Wednesday, August 30, 2006

comparison scans

So, the last roll of film I got developed, I also had scanned by the photo store. Turns out their commercial scanner is much better than my $200 bottom of the line Konica-Minolta scanner, much to my surprise, mind you (not really).

Unfortunately, "better" is relative, and there is such a difference in the actual quality of the scans that there are some things I like about the commercial scan, and other things I like about the home scan. It's been a quandary, ergo I haven't posted any yet.

I don't intend to do this with the whole roll, I hope, but here are the comparisons:
Xinbeitou, Taipei, Taiwan, June 10, 2006, the last time I went to weekend international group zen practice session at Dharma Drum practice center. I left early because the vibe I got from the practice group was just wrong. Something just wasn't right, and I haven't gone back since.

home scan:

duller, focus not sharp, but I like the color tones in the water, which is closer to how it looked, and the cloud detail.

commercial scan:

sharper focus, brighter and more eye-catching, loss of cloud detail

feedback welcome.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Mystery and Misery (Rainer Maria)
2. This Year's Girl #2 (Pizzicato Five)
3. Did You Wonder? (The Black Heart Procession)
4. Dumb (live unplugged) (Nirvana)
5. Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
6. Throw a Blanket Over the Sun (Shannon Wright)
7. Too Much Posse (Public Enemy)
8. Mister Cellophane ("Chicago")
9. Ocean of Wine (Helium)
10. Many Too Many (remixed) (Genesis)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dragon Boats, part II

June 3, 2006 - Hsindian, Taiwan. Dragon Boat races, part II. I don't know how the annual event of dragon boats is run, but there were two separate events in which our school's team competed in. I think the one in Hsindian, a week after the one on the Keelung River, was more local, Taipei County. The mixed team won first place.

Takako, eating corn, looking a little bewildered at my fisheye antics. I try to keep my camera hidden until I'm ready to shoot, and then I whip it out and shoot before they have time to react. Ergo, not the best picture of her, but it's a fisheye view, dangit. She really is such a good sport.

That's my classmate in the orange school team uniform. The Hsindian area, about 20 minutes south of Taipei, is quite pleasant, and the water they raced in was much cleaner compared to the Keelung River. It helped that the sun wasn't out like it was the week before. I prefer sun, but not to bake under for an outdoor event.

Last frame on the roll, them humoring my shooting.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

not to be bitter or anything

June 1, 2006 - It was still rainy and dreary the first day of my second term studying Mandarin, and would continue to be for some time after. This was the view outside my first classroom, which had a balcony. However, I didn't stay in that class because the teacher was really beyond below what my standards of what a teacher should be. The class I switched to was only marginally better. There are good teachers at this school, the Mandarin Training Center at Shida University, but it's a crap shoot to get one of those teachers.

This view is from the annex campus looking towards the main campus across the street. Not far from here is the campus of Taiwan University (Taida). Taida has a real campus that makes Shida look like a community college. Taida also has a Chinese language program, which costs 3 or 4 times as much as Shida, but from what I hear is light years better than Shida. They must be a bunch of preppies.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Kiss Me, Son of God (They Might Be Giants)
2. Misunderstanding (Genesis)
3. Dream On (Aerosmith)
4. A Spring Dawn at the Jade Tower (Gong Yi, Luo Shou-Cheng)
5. The Everlasting Gaze (The Smashing Pumpkins)
6. Angel (Sarah McLachlan)
7. Two of Us (The Beatles)
8. Spin the Black Circle (Pearl Jam)
9. Come Dancing (live) (The Kinks)
10. Learn How (Mission of Burma)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Red Door

May 31, 2006 - back in rainier days. God, I can do without that five month stint of rain. Anyway, I like this shot for some reason. Cheery red door of a run-down shack on a gloomy day. The day before classes started again, walking around the neighborood. This was on Roosevelt Road in the Guting MRT station area.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Stupidly Happy (XTC)
2. Red Rain (Peter Gabriel)
3. Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
4. Baby, Baby Don't Cry (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)
5. Cut My Hair (The Who)
6. Find the River (R.E.M.)
7. Sympathy Crime (The Blackheart Procession)
8. Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love) (Tom Waits)
9. Shoot a 45 (764-HERO)
10. Tonight (Supergrass)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dragon Boat Races

May 26, 2006 - Back in Taipei, between the Spring and Summer semesters conveniently landed the Dragon Boat Races, in which our language school contributed a team. The races were held on the Key Lime River (Keelung, actually - ed.) with the starting line under the Dazhi Bridge (shown):

A distant shot of the Dazhi Bridge with a Dragon Boat probably fresh from a victory. The Key LIme River runs east-west and is a tributary of the Danshuei River, which is the main south-north river that drains into the Pacific Ocean from Taipei. The Key Lime River divides Taipei into the southern "Taipei proper" sections and the northern "suburbs" sections.

