A Comprehensive List of All the @NBA Jerseys I Spotted in #Taiwan

As you may or may not know, I’m a huge San Antonio Spurs fan and an NBA fan in general. I grew up just outside of Houston during the height of the Olajuwon era, so I was a Rockets fan as a kid. We were all conditioned to hate the Spurs, our biggest rivals, so it really speaks to everything the Spurs organization represents that they were able to convert me in adulthood. If you follow the NBA, you know that the Spurs made a lot of moves in the off-season. Like any fan, I’m extremely impatient for the new season to start so we can all stop speculating about how all the new pieces will fit into the well-oiled Spurs machine. Finding a way to relate my passion for the sport to my recent trip to Taiwan proved to be a great distraction from that.

I didn’t initially set out to make this list, but after spotting my second NBA jersey during the first few days, I thought it would be interesting to keep a running tally of any jerseys I spotted. I was particularly curious which players and teams were popular overseas in a country that hasn’t really produced any NBA players, and where the fans may not have the same local allegiances that we do here in the States. Keep in mind that I was staying in hotels and visiting a lot of tourist attractions, so my experience may not be an accurate representation of the everyday population. Some of these people may also have been mainlanders. Also, it’s difficult to tell if all of these people are real fans or if they just enjoy wearing jerseys as fashion accessories. Nevertheless, 13 players from 10 different teams are represented here in this list. The Warriors and the Bulls seem to be the most popular teams.

I was a bit surprised not to see a single Jeremy Lin jersey from any of his many teams as he is, of course, Taiwanese-American. Though I am not a JLin fan myself, it made me sad to think that his popularity has waned not only in the States but also in Taiwan. I did, however, see someone wearing a New York Knicks Linsanity T-shirt on the subway.

1. Portland Trailblazers [player unknown]

Since I hadn’t started making this list yet when I spotted my first jersey, I can offer no details here. It was a current design, so my best guess is it was a Damian Lillard or LaMarcus Aldridge jersey. I think we were at a restaurant.

2. Phoenix Suns [Jason Kidd]

Spotted on the MRT en route to the Taipei Zoo. It was nice to see a vintage jersey for a retired player. As you’ll see further down the list, most of the jerseys I spotted were of current superstars.

3. San Antonio Spurs [Kawhi Leonard]

Spotted at the Taipei Zoo in front of the Przewalski’s horse. Kawhi happens to be my favorite current player, so I was happy to see someone with his jersey right off the bat.

4. Golden State Warriors [Stephen Curry]

Spotted at the Daan MRT station. The current golden boy; no surprises there.

5. Miami Heat [LeBron James]

Spotted at the Chimei Museum in Tainan. Again, no surprises there. I honestly thought there would be more LeBron jerseys around.

6. Toronto Raptors [Vince Carter]

Spotted walking the streets at Tamsui.

7. Chicago Bulls [Derrick Rose]

Spotted at the Raohe Street Night Market.

8. Golden State Warriors [Klay Thompson]

Spotted at the Raohe Street Night Market.

9. Golden State Warriors [Stephen Curry]

Spotted at the Raohe Street Night Market. This is the place to go if you’re on the lookout for NBA jerseys, I guess. This is also marks the first repeat player I witnessed. (For the record, #8 and #9 were not together.)

10. Chicago Bulls [Derrick Rose]

Spotted yet again at the Raohe Street Night Market. I would wonder if it was the same guy as the other one, but I saw one right after the other and they were coming from opposite directions. Still, seems like a strange coincidence. I had not seen a single Bulls jersey until then.

11. Dallas Mavericks [Dirk Nowitzki]

Spotted at the Taipei Bus Station. I thought I would see more foreign players, to be honest.

12. Indiana Pacers [Paul George #24]

Spotted at breakfast in the Dandy Hotel in Taipei. I saw this jersey again later that morning. I’m not entirely sure if it was the same person (all Asian people look the same, yada yada), but I assume so.

