Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Days and NIghts

December 30, 2006 - Ah, now I remember what yesterday's shot was. It only lasted that day because I subsequently forgot, but I was thinking of taking random riding shots to document ordinary Taipei on bike. Actually, I think I might have done it one other day, which explains some random shots on the next roll or so.

This is Zhongshan district, an over-the-shoulder shot back at the Shin Mitsukoshi building by Taipei Main Station.

And more Ximending night shots, same as before, opening the shutter for several seconds while trying to hold the camera still.

Not sure if there is a rear curtain flash on this or if those folks were just standing still for as long as I was shooting. Doesn't look like flash.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. I Only Said (My Bloody Valentine)
2. Just Like U Said It Would B (Sinead O'Connor)
3. Funkentelechy (Parliament Funkadelic)
4. The Knife (remixed) (Genesis)
5. Communication Breakdown (Led Zeppelin)
6. Welcome to Kanagawa ("Pacific Overtures" - Sondheim)
7. The Contents of Lincoln's Pockets (Rainer Maria)
8. (Love is Like) Heat Wave (Martha Reeves & the Vandellas)
9. 3 Inch Horses, 2 Faced Monsters (Modest Mouse)
10. Dense Beasts (David Byrne - "The Catherine Wheel")

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Day Taipei:

December 30, 2006 - Not sure what this shot is supposed to be. Maybe just marvelling at the rare occurrence of the bright, warm orb in the sky. It's central Taipei, north of Zhongshan Road, but south of the Keelung River.

Night Taipei:

December 26, 2006 - Ximending. Still experimenting to find an application to use the Bulb function on the 2. At this point I was just holding the shutter open for seconds while trying to keep the 2 as still as possible.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Nobody Home (Pink Floyd)
2. Kiss of Life (Peter Gabriel)
3. Hang to Dry (Julie Plug)
4. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Sarah McLachlan)
5. At the End of the M-1 (J Church)
6. Mica (Mission of Burma)
7. Shipbuilding (Elvis Costello & the Attractions)
8. Five Years (David Bowie)
9. Charlie Big Potato (Skunk Anansie)
10. Backwash (Archers of Loaf)

Monday, February 26, 2007


December 25, 2006 - Yes, we had class on Christmas. I'm not big on celebrating holidays, so it wasn't hard to adjust. There are these two mellow dogs that hang out in front of the Taida main library. I thought they were, like, waiting for their master who was doing research on Australian pygmy migrations, but I think they're strays who were scholars in a previous life.

Taipei is full of stray dogs. On the riverside parks, stray dogs roam in packs, and I wonder if it's not an issue the government should be dealing with. In Kaohsiung, I know they tried doing something about it and rounded up all the stray dogs and put them in a stray dog zoo or sanctuary or something. Very interesting solution. That was two years ago when I heard about that, I'm not sure how the program is doing now. Maybe Taiwan is waiting for some kid to be attacked by a stray dog (they can be aggressive) before they do something. As long as that something is humane.

December 26, 2006 - The brown dog is the alpha dog. You just get a sense for these things. But like I said, these are mellow lazy dogs and are happy just to sleep and lounge around the library all day. Oh, they're not scholars, they're former students!

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Bea (Throwing Muses)
2. Lovely (reprise) ("A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum")
3. What Would You Say? (Dave Matthews Band)
4. Barcelona ("Company")
5. Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade/Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks (Mussorgsky)
6. Brave (Marillion)
7. Happy Jack (live) (The Who)
8. Symphony No. 35, II. Andante (Mozart)
9. Initials ("Hair")
10. When Velma Takes the Stand ("Chicago")

Saturday, February 24, 2007

and back across the river...

December 23, 2006 - Taking the ferry back from Bali to Danshuei, I wanted to see if a fisheye lomo of just water would be as boring as it sounded. Kinda.

Ferry arriving at Danshuei. I thought I was on the wrong side of the ferry to catch a shot, but then it swung around and there was the pier.

