Tuesday, 23 December 2008


There have been weddings left and right the past few months!




Ren, by the way, created one of my favorite wedding slideshows so far.

I think I'd like to produce weddings as well one day. They're happy occasions and I think I may have some good ideas :)

I love my SE W880i

I was reminded of how much I love my Sony Ericsson W880i (nothing to do with the person who gave it to me) when it was overworked and had to be sent to mobile phone hospital for a week.

Dad loaned me his Blackjack and it just wasn't the same...

So happy to finally have my 880 back. I've had it for 1,5 years and still can't get over how small, sleek and cool it is. It's a little beat-up, but I still love it.

With Uncle Tad and Tomoko

I MC'ed Uncle Tad's "Tadao Yoshida Centennial Celebration" in October in Toyama. It went well and I had an incredible time and wonderful experience.

Here I am with Uncle Tad and his absolutely amazing assistant, Tomoko.

Thank you, Uncle Tad for the chance to do it, and Tomoko for being so helpful!

Pictures from work

Just a few misc pix from work.

Reporting on Taiwanese travelers coming back from Thailand after Bangkok airport was closed due to protests. We were at Taoyuan airport two nights until nearly midnight that week. A-hai, my cameraman bought us instant noodles from the convenient store in the arrival lobby. Two nights, two bowls of instant noodles. I think I maxed out my salt intake allowance for the next two weeks. On the bright side, it was kind of fun eating cup o noodles in an airport lobby. Certainly makes for interesting memory.


Kids' math competition. I was thinking, "seated, these six year old kids' feet don't even touch the floor and they're already taking math exams?" But apparently, some of these kids actually found it fun. Hm.


A travel agent (郭正利,天喜旅行社) held a press conference rebuffing rumors of cashflow problems and bankruptcy. As part of the show, he brought TWD30 mn (USD908.000 )to the PC and put it on the table for reporters to see. Last year, he held an incredibly high profile and extravagant wedding, drawing plenty of media attention and live reporting every hour from almost all TV stations. This guy really knows how to use the media to his advantage.

Baby carrier

Cool baby carrier. Don't get the wrong idea. Not buying one for myself anytime soon. Just think it's really cool.

(via minor details)

FTV big heads

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Hanga day 4

Ta da!

Need more practice. Much more practice. But I'm quite happy with the start :)

ING run

Every year in December, ING hosts an international marathon in Taipei, and this year, I finally ran. Just came home from it, in fact. Of course, I didn't run the marathon - I ran the 9k, just 1 step above the 3k kiddie fun run. Event organizers boasted some 100,000 runners out there today, and I sure felt it! If I remember correctly, they closed off six lanes for runners to use, and it still wasn't enough. Next time, I'm starting at the end of the pack.

Maybe one day I'll sign up for the half-marathon. 21k's doable, but it'll take regular training. I can't do anything regularly these days. Even my wake-up time is different nearly every day. Today was 5h30, yesterday was 3h00, tomorrow (so far) is 6h45...

Time for a nap. Then it's off to the art school to print print print!

Hanga day 3

After the Dominican lunch, I went to school to keep working on my hanga. I got there around 15h00 and finally finished all the carving by 22h30. Hopefully I'll be able to carve faster as I gain more experience. The details of the middle of the orchids were really difficult. We'll see how it turns out on paper today. Excited!

A big thank you to Jingwen (1st year grad student) who's been teaching and helping me the past few days.

Dominican lunch

Lunch with the Dominican girls (plus James). It was great seeing everybody!

Lots of good news - Andrea got into Duke's business school and Gina's graduating from Harvard Business School, going to work at a consultancy in HK.

I've got some smart friends!

Saturday lunches are really good for me - it's probably the only time I'm free to eat with family and friends, even if I'm falling asleep during the meal. Since I anchor Saturday mornings these days, I'm free from 12h00. After so long, I've finally figured out a time that I'm (almost) always free.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Poochies at bedtime

The gang in my room at Mom & Dad's right before bedtime. Hero the Barbarian was downstairs in the living room.

Oreo is the only one that's athletic enough to jump on my bed these days - UNINVITED. She always hogs the bed, squishing me to one of the corners, where I have to sleep curled up or at least one of my limbs will dangle off the bed and cause me to fall off sometime in the middle of the night. And she also moves off her towel, leaving hair all over my comforter.

I miss the days when it was Miffy that slept on my bed with me when we were little. Mom doesn't like dogs on the bed, so when she'd check on us and turn off the lights for us at bedtime, and she caught Miffy on the bed, she'd shoo her off. So Miffy and I came up with a routine - she'd wait in her bed on the floor until Mom came in and turned off the lights. Once the lights were off and the door closed, I'd say "OK!" and boing! up she sprang. And she's sleep perfectly on top of a towel I have on my bed to catch her hair, too. And when Mom came back for something, she'd hop off just in time. Of course, we'd get caught sometimes, but how can anyone be mad at Miffy? We used to go to sleep like that every night until I went away to college.

