inconsistent eating and sleeping patterns so a couple of good night’s sleep in the sweet semi-tropical conditions did me well I think. One night while staying there I had dinner with a couple of the teachers from the local primary school. One of whom was the local English teacher (a Taiwanese national and Aboriginal of the Amiss tribe) and another who was the kindergarden teacher. They treated me to dinner and drink and stinky tofu, which I have to say, is highly underrated!

We came to the conclusion that stinky tofu deserves a better name: perhaps crispy tofu would be a more apt description. Its taste didn’t deny the smell (which kind of reminds me of the smell of a freshly opened bag of dog biscuits but tenfold in obnoxiousness) however it was far more subtle and served as a pleasant savoury flavour, complemented with local garnishes.

I was invited to be guest at their school if ever I was in town again and I had time. I offered to go along to the class the next day but, they never came to collect me and show me around the school. It was really unfortunate, and I didn’t want to just waltz in unannounced either.

It tastes better than it smells... I promise

"crispy" tofu

During my stay, I hired a scooter and rode from Donghe to Fuli, a little town with a train station. I had to cross the mountains to get there, it was such a magnificent ride. Despite there being several rock falls, the road was passable and the little scooter didn’t permit me too great a velocity anyway. The winding, narrow turns and tight blind corners set my pulse to a steady run. Just enough to keep me warm against the wind chill.

Along the way, I found monkeys on a bridge. Because I was wearing a helmet, sunnies and a bandanna around my face to stop snot-cicles forming in the wind, the monkey didn’t recognise me as being human so I got close enough to take this photo with my camera phone.

Little monkey afar

Hey monkey face!Why the monkey thought I wasn't human

Granted, as soon as I took my mask off, the thing hissed and snarled at me and I ran away squealing like a little girl…

But this was not the end of my scootering adventures! Once I had tasted the sweet crisp mountain air on my tongue (and the native winged insects as they hurtled to the back of my throat in transit) I had to see more.  Thus my travels led me to seek out my new Belgian friend Tars, now residing in Hualien, who I had promised, I’d visit on my way back up north. He had organised with some friends of his from the university to take a great posse of scooters to Taroko gorge to find the old natural hotsprings….