By late afternoon, Danshuei was crowded as it usually is, and I did what I usually do when caught in a crowd that is hard to get through. I shoot it.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Violet (Hole)
2. Season Cycle (XTC)
3. Maneater (Hall & Oates)
4. Voices Inside My Head (The Police)
5. Drive Dead Slow (Sahara Hotnights)
6. Outside the Wall (live) (Pink Floyd)
7. Loving You (Yuko Hara)
8. Ventilator Blues (The Rolling Stones)
9. Flotsam & Jetsam (Peter Gabriel)
10. Lovesong (The Cure)

Friday, February 23, 2007


December 23, 2006 - So the reason I was crossing the Danshuei River to Bali was to get to this museum. It's a museum documenting the archeological dig of the remains of the Shisanhang (十三行) Taiwanese aboriginal culture which was discovered in the 20th century. The museum was built pretty much on the site of the dig, so that was pretty nifty. You go through the museum and learn about the culture, and then you step outside and you're exactly where this culture existed.

This shot includes the entrance and exit of the museum. When you first walk into the exhibit areas, you're down at the bottom of this shaft. After you go through the exhibits, you exit by climbing the stairs which includes a timeline of sorts to the bridge in the upper left, which also has some information, I forget what. Then a set of stairs where I took this shot leads out to the exit.

Here's a close-up of the grid to the right of that umbrella:

Looking out the window near the exit of the museum. Got some strangers in the shot, thanks to fisheye.

Oh, so the previous shots were taken inside that brick structure on the right. This is a deck on the roof of the museum which includes a cafe at the far end. Unusual place to put it since it is so far removed from the museum and not readily accessible. Can't be good for business. If I had designed this building, I would have made this area accessible from that brick structure, instead of having the exit on the opposite side, necessitating coming all around the building to get here.

I try to avoid getting my shadow in shots, but sometimes it's impossible. Note the "Power Lomo" pose. Part Wonder Twins activate, part Sailor Moon. OK, I'm on drugs. Or need to be.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Thank You (Dreams Come True)
2. Keep It Clean (Camera Obscura)
3. You Really Got Me (live) (The Kinks)
4. Vroom Vroom Coda (King Crimson)
5. Money (Pink Floyd)
6. Off This Century (Unwound)
7. Insomnia (Versus)
8. Stockton Gala Days (10,000 Maniacs)
9. Incident at 66.6 FM (Public Enemy)
10. Silver Strings (Helium)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Across the River

December 23, 2006 - Danshuei, Taiwan, looking out across the Danshuei River at Guanyin Mountain. I think I went up there twice on consecutive weekends, I don't remember why. Maybe because it was the holiday season that isn't celebrated here, so I was feeling like wandering about. More likely it was rare good weather right after the solstice that made me feeling like getting out.

On the ferry looking back at Danshuei. This was the first time I went across the river to Bali, even though the ferry costs less than a buck and is really convenient. Maybe because I'm not very adventurous, or at least I take my own sweet time getting to the point of feeling adventurous. That's true, if I was just visiting and only had one day up at Danshuei, I probably would've gone across the river. Whatever.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Zaar (Peter Gabriel - "The Last Temptation of Christ")
2. Assassing (live) (Marillion)
3. Find the River (R.E.M.)
4. The Bed's Too Big Without You (The Police)
5. Time (live) (Tom Waits)
6. Eastern Wave (Three Mile Pilot)
7. Baby's Got a Brand New Hairdo (Elvis Costello & the Attractions)
8. Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) (Squeeze)
9. Messenger (Blonde Redhead)
10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion (The Kinks)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

juxtaposing food

I would never claim to be a foodie, and taking pictures of food is usually the farthest thing from my mind when food is around. Furthermore, covering food in Taipei would be such a huge undertaking that I wouldn't want to go there. Other people have whole blogs devoted to their food experience in Taiwan, and . . . nothing could bore me more than posting about food than reading about food.

Food may be the one aspect in life for me that is viceral and immediate, and has no value to me in terms of knowledge or pontification. If it's in front of me, I'll eat it, often be grateful for it, and if it's meat I'll often be mindful that a life was taken away for it, but that's a whole nother story, never mind. Besides, if you asked me to shoot food, this is what you'd get:

December 23, 2006 - Not positive where this is, but I think it's in an alleyway market (how appealing does that sound?) off Shida Road. We call it pork. Pigs call it a massacre.