When I have my own dog one day, I think I'd like a Sheltie, or another smart, med-small sized, elegant-looking girl dog. I'd like to name her "Grace Kelly." And if I have a boy dog, maybe "Frank Astaire" or "Frank Sinatra," a med-small sized, sportier dog. And if I have TWO boy dogs, maybe "George" and "Ira," as in the Gershwin brothers.


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Hanga day 2

Oh my neck and shoulders! I finally realize why I'm always sticking on saronpasu for Mama at the atelier. I think I'm going to buy my own tomorrow. Good thing it's turtle neck season. Bad thing that I have no one to stick the saronpasu on for me.

I have a feeling I might have to do the outline and shading blocks over...

To be continued on Saturday... I love this!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Hanga day

I bought an orchid, hopped on a taxi and finally made it to the arts university in Banqiao today. The last time I went was years ago, before the print art center became a graduate school!

Before I got to school, I was feeling anxious and uneasy, like I have been lately, as if something's about to happen. But after I started sketching, coloring and carving, I was in a totally different world and everything else seemed to just melt away. It was like time had stopped and I was in a tranquil bubble of just me and what I was making with my hands. I started at 14h30, and when I came up for air, it was already 20h30! I didn't even feel hungry or cold! Except now my eyes, neck, shoulders, fingers and arms are aching from being hunched over and drawing and carving all this time.

Big thank you's to 鍾老師 and his students for the help! I'll be back in the morning tomorrow!

This will be my very first woodblock print. Exhausted and fatigued, but so happy about getting back to doing art.

Mystery man

More details of the mystery man on the private blog. Please go there if you have access to it.

Christmas card for Tamba

I wrote Tamba, the little boy in Sierra Leone whom I'm supporting through World Vision, a Christmas card today. It's a Santa whose arms and legs move when you pull the string that's attached. So cute! I hope he likes it. I also made him some wish-making paper cranes and enclosed more origami paper and instructions on how to make his own. Last time, I made cicadas for him, because that was during the summer, and there are lots of cicadas in Taiwan during the summer.

Hopefully he's doing well.

Niki visits Taipei

Niki, whom I rowed with on UCI Women’s Crew visited the other day! I hadn’t seen her since my junior year in college, which was eight or nine years ago. In the last eight years, she’s lived in Australia, gotten a MA, got married, had two boys and is now working in Stanford’s women’s studies program. Soon, she’ll be in New Zealand to finish her PhD degree on Maori health care. I always looked up to her, both figuratively and literally, when we were rowing. She was a great rower, quiet and always calm (I don’t think I’ve ever heard her swear, which is rare among rowers). She is also like nine feet tall. OK, maybe just six feet. But that’s still really tall. I had on heels when we met for breakfast at the Taipei Sheraton and asked, “hey, did you grow taller?” Obviously, she also remembered how short I was.

We had some really interesting and intelligent conversations while I showed her around Taipei. I was pretty brain dead, but tried hard to hold up my end of it and was just so surprised that we had so much to talk about. When I was rowing in college, I didn’t have much to talk about with my teammates for some reason. I had plenty to talk about with Carrie, our coach, though. I always enjoyed intelligent conversations more than anything.

We went through Dihua Street, one of the oldest commercial streets in Taipei, where boats used to load and unload fabric and dried foods for sale, and then to Xinyi Eslite, in the newest part of Taipei, and then to Shinyeh at the top of Taipei 101. Our vegetarian fare was dishes of mushroom, mushroom and more mushroom, but when you’re eating up there, it’s to be expected that food isn’t the main attraction.

Ah, it was so nice to see Niki. Perhaps in March I can take more time off and go back to San Francisco and LA. Crew Classic is in March.


Had Thanksgiving dinner with Mom and Dad at Nonzero after work. Mom confessed, “we were thinking about buying you takeout for you earlier.”

“What? Why? And how come we’re eating here now?” I asked.
“Well, your Dad’s had two speeches this week and he’s been sleeping really late, but I was talking to Daniel and listening to how he was so excited and looking forward to having a full turducken feast with Quyen and all of their friends, then I thought I’d feel especially sorry for you if you had to eat take-out turkey all by yourself at your flat.”
“Oh.” I said. “Thank you.”
“Filial piety in our family’s turning the other way, Honey,” said Dad.
“Yes, lucky me!” I said. “So where’s the turkey? Aren’t we having turkey tonight?”
“The turkey’s in class,” Dad said, referring to Michael. He likes to call Michael “Turkey,” like “bozo.” Michael’s been going to GMAT cram school at night these days, so no turkey for the turkey. And no turkey for us either.

We still had a nice dinner together at Nonzero, and Mom brought me a Thanksgiving present – a really cute reindeer from Starbucks, with different colors and texture patches. I love it!

What shall I name it? Dasher? Dancer? Prancer? Well, the position of the patches remind me of Oreo’s and King, so I think I'll name him “Boxer.”

