Wednesday, May 20, 2009

September 20, 2008 - More riverside bikeway. I think this is in Beitou District in northern Taipei. Not having car, girlfriend with car, nor willing to transport by car, I'm not sure what the roadway is overhead, but no doubt it's some bit of freeway to make a few miles go faster. *sigh* what ever happened to US$150 per barrel oil? Funny, though, that bend in the freeway actually looks straightened out by the fisheye. It's actually a pretty sexy line.

Guangdu Temple, a famous Taoist temple in northern Taipei. I haven't been riding this year. I just started running again, but, alas, no motivation to take my bike out yet. I think part of it is psychological. I don't want to just repeat what I did last year. I don't want to get out on my bike and ride the same routes I did last year, and I covered most of them last year. I can't think of many routes that I've noticed and didn't do last year. But I think once I get out on my bike, I'd be happy doing anything. Well, like with running, I won't force anything. It's not like a dog that you have to take out for a walk whether you like it or not. I'll take out my bike when I do.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

September 20, 2008 - Keelung riverside bikeway, clean up about a week after a typhoon last year. Being a relatively large river with a wide flood plain, the Keelung River wasn't so impressive during the typhoon, it just filled with lots of water, and the clean up wasn't all too dramatic either. Some large pieces of machinery pushing debris into piles.

The Keelung River flows east to west through Taipei, with one south to north kink. This is where the south to north part kinks back westward, with Neihu District on the right, north of the river. Rivers in cities fascinate me. Whenever I go to a new city, the first thing I want to know about is the rivers and the role they play.

Like when I went to Geneva, I had to see where the Rhone met the L'Arve, and it was a beautiful confluence since the waters of the Rhone were clear and blue, and the L'Arve was brown and muddy. And in Hiroshima, of course, the Genpaku Dome (ground zero for the atomic bomb) was right at a confluence of rivers.

Still along the Keelung River splitting Zhongshan District across the river on the left with Shilin District to the right. Currently, this stretch is unpassable due to construction. Pisses me off. Last year, Taipei was so good at having miles and miles of seamless bikeway, but recently they've closed huge sections for construction. They had to do it all at once? They don't recognize the importance of the bikeways for Taipei's recreational life and promotion of cycling? It's what I've come to expect of Taiwan, but I was hoping for something better.

Friday, May 08, 2009

September 17, 2008 - Taipei Main Station with its grand looking interior. I should've aimed a little more up. Whenever I look up there, I think what a waste of space, they could've done something with that. Taipei Main Station is a hub that includes regular trains, the transfer station of the two major MRT lines, and the High Speed Rail. On the second floor, where I'm standing, is a mega foodcourt that goes all around this space. Just across the street to the north, they are putting the finishing touches on a centralized bus depot, which I assume will house all the long-haul tour bus companies in one place. It will also be a shopping center, multiplex, office space, and luxury residences.

September 24, 2008 - Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station. Not exactly the equivalent of Taipei Main Station, but as close as Kaohsiung can get to it. Kaohsiung's main train station is just a train station, even though there is a KMRT station attached to it now. It's an old, dingy, no nonsense, get-people-to-their-trains station. But Formosa Boulevard Station is the transfer station for the two lines of the KMRT, and so it's the dolled up, flagship, pride-of-the-KMRT station.

I'm in Kaohsiung now, and I passed right by this impressive public art piece called "Dome of Light" this morning. I took the overnight bus after I got off of work, arriving after 5:30 in the morning.

I'm here because today is the first day of eligibility to apply for getting my Taiwanese citizen ID card, after more than a year of waiting and unable to leave the country.

I had to apply for my ID card back then, and now I had to apply to get it. Go fig. They say I'll get it in 2 weeks, at which point I have to apply for a Taiwanese passport (despite the fact that I already have one), which will take another week. So I've already booked a flight to go to the U.S. in June for 3 weeks.

That's going to put things at work in a real mess, but I've been stuck here since January 2008, and the newspaper gave me the serious shaft for about six months, and even though that was under my old boss, who retired, I'm still holding it against the paper in that I'm not going to go any extra miles for them, and I have no loyalty to them; although I will continue to do the best job I can, just because that's my work ethic, I think, and support the new boss and his changes (one of which included bringing me back full-time, but on my terms, which is 4 days a week), and make the position I'm in as professional as possible - which it hasn't been.

Anyway, we need to hire new people for the position, and the situation in June is turning out to make it absolutely urgent to get trainees in very, very soon, or it will really suck for someone. Not me. I'll be eating the best pizza and lasagna in the world.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

September 18, 2008 - Singer of the band, Andy. I shot this specifically because he told me he found some of my sites. So in shooting this I was kind of saying, "yea, so what? you found my site, I'll shoot you, I'll post you". He was down with that. Note the Avril shirt. That was kind of a joke. I hope.

So we ran the news that Justice Souter is stepping down from the U.S. Supreme Court. Coming from a law background, that was of interest to me. What was Bush 1 thinking? Who knows?

When Souter was being considered for the Supreme Court position, liberals were up in arms, suspicious about anyone Bush 1 would consider. I remember Souter being referred to by some liberals as the "stealth nominee", because no one could peg him, but he couldn't be a good thing.

However, despite being selected by Bush 1, Souter ended up voting left of center and issued some incredibly thoughtful, but decidedly liberal opinions. In any case, I applaud Bush 1 for not choosing politically, but by legal merit. Souter was so liberal that I can only think that Bush 1 was intentionally trying not to be political in choosing a nominee.

But then there's Uncle Tom Clarence Thomas, and I've read his opinions and what an idiot he turned out to be. Seriously. I have a lot of respect for the Supreme Court, even when they publicly seem to be doing something cowardly, there's actually a good and wise reason for doing it. Like dodging an issue because it's not time to come down on it. Justice isn't blind and shouldn't be, according to the Supreme Court. They have to take the temperature of the social climate and respond to reality, not just be guided by blind judicial principle.

I hope Obama chooses a Supreme Court nominee wisely and based on merits, not on political bent. Of course, I'm happy about the way Souter turned out, but if Obama chooses a nominee who turns out to lean to the right, I hope, at least, I can read that person's opinion and be swayed enough by the legal logic to accept it. There were plenty of conservative justices whose opinions I read and was daunted and respected their analysis, even if I wasn't happy with the outcome.