December 30, 2006 - I celebrate any finding that resembles an attempt at Mexican food in Taipei. This is off Ren Ai Road, around the corner from some crappy looking bike shop, but which actually carries some pretty high-end bikes. Not far from the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. To be honest, it sucks, but I stop there every time I pass by to support it. I give an E for effort, NT for nice try. And my saying it sucks doesn't mean it sucks. That's just because of my San Francisco standards. By those standards, Mexican food in New York . . . sucked.

Why there are no Taco Bells in Taipei is a huge curiosity (not to suggest Taco Bell is Mexican food), since KFC has a huge presence here and they are affiliated with each other, in the U.S. at least. My uncle and aunt, upon trying Taco Bell during their last U.S. visit, opined that Taiwanese people would really like it. If only I had that entrepreneurial spirit. But I don't.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Natural Mystic (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
2. If You Blue (Tara Jane O'Neil)
3. Piggies (The Beatles - Anthology)
4. Kayleigh (Marillion)
5. Sunday Girl (Blondie)
6. Yebo! (Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens)
7. Prelude & Quadruple Fugue (Hovhaness)
8. Far From Now (Engine Down)
9. Alcohol (The Kinks)
10. What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted? (The Funk Brothers w/Joan Osborne)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

trolley trolley trolley get your adverbs here

December 21, 2006 - Trolley madness in Hong Kong.

Or trolley love. Hong Kong is a place that has to take vertical seriously. If you make one level of something, you have to consider having two levels of that thing.

Shanghai style wonton noodles. Late afternoon light means it's time to head back to the travel agency to pick up my passport. But only after a snack of Shanghai style wonton noodles.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Namida to Tatakatteru (Dreams Come True)
2. 1984 (live) (David Bowie)
3. In Buddy's Eyes ("Follies" - Sondheim)
4. Huayrasan (Sukay - Andean pan flute)
5. Collideascope (Dukes of Stratosphear)
6. Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car (U2)
7. Bush Killa (Hellraiser Remix) (Paris)
8. Speakin' O' Bob (National Joy Band)
9. Funnelhead (Archers of Loaf)
10. Another Satellite (XTC)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Down from the Peak, Hong Kong

December 21, 2006 - After hanging out a while atop Victoria Peak, I decided to walk down the mountain instead of taking the tram. I'm pretty sure the logic had something to do with gravity. And mind you, with all my bitching about Taipei's horrible weather, Hong Kong was absolutely gorgeous this one day in December. And since I was there only one day, that still translates to 100% good weather in Hong Kong! Not bad! Taipei, with I estimate almost 50% of days being cloudy or rainy, can't compare.

Back down on the flat area of Hong Kong, I hopped on a double-decker trolley to see where it took me. But because of time, I actually didn't get much farther than where I started in the morning at the hostel, from which I walked to the Taiwan travel agency/make believe visa office. I think I actually walked a pretty good distance that morning.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. The Separation of Church and State (+/-)
2. Sugar (live) (Tori Amos)
3. Power (Princess Princess)
4. Flash (Queen)
5. Beautiful (Smashing Pumpkins)
6. Silver Sun (Kristin Hersh)
7. Doll Is Mine (Blonde Redhead)
8. Father Ruler King Computer (Echobelly)
9. Indigo Chiheisen (Spitz)
10. Stretchin' Out (In a Rubber Band) (Bootsy Collins)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Victoria Peak

December 21, 2006 - See that structure? The Peak Tram terminus is in the base. Then you start going up escalator after escalator until you wonder what's going. Finally, you reach the top and you're on the roof, and that's where the panoramic view is from. That thing was made for panoramic views of Hong Kong!

It was only after coming down and exiting the structure that I saw what a monument it is!

Revisiting the panoramic view, this time with unsuspecting visitors. Again, shooting like this, from their perspective, it doesn't look at all like I'm shooting at them or that they're in my shot.