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Now looking forward to dinner on Christmas Eve with Mom, Dad, Michael, Daniel, Quyen, Uncle Cody and family and Ann! With turkey and all!

Old soul, where are you?

Please, no more set-ups with “little opens,” (小開) sons of wealthy people. This last guy is the son of a wealthy and controversial businessman. Living a wealthy life with a career and lifestyle predetermined by their parents is nothing bad, but the kind of person that lives a life like that is just not the kind I like. I chose not to go into telecom, which Dad is in, nor i-banking, which Dad wanted me to do. I chose my own path, which was media. And along this path, I’m making my own decisions about what to do and where to go. Of course, I ask Dad for advice when I need it, but I’m not blindly following the path that’s been laid out for me. Some may argue that they don’t have a choice, and I respect that, but I gave myself a choice, and I am proud of that. I admire people that venture out and carve out a path for them self. They make their own decisions and work hard for what they believe in. They determine their own destiny and fulfill their own dream. That is the kind of person that I like.

I want to meet someone that thinks happiness and sharing is as important as being successful. Someone who is international so his view of the world isn’t confined to one island or national border carved out by politicians. Someone who is kind and appreciative. Someone who is successful yet humble.

I don’t know when I got so “old.” I think I need another old soul to be my companion.

Matchmaking, part deux

Sorry for the absence. No, I haven’t fallen in love, run off and gotten married. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have just been so fatigued I haven't been able to write.

So as it turns out, I was there to please my boss’s boss’s boss and I guess he was there to please his father too. Aside from her worrying about me being almost 30 and not seeing anyone, I believe my managing director also wanted to please this wealthy businessman that is looking for a daughter-in-law. My MD, I realize, is an efficient woman who believes in success and not happiness… (She snorted at me when I told her how I felt that if people were happy, it wouldn’t matter if they were successful or not.)

We had dinner at one of their restaurants (they own a lot of real estate and shopping malls both in Taiwan and China) and began the meal with chitchat, including the recent acquisition of the China Times/CTI TV/CTV media conglomerate. The guy was really proud of being Chinese. When my MD said the acquisition was backed by Chinese capital, he said, “YES!” like a teenager who scored on something. He just seemed so in love with China to the point of looking down on Taiwan. It just felt so immature. Then conversation between us ran out and his father and my MD got into heated debate about how Chiang Kai Shek used to work at a securities firm and how later his wife slept with many men, both Chinese and American to get him out of trouble (and since her husband was working for Taiwan, she in effect was sleeping around for Taiwan and its people). Then they started talking about how it may have been better if Japan took over China earlier in the last century, because that would have saved millions of people from starving to death and the culture from being burned to the ground.

Well, history was never my passion, and apparently, neither was it to the guy. Then he picked up his phone off the table and just got up and left. So while pops and my MD chatted away, I was left sitting there, twiddling my thumbs and looking at my watch. What felt like 20 or 30 minutes later, he finally came back, and I set Plan B into action.

“I need to leave,” I whispered to him.
“What? Really?” he asked.
“Yes, my uncle asked me to listen to some people about a business plan,” I half-lied. It wasn’t my uncle, but I did agree to meet some people to hear their idea.
“You need to leave? We have an appointment here tonight,” said my MD.
“Yes, sorry, I need to leave now,” I said, not feeling sorry at all. Feeling relieved, in fact. I showed up and was charming and pleasant, which I thought was courteous enough to her, and I really did have had enough at that point. Quickly, I said to the guy, “can you send me? It’s only about 10 minute away.”
“Oh, OK,” he said.

And with that, he was about to send me off in a taxi. I thought I’d give him another chance and asked, “do you have a car?”
“Oh yes, let’s go down to the carpark then,” he said. He got on the phone and in said in a rather rude tone, “where are you? Bring the car around.” The car came around and I hopped in and slid over to the other side. He stood outside, looking stunned. A few seconds later, he finally caught on and got in. More chitchat along the way and I was at my destination. He gave me a hug, wrote his mobile number on his business card and asked if I was on Facebook. I said, “yes” and he said he’ll see me on FB and then it was goodbye.

He didn’t seem like a bad guy, and I although I definitely felt no chemistry, I thought that perhaps we could be friends. So the next morning, I text messaged him and said I’m free for tea between 14h00 and 16hoo if he wants to meet. Then at 14h30, he messages me and says he’s busy. I gave him more than a fair share of chances.

It’s been nearly a month, he hasn’t added me on FB, no email no phone call, nothing. I’m not about to contact him either.

He’s 30, but felt more like 17 to me. Ann called me a snob, and maybe I am, but is being treated with courtesy and respect too much to ask? Maybe I need a time machine. Maybe I’m living in the wrong era. Or maybe I’m just…too old.

Edit: My memory serves me wrong. When I had tea with Ann, I guess what I really said was, "WE're snobs," admitting to being one and dragging Ann under with me. Hee.