Sneaking lomo fisheye shots of Hyun Ae, a classmate and friend at best (but we know what eventually happens to all my friends):

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Crosseyed and Painless (live) (Talking Heads)
2. Trampled Underfoot (Led Zeppelin)
3. Harlequin (Genesis)
4. Blues In the Night (Ella Fitzgerald)
5. Rinto Suru (Chitose Hajime)
6. I Hate Him ("Carnival")
7. Soul Love (live) (David Bowie)
8. White Trash Moon (Kristin Hersh)
9. Keep Calling My Baby (Sahara Hotnights)
10. Off He Goes (Pearl Jam)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Finally, from Hong Kong

OK, internet back up.

My lasting impression of Hong Kong will probably be the tower blocks. Actually, I'm not sure if the tall apartment buildings are called exactly that, but I heard that term used in a song and thought it was cool ("It's 6 o'clock in the tower blocks/The stalagmites of culture shock"). In Hong Kong, they really tower - they're huge, and it's no wonder considering space restraints.

I think I was kinda lost at this point. Remember, I was sleep deprived, and my usual reliable ability to keep my bearings must have been fried. I only went a couple MTR stops up from Mongkok, but trying walk my way back, I was led astray by signs pointing to an MTR station on a completely different line. But wherever I went were these monstrous tower blocks.

Ah, yes, it all comes back to me. These shots were from right in front of the MTR station. The wrong MTR station, but at this point I thought I was home free to get back to Hong Kong and get my student visa. The shot below would have been better if I had crossed the street, because that line of tower blocks was particularly impressive, if I remember correctly.

Once I found I was at the wrong MTR station, I managed to find a bus that took me back to Mongkok, and from there it was no problem getting back to Hong Kong, no problem getting my "student visa", only a little problem getting back to the airport because of an asshole bus driver who only let me on without paying a whole new fare by convincing him I was a total foreign idiot (after how many years of British rule and he still doesn't speak English?! j/k - colonization is not a joke, kids), and no problem flying back to Taiwan to get the real student visa at the airport in my U.S. passport. Damnit, I'm American. Ain't no way I'm gonna be drafted in no Taiwanese army because of a useless Taiwanese passport.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Silver Strings (Helium)
2. Do It! (Sakura)
3. When the Saints Go Marching In (Rebirth Marching Jazz Band)
4. Witness (Sarah Mclachlan)
5. Forgiven (Edie Brickell & New Bohemians)
6. Sequelles (MC Solaar)
7. When a Woman Loves a Man (Rebecca)
8. Far From Now (Engine Down)
9. So What? (Ani DiFranco)
10. Jamming (Bob Marley & the Wailers)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Internet is down at home. Again! Bah! Argh! Blargh! For more than a week! Is this acceptable? I think about moving every time the internet goes down. Is that a reasonable response? But I need the internet to look for a new place, so I always tell myself that I'll start looking for a new place once internet is back up. But then when the internet comes back, I'm happy and tell myself I'll give the landlady one more chance. I think that's not a reasonable response.

In other news, I got a new roll of lomo developed today, so I'll get back to posting once internet comes back up (and I move).

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Tea in the Sahara (live) (The Police)
2. Yo Yo Yo (Please Don't Fall In Love) (+/-)
3. Gethsemane (Peter Gabriel - "The Last Temptation of Christ")
4. Solitude (Ella Fitzgerald)
5. Wild Honey (U2)
6. Regina (The Sugarcubes)
7. Up For the Down Stroke (Parliament)
8. What's A Telephone Bill? (Bootsy Collins)
9. The Place We Want To Be (Sakura)
10. Strawberry Fields Forever (demo sequence) (The Beatles)