For some reason, I got in the mood of just shooting random people on the roof. I felt like a postal worker. I'm not good at getting in peoples' faces and shooting them without permission, but it's easy with the fisheye. I just hold the camera level and discreetly push the shutter when I have a subject, and people are none the wiser.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. April Come She Will (live) (Simon & Garfunkel)
2. Softer, Softest (Hole)
3. Food, Glorious, Food ("Oliver!")
4. Help Me, Mary (Liz Phair)
5. Nigai Namida (Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra)
6. Hot Fun in the Summer Time (Sly & the Family Stone)
7. Sweet Soul Revue (Pizzicato Five)
8. Red Mosquito (live) (Pearl Jam)
9. Knuckle Down (XTC)
10. Boulevard Star (Delinquent Habits)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Peak Tram

December 21, 2006 - Hong Kong visa run. After submitting my documents for a new Taiwan visa, which didn't go as smoothly as possible since I didn't change enough money into Hong Kong dollars to pay for the visa, necessitating running around Hong Kong's financial district for 45 minutes unable to find a currency changer (something I would expect in Taiwan, but not in Hong Kong, but since this is Taiwan related, I still blame Taiwan), I had five hours to kill.

Nearby the Lippo Towers, you can take the Peak Tram up the mountain Hong Kong is mashed against. It's pretty nifty and helluv steep. I don't know if any of the lines outside the tram are an indication of how steep the grade is. Sometimes in pictures you can tell how steep terrain is by looking for things that are usually vertical or horizontal, like trees, and tell how steep the grade is by the angle it makes with the terrain. But I don't know what those lines are, or if they're horizontal. I couldn't get up that grade on bike, so it's steeper than just about any hill in San Francisco (although I never got to attempting the streets surrounding Mount Davidson).

Peak Tram terminus at the top.

Typical panoramic view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak, a shot which I'm finding everyone who's visited Hong Kong and gone up the peak has. :p but not necessarily in fisheye.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. White Noise (Deadweight)
2. High (The Cure)
3. Siva (Smashing Pumpkins)
4. The Guardian's Prayer, pt. 2 (Longchen Nyingthig Monks)
5. I Like Fucking (Bikini Kill)
6. Adia (Sarah McLachlan)
7. (I Know) I'm Losing You (The Temptations)
8. Going to California (Led Zeppelin)
9. The Rhythm of the Heat (live) (Peter Gabriel)
10. Stockton Gala Days (live unplugged) (10,000 Maniacs)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hong Kong Buildings

December 21, 2006 - Here's a famous building of the Hong Kong skyline, maybe the most distinct building from Hong Kong movies. At least that's where I know it from. Apparently a lot of feng shui goes into construction in Hong Kong, but I don't remember how it applies to this building.

The Lippo Towers, in which is the "travel agency" which processes Taiwan "visas", although they are not allowed to actually issue visas. They process your visa application, and if all is in order they staple a slip of paper into your passport that you take back with you to Taiwan. Once in Taiwan, at the airport, before going through immigration, you have to go to a special station where they issue the actual visa. So why I have to leave the country is a little beyond me. Is it because that's what real countries require? Sorry, these stupid things still make me bitter and disavow my Taiwanese ancestry and explains why my parents left.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Ribbon In the Sky (Stevie Wonder)
2. Lamplight Symphony (Kansas)
3. Good Morning, Good Morning (The Beatles)
4. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (U2)
5. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) (Kim Weston - Motown)
6. String Quartet No. 8, II. Allegro Molto (Shostakovich)
7. Please Hello ("Pacific Overtures" - Sondheim)
8. Lizzie Sage (Throwing Muses)
9. Baby Face (The Kinks)
10. Marathon (Rush)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

bo-ring shots

It's starting all over again. Move to a new place, internet goes down. I kinda knew this would happen, just as the internet in my old place settled into reliability. Bad internet karma, among other things!

