Monday, June 06, 2011

I have a new computer. I'd like to say that my old computer going on life support was the reason I haven't been posting here, but actually the state of my files and the editing program I use for them were not much affected by the transition. So again, just lazy. Laziness is bad, m'kay?

February 9, 2009 - Both of these lomos are from the southern bank of the recently re-opened Keelung Riverside Bikeway, before they were closed! In fact, I think this was shot before they built a pedestrian/bike ramp from where I'm standing to the catwalk of the bridge shown, allowing people to cross the river here. Bah, the photographic evidence of the shadow in the foreground clearly shows the ramp had already been built by the time I took this shot. Tres convenient. That tower across the river used to be the chimney for waste disposal (trash incineration), and now has a revolving restaurant on top of it. Go fig.

Neither shot was taken from a place that was closed, but to get to these areas from where I live was a pain because of the flower expo. Now that the whole thing is open again, it's a part of my regular 20-25 mile training rides, hopefully building up to extended rides outside of Taipei.

This shot is right about where the bikeway was closed for the flower expo. That's the Grand Hotel across the river. Above are MRT tracks of the Danshui Line, and the red towers aren't supporting a bridge, but what I can only gather is a water pipeline. Again, go fig.

Like the First Time (T-ara)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

looking sorta up

January 16, 2009 - Dazhi Bridge crossing the Keelung River. Finally, the Taipei International Flora Expo is OVER!! It was a major horticultural show and even though it was criticized for corruption and practicality, I hear it did turn out to be a tourism success, good for the economy, although I wonder how much of that tourism came from China, bad for Taiwan's independent status. The current president seems bent on making Taiwan more reliant on China.

My personal peeve about the flower show was that it closed the riverside bikeway on the south bank of the Keelung River (other side of the river to the right of the bridge) for over a year and a half. By the time I got back from the U.S. this time, the show was over and I rode over to the site and asked a worker when the bikeway would be open and he said it should be open by June.

February 9, 2009 - Taiwan Beer Factory! Mmmm, beeeeer. That's Taiwan pop singer A-mei shilling for Taiwan Beer. For most part, I hate pop music, but I've given A-mei's music a chance and some of it is listenable. Some of it is god awful. Like her song "The Power of Love" just made me think about the power of crappy music to make me hurl. But of course my fandom of K-pop has stripped me of much of my credibility and towering music authority, if not taste, so I should probably just shut up.

Mind you, I am full aware that there is plenty of crappy K-pop. Mind you, there are also very, very few legitimate rock acts from South Korea that I know of (I can't say anything about North Korea, although I hear Kim Jong-Il fronts his own heavy metal band that every North Korean knows every lyric to).

There She Is (Witches): legitimate South Korean rock band. Singer has a cool ass voice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

things are looking up

Looking straight up, that is:

December 20, 2008 - This roll is the first roll in my 2009 folder, but I started shooting it in 2008. I'm not sure what this is, I should've taken another shot from another perspective and probably will. It's some kind of sculpture with possible Taiwan indigenous tribe influences, and it's pointing east, so I think it may have some significance with sunrises. I dunno, when I saw it, I thought of it as some kind of sun sail.

January 18, 2009 - Just about every neighborhood in Taipei has a small neighborhood park. This isn't my neighborhood park, but it's not too far from me. And it was apparently a nice day in January for me to be sitting out in a park. Wow, this is old. It's a full year before I quit/took a break from my job, and I feel like I haven't been working for quite some time. Hm, it may be time to print up some more money.

Don't forget to back up your digital files:
Back It Up (Jewelry)
I (obviously) feel no need to defend my music cred on this blog, thus the shameless links to K-pop. I'm still waiting for the day that I'll look back and be mortified and embarrassed that I was listening to this pop drivel. It's just so damn catchy.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Flew into Taipei a couple days ago. It was raining when I landed and it's been dreary since, but I don't mind. It's May, so as soon as the sun comes out, it'll get plenty hot plenty quick around here, so I'm not complaining if the clouds are keeping temps just warm.

I really need to change my life around here, I don't want to go back to doing just what I was doing before the trip to the States, and I think shooting more may contribute to that end. Shooting = Getting out of the apartment during daylight hours.

I already bought more color rolls for the Fisheye and I also have my brother's Nikon D80 DSLR to try to shake things up. I think maybe I stagnated with black and white film because of too much coffee and too much stress over whether a shot is worth using a frame of film.

