Tuesday, June 30, 2009

October 19, 2008 - The view from the outside hall of my 3rd story floor. The entire floor I'm sure used to be one whole apartment, but my landlord - my cousin's uncle on her mother's side - partitioned it off into separate apartments with a shared kitchen.

A short walk from my building is this roundabout at Minsheng East Road and Sanmin Road. This is a very nice section of town. A lot of residential neighborhoods in Taipei still have their old dump-like quality, so much so that the government is offering building owners subsidies to beautify their exteriors. Not in this section. For most part, residential buildings are very nice by any Western city standards. Not shiny, bright and modern, but this area of town was obviously built with a plan in mind. Not haphazardly.

I'll be leaving New Jersey next Tuesday morning, arriving in Taipei Wednesday evening, back at work Thursday night. Not sure how I feel about going back. As something I have to do, I guess I'm ready, but if I had my druthers, maybe I wouldn't.

I'm hoping to start shooting more. At least a little more than I have been. On the SLR front, I'm "retiring" my Pentax ZX-5n and taking my brother's Nikon N70 hand-me-down, for which I just bought a refurbished Nikon 24mm-120mm zoom lens. Just being a Nikkor autofocus lens is sweet. Much quicker and more accurate than the Pentax. From when I tested the Nikon against the Pentax before, the Nikon blew the Pentax out of the water.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

September 26, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Bike path near the Pier 2 arts center between Fisherman's Wharf and the mouth of the Love River.

Western sun explosion behind a freighter in the harbor. I haven't been shooting much of anything these days. I'm wondering if it's a total loss of inspiration, but I'm just not seeing photographs anymore. It's tough, because I know they're out there, it's just a matter of looking and being in tune with finding something.

I'm back in the U.S. now for three weeks to recharge my batteries, get Taiwan out of my system and see how I feel about staying there once I go back. Of course, I don't know what I'd do here if I came back, so as long as I have a job there, I'll just cruise along.

I'm actually appreciating suburbia this time back. My brother bought a house since I was last here, and I've been coming over everyday . . . since my parents don't have Internet at their house. They live less than a mile away from each other.

Most important is getting my fix of American food. SF Mission District burritos - check; Fort Lee pizzeria pizza and lasagna - check; mac & cheese - check.

Also it turns out my brother is some sort of computer whiz and he switched out my dying, 4-year-old, 60GB hard drive for a new 250GB one, and it's almost like I have a new computer; that's how close to death it was before. It was soooo slow, and I couldn't play audio or visual files, and all my music files were on an external hard drive. Now everything's back up to speed and music files are back on my computer. I'm just still getting all the programs I was using before back up. But I'm happy, laptop's happy, who can ask for more?

I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that my brother is a computer whiz. He ended up becoming a doctor, but he was the OG version of computer geek - an OCG. He was among the first modem users, posting on local "bulletin boards" - I remember everyone wanting to make phone calls and picking up the phone and getting that high squeal of modems talking to each other.

He's got a set up now that I can't even get my head around. He's got it set up so that he can control computers at his home from his office. That may be child's play for big corporations with network engineers and such, but that he set this up more or less himself is pretty impressive. I know he had to call in software engineers whenever code was involved, but he maintains the hardware himself. G'dam.

Friday, June 12, 2009

September 24, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Odd sign at Kaohsiung Harbor, because this is not a major entry point into Taiwan, and the people who use this entry point don't speak English.

Dome of Light at the Formosa Boulevard KMRT station.

I'm just streaming along at work. For a while there it looked like they were going to cut my hours, and if that happened I was going to give notice on the spot. I don't know if my threat made it to my boss, who I never talk to anyway, or if my co-worker who handles scheduling took a more diplomatic tack to make that not happen so far.

Anyway, since there's no communication between in my boss, I was going to interpret a cut in hours as dissatisfaction with my work, and if I'm not doing a job satisfactorily, I don't want to do it at all. And if no one is noticing that newspapers I work on have less major/facial mistakes than papers on days I don't work, then I don't want to work at a place where my efforts aren't recognized.

When I mentioned that to someone, he actually said the boss wanted me to work more hours, full time instead of the 80% that I'm working now, but after thinking about that, I decided that makes no sense. If he wants me to work more hours, cutting my hours is not the way to go about doing it. So if I get back from vacation, and my hours get cut, I'll still quit.

I wonder if any of this has to do with the fact that I'm going on vacation for 3 weeks starting next Tuesday! Yay! It is strange for a worker to take 3 weeks off, but I argued that this trip was long in the planning before I was re-activated, and I couldn't take it earlier because I was waiting to get my citizenship and was still fulfilling the residency requirement. And it was non-negotiable, it was a condition of my accepting re-activation. The new editor-in-chief said OK, but it may have still stuck with him as uncool.

I don't know if I'm excited to go. Traveling is such a nuisance now with swine flu and security checks, and I flying on my father's miles, so the flights there and back are broken into 3 legs and multiple airlines. I definitely want to go, but why can't have someone invented a transporter like on 'Star Trek' yet.

I don't have any plans of what to do there. Think I'll just chill.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

September 24, 2008 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Not a very interesting shot of the main bridge at the Heart of Love River. I'm not sure what the Heart of Love River is. Maybe it's supposed to represent some center of Kaohsiung. Or not. It's an extra developed area along the Love River bikeways and is pretty at night. But there's nothing to do there. It's just there.

A not very interesting shot of muddy-looking waters of the Love River, also by the Heart of Love River. I think I was particularly uninspired shooting this roll. Even now. I haven't loaded a new roll since I finished the last one several weeks ago.