Blue Sky Hoedown

Photos by MJ Klein, and others where noted.

It was almost a throwdown in some respects, but the party at the Blue Sky was more or less successful in that people had a relatively good time, and nobody got hurt, although the event was not up to my personal standards. First, let me thank everyone who ventured out on that cold windy evening to join us. Your company is what makes things like this worthwhile. Second, please allow me to apologize (more on that later).
Blue Sky Party
Why I like Nikon cameras, reason #57: IR remote control. This shot was taken on a tripod from my seat at the table at the far end of the shot.

Many of Taiwan’s famous people were on hand at the surreal Blue Sky.

Notably missing was our good friend Mr. Michael Turton who was both very busy and also quite sick, and couldn’t make it.

Blue Sky Party
I got to meet several new people. This is Hui-chen (right) with Flickrite Yu-fen.

Blue Sky Party
This is Celine Liu, a Taipei businesswoman which whom I have corresponded for several years, but until this night had never met in person. She brought her friend Linsir and, well I hope they enjoyed being there as much as I enjoyed meeting them.

Blue Sky Party
I had also met Patrick Cowsill on a few occasions, but never had the chance to speak with him. So, it was great getting a chance to talk with him on this occasion.

I met Boyd for the first time that night and also Joanna Rees. I didn’t get a chance to talk with either one. Joanna dropped and her Mother by later in the evening and Joanna politely introduced herself to me. “I know who you are, silly” probably isn’t the best way to introduce yourself to someone, but those were the first words out of my mouth. But of course I did already knew who she was.

The usual gang was there too, including:

Blue Sky Party

Blue Sky Party
Karen, Becky,

Jerry, Carrie, John, David Reid, David Edwards, Catherine,

Blue Sky Party
, (with Yu-fen),

Blue Sky Party
Prince Roy
and Spicy Girl.

OK, so what was the problem with the Blue Sky?

Blue Sky Party
This guy for one thing!

This guy got really drunk and was looking for people to interact with. One of them was Patrick. The drunk guy went to the restroom and came out with his hands wet (hopefully from washing them) and did some fake “massage” on Patrick which was, in effect, he using Patrick’s shirt as a towel. I did not see any of that going on myself. Not long after, Patrick left the table and then the drunk guy went back to the bar where he spotted Jerry and tried messing with him. Jerry’s Chinese isn’t up to the task of talking trash though, so Jerry just walked away.

Hui-chen was asking “Why did the drunk guy bother Patrick?” and the only answer that I can reply with is that Patrick looks like a friendly guy, and that the seat was open next to him. Target acquired.

My personal experience with this guy began by him beckoning me to take the above photograph. After that he kept saying “give it to me” in Chinese, over and over, while looking at it on the display. Apparently he thought my camera could print him a copy. It was then that I politely excused myself and went elsewhere.

The boss lady was on his ass several times. He was also bothering Carrie and just when I noticed things were getting out of hand and I was getting out of my seat, the boss lady ran over and grabbed him, taking him back to the bar and sitting him down hard.

So, the food was good. Better than most Thai places in Taipei, but definitely not better than Shao-hui’s. Feel free to verify this with anyone. The conversation was lively and interesting but the boss refused to turn the karaoke machine on for us. That ticked me off royally. It was hard to hear our conversation, and what really bothered me is that they had a new “DJ” (and I use that term loosely) who was playing a load of trash that attempted to pass itself off as music but fell far short. The Thai “DJ” was playing rap and hardcore hip/hop for a group of largely middle aged whites and some Taiwanese. The point is, the music didn’t fit the demographics of the audience. But because most of the audience (initially) was comprised of foreigners the “DJ” thought it was fitting to play “American” music. I told the boss that nobody liked the crap that the DJ was playing and he laughed right in my face. Seriously. He couldn’t believe I was saying that no one liked his “special” DJ. He staunchly refused to turn on the karaoke system for us. I’m sure that to him, being Thai, that hip/hop garbage was great. Another problem is that it was just too loud. Joanna Reeves showed up with her mother, and they had to leave in like 10 minutes because it was so freaking loud by that point.