13. Chicago Bulls [Ben Gordon]

Spotted in the Dandy Hotel lobby. I’m not 100% sure on this one. The guy was wearing a jacket (in that heat, why?) so all I saw was a #7. As far as I can tell, no superstar ever wore #7 for the Bulls. Of all the players on this list he is the only one I’m not familiar with, but I see he won Sixth Man of the Year once, so I guess he has name recognition. (I don’t really follow the Eastern Conference.)

14. Oklahoma City Thunder [Kevin Durant]

Spotted in the Dandy Hotel lobby. She was with #13.

15. Chicago Bulls [Michael Jordan]

Spotted in the Dandy Hotel lobby. Again, I’m not 100% sure on this. She was also wearing a jacket that obscured most of the jersey. But she seemed to be wearing MJ’s number. She was with #12. Only #14 and #15 on this list were worn by young women.

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#fbf “Losing Grip” 10 Years Ago in #Taiwan

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As I tweeted earlier this week, I will be visiting Taiwan for the first time in 10 years at the beginning of September. I thought I would take this opportunity to throw it back to the summer of 2005 when I took that last trip because so much has changed since then. In doing so, I also got to look through all the photos I took during that trip (with my cumbersome 3.2 megapixel digital camera, I might add) for the first time in years. I plan to take many more on this upcoming trip.

 

a plane takes off from some airport in Taipei probably

 

I flew to Taiwan from Houston mere days after my high school graduation. I did not walk at commencement, a personal decision of mine that everyone told me I would one day regret. To this day, I do not regret it. If anything, it made my college graduation, which was one of the happiest and proudest days of my life, that much more meaningful. At that time, however, it gave me a strange feeling of being in limbo, as if I had never actually graduated at all.

 

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While I was in Taiwan, I wrote a short essay about that feeling. I don’t think I ever read it again afterwards — maybe once, long ago, but certainly not recently. I think I was honest with myself in a way I very rarely am, and it’s also worthy mentioning that I wrote it by hand in a blue notebook. (Now that notebook has been dismantled because the covers were always falling apart. I used to carry it everywhere, though I never wrote anything substantial in it because I so disliked writing anything longhand.) Here is an excerpt of that essay, which I am just now reading again:

 

I’m writing this essay by hand because I feel that that’s the way it’s meant to be. I always had trouble with my fingers moving my pen fast enough to keep up with my mind the way they could on the keyboard of my laptop. My typed words always seemed to fit more perfectly together. But maybe they aren’t as real. And maybe that’s kind of the point. Maybe everything in my head isn’t worth putting down on paper and my pen can filter out those useless words. Or maybe not. I guess it doesn’t really matter just so long as I write what I’m feeling. I’ve always felt that I feel things too deeply. Or maybe the trouble was that I didn’t feel them deeply enough. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.

[…]

I’ve seen that so much in the past couple of weeks. They’ve been hard, I guess. Too much change happening too fast. Graduation was kind of what made all my thoughts on the matter. Everybody was walking onto the floor and I was crying before they’d even reached their seats because I was already at my seat but it wasn’t where it should’ve been.

 

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Frankly I cannot share most of the essay because it was rather angst-ridden, and most of what I was angst-ridden about is no longer worth revisiting. But I think it was rather an insightful look at my state of mind at that point in time and I’m really glad I wrote it. I stopped journaling in the middle of college because I just found it exhausting and I was very busy. I stopped journaling on real paper way before that; it was during my freshman year of college, I believe. I miss being able look back on a specific year and remember what exactly was going through my mind in those days. I wish I’d kept it up.

 

taiwan sunset

 

One of my goals this fall is to start blogging more often. It always feels so daunting. I do not like writing long things. I do not like it, Sam-I-Am. I do not like it sitting in a chair. I do not like it sitting on a bear. That’s why I started tweeting in the first place, and that has been great. But sometimes 140 characters can be a bit limiting. I vow now not to feel intimidated by a non-existent page quota! I can write a 3-sentence microblog if I want to! This is not college! I do not have to have perfect grammar! I don’t have to write filler! I don’t even have to sound coherent if I don’t want to! This is my blog! And I can do what I want to, do what I want to!

