Saturday, 22 August 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
niece and nephew (13 and 15) to the KL Tower. We tried going up the Petronas Towers first, but discovered on arrival that tickets are rationed daily -- you need to get in line by 7-8am. I asked the cashier why they were limited, and she told me they were provided free, which didn't really answer my question. I asked why they didn't simply charge, like every other tower I've been to, but she just looked at me oddly and said she didn't know. I realised there's no point getting mad with people at the bottom of the tower...them's just the rules!
We walked to the KL tower, and paid about 40 ringgit each to access the observation deck. Good panoramic views of the city, and the the realisation that the Petronas towers' skybridge was 100m below, made it worth the outlay.
Coming out of the elevators on the ground floor I was struck by an exquisite hemispherical glass/crystal ceiling feature. My fisheye lens was made for this!
Sunday, 24 May 2009
1. Obtain one of these
I got mine from an old guy in Bo Ai Lu, Taipei, for 700 TWD (a big Mac combo is about 100). He only had one, otherwise I would have bought a spare... as you'll see there's a strong possibility I'll need it! It's intended for video cameras, so it's about the right size for a P&S digicam.
2. Get some rubber bands
3. Stretch them out and pull them into the filter ring, which slides down leaving a gap
4. Turn the camera on and wait for the lens to extend
5. Pull the rubber bands over the camera, and start shooting!
6. Optionally, hold onto the lens so it doesn't fall off...
Monday, 11 May 2009
There are little dogs on scooters...
There's Mos Burger, where combo meals come with jelly (in a cup, with a straw) instead of coke, salad that tastes like moss, and paper place mats with interpretive depictions of NZ.
Mmmm, natural beef. I can't stand that imitation factory rubbish.
There's Apple Sidra, which is good (and nothing like cider in case you were wondering - I was), partly because it is Without Chemical Ingredients.
There are people with facemasks everywhere (Taipei air, H1N1). The security guard at the company I visited today asked me if I was American, then handed me one.
Taiwan also joins the fray of countries where Google forces visitors to play an annoying little game called Where the Fuck is the English Display Setting.
Google products default to the local language, and redirect to com.tw (.cn, .th...), displaying in traditional Chinese, of which I know about 6 characters (the useful ones, like mountain, rabbit, and death). The fun part is finding the language setting on the page ('Language' is always in the local language...).
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Monday, 13 April 2009
Here are some of my initial results, shot in Victoria Park during a lunchbreak last week.
This was supposed to be a quick test shot (hence low f-stop and high ISO) but turned out to be one of the better shots, largely due to superior composition -- something hard to get right without image preview.
Backlit plane trees.
Foliage appears white (infra-red actually -- I've converted to B/W in post-process) because it reflects IR.
More plane trees.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Here is a timelapse video I made out my bedroom window using a readymade script:
Friday, 9 January 2009
I had been navigating a roundabout on my conspicuous red motorbike when a car pulled out in front, promptly forwarding me to the tarmac. The bike landed on me, all 151 kilograms crushing down on my right ankle.
It hurt. A lot. It was the most agonising thing I had ever experienced, short of watching Ms Teen South Carolina attempt to string a sentence together.
It happened like this:
I didn't want to imagine what state my ankle would be in. It felt like it was detached, or dangling by a few threads. I was rather glad to find later the situation wasn't nearly as macabre.
The offender was a 17-year old girl, whose honours included 'Prohibited from Driving' (now twice) and 'Idiot'. She proceeded to drive off after her unwelcome greeting; presumably the thought of extra traffic fines was too much to bear.
Anyway, I got lucky. The driver behind me saw it all and slowed down before running over me, while memorising the offender's license plate. I'm extremely greatful for this turn of events - I didn't get run over, and There. Will. Be. Justice. Hurrah!
Some things I've learned from the ordeal:
- Drivers are not to be trusted. Everyone (and everything) on the road is trying to kill you. This applies generally, but motorcyclists should take particular care. I knew this before the accident, but only in theory. 'Real world learning' elucidates theory like nothing else can.
- Crutches generate more suffering than the injury proper. Palms are bruised purple, shoulders pop and grind, and the remaining foot withers under twice it's rated load.
- Despite bruised palms, the urge to hop must be resisted. The hopped-on foot won't last the first day of hopping.
- Moping at home on Friday night isn't fun.
- Shoe pairs become assymetrically worn, as one sits unused.
- Spare socks can finally enjoy a purpose in life.
- Indeed, pairs of socks go twice as far. This is the sole advantage of having one foot out of service.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing I've learnt is that some people actually want motorcyclists to get hurt. Popular sentiment would suggest that if you're on a motorbike you somehow want or deserve to be hurt, that you're literally asking for it by riding a motorbike. That you need to be taught a lesson, etc. It's rather unsettling, and somewhat perverse. In other countries I've visited, ones westerners consider to be comparatively less civilised, larger vehicles give way to and look out for smaller vehicles. No sane person would disagree with this line of reasoning.
I encountered this attitude in a lot of people, from close family to strangers. Conversations usually began with them asking in a concerned, friendly voice what happened. We'd then progress to how it happened, at which point the tone would abruptly flip to one devoid of sympathy. Ouch! I think I'll just start taking the bus.
Thursday, 1 January 2009
A woman (attached to the white sneaks) encouraged me to give her some money. In return I would be allowed to let a bird free, earning me luck*.
I wondered, out of the three parties, who would gain the most luck were I to pay the money and free a bird?
I figured the luck would be distributed thus:
1. 100% to the bird, who escapes captivity, naturally comes out on top.
2. 10% to the woman. She can buy some new sneaks, and has a good laugh at the morons who pay for them.
3. -10% to me. I'm poorer, the bird will probably shit on me, and there's one more sucker in the world who's easily parted with money at the first opportunity to buy what must be earned.
Luck is created through hard work, understanding of the world's workings, enthusiasm and imagination. Anyone who thinks you can buy it is a fool!
*Probably karma points actually, but 'luck' may appeal to a wider audience.