One of the main things that I liked about the Blue Sky is that they had a large book of English songs and an excellent karaoke system. They made be out to be a liar and none of us got to sing. Well, one of us got to sing.

Carrie and I were talking and she was saying that the music was so bad that she and most of the others were going to leave in about 5 minutes. It was at that point that I realized something had to be done. I had called my friend Anune earlier in the week and asked him if we could play a few numbers together with the Blue Sky band and he agreed. By that time he had arrived and everything was set up. With nothing to lose and basically secure in the knowledge that no one could stop me, I went on the stage, picked up my guitar and started making some “dive bombs” with the Stratocaster, using the Floyd-Rose Schaller tailpiece. The others took my cue and came up to the stage. Finally the “DJ” turned that crap off and it was silent (except for some tuning up).

Anune kicked the band off with one of my favorite Thai tunes (sorry I can’t tell you the names of these songs). He started off just doing a few chords and singing solo, and then the band exploded with the opening lines. That was the first time I had actually performed that song with anyone and I had a blast doing it.

I’d like to present a few shots of the evening taken by others:

Yu-fen (left), me (with serious hat-hair) and my beautiful wife Hui-chen . Photo by Craig

Nice overview show of Andres (left) and across from him, Yu-fen and Hui-chen. To the far right are my arms and immediately in front of me is the booze. Photo by Craig

Another overview shot. Photo by Craig

Andres finger, Boyd, and David Reid across from Patrick. Photo by Craig

MJ and the band
Anune and I playing with the Blue Sky Band. Photo by David Reid

Recently I re-wired some of the electrics on the Strat. There was a useless cut switch that I never used (plus it was improperly implemented) so I rewired it as a phase reverse switch for the middle pickup. Phase reversing only effects settings with more than one pickup. The switch settings are:

  1. Bridge Pickup
  2. Bridge Pickup and Middle Pickup
  3. Middle Pickup
  4. Middle Pickup and Neck Pickup
  5. Neck Pickup

Therefore, the only pickup you can wire for the phase reversal is the middle pickup. When the 5-way selector switch is in positions 2 or 4, the phase reversal switch becomes useful. I was demonstrating this sound to Craig when he snapped this photo. Photo by Craig

Photo by Craig

Blue Sky Party
Anune singing, me playing. Photo by Hui-chen.

Anune was singing and I was only singing backup that night. That in of itself was a riot. The boss and the boss lady were staring at me from behind the bar while I was singing backup harmonies in Thai!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Blue Sky. Be sure to check all the references blogs and photostreams!

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  1. I had an enjoyable night. Good to catch up with people I know and meet some I didn’t know. I’m not sure why my face looks red in the photo – I didn’t have any alcohol, and the poor state of the weather lately means it can’t be sunburn. Hmm.

    cfimages’s last blog post..Alishan Forest Railway

    1. cfimages » i don’t know why your face looks red either, but no one has said anything about it, so i think it’s cool! it was a cool hang Craig. i’m glad i got to sit next to you and talk about a number of interesting topics. thanks.

  2. Every day’s an adventure in Taiwan MJ. Despite the small annoyances you mentioned, we still had a great time. The people who were there made it worthwhile. I just wish it had been a little quieter so we could have talked a bit more. The food at Shao-hui’s is WAYYYYYYYY better, and the music rocked once you got on stage. Time to stop referring to yourself as a has-been and realize you’re still a rockstar! I’m looking forward to the next meet-up and this time, I intend to get some singing in!

