Monday, September 25, 2006

riding to class

June 20, 2006 - Heping East Road, Taipei, Taiwan. Maybe this shot makes riding in Taipei traffic look scarier than it is. This is actually pretty tame. Er, but that's not to say that the drivers here aren't totally nuts. They are. In the U.S., I can usually get by with me doing my part to not get hit, and expecting drivers to do their part and not hit me (there's actually a little more to it). Here, that doesn't really apply.

In the U.S., I don't ride on sidewalks unless I have to (i.e., in New Jersey). I usually dismount out of courtesy to pedestrians. Here, riding on sidewalks is part of the routine. Pedestrians don't expect courtesy and don't give it. And motor-scooters regularly drive down sidewalks. I haven't seen an accident yet, but I've seen many close-calls, which is not helped by Taiwanese pedestrians who are apparently all near-sighted and don't notice something approaching until it's about two feet away, and then they jump in total surprise, "where did he come from?".

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Sea of Love (Cat Power)
2. Quiet (Smashing Pumpkins)
3. Scarecrow People (XTC)
4. Garden Party (Marillion)
5. Fumbling Towards Ecstacy (Sarah Mclachlan)
6. Rastaman Chant (live) (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
7. Fabricoh (Archers of Loaf)
8. Crestfallen (+/-)
9. The Double Planet (Michael Hedges)
10. Around the Dial (The Kinks)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Main Station

July 6, 2006 - Taipei Main Railway Station, Zhongxiao Road. Nice, rare afternoon sun, making Taipei prettier than I've experienced. On that day I was on one of several trips to the main police station to extend my visa. In Taiwan, they will always find something trivial wrong with what you brought, necessitating multiple trips to do something simple as extending a visa. I've learned to expect nothing from the Taiwanese bureaucracy, and it often renders getting something a hollow victory.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Where is Love? ("Oliver!")
2. Lady Blues (Yuko Hara)
3. Reflect (Frente!)
4. Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, III. Menuet (J.S. Bach)
5. Method of Sleeping (Shannon Wright)
6. Tamburitza Lingua (Ani DiFranco)
7. Pennies (Smashing Pumpkins)
8. Underground (Tom Waits)
9. Ziggy Stardust (live) (David Bowie)
10. Blinded By the Light (Bruce Springsteen)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sad bikes

June 22, 2006 - Sad bikes in front of the Shida University Student Activities building, Heping East Road, Taipei, Taiwan. The one behind the red one looks embedded in that bush.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Form and File (Archers of Loaf)
2. Tinfoil (Rainer Maria)
3. Fascination (David Bowie)
4. Each Tomorrow Morning ("Dear World")
5. One of My Turns (live) (Pink Floyd)
6. Blue Serge (Duke Ellington)
7. Polythene Pam (The Beatles)
8. Down By the Water (PJ Harvey)
9. One Love/People Get Ready (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
10. Toga ("Haibane Renmei")

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


June 22, 2006 - Just on the Shida Annex Campus, where the Mandarin Training Center (read: crap school) is.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Devotion (MC Solaar)
2. Frame By Frame (King Crimson)
3. Slowdive (Siouxsie and the Banshees)
4. Birthday (J Church)
5. Here Comes the Big Rush (Echobelly)
6. There Is a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute ("Barnum")
7. Goodnight Goodnight (Hot Hot Heat)
8. Texas Flood (live) (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble)
9. Cello Suite No. 6, V. Gavotte (J.S. Bach)
10. Precious Love (Sakura)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Daan Park footbridge (Taipei, Taiwan) study II

Well, it's not really a study. A study implies putting some thought into it and coming up with something new, different, or interesting. These are just shots of the footbridge that happened to be on this roll:

June 22, 2006 - Looks like on my way to school, so it's about 10 in the morning. The edge of the bike basket on the bottom tells me this was the P.O.S. Enterprise, my first bike. Riding my bike to school shortens my 10 minute walk to about a 3 minute ride. Shooting from the southeast corner.

Shooting from the northeast corner - the corner I mostly shoot from with Bebe.