So I'm back at the public library near my old apartment, and now that I'm here I'm wondering what was so important that I needed to get on the internet. I think it's because I'm still planning to go to Kaohsiung for New Years, and I've been thinking of taking the new High Speed Rail (高鐵), and I realized I don't know anything about taking it, even where the Taipei area station is. The last I heard, the HSR line ended in Banqiao, but it looks like the website is saying it goes all the way to Taipei Station now. Of course, this is Taiwan, and no information should be considered reliable until verified first-hand.

I think I'll go to the station tomorrow and try to take the HSR. If not, the bus station is right there, so I can just hop on a bus. I guess I should also call my uncle and let them know I'm coming. I guess I should decide for certain that I'm going.

The last shots from this roll for now:

December 10, 2006 - Xinyi District, after seeing a movie at Warner Village. That's a massive motor scooter parking lot. I guess it'd be more impressive if I got closer to it.

Taiwan aboriginal dancers outside Warner Village. Hm, guess I should've tried to get closer. That's why these are boring shots.

December 21, 2006 - Film advance shots on new rolls are also prime candidates for boring shots. But! This is in Hong Kong. It turned out in December that I had to leave the country because of visa problems, but I bitch enough about Taiwan, so I don't want to revisit that issue.

I flew into Hong Kong the night before with no film in order to minimize how often a roll of film goes through airport scanners. I was getting a little worried after not being able to find chromogenic black and white film right away, but while walking to the "travel agency" which is acting as the "visa" office for not-a-real-country Taiwan (Taiwan's bureaucratic stupidity makes me bitter), I found that Kodak shops often carry BW400CN film. So I got Kodak color film as well for the 2. That must be my backpack on the right.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Night on the Sun (Modest Mouse)
2. To Sheila (Smashing Pumpkins)
3. Cheeseballs in Cowtown (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones)
4. Nirai Kanai Matsuri (Shoukichi Kina & Champloose)
5. Spin It On (Wings)
6. Night Shift Gurus (The Cash Brothers)
7. Time (Rebecca)
8. She's An Angel (They Might Be Giants)
9. Warehouse (Dave Matthews Band)
10. Help! (live) (The Beatles)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

goodbye to all that

December 16, 2006 - Daan Park footbridge, intersection of Heping East Road and XinSheng South Road. I return the keys to my old apartment today. I haven't found my new "default" shots around Jingmei yet.

As long as I'm up in my old neighborhood today, I get to meet with . . . oh, I don't think I've been chronicling that bit of drama here. It's just that several weeks ago, my best friend announced she was going back to Korea, but now it might be that she can stay. She writes all her text messages in Chinese so I can never be sure I understand her quite right, but I'll find out today.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. National Health (The Kinks)
2. Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor)
3. Kaila Speaks (Victor Wooten)
4. Alicia's Song (The Aislers Set)
5. Love For Sale (Talking Heads)
6. Stroking the Moon (Deadweight)
7. My Sky (Idiot Box)
8. Pilcher's Squad (Primus)
9. Another Hundred People ("Company" - Sondheim)
10. Ailes Grises ("Haibane Renmei")

Saturday, February 10, 2007

and more Taida campus!

December 15, 2006 - No idea what this is, but it was such a shock of bright orange on a(nother) gloomy, rainy day. These might have something to do with sciences. Taida is Taiwan's leading university, so a good deal of research in all fields goes on here. My imagination thought it might be something for marine sciences. I'm pretty sure the atomic research building is elsewhere.

December 12, 2006 - Royal Palms Drive, looking at the main library. This is an attractive view to make it a default shot, but I'm not sure there would be enough different from shot to shot to make it interesting. In case I do, I did mark a location to make sure I took it from the same place. It's on the road where the surface switches from concrete to asphalt.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Kipenda Roho (Orchestre Super Matimila & Remmy Ongala)
2. Leslie (764-HERO)
3. Indiscipline (King Crimson)
4. Assata's Song (Paris)
5. Cool Water (Talking Heads)
6. Just Blues (Kenwood Dennard)
7. Sick Again (Led Zeppelin)
8. Floyd the Barber (Nirvana)
9. Free ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" - Sondheim)
10. Diary of a Madman (Ozzy Osbourne)

Friday, February 09, 2007


December 16, 2006 - Goodbye to my old room.