 

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Whew, I feel much better now that I’ve gotten out all the inane children’s books quotes and 1960s song lyrics that are forever bouncing around inside my head. Anyway, assuming I can get decent wifi in my various hotel rooms, I will be blogging throughout my trip. These will most assuredly be brief microblogs because I will be writing them on my phone.

Calling all sleuths! Join me May 11-15 @ClueTFF for the 2015 #TwitterFiction Festival!

When a college reunion ends in murder, everybody is a suspect. Who did it? Where? With what weapon?

It’s a modern-day twist on the classic Parker Brothers board game “Clue,” where the usual suspects are glued to their smartphones and social media accounts during a tense dinner party in Presidio Heights. What are they all hiding? What are they oversharing? Before the night’s end, old secrets will be revealed and new secrets will be formed.

If you have a Twitter account, feel free to interact with these colorful characters as the homicide and subsequent investigation unfold in real-time. Ask them questions. Try to trip them up. Make them confess. Can you trust what they tell you? If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still follow along by visiting the @ClueTFF Twitter page during the festival. The whole narrative will also be published on Storify for posterity after the event.

During May 11-15, follow all the major players here:
@MrBoddyTFF
@MissScarlettTFF
@MrsPeacockTFF
@MisterGreenTFF
@ColMustardTFF
@MrsWhiteTFF
@ProfPlumTFF

For the full schedule and a taste of all the festival has to offer, follow @TWfictionfest and @TwitterBooks on Twitter during the week.

 

Full disclosure: I am beyond excited about being a featured writer (contest winner) for this year’s festival. However, I have never written a murder mystery before. I have also never written a multi-character story on Twitter (or any social media) before. I am beginning to think it’s a bit insane to attempt doing both for the first time, at the same time. Nevertheless, this will definitely be an adventure, and we can never have too many of those. So grab your magnifying glasses, your casebooks, and your Sherlockian nicotine patches. I hope you will join me for the ride.

Psychologically Unsound: Looking Back at a Decade-Old Visual Arts Project

It’s true: I have not updated in over three months, and there is really no excuse.  I have started countless posts on a variety of subjects (radio DJs, celebrity deaths, longform storytelling, the symbolic nature of underground spaces…the list goes on) and yet have been unable to finish any to my liking. The post you are reading now is something I intended to publish back in December but never got a chance, primarily because I haven’t had any luck finding the original text/statement that goes along with it. Well, I don’t see any point in putting it off any longer because that text is likely lost forever.

Some background first. I have always been intrigued by abnormal psychology. It was the first chapter I read in my psychology textbook in my junior year of high school, and probably the only chapter I ever actually read. While I generally struggled in that class, I got an easy 100 percent on the one quiz we had on the abnormal psychology chapter. The girl who sat in front of me and was always tasked with grading my papers seemed confused when she handed it back, perhaps wondering how I had managed a perfect score when I typically bombed those quizzes. I merely shrugged, somewhat embarrassed. I had not studied or even re-read the chapter.

Fast-forward a year later. I was in my AP Drawing class, trying to think of possiblities for the “concentration” portion of my portfolio. It’s probably no surprise that I was brimming with ideas for series. And were I a more prolific and disciplined artist, I would have attempted most of them at some point or another, because they were all equally inspiring to me. But my idea of researching and visually depicting various mental disorders is the one that interested my teacher the most–so I ran with it. These pieces are the result.

I was reminded of this project while looking through old files on my laptop a few months ago, and since I had just been writing #Flashback2School posts, it seemed appropriate to revisit these. While I didn’t polish my fine arts skills until college, there is something raw about these images that I appreciate. I hardly ever draw with anything other than pen and marker these days, so it’s revealing to take a look at how my style might have evolved. These are all done in either Nupastel or watercolor pencil, mostly the former. In retrospect, Chromophobia is probably my favorite, though it would’ve been interesting to see what the same piece would’ve looked like in pastel.