Ironically, the D80 allows a flexibility that I've criticized about DSLRs before, which is it allows mindless shooting of endless frames, and inevitably one of those shots is going to be usable. But that might be what I need now to get over the paralysis and indecisiveness of wondering whether to take a shot or not.

But this is not about black and white, this is lomo, and I still have about 4 rolls of unposted fisheye (only 4 rolls over the whole of 2009-10! bleah.), while I dust off the fisheye 2 and see if I'm seeing anything.

Taipei overview:
December 9, 2008 - Jiankang Street and Nanjing East Road. I still consider this my neighborhood as it's within walking distance, although towards the outer range of my walking distance. 

December 17, 2008 - Freedom Plaza with the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the distance. The whole plaza used to be dedicated to Chiang Kai-shek, but he's a controversial character and I thought it was appropriate for the government to take some of that back and dedicate the plaza to freedom and democracy. Chiang Kai-shek was a dictator and a ruthless butcher, but without him, Taiwan's current democracy might not exist.

Oh, and that's a group of Tibetan protestors at the foot of the gate, lobbying Taiwan to protect Tibetan refugees who have escaped from mainland Chinese repression. 

Needless to say, this construction is all complete now. The riverside bikeway on the lower left is complete and open, and the bridge on the middle right -- I forget if that's what they were tearing down or putting up. I think maybe they were putting that one up, and where I was standing was the bridge that eventually came down to improve traffic flow over the Keelung River.

Rock U (Kara)

Monday, May 02, 2011

After a month in the U.S., I'm heading back to Taiwan tomorrow morning, and it just so happens that the concluding frames on this roll of lomo are shots of my neighborhood in Taiwan. Maybe this will ease the shock of being back there. Or not.

December 2, 2008 - Funky winter sunlight in the stairwell leading out of my building. I live on the 3rd floor. Prior to here, I lived on the 6th floor of a building with no elevator. For the first few days after moving here, I kept making this turn out of habit to go up further before realizing I live here.

November 29, 2008 - Neighborhood park just down the alley from me. It's a nice place to stop before going home and munch on something or just decompress. Line dancing occurs here every night, too, one can imagine. They consider it exercise, but it pretty much looks the same as line dancing.

December 2, 2008 - In the opposite direction of the park from me is a local food street a block away, although this one is nothing to write home about. There's only one food stall I go to pretty regularly that has a really good fried onion pancake type thingie which I like with either cheese, tuna or kimchi and a fried egg. Otherwise it's mostly sustenance-level food, not to savor or enjoy.

Considering the events of the last 24 hours, I'm well aware that I'm about to get on an airplane tomorrow and subject myself to the indignities of airport security. I managed to avoid the full-body scanner at SFO coming here because the line was getting so long that security opened up another line starting from the person in front of me, and that line didn't go through the full-body scanner.

Aside from the "U.S.A.!" chanting idiots, my opinions on Osama bin Laden's death is pretty much in line with the rest of America. Actually, I'm even in line with those idiots, I just disagree with that thoughtless, sports-fan expression in response to killing one man who is still responsible for killing thousands of our own. I think such whooping and hollering is disrespectful to their memory.

I did feel a cloud lifted when the news came through, and that was right when the news broke and before the hype of what big news it was started snowballing. It was something that had been left hanging for the past 10 years. It had fallen into the background, but now that it's done, it's clear that it has been something lingering that needed resolution.

Now I'm waiting for the conspiracy theories to arise. This story is ripe for conspiracy theories.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Dang it, I do, I really do want to get this blog off the ground. Like the kites in the previous posts. Fly, lomoblog, fly! I'll be the flatulence wind beneath your wings.

Shot 2 and a half bloody years ago, here are the last shots from that ride before I went crazy and stopped posting. Fortunately this isn't a current events blog, and pics are just pics, even 2 and a half years later. That's the extent of me being philosophical:
Looks like kind of a fishing village on the east coast of Taiwan. I say "looks like kind of" because I image fishing villages being isolated, but northern Taiwan is largely urbanized and these fishing harbors aren't exactly isolated. Fisherfolk don't even need to live near their boats and non-fisherfolk also inhabit these parts. Or not. I don't know. I don't have the documentation. Sometimes I just like to make shit up. Get off my back.

Shipping containers piled up at Keelung Harbor. The bike ride goes up the coast from Ruifang to Keelung - the largest port in northern Taiwan. I think Kaohsiung in the south is Taiwan's largest port.

