Monday, April 30, 2007

New Years family gathering

February 18, 2007 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. New Years family gathering. Well, one of them. It was pretty constant, and then freaked me out, and then I left and returned to Taipei sooner than planned because I couldn't deal. I just felt like a total outsider.

Here are three of my cousins on my mother's side. The two on the left are brothers. The one in the middle not only lives in Taipei, but apparently lives right next to my old school, which means he lives right down the street from my old apartment. Why no one put me in touch with him for the past year is a mystery to me, one which I'm wary of and a little bitter about, considering how hard the adjustment has been, so I'm staying out of touch with him. There must have been a reason. And quite frankly, out of all the cousins on my mother's side, most of whom I do know, I was surprised that when I saw him, I didn't even recognize him.

He gave me his contact information, though. I put it in my wallet, so if I get hit by a bus or something, he'll be the one they call, haha!

Little, cute Gracie. She has the cutest, squeaky little voice.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Crew (A Tribe Called Quest)
2. Confessions (Violent Femmes)
3. I'm Only Happy When It Rains (Garbage)
4. Testify (Parliament-Funkadelic)
5. 最愛的人傷我最深 (Ai Mei)
6. That's All You Wanted (Throwing Muses)
7. You've Got To Pick a Pocket Or Two ("Oliver!")
8. Darling Baby (The Elgins - Motown)
9. Turn Back, O Man ("Godspell")
10. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer ("Cats")

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Kaohsiung night shots

February 18, 2007 - More of the multiple exposure mode on the 2. Here I can distinctly see I took 5 consecutive shots of the same basic scene. Again, five is not enough. I'll try 10.

Long exposure with the 2. I don't know what this plaza is, not far from my uncle's building. I think it's always been here, although maybe prettied up after the dictatorial rule of the KMT ended in the late 80s. I don't even know what it's called.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Jason and the Argonauts (XTC)
2. Yinnin' & Yangin' (Victor Wooten)
3. Velvet (Nokko)
4. I Believe (R.E.M.)
5. Another Brick in the Wall, part I (Pink Floyd)
6. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (Sly & the Family Stone)
7. Planetary (Rainer Maria)
8. Timebomb (Public Enemy)
9. I've Had Enough (The Who)
10. Hello Earth (Kate Bush)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Night Shooting

February 18, 2007 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. New Years night market down the street from my uncle's building.

A Fisheye 2 experiment - low light, using the multiple exposure feature where you can reset the shutter without advancing the frame. I don't know how many exposures are on this frame, but not enough. That makes sense. With the shutter speed at 1/100, you have to take quite a lot of frames to add enough light to make a low light shot come out. I don't think there are more than 5 or 6 exposures on this frame. Definitely not enough.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Beyond Belief (Elvis Costello & the Attractions)
2. Ramble On (Led Zeppelin)
3. Fuckin' Up (live) (Pearl Jam)
4. Someday, Lasting, Serenade ("Haibane Renmei")
5. Moonlight Story (Princess Princess)
6. Sambita (Kinky)
7. Noise (The Kinks)
8. Bootzilla (Bootsy Collins)
9. Koku-Reibo (Judo Notomi)
10. Could I Leave You? ("Follies" - Sondheim)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Tao is going up

February 18, 2007 - New Years day lomostroll, I came across this busy Taoist temple. I'm not sure what made this one so special that it was so crowded and contributing more than its share towards localized global warming. I mean it's yellow and shiny, but is that all it takes? I forget the name of this road, but it's not far from the Love River, down the canal near the Carrefour.

Interior. Blurry new years praying.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Mantra of Kwan Shi Yin (Fo Guang Shan Choir)
2. Crowded Room (XTC)
3. Dames ("42nd Street")
4. Megablast (Public Enemy)
5. The Fool on the Hill (demo) (The Beatles - Anthology)
6. One World (Not Three)/Love is the Seventh Wave (live) (Sting)
7. Pride and Joy (live) (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble)
8. Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadnes (Smashing Pumpkins)
9. If I Had a Fine White Horse ("Secret Garden")
10. In the Rapids (Genesis)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Years rooftop

February 17, 2007 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Shooting west at the sunset from the rooftop of my uncle's building. It's actually technically mostly my mother's building, since after my grandparents died, she got most of the title by contributing the most money to make sure the family kept it. That's just my guess why. Anyway, it's not like it's mostly her building and she's letting my uncle stay there. It's his home, and if my mother had to contribute money to keep it that way, well, that's how she treats family.

