Wednesday, 13 July 2005

We Made It

We recorded the show with no major disasters today. Our intern is back and she was very, very helpful. But after reminding the translators and editor that we really need to stay on top of the schedule especially with the new time restrictions on access to the footage editing rooms and decreased number of producers, the translation team STILL fell behind and three of our first segment stories almost didn't make it on time. Production for our show follows a very specific order. If task one isn't completed, tasks two through eight have to wait. Since we have a deadline, there is absolutely no time to wait. After explaining it countless times, some people still don't get it sometimes. Why is there no leader for our team? I would love to lead, but it's not my place or time yet. The levers I have are very limited, too. Like Lin-sensei says, this year will be one of learning for me: learning to cope, learning the ropes.

She also said that it will be a very lonely year as well. I've been dying to have a good meal with good, old friends, rather than with newspapers and a TV.

I haven't laughed in days. Neither have I smiled from my heart. What an agony this is. I feel like I'm rowing in the rain. Sitting at bow seat, I'm trying to set the boat, but in the wind and rain, the boat just keeps rocking and I'm banging my fingers on the shell every time I'm reaching out or pulling in. We're going against the current and we just can't pick up speed because we can't even grip the oar handles firmly enough. Carrie (our coach) knows but she's still yelling into the megaphone instructing us to slow down the recovery and just pull through. No rush, just pull through it and lean into the rigger, because we can't just quit and go home.

Perhaps this is the mentality I should have right now. No rush, just pull. Take a ten for concentration and another ten for relaxation. Once I stop spinning water and find a lock, then I can apply my power.

I do miss rowing. I miss winning. I miss leading. I miss being appreciated. I miss being cared for.

Tomorrow's another day. I made it through today. I will make it through tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Mondays are Fun

Hello Feet.

It is 00h07, and I've just started writing. I couldn't manage to find peace or stability today, but hopefully I'll meet my 01h00 goal I set last night.

00h09. Tick tock tick tock.

Having wine alone isn't exactly enjoyable, but it does open the gate to Neverneverland.

At this moment, Duke Ellington and friends are playing out of the tube amplifier my dear Uncle Tsu presented me for my birthday this year. To my right is the second glass of wine I have helped myself to. Next to the wine is a dimly
lit candle I brought from the living room.

00h24. I am staring into space. But I finally feel better. I am winding down.

Stress? I love stress. I thrive on stress. Today was stressful that I think I had fun doing silly, brainless things. I think I had so much fun that I practically had to crawl into my room after coming home. My right eye just sarted ticking. Like Mama says, diamonds are made with pressure. Glass cracks under pressure. I must make pressure my best friend.

00h30. Where does the time go? Nancy, my other associate producer today, and I hung by our nails today. If it weren't for Kevin, one of our wire writers, we would probably have fallen out of the 15th floor windown facing the stacked Chinese take-out box-looking Taipei 101. Come to think of it, It might have been a scenic route to death. I had to half intoxicate myself after work to take the edge off, but we made it, if just barely.

When I become interested in business once again, I think I will establish middle-class lounge bars near all major TV stations with news departments.

I think us producers will be OK. We will find a way. Today is over and tomorrow is another chance down the channel. Why, it sounds like a new challenge.

Perhaps the challenge of putting the show together with just two producers will keep me entertained.

Coming back to the present and back into my room,I think I have found my latest favorite color: wine red. I just noticed that my room is full of that color tonight. My yukata with white azalea prints, my bedsheet and pillow cases and the glass of wine on my night stand--they're all wine red. What a discovery.

Good night everyone.

Monday, 11 July 2005

A Day Off with Other People's Dogs

Blogging while watching pre-recorded episodes of CSI is bad for the complexion.

Boy, does it feel nice to have someone to call after work to say "I'm coming home," a house with people in it to return to and a after a nice hot bath, cute pajamas to crawl into bed in. Tonight's pajamas: pink with golden retriever prints.