After reaching Keelung, the ride heads west back to Taipei. I've been exploring cycling routes between Taipei and Keelung that don't go on what are basically highways, and I've found a network of back roads and riverside bikeways that accomplish this. This was at one of the access points of a bikeway. A fat, laughing buddha. Which is a Chinese folk creation. Has nothing to do with Buddhism per se.

An impressive bridge tower which I can't help but think was built more for show than to hold up a roadway. Seriously, if I took a wider shot, it's just a short piece of road that hardly warrants such a structure.

空に咲く花 Sora ni Saku Hana (Chitose Hajime)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yoly Moses, I've been away from here for over a year?! I delete contacts on my fotolog if someone hasn't posted for a year. The lomos below, btw, have been sitting in drafts since August last year.

Truth to tell, I haven't been shooting a whole lot of anything, and even less so fisheye lately. But truth to tell, I do think I have a roll of fisheye that I haven't done anything with at all, so that's just being lazy. And truth to tell, if the theme here is to be all lomo-y, then why does it look like it's all fisheye, when my Rainbow V 22mm lens ultra wide & slim is also considered a toy camera and now under the umbrella term of "lomo". And I have been shooting with the Rainbow V. My how paradigms come into focus over a year of none activity.

Geez, the previous post was right before southern Taiwan was devastated by that horrible typhoon. It wiped one mountain village off the map. And video of a 6-story hotel falling into river was broadcast around the world. And the lomos in that post were from November 2008? Two years ago! I'm time's bend-over boy.

So, since August 2009 ... I left that job at the newspaper. I didn't really quit, I just told them I wasn't coming back until they shaped up operations.

What happened was that at the beginning of December, the other reliable copy editor quit after giving over a month's notice. In all that time management didn't make a concerted effort to find a replacement, to my disbelief. At the last minute, they half-heartedly found a few people to try out.

So after that co-worker quit, it was just me and these other people who didn't know the job, didn't know the pace, and I didn't have any time to train them. So from that point on, it was just insane for me, basically copy editing every page myself, with the trainees just doing what they could to just skim a little bit of the burden off.

I scheduled a vacation to go back to the U.S. in mid-January and that was my ultimatum. I did that craziness for a month and a half, sometimes sending pages to the printer after only one print-out from the page designers. Usually several print-outs are necessary to catch all the mistakes and two copy editors had to sign off before sending.

But I was leaving mid-January and I told them it was none of my business what happened after that, they had to figure it out. And I also told them after I got back, I was taking a break for at least 2 months, lest they thought they could just wait out my vacation.

Well, those 2 months just kept on extending and extending, and I'm still not working, even though they did finally stabilize the position and the overall craziness. One copy editor did recently suddenly quit, putting them in a bind, and I thought that's not a good sign. There must be a reason for that, but it turns out that he was just unprofessional and someone with no honor. But it put the paper in a bind and they asked me if I could fill in a few shifts until they could find a replacement, and I agreed, but I still have no intention of returning permanently yet.

Otherwise, I haven't been doing much of anything. Just figuring out the meaning of life, listening to music, finding the meaning of life is listening to music, and ... that's it. I think I'll call 2010 my "lost year". Everyone needs one of those anyway.

Anyway, the lomos below are from the same bike ride out to Taiwan's east coast as the previous post. A 40 mile ride if I remember correctly, and it was cloudy on the coast, but also windy so perfect for kite flying. There's like a "kite point" out there which is famous for having perfect winds for kiting. There's also one on Taiwan's north coast where there's a kite festival every year, and so I'm sure one is held at this place, too.

Oig, from November 15, 2008!:

Hoot (Girls' Generation)

Friday, August 07, 2009

November 15, 2008 - Approaching the end of the Keelung River bikeway at the east end of Taipei. I was going on a ride out to the east coast of Taiwan. Look how nice the weather looks.

But on the east coast it was all cloudy. Reminded me of San Francisco, except I lived under the overcast, and rode out to the sunshine.

No sunshine now. It's a typhoon day in Taipei, Typhoon Morakot, and I don't have to work because my Friday shift got switched to Thursday earlier this week. I wonder who's the sucker who got stuck with the typhoon shift. I think they're going to try to knock-off early tonight, at around 11, but it won't make a difference, the typhoon is going to hit in the general area of tonight.

I still ended up riding home in the rain last night because I wanted to get my bike home and not leave it out during the typhoon at work. But I only started riding home because it wasn't really raining so bad when I left. But then it started picking up and picking up and I was pretty soaked by the end.