See, different day, same northeast corner. Later in the afternoon with the sun in the western sky.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. (I Was Born In A) Laundromat (Camper Van Beethoven)
2. Blue Angel (Marillion)
3. Brimful of Asha (Cornershop)
4. Hard Time (Phase II Steelband Steel Orchestra)
5. Jets (Blur)
6. Lounge Act (Nirvana)
7. Bli-Blip (Duke Ellington)
8. A Little Bit of Good ("Chicago")
9. Change It (live) (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble)
10. Day By Day ("Godspell")

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Going to Yangkong St.

July 6, 2006 - Finally! People I all, more or less, like. Pierre, JC, Naoya, Hyun Ae, and Takako. All of them previous classmates except for Naoya, who is the only new classmate of theirs that I genuinely liked. It helped that he's a musician and we could talk music. Not everyone was as enthralled with him, as his personability was a bit specific, focused. And everything about him is focused. After six months of Chinese language study, he is pretty much fluent and can hold his own in complex conversations, and he's begun learning Taiwanese. He can even sing songs in Chinese at karaoke. After six months, he took a Chinese proficiency test, which indicated that he could jump 15 lessons in the textbook!

We were walking to Yangkong "snack" Street for lunch, which despite its nickname isn't the delectable foodie paradise it suggests. I had fallen back to take some digital shot, and as these are people I all like, they waited up for me when they noticed I wasn't with them. Suckers. As I approached I got Bebe ready in my backpack and whipped it out and shot this.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Said Too Much (Versus)
2. Forest Fire (Versus)
3. Santa Maria (Versus)
4. What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted (The Funk Brothers w/Joan Osborne)
5. Sweet Black Angel (The Rolling Stones)
6. The Ballad of Ladyman (Sleater-Kinney)
7. Ai no Shiru Shi (Puffy)
8. Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas)
9. Jubilation (20 Minute Loop)
10. Tamuke (Katsuya Yokoyama)

Friday, September 08, 2006


June 21, 2006 - Former classmates class. I passed their class every day on my way to my class. On this morning. I was able to see into the class from the area outside the window in the back to see who was there. Then as I walked around, I took out Bebe and charged the battery for the flash which I knew I needed for an indoor shot. Then when I got to the door, I pointed the camera, probably made some noise to get their attention, shot, and continued on my way to the sound of Takako laughing. From left to right, Pierre, Hyun Ae, Spaniard, Naoya, and Takako.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Blood Tree (Mary Timony)
2. Gratitude (The Maupin/Williams Project)
3. Julia (The Beatles)
4. Marry Me a Little ("Company" - Sondheim)
5. Made-Up Dream (Built to Spill)
6. Give Up Your Love (Edith Frost)
7. Reason the Night is So Long (Rainer Maria)
8. Forgotten Sons (live) (Marillion)
9. The Bravery of Being Out of Range (Roger Waters)
10. Words and Guitar (Sleater-Kinney)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

such a hater...

June 2006 - Hyun Ae with a line of her new classmates that I never got to liking. Actually, at the end is an Austrian guy who wasn't one of her new classmates, but was associated with them. I only didn't like him because of Falco. Next to her is a German guy whose voice didn't have a volume control. Next to him is a self-absorbed Swedish woman who acted like a princess and never shut up. Her whiny voice eventually became unbearable and I refused to stick around if she was present.

This was at our favorite Korean restaurant where Hyun Ae would often take over, and when the food was mostly done, she would do a Korean thing that the Korean proprietors also knew about, but most Taiwanese don't, and ask for fresh rice, laver, and kimchi and do a second cooking. It was like a second meal.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. I Just Want to See His Face (The Rolling Stones)
2. Woman (Sakura)
3. Sea Girl (Versus)
4. Sara Smile (Hall & Oates)
5. The Walk (The Aislers Set)
6. Lover Lay Down (Dave Matthews Band)
7. Dazzle (Siouxsie & the Banshees)
8. Jukebox (Ani DiFranco)
9. I Don't Need Anything But You ("Annie")
10. The Real Me (The Who)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

more classmates...