The sun out there is setting over the sea, by the way. That's part of Kaohsiung Harbor in that direction, and the newly refurbished Fisherman's Wharf.

Same rooftop, same time, I just held the shutter open a little longer time to get more light. Also this is facing away from the sunset, so more light is falling here. During New Years, this street outside my uncle's building and the surrounding alleyways turn into a raging nightmarket for 3 or 4 days. That's what all those booths are. The center section has had to have been left clear for the past few years because it is right over where they're building a Kaohsiung MRT subway station (whoa! somebody check that grammar, is it correct?), so construction stuff has been there.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Dying (XTC)
2. I of the Mourning (Smashing Pumpkins)
3. Sanya (Kohachiro Miyata)
4. Training Horses on the Mongolian Grassland (Guo Brothers and Shung Tian)
5. Teeth Like God's Shoeshine (Modest Mouse)
6. Satellite (Aimee Mann)
7. The Punk and the Godfather (The Who)
8. Crepescule with Nellie (Thelonius Monk)
9. A German Requiem, V. Ihr Habt Nun Traurigkeit (Brahms)
10. Symphony No. 2, I. Adagio molto-Allegro con brie (Beethoven)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kaohsiung fotostroll

Bah! Well, it had to happen eventually. Blogger upgraded group blogs so now I can't upload photos using the old blogger template. So now pictures don't fit to screen anymore, and now there's a capacity limit for photos. Who knows what that will mean once capacity is reached. On the bright side, I can finally remove that annoying group blog from my dashboard!

February 17, 2007 - Kaohsiung photostroll. Weather down there was markedly better than in Taipei in that it wasn't raining all the time, but truth to tell, it isn't all sunny and blue sky, either. I did manage to get a sunny, blue sky day, though. But as nice as that might sound, it also meant hot! Generally, Kaohsiung winter months are hazy, but at least not constant drear and rain like in Taipei.

This is a more northern area of Kaohsiung than I'm familiar with. There seems to be a lot of urban renewal going on, this lomo notwithstanding. My cousin who grew up in Kaohsiung disagrees that Kaohsiung is developing, but he never has anything good to say about Kaohsiung and currently lives in Shanghai, China. So where as most Taiwanese are politically blue or green, he might be considered red!

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Sad Dress (Belly)
2. Natural (Nokko)
3. Pride and Joy (Marvin Gaye)
4. Huffer (The Breeders)
5. Bring On the Night/When the World Is Running Down (live) (Sting)
6. Oh Yoko! (John Lennon)
7. He's Gone (Suede)
8. Perfect (The The)
9. Lizzie Sage (Throwing Muses)
10. The Look of Love (Billy May and His Orchestra)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Moved Again!

Well sort of, it's the same building, same landlady.

During the last big rain last week, the leak in my ceiling got worse (it leaked to a manageable extent in early March), and I started freaking out. By freaking out, that means my emails to the landlady were on the verge of becoming not-so-cordial.

It just so happened that an apartment on the 6th floor just became available. She said I could sleep up there until the leak was fixed since the leak was right over the sleeping area. When she came by to give me the keys, she said I could move into the apartment if I wanted to, too. Playing it cool, I told her I would think about it and let her know as soon as possible. In my mind, I jumped at the opportunity and decided to wait until the next morning to tell her, yes, I wanted to move.

The selling point was that it has windows with views:

April 11, 2007 - It's smaller and more worn than the downstairs apartment. It's also bound to be hotter in the Summer months and it's much more noisier (read: previous apartment was newer, cooler, and quieter). However, I don't need a lot of room, I don't have a lot of stuff and would be happy to get rid of some of what I have; I love the heat and practically thrive in it; and the noise doesn't bother me, it makes me feel like I'm living in a city.

It's also much more private. Downstairs I could clearly hear my neighbor sneeze and cough because of some hole in the wall above the false ceiling. Also sounds from other apartments with windows in the alley my window faced made me feel like I was living in slums. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, it was actually quite homey in a community-feel sort of way.

In my new apartment, I'm comfortable making any amount of noise, I only have one hall neighbor and it seems he's not around much anyway. When I open my windows, the traffic noise is so loud I feel perfectly comfortable whipping out my guitar and wailing away a few bars of "Hey Joe". Or not.

