Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 20 2008


I’ve been wandering around in a haze for the past week since I got back. Last Friday I went to the doctor when my cold wasn’t going away, and he gave me meds for a severe sinus and throat infection, pretty heavy meds, too. So there’s not much to report. Much of my trip detritus still litters the floor of my apartment where I dumped it when I got back, along with my laundry. I’m only getting a few photos up each day.

The weather here is cold -not Tokyo cold, but not exactly beach weather- and grey. There was some occasional sun over the weekend, but I was in no state to go out and enjoy it. My apologies to everyone who has invited me out recently; I’m just not in the mood, preferring to huddle in the Cave drinking hot ginger tea. I’ve been managing to make it in to work and back home each day, but that’s about it. I haven’t been to tai-chi practice in weeks. I stupidly tried some badminton on Monday night, but of course that turned out to be a really bad idea, one I’m still paying for.

So, some observations.

1. The Kenwood C711 in-ear earphones I bought in Tokyo are really good with the iPod, better than the Sennheiser CX300s or the Sony EX71s. The only way I was able to discern this was because electronics stores in Tokyo allow people to try things out, as there are no applicable reviews online, and hearing is highly subjective. The Shure e2cs everyone raves about online sound like utter crap to my ears. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy into the online reviews and tried them myself.

2. The more I think about it, the more I tend to think that maybe a great camera should be something we ignore instead of admire. When you see a fellow shooting with a little older point-and-shoot, maybe instead of thinking, “What the hell is he going to do with that?” we should instead be impressed that he’s trying to get good shots out of such a basic camera. When we see someone with a new full-frame DSLR, instead of being impressed, we should hold them up to much higher standards at the very least. I’m wondering if, before long, cameras will all be so advanced that no one will ever have to worry about exposure, aperture, shutter times, or any of that any more; everything will be taken care of. I can even imagine cameras that automatically compose shots for you or alert you to a photogenic person or situation in the vicinity. What will we think of people who have the first wave of such cameras in the future? Will we look up to them or just curse their relative purchasing power? Sometimes it seems like today we retain the vestiges of an era where only good photographers tended to have good cameras, but is that the case any more? I doubt it.

3. I’m thinking I really should just sell my motorcycle. It’s not that I particularly need the money; someone else would probably enjoy the bike a lot more than I have been, as I simply never ride it. I did just make a large house payment, though. And the trip needs to be paid for.

4. Surely Frank Hsieh has something more on Ma Ying-jeou than the fact that he had a green card when he was a student in the US? Or that his sister cheated on an exam in 1968? All of this hinting around that Ma is actually a closet US citizen just makes Hsieh look like an idiot. I had expected a much better campaign than this from him and the DPP. I am, however, still waiting for the usual pre-election weird thing to happen. We’ve got a month to go, though, so there’s plenty of time.

5. The high-rise apartments above the Xindian MRT station across the river from me have, I believe, finally topped out at a pretty lofty height. They’re huge. I’m wondering just how that monster is going to change the demographics of Bitan, with a large influx of office workers and upper-class families living in this previously mostly working-class neighborhood, not to mention with the ongoing renovation project of the riverbanks and the bridge. Hopefully we’ll at least get a Blockbuster or Asia1 video rental store out of the deal.

In any case, all of this is just semi-addled musing. I hope to be back on track soon-ish.

posted by Poagao at 5:43 am  


  1. Re: 2. I agree up to a point but no matter what camera you have it still takes a good eye to spot or anticipate that great shot. And what about originality and “wit” in photography? You can’t build that into the camera’s software.

    Comment by naruwan — February 20, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  2. Bet they’ll try, eventually.

    Comment by Poagao — February 20, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  3. like you. i admire people who still stick with film. takes somebody who really understands cameras to shoot with film and come up with great pics.

    speaking of photography. i’ll be visiting taipei with my partner soon. wondering if you can suggest places where i can shoot old taipei pics?

    and also, hope the sore throat gets better soon.


    Comment by muddy — February 22, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  4. I hope you’re not under the impression that I still shoot film, because I went digital a few years ago and don’t shoot film any longer.

    Old Taipei? I’d try walking around Wanhua, Longshan Temple and the Ti-hua St. areas for a start.

    Comment by Poagao — February 22, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  5. sorry to note that you are getting sick so often. may I suggest that you purchase some zinc lozenges and the next time you are aware of that little pesky ‘niggle’ in the back of your throat that signals another ‘cold’ -start sucking the lozenges – say – one every hour for 3 or 4 hours or so and see if that makes any difference. it (the zinc) supposedly messes with the viral replication, or something like that. and of course wash, wash, wash your hands

    Comment by karen — February 22, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. I used to work as a bartender at a bowling alley and I saw this same dynamic all the time. Most league bowlers had their own equipment, and in general, the 200+ average bowlers had hundred dollar polyurethane bowling balls, while the people newer to bowling leagues just had 50 plastic ones.

    There was a certain subset, that irked me, though. They didn’t have the skill to throw a strong hook, so they bought one. With a $250 resin-based ball with a specially designed weight-block, even a relatively weak delivery results in a strong snap as the ball heads towards the pins. These jokers still weren’t that accurate, though, and some of them went through a thousand dollars in equipment in a single season while failing to rise above a 170 average.

    I’ve seen the same dynamic play itself out in the gym (super high-tech fitness gear for riding slowly on the exercise bikes), on basketball courts, on skateboarding ramps, and in all kinds of other areas. Everybody loves short-cuts.

    Comment by Mark — February 24, 2008 @ 4:37 am

  7. Oh yeah. Karen’s completely right. Zinc’s the only post-infection viral treatment with medical evidence to back it up.

    Comment by Mark — February 24, 2008 @ 4:38 am

  8. Hi Poagao,
    Thanks for stopping by on my blog. I spent a good amount of my working time over last couple of days to read through your Tokyo travelogue. I have read them once and going to read it again for sure.Your Tokyo travel diary posts are by far the best I have ever read. I had this weird pleasure of envisaging Tokyo through your writing. I am really happy to have found your journal and thoroughly enjoy your writing. Not to forget those spectacular pictures that adds beauty to your posts.
    Thanks for your concern too. Glad to hear that you got over with your cold. Take care and I am looking forward to see your pictures from Tokyo.

    Comment by Ashish — February 26, 2008 @ 6:00 am

  9. Thanks for the compliments, Ashish. Mark and Karen, I really should pick up some zinc.

    Comment by Poagao — February 26, 2008 @ 10:45 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment