Thursday, July 16, 2009

Weird Happenings

Yesterday and today we filled with distractions. Spent the morning in the ER after my daughter smacked the back of her head and turned up nauseous and dizzy. She had a mild concussion. Was thankful once again that with the horrible socialized medicine here in Taiwan I didn't have to choose between a massive payout to the hospital or my daughter's health. She's fine now -- thanks everyone for all the warm thoughts that buzzed through the ether in her direction.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting around editing when my neighbor called. It seems a particularly brazen pair of thieves had sauntered up to another neighbor's house and were looking over the fence, perhaps preparing to climb it. Two of my neighbors are artists who sculpt in metal and one of them, with a yard full of scrap, is a frequent target of thieves. After failing to find anything of interest at the first artist's house -- he was on the third floor working with power tools and would not have heard them enter -- they wandered over to the other house, where they again clambered up a wall giving every indication that they were going to climb it, but the artist's son was at home. When he came outside, the two men lamely claimed they were going to ask him what the price for his motorcycle was. The talked to him for a few minutes and then drove off on large motorcycles. Apparently they didn't notice that the second house, the home of an artist of international repute, was surrounded by video cams.

We have people come through the neighborhood from time to time checking it out. A few weeks back one of my neighbors busted a guy walking through the neighborhood taking down car tire sizes; apparently tire theft is becoming a problem in some areas.

The moral, at least for me, was that neither of the houses the thieves explored had serious dogs out in the yard. The second artist has a whole litter of ankle-high yapping toy things that live in the house and are an insult to real dogs, but none of them keeps large nasty dogs in their yard like so many people in my neighborhood do, including us. It made me wonder how many times our dogs have unknowingly prevented just such exploratory forays into our yard.
Daily Links
EVENT: Linda Arrigo writes on 1970s documentaries and short films being shown at her uni on the 23rd...

Klaus Bardenhagen has a color film made in 1969 about Taiwan by Hamburg public TV, so we are using this as the occasion for a get-together to review (in English)Taiwan history of the 1970's with this and some other short films.

The location is my university, Taipei Medical University, which is located a block behind the Taipei Medical U. Hospital at 250 Wuxing St. (Room 8008, in the basement of the Combined Bldg, Tsong Ho Da Lou). The university is about midway between the Liuzhangli MRT
station and the 101 Bldg (15 min walk from either); buses 1, 22, 226, and 266, 288, also Blue 5, go near.

Time is 7 pm to about 9:30 pm Thursday July 23, but we will keep going as long as an audience stays. The first German film is 25 minutes, just general scenes of streets and industry; a second German film shows Chiang Kai-shek's funeral in 1975. Klaus will translate. Then I have a film about the Taiwan human rights cases of the 1970's (English subtitles), and one about Taiwan women workers about the same time.

The room holds 35; it would be nice if people who are coming will respond, so we can get a bigger room in advance if we exceed that number. My office is on the second floor of the Combined Bldg., front section, so those coming early can drop it. There is an Italian restaurant, Mr. J., right next door too.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


John Naruwan said...

I see people very unsubtly scoping out our neighborhood on a regular basis either on foot or on a bicycle. You might think, well, maybe they're just having a nice slow stroll and enjoying the environs. Suuure they are. I can spot these guys a mile off, but it took one unfortunate incident for me to learn my lesson. One afternoon there was a guy, mid-40s, office worker type, ringing a doorbell nearby and looking to see if someone was home while holding a cell phone to his ear as if calling someone. I was suspicious at first but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and went inside. Later I found out that house was robbed. He'd been watching the house and knew the owner was out but was just making sure. Now I just take a photo of these "scopers". The camera is actually the acid test of whether someone is up to no good. They always turn away or put their head down when they see you trying to take their picture. Non-thieves don't do that.

Michael Turton said...

I sometimes take pics, but then the thief knows you took them and where you live....

We get the office worker look too, with clipboards! My favorite is the clipboard -- adds just that right note of officiality.