The view out my new window:

I feel much more part of the city. Actually a parade of emergency vehicles just went wailing by, and whereas before I could just hear them, I could see them now. I've never seen so many emergency vehicles negotiating typical Taiwan traffic that has no concept of pulling to the side when emergency vehicles are riding up their asses. You know, people, someday it's going to be one of your grandparents or your house on fire, and you'll want people getting out of the way of fire trucks and ambulances.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Artificial Man (The Kinks)
2. Let 'Em In (Wings)
3. Heart Full of Soul (The Yardbirds)
4. Sent For You Yesterday and Here You Come Today (Count Basie)
5. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.)
6. Love Song (Nokko)
7. The Blue Bus Blues (Bakufu Slump)
8. Napoleon (live) (Ani DiFranco)
9. Silverfuck (Smashing Pumpkins)
10. Father Ruler King Computer (Echobelly)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kaohsiung fotostroll

February 17, 2007 - So that travellin' by train, high on cocaine was to Kaohsiung for the New Year. I wasn't thrilled about going and all that family stuff that I'm kinda separate from. So on New Years Eve, I split and went on an extended fotostroll. Hm, blur, must've been holding the shutter open on the 2.

Kaohsiung former City Hall, next to the Love River. I think they turned it into a museum of some sort.

The Love River. Kaohsiung doesn't have much of a skyline and just a few tall buildings that are somewhat distinct. Those buildings on the left are one of the distinct ones, but probably only because they are right on the Love River, which is a model of civic betterment and has become a "place to go" when in Kaohsiung. The river used to be gross and stink to high hell.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. L'Nmiaccd'htck72kpdp (MC Solaar)
2. Five Years (David Bowie)
3. Our Time ("Merrily We Roll Along" - Sondheim)
4. Bad Light (Built to Spill)
5. Lola (live) (The Kinks)
6. Zenergy (Victor Wooten)
7. Newly Fast (764-HERO)
8. Sukiyaki (Misora Hibari)
9. Lounge (Closing Time) (Modest Mouse)
10. Twilight (Electric Light Orchestra)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

travellin' by train, high on cocaine...

February 15, 2007 - In front of 台北車站, Taipei Main Station. I managed to book a train ticket to Kaohsiung for New Years that day. I wisely travelled on Thursday. If I tried on Friday, I'm sure the train would have been full. Train tickets seem to sell out all the time, I wonder why they don't try to meet the demand.

The train platform. I like trains, so I like travelling by train. The problem is getting an available seat. Bus is cheaper, though. The bus trip is less than $15, while the train costs more than $20. And then there's the new High Speed Rail, Taiwan's newly inaugurated Bullet train, but that's going to have to wait for a future post.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Two Suns in the Sunset (Pink Floyd)
2. Sugar Mice in the Rain (demo) (Marillion)
3. Agarizachi (live) (Shoukichi Kina & Champloose)
4. I'm Alive (Throwing Muses)
5. Scratch-n-Sniff (Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble)
6. With This Love (Choir) (Peter Gabriel - "The Last Temptation of Christ")
7. How Do You Sleep? (John Lennon)
8. Up To Me (Jethro Tull)
9. Downer (Nirvana)
10. Cross Bones Style (Cat Power)

Sunday, April 08, 2007


February 13, 2007 - Xindian, Taiwan. Footbridge crossing over the Xindian River in the Xindian recreational area near the Xindian MRT station.

Xindian River paddle boats with the Bitan Bridge in the background.

Riding home along the Xindian riverside bikeway.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Avenue (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)
2. I Can't Get You Off Of My Mind (The The)
3. Sparks of the Tempest (Kansas)
4. Dollars & Cents (Radiohead)
5. Golden Tiger (Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra)
6. Downer (Nirvana)
7. Ajisai Dori (Spitz)
8. Pan in "A" Minor (Amoco Renegades Steel Orchestra)
9. Add It Up (The Kinks)
10. Because It's There (Michael Hedges)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

light leak

February 13, 2007 - Beginning of the roll. It happens sometimes that light seeps in and exposes the film at the very beginning.

Xindian, Taiwan, in the neighborhood around the Xindian MRT station, the farthest south station on the MRT system. These two shots are roughly two sides of the same row of buildings. The buildings on the left in the bottom shot are in the same row as the buildings on the left on the top shot. The bottom shot is looking south, the top shot is looking north. Off to the right of the lower shot is the Hsindian River.

