Saturday, January 24, 2009

July 15, 2008 - Taipei 101 on a particularly beautiful Summer morning.

Chinese New Year madness is upon us, and I'm glad to be partaking of none of it, except for enduring long lines at the local hypermart. My uncle called the other day asking when I'd be going down to Kaohsiung, and that was the first I had heard about it. But after my cousins wedding just two weeks ago, I thought everyone would be tapped out emotionally and financially for any festivities. I was tapped out of the whole family thing, so I have no plans to go down for New Years. I've already informed work that I'm available to pick up any slack if needed, and it looks like I will be.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Technicolor Girls (Death Cab for Cutie)
2. Photograph (Def Leppard)
3. Unconditional Love (Shiina Ringo)
4. I Got a Right to Sing the Blues (Lena Horne)
5. Walkin' My Baby Back Home (Nat King Cole)
6. S.O.F.T. (Elastica)
7. So Sad About Us (The Breeders)
8. Secure Yourself (Indigo Girls)
9. Lullaby of the Moths (Helium)
10. The Owl's Escape (Mary Timony)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

July 8, 2008 - Yong Ji Road in northern Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan.

I admit it, I got home from work and then stayed up all night watching the inauguration on CNN. I was moved and proud as a Georgia peach to watch Barack Obama become the 44th U.S. president. Not just because of the historicity, but because I have a lot of confidence in him. I think he's going to be one of the great U.S. presidents because of his acts and what he inspires, not just because he's the first African-American president.

He is already lifting the level of discourse in the U.S. With Bush, whenever there was a debate following an Act of Bush, I usually rolled my eyes and changed the channel, annoyed that whatever was being debated was at such a low level.

Already, after Obama's first major speech on the economic crisis last week, and today about Guantanamo Bay, both were followed by debates where I could listen to both sides intently and figure out what I agreed with and disagreed with, what were the important issues presented on either side.

We can be a thinker's country again. No more, "We're gonna invade Iraq, m'kay? They got weapons of mass destruction, m'kay? Weapons of mass destruction are bad. So we're gonna invade, see?"

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Cinderella Search (Marillion)
2. Body Movin' (The Beastie Boys)
3. Shining Light (10,000 Maniacs)
4. Excerpt from 'Lamplight Symphony' (live) (Kansas)
5. Secret Heart (Feist)
6. Who Can It Be Now? (Men at Work)
7. Does Your Heart Beat Slower (June of 44)
8. Tuff Luck (Seam)
9. Sad Songs (Say So Much) (Elton John)
10. Happy Ending (Makihara Noriyuki)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

July 7, 2008 - The final shot from this day of shooting on the bikeways. In the past bunch of shots, you can note the sun progressively setting. This shot is along the Keelung River and it is a long exposure shot when the sky was quickly approaching darkness. That said, the sky was actually a lot darker than is seen here, and in this darkeness, of course, none of the roller bladers can be seen zipping along the track. It was really neat watching them do laps in several waves of groups. I'm a little surprised that absolutely no trace of them can be seen, as when one group was going around, one or another group was waiting in that area just inside the track. But I guess that shows how dark it was, as none of them registered on film. The brightness of the sky here is purely from the long exposure.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Revolution 1 (The Beatles)
2. On Mercury (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
3. Country Death Song (Violent Femmes)
4. Fuckin' Up (live) (Pearl Jam)
5. What I Like About You (The Romantics)
6. Nothing Is Good Enough (Aimee Mann)
7. Shogunade (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
8. Fly Me to the Moon ("Neon Genesis Evangelion")
9. Blue Flow (Heart of Air)
10. Rebel Music (Bob Marley & the Wailers)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

July 7, 2008 - A plane flies over the Danshui River on its approach to Taipei's Songshan Airport (regional).

And a plane flies over the riverside bikeway. On the right is the floodwall that would protect Taipei in case the Danshui overflooded.

The Taiwan government is giving out NT$3,600 shopping vouchers (a little over US$100) to every Taiwanese citizen (and foreign spouses, I think) to try to give a boost to the economy. I thought it was a great political move. It makes everyone happy because they get a hundred free bucks, but they have to use it for shopping, they can't just save it. Although I hope there's a stipulation that people can't get cash change if their purchase is less than the voucher value. They should have to actually spend the value of the voucher or more. Otherwise most Taiwanese will use a voucher, buy something a fraction of its worth and get the cash change and save it.

Anyway, I didn't know if I was eligible. I applied for citizenship in April, but the vouchers are being given out through family registries, and I don't think I was placed on our family registry in Kaohsiung. I just got a notice in the mail from the Immigration Bureau that I am eligible and it told me where to go to get my voucher. Thank god, because my bike tires are as bald as I want them to get, and they're picking up glass (cheap rubber) and sliding on wet patches, so I know how I'll be using my voucher.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. King of Birds (R.E.M.)
2. San Tropez (Pink Floyd)
3. Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett)
4. "40" (U2)
5. Television Man (Talking Heads)
6. Who Will Buy? ("Oliver")
7. Left of Center (Suzanne Vega)
8. Conditioner (Wu-Tang Clan)
9. Last Train to London (Electric Light Orchestra)
10. Death of a Clown (The Kinks)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

July 7, 2008 - Taipei, Taiwan, along the Danshui River at Dadaocheng wharf. This is a famous place for photographers to shoot the sunset. Serious photographers come here and set up their tripods and fancy cameras so that they can all have the same beautiful, perfect, usually digital shot as everyone else.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Pale Marble Movie (Seam)
2. The Moth (Aimee Mann)
3. Life By the Drop (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
4. Distant Early Warning (live) (Rush)
5. Galileo (live) (Indigo Girls)
6. I Shall Scream! ("Oliver!")
7. Panic in Detroit (1979) (David Bowie)
8. A Pillow of Winds (Pink Floyd)
9. The Hard Way (live) (The Kinks)
10. The Tracks of My Tears (The Miracles - Motown)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

July 7, 2008 - Xindian River, west of Taipei, close to sunset. Missing Summer days in the wet, wet drear of Winter. It's been raining for just several days, definitely not as bad as it has been in previous years, when sometimes it rained for two weeks straight, more or less.

My shoes are supposed to be waterproof. They very prominently claim to be "waterproof", but every time it rains, my feet get wet, so I figured maybe they're waterproof from the inside, so once water gets inside, it can't get out. But recently I looked at the sole of my right shoe and there's a hole in the sole. A small rectangular piece of the rubber sole fell out, so when I walk in the rain, the spongy insole just sucks up water. You know, the man who had no feet doesn't have problems like this.

I think this is the reverse view of the top lomo. I thought they may have been taken a few steps away, but it looks like I might have just turned around and shot the warm evening Summer light. Mmm, Summer.

Sometimes these dark, cold, rainy nights with the constant patter of rain in the alley outside make it feel like Winter will never end. Mmm, patter.

Hey Joyce, check out the Korean hip-hop:

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Silent Anticipations (Michael Hedges)
2. Aishite Aishite Aichyatta no Yo (Southern All-Stars)
3. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Duke Ellington)
4. Cakewalk Into Town (Taj Mahal)
5. God (Tori Amos)
6. Dazed and Confused (BBC live) (Led Zeppelin)
7. Since I've Been Loving You (BBC live) (Led Zeppelin)
8. Paris (Epik High)
9. Hoshi o Kudasai (The Blue Hearts)
10. Ghost World (acoustic) (Aimee Mann)