 

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Colonel Mustard in the Hall Closet with the Traumatic Childhood Memory #FLASHBACK2SCHOOL

Essay Prompt: “Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard”

As students of writing, we are constantly reminded that we should try to write an hour each day. And if we can’t manage an hour, we should still write a little bit each day, even if only in the twenty minutes that exist between our alarm clock and the breakfast table. The best reason I’ve ever gotten for this advice (thanks Aaron Reynolds!) is that we sometimes, without even realizing it at first, find inspiration in the most mundane, everyday moments: that routine trip to the dentist, the leaky bathroom faucet that needs to be repaired, a freeway traffic jam on the drive home from work. Over time, I’ve come to realize how true this is. Because many of my best stories were indeed inspired by major life-changing events, like international travel, natural disasters, and hospital stays. But sometimes these stories—including the novel that I’m currently writing—are stitched together from much smaller details. Sometimes we even find inspiration in containers of bulk-size mustard.

Allow me to explain. In May 2012, two separate “everyday moments” happened. Those led to the beginnings of a complex novel-in-progress, which then branched out to a comic series and a trio of short film scripts. But first, I went home for a couple weeks after my first year in grad school. One afternoon, I was having a conversation with my mother about smoothies when my dad misheard us (as he often does) and thought we were discussing movies (as we often do). I went scrambling for a pen and a piece of paper, and the seeds for my hybrid invention known as the Smoovie were planted. Fast-forward another week or so, when I was back in San Francisco for the summer. A few friends and I decided to head to Golden Gate Park during the 75th anniversary celebration to participate in the festivities.  As the evening wore on, we decided to buy food at one of the booths. The cheapest item was an extremely overpriced hot dog, which I purchased and then topped with condiments from the self-serve table displaying bulk containers of ketchup, mustard, relish, and the works.

Another week later, my summer class (the now-retired “Brevity,” taught by the incomparable Cooley Windsor) began. For my first piece, I wrote about a Smoovie that featured two dinosaurs fighting over a single foot-long chili cheese coney. It’s a fragmented, non-linear narrative that reawakens a boatload of childhood trauma for our protagonist and ends in a sinister shot of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, teeth-bared, a smear of mustard on his chin. This short piece, combined with a flash fiction piece I had written a year earlier, was the basis for this novel, which spans the course of 21 years in one boy’s life and has now grown to 65,000+ words and counting. Never mind the fact that I started such a project in a class called “Brevity,” though the story’s humble yet defiant beginnings do continue to amuse me. (Thankfully, my professor was equally amused.) The realization that a simple container of mustard could have started it all is even more intriguing. And what if I hadn’t ordered a hot dog that night? What if my father hadn’t made a comment that gave birth to an idea, which then gave birth to a disturbing, prehistoric progeny with a penchant for carnival grub? It’s likely the novel would still have existed in some shape or form as I continued to be inspired by uneventful occurrences that happened to me later that year. But it’s likely that it would’ve been vastly different in many respects. Would it have been worse? It’s impossible to say. Maybe I would’ve been hit in the head by a golf ball that summer and been inspired to even greater heights.

Nevertheless, it’s in anecdotes like this where we realize that art does imitate life. All these random, inconsequential moments lead into other random moments, causing greater moments that branch off and later prove to be life-altering—the collective whole adding up to more than the sum of its parts. Writing consistently every day ensures that we don’t let these moments slip by undetected, that we look more carefully at the things we initially deem as unimportant or uninteresting, that we allow ourselves time to be inspired by the ordinary before discarding it from our brains at the end of the day.

I know all this. I know now why the daily ritual exists. And yet, full disclosure: I still don’t write every day.

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Note: This is the final essay in a 3-part blog challenge inspired by this NYT article about the new wave of creative college admissions essay prompts. Read more about the rules and logistics of the challenge and my reasons for taking it on in this previous post. There, you will also be able to find links to my other essays and those of my friends when they become available.

* Find out how Ren and Elizabeth were inspired by super-huge mustard, and thanks for following along with us this week! I have more blog posts planned for the end of the year, including some Top 10 lists (who doesn’t love lists?), so keep on keeping on.