    Carrie’s last blog post..Photo Moment: Buddha?s Footprint in Luang Prabang, Laos

    1. Carrie » you made me realize that we should just stick with Shao-hui’s. this evening i had a conversation with her husband about how all my friends said that they love the place so much and that we are free to do whatever we want to do at Shao-hui’s, and his comment was that we have a home there. i was thinking about all our friends up in the Taipei area and then i realized that they’re all from other countries, so coming down to Hukou is only an extra hour or so! lol also i want to thank you for your kind comments regarding my playing. i’d given up on doing more music quite some time ago but now i’m thinking that maybe i should put something together. it’s hard when you get to my age because you have tons of experience but the audience wants to see young people on stage. plus i am sensitive to talking about it too much and imposing on others like some do. there are some upcoming events though that should prove to be interesting. thanks for your comments.

      oh, btw, here is that article we were talking about at the bar:

  3. I’ll be perfectly honest–we thought the food was ok, but no great shakes-I can tell they Taiwanicized their food-where was the spice? The place had character, though. Even the obnoxious drunk fit in in his own bizarre way–I say that because he was fixated on Patrick and not me!

    I agree completely about the DJ-he’s also part of the reason we left early-we also had an AIT event early the next day. The cig smoke started getting to us as well. Anyway, we’re definitely glad we went, and thanks alot for the invite. Look forward to doing this again soon. (We want to try Shao-hui’s for sure).

    Prince Roy’s last blog post..If you can?t beat ?em?

    1. Prince Roy » you are dead on. the last time i was at the BS, i was with Thai people and they are uncompromising when it comes to their national cuisine. i apologize because i had no idea they were going to tone it down like that. you’re on our list of course and it’s my sincere hope that you and SG can join us down in Hukou before you take off for Laos.

  4. I enjoyed it. Some of the things in that bar like the cheesy video were so authentically Thai. It was great to experience that. It was also the second time I got to speak Thai in one week. The other time was with a Thai publisher at the book fair. The food was quite good. Definitely the best Thai food in Taipei, but still not up there with Shao Hwei’s.

    Anyway the real highlight was the music made by MJ and Anune. That more than made up for the crap DJ. Rock on!!!

    David on Formosa’s last blog post..Links 18 February 2008

    1. David on Formosa » thanks for your kind words. the good news is that this evening i was invited to play at the huge Thai festival in Taoyuan stadium in March. you’re invited! after all that was said and done, Shao-hui’s is still the place we need to host our parties i think. there, and on our own rooftop!

  5. “Hui-chen was asking “Why did the drunk guy bother Patrick?” and the only answer that I can reply with is that Patrick looks like a friendly guy, and that the seat was open next to him.”

    I mistook him for a waiter, and beckoned for another beer. I didn’t have too much of a problem with the guy. He kept buying me beers. I’m not sure he was Taiwanese though. I think he was Thai.

    Anyway, glad I could make it. Nice crowd and good food.

    Patrick Cowsill’s last blog post..“Foreigners” Can’t Buy Train Tickets On-line in Taiwan Anymore

    1. Patrick Cowsill » ahhh…. well at least you got him to buy you a few! he was absolutely Thai. and drunk to the gills. we’re very glad you could make it too Patrick. you’re on the list and we’ll invite you down to Hukou next time! take care.

  6. wow MJ Congratulations to you. Looks like everyone had a good time sparing the loud music and drunk guy … would have been great to be part of the fun but i had just came back to taiwan the very same day in the afternoon and wasn’t aware of the event as I was off to remote places in India and intentionally cut off from the net. Anyways I am sure there will be many more chances for me to get to know Taiwan blogosphere in person
    btw I must mention this, your pictures taken by Craig are simply incredible. You really rocked the place i guess.


    Ashish’s last blog post..Back in Taiwan

    1. Ashish » oh, we’re sorry that you weren’t able to join us Ashish, but there is the 29th! even the drunk guy and the loud music makes the experience what it is, hehe. i have to agree that Craig’s work is outstanding and he got some great shots. i haven’t had that much fun playing in quite some time. cu soon.

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