Yeah, it was small. I've just about finished moving to my new apartment in Hsindian. Today was the last day of class, and there is someone who is going to move into my old apartment, so I decided to finish moving out right away.

Before today, I already brought over 3-5 small loads of stuff I didn't use daily by bus or bike. Today, I loaded up my two larger pieces of luggage I brought from the U.S. and took a taxi. Then I went back and got another small load by bus. Tomorrow I should be able to clear everything out and clean the apartment. Not too bad.

The small size of studio apartments here suits me fine. I'm trying to tend towards the less extravagant and more simple and with less stuff.

Any living situation has its pros and cons. There were good things about that apartment, but also plenty of bad things.

Aside from the allergies that developed in my old apartment, it was pretty noisy, being on the 3rd floor off a major thoroughfare. It was also not very guest friendly because any guests would be pretty much in your face and vice versa. And I don't know what it was about the floor, but it got disgusting if I didn't sweep every other day or so. The shower situations wasn't great, either.

I'm liking my new place, but I'm sure I'll find inconveniences as well.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Falling Buildings (The Aislers Set)
2. La Cage Aux Folles Finale Medley ("La Cage Aux Folles")
3. Rude Mood (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble)
4. Portions for Foxes (Rilo Kiley)
5. The Guns of Brixton (The Clash)
6. Lucky (Radiohead)
7. Buddhist Chanting (some monks)
8. Lonely Lonely (Leslie Feist)
9. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight (R.E.M.)
10. Ana Ng (They Might Be Giants)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

library interior

December 12, 2006 - Taida main library. It's about time I said something not so good about Taida. If I had to complain about something, I would point out that the carrel situation isn't the best. This here is pretty good. There's someone immediately to my left, and someone immediately to my right, but at least the partitions are reasonable. There are too many places to study in the library where there aren't partitions, and it's just uncomfortable being that close to a stranger. Furthermore, there aren't enough carrels in the library. I often made it a point to go at low volume times in hopes of finding a comfortable place to study. Otherwise I would relegate myself to a couch, which there are plenty of.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Too Happy (Edith Frost)
2. Indian Song (Elastica)
3. Can You Hear Me? (David Bowie)
4. Bumpo (Archers of Loaf)
5. Wet Blanket (Metric)
6. Dance the Night Away (Van Halen)
7. I'm Nothing Without You ("City of Angels")
8. Say Goodbye (Throwing Muses)
9. Sometime (Sweet Honey in the Rock)
10. Neo Geo (Ryuichi Sakamoto)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Taida Campus

December 8, 2006 - The day after the campus tour, there was a student reception, also a very nice welcoming touch by the Taida program (and, not to put too fine a point on it, unheard of at Shida). I ducked out early to catch a movie in nearby Gongguan, and on my way I saw a bunch of bicyclists seemingly in a group, and riding around randomly with no particular destination. I think it was a small attempt at a Critical Mass. It was, after all, Friday afternoon.

December 12, 2006 - Royal Palms Boulevard, Taida campus. The library is that wee spot where the palms converge.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Motivators (A Tribe Called Quest)
2. Land of Confusion (live) (Genesis)
3. Jigsaw Youth (Bikini Kill)
4. Yo-Yo (The Kinks)
5. Full Moon, Empty Heart (Belly)
6. Not Now John (Pink Floyd)
7. Oyasumi no Uta (Dreams Come True)
8. San Jacinto (Peter Gabriel)
9. One Song for You (Sleater-Kinney)
10. Letter to a John (Ani DiFranco)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Campus tour

December 7, 2006 - And here I am posting the campus tour at the beginning of the semester, while right now is the last week of the semester (final exam on Friday). After my experience at Shida, things could only get better at Taida. A nice touch was the campus tour at the end of the first week. It just made me feel like the school cared and wanted us to feel comfortable. At Shida, it was like being in an ironic Monty Python skit, only it wasn't funny. If someone filmed it and aired it on T.V., it might have been. Here's the picture of the library exterior that I couldn't find last week. It's on the same role. I'm getting senile.

