Pat's Log
Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Red-Hot Glass
20080731 Today was a most interesting day. A colleague here in Taipei offered to take me to a nearby glass museum by the name of tittot. The attractions at the museum included some astonishingly beautiful glass sculptures. The museum proved most interesting to me because it provides workshops in glasswork.

Before I knew it, I was spending my lunch hour working with red-hot, molten glass, blowing myself a pretty juice glass.

What can I say? My life gets less predictable by the day. We'll see how the glass turns out after it exits the kiln in the morning. Maybe it'll warrant a comment along the lines of, "Hey, man, were you stoned when you made that thing?"

[] | posted @ 15:54 | link
Mon, 28 Jul 2008

High Speed Trains and Linux Symposium
20080728 While I planned to be back in Ottawa Saturday morning, just in time to catch the last day of Linux Symposium, my trip here in Taipei got extended by one week. I regret missing it, since this is likely to be the last such event in Ottawa for several years to come.

There is nothing like a high-speed new experience to cheer me up. This weekend I went on a trip halfway down the country, to Taichung. By normal train, this is almost a three hour trip. The high speed rail (HSR) got me there in 45 minutes. The train sped down the track at over 300 km/h, which is the fastest I've ever moved in a land-based vehicle. Good service and a fair price makes this train very practical. North America could learn from this.

Taichung is a nice city, significantly less busy than Taipei. The plan for the day was to start by exploring the Confuscius Temple. Next came the National Museum of Fine Arts. When I was all "moderned out" it was time for dinner and the train back to Taipei. A decent day excursion.

Today we didn't go to work; the whole city is closed because of typhoon. After what happened in the south end of the country last week when a typhoon struck there, no one is taking chances. While working from the hotel is somewhat boring, it is quite relaxing.

[] | posted @ 06:22 | link
Mon, 21 Jul 2008

台北市 V4.5
20080721 It has now been over half of my fourth stay in Taipei. This time around, I'm focusing more or revisiting previously seen sights and shopping.

First of all, I think I generally prefer the Taiwan's winter climate. In January, it was a nice average of 18°C. This past week has been pretty much like this:


I can attest to the line that mentions it "feels like" 45 degrees. I can see why the nightlife is vibrant here; it drops off a couple of degrees when the sun goes down, from "melting" to "moist". Not that I'm complaining. Returning to Ottawa should make me appreciate the temperate northern climate.

Anyway, back to Taipei. I think this is the first trip where I took advantage of the metro system. I have to say that it is definitely one of the best out there. It's smaller than London's, but much, much smoother. The fact that trains are spaced less than two minutes apart makes it very appealing. And the price? Just over a dollar will get you from one end of town to the other.

The newly-discovered joys of the train system have made exploring all that much more fun, even if the heat hasn't. Lots of photography. Of course, some dimwit (who happens to bear a striking resemblance to me) managed to bump the camera's exposure setting to +1. As a result, most of the photos before today look like they were shot in the middle of a desert. To make up for it, I went out tonight and got some half-decent photos of the enormous Chiang Kai Shek Memorial by night.

So far it's been a rewarding, if busy, trip. I hope the remaining half continues this way. Taipei is starting to feel like a second home.

[] | posted @ 17:22 | link
Thu, 10 Jul 2008

BSG Still Going Strong
20080710-1 Now that the vacation's over, it's time for another trip to Taipei.

To make things interesting, the stop-over is in Vancouver this time. With an evening to kill, it was the perfect opportunity to and see how Battlestar Galactica is doing.

I half-expected the show to be over. This season is supposed to be the last one, and the episodes that are airing right now are about half way through the year. I thought the sets might have been struck by now. I was wrong. Through the door that revealed the Viper to me three years ago, I now saw what is clearly the set of Colonial One. From the other side of the lot, the opened door of the next building down showed what appeared to be the CIC set.

Later, Grace Park, Boomer herself, walked down to her trailer:


Clearly, the show is still on. And the paparazzi in me is temporarily satisfied.

Other shows currently filming at Vancouver Film Studios include The 4400, Smallville, and a few smaller shows. Interestingly, across the street, at The Bridge Studios, they are much more flamboyant in showing off their current productions:


Vancouver: what a neat place.

[] | posted @ 08:19 | link
Sat, 05 Jul 2008

20080704 So, maybe the planets aligned or something along those lines, but I've actually managed to spend the last week of my life on vacation. Strange, no?

The family vacation carried us to a wonderful beach house in the perfect small community of Salvo, North Carolina. This is my second time here, and my opinion is that North Carolina's Outer Banks is about as good as it gets for a North American summer get-away.

The highlight of the week might have been losing my watch in the ocean. A combination of keeping the cellphone away from sight and not having the convenience of knowing the time, made the trip more laid back. This open access point a few houses down, which I'm using right now, did not help things. But then, my cellphone actually had three GSM networks to latch onto in the States. Both of these are signs of the times, I guess. My one redeeming action (or inaction) is that I stayed away from eMail. Otherwise, the title of this entry could have been "How the Internet Ruined My Vacation." Seriously, it's hard to just disconnect completely.

The second highlight of the week was going Sea-Dooing. Actually, Waverunnering. Twice. The first time was on a good old two-stroke Yamaha. The second time was on one of these "newfangled" four-stroke Yamaha beasts. Something about the two-stroke units was more exilharating. I'm pretty sure it's not the top speed, where both machines were about the same. The vibration? Acceleration, maybe? Those older units just felt more fun.

Anyway, last night of vacation. Tomorrow we drive home. Did I mention I'm feeling homesick for my new car? I really am...

[] | posted @ 03:38 | link

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