During typhoons it's all rain and wind, but pre- and post-typhoon, it's really touch-and-go. It may be calm as a lamb one moment, and then raging gusts 15 minutes later.

I have a different mentality during typhoons, which assumes getting soaked. We might have some rainy weather that I wouldn't think of riding my bike or going out in, certainly not without an umbrella, but during a typhoon, it might be much worse and I'll go skipping out into the rain; wind blowing in gusts tempting me to break out in a Michael Jackson imitation.

So I'm apartment-bound for the duration. I think it may still be stormy by my shift tomorrow, so I'll take a bus to work, dress like I'm going for a swim.

I Am One (Smashing Pumpkins)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

October 21, 2008 - Jinshan, Taiwan. Beautiful northeast coast, around where the nuclear power plant is - maybe right across from the street from it, since I remember I stopped there to get a dose of radiation.

I haven't been riding at all. Kinda makes me feel bad about my bike just sitting there doing nothing. It's a got a mechanical problem I should probably tend to, but I'm also worried about exacerbating a knee pain.

Riding from Jinshan to Keelung before turning right and heading back to Taipei. Late in the day with the sun in the west. Long Sailor Moon pose shadow unavoidable.

I've been totally remiss about posting here because I got sucked into Facebook after I got back from the U.S., but the novelty there has worn off, so I can get back to this. But I need to shoot more, I'm running out of lomos! Bleah!

But with insomnia and struggling to get enough rest, it's hard to get out of the apartment except for work. Oh, and also because if this was anywhere else, we'd be in a heatwave, but this is Taiwan and it's already so hot that it seems ridiculous to call it a heatwave just because of a few added degrees. But 88 degrees in my apartment! That got my air conditioner on.

Anyway, a co-worker said she's getting into lomo and will buy an action-sampler soon, so maybe someone else shooting can get me shooting, too.

Combat Baby (Metric)

Monday, July 13, 2009

October 21, 2008 - Taipei, Taiwan, Shilin District up Mt. Yangming, the highest peak in the greater Taipei area. I forget the altitude, but I think it's up there. The climb is comparable to Bay Area peaks and I think the highest point on the climb tops 3,600 feet. This point is more like around 2,000 feet. The Chinese Cultural University is up here, and they boast that they're the highest university in Taiwan.

After climbing up Yangmingshan or the surrounding mountain ranges, it's possible to take various routes down to Taiwan's northeast coast. On this day, I rode down to Jinshan and made way back to Taipei along the coast to Keelung, and then cutting back inland.

I'm back in Taiwan, back to work. Insomnia is back after 3 weeks of no sleeping problems in the U.S. I had absolutely no jetlag flying to the U.S., and surprisingly, I had no jetlag coming back here! Confounding really. Maybe it's the wonders of insomnia.

My Sony Ericsson phone broke a couple days after I got back. I got a Samsung F258 Musicall cellphone to replace the Sony W395 only because the Samsung has a 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas with the Sony you have to use the supplied Sony adaptor.

I can't tell you how much I hate the Samsung. When is the last time I hated something? I can't get rid of this phone fast enough, I'll probably give it to one of my cousins to give to their kids when they are of cellphone age. I want nothing to do with it, and I'll replace the W395 with another W395. I loved that phone.

I guess I bought the Samsung partly because I'm getting a little too caught up in all things Korean:

Girls Generation - Gee

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

October 19, 2008 - The view from the outside hall of my 3rd story floor. The entire floor I'm sure used to be one whole apartment, but my landlord - my cousin's uncle on her mother's side - partitioned it off into separate apartments with a shared kitchen.

A short walk from my building is this roundabout at Minsheng East Road and Sanmin Road. This is a very nice section of town. A lot of residential neighborhoods in Taipei still have their old dump-like quality, so much so that the government is offering building owners subsidies to beautify their exteriors. Not in this section. For most part, residential buildings are very nice by any Western city standards. Not shiny, bright and modern, but this area of town was obviously built with a plan in mind. Not haphazardly.

I'll be leaving New Jersey next Tuesday morning, arriving in Taipei Wednesday evening, back at work Thursday night. Not sure how I feel about going back. As something I have to do, I guess I'm ready, but if I had my druthers, maybe I wouldn't.