June 2006 - Hyun Ae, Pierre, and JC, all classmates first term. Second term, we almost always went to lunch together, and at the beginning, I often tried to get them to go with me to get dessert. I didn't have to twist their arms much until they started worrying about losing their girlish figures. See what I mean about Hyun Ae being quick with the V? While Pierre and JC are just starting to realize their picture is about to be taken, Hyun Ae is way ahead of me.

As much as I bitch about the community college quality of the Shida Mandarin Training Center, I haven't found any place better for shaved ice on a daily basis than the Shida night market area. I have four places to choose from in that area. The Rao He Tourist Night Market is better, but it's also way crowded, and maybe 45 minutes away on bike.

This place is called Orange, and it's right on Shida Road. It was Pierre's favorite place and it had this nice upstairs area that never got crowded in the afternoon. For me, sometimes they cranked the air conditioner on too high.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. The Trial (live) (Pink Floyd)
2. Lullaby of the Moths (Helium)
3. Pneuma (50 Foot Wave)
4. Rocky Racoon (The Beatles)
5. Cherry (Smashing Pumpkins)
6. You Can't Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones)
7. Strobelite Honey (Black Sheep)
8. Grandmother's Love (Travis Terry)
9. Fierce Flawless (Ani DiFranco)
10. As Long As He Needs Me ("Oliver!")

Monday, September 04, 2006

classmates - Shida Mandarin Training Center

June 2006 - Pierre, Hyun Ae, and El Spaniard. Only Pierre and Hyun Ae were my classmates. El Spaniard joined their class after I left, so I never got to know him, never got to like him. He didn't speak English, so of course I didn't like him. What is anyone doing in the world not knowing English? I can say that because only English readers can read this!

El Spaniard left to go back to Spain last month, and that was good riddance. He was reported to be hilarious, but I never laughed. Pierre left last week to go back to France, and he was probably the most stable and sane person I know here, so he'll be missed. Hyun Ae may leave in February to go back to Korea, after she's sufficiently fluent in Mandarin. That's the nature of being a language student. By next February, I'll probably still not even be at a 1st grade level. I may leave Taipei at the end of November, but if Hyun Ae is definitely leaving in February, I might stick around for one more term before transfering to Kaohsiung.

For this shot I successfully executed my trick of not showing Bebe until the moment of shooting, ergo their looks of bewilderment. The telltale sign of success is that Hyun Ae had no time to react and put her fingers up in a V. And believe me, she's quick!

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Amor de Loca Juventud (Compay Segundo)
2. Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin)
3. Happy Jack (live) (The Who)
4. Shane (Liz Phair)
5. Far East Medley (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones)
6. Male Model (Sleater-Kinney)
7. Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, I. Allegro (J.S. Bach)
8. Hold My Life (The Replacements)
9. Rape Me (Nirvana)
10. Tomorrow Belongs to Me ("Cabaret")

Friday, September 01, 2006

Daan Park footbridge (Taipei, Taiwan) study I

June 13, 2006 - Daan Park footbridge default shot. This is the point of view I shoot periodically, so that I eventually I have a whole series of shots from this same point of view. This is the lomo fisheye version.

For some reason I have a bunch of shots on this roll taken on or around the Daan Park footbridge. The above shot is from the southwest corner looking east along Heping East Road. If you walk halfway down the span on the right and turn left, looking north, you get this:

June 20, 2006 - Xinsheng South Road. South road, but looking north, so you're looking north on the South Road. Think about it, there's something deep about it. Or not.

And if you walk all the way down the span and turn left, you see this, with or without the guy there:

This is also looking north, obviously. Undated. I think I've decided to use mostly the commercial scans of this roll. The sharpness of their scans is winning me over, although since their scans aren't full-frame, if anything I really want gets cropped out, I'll use the home scan. The crops are minimal, but I'm picky like that.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin)
2. When We Was Fab (George Harrison)
3. Sea to Sea (Matisyahu)
4. Spika (Shina Ringo)
5. I Want to Play for Ya (Stanley Clarke)
6. Hide and Seek (Dreams Come True)
7. (New Wave) Polly (Nirvana)
8. Making Flippy Floppy (Talking Heads)
9. You Might Think (The Cars)
10. Hellbound (The Breeders)