I went to an adoption and public awareness event Animals Taiwan held, with the intention of simply reporting on the event. One thing led to another, and my crew and I ended up going to a no-kill shelter in Bali (八里), which is outside of Taipei City, then to Danshui (淡水) to get King's story and then finally to the Jianguo weekend flower market (建國花市) to see if we can find people who are usually there trying to adopt dogs out. It was already getting dark, but we managed to find the people we were looking for.

People I talked to today gave me lots of interesting information, and I think I have plenty to write about. The trick is to find footage and enough of it to go with my script. Hopefully I will be able to have enough for a three-episode series. Later this week when I get another day off, I hope to interview some other people and get some more footage for the story.

Despite having been so fatigued from work and lack of sleep, I felt great today. After getting back to the office at 19h00 to help with production, I pulled six voice overs in one shot, in very few takes, and worked through 22h30 with a sense of humor to spare. Who needs sleep when you're doing fun things?

Unfortunately, I missed a lunch with my parents and grandmother today. I wish I knew about it earlier. Mom said the food was great, too. I miss good food.

Goals for tomorrow: find peace, find stability and be asleep by 01h00. Everything else will follow.

Lazarus, puppies and Animals Taiwan volunteers

Sunday, 10 July 2005

What Day is it Again?

Anna's blogging now, too! Yay! It's always interesting to see what friends and family write, and how they write. I definitely enjoy reading everyone's blogs and I read them religiously, so don't stop! The ones I read are in the links section. If anyone sees that I'm missing that of other friends, please do let me know!

Excuse me for the pictures that don't seem to have a common theme. They are much like the rest of my ramblings. Simply staying coherent is difficult enough these days. I can't seem to remember when my week started and when it will end. This is how my day went.

Please say hello to baby Oreo, or "Norio." Oneesan's name is Noriko and for some reason, she called Oreo "Norio" once and it stuck. There's also "Snoreo," since she makes more noise at night than King, who is three times her size.

Oreo came to say hi this morning before I left for class and work.

She has sure grown into a dinosaur. I'm still hoping that this is the adolescent look (she's 13 months old) and she will either become pretty or cute. Mom says her monster mouth looks like a giant zipper when she breathes hard after a few loops around the house.

I finished my guava and vase during today's session, and the guava still looks like an avocado. I think they look alike to begin with. A guava just isn't as round and symmetrical, I guess.

Sensei wanted me to keep practicing on the busts and getting a good feel of proportions. They looked quite silly, so I will put off posting pictures of them until I improve and have something better to show in contrast. Those are a challenge.

After class, I went to the only vegetarian restaurant around work again. Today, I had two lunch buddies--the Taipei Times AND 自由日報. I had 紅燒川味湯麵, which is like 牛肉麵, or beef noodles. I also had a couple of less than ordinary side dishes that I didn't want to finish.

I'm thankful I have access to a vegetarian restaurant around there, but the food just isn't that good. I give them a 2 out of 5 stars for food and 1 out of 5 for service.
I will have to cope until I find something better.

I don't know how I managed to get through 17h00 today. I had plenty of work to do, but felt like a zombie. As evening approached, I started feeling better. Perhaps it was food coma from lunch. I was really hungry and indeed ate too much.

My voice overs are sounding better. I'm very happy about that.

Grace, my only other associate producer today, and I stayed after the recording was over to finish producing three other stories. We're so short on staff that we are no longer able to finish our work earlier simply by working faster. We've really hit the limit. Weekends are really tough, especially with just two AP's. Nevertheless, neither of us complained. In fact, we were happily working until 23h00. I really enjoy working with people who care about what they're doing.

Tomorrow will be another long day, and I'm so tired that I think I will skip class. I would have to leave early anyway, since I'm reporting. I'll be attending a fundraiser and adoption event for Animals Taiwan

So tired. Terrible headache. Where has my creativity gone? To bed, most likely. Good night everyone.

Saturday, 9 July 2005

Long Day

Sep 11, Madrid, Eqypt, now London. Life is so precious. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us of who we are. Who am I? I am a daughter to three parents, sister to two brothers, four dogs, 20 birds and 40 fish, I am a granddaughter, neice and friend. I am a part-time vegetarian, full-time connoisseur of life. I have forgotten.