I'm hoping to start shooting more. At least a little more than I have been. On the SLR front, I'm "retiring" my Pentax ZX-5n and taking my brother's Nikon N70 hand-me-down, for which I just bought a refurbished Nikon 24mm-120mm zoom lens. Just being a Nikkor autofocus lens is sweet. Much quicker and more accurate than the Pentax. From when I tested the Nikon against the Pentax before, the Nikon blew the Pentax out of the water.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

September 26, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Bike path near the Pier 2 arts center between Fisherman's Wharf and the mouth of the Love River.

Western sun explosion behind a freighter in the harbor. I haven't been shooting much of anything these days. I'm wondering if it's a total loss of inspiration, but I'm just not seeing photographs anymore. It's tough, because I know they're out there, it's just a matter of looking and being in tune with finding something.

I'm back in the U.S. now for three weeks to recharge my batteries, get Taiwan out of my system and see how I feel about staying there once I go back. Of course, I don't know what I'd do here if I came back, so as long as I have a job there, I'll just cruise along.

I'm actually appreciating suburbia this time back. My brother bought a house since I was last here, and I've been coming over everyday . . . since my parents don't have Internet at their house. They live less than a mile away from each other.

Most important is getting my fix of American food. SF Mission District burritos - check; Fort Lee pizzeria pizza and lasagna - check; mac & cheese - check.

Also it turns out my brother is some sort of computer whiz and he switched out my dying, 4-year-old, 60GB hard drive for a new 250GB one, and it's almost like I have a new computer; that's how close to death it was before. It was soooo slow, and I couldn't play audio or visual files, and all my music files were on an external hard drive. Now everything's back up to speed and music files are back on my computer. I'm just still getting all the programs I was using before back up. But I'm happy, laptop's happy, who can ask for more?

I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that my brother is a computer whiz. He ended up becoming a doctor, but he was the OG version of computer geek - an OCG. He was among the first modem users, posting on local "bulletin boards" - I remember everyone wanting to make phone calls and picking up the phone and getting that high squeal of modems talking to each other.

He's got a set up now that I can't even get my head around. He's got it set up so that he can control computers at his home from his office. That may be child's play for big corporations with network engineers and such, but that he set this up more or less himself is pretty impressive. I know he had to call in software engineers whenever code was involved, but he maintains the hardware himself. G'dam.

Friday, June 12, 2009

September 24, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Odd sign at Kaohsiung Harbor, because this is not a major entry point into Taiwan, and the people who use this entry point don't speak English.

Dome of Light at the Formosa Boulevard KMRT station.

I'm just streaming along at work. For a while there it looked like they were going to cut my hours, and if that happened I was going to give notice on the spot. I don't know if my threat made it to my boss, who I never talk to anyway, or if my co-worker who handles scheduling took a more diplomatic tack to make that not happen so far.

Anyway, since there's no communication between in my boss, I was going to interpret a cut in hours as dissatisfaction with my work, and if I'm not doing a job satisfactorily, I don't want to do it at all. And if no one is noticing that newspapers I work on have less major/facial mistakes than papers on days I don't work, then I don't want to work at a place where my efforts aren't recognized.

When I mentioned that to someone, he actually said the boss wanted me to work more hours, full time instead of the 80% that I'm working now, but after thinking about that, I decided that makes no sense. If he wants me to work more hours, cutting my hours is not the way to go about doing it. So if I get back from vacation, and my hours get cut, I'll still quit.

I wonder if any of this has to do with the fact that I'm going on vacation for 3 weeks starting next Tuesday! Yay! It is strange for a worker to take 3 weeks off, but I argued that this trip was long in the planning before I was re-activated, and I couldn't take it earlier because I was waiting to get my citizenship and was still fulfilling the residency requirement. And it was non-negotiable, it was a condition of my accepting re-activation. The new editor-in-chief said OK, but it may have still stuck with him as uncool.

I don't know if I'm excited to go. Traveling is such a nuisance now with swine flu and security checks, and I flying on my father's miles, so the flights there and back are broken into 3 legs and multiple airlines. I definitely want to go, but why can't have someone invented a transporter like on 'Star Trek' yet.

I don't have any plans of what to do there. Think I'll just chill.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

September 24, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Not a very interesting shot of the main bridge at the Heart of Love River. I'm not sure what the Heart of Love River is. Maybe it's supposed to represent some center of Kaohsiung. Or not. It's an extra developed area along the Love River bikeways and is pretty at night. But there's nothing to do there. It's just there.

A not very interesting shot of muddy-looking waters of the Love River, also by the Heart of Love River. I think I was particularly uninspired shooting this roll. Even now. I haven't loaded a new roll since I finished the last one several weeks ago.