The top shot is a quiet residential street. Off to the right in the bottom shot is a public recreation area with booths, food, games, and ample pedal boats, almost boardwalk-y.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. White Russians (demo) (Marillion)
2. Pictures at an Exhibition, Promenade-The Market at Limoges-Catacombs (Mussorgsky)
3. Hide and Seek (Dreams Come True)
4. Unquiet Slumber for the Sleepers... (Genesis)
5. Bunun Tuza (David Darling & the Wulu Bunun)
6. Status Quo (Throwing Muses)
7. D/FW (The Vaughan Brothers)
8. Re-Enact the Crime (Unwound)
9. Mushaboom (demo) (Leslie Feist)
10. The Pan in Me (Amoco Renegades Steel Orchestra)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hsindian River

February 13, 2007 - A few days after I officially moved to Hsindian, south of Taipei, I took off on my bike even further souther, south of Hsindian. The roads led to fantastic scenery and
much more of a "Taiwan feel". It made me feel that Taipei is exactly what the Taiwanese international sports teams are referred to as: Chinese Taipei. Taipei feels like it's occupied by (mainland) Chinese people and Chinese culture. I'm feeling that Taipei is not Taiwanese culture.

Not that this is good or bad. I came to Taiwan thinking I was pretty green - pro-Taiwan independence - probably greener than the rest of my family, because I believe in self-determination and human rights. Now I'm just pro-peace and reconciliation, although I don't think that is possible until the mainland Chinese government changes. That's the international matter.

Domestically, I've come to feel that Taiwan is rightfully a part of China. Taiwan, as a province, is no different from any other Chinese province. That is, it has its own culture and language, but it's still Chinese. Taiwan, as separate from China, is a Cold War relic. I may have my history wrong, I should probably look this up, but if it wasn't for the U.S., Mao Tse-tung would have chased Chiank Kai-shek to Taiwan and wiped out the Nationalists once and for all. Seriously, what else would have stopped him?

I think a viable Taiwanese attitude might be, "Fine, we're Chinese, we're part of China, we don't want to be independent, but we want to be part of democratic government that respects human and state rights. We'll wait until the climate changes, and then we'll reunite". And I do think the Communist government will change or fall eventually, just like any other Chinese dynasty. It'll be the 共產朝 - the Communist Dynasty.

Oh, whoops. I forgot I'm on blog. This is a road that runs along the Hsindian River heading to Wulai. I have no idea what the huge structure is, or what it does, but it looked like they were still building something on it or around it.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Nathan Jones (The Supremes)
2. Bounce ("Bounce" - Sondheim)
3. I Can See for Kilometers (The Who)
4. See Emily Play (Pink Floyd)
5. Failure (Kings of Convenience)
6. On the Air (Peter Gabriel)
7. Radar Follows You (Versus)
8. Female of the Species Chase ("Barnum")
9. I'm a Brass Band ("Sweet Charity")
10. Blank Page (Smashing Pumpkins)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

rooftop deck

February 13, 2007 - View from my rooftop deck looking southeast over Hsindian. That building on the left was previously scene in this prior entry. The Jingmei River is to the left of this shot. The road right here in front is Fuxing Road, and if you follow it just to the end of this shot, you hit a bridge that puts you back in Taipei. Likewise if you take the cross street right here and go left, you almost immediately hit a bridge that goes back into Taipei. So Taipei still is definitely my reference, but the unfortunate reality is that I now live in Hsindian, making me inferior.

Turn around from the previous shot and this is the rooftop deck.

Walk forward in the previous shot and shoot down the alley on the right, and you can see a sliver of the Jingmei River and Taipei beyond.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. All Day and All of the Night (live) (The Kinks)
2. Nothing Achieving (The Police)
3. Iro Iro no Ba (Yuko Hara)
4. Cheeseballs in Cowtown (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones)
5. I'm Nothing Without You ("City of Angels")
6. What's the Frequency, Kenneth? (R.E.M.)
7. See the Positive (The Maupin/Williams Project)
8. Symphony No. 41, I. Allegro vivace (Mozart)
9. The Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Sea ("Pacific Overtures" - Sondheim)
10. Oh (Fugazi)