Today was a long day. Officially, it was my day off, but I went and reported worked in production after my story was finished. I arrived at the office at 8h40 and home at 23h15. I attended a conference on freedom of press in Asia, where directors of journalist unions from South Korea, India, the Philippines and Hong Kong spoke about the conditions in their country. But because we try to stick to local news, I really didn't know what to do and how to write a story. In the end, I wound up asking the president of the International Federation of Journalists his views on having English-language local news in Taiwan. It just shows how insecure I am about the show possibly ending at Formosa TV, possibly for good, in September. I must have faith that things will turn out alright, whichever the case may be.

My editor said I was beating my drum if I wanted to spin the story that way, so suggested that I write about press freedom in Taiwan, compared to the country of the other speakers. In the Philppines, 26 journalists were murdered in the last three years. In Hong Kong, reporters are limited by the communist government and powerful businesses, and as a result, their news is quite sterilized. Taiwan, in contrast, regularly appears the top of the list of press freedom in the region. With a president that would rather choose freedom of press over national security, people outside of Taiwan may be able to imagine how free journalists here are. In fact, perhaps too free. There are eight 24-hour news stations mostly taken over by a ratings war. Much of the airtime is filled with sanguine images, gossip and political figures vying for exposure. If you're interested in seeing the story, you can view it online here: The story was aired 8 July.

Thank goodness for editors. I do feel sorry that they have to put up with reporters like me, though.

My vegetarian lunch and companion.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Where Have I Been?

(first sketch, one month ago)

HOW did I end up back in by bed, blogging so quickly again? Days have been streaming by like shooting stars. This morning, I went to work a little earlier, hoping to find some peace and quiet to plan things and to catch up on newspapers, but like always, it didn't happen. As soon as I got in, work started finding me and before I knew it, we were having machine trouble and then we had finished recording. Whatever happened to dinner? Usually I have time to think about having dinner and then usually choose not to, while watching my co-workers eat. After one of our translators left and especially after one of our associate producers left, the workload has increased so much that we simply forget about eating.

(second sketch)

YESTERDAY, I had a long-awaited day off in which I almost didn't touch anything related to work. I pulled out my yukata, managed to remember how to wear it, went to my art class and started to sketch the bust of a Roman general, had a nice vegetarian lunch and met with a couple of friends.

ONE of my co-workers wanted to have tea and chat, since we are always so busy in the office and never get a chance to talk. He joined me as I had lunch and we went to Diamond Tony's in Tianmu for tea. At around 16h00, my friend Andy from NEHS, whom I haven't seen in ten years joined us. It felt a little odd at first, but once I caught his pace, we had a nice conversation.

(third sketch)

DURING the afternoon, though, I felt very tired and a little ill. I planned to take Lucky and Miffy to Fisherman's Wharf in Danshui in the evening, but I ended up coming home and crawling into bed and waited for Mom and Dad to return home. They had been in Xiamen for the past four days and it's been even longer since I've sat down and eaten with them, so I was really looking forward to it.

BY the time we really sat down to eat, it was past 21h00. They talked about how sad it is that the infighting among various members of the government is keeping Taiwan from developing. They really felt it this time on their visit to China. I'd like to see it for myself sometime. Dad said he'd bring me along next time along with their investment envoy.

(fourth sketch, vase and guava not yet completed; sensei likes my apple but Daniel says my guava looks like an avocado)

THERE were three other pleasant moments for me yesterday. My coworker appreciates the way I describe things so encouraged me to write more. At the beginning of class yesterday, I had no idea how to sketch a human face but in 90 minutes, I saw something that resembled the sculpture on my paper. After showing Mom and Dad my sketches, Dad said I have talent. We all do need encouragement sometimes, don't we?

I have decided to carry my camera with me now, so I can take more pictures to post. Here are some of my sketches. The sculpture and one of an apple, vase and guava aren't completed yet.

(fifth and latest; just started)

IT'S time for bed. It turns out I'm covering an international journalist event tomorrow morning, which means I have less than six hours to sleep. My head has been hurting all afternoon and evening.