One of the tour guides. This is the main boulevard on campus, called Royal Palms Blvd., and you might take notice of the palms, and that's the library in the background. The nice thing about the fisheyes is that I can look like I'm pointing past someone, but they can be square in frame.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Alone Tonight (Genesis)
2. Cannons (Siouxsie & the Banshees)
3. Aquarius ("Hair")
4. Just Another Nervous Wreck (Supertramp)
5. Air #17 (June of 44)
6. Hearing Aid (They Might Be Giants)
7. Mirror of Love (The Kinks)
8. Plastic Bamboo (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
9. 40 (live) (U2)
10. It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City (David Bowie - Springsteen cover)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Black Hand Society

December 7, 2006 - I conveniently had the 2 out while walking behind the Taida campus library towards class when this group of riders came by carrying ominous black banners. They looked like they were having fun. I didn't get it in the shot, but I saw the characters 黑 (black) and 社 (society), which translated in my mind as something underhanded and devious, maybe revolutionary. Maybe! After all, the revolution will not be motorized.

December 12, 2006 - Several days later the banners were just posted around, and indeed it says 黑社會 - Black Society, but I kept thinking of it as the Black Hand Society. Maybe because a friend lent me a CD by an underground artist who went by the name 黑手Nagasi (Black Hand Nagasi). This is in front of the library where there are typically bike parking jams.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Piano Concerto No. 2, II. Larghetto (Chopin)
2. St. Stephen (The Grateful Dead)
3. Mercury - The Winged Messenger (Holst - "The Planets")
4. Symphony No. 5, I. Moderato (Shostakovich)
5. Nostalgia (Archers of Loaf)
6. Yesterday is Here (Tom Waits)
7. Worse Than Detroit (Robert Plant)
8. Bonzo's Montreux (Led Zeppelin)
9. I'm Not Afraid (Skunk Anansie)
10. A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World (Peter Gabriel)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Going to school

Hm, maybe this is all pointless since my commute to school will completely change after I finish moving, maybe by the end of next week, which is coincidentally the end of the semester.

December 7, 2006 - But this is one of the streets, turning right off Heping East Road, that leads to school. It has more restaurants, so it was more interesting than the street which goes directly to school. I'm shooting into the southern late-morning sun since I have afternoon class, which I hope will change next term. I want either the late afternoon class, or the late morning class. The early afternoon class messed with my drum practice schedule.

Further down the street, shooting over my shoulder. Whenever I do this, I seem to be carrying around a shakuhachi which always gets in the way of the shot, although I could say I was shooting the shakuhachi and be happy.

At the end of the street, the crosswalk to get to campus is a few meters away at Fuxing South Road. On the right is the Taiwanese bicycle version of the "bitch seat". I can say that, can't I? I mean they said it on the Prime Time cartoon "King of the Hill". Remember when Hank Hill and his wife get touring motorcycles, and at one point Hank initially refuses to ride on the back of his wife's motorcycle? "Honey, I can't ride in back, it's called the 'bitch seat'". Hahaha! That's with a Texan accent, too.

Anyway, there are no seats involved here, so maybe not. And actually, it's a sweet deal for the rider on the back and a pain for the pedaler, because the rider does no work, towers over the pedaler, and can smack him if he's rides over a bump; and the pedaler has to contend with a hundred pounds, more or less, of extra weight! So maybe we can start saying the guys are in the bitch seat. I don't know how Taiwanese women would say, "Yo bitch, take it easy over those bumps!" *smack*

I have those things on my bike, but unfortunately, I don't have a . . . OK, I won't go there.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Calling All Stations (Genesis)
2. Drink Before the War (Sinead O'Connor)
3. Plump (Hole)
4. Tiptoe (live) (Ani DiFranco)
5. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill (The Beatles)
6. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) (Talking Heads)
7. Sanctus (P.D.Q. Bach)
8. Web in Front (live) (Archers of Loaf)
9. Come Back Margaret (Camera Obscura)
10. On the Other Side of